Samsung Galaxy S4 profiled against iPhone on ABC news

This is what the normals are seeing.

Google preparing subscription news service on Google Play to rival Apple’s Newsstand?

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It looks like Google might be repairing a new section in the Google Play store specifically for news content in subscription and issue form. While Google already has a dedicated Magazine section on the Play store, AndroidPolice first noticed clues in code for the web version of Google Play that hint Google could be preparing to launch a new service dubbed “Google Play News.”

While we don’t get much information about the service, we do learn Google Play News could offer “issues” and “subscriptions”. This makes us think the company could be preparing a subscription news service that rivals Apple’s Newsstand on iOS. Apple currently offers both issues of newspapers and magazines in subscription form through its Newsstand app.

It’s not clear how exactly the Play News section would differ from the existing Magazine section, but AndroidPolice noted that the Google Play code points to the section having its own heading color. This suggests it will indeed be a dedicated category on the store.

As I’m sure you know, the Play Store is color themed – Books are blue, Music is orange, etc. So the most important question a discovery like this raises is “What color will the News section be?” It turns out we can actually answer this one thanks to the Play Store CSS (mirror). It’s yellow. The News section will be yellow.

It’s a possibility Google will eventually merge this new newspaper feature with magazines like how Apple’s Newsstand app works, but we’ll have to wait to find out for sure what Google officially has planned for the service.

Digg is building a replacement for Google Reader

digg-logoWhile some people may still be working through various stages of grief on the news of Google killing its Reader project, the folks at Digg are doing something about it.

We’ve heard people say that RSS is a thing of the past, and perhaps in its current incarnation it is, but as daily (hourly) users of Google Reader, we’re convinced that it’s a product worth saving. So we’re going to give it our best shot. We’ve been planning to build a reader in the second half of 2013, one that, like Digg, makes the Internet a more approachable and digestible place. After Google’s announcement, we’re moving the project to the top of our priority list. We’re going to build a reader, starting today.

This could get interesting. Read more

Google breaks up Maps and Commerce unit, Jeff Huber is out

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According to a report from the WSJ, Google is breaking up its joint Maps and Commerce unit. Additionally, Jeff Huber, the executive that ran the unit, is leaving his position.

The mapping unit will become part of the Google search team, led by Alan Eustace, and the commerce unit will be tucked into the advertising group, led by Susan Wojcicki, one of these people said.

Today’s news follows Andy Rubin’s departure from the Android team yesterday. Like Rubin, Huber is heading to Google X. The announcement was made internally via the same email that announced Rubin’s departure.

Read more

Petition to save Google Reader now at 30K strong

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The news last night, however inevitable, that Google was going to shut down Reader hit some people particularly hard. While I don’t expect Google to resurrect Reader any time soon (it has been in maintenance mode since the sharing buttons were taken down), it would be nice for Google to build and articulate a migration path for those affected. I’ve mostly moved to Twitter/Facebook/G+ for my news feeds. But, what if Google let you pull all of your feeds into Google Plus? Seems like a no brainer, right? Good for Google Plus, good for Reader folks?

Anyway, here’s the petition.

Read more

Google to shut down Google Reader, Snapseed and other applications in another Spring Cleaning

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The full list is over that the Google Blog but I know two that will be of particular pain to me. One, Google Reader (and likely eventually Feedburner along with it) will be sorely missed.

  • We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.

In recent years the service has been demoted to far down the dropdown menu at the top and Google wonders why readership has dropped off?

Also Google purchased Snapseed last year to likely help out with some Instagram-type of features on Google Plus. It is now shuttering the Mac and PC Apps.

  • Beginning today we’ll no longer sell or provide updates for Snapseed Desktop for Macintosh and Windows. Existing customers will continue to be able to download the software and can contact us for support. We’ll continue to offer the Snapseed mobile app on iOS and Android for free.

More death and destruction at the Google Blog. Read more

Andy Rubin leaves Android for new role at Google, Chrome’s Sundar Pichai to take over

andy-rubinGoogle posted an Update from the CEO on its Official Google Blog today where Larry Page announced that Android chief Andy Rubin will officially be leaving the Android team to take up a new role at the company. Taking his place to lead the Android team at Google is Sundar Pichai, who will also continue his work with Apps and Chrome.

Page didn’t specify what responsibilities Rubin would have going forward saying only that “Andy’s decided it’s time to hand over the reins and start a new chapter at Google. Andy, more moonshots please!”

Page also noted that Android is now up to 750 million device activations across 60 manufacturers, up from 500 million back in September.

Fast forward to today. The pace of innovation has never been greater, and Android is the most used mobile operating system in the world: we have a global partnership of over 60 manufacturers; more than 750 million devices have been activated globally; and 25 billion apps have now been downloaded from Google Play. Pretty extraordinary progress for a decade’s work. Having exceeded even the crazy ambitious goals we dreamed of for Android—and with a really strong leadership team in place—Andy’s decided it’s time to hand over the reins and start a new chapter at Google. Andy, more moonshots please!

Going forward, Sundar Pichai will lead Android, in addition to his existing work with Chrome and Apps. Sundar has a talent for creating products that are technically excellent yet easy to use—and he loves a big bet. Take Chrome, for example. In 2008, people asked whether the world really needed another browser. Today Chrome has hundreds of millions of happy users and is growing fast thanks to its speed, simplicity and security. So while Andy’s a really hard act to follow, I know Sundar will do a tremendous job doubling down on Android as we work to push the ecosystem forward.

Bloomberg says 13MP camera Galaxy S4 will have Quad-core Qualcomm chip in US, Exynos Octo-core abroad

Bloomberg has some more tidbits on the Galaxy S4 which will be released at the Radio City Music Hall tomorrow:

The phone will sport a 5-inch screen, slightly larger than the one on last year’s S3, according to two people familiar with the product. The U.S. version will use Qualcomm Inc.’s quad-core chip, giving the phone more processing power to handle multiple tasks at the same time, they said. In other markets, it will rely on Samsung’s “octacore” eight-core chip, the people said.

The use of the Qualcomm chip in US versions of Samsung phones in the past over its own chips is usually because of the built-in LTE features of Qualcomm’s chips. But sure “more processing power” works as well.

Galaxy S4, which runs Google Inc.’s Android software, also will have a higher-density, 13-megapixel camera, up from 8 megapixels in the S3, according to the people. The upgrade would put the new Samsung phone well ahead of Apple’s iPhone 5. That device has a dual-core processor, a 4-inch screen and an 8- megapixel camera.

Interestingly, the Eye scrolling stuff we’ve heard about might not be ready for launch and might be enabled down the road. Read more

HTC One launch delayed until April, pre-orders ship late March

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HTC’s newest flagship phone, the HTC One, is being hit with positive reviews all around the web, but that’s not the only thing. According to a statement received by SlashGear, the HTC One is facing some shipping delays and the device’s original rumored March 15 release is no longer a target. The statement from HTC reads:

“We will start fulfilling pre-orders by end March in certain markets and will roll out to more markets as we approach April.” – HTC

At the moment, it’s unconfirmed whether the United States will be affected by this delay. An original rumor started this morning stated the delay would only affect orders in the United Kingdom and other markets. As we get more information on the details of the delay, we’ll be sure to update you.