Android Market is now Google Play

Google announced it rebranded Android Market to “Google Play” today as a cloud-based digital entertainment destination.

“Starting today, Android Market, Google Music and the Google eBookstore will become part of Google Play,” explained Director of Digital Content Jamie Rosenberg on the Official Google Blog.

Google Play lets users find, enjoy and share content, such as music, movies, books and apps, on the web and on an Android smartphone or tablet. Moreover, the cloud service stores all of the content online. Google Play allots free storage for up to 20,000 songs, and it has downloads for more than 450,000 Android apps, eBooks browsing, and rent options for thousands of movies, HD titles, and new releases.

The integrated destination replaces and extends Android Market as an attempt to create a stronger brand with enticing offerings and slicked purchasing for an all-around better experience that will “drive traffic and revenue for the entire ecosystem,” according to Kenneth Lui on the Android Developer’s Blog.

More information is available below.
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Google’s taking a nap: Not one buyout in four months despite 79 acquisitions in 2011

Google must be napping to reenergize for its upcoming Motorola Mobility acquisition, because it has not completed a single buyout in 2012 despite purchasing 79 companies last year.

Google filed its 10-K with the SEC in January that revealed the Mountain View, Calif.-based search engine spent $1.9 billion (including stock and cash) on 79 acquisitions in 2011. The more notable purchases were ITA Software for $676 million, and Apture, Katango, and Clever Sense. That means the Internet giant bought six to seven companies a month in 2011. In contrast, it obtained four companies a month in 2010 for a total 48 acquisitions worth $1 billion.

With that said, Google has not picked up a single company since Dec. 13, 2011—roughly four months since its last investment. If judging Google’s spending habits over the last two years, the firm should have already completed 16 to 28 buyouts in 2012 to bulk its portfolio of interests. The company still has time to flash its money, though, as it grabbed roughly 25 of those 2011 acquisitions after the year’s third quarter.

More information is available below.

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Previously-searched places now available on Android, iPhone

Google rolled out a handy new feature yesterday to its mobile search page on Android and iPhone smartphones that provides access to the list of past places-related search queries. According to a post over at the official Google Mobile blog, the new Recent icon “shows information about places you have recently searched for on any of your devices.” You must be logged in to your Google Account when searching for places (such as the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco). Web History must also be enabled. Users can swipe to the right to see more icons for other categories of places.

Next time you are heading to a place you have recently searched for, no need to worry if you can’t remember the address or phone number. Just go to Google.com on your smartphone and tap on the “Recent” icon.

This improvement also allows you to research places of interest on your desktop and view them later while on the go— without having to bookmark or email places’ URLs to yourself. One thing to keep in mind: This information about your previously searched places will be available under the Recent icon for about a day, Google said. This handy new feature is the first in a series of enhancements aimed at unifying search experience across devices.

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Samsung unveils Galaxy Pocket smartphone

Samsung today announced its latest addition to the Galaxy device lineup, the Galaxy Pocket smartphone seen on the right. As the name suggests, this Android 2.3 Gingerbread device easily fits into your pocket as it is just 12mm thin and weighs only 97 grams.

The diminutive phone packs a 2.8-inch QVGA 240-by-320 pixel resolution display, 832MHz processor, 3GB user memory (expandable to 32 gigs via MicroSD cards), built-in FM radio, and runs Samsung’s upgraded TouchWiz user interface. On the connectivity front, the Galaxy Pocket supports Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi wireless networks, and 3G HSDPA 3.6Mbps cellular networks.

The included social features cover Samsung’s Social Hub and the downloadable ChatON cross-platform communication service. The Galaxy Pocket will be available in Italy starting from March and will gradually roll out to Europe, CIS, Latin America, Southeast and Southwest Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and China. No price points, model numbers, or United States availability information were released at press time.

Spec sheet is above the fold.

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Ice Cream Sandwich rises to 1.6-percent of active devices, Android app size limit raised to 4GB

According to latest data released on the official Android blog, Android 2.3 Gingerbread and the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich both gained during a 14-day period ending March 5, 2012. Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest and greatest Android version found on the Galaxy Nexus device, is rising slowly. Although, its growth remains hindered by both limited availability of the announced ICS devices and slow roll out of ICS updates to existing devices. It is worth noting that the numbers represent only active Android devices that accessed Android Market in the past 14 days.

Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) powered 1.6-percent of all active devices in the past 14 days, a 0.5-percent increase. Gingerbread (Android 2.3) also grew to 62 percent, up from 58.6-percent in February, which likely due to a greater number of inexpensive and entry-level Gingerbread handsets hitting the market. Froyo (Android 2.2.) still accounts for one-quarter of all active devices. Éclair (Android 2.1) fell to 6.6-percent, and Donut (Android 1.6) and Cupcake (Android 1.5) together accounted for 1.2-percent of active devices.

Google also said in a blog post that Android apps could now be larger than 50 megabytes in size.

More information is below.

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Judge orders Google, Motorola to reveal Android data to Apple

Apple’s latest cunning move in its Holy Crusade against Android involves getting a court order to force Google, the maker of Android software, to produce documents detailing the Android roadmap and its proposed $12.5 billion acquisition of handset maker Motorola Mobility. It was not immediately clear what data Apple was exactly seeking to uncover. This is notable, because Apple is actually going after Google with this request. It is the first direct in the ongoing legal war considering Apple fought Google by proxy in the past.

According to Bloomberg, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner ruled yesterday based on a patent lawsuit Apple filed in 2010 against Motorola that both Motorola and Google must spill relevant information to Apple, as “the Android/Motorola acquisition discovery is highly relevant to Apple’s claims and defenses.” Motorola, of course, opposed the request, offering the following argument.

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Google’s partner Cloud Sherpas merges with GlobalOne to offer international cloud service

Google’s premier apps partner merged with Salesforce.com’s top partner to offer an international cloud service for businesses in the United States and Asia Pacific.

According to a press release, the combined company will also help businesses that use social enterprise Salesforce.com or Google to employ cloud computing.

“The demand for cloud services in Asia-Pacific continues to grow at breakneck speed,” explained GlobnalOne founder and Senior Vice President for Asia-Pacific at Cloud Sherpas John Orrock. “Our cloud consultants in Australia and New Zealand, combined with our newly acquired mobility practice and offshore development capabilities in the Philippines, sets the new Cloud Sherpas apart from other cloud service providers in the region.”

The original Cloud Sherpas, founded in 2008, won GoogleEnterprise’s Partner of the Year in 2011. It is a Premier Google Apps partner. GlobalOne, founded in 2007, is a leading firm that encourages cloud technology. It is a Salesforce.com partner.

“Bringing together a dominant Salesforce.com partner with a leading Google Enterprise partner enables us to provide customers around the globe with a more comprehensive range of enterprise cloud solutions,” contended Cloud Sherpas’ President Douglas Shepard.

More information is available below.

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Android price of entry just fell to $30: Best Buy has contract-free ZTE Score for $29.99

If you still do not own an Android phone and cannot afford one of them high-end superphones, this is one of the best deals we have seen to date. Over at Best Buy, the Muve ZTE Score smartphone from Cricket Wireless can be yours in exchange for only $29.99. How sweet is that? That’s your fully unsubsidized price for a contract-free Android handset—down from its regular $69.99 price point. Keep in mind that $30 is what people pay to AT&T each month for their 3GB smartphone tethering plan.

Just because it is cheap does not mean it is worthless. Quite the contrary, the Muve ZTE Score runs Android 2.3 and has a 3.2-megapixel camera, 3.5-inch HVGA capacitive touchscreen, 4GB microSD card, and a little QWERTY keyboard with that nice clicking feel to it. It also does Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 3G connectivity. It is your most affordable ticket into the Android world, even if you only intend on using it as a machine to run Android apps. Moreover, it is only 4-months-old.

 

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Microsoft bypasses YouTube, goes to Vimeo for Internet Explorer 9 advert

Software giant Microsoft took to video sharing service Vimeo to disseminate its new commercial promoting the Internet Explorer 9 browser. Tentatively named “A More Beautiful Web,” it features a soundtrack by Alex Clare and fast-paced (albeit a tad amateur-looking) MTV style editing. Both treats are not usually associated with neither the Microsoft brand nor the company’s dull television advertising.

While watchable, it does not hold a candle to Google’s memorable Chrome advertising. The 60-second video highlights the browser’s headlining features, such as hardware-assisted canvas rendering, high-definition video playback, rich web apps like Chillingo’s “Cut the Rope” game, and more.

Two important observations here:

1. The commercial was a Vimeo exclusive at post time— despite Microsoft’s official presence on YouTube, including the Internet Explorer team’s channel. It is interesting that Microsoft chose to tap a rival video sharing service and not leverage the world’s most popular destination for online video to get the word out. An anti-Google move, cynics might say.

2. Per data from StatCounter (see the chart below), the Windows maker’s possible motivation to bypass YouTube likely includes Internet Explorer’s continuous downward spiral. It has been a trend, not a temporary hiccup. Last summer, Google’s Chrome claimed one-fifth of the worldwide market for browsers and is now No. 2 in some key markets that traditionally favor Microsoft’s product.

Microsoft appeared late to the party and has lost momentum in browser innovation that now almost exclusively belongs to Google and —in small part— to Apple and its Safari browser. If it were not for big businesses’ reluctance to upgrade to a more modern browser, Internet Explorer would already be severely beaten in browser wars.

The writing has been on the wall for quite some time, indeed.

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Google snatches Yahoo’s chief scientist Prabhakar Raghavan as massive Yahoo layoffs loom ahead


Yahoo’s chief scientist Prabhakar Raghavan is taking a job at Google as circulating rumors hint at massive cuts within the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based search engine.

Yahoo validated the departure this morning in a statement to AllThings D:

“Yahoo! thanks Prabhakar Raghavan for his dedication and contributions to Yahoo! for the past 7 years. We wish him well in his next endeavor. Ash Munshi, CTO, will assume leadership for Y! Labs,” announced the company.

More information is below.

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Android Key Lime Pie to follow Jellybean, the deliciousness continues

We know a few things by now. One, Google uses deserts to denote its Android versions and it is going alphabetically through the alphabet through its delicious desert voyage.  Ice Cream Sandwich would naturally be followed by something that begins with J.  That would be Jellybean though Google wouldn’t confirm that.  They did have a big glass enclosure full of Jellybeans at MWC as a tease however.

Moving on to K, you don’t have too many options.  Doing a search for desserts that begin with K yields few usable results:

Key Lime Pie, Kustard, Koen, Kugel, KrumKake

Given the above, the Verge’s tipster isn’t going too far out on a limb saying the winner is “Key Lime Pie”.

Android names moved in points (Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread) up until Honeycomb (3.0) and now Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0). Therefore Jellybean would likely be 5.0 and Key Lime Pie (6.0) if the current trend continues.

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Archos unveils $129 kid-friendly 7-inch ‘Child Pad’ running Android 4.0

French electronics manufacturer Archos announced today a 7-inch Android tablet for kids.

The “Child Pad” features a lightweight design, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich OS, 1GHz processor, and 1GB of RAM. This slate is kid-friendly because children can access the Kids App Store powered by AppsLib. It is essentially a filtered Android Market with 10,000 apps in 14 categories covering games, communication, multimedia, entertainment, books, comics, and sports.

Children will enjoy the user interface due to its brightly colored icons and home screen folders with direct access to apps. The top 28 children’s apps also come pre-loaded, such as Angry Birds Pig Rush and Flight Frenzy…

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