Netflix for Android updated with sleeker UI and other fixes

Netflix for Android was updated to version 1.7.1 this afternoon. The update is welcomed, because it adds a sleeker user-interface and a slew of bug and speed improvements. However, Netflix does not mention what the fixes are exactly. The UI enhancements are said to be specified around the volume controls and fast forward/rewind buttons. Did you download it? Let us know what you are experiencing in the comments below.

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YouTube Live now offers monetization for live events, Wirecast, publishing flow, and instant analytics

YouTube Live Publishing Flow + Analytics

YouTube Live added new features to its live-streaming video platform today to celebrate its first birthday, but the most notable update it the ability to monetize live events.

“You can now monetize your live events with advertising or paid options. A live event can be claimed in the new video manager like any other video and monetized with instream ads or paid options where you can set price by country,” explained YouTube Partner Product Manager Varun Talwar on the official YouTube Creator Blog.

Other improvements to the service include Wirecast for YouTube Live and a new publishing flow with real-time analytics.

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Galaxy Nexus LTE signage going up at Sprint stores Sunday, April 15

We know everything there is to know about the Sprint Galaxy Nexus LTE, except for its launch date. According to Phandroid, the launch could be soon, because many Sprint retail stores received sign material to post around their stores. As you can see after the break, the signage is going to be posted in stores this Sunday, April 15.

From the looks of it, the launch of the Sprint Galaxy Nexus cannot be too far off. For those unfamiliar, the Sprint Galaxy Nexus packs two exclusive features: a faster 1.5GHz processor and Google Wallet compatibility. In January, we exclusively brought news that Wallet was left out of the Verizon version at Verizon’s request. This was attributed to Verizon working on its own mobile payment platform.

At any rate, Sprint customers will be able to take advantage of that “Everything Data Plan” for the Galaxy Nexus soon.

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Chrome Beta update makes tabs accessible everywhere, also available on Chrome for Android Beta

A new Chrome Beta update now makes open tab information available on multiple devices in different locations.

In Chrome Beta, when users are logged into Chrome, the tabs open on one device are now accessible on all their devices under the “Other devices” menu on the New Tab page.

“Imagine you’ve looked up directions to a cool new restaurant on your home computer. Later, when you’re leaving work, you realize you can’t quite remember how to get there. If only you could quickly pull up the same directions on your office computer with one click,” explained Software Engineers Nicolas Zea and Patrick Dubroy on the official Google Chrome blog.

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To button or not to button: Samsung reportedly keeps button for upcoming Galaxy 3

Samsung’s Galaxy S III will feature a home button under the display.

South Korea newspaper Korean Digital Daily (translated) added to the rumor machine today with sources that claim the upcoming smartphone will sport Samsung’s accustomed home button, despite much speculation claiming otherwise.

The Galaxy S III will even boast a five-column icon layout showcased in the Samsung Galaxy Note. This would help the device standout from other Android handsets, and the iPhone, which has maintained a four-column icon layout since its initial 2007 launch.

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Google Play Music rolls out experimental Labs features: HTML5 toggle, desktop notifications, and 5-star ratings

You might be familiar with Google Labs from other Google services such as Gmail. The functionality allows users to enable experimental features that have not rolled out as main features of the service. Now, Labs is enabled for Google Play Music allowing you to add new features to the desktop version of the app, some of which were only previously available to iOS users.

One feature that made its way over from the iOS version of its web player is a toggle to switch to HTML5 audio rather than using Flash. You can also now enable Gmail-like desktop notifications that will give you details for the currently playing track including song title, artist name, album title, and album cover. Lastly, a 5-star Ratings lab will replace the current thumbs up and thumbs down features for more specific ratings. You can get all the details here.

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Chrome OS gets visual overhaul with new window manger (photos)

The Chrome OS appeared as simply a full screen Chrome web browser in Chromebooks about a year ago, and now an announcement on the developer channel shows the operating system received its largest visual upgrade yet, which seems to blur the line between OS X and Windows.

Google’s shipped an undisclosed number of Chromebooks that have not exactly created an insatiable buzz, so the Internet giant was due to make the OS more mainstream while still keeping a web-based focus.

The Chrome Releases Blog debuted “Aura” as the new Chrome OS window manager. It gives the platform an actual desktop look, rather than just a web browser, and it adds support for wallpapers, stacked windows, an app launcher akin to Launchpad, and a task manager.

According to Chrome’s engineers, Aura is a cross-platform window manager aimed to provide “a flexible windowing system and shell for Chrome and Chrome OS on a variety of form factors.” The build also features many security and stability improvements.

A screenshot gallery is available below.

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Toshiba announces quad-core 13-inch, 10-inch, 7-inch tablets

For those of you who think a 10-inch tablet is too small, Toshiba just announced a new 13-inch tablet this morning to add to its Excite tablet line. Along with the 13-inch version, Toshiba also introduced smaller 7-inch and 10-inch versions, all set to launch in May and June.

Each version of the tablet features a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor and 1GB of RAM. Toshiba will also ship each version with Ice Cream Sandwich.

Toshiba is set to launch the Excite 10 in May 2012 for $449 for the 16GB model, $529 for the 32GB model, and $649 for the 64GB model. The Excite 7 is launching in June 2012 for $499 for the 16GB model and $579 for the 32GB model. The Excite 13 tablet launches in June for $649.99 for the 32GB model and $749.99 for the 64GB model.

Our own Seth Weintraub played with the 13-inch version at this year’s CES and said he was pretty impressed. What do you think about a 13-inch tablet?

Check out the full press release after the break:

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Amazon Appstore launches in-app purchasing for all devs, matches Apple’s 70-30 revenue split

Amazon is rolling out a new feature to developers distributing apps through the Amazon Appstore for Android that was previously only available to select partners. Starting today, all developers can now use In-App Purchasing features to offer users the ability to buy more content directly through their apps.

Based off Amazon’s one-click purchasing system, the new in-app purchasing features have been in beta for several months with developers including Gameloft, Disney, ZeptoLab, and publishers such as Conde Nast and New York Post. Allowing developers to offer content such as “upgrades, expansion packs, in-game currency” and magazine issues, Amazon appstore’s Director Aaron Rubenson explained to TechCrunch that Amazon will take a 30 percent cut from transactions like Apple and Facebook does. However, Amazon can set pricing, where developers will still receive 30 percent of the list price:

“We’re just following the paradigm that’s out there with the 70-30 split… This is a little bit different from the revenue share that we have for paid app sales. We looked at each purchase case separately.”

Storm8, a developer that was part of the beta, told AllThingsD that the in-app purchasing features generated an extra $700,000 in revenue for its 10 free-to-play apps during March.

As noted by TechCrunch, Amazon doe not seem to be limiting developers to its in-app purchasing technology for non-Kindle devices. In other words, Google’s in-app purchasing tech could be used for Android devices, but Rubenson confirmed only Amazon’s solution would work for Kindle Fire.

You can learn more about the Amazon Appstore developer program here. The full press release from Amazon is below:

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First-ever Google TV Hackathon Weekend starts April 20; Hangout with Google TV execs tomorrow

Google is presenting the first-ever Google TV Hackathon Weekend for television-loving Android geeks later this month.

The Internet giant announced today that it is collaborating with the Silicon Valley Android Developers Group and the London Android Group to host two simultaneous TV Hackathons with the goal of creating new experiences for Google TV.

The SVAndroid Hackathon is taking place at Google TV headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., and tickets are $20, but purchasing options end April 17.

Team ideas will be announced April 20, and the following day is “devoted to building, with breaks for demo sessions, Q&As, and a hangout with Google TV developers,” according to the Official Google TV Blog. The teams will present ideas to judges April 22 for the chance to win tickets to Google I/O and other prizes.

The Londroid Hackathon is occurring at the Google Campus in London, United Kingdom. It will run concurrent with the Mountain View event to gather Android devs throughout Europe.

“We will kick things off bright and early on Saturday, April 21, with introductions and background information on developing for Google TV. Teams will power on through Saturday night so that we can do a round of presentations and prizes at lunchtime on Sunday,” explained Google TV Senior Developer Advocate Paul Carff on the Official Google TV Blog.

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Leaked: Google+ to integrate with Google Analytics for measuring page activity

Leaked slides from a confidential deck show Google+ may soon feature Google Analytics integration.

Dutch website Dutchcowboys found the entire deck with screens showcasing the combined services. According to the slides, users will soon have access to total number of visits with percentage of new visits, page views, average time spent on the site, and the bounce rate for their Google+ pages.

Google+ is a social network operated by Google Inc., and Google Analytics is a free service that generates detailed statistics about the visitors to a website. There is currently no way to measure or view Google+ activity other than self-analyzing +1 social engagement.

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