Mirror for Android updated with full screen mirroring via Chromecast

Since its release, CyanogenMod developer Koushik Dutta has been at the forefront of expanding the Chromecas’s capabilities. He first released his AllCast app that allowed users to beam a variety of content to their Chromecast, and now, he’s updated his Mirror for Android app with a few big new features. In a post on Google+, Dutta announced that Mirror for Android has been updated with the ability to mirror your Android device’s screen to a Chromecast or a Chrome browser. Dutta has been teasing this feature for a while, but he finally released it tonight, albeit in a very early beta.

The feature works just as you expect. After installing the app and going through the set-up process, you have the option to mirror your entire Android device’s interface to your Chromecast, Chrome browser, or even Apple TV. Mirror also allows you to create a video recording of your Android screen.

Mirror lets you:

  • Create a video recording of your Android
  • Mirror your Android screen to Chromecast (Nexus 5 only)
  • Mirror your Android Screen to Chrome (Nexus 5 only)
  • Mirror your Android screen to an Apple TV

Of course, there are some bugs given that it is still in an early beta. Chromecast and Chrome mirroring is also only supported on the Nexus 5, as it’s the only device that has the required hardware video decoder for the app. You also must have root-access to your device and have the SuperUser app installed.

If you meet all of these qualifications, head over to Dutta’s Google+ page where you can sign-up for the beta and get access to the Mirror for Android app. Dutta hopes to release it, without root required, to the Play Store officially soon. Check out the video demo up above.

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Motorola updates Touchless Control app with new “What’s up?” voice command

Motorola this evening has released an update for its Touchless Control app that adds a few new features. Most notably, the update adds a new feature that allow you to ask your phone “What’s up?” to have your notifications read back to you. Simply say “Ok, Google Now, what’s up?” or “Ok, Google Now, read notifications” and the app will read your notifications back to you, allowing you to make the decision of whether they are important or not. Obviously, this is most useful while driving and can help you find out why your phone is buzzing without putting yourself or others at risk.

In addition to the “What’s up?” command, the update enhances end-of-speech detection for improved accuracy and faster responses and includes some bug fixes. The full change log is below:

What’s New
  • Enhanced end-of-speech detection for improved accuracy and faster responses
  • New “What’s Up” / “Read Notifications” voice command that reads out new notifications so you never miss a thing
  • “What’s Up” / “Read Notifications” fully launched for U.S. English, Spanish, and Italian and in beta for other languages / regions.
  • Compatible only with Android 4.4 KitKat
  • Bug fixes

The update is live on the Play Store now. It’s important to note, however, that Touchless Control is only compatible with the Moto  X, DROID ULTRA, DROID MAXX, and DROID Mini.

Google updates Play Games with ability to send invitations, see what games your friends are playing

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Originally released back in July, Google has just updated its Google Play Games app from version 1.1 to 1.5. The update adds some useful enhancements to help it compete with the likes of Apple’s Game Center.

First off, Play Games now supports the ability to send and view invitations to join multiplayer games. Previous versions of the app only allows you to join games from within the app and did not support invitations. Further improving the social and game discovery aspects of the app, the update has also added the ability to see what games people in your circles are playing.

A few slight interface tweaks have also been made. the settings have moved from the Action Bar to the side bar. The side bar also contains a new menu called “Matches” that allows you to manage your invitations. New “Recommended Games” and “Find Games” tabs have also been added.

The update is gradually rolling out to devices now, but if you can’t wait, head over to Android Police, where they have the download now.

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Evernote for Android updated with handwriting support, faster camera, more

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The Evernote team has released an update for its Android app today that adds a few very useful features. Most notably, the updated has added support for handwriting. Evernote touts that this is more than just a handwriting add-on and that the feature is throughly integrated throughout the app. You can easily switch between typing and handwriting, which is very useful if for instance, you are taking notes during a lecture and want to draw a chart or graph. The handwriting is also searchable, assuming it’s readable, so that you can search both text and writing when needed.

The editor has also received several enhancements, including a new text highlighter, better support for notes in other formats, and the ability to edit content in tables created on other platforms. The update also adds the ability to create a note link, allowing you to quickly jump between notes, as well as the ability to duplicate a note. Finally, the camera has also received some enhancements and is easier and faster to use.

Check out the full change log below and download the update on the Play Store.

Handwriting

  • Write and sketch inside your notes!
  • Keep handwriting, text, photos, and files in the same note
  • Choose from several colors and line thicknesses

Editor improvements

  • New: Text highlighter
  • Better support for notes made on other platforms
  • Edit content in tables created on other platforms

Note improvements

  • Create a note link to quickly jump between notes
  • Duplicate a note
  • Better, Faster Camera

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 12.2 shipping March 9th

Samsung already launched the Galaxy Note 12.2 tablets it announced at CES earlier this year, and today the company has announced the availability date for the Galaxy Tab 12.2 version. Starting March 9th, customers can purchase the 12.2″ Android tablet starting at $649 in black or white versions with 32GB and 64GB configurations through Samsung.com, Best Buy, Amazon, and other retailers. Read more

Google celebrates 2nd anniversary of Play Store with discounts on apps, music, and more

Google-Play-Store-logo

When Android first hit smartphones, it shipped with the Android Market, a storefront for downloading apps. Two years ago, however, Google decided to replace the Market with the new, revamped Google Play Store. The new store would house all of Google’s offerings, from music and videos to books and Android apps. You can even buy a new phone through the store these days.

Now, to celebrate the two-year anniversary of the launch, Google is giving users discounts and sales on movies, music, apps, and more store-wide. A special page has been setup that will list the various discounts you’ll be able to take advantage of during the sale.

The promotion isn’t yet running in the United States, but should be available soon.

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Samsung posts two new videos introducing the Galaxy S5, Gear 2, and Gear Fit

Samsung today published two new YouTube videos detailing its latest products. The first video runs through just about every imaginable feature of the new Galaxy Gear devices, from fitness applications to customizing the interface, to Android smartphone integration and, you know, checking the time.

A second video, embedded below the break, shows off the company’s Galaxy S5 smartphone. This video recounts the various specs and statistics that most smartphone buyers are familiar with before jumping into a breakdown of the phone’s form factor and design (GOLD IS BEST!).

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RadioShack announces plan to close 1,100 stores nationwide as smartphone sales fail to carry company

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ABC News reports that RadioShack will close 1,100 stores following a disappointing holiday season and generally unsuccessful attempt to rebrand the chain as the go-to retailer for smartphones and accessories. The number represents about 20% of the electronics shop’s locations. The company previously announced plans to close only 400-700 stores.

That doesn’t mean RadioShack will be disappearing completely, though. Around 4,000 stores are still expected to remain open. While the cell phone business hasn’t been able to keep the entire company afloat, it has apparently provided enough fuel to keep the majority of the stores functional… for now, at least.

Vudu announces Chromecast support coming soon to its iOS and Android apps

chromecast

Since its initial release last year, the Chromecast has added support for a plethora of apps and services, including Plex, Vevo, Songza, and many more. Last month, Google announced the Chromecast SDK, which it said would make supporting the device even easier for developers. Online streaming video service Vudu has now announced that it too will soon support Chromecast with that SDK.

On its website Sunday, the WalMart-owned company stated that both its Android and iOS apps will soon receive updates that add Chromecast support. The company also adds that streaming will be available through Chrome on Windows and Mac, although that has been available since day one.

There are no details available as to when we can expect the Android and iOS Vudu apps to be updated, although we can’t imagine it taking too long. Rdio and Beats Music are also expected to add Chromecast support soon, so it’s clear that the SDK is going to help beef up the app selection significantly.

Mercedes-Benz says Android support coming when Google brings in-car system to market

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Back in January Google announced a new Open Automotive Alliance that would see the company work with automakers to bring Android-based entertainment systems to vehicles. We’ve seen hints of those partnerships start to trickle out and the latest comes from Mercedes. Following a job listing from Mercedes last week looking for a software engineer to work on a “Google Projected Mode” that would integrate content from Android devices into an in-car system, the company has once again mentioned using Android in a press release today.

While announcing that Apple’s just announced CarPlay feature for iOS would be demoed on a new Mercedes-Benz C-Class at the Geneva Motor Show, the company also said it would offer Android support as “as soon as Google brings its own in-car infotainment system to market.” Read more

Samsung’s new Chromebook 2s feature HD displays and faux leather stitching of Galaxy line

Chromebook2-13_013_Dynamic_Titanium Gray

Samsung’s new Chromebooks leaked a little bit last week and again over the weekend, but now they are official.  The biggest upgrades include the form factor featuring the faux leather stitching made famous by its Galaxy Note 3 and a new 1080P 13-inch display on the higher end $399 model. Both still use Exynos 5 Octocore processors that lack a little bit of the oomph of Haswell Intel processors, but they compete very well in battery life (8.5-9 hours claimed by Samsung). These machines also have wake times of less than one second and cold boots in less than ten.

Another prime area of improvement is the Hangouts video chat experience enhance by a 720P front side camera paired with improved mic and 2x 2W speakers. Read more

Samsung Galaxy S5 to come with suite of “Galaxy Gifts” worth more than $500

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After unveiling the first ad for its Galaxy S5 flagship last, and briefly breaking Twitter with a selfie, Samsung has just announced a suite of premium app deals for Galaxy S5 customers.  The app suite will come bundled for free with Galaxy S5 purchases and includes a variety of premium services, subscriptions, and apps for free.

Evernote, Bitcasa, and LinkedIn are all offering 3 months of their premium services for free to Galaxy S5 customers. Bloomberg is offering a free yearlong subscription to Businessweek, while the Wall Street Journal is giving customers a 6 month subscription for free. Previous Galaxy devices offered free DropBox storage this time around, however, users will get 50GB of storage on Box for 6 months.

The full breakdown of offerings is below:

  • Run Keeper – 1 year free premium service ($20 value)
  • Lark – 1 year premium service ($36 value)
  • Skimble – 6 months free premium service ($42 value)
  • Map My Fitness – 6 months free premium service ($36 value)
  • Wall Street Journal – Free 6 month subscription to Wall Street Journal ($160 value)
  • Bloomberg Businessweek + – Free Subscription: 12 Months ($30 value)
  • PayPal – Enjoy special offers (totaling $50 or more in value) from your favorite stores when you pay with PayPal
  • LinkedIn – Free LinkedIn Premium account for 3 months ($75 value)
  • EasilyDo Pro – Free app purchase ($5 value)
  • Blurb – Free $5 Coupon ($5 value)
  • Cut the Rope 2 – $10 in-game credits ($10 value)
  • Flick Dat – Free download of $2 paid app ($2 value)
  • Box – Free 50 GB for 6 months ($60 value)
  • Bitcasa – Free Premium Service: 1TB storage for 3 months ($30 value)
  • Evernote – Free Premium Service for 3 months ($15 value)

All of these deals put together total out to more than $500 in savings, which is pretty impressive and certainly makes the Galaxy S5 slightly more enticing.

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