Amazon’s Appstore for Android launches in Europe as Kindle Fire sells out claiming 22 percent of US tablet sales

Amazon has a bit of exciting Android-related news today: The mega online retailer announced the launch of its Appstore for Android in Europe and revealed its Android-powered Kindle Fire is currently sold out after gobbling up nearly one-fourth of United States tablet sales.

The Appstore opened in Germany, France, Italy and Spain for access to Android apps. Amazon also opened key features to European customers, such as: localized content and store for each country, popular Amazon benefits like “Free App of the Day, personalized recommendations, and one-click payments.

“Amazon has spent years developing innovative features that help customers find and discover the products that are right for them and have applied that know-how to the Amazon Appstore. We’re delighted to extend that experience to our European customers,” said Vice President of Amazon Appstore Jim Adkins in a press release.

As for the Android-powered Kindle Fire—it is the “most successful product launch in the history of Amazon.com” after capturing 22 percent of tablet sales in the U.S. With that said, Amazon recently announced a press conference for Sept. 6 in Los Angeles. The company typically holds media events for hardware launches, so we expect new Kindles, such as an iPad-sized version, or maybe even an Amazon phone, to come down the pipeline.

“We’re grateful to the millions of customers who have made Kindle Fire the most successful product launch in the history of Amazon,” said Amazon.com Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos in a press release. “Kindle Fire is sold out, but we have an exciting roadmap ahead—we will continue to offer our customers the best hardware, the best prices, the best customer service, the best cross-platform interoperability, and the best content ecosystem.”

The Kindle Fire debuted less than one year ago with a huge catalog of multimedia content including 22 million movies, games, books and more.

Check out the full press releases below.

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Google looks to sell Motorola’s set-top box business for as much as $2B

It was rumored earlier this year that Google looked to sell Motorola’s set-top box and television equipment business. Google is continuing its plans to sell, as Bloomberg reported this afternoon. The Mountain View-based company has hired firm Barclays to look for buyers. Google is said to be looking for up to $2 billion in the deal, but the sale is in its very early stages so the exact terms are not clear.

Since Google and Motorola’s $12.5 billion deal went official this summer, Motorola has gone through several changes company-wide. The most notable change was when up to 4,000 employees were laid off…on top of 30 of Motorola’s 90 facilities worldwide being shut down. Furthermore, there have been several executive changes as the company looks to get back into creating some serious mobile devices. Selling off their television business may help them reach that goal with extra cash in hand. [BloombergRead more

Samsung’s Galaxy Camera unveiled: Everything you love about Android in a point-and-shoot camera (hands-on!)

With Nikon and Polaroid getting ready to launch their Android-powered cameras as early as September, Samsung officially unveiled its entrance into the market today in Berlin with its first dedicated point-and-shoot running Android. While recent rumors pointed to the possibility of a device with specs close to those announced for Nikon’s Coolpix S800c, Samsung unveiled a 4.8-inch device with specs closer to its own Galaxy S III.

We were able to get some hands-on time with the device and were quite impressed…to say the least. Put simply, the Galaxy Camera is everything you love about an Android device in a quality point-and-shoot camera (minus voice calling). It includes full Google Play access, Wi-Fi/3G/4G (HSPA+), and voice control on a full-sized display like the Galaxy S III.

More specs below and hands-on BELOW:

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Samsung unveils bigger and better 5.5.-inch Galaxy Note 2 with Jelly Bean and redesigned S Pen

Samsung officially took the wraps off its next-generation Galaxy Note today with the introduction of a bigger-and-faster Galaxy Note 2. While it is not a huge departure from the previous generation, the new device packs a larger 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED display while introducing an even slimmer frame at just 9.4mm.

While the majority of Samsung’s presentation focused on the new redesigned S Pen and features, it also made a point of explaining its goals for the device. Samsung said its device included three emerging customer desires: Better & Faster Discovery, Advanced Multitasking, and Free Capture & Expression.

To meet goals for the Galaxy Note 2, Samsung introduced a number of new features mainly geared to faster multitasking and creative expression using a new, longer S Pen that sports a better grip and rubber tip. On top of being greeted with a contextual page for performing multiple tasks upon pulling out the S Pen, it now includes a previewing tool called “Air View” that is accessible in many apps. So, when hovering over videos from your videos app or photos from the redesigned gallery app with the S Pen, a preview will now pop up within the same window. The feature is further useful for visually searching a scene within a video without stopping or losing your place.

One other interesting new S Pen feature allows you to quickly enter a command using the S Pen. Holding the Pen’s button and drawing a line up activates the feature and provides a new dialog where you can jot down, for instance, “@Jason”. This could then open the email app with your contact details for Jason preloaded.

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Sony adds ICS-powered Xperia T, Xperia V and Xperia J smartphones and Xperia Tablet S to its lineup [Photos]

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Sony Mobile Communications just unveiled a new range of Xperia smartphones and its first Xperia tablet at IFA in Berlin.

“This year’s IFA marks an important milestone for Sony and Sony Mobile Communications. Xperia smartphones are at the heart of Sony’s mobile strategy of delivering a consistent user experience across devices, enabling consumers to easily and quickly access the world of entertainment that Sony delivers,” announced Sony Mobile President and CEO Kunimasa Suzuki in a press release.

The Xperia Tablet S is set to release Sept. 7, and the Xperia T will also launch globally over the next few weeks, where as the Xperia V and Xperia J will launch globally in Q4 2012. Pricing details are not available at this time.

Check out the devices below.

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Nielsen: Google dominates Mobile Maps…for now

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According to the latest Nielsen survey, Google is dominating the Travel Mobile Apps usage space, which in turn represents 95 percent of travel smartphone usage (the other 5 percent being mobile web usage—which Google also dominates). The numbers below show Google’s Maps app on both Android and iOS (to be clear the Maps app on iOS is built by Apple and pre-iOS 6 uses Google’s map tiles).

It will be interesting to see what happens to this data when Apple’s iOS6 goes final next month and all of those iOS users use Apple’s maps by default. I anticipate a major slide unless Google presents a compelling Maps application for iOS that keeps Apple users coming back for more. Read more

T-Mobile Galaxy SII gets mobile wallet support!…for ISIS

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The folks at Google Wallet cannot be too pleased about this. Long after the rollout of Google Wallet, it is still almost impossible to get the app on any phone that does not run on Sprint’s network. ISIS, a competing mobile platform, counts carriers AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon among its supporters. The group seems to block any competing mobile wallet platform on their devices…even Google’s platform.
T-Mobile Support via AndroidPolice

Time Warner Cable plays catch up with Google, invests $25M to expand 1Gbps fiber for NYC businesses

It is interesting to watch people frantically scramble and play catch up, but it is even more entertaining to watch companies.

Enter Time Warner Cable. According to CNET, the leading cable and Internet provider is set to announce a $25 million investment today. The money will expand its fiber broadband network, which pipes data at 1 gigabit per second, to New York City businesses. The Brooklyn Navy Yard is one of the key sites that will “gain advanced broadband infrastructure,” and the company said a second Time Warner Cable Learning Lab would also come to the borough.

“We are very pleased to work with the City of New York to make significant investments to ensure that this city has the technology infrastructure to successfully compete in a worldwide marketplace,” said President of Time Warner Cable Business Class Ken Fitzpatrick in a press release. “Our fiber optic network provides dedicated Internet access at incredible speeds and high-bandwidth capabilities to serve the communications needs of any business.”

CNET elaborated:

The new fiber network will be built in Brooklyn as well as to parts of Manhattan such as the Financial and Flatiron districts. Last year, Time Warner and the city of New York reached a franchise agreement in which Time Warner said it would expand its fiber network to areas that don’t currently have access.

The new service will offer speeds up to 1 gigabit per second, the company said in a press release (not yet available online). The company will target companies that have high data needs, such as design firms and technology companies.

Businesses in the newly revitalized Brooklyn Navy Yard have already seen the benefits of an upgraded and fast fiber network from Time Warner Cable. Time Warner is also building a second Time Warner Learning Lab in Brooklyn at the Navy Yard. This facility provide the public with free access to computers and high-speed Internet. The facility will be part of the Navy Yard’s onsite Employment Center.

Today’s news comes just one month after Google, yes…the search engine-turned-Internet giant, dipped its toes in Time Warner Cable’s territory. Google launched its Fiber Internet and TV service in Kansas City, Kan., in mid-summer, and reports from earlier this month indicated Time Warner Cable immediately began ramping up hiring in the city. It looked to fill 81 new jobs in sales, customer service, and other departments.

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Microsoft SkyDrive hits Android with 7GB of free Cloud data

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Microsoft SkyDrive and its free 7GB (25GB if you signed up early) of data are now available to Android smartphone users. Initial reviews of the service/app are positive and it has to give pause to Google, who could have sewn up the DropBox-esque service industry on Android had it opened up the Google Drive service years ago.

That being said, Android users can now use a bunch of different services to store media and files in the Cloud.

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Google/Motorola strike licensing deal with Apple in Germany, more peaceful times ahead?

Motorola Mobility agreed to license its standards-essential patents in Germany to Apple, according to a filing on Monday (via FossPatents).

In the deal, which chiefly includes cellular standard-essential patents, Apple agreed that it is legally responsible for past damages in connection to the patents. The timeframe for the treaty’s conception is unknown at the moment, with both firms also neglecting to reveal royalty rates in the paperwork. However, the courts in Germany could determine those rates based on FRAND policies.

The admittedly biased, for-hire blogger Florian Mueller explained:

In a filing made late on Monday (August 27, 2012) with the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, the Google subsidiary has now confirmed the recent conclusion of a standard-essential patent license agreement with Apple. Under the agreement, Apple is now licensed to use some if not all of Motorola’s standard-essential patents in Germany, though the parties have not yet agreed on a FRAND royalty rate, which will ultimately have to be set by German courts unless they agree on a rate prior to its judicial determination.

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Google gives Weather API the boot

Google announced earlier this summer that it would retire iGoogle on Nov. 1, 2013, but it appears the search giant has already begun axing private APIs despite the 15 months remaining that it allotted folks for sufficiently exporting data.

The Weather API, for instance, is now six feet under. There is no official word from Mountain View about closing it, but the product that the API maintained, as first noted by TheNextWeb, is now using Wundergrond.com (examples: 94102 and Mountain View). Therefore, the switch is calculated…and quiet. A glance at Status Dashboard indicates Google edged out the Weather API starting Aug. 27.

Web developers from everywhere have also reported issues when trying to use the Weather API, such as Hacker News and StackOverflow, with many Twitterers further giving Google flack for pulling support without a proper warning. Google notified the public that it would shutdown iGoogle, however, so today’s news should not be too astonishing.

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You can now wish your Google+ friends happy birthday right from Google.com

Update: Google has officially announced that the feature has gone live across Google.com!

Google likes to experiment with upcoming features of its products and a reader seems to have spotted a new one. Thanks to a new feature that Google has deployed into its Google Search page, users are now notified when it is the birthday of one of the people in their Google+ circles. A 9to5Google tipster showed us the new feature this evening, where Google displayed in the Google Search notification window that it was his friend’s birthday. Google also provided a “Say happy birthday” button that allowed our tipster to write a witty message on his friend’s profile for the world to see. How Facebook like! Check out a screenshot of the pop-up below: 

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