Earlier this week, Google rolled out Panda 4.0 and Pay Day 2.0. These updates to the search algorithm were touted as being designed to further reduce the ranking of low-quality and spammy content. According to analysis by Searchmetrics, Panda and Pay Day did just this, with websites that offer undifferentiated content suffering in terms of overall ranking.
May 23, 2014
We’ve seen its unofficially official specs. We’ve seen its updated UI. We’ve even known about its announcement date (May 27th) for some time now. And now, LG is teasing its upcoming G3 flagship device with three new videos posted this morning to YouTube. The “Design” video below also gives us the best look yet of the device’s metallic-looking back, as the camera slowly pans around it. expand full story
May 22, 2014
Samsung is reportedly developing its own VR headset, a device that will be similar in many ways to the Oculus Rift, for use with its flagship Galaxy smartphones and tablets (via Engadget). This headset is apparently separate from the “Galaxy Glass” project that is slated to be unveiled later this year.
The VR headset is being described as a peripheral, as opposed to a stand-alone product, and will require a connection to a Samsung device in order to function. expand full story
May 21, 2014
Motorola’s contest for designers to win a Moto360 carries with it an unexpected piece of information. Buried within the official documents for the rules and terms of the contest is an ARV — Approximate Retail Value — for the Moto360, stating that Motorola is currently valuing the device at $249. expand full story
Google has made two notable changes to its search algorithm in the past 24 hours, both of which continue Google’s crusade to keep its search results relevant. The 4.0 release of the Google Panda algorithm is intended to make it more difficult for websites with poor quality to rank highly in search results (via SearchEngineLand).
Sony today released Android 4.4 KitKat for some of its Xperia line of devices, including the Z, ZL, ZR, and Tablet Z. The update is rolling out based on location, as well as by carrier, so it may still be some time before you see the update notification on your particular device.
May 20, 2014
There’s leaks, and then there’s this. @evleaks has posted a full, rotating render of the HTC M8 Prime. The Prime is rumored to have updated specs and a larger design in order to better compete with the LG G3, rumored Galaxy S5 Prime, and a larger iPhone later this year. The full render is included after the break. expand full story
May 19, 2014
Tom Wheeler — the Chairman of the FCC, the federal commission currently in the middle of a firestorm surrounding net neutrality — today praised Google for its checklist of requirements for cities to meet that are interested in working with Google to roll out fiber networking.
Google’s checklist includes various measures and decisions that help enable the company to quickly add their fiber services to a city or municipality. Wheeler specifically cites this as something that the FCC should look into, as it effectively cuts through red tape and speeds up deployment of faster service: expand full story
There is a United States federal agency that specializes in collecting and cataloguing scientific research papers of all kinds. The NTIS — National Technical Information Service — will serve up files or paper copies of these records for $25 or $73, respectively. The issue, as pointed out by NPR, is that most of these records are available for free elsewhere, and are easier to find with Google than with the NTIS’ outdated website. And so, ever the enemy of a wasteful budget, Tom Coburn has introduced the Let Me Google That For You Act of 2014 to abolish the NTIS. expand full story
May 16, 2014
LG G3 landscape homescreen leak shows off floating widget, tweaked layout
With less than two weeks left to go until the rumored G3 announcement, we won’t have to wait long until we see the device in all of its glory. However, until then, more details continue to leak.
The latest involves the homescreen in landscape orientation. Since the device is expected to have a 5.5″ display, the screen will be closer to that of smaller tablets than that of a small phone. As such, it appears that LG will have certain features reserved for the display when it is in landscape. The above screenshot depicts the incoming call notification acting like a floating widget above the screen.
Samsung’s devices have a similar feature, though it’s unclear how useful this feature may be. Since floating widgets aren’t natively supported in Android, these types of features tend to receive very limited third-party support. Still — we’ll find out the full plan on May 27th!
May 14, 2014
Popular iOS game Monument Valley arrives on Google Play for $3.99
Monument Valley, a popular and critically-acclaimed game that was released recently on iOS, is now available for Android devices. The game, available today for $3.99, features beautiful graphics and an interesting storyline.
In Monument Valley you will manipulate impossible architecture and guide a silent princess through a stunningly beautiful world.
Monument Valley is a surreal exploration through fantastical architecture and impossible geometry. Guide the silent princess Ida through mysterious monuments, uncovering hidden paths, unfolding optical illusions and outsmarting the enigmatic Crow People.
While somewhat expensive for an Android game, Monument Valley is well worth the cost. It’s one of the best games I”ve played on a mobile device in the past year. My only complaint is that it’s relatively short — hopefully now that the game is available on both major platforms, the developers can start adding additional levels.
May 13, 2014
Verizon Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update rolling out to a device near you
Five months after Google released Android 4.4 KitKat, Galaxy Note 3 users on Verizon are beginning to see the update being pushed out over the air. Various people are reporting that they have received the the update on their devices. The update includes various changes and small tweaks to the user interface, as well as enhancements to the software stack to make the device more stable and perform better.
If you’d like to grab the update, start pressing that “check for updates” button, or connect your device to the nearest computer with Kies installed on it, and get downloading.
The Nexus 6 reference can still be seen on the Code Review page, under the new code section. There is also a reference to the Nexus 8 in the older code. The Nexus 8 is expected to be produced by HTC, as earlier leaks have suggested. The “8” is also likely a reference to the screen size, which would make the Nexus 8 larger than the ASUS-produced Nexus 7. Beyond this, very little is known about the specifications or ETA of the Nexus 8.
The Nexus 6 is also almost entirely a mystery. expand full story
May 12, 2014
Latest Galaxy S5 update improves fingerprint scanner accuracy, tweaks camera performance
The latest update to hit the international version of the Samsung Galaxy S5 improves the overall accuracy of the fingerprinting system, and makes the camera open faster, as well as bringing various other small fixes (via SamMobile).
Improvements to the accuracy of the fingerprint scanner will be a welcome upgrade for many. Various early reviews found that the fingerprint scanner wasn’t as accurate as the part found in the iPhone 5s, though it’s difficult to prove that.
The other tweaks make for a faster overall experience with the device, and it seems that Samsung has improved the use of RAM with this update.
There’s no word on when this update might hit carrier versions of the device, though it likely won’t be for some time. If you have the international version of the Samsung Galaxy S5, you can grab the update now via Kies. The update is also rolling out OTA, though it may take some time before it hits your device.
Two of Valve’s most recognizable games are now available for the Android-powered NVIDIA Shield, after being teased last week to several online publications. The above crowbar — a tool that is used throughout Half-Life 2 — was sent to AndroidPolice‘s Michael Crider, depicting both an NVIDIA Shield device and the lambda, which represents the Half-Life series.
May 11, 2014
The G3 has been at the center of various leaks over the past month, but the latest is the most complete. The above photo (via PhoneArena) reportedly shows off the back of both the black and white models, and the front of what appears to be the gold model. While the photo isn’t exactly “high quality,” it does provide for a good look at the brushed metal effect of the back. expand full story
May 9, 2014
The latest updates to the Android 4.4.3 AOSP changelog include references to two new Nexus devices (via Android Central). The first is the “Flounder” tablet, which was also recently referenced in builds of Chromium. This is likely to be a tablet or a phone, as Google has historically used fish-related codenames for such devices.
Perhaps more interesting is the mention of the “Molly” set top box. expand full story
May 8, 2014
Motorola’s website has been the source of various leaks in the last few weeks, and today we have another one. Captured in an image after the break by the @evleaks Twitter account, the website leaked only the name — no image or details are available. The device has also so far slipped by under the radar, with basically nothing being known about it. expand full story