HTC offering up to $300 trade-in value with new purchases, T-Mobile launches Zero Down promotion

 

A couple notable promotions were announced today, including: T-Mobile’s Zero Down offer as part of its Magenta Deal Days, and a trade-in offer worth up to $300 for those purchasing a new HTC phone.

HTC is providing those who purchase a new HTC phone with up to $300 for their old, functioning smartphone after the purchase. You will not be able to use the cash toward the cost of the new device up front. Droid Life reported HTC is offering around $290 for a 32GB Verizon Galaxy S3, however, while others are getting quotes in the $150 range for a Verizon Motorola Droid RAZR Maxx in working condition. You can get your quote from HTC here.

As for T-Mobile, it is offering $0 down from Sept. 21 to Sept. 30 on qualifying 4G smartphones for new customers. Some of the devices on offer include the Samsung Galaxy S III, HTC One S, T-Mobile myTouch Q, Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G, and Samsung Galaxy Note.

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Twitter for Android updated with profile header photos, pinch-to-zoom, & photo streams

Twitter for Android is getting a nice little update today that brings a few new features. The updated app includes new profiles with header photos, photo streams through Events and Profiles, and pinch-to-zoom on photos. Other features include: improved search suggestions and other enhancements and fixes.

Twitter explained two of the biggest new features, header photos and photo streams, in a post on the Twitter blog:

  • New profiles now feature header photos so you can express who you are more meaningfully on Twitter. Upload an image from your mobile device and see the same beautiful profile design on your phone, tablet or computer. Read more about the new profiles.
  • Photo streams for profiles display the images people have shared on Twitter. Whenever you see a photo stream, swipe left or right through the thumbnails or tap to view photos in fullscreen mode. Android users can also get closer to photos with pinch-to-zoom.

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Google Maps infographic captures summer 2012 through search activity [Photo]

With fall on the horizon, the Google Maps team researched the summer’s most popular activities by analyzing global search patterns on maps.google.com. The team then charted the resulting data into visual representations, otherwise known as an infographic, which is available in full below.

According to the official Google blog:

Before we approach the official end of summer on September 21, our Google Maps team thought it’d be fun to see how those of us in the Northern Hemisphere have spent the dog days. To do this, we reviewed the summer search activity on maps.google.com in several countries between the end of May and the beginning of September. Within each country, a look at some of the top-rising searches and the often-searched landmarks on Google Maps gives us a sense of how people around the world spent their summers.

A few of the highlights: North Americans mostly searched for local beaches, Europeans preferred community swimming pools, and United Kingdom dwellers looked for indoor activities. The overall patterns indicated, however, that the most popular destination searches were outdoor-based.

Check out the full-sized infographic below, or go to the Google blog for more specifics.

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Design Within Reach CEO shares his ‘gone Google’ story [Video]

The folks in Mountain View want businesses, schools and people around the world to go Google, and they are continually recruiting by encouraging current Google Apps users to share their “gone Google” stories.

Design Within Reach CEO John Edelman is the latest unofficial spokesperson to tell the story about how he and his national retail operation, which sells modern design for homes and offices, moved to Google Apps, with the help of Google Apps reseller Cloud Sherpas, for ease of communication.

According to Edelman (via the official Google Enterprise blog):

Before Google Apps, it wasn’t easy to share important materials like store promotion schedules, store layouts, or PR updates quickly and efficiently. Instead, we relied heavily on email for communication. In retail, things change all the time and emailing about employee schedules, promotional timelines or new merchandise availability meant that the information was quickly out of date and risked employees having inaccurate information. Google Apps changed all that. Now, our marketing team is able to track in-store promotions via shared calendars. Employees can track inventory through Google Docs, so when we have a floor sale and someone wants 4 red chairs and we only have one, we can easily hop onto Google Docs and find the chairs at another location. The customer is happy – and we’re happy because we’ve made a sale and cleared the floor.

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Google adds ‘Prometheus,’ Family Guy,’ and 600 more Twentieth Century Fox titles to YouTube, Google Play

Google just inked a deal with Twentieth Century Fox to bulk its YouTube and Google Play catalog by over 600 more film and television titles for renting and buying.

A few of the more notable TV shows include “Family Guy” and “Modern Family,” while a snippet of the blockbuster movie additions range from “Prometheus” to “Black Swan.”

According to the official Google blog:

Today you can buy Fox’s new release Prometheus in HD, available three weeks ahead of the Blu-ray, DVD and video-on-demand release. And over the next few weeks you’ll be able to rent or buy your favorite Fox movies like X-MenIce Age andBlack Swan, and TV shows like “Glee,” “Modern Family,” “New Girl” and many more.

The new titles will first roll out in the United States with “other countries” eyeing availability soon. Pricing is unclear at this time, but “Prometheus” in HD is now live and set at $14.99 for buying.

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Motorola launches Razr i with a 2.0Ghz Intel Atom processor, ships next month

The first of its smartphones to sport an Intel processor —a 2.0GHz Atom Z2460, to be exact— was officially launched by Motorola at an event in London yesterday. The Android 4.0 “Razr i” (upgradeable to 4.1 in the future), includes a 4.4-inch, 960-by-540-pixel resolution AMOLED display, 8-megapixel camera, NFC, and a 2,000mAh battery.

We did not get specifics on pricing from Motorola, but we know the Razr i will land in at least the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil sometime in October. One retailer claimed to have pricing for the device following yesterday’s event (via Phandroid). Retailer Clove is accepting preorders for the device with a shipment date of Oct. 1 and price tag of £342.00 including VAT (around $550). We had great first impressions with the similar Razr M in our recent review, so we look forward to getting our hands on its Intel-powered brother.

Motorola already released two videos online for the Razr i following its media event. The first, above, is the official U.K. commercial for the device, and the second, below, focuses on Intel and the Razr i’s edge-to-edge display:

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Google rolls out OAuth 2.0 support for Gmail and other IMAP/SMTP, XMPP services

We reported earlier on hints from Google employee Tim Bray that the company might be working on an integrated password and login solution. We know Bray is working on OAuth and OpenID-related projects, and Google announced in a blog post today that it is adding OAuth 2.0 support for IMAP/SMTP and XMMP. The majority of Google’s API’s already support the OAuth 2 authentication standard for sharing your account data with third-party apps, but today’s addition of support for IMAP/SMTP and XMMP opens OAuth 2.0 to third parties accessing services such as Gmail and GTalk.

Today we’re going a step further by adding OAuth 2.0 support for IMAP/SMTP and XMPP. Developers using these protocols can now move to OAuth 2.0, and users will experience the benefits of more secure OAuth 2.0 clients.

According to Ryan Troll of Google’s Application Security Team, clients never ask for a user’s password with the OAuth 2.0 authentication mechanism. He also noted “users have tighter control over what data clients have access to, and clients never see a user’s password, making it much harder for a password to be stolen.”

Google outlined a timeline for support for older authentication standards:
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Google+ ‘hit important milestone': 400M people upgraded to Google+, 100M active monthly users

While confirming the Nik Software acquisition on his personal Google+ account, Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra just revealed a few interesting Google+ statistics.

The Google executive announced 400 million people have now “upgraded to Google+,” with 100 million of them being “monthly active users” on desktop and mobile. These rounded numbers directly refer to Google+ and do not seem to encompass users actively exercising other Google products.

Google typically avoids dishing out specifics on Google+, like active user base estimates, but it has previously cited the budding network as the social core to its umbrella of products and claimed it boasted more than 170 million users (of which 60 percent allegedly sign in daily).

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Google acquires iOS Snapseed developer Nik Software

Google just bought the brainchild behind popular iOS app Snapseed, Nik Software.

According to Nik Software:

We are pleased to announce that Google has acquired Nik Software. For nearly 17 years, we’ve been guided by our motto, “photography first”, as we worked to build world class digital image editing tools. We’ve always aspired to share our passion for photography with everyone, and with Google’s support we hope to be able to help many millions more people create awesome pictures.

We’re incredibly grateful for all of your support and hope you’ll join us on the next phase of our journey as part of Google.

All our best!

The Nik Software Team

Snapseed, which is akin to iOS app Instagram in terms of jazzy vintage filters, is just one of many desktop and mobile photography apps that Nik Software develops. Snapseed launched on Apple’s iPad in June 2011, winning “iPad App of the Year” soon after, and then it landed on the iPhone in August 2011 and Mac OS just four months later. The app also boasts a Windows counterpart.

Today’s announced buyout could notably help Google’s budding social network, Google+, better combat direct rival Facebook, which recently acquired Instagram and its 100+ million users.

An update to this story is below.

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Google planning on an integrated 1Password type of service?

Google employee and XML pioneer Tim Bray has been known for delivering awesome tweets from his personal Twitter account regarding issues happening at the company. Today, Bray took to his popular ‘Ongoing’ blog to share what he worked on at Google for the past three months (since he left Android developer relations for OAUTH group). In a blog post, titled “Less Pain, More Money”, Bray appears to hint that Google is working on a solution for storing passwords and simplifying logins:

Google really wants you to type things like “good mountain bike” or “Knoxville pediatrician” into the search box…. More often than you’d think, people don’t; they click in the address bar and type in the URL of a big bookstore or Somebody’sList, as a first step on their search. When we ask why, surprisingly they often say ”Oh, if I found something good on a random site out there I’d have to log in, and either remember my stupid password or fight through the stupid sign-up page.” The numbers are probably secret, but they’re very significant.

While Bray does not go into detail about a specific feature that he or Google is working on, he noted his job currently centers on reducing the frustration associated with logging in to various websites. We have a feeling Google is working on a new feature that will make storing passwords and logging into websites much easier.

It is not hard to imagine doing a Google search to a page, where you would normally need to login to, and then find yourself already logged in with account credentials stored in your Google account.

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Google blocked Acer from using Aliyun as part of stipulations to the Open Handset Alliance

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Google provided a statement to SearchEngineLand on Acer’s recent cancellation of the Aliyun phone. It comes late on a Friday, so you know it is not going to be well received.

Compatibility is at the heart of the Android ecosystem and ensures a consistent experience for developers, manufacturers and consumers.

Non-compatible versions of Android, like Aliyun, weaken the ecosystem. All members of the Open Handset Alliance have committed to building one Android platform and to not ship non-compatible Android devices.

This does not however, keep OHA members from participating in competing ecosystems.

Andy Rubin also added some clarity on the Android Developers blog (but he did not mention Acer or Aliyun by name once). Rubin mentioned the situation specifically on Google Plus, however… Read more

Founders originally told Google Fellow Singhal that company would be worth $500M

Googler Amit Singhal told guests at a Churchill Club event in Silicon Valley on Thursday that he thought the cofounders of Google were “smoking something” when they first approached him.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin allegedly attempted to recruit Singhal in 2000 by telling him the company would be worth “$500 million at least,” adding they had “the entire Internet sitting on our disks.”

BusinessInsider, which first reported the story, elaborated:

Except they didn’t, really. Their plan for a new search engine was simple: They didn’t have to search every word, they only needed “a snippet from the beginning [of each page] to do search,” he recounts.

They were running short on funds, so they had to build their own, more affordable computers to store the data. Today, Google builds more servers than many of the world’s commercial server makers. If it sold servers, it would rank around No. 5 in world market share.

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