More leaked images claim to show Android 4.4 KitKat & Nexus 5

More images that allegedly show Android 4.4 Kit Kat running on a Nexus 5 have leaked today via Italian Android blog TuttoAndroid. First the site posted images of KitKat’s Settings app, which shows a new “Tap & Pay” feature alongside new Location mode settings that include options for High accuracy, Battery saving, and Device sensors modes. The high accuracy mode uses a combination of GPS, WiFi and mobile networks, while the other two offer just WiFi or GPS. The location modes are new, and we’ve seen hints at the NFC payments feature in previous leaks that listed the option as simply “Payments”.

Moving onto the shots of KitKat, many line up with several other leaks we’ve seen in the past including the transparent status bar on the lockscreen. The images also show a camera icon on the lock screen that can be dragged to launch the camera app in addition to the ability to swipe left to launch the camera like in previous versions of Android. These shots seem to have slightly redesigned icons, and the phone icon looks a little suspect to say the least. The report also goes through a number of other improvements its noticed in Google Now, search and elsewhere throughout Android 4.4, but we’ll have to wait for official details before we know if we are really looking at the next version of Android. Read more

Report: Google TV getting rebranded as “Android TV” for next-generation of devices

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A new report claims that Google’s next generation of Google TV products are being rebranded to “Android TV” to better communicate the company’s vision of bringing the full Android experience into the living room. GigaOM reports that OEMs producing new Google TV products have informed them that Google is officially changing the branding to Android TV for the next round of products hitting the market. While the company has not yet made the branding change official, it has already started using “Android TV” in some instances, while partners are not including “GoogleTV” branding on recently announced products:

Some of Google’s hardware partners have already made the switch. Sony introduced a new smart TV adapter dubbed the Bravia TV stick last month. The device is based on the most recent version of Google TV, but Sony’s announcement didn’t mention that fact once… Even members of the original Google TV team have started to drop that name when talking about their work. A recently-scheduled developer event in Seoul was officially called “Android TV Developer Day,” and some developers have started to change affiliations in their online biographies from “Google TV” to “Android TV.”

Back in July when Google officially unveiled its new $35 HDMI streaming device called Chromecast, the company’s Android & Chrome chief Sundar Pichai made things clear that Google TV wasn’t going anywhere. At the time, Pichai noted that the company would continue to release Google TV products through its partners and hinted that the product would focus on bringing a full Android experience into the living room, something that Google TV has fallen short of thus far. There are third-party companies producing set-top box products that run a full version of Android in comparison to the scaled back feature set of official Google TV products currently on the market, but these products have failed to gain much traction among set-top box competitors.

The report adds that an official update to Android 4.2 for Google TV devices currently on the market could arrive as soon as this month: Read more

Twitter launches tablet-optimized app, available first on latest Samsung 10.1 tablet

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Twitter has finally launched a version of its official Android client that is fully-optimized for the larger displays on tablets. The app has a multi-screen view for scrolling through tweets while reading links in an accompanying browser.

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The app also brings a new Android home screen widget and illustrating of images that are to be shared via Twitter. Interestingly, the app is launching first on the Samsung 10.1-2014 tablet, with launches on other Android tablets to come in the future.

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Review & Giveaway: Dropcam Pro Wi-Fi video monitoring with mobile access and cloud recording

Dropcam has been around since 2009, but only truly became a player in the app-enabled home security space early last year with the release of the Dropcam HD Wi-Fi video monitoring system. It separated itself from the normal cast of IP video cameras by offering an insanely easy setup process, beautiful software, and effortless mobile device integration (iOS/Android). These wireless cameras have become so popular that Dropcam is now processing more video than YouTube on a daily basis.

Building on the success of the Dropcam HD, the San Francisco-based startup is now launching the Dropcam Pro. It will not be replacing the HD, but rather joining it as ‘step-up’ version for users who want to get the absolute most out of their video monitoring setup. The Dropcam HD will now be known simply as “Dropcam.” We had the opportunity to spend an entire week with the Dropcam Pro. Keep reading to find out if it lives up to the high expectations set by its predecessor.

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LG officially announces the 5.5-inch ‘LG G Pro Lite’ w/ Dual SIM & stylus

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Some details about a new mid-level smartphone from LG have been leaking in recent weeks, and today the company has officially announced the new “LG G Pro Lite”. Based off the company’s last generation flagship, the LG Optimus G, the company is including similar specs in the LG G Pro Lite including a large 5.5-inch display and 3,140mAh battery, but is also scaling back on some specs presumably to offer the device for much less than its flagships. It also offers Dual SIM functionality with a dedicated hotkey and a stylus:

In addition to its large IPS display, LG G Pro Lite features an equally large 3,140mAh battery, embedded Stylus Pen, stereo speakers and Dual SIM with a dedicated Hot Key. The phone is also designed with an ultra-narrow bezel for an incredible edge-to-edge viewing experience, slim design for optimal one-hand grip and convenient UX features shared with LG’s other premium G Series smartphones.

Specs for the device include a 1.0 GHz Dual Core processor, a 5.5-inch 960 x 540 display, 1GB of RAM, 3G, an 8 megapixel main camera and 1.2 megapixel front-facing cam, Bluetooth 3.0, and Android 4.1.2.

LG is also bundling all the software features that became available with its new flagship LG G2 including KnockON for waking the display with a double tap, Quick Memo, QTranslator and more: Read more

Acer ups the ante with Haswell-powered Chromebook for $249 – but only pre-order for now

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Just a day after Google announced a new HP-made ARM-powered Chromebook for $279, Acer has upped the ante with a Haswell-powered one for $249.

The Acer C720 offers the same 1366×768 resolution screen as the HP. The Acer screen is anti-glare, which offers easier viewing when used outside at the expense of slightly poorer contrast. The machine has 4GB RAM against the 2GB of the HP, and the Haswell processor gives it a claimed 8.5 hours battery life, against 6 hours for the HP …  Read more

Archos officially announces GamePad 2, coming to the US in Q4 for $200

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Archos has just announced the successor to its GamePad portable gaming device, originally released last Winter. The GamePad 2 improves on original in about every way possible and is better suited to handle modern games. The device features a 7-inch, 1280 x 800 IPS display and a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor paired with 2GB of RAM. Archos also touts that it has improved the control sensitivity in the GamePad 2, as well as the battery life.

The GamePad 2 will come pre-loaded with both Asphalt 8: Airborne and Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour.  The device will be available in two storage capacities: 8GB and 16GB, and will have a microSD card slot that supports up to 64GB of more storage, as well as apps2SD to allow you to save games to the card.

“Following the success of the GamePad 1, we knew that we could take the gaming-tablet concept further. With our GamePad 2 we have included an HD  screen, better controls, a larger battery and a faster processor,” said Loic Poirier ARCHOS CEO, “We’re excited to be working with a leading games company like Gameloft to pre-install two visually stunning titles for an amazing gaming experience.”

The GamePad 2 will be available in Europe by the end of October for €180 and will come to the United States for $200 sometime in Q4. Check out our hands-on with the original GamePad after the break: Read more

Sense 5.5 screenshots leak, show new camera modes, toggle to turn off BlinkFeed

image_1-2One of the biggest changes HTC introduced with its Sense 5.0 software was BlinkFeed, which the company touted as a “personal live stream right on the home screen.” The feature was either loved or hated by many customers and reviewers, and it looks like HTC will be accommodating those who hate it with the upcoming Sense 5.5 update. Android Revolution HD has gotten ahold of several supposed screenshots of HTC’s Sense 5.5 update and if they are to be believed, there will now be a toggle on the homescreen to turn BlinkFeed on or off.

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Also believed to be coming in Sense 5.5 are some new camera features. The leaked screenshots show two new shooting modes: Panorama+ and Dual Capture. It’s not entirely clear what these two modes will offer, but I imagine that Dual Capture will allow you to take pictures with the front and rear facing shooters at the same time, similar to what Samsung already offers.

Aside from those changes, Sense 5.5 doesn’t appear to be all that different from 5.0, with the task switcher showing bigger preview windows and some new emojis being available.

HTC is expected to release the HTC One Max next week, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sense 5.5 come along with it.  Read more

T-Mobile unveils global data coverage in 100 countries at no extra charge

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T-Mobile unveiled a new offering that will provide global data coverage allowing users to access their data plan in over 100 countries at no extra charge (via Engadget). CEO John Legere has been hinting at the announcement on his Twitter account in recent days: “Today is the day! The day we change the way the world uses their phones!”

This new plan will allow Simple Choice customers to get unlimited 2G data and texting in supported Simple Global countries. Voice calls on the plan cost $.20 per minute for in-country calls. There are no extra fees for this service, as it is included in all Simple Choice plans automatically.

The “un-carrier” also announced a few other changes to its plans, including a new international talk and text option from the US to all other Simple Global countries. That will cost an additional $10/month and include $.20/minute voice calls and unlimited texting. Adding this option to your plan will also enable unlimited calling to landlines in over 70 Simple Global countries for free.

Finally, T-Mobile announced that its 4G LTE network is available nationwide and reaches over 200 million potential customers.

Google Maps adds directions for multiple destinations, upcoming events, & flight, hotel & restaurant reservations

Google announced today on its Google Maps blog that it’s rolling out a few new features for the new Google Maps preview based on feedback from users. Perhaps the most notable of the new features is the ability to get directions for routes with multiple destinations:

Whether you’re running weekend errands or planning a cross-country tour, you can plot multiple destinations for your trip with ease – now available for driving, walking and biking directions. Once you’ve chosen a starting point, click ‘+’ and add stops to your route by typing in the search box or clicking on the map… When you’re exploring a new city, find the best way to museums, historic squares, and other attractions by dragging and dropping your destinations in the order that works for you. And if you’re curious before you go, the Views carousel, located in the bottom right corner, is a great way to preview Street View, Photo Tours, and other imagery.

The update also brings flight, hotel and restaurant reservation data right into search within Maps much the same way that Google Search displays similar results from Gmail, Google Calendar and elsewhere. In addition, Maps will now being showing upcoming events: Read more

Samsung announces the Galaxy Round, the first curved smartphone in the world

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Samsung has just officially announced the world’s first curved-display smartphone, dubbed the Galaxy Round. We first saw photos of the Round earlier today from smartphone leaker @evleaks. The phone will only be available in Korea and will only come in one color, “Luxury Brown”—at least for now. If and when the phone will make its way to the United States and other markets is still unknown, though we expect that it will eventually make the transition.

The Round sports an impressive array of hardware features, including a massive 5.7″ Full HD Super Flexible AMOLED display; 3 GB of RAM; 2,800mAh battery; 13 MP camera; all of the latest LTE, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi connectivity; and a 2.3 GHz processor.

The full hardware specs can be found below the break, along with additional photos of the device.

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