Amazon’s Appstore for Android launches in Europe as Kindle Fire sells out claiming 22 percent of US tablet sales

Amazon has a bit of exciting Android-related news today: The mega online retailer announced the launch of its Appstore for Android in Europe and revealed its Android-powered Kindle Fire is currently sold out after gobbling up nearly one-fourth of United States tablet sales.

The Appstore opened in Germany, France, Italy and Spain for access to Android apps. Amazon also opened key features to European customers, such as: localized content and store for each country, popular Amazon benefits like “Free App of the Day, personalized recommendations, and one-click payments.

“Amazon has spent years developing innovative features that help customers find and discover the products that are right for them and have applied that know-how to the Amazon Appstore. We’re delighted to extend that experience to our European customers,” said Vice President of Amazon Appstore Jim Adkins in a press release.

As for the Android-powered Kindle Fire—it is the “most successful product launch in the history of” after capturing 22 percent of tablet sales in the U.S. With that said, Amazon recently announced a press conference for Sept. 6 in Los Angeles. The company typically holds media events for hardware launches, so we expect new Kindles, such as an iPad-sized version, or maybe even an Amazon phone, to come down the pipeline.

“We’re grateful to the millions of customers who have made Kindle Fire the most successful product launch in the history of Amazon,” said Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos in a press release. “Kindle Fire is sold out, but we have an exciting roadmap ahead—we will continue to offer our customers the best hardware, the best prices, the best customer service, the best cross-platform interoperability, and the best content ecosystem.”

The Kindle Fire debuted less than one year ago with a huge catalog of multimedia content including 22 million movies, games, books and more.

Check out the full press releases below.

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Google Search update brings movie listings, public alerts and more to Google Now

In an update this evening for the Google Search for Android app, the folks in Mountain View included some goodies for the Jelly Bean-exclusive Google Now. Users can now see movie showtimes, receive important emergency alerts (storm warnings, etc.), and set their favorite sports teams from a list of 140 to get the latest scores thanks to the latest update. Furthermore, if you are a Korean user, you will be happy to learn that the oh-so creepy voice-search platform has received an update for your language. Go check out the new cards and report back! (Note: Some of them will need to be manually turned on through the settings menu.) [Google Play via +Android]

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Your Samsung Mobile Unpacked complete coverage: Galaxy Note II, Galaxy Camera and more!

Samsung took the stage at its Unpacked event this evening to kick off the annual IFA taking place this week in Berlin. During the event, Samsung unveiled its all-new Galaxy Note successor: the Galaxy Note II. Furthermore, the South Korean-based company brought a new product into its line-up:  the Galaxy Camera. We broke the news of the new devices a few minutes before the event started; however, it was definitely interesting to hear Samsung talk strategy and products on stage.

We compiled a gallery below with complete coverage of what happened during the event. Give it a look and tell us if you are satisfied with Samsung’s latest offerings as we gear into the fall. Check out our time with both devices earlier this afternoon and then zoom quickly below the break for the event in photos:

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Google looks to sell Motorola’s set-top box business for as much as $2B

It was rumored earlier this year that Google looked to sell Motorola’s set-top box and television equipment business. Google is continuing its plans to sell, as Bloomberg reported this afternoon. The Mountain View-based company has hired firm Barclays to look for buyers. Google is said to be looking for up to $2 billion in the deal, but the sale is in its very early stages so the exact terms are not clear.

Since Google and Motorola’s $12.5 billion deal went official this summer, Motorola has gone through several changes company-wide. The most notable change was when up to 4,000 employees were laid off…on top of 30 of Motorola’s 90 facilities worldwide being shut down. Furthermore, there have been several executive changes as the company looks to get back into creating some serious mobile devices. Selling off their television business may help them reach that goal with extra cash in hand. [BloombergRead more

Samsung’s Galaxy Camera unveiled: Everything you love about Android in a point-and-shoot camera (hands-on!)

With Nikon and Polaroid getting ready to launch their Android-powered cameras as early as September, Samsung officially unveiled its entrance into the market today in Berlin with its first dedicated point-and-shoot running Android. While recent rumors pointed to the possibility of a device with specs close to those announced for Nikon’s Coolpix S800c, Samsung unveiled a 4.8-inch device with specs closer to its own Galaxy S III.

We were able to get some hands-on time with the device and were quite impressed…to say the least. Put simply, the Galaxy Camera is everything you love about an Android device in a quality point-and-shoot camera (minus voice calling). It includes full Google Play access, Wi-Fi/3G/4G (HSPA+), and voice control on a full-sized display like the Galaxy S III.

More specs below and hands-on BELOW:

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Samsung unveils bigger and better 5.5.-inch Galaxy Note 2 with Jelly Bean and redesigned S Pen

Samsung officially took the wraps off its next-generation Galaxy Note today with the introduction of a bigger-and-faster Galaxy Note 2. While it is not a huge departure from the previous generation, the new device packs a larger 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED display while introducing an even slimmer frame at just 9.4mm.

While the majority of Samsung’s presentation focused on the new redesigned S Pen and features, it also made a point of explaining its goals for the device. Samsung said its device included three emerging customer desires: Better & Faster Discovery, Advanced Multitasking, and Free Capture & Expression.

To meet goals for the Galaxy Note 2, Samsung introduced a number of new features mainly geared to faster multitasking and creative expression using a new, longer S Pen that sports a better grip and rubber tip. On top of being greeted with a contextual page for performing multiple tasks upon pulling out the S Pen, it now includes a previewing tool called “Air View” that is accessible in many apps. So, when hovering over videos from your videos app or photos from the redesigned gallery app with the S Pen, a preview will now pop up within the same window. The feature is further useful for visually searching a scene within a video without stopping or losing your place.

One other interesting new S Pen feature allows you to quickly enter a command using the S Pen. Holding the Pen’s button and drawing a line up activates the feature and provides a new dialog where you can jot down, for instance, “@Jason”. This could then open the email app with your contact details for Jason preloaded.

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Sony adds ICS-powered Xperia T, Xperia V and Xperia J smartphones and Xperia Tablet S to its lineup [Photos]

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Sony Mobile Communications just unveiled a new range of Xperia smartphones and its first Xperia tablet at IFA in Berlin.

“This year’s IFA marks an important milestone for Sony and Sony Mobile Communications. Xperia smartphones are at the heart of Sony’s mobile strategy of delivering a consistent user experience across devices, enabling consumers to easily and quickly access the world of entertainment that Sony delivers,” announced Sony Mobile President and CEO Kunimasa Suzuki in a press release.

The Xperia Tablet S is set to release Sept. 7, and the Xperia T will also launch globally over the next few weeks, where as the Xperia V and Xperia J will launch globally in Q4 2012. Pricing details are not available at this time.

Check out the devices below.

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Nielsen: Google dominates Mobile Maps…for now


According to the latest Nielsen survey, Google is dominating the Travel Mobile Apps usage space, which in turn represents 95 percent of travel smartphone usage (the other 5 percent being mobile web usage—which Google also dominates). The numbers below show Google’s Maps app on both Android and iOS (to be clear the Maps app on iOS is built by Apple and pre-iOS 6 uses Google’s map tiles).

It will be interesting to see what happens to this data when Apple’s iOS6 goes final next month and all of those iOS users use Apple’s maps by default. I anticipate a major slide unless Google presents a compelling Maps application for iOS that keeps Apple users coming back for more. Read more

Google bulks Google+ for businesses, launches ‘full preview mode’ for Google Apps with bevy of features

Google started giving Google Apps users access to Google+ in October, and the company added to its initiative today by publicly launching Google+ for enterprise uses with a set of new business-focused social features.

According to a post by Google Apps Product Management Director Clay Bavor on the Google Enterprise Blog, the features include restricted sharing options, Hangouts integrated into Gmail, Calendar, Docs and other Google services, and administrative controls:

So today we’re launching an initial set of Google+ features designed specifically for businesses, and we’re excited to move into a full preview mode for Apps customers. During this preview period, organizations that have gone Google will be able to use the business features of Google+ for free through the end of 2013 while we continue to add more features and administrative controls designed for organizations.

For the past few months, pilot customers like Kaplan and Banshee Wines have been using Google+ to help employees engage and connect with each other. We’ve worked hard to incorporate early feedback from pilot customers into our plans, and we’re thrilled to begin offering Google+ features tailored to organizations.

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Archos unveils 7-inch GamePad with ICS, physical controls and full Google Play access [Photo]

Archos took advantage of Ice Cream Sandwich’s native support for physical gaming controls and developed a 7-inch touchscreen handheld called “the GamePad”.

According to a press release (PDF), the specs include:

The GamePad features a 7-inch, capacitive screen, physical control buttons and analog sticks. This Google certified tablet has full access to Google PlayTM for the tens of thousands of games available, runs a dual-core processor @ 1.5 GHz combined with a Mali 400mp quad-core GPU. In addition, the GamePad includes automatic game recognition and mapping tools – patented technology to ensure control compatibility with every advanced Android game.

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Samsung announces high-speed SD and microSD memory cards with up to 64GB of storage at IFA 2012

Getting the show started at IFA 2012, Samsung announced before its event later this evening new SD and microSD cards complete with some serious speeds. There are several versions available, ranging in different speeds, from 16GB of storage all the way up to a hefty 64GB card that can pack 80MB/40MB per second on the SD version and 70MB/20MB per second on the microSD version. The new cards will be available mid-October. You can check out the complete graph explaining the different speeds and sizes, below: Read more