Archive for the 'Android' Category



Google’s Chromecast streamer can now mirror Android devices on your TV

Wednesday 9 July 2014 @ 1:30 pm
Google’s Chromecast streamer can now mirror Android devices on your TV
Image Credit: Television & phone image via Google

How can you leverage mobile to increase profitability for your company? Find out at MobileBeat, VentureBeat's 7th annual event on the future of mobile, on July 8-9 in San Francisco. There are only a few tickets left!

Google’s Chromecast streaming stick just gained a cool, new trick.

Google today added mirroring to its Chromecast Android app, enabling Chromecast owners with Android devices to “cast” mobile apps, photos, videos, and anything else from their device’s screen over to their television set. Google originally announced the feature at its I/O 2014 developer conference.

To mirror content from an Android phone or tablet, you’ll need to open the Chromecast app, select “Cast Screen” from the navigation drawer, and then choose the Chromecast device connected to your television. Nexus-branded device owners have it even easier: They can access the feature from the quick settings menu.

Chromecast Android mirroring phone

The company said it’s planning to add support for more Android phones from Samsung, HTC, LG, and others in a future update. You can find a complete list of supported Android devices below.

  • Nexus 4
  • Nexus 5
  • Nexus 7 (2013)
  • Nexus 10
  • Samsung Galaxy S4
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Google Play Edition)
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10
  • HTC One M7
  • HTC One M7 (Google Play Edition)
  • LG G3
  • LG G2
  • LG G Pro 2


Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob... read more »











Vevo gives its Android app a major overhaul

Wednesday 9 July 2014 @ 5:52 am
Vevo gives its Android app a major overhaul

Above: Vevo's new Android app.

Image Credit: Vevo

Music video service Vevo just announced its “biggest update” for Android yet, touting major changes to the app’s user interface and streaming tech.

The Android app’s redesigned home screen features a real-time feed, like Vevo’s current iOS app. Vevo regularly updates the feed with new music video premieres, original content, recommended playlists, and artist news, the company said.

Vevo also promised its videos will load faster and stream better than they did previously on Android, the result of Vevo’s NexStreaming integration. Korean software firm NexStreaming makes streaming tech primarily for mobile devices.

The app offers real-time streams of three Vevo TV channels: “Hits” (pop), “Flow” (rap / R&B), and “Nashville” (country). Right now, those are only available in the U.S. and Canada.

Vevo introduced a number of other changes, including recommended videos, simpler playlist creation and playback, and a redesigned “browse” section.

Vevo’s new Android app, which is live on Google Play now, arrives a week after the resignation of its product head, Michael Cerda. In his three years at the company, Cerda spearheaded Vevo’s push onto iOS and Android devices, as well as media boxes like the Xbox, Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Vevo, which launched in late 2009, is a joint venture of Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Abu Dhabi Media. YouTube made a sizable investment in Vevo last summer, netting Google a roughly 7% stake in the company.



VEVO is the world’s leading all-premium music video and entertainment platform. VEVO is available in the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Spain and United Kingdom through VEVO.com, the mo... read more »











Apple and Google make it easier for app store consumers to get product refunds — finally

Monday 7 July 2014 @ 3:15 pm
Apple and Google make it easier for app store consumers to get product refunds — finally

Above: The app store

Image Credit: Fiksu

How can you leverage mobile to increase profitability for your company? Find out at MobileBeat, VentureBeat's 7th annual event on the future of mobile, on July 8-9 in San Francisco. There are only a few tickets left!

Apple and Google have changed their policies on giving consumers refunds for app store purchases. Of course, it took a little nudging.

Said nudging came from South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission, which ordered the companies to make changes so consumers can get refunds following purchases in a more straightforward manner. The Korea Herald reports that Apple is now required to send App Store users notifications whenever its contract terms are modified. It also points out that Google’s Android app store, Google Play, will need to respect developers’ individual refund policies and set up a system that supports this.

It’s not really all that surprising that the refund situation has come to this. Previously, Apple customers would have to submit a ticket through its “Report a Problem” feature if they wanted to get a refund on a prior purchase. Each of these requests had to be viewed by an Apple employee for approval. While these mandatory changes only apply to the South Korean App Store at the moment, Apple is thinking about extending the modifications to the global market. This is largely thought to be a preemptive measure since it’s likely such changes will become mandatory in other countries at some point anyway.

This ruling comes on the heels of the KFTC’s decision to order domestic app stores to make similar changes to their contracts. Though this is the first ruling against international app stores, Apple has been under the KFTC’s thumb in the past, and it was required to change its iPhone refund policy to allow customers to get a refund within one-month of purchase.

Via: Apple Insider



Apple designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company's best-known hardware products include the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Apple software includes t... read more »

Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob... read more »

iOS is the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, continually redefining what people can do with a mobile device. Together, the iOS SDK and Xcode IDE make it easy for developers to create revolutionary mobile apps.... read more »











Google’s Android TV controller looks like an Xbox One gamepad with PlayStation-style sticks

Monday 30 June 2014 @ 11:20 am
Google’s Android TV controller looks like an Xbox One gamepad with PlayStation-style sticks

Above: The Android TV controller borrows elements from Microsoft and Sony's devices.

Image Credit: Reddit

Google has its own Android microconsole platform coming later this year on a variety of set-top boxes and televisions, which means it will need its own gaming controller. It looks like it has one ready to go.

Images of the Android TV gamepad leaked online today (as spotted by Business Insider), and the input device looks a lot like Microsoft’s Xbox One controller. The biggest difference is that Google arranged the analog sticks symmetrically like Sony always does with its DualShock line of controllers. In addition to the face, shoulder, and directional buttons, this new joypad also has Android-style buttons for home, back, and menu.

Google I/O attendee Artem Russakovskii posted an image of the Android TV controller to social media.

Above: Google I/O attendee Artem Russakovskii posted an image of the Android TV controller to social media.

Image Credit: Artem Russakovskii

We’ve reached out to Google to confirm this is the final design as well as pricing and availability, and we’ll update this post with any new information.

Google announced Android TV last week at its annual developer conference in San Francisco. This is the company’s attempt to take on the living room with its open-source operating system. Like with standard Android, Google isn’t focusing on building its own product. Instead, it is offering Android TV to third-party companies like Razer and Asus that will build their own set-top boxes and microconsoles. TV manufacturers, like Sony, are also planning to build new sets that feature Android TV. While this OS will play games, Android TV is also for streaming video content, accessing app, and searching the web.

In March, Google acquired Android-controller manufacturer Green Throttle Games, and it’s likely that team is responsible for the Android TV input device.

While Google might have its own controller, it’s likely that companies like Razer and Sony will pack in their own input devices with their systems. It’s possible that Google is building its gamepad just as a reference for third-parties.


Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 2.00.11 PMGamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase one of the first 50 tickets and save $400!


Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob... read more »











Google’s Principal Designer For Search And Maps Explains Material Design

Sunday 29 June 2014 @ 10:00 am
materialdesign-goals-cutrectangles_large_xhdpi Google’s design work was center stage at I/O this year, from the keynote through sessions and things being demoed on the show floor. The changes run across Google’s range of devices and platforms, and embrace a new set of design principals grouped under the central concept of ‘Material Design.’ Design Evolved I spoke to Jon Wiley, Principal Designer of Search and Maps… Read More



As Android’s reach expands, Google attracts fewer pioneer partners

Sunday 29 June 2014 @ 8:51 am
As Android’s reach expands, Google attracts fewer pioneer partners
Image Credit: Mark Sullivan/VentureBeat

How can you leverage mobile to increase profitability for your company? Find out at MobileBeat, VentureBeat's 7th annual event on the future of mobile, on July 8-9 in San Francisco. Register now and save $200!

The official theme of Google IO last week was Design, Develop and Distribute — but the unofficial one was Android Everywhere, as the mobile OS mounted new and renewed assaults on families of consumer devices.

In embarking on this expedition to new (or at least revisited) territory, Google is coming prepared. The company set up the spread of its forthcoming Android “L” update by talking about how it had made the platform prettier, faster and smarter.

Google has polished the user interface with its new “Material Design” model of animated surfaces existing in different layers. It’s improved performance with a new, backward-compatible runtime that’s more battery-efficient. And Google has added features such as contextual unlocking that can take advantage of, for example, nearby Bluetooth products to know if it’s in a trusted zone.

And Google has claimed its targets for this quiver of new features with Android Wear, Android Auto and Android TV — a progression of devices from the smallest screen to the largest ones in consumers’ lives. Android seems poised to waltz from its dominance in smartphones to virtually every intelligent device.


We’ll be exploring how you can grow your mobile business at MobileBeat in San Francisco on July 8-9.

Grab your tickets now!


Compared to its chief rivals Apple and Microsoft (the latter of whose existence was hardly acknowledged at Google IO), Google has built the most comprehensive licensable platform for major intelligent consumer devices. The company has been first to release a full wearables SDK and the first to put the full power of its ecosystem behind the TV and retail set-top boxes. Microsoft, in contrast, has had success in the living room (or at least the den) with Xbox, which it has opened up to select Windows apps in the similar way that Google seems to be dancing around putting Android apps on Chrome OS.

And then there’s the question of implementation and adoption. Unlike when Apple reveals a vertically integrated product, the ultimate experience of these Android extensions will depend in part upon the devices that support them. Here, Android had only a handful of companies supporting its fullest Android implementations:

Android Wear

The market for wearables seems promising since the watch is now primed to evolve from a device that just offers the time, to one that serves as a host of contextual information. Google has done a great job anticipating these kinds of interactions  particularly as it implements more intelligence in the kinds of notifications Android surfaces to users’ attention.

However, many details still remain regarding Motorola’s Moto 360, the product most seen as best representing the category. LG is also an Android Wear launch partner with its G Watch, and Samsung announced its Android War device, the Gear Live, at I/O. But while having Samsung on board is a great endorsement, the company is clearly hedging its bets in wearables with its Tizen operating system.

Android Auto

Android Auto is Android in the car, but not of the car. The initiative, which mirrors Apple’s CarPlay, simply allows dashboard displays to display and provide input to Android phones. This no-brainer will see broad support by car makers and the aftermarket, but it hardly represents a strong commitment to Android. Google originally announced its intentions to bring Android to cars back in January at CES, where it kicked off the Open Automotive Alliance with dozens of partners.

Android TV

The second coming of Google TV is now embraced by the Android team since it has a more sensible, if less ambitious, message. But it’s also starting out with fewer supporters than its predecessor that burned the likes of Logitech and Vizio. Sony and Sharp have been among the only high-volume TV companies to sign up, and it’s doubtful that even the support of Google Play will turn around the small presence of microconsoles such as the Kindle FireTV and Ouya.

In short, the response to Android’s new initiatives has been broad where the commitment is low and shallow where the commitment is high. In all cases, Google has shown that it can provide a well thought-out platform that delivers the right functionality in the right context, but progress will be slow and uneven in the wide road it seeks to pave.

 



Sony is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Kōnan, Minato, Tokyo, Japan. Sony Corporation is the electronics business unit and the parent company of the Sony Group, which is engaged in business through... read more »

Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob... read more »

Samsung Group is a South Korean multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul. It comprises numerous subsidiaries and affiliated businesses, most of them united under the Samsung brand, and is the largest Sout... read more »

LG Corporation is a South Korean multinational conglomerate corporation. It is the fourth-largest company of its kind in South Korea, following Samsung Group, Hyundai Motors Group and SK Group. Its headquarters are situated in the LG T... read more »











Fotalia Now Lets Android Smartphone Photographers Sell Their Snaps

Friday 27 June 2014 @ 12:27 am
Screen Shot 2014-06-27 at 10.14.21 AM Stock photo merchant Fotalia has launched a new app called Fotalia Instant. The app, which is available on iOS and Android, allows entrepreneurial snappers to take and sell pictures through their smartphone, no fancy photo editing and uploading software required. Read More



Android TV First Look Video And Hands On Impressions

Thursday 26 June 2014 @ 7:12 pm
IMG_0161 Android TV is one of the myriad new things that Google announced this year at I/O, and the platform is very different from Google’s previous effort with Google TV, a project announced in 2010 and updated continually since but that still hasn’t managed to become a significant part of Google’s lineup. Google is looking to change all that with Android TV. It’s a brand… Read More



Security Researchers Uncover The Tools Governments Use To Spy On Our Phones

Wednesday 25 June 2014 @ 2:18 am
shutterstock_157028330 Edward Snowden, whistleblower of the decade, has made it consistently clear that he didn’t trust cellphones. While he never described the methods governments and other miscreants used to crack into our handsets, he maintained that eavesdroppers could hear us even if the phone seemed off and everything on our devices was open to a dedicated hacker. But he never said how it was done. Now… Read More



Why Amazon didn’t go cheap with the Fire Phone

Sunday 22 June 2014 @ 9:59 am
Why Amazon didn’t go cheap with the Fire Phone

Above: The Amazon Fire Phone.

Image Credit: Amazon

How can you leverage mobile to increase profitability for your company? Find out at MobileBeat, VentureBeat's 7th annual event on the future of mobile, on July 8-9 in San Francisco. Register now and save $200!

Amazon’s Fire Phone innovates with its four-camera configuration. It innovates with its object-identifying Firefly feature. And it innovates with its Mayday feature that provides face-to-tracked-face assistance on the go.

But one way in which it doesn’t innovate may be the way that most people were hoping it would: price. Available for $199 on a two-year AT&T contract or $649 unlocked, the Fire Phone is similar to other premium phones such as the iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S5.

The Fire Phone’s failure to disrupt has led many to question whether it is keeping the Amazon flame. Indeed, the cellular options available to Fire Phone buyers are less creative than the limited free data option Amazon offered with AT&T at the release of the Kindle Fire HD.


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When Amazon entered the tablet market with the $199 Kindle Fire, it set off a price war. Jeff Bezos noted that the company produces “premium products at a non-premium price.” But while Amazon has shown some willingness to follow others down the ladder as tablet pricing has collapsed, offering the Kindle Fire HD for $139, still a far cry from the sub-$100 tablets littering the pages of Walmart.com.

But, perhaps burned by that competitive tablet, things changed when the company introduced the Kindle Fire HDX, with its leading-edge processor and display technology. At a starting price of $229 for the 7-inch version, it is significantly less than the $299 iPad Mini, but so is nearly every other tablet below 8 inches.

A better comparison would be with the Google Nexus 7, also priced at $229. Amazon’s next category expansion — Fire TV, also loaded with powerful internals — came in at $99, the same price as Apple TV and the highest-end Roku player.

It’s not unusual for brands to climb the prestige ladder as their sales grow. HTC, for example, was once a company that developed phones and PDAs for other companies. In the 1980s, Samsung’s electronics were dismissed as cheap junk. Now, both are focused mostly on high-end gadgets.

But what Amazon is doing is more like a cross-country expedition than one up a mountain. As Jeff Bezos pointed out early in the Fire Phone presentation, its brand has strong recognition among consumers for customer satisfaction across several metrics.

And according to the YouGov brand index, which measures “brand health” across a variety of measures, Amazon was the #1 brand in 2013, with the Kindle sub-brand coming in 10th behind Cheerios. (Alas, the Fire Phone, like Fire TV, drops the “Kindle” delineation.) Amazon doesn’t need to raise the prestige of this brand, it just has to extend the influence of it.

There’s another factor at play. The Fire Phone has its share of features designed to keep you at a buying level Amazon finds palatable. However, much more of what consumers do on phones — tasks such as taking photos, sending e-mail and messages, mapping and, yes, even having voice conversations — are more difficult to monetize.  If, as Jeff Bezos said, Amazon monetizes when consumers use their devices (since they inevitably drive purchases on Amazon), there’s simply less of the usage pie that Amazon is getting, at least compared to AT&T.

The Fire Phone may not strike fear into the heart of Apple and Samsung for the time being, but it’s clearly not intended to. It’s about providing an option to Amazon’s loyal customers in a product category where its ecosystem advantages are too diluted to disrupt at this point.

Volume Up is a regular column on consumer technology and digital ecosystems. Ross Rubin is principal analyst at Reticle Research and founder and editor of the crowdfunding product site Backerjack. He also blogs about the tech industry at Techspressive.



Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth's Biggest Selection. Amazon.com, Inc. seeks to be Earth's most customer-centric company, where cu... read more »











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