Google Voice now features calling from Hangouts on the web

google voice hangouts

We reported earlier this year that Google has plans to eventually roll Google Voice’s features into its Hangouts service and retire the former product, and we’re slowly seeing that transition play out now. Google’s Alex Weisen, who works on Google Voice, shared last night in a Google+ post that they’re making calling via Hangouts an option from the Google Voice website. Furthermore, the functionality will not require a Google+ account to work either. The option appears to be live on the Google Voice web interface now. Read more

Sony’s Xperia Z1 successor to offer 4K recording, slo-mo and more

sony

It wasn’t so long ago that buying a camera capable of 4K video recording would set you back well into five figures; today, you can do it on a smartphone. Acer got there first with the Liquid S2, followed by Samsung with the Galaxy Note III. If leaked software obtained by ExperiaBlog is indeed intended for the Xperia D6503 Sirius – codename for Sony’s successor to the Xperia Z1 – Sony will soon be joining the list.

A screengrab of the camera app shows a 4K video button whose description reads ‘Record video in 4K ultra high definition.’ Other camera features shown are slow-motion video (rather strangely labelled ‘Timeshift video’), background defocus (emulating the shallow depth of field of a large-sensor DSLR) and various add-on effects …  Read more

Expect more Chromecast apps soon as Google schedules hackathon

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We haven’t yet seen too many apps that can stream content to Chromecast dongles, but all that is likely to change over the next month or two as Google has scheduled a Chromecast ‘hackathon’ at its Mountain View HQ next month, reports Engadget.

Google has invited several developers including CyanogenMod / AirCast dev Koushik Dutta and Thomas Kjeldsen to a hackathon on December 7th and 8th in Mountain View. An opportunity to test drive the “upcoming release” of the Cast SDK is promised, plus an opportunity to talk with Google engineers about what it can do …  Read more

Cheeky but clever LG phone ads auto-target Samsung, HTC & Apple handsets

samsung

Advertising Age reports on a clever mobile ad campaign by LG, in which browser identifiers are used to display an ad targeted directly at the handset being used.

To promote the brand’s G2 smartphone, [ad agency M&C Saatchi] created a series of banners that recognized — and responded snarkily — to the competitor phones on which they appeared.

In the example above, the ad seen by owners of the Samsung Galaxy S4 promotes the faster processor speed of the LG G2. See the HTC and Apple versions below …  Read more

Google fined in Germany for illegal wifi sniffing, but it’s pocket change

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Google not only escaped criminal prosecution in Germany after its Street View cars were found to be capturing private wifi traffic, but it has now pretty much walked away scott-free as the Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information fined it just €145,000 ($190,000).

The pointless fine (reported by Engadget) could probably be paid with the change found buried in the seats of the Streetview cars … Read more

LG’s 5-inch, 1080p ‘Optimus G Pro’ leaks, as LG announces 1M sales of Optimus G

LG-OptimusG-ProThe image above comes courtesy of Engadget and shows what appears to be some official promo material for the LG’s next Optimus G device, the LG Optimus G Pro. While we don’t get a lot of specs from the image itself, the report passed along rumored specs from BlogofMobile. It claimed the device will sport a 5-inch, 1,920-by-1,080 display, a 3,000-mAh battery, LTE, 32GB of memory, 2GB of RAM, and a 1.7Ghz Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064. Other specs mentioned in the report include a 13-megapixel main camera, 2.4-megapixel front-facing camera, and dimensions of 139-by-70-by-10.1mm. It’s a possibility we’ll hear more about the device at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month.

In related news, Korean news agency Yonhap reported today (via TNW) that the LG Optimus G sold over 1 million units since its launch in September. We’re guessing that doesn’t include the estimated 375,000 units it sold of the Nexus 4, which is essentially the same device. Read more

Google’s thin 11.6-inch ARM based Samsung ChromeBook with 100GB of online space is finally compelling at $249 (Video)

Google just announced some extremely aggressive-priced Samsung Chromebooks starting at $249 at major U.S. retailers:

The new Chromebook is a great computer at any price, but it’s an incredible computer at $249. It’s one of the lightest laptops on the market. You can easily carry it around all day—it’s 2.5 pounds, a mere 0.8 inches thick, with more than 6 hours of battery life for the typical user. And with 100 GB of free storage on Google Drive*, you can get to all of your stuff anytime, anywhere.

Even with its compact design, it’s packed with performance—it boots up in less than 10 seconds and resumes instantly. High-resolution videos (in 1080p) are beautiful to watch and when using the touchpad, you’ll notice smooth scrolling due to a hardware-accelerated user interface. And as you‘d expect from a Chromebook, it’s easy to share with others. Everyone—mom, dad, grandparents, tech lovers, tech haters—can have separate accounts where all of their stuff is kept safe. Finally, if you’re an active Google user of products like Gmail, Drive, Search, Maps, YouTube, Play or Google+ Hangouts, everything just works seamlessly.

The new Chromebook weighs a little less than 2.5 pounds, but it boasts the same 6.5-hour battery life. The screen, however, is 0.5-inches smaller with a 1,366-by-768-pixel resolution. The most notable difference in Google’s thinner Chromebook is the Samsung Exynos 5250 dual-core processor inside, and it features a Cortex-A15 chip that reportedly runs 1080p video and ChromeOS pretty well. GigaOm’s Kevin C. Tofel even noted the overall performance is “comparable to the Intel-powered Chromebook I have, but perhaps a half-step behind; at least in my few hours of using the device.”

This is finally a compelling offer at $249—as long as the hardware is fast. It looks like a base-line MacBook Air (and will surely draw criticism for that) for a quarter of the price. Again, so long as it performs, I don’t think Google will have a problem selling them to its intended audience: grandparents, kids, and as second or third computers for those who are heavy Google service users, and companies that need cheap mobile workstations.

Update: More reviews are starting to come in and unfortunately many are complaining about slowness. Not surprising for a $249 machine but clearly not for power users.

A gallery is below.

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Samsung confirms 4-inch Galaxy S III Mini to be unveiled tomorrow

There were rumors earlier this month that Samsung had a mini, 4-inch version of its flagship Galaxy S III device in the works when the press received invitations to an event including the words “something small will be really big.” According to a report from Engadget, citing a translated Korean news story, Samsung’s Mobile chief JK Shin has confirmed a 4-inch S III is to be unveiled tomorrow in Frankfurt, Germany. Engadget later confirmed with Samsung PR, and the image above comes from MobileGeeks.de (which also provided the specs below). According to Samsung PR, it sounds like the device will indeed have the “Mini” branding:

“we’ll unveil the 4 inch Galaxy S III Mini in Germany on October 11th.” Read more

Google patent filing illustrates Google Glass-like smart watch

Another day, another patent filing. Better yet—another watch patent.

Between the Pebble, Sony, Nike, and even Apple’s spin on the wearable Nano, there are plenty of smart watches going around these days. Google—however—wants to kick it up a notch. A new patent surfaced recently that depicts a Mountain View-branded wristwatch with Google Glass-like capabilities.

The timepiece, according to design filings with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, features a transparent display that doubles as a second screen when flipped up from the base. The displays give access to Google apps, such as Gmail and Maps, and they provide real-time data for directions, notifications, products, etc.

Yes, this also means Google would have another platform for serving up ads. Enter the Google Glass similarities. The patent filing indicated the smart watch could track users’ surroundings, and it would then offer related products, points of interest, information, or practically anything else aggregated and related to the watch’s GPS coordinates.

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HTC One V now available from Virgin Mobile for $199 contract-free

We heard rumors in March that the HTC One V, which unveiled at MWC in Barcelona, would land in the United States on Virgin Mobile in “late spring” for $200. As noted by Engadget, the company has since announced plans to bring the device to a number of carriers this summer. The One V was spotted today on Virgin Mobile for $199, contract-free. We did not get word of an announcement from Virgin, so we are nor sure exactly when the device went up for sale, but it is definitely an enticing option at $200 for Android 4.0 device packing Beats Audio, a 5-megapixel camera, and a 3.7-inch WVGA display.

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Samsung-backed Tizen OS running Android apps thanks to OpenMobile, spotted on Galaxy S II [Video]

In the video above, you are seeing the Tizen operating system. It is an open source project backed by Intel and Samsung, which runs Android apps thanks to a little help from OpenMobile. The video above comes from The Handheld Blog (via GigaOM). Tizen, which Samsung now plans to merge with its Bada platform, just launched version 1.0 this month and it recently received support from Sprint. In the demo video below, we see what might be our first look at the Tizen platform running on an Android device; although, the integration with OpenMobile to run Android apps is not an official feature of the OS yet.

GigaOM suggested Samsung could buy OpenMobile outright to integrate the technology and enable the roughly 400,000 existing Android apps to run on the up-and-coming platform. Go past the break for a the video of Tizen running on a Samsung Galaxy SII HD from the recent Tizen Developer Conference in San Francisco (via Engadget).

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Samsung Galaxy S III leaked in pics and video, just weeks before May 3 unveiling

The Samsung Galaxy SIII is due to unveil May 3 in London, but the widely-anticipated smartphone just made an early appearance through Vietnamese blog Tinhte (original page is down).

The leaked device goes by model number GT-I9300. Pictures and video indicate the mysterious smartphone packs Ice Cream Sandwich OS, a 4.6-inch display at 720-by-1184-pixel resolution, a quad-core 1.4 GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage, an 8-megapixel camera, and a 2,050mAh battery.

More pictures and a video are below.

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