Samsung announces new Galaxy Player 5.8 ahead of IFA

Ahead of IFA beginning later this week, South Korean-based Samsung announced a new personal media player for its line of 3.6-inch, 4-inch, 4.2-inch, and 5.0-inchers. In a press release this morning, Samsung unveiled the new Galaxy Player 5.8 that rocks a humongous 5.8-inch display with a resolution of 960-by-540 LCD. The company has not given any details on launch or pricing, but it told us the device also packs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Samsung’s infamous TouchWiz UI, a 16GB or 32GB storage option, microSD slot, front VGA camera for video conferencing, and modest 2,500mAh battery.

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Teens flock to YouTube for music consumption over iTunes and other mediums

The majority of American teens prefer YouTube to iTunes, radio, online radio, and CDs when it comes to finding and listening to music.

Approximately two-thirds of 18-and-younger U.S. teenagers, according to a “Music 360″ survey from research firm Nielsen (via The Wall Street Journal), claimed they sidestepped other music-listening mediums for Google’s video-sharing platform.

YouTube snagged 64 percent of 13-to-17 year olds, while radio came in second at 56 percent. iTunes held 54 percent, with CDs and Pandora rounding the top five at 50- and- 35 percent respectively.

The Wall Street Journal noted young folks regard YouTube as a “de facto free music service,” but adults do not take full advantage of the site’s complimentary content. The survey showed 67 percent of them actually preferred radio for music consumption, but another 61 percent still gave CDs a whirl. Meanwhile, YouTube stole 44 percent, Pandora landed the No. 4 spot at 32 percent, and iTunes sat at fifth with 29 percent.

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Hulu Plus hack makes Android app Samsung Epic Touch 4G-compatible (as well as other unsupported phones)

Hacker “ReActiveDisorder” posted, well, a hack on the XDADevelopers forum recently that allows the Hulu Plus app to work with the Samsung Epic Touch 4G without a root.

“I have a Hulu membership and was angry cause our device wasnt “Compatible”. Talk about a total rip off. So I modded the apk to work with our device. It is 100% Fully functioning. I hope to contribute more later down the road. Maybe an ICS Rom ;-),” explained ReActiveDisorder on the forum.

Directions:
1. Download the Modded APK at http://db.tt/sq1AjQQu 
2. Sideload APK—it installs like other non-market apps.
3. Sign into Hulu Plus (membership required).

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Hands-on with Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 – from an iOS devotee

I am an Apple devotee, through and through, so much so that I have not even bothered to look elsewhere to satisfy my tech-junkie needs—and yes, that means I have never played with an Android device in my entire life.

Enter the Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6. This Gingerbread-powered media player landed in my lap earlier this week and taunted something more. Unfortunately, due to my inexperience with Android devices, I am left to compare this offering to the next best thing in my mind: the fourth-generation iPod Touch. This should not be a problem, however, as both devices compete in the same product category.

Galaxy Players 4.0 and 5.0 released in 2011 for $229 and $269, respectively, and this week the South Korean-based firm added to the PMP lineup with its Galaxy Player 3.6 for about $100 less at $150. The price is definitely more attractive, but are users just getting what they paid for? Read more to find out.

A gallery of images is below.

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Another Siri clone hits the Android market

We have seen Siri clones in the Android Market trying to pass themselves off as the real thing, and some Siri alternatives making their way to the Windows Phone Marketplace. Evi, on the other hand, might actually be the first true Siri competitor/alternative for Android and non-iPhone 4S iOS users.

Available on the App Store for 99 cents and free to Android users on the Android Market, Evi is the work of True Knowledge and its “core semantic search technology” better known as The True Knowledge Answer Engine. The 99-cent price tag on iOS is apparently to cover the cost of using Nuance voice recognition (the same voice recognition tech as Siri), which is not used in the Android version.

The app’s iTunes page explained Evi is capable of returning local data for the United Kingdom (along with the United States), which has been a complaint from U.K. Siri users since the iPhone 4S launch. According to TechCrunch, the app uses “an ontology of tens of thousands of classes into which” every possible user command can be recognized. True Knowledge said the app contains “almost a billion ‘facts’ (machine understandable bits of knowledge)” with the ability to infer trillions if necessary. It also reportedly uses all the expected sources, such as local results from Yelp, third-party websites, traditional web searches, and APIs.

While as of yet Evi is incapable of integrating with Calendar and Reminders like Siri, TechCrunch pointed out it sometimes provides more accurate and useful results for certain types of questions. Siri requests to search the web for an answer when users ask certain questions, such as “How do I make apple pie?” Evi, however, would provide a list of recipes with relevant links to that specific question. TechCrunch highlighted another example where Evi excels:

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Airtight brings Airplay support to GoogleTV, minus mirroring, DRM, and music

A new application in the Android Market available for GoogleTVs running 3.0 and up will allow users to stream content from the iPad or iPhone using Airplay, Apple’s wireless streaming feature built into iOS.

After downloading the 99-cent app called “Airtight” to Google TV, users will be able to stream videos and pictures by selecting a device from within the Airplay UI on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch (pictured above). Unfortunately, mirroring, DRM protected video, and music is not supported. Users will of course need the latest Google TV update to access the Android Market.

Apple has nothing to do with the app, and the developers said they are looking into methods of including music and the rest of Airplay’s functionality in a future update. We will keep you posted.

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Samsung Galaxy Player 5 review: the first real Android iPod touch

The Samsung Galaxy 5 player is probably exactly what you think it is: a big-ass Galaxy S phone without the “phone part”.  That is, it doesn’t have a 3G radio for voice and data, instead relying on Wifi to connect to the Internet.  If you are like me, however, you spend 90+ percent of your day around Wifi and during that 90% of the time, it is as good as any 3G or 4G mobile device – the reviewers agree.

As you’d expect, the screen is huge, especially compared to typical phones.  I have a white one and it looks like a comically large white iPhone 3G from afar.  The screen also has the standard Samsung 480×800 pixel count, though with the larger screen the fonts aren’t as crisp as a 4-incher.  Having gotten my hands on the Samsung Galaxy Note and Galaxy Nexus, I can tell you that this screen isn’t even close to as crisp.  But that doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful, especially for playing Netflix or Youtube content.

This is generally the first Android device that goes up against Apple’s iPod Touch franchise and I believe it does have some compelling differentiators, besides the much larger, but not “Retina crisp” display.  I’ll break these down below:

  1. The 3MP backside Camera is actually good for taking pictures. If you’ve tried to take a picture with the iPod Touch’s backside camera, you know it is barely passable.  Samsung’s on the other hand takes decent pictures – think iPhone 3GS-type quality.  It also has a Flash for those times you are in the dark and want to cast a flashlight type shadow on your subject.
  2. Removable Storage: The Galaxy Player has a Micro SD card slot that instantly bumps your Player capacity up to 40GB with $40 worth of card. With an iPod, that costs $100.  It’s also nice for quickly moving storage around.
  3. Sound: The Galaxy Player stereo speakers blows away the iPod touch mono.  To make matters better/worse, Samsung includes a very nice pair of in-ear headphones with the Player, while Apple’s White earbuds are…what they are.
  4. FM Radio: The Galaxy Player has an FM Radio which is nice when you run out of Wifi.  FM Radio is also helpful if there is an emergency but it only annoyingly works with headphones in.
  5. GPS: If you are navigating off of a 3G hotspot or some cached maps, you’ll get a way better location than with just Wifi triangulation.
  6. Google Voice plus Skype (or other VoIP app) turns this into a great phone.  Samsung left the mic and sfrom speaker in the right spots so it makes a fantastic, if not a little large, phone.
  7. Price. Street Price of $199 and $239 for the 4 inch screen and 5 inch screen Player varieties respectively compare well to Apple’s iPods.  When considering bumping up to larger capacities is just a MicroSD card away, it is that much more compelling an offer. Read more

Google+ iOS app updated with full resolution photo uploads, search, and photo +1s

Google has just pushed out an update to the Google+ iOS app compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, bringing it up to version 1.0.7.2940 and introducing a few new features including full resolution photo uploads, search, and photo +1. Also included are the usual bug fixes and performance enhancements. As always, you can grab the update from the App Store now or download the free app if you haven’t already.
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Samsung Galaxy Player 4 and Galaxy Player 5 available today

Now available on Amazon, Samsung’s personal media players the Galaxy Player 4 and Galaxy Player 5 have hit the U.S. The Galaxy Player 4 rocks a 4-inch screen and is available for $229, while the Galaxy Player 5 rocks a 5-inch screen and is available for $269. Both devices are sure to make the perfect Android alternative to the iPod touch. The devices don’t come with a microSD card however, so you better be sure to pick one of those up too.

Check it out!

Google releases “Photovine” for iPhone, a photo-centric social network app

Google’s photo-sharing social network Photovine (previously invitation-only) is fresh out of beta, open to all users, and ready to install to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch as an iOS app.

Photovine is a fun way to learn more about your friends, meet new people, and share your world like never before. It all starts with what we call a photovine: a group of photos around a single, shared caption. Start a new vine with a photo and caption of your own or add your photo/take on someone else’s vine.

Many are comparing the service to Instagram, or a photo-centric version of Twitter. Some are also pointing out it looks quite similar to Piictu. Essentially, users upload photos that can then be grouped thematically to create what is known as a “vine”. While you can follow other users and receive their content directly in a personal feed, all images appear to be shared publicly either through your profile or the vine in which the image is included. You then also have the option of sharing individual photos or vines directly to Twitter or Facebook (no Google+ support?).

The application is the work of the Slide team, a social-media start up acquired by Google last year. Its not clear yet how much of a focus Photovine will be for Google, but the Slide team has released a number of apps recently and seem to be getting support from Google to carry on with their projects. As of yet the service only has an iPhone app, but presumably there’s Android support on the way and some type of integration with Google+.
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