christmas Stories December 21, 2015

Deal: Get a fully-capable Galaxy Gear Live Android Wear smartwatch for just $80

If you’re looking to grab a smartwatch for an Android lover this holiday season, but would prefer something closer to a stocking stuffer than jewelry, this is your chance. DailySteals is offering the Samsung Galaxy Gear Live Android Wear smartwatch for just $79.99, and shipping to get it to your doorstep before Christmas should only be a couple bucks more.

While some of the latest Android Wear hardware does add a speaker (which has yet to be actually enabled by the software), the experience on the latest devices isn’t much different than when the platform first launched. The Galaxy Gear Live debuted Android Wear alongside the LG G Watch R, and it’s still a fully-capable smartwatch for someone looking to dip their toes.

For more great deals in the days leading up to Christmas, be sure to check out our roundup of last-minute picks for the Android lover.

christmas Stories December 14, 2015

Google Search results get Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa decorations in time for holidays

Google regularly celebrates holiday seasons by launching special little easter eggs, games and decorations across its services. This year, if it wasn’t for the Santa Tracker and Spin the Dreidel game, you’d think Google was under the impression it was Star Wars season. Turns out, that’s not the case.

Barry Schwartz spotted that Google has indeed decorated its search results in time for the holidays. Simply head to Google.com and search for ‘Christmas’, ‘Chanukah’ or ‘Kwanzaa’ and you’ll see the following imagery along with the relevant search results. All three holidays are celebrated with traditional imagery like the Menorah, Christmas Tree and the aforementioned Dreidel. (As a side note: Searching for ‘Dreidel’ or ‘Menorah’ also brings up the Chanukah decorations in Search).

While the holidays get a brief hat-tip, Star Wars has undoubtedly been the biggest focus for Google’s design team this year. With its movie franchise tie-in, Google themed virtually all of its services and launched some Star Wars editions of the Cardboard VR sets, while Motorola and Verizon teamed up to launch Star Wars DROID Turbo 2 handsets.

christmas Stories December 25, 2014

Google’s Mr. Jingles gets some holiday decorations for Christmas

It may or may not surprise you to find out that Google has a name for its little notification bell in Google+. Surprisingly, not only does Mr. Jingles have a name, but he has an official Google+ page dedicated just to him. And while Mr. Jingles spends most of the year in his normal bell-like state, he occasionally dresses up to share some holiday spirit on Google’s social network.

Here’s a look at some of Mr. Jingles’ previous costumes, spanning celebrations for fall, New Years Day, Valentine’s day, and Christmas 2013:

This year, Mr. Jingles wanted to make sure that Santa would be able to find him, so he dressed up with some Christmas lights:

To see Mr. Jingles, just open up your notifications pane in Google+ and click the button in the top right corner to clear all of them. You should see the above Christmas 2014 version of Mr. Jingles, Christmas tree lights and all.

christmas Stories December 22, 2014

T-Mobile CEO John Legere wishes you a NSFW Christmas (Video)

T-Mobile CEO John Legere is known for trolling his competitors, and it looks like he decided to—in the spirit of the season, of course—mock them some more as a Christmas gift. T-Mobile has spent the entire year going through several different “uncarrier” events (now totaling eight), attacking its competitors and introducing services and features that it hopes will set it apart. And as Legere touches on in the below video, plenty of people seem to have been convinced that switching is worth their time…

christmas Stories December 12, 2014

Samsung introduces exclusive Christmas edition Galaxy Note 4 in velvet red

Samsung is getting into the holiday spirit with an exclusive new Christmas edition of the Galaxy Note 4 that ships in velvet red. The smartphone arrives just in time for the festive holiday season, although the one major caveat is that the device is launching in South Korea only.

christmas Stories December 9, 2014

One of my favorite Youtubers (along with Dom and Detroit Borg), @MKBHD did his year end Smartphone of the year roundup and can say I agree with almost every choice he made here. Almost.

Some small gripes however: He didn’t ding Samsung enough for its overlay in the ‘Big Phone’ category (IMO), I might have given LG more props for their camera and One Plus One shouldn’t have beat the Moto G 2014 as best budget. You can get 2 Moto Gs for the price of a One Plus – if you can even find one! That’s not to say the OnePlus isn’t a great budget phone and running Cyanogen mod almost makes it more of a game changer than the Sharp Aquos Crystal.

One other thing: I’m OK with the HTC One M8 as phone of the year as long as it is the GPE. Otherwise Moto X gets the nod

Like I said, I’m almost completely in agreement!

Spoilers below:

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christmas Stories December 1, 2014

santa-day1-lg

Google and Santa have a lot in common. They know when you are sleeping/awake. They also give you cool stuff but also freak you out a little bit sometimes.

Well, Google also keeps tabs on Santa and for the umpteenth consecutive year Google is following Santa on his round the world trip from the North Pole on Christmas.  This year’s tracker has some fun games to play every day but this year you might actually learn a thing or 2:

This year, you’ll find an edu touch — new geography games let you explore local holiday traditions, while a new coding project teaches basic JavaScript as you help Santa and the reindeer navigate the map. Learn how to say “Santa” in different languages, and connect with nonprofits around the world.

Of course, fan favorites are making a return this year — you can send a call from Santa to your friends and family, display Santa’s journey on the TV screen with Chromecast, and play gumdrop and reindeer racing games. You’ll be able to play each game on desktop, mobile web, or on the Santa Tracker Android app.

Jump on board with the Android app, Chrome extension or website or follow Google Maps on Google+, Facebook and Twitter in the countdown #tracksanta.

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christmas Stories December 26, 2013

Christmas-Morning-7

Oh the weather outside may still be frightful, but inside the morning after Christmas is definitely delightful. Now that Christmas music is put back onto the shelf for next year, what Android, Chrome, Google-related goodies did you get for your holidays?

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christmas Stories December 20, 2013

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If you’re looking for a feel-good movie to help ring in Christmas day, the Play Store is offering a free SD copy of Will Ferrell’s Elf. There’s no telling how long the offer will last so grab your copy right now and enjoy it on your Android smartphone or tablet over and over and over and over.

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christmas Stories December 6, 2013

Nexus-5-Nexus-7-Christmas-gift-2013

Much like it has in recent years by offering employees their choice from a selection of devices as a Christmas/holiday gift, we’ve learned from several sources that this year Google will continue the tradition. Rather than the choice of Chromebook, a Motorola phone or the Nexus 7 tablet like it offered last year, this year the company will offer an option between the Nexus 5 and new Nexus 7.

Backing up our info is the screenshot below showing a family member of a Google employee mentioning the gift: expand full story

christmas Stories December 4, 2013

village1

Ho ho ho boys and girls, Santa needs your help and Google is coming to the rescue. Santa has spent the last 11 months soaking up some rays in the tropics but now he’s back at the North Pole with his team of elves making some toys.

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christmas Stories December 3, 2013

Santa Carrying Shopping Bags

Oh the weather outside is…not yet frightful but the deals have already started and the holiday season is moving into full swing. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday now behind us, it begs the question what goodies you purchased over this holiday weekend? Did you grab a new tablet, smartphone, Chromebook, HTC One, LG G2, Galaxy S 4 or something else entirely?

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christmas Stories January 2, 2013

Flurry: Holiday 2012 sees new 1-week record with 50M iOS & Android activations and 1.76B app downloads

Flurry today released its stats for worldwide app downloads during the 2012 holiday season. It recently released some stats for Christmas Day, including a huge 332 percent increase over previous years to 17.4 million new iOS and Android activations and 328 million app downloads. Today it shared some stats for the entire week starting on Christmas and ending New Year’s Day, noting it recorded the highest number of activations and app downloads for any week in history. As highlighted in the images, Flurry estimated 50 million devices activations and an increase of 65 percent to 1.76 billion app downloads:

The final week of the year, between Christmas and New Year’s Day, grew by 65% over the early-December baseline, historically breaking through the largest single week record previously set during the same week of 2011.  While several weeks since late November delivered billion+ week download levels, the holiday week delivered a record-shattering 1.7 billion downloads… Looking forward to 2013, Flurry expects the trend of one-billion-download weeks to become the norm, and that the industry will surpass the two-billion download week during Q4.

christmas Stories December 19, 2012

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NORAD, the self-touted official Santa Tracker, went with Bing Maps instead of Google Earth this holiday season, but Google isn’t getting left in the dust, as the folks in Mountain View launched its own count down to Christmas Eve with Google Santa Tracker.

According to the official Google blog, a team of dedicated Google Maps engineers developed an algorithm to track Santa’s annual trip around the world this Christmas:

On his sleigh, arguably the fastest airborne vehicle in the world, Santa whips from city to city delivering presents to millions of homes. You’ll be able to follow him on Google Maps and Google Earth, and get his stats starting at 2:00 a.m. PST Christmas Eve at google.com/santatracker.

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christmas Stories December 17, 2012

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Google United Kingdom and Ireland Managing Director Dan Cobley wrote on his Google+ page this weekend (via AndroidCentral) to explain the situation with the LG Nexus 4’s long shipping delays many customers have experienced since launch day. According to the exec, supplies from manufacturer LG have been “scarce and erratic,” which has caused shipping times of up to eight weeks in some cases. The Nexus 4 has certainly been a popular device, and one could wonder how it would affect Google’s holiday sales if the company could get it out by the holidays for the majority of customers.

The exec also said that customers who were notified with a “3-5 day” shipping estimate initially should expect their handset soon, as those orders are now in the fulfillment process. The shipping charge will be waved and an email notification will be sent to customers this week with tracking information. Additionally, customers who received pre-Christmas shipping times should see their handset delivered by then, but unavailability still lingers for most customers.

Saturday’s comments are certainly welcomed from the top and give us the first real insight on what is causing delays—other than the company is working to catch up with the high demand. You can find the exec’s full comments below:

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christmas Stories October 16, 2012

We have heard a ton of rumors regarding a 32GB version of the Nexus 7. Earlier reports pointed to an Oct. 24 launch, and we even saw a 32GB unit allegedly ship to a customer in Japan. Today, the 32GB variant has once again appeared online—this time on the Staples Advantage website for business customers. AndroidPolice linked us to the listing that currently has the 32GB Nexus 7 listed for $250. It also has an availability date of Oct. 18, although, that could likely be just a placeholder at this point. The pricing is slightly less than the current 16GB model that Google is selling, indicating the 32GB model might replace the 16 entirely—including taking over its pricing.

christmas Stories December 29, 2011

In a clearing up the “confusion” around Andy Rubin’s recent numbers releases (here and here), the Verge spoke to a Google source on what constitutes an “Android device activation.”

We’ve now gotten some additional clarification from trusted sources on what Google considers an “Android device” for the purposes of counting activations (which would presumably apply to every activation count Google has released in the past). It’s actually really simple: you need to activate Google services on the device. In all likelihood, Google’s counter actually jumps the moment you sign into your Google account on the phone or tablet, whether that be the first time you turn it on or when you’re prompted after jumping into something like Gmail or the Android Market. And as Rubin says on Google+, it only happens once per physical device.

It turns out that Google is only counting activations it activates (I know!). It is not counting devices that use Android code, because it does not have control over -or no way of- counting like the Kindle Fire or Barnes and Noble Nook (I know!).

Perhaps Amazon, who is very transparent with its Kindle numbers, could help Google out there.

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christmas Stories December 22, 2011

We told you yesterday about a Google search easter egg for the Christmas, and today we discovered another fun way Google has decided to celebrate the holidays. When visiting YouTube, there is currently a snowflake icon next to the resizing and resolution options on the video player. Click it and your video will snow! Your mouse will even interact with the snowflakes as they fall. It will also snow in the YouTube search results when searching for “let it snow”.

In case you missed the other ways Google is celebrating, try typing “Christmas,” “Hanukkah,” or “let it snow” into Google search. You can even call Santa in Gmail. Yesterday the Android team released this Christmas-themed Ice Cream Sandwich advertisement to wish the Android community Happy Holidays.

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christmas Stories December 19, 2011

Google is in full holiday swing (what, you haven’t heard?). They just posted, on YouTube, a rap video that was put together by its employees, also know as Googlers. It is intended to “help St. Nick with his big flight this year.”

The song was written and produced by “all Google employees,” and some of them are featured in the clip. The video’s composition is credited to Ranidu, a Google business systems integrator and musician. The video was produced with the help of Google’s friends at Seedwell.

Matt Kane, a Google Content and User Education Specialist and hip-hop enthusiast did lyrics, and we have included them below.

By the way, Apple is helping Santa run errands with Siri in its new iPhone 4S commercial.

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Are you dreaming of a white Christmas online? Don’t worry, Google’s gone all out this year to make winter festivities memorable for both its employees and users. As we reported this morning, Google staffers, also known as Googlers, were treated with a free Galaxy Nexus smartphone sporting a customized back cover depicting Android and Google Plus icons.

Then, in another display of holiday spirit, the company brought in much ice and snow and sprayed it in front of building B44, also known as the Android building, at their Mountain View, Calif., headquarters.

The company’s social biz head Vic Gundotra posted the above image on his Google Plus profile with the caption: “Who says it never snows in Mountain View, California?”

The time-lapse clip below that shows the event was posted by Jason Chen, a technical program manager with Google. The search company did not forget about its users, surprising and delighting them with a few big improvements to Google Plus ahead of New Year. Google also let folks call Santa right from Gmail to leave him a Holiday message (Google Voice number 855-34-SANTA).

Lastly, Google tweaked its search engine with a snowflake animation. Go to Google.com and search for ‘let it snow’. This search term should produce snowflakes that will fill the page and eventually whiten out thesearch results. You can even click the left mouse button and drag the pointer around for fog removal. On an unrelated Holiday note, Google also revamped their Doodle website with the Google Plus design language.

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Google staffers, also known as Googlers, claim their free Galaxy Nexus smartphone.

Google knows how to take care of its employees. According to a Google Plus post by Edu Pereda, a software engineer at Google’s Swiss offices, the company is treating each employee with a customized Galaxy Nexus smartphone for Christmas. 9to5Google learned the United States versions are going to be Verizon.

The Next Web’s Matt Brian explained that the search giant teamed with Samsung to outfit the Galaxy Nexus with a customized back cover depicting many Google Plus and Android icons (see the image below). Hardware specifications remain unchanged, though.

Apparently Google’s London and Zurich operations were both confirmed to have handed out free devices to employees, requiring staff to line up and claim the handsets, as shown in the above photograph.

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christmas Stories December 8, 2011

We already know that President Barak Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron have made the iPad their tablet of choice, but according to the Vatican Information Service, Pope Benedict XVI is opting for an Android powered tablet instead.

In order to turn on the lights of the world’s largest Christmas tree in Gubbio, Italy, yesterday the Pope used a Sony Tablet S to remotely trigger the lights on the 750 meter-high tree from his apartment in the Vatican Apostolic Palace. However, it’s likely this was just the preference of the developers who built the app necessary for the task, as the Pope has been spotted using an iPad in the past. The video below shows Benedict XVI using an iPad to send out his first tweet: expand full story

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