Google roundup: Android Lollipop, Nexus 6 phone, Nexus 9 tablet and Nexus Play streamer

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 15, 2014

With less than 24 hours left until Apple’s “It’s been way too long” iPad and Mac media event, the Internet giant Google in a pre-emptive strike Wednesday officially unveiled the next major version of its mobile operating system, Android 5.0, along with the newest Nexus-branded hardware devices: a Motorola-made smartphone, a HTC-made tablet and an Asus-built game console and media streamer.

“A sweet new take on Android,” Android Lollipop is actually the Android L software the search giant teased at its Google I/O conference back in the summer. Containing over 5,000 new APIs for developers, Lollipop has been designed to be flexible to support all screen sizes and devices while taking Android’s customization to the next level. Read More

 

FBI director says he’s ‘very concerned’ about new privacy features in iOS 8

By Cody Lee on Sep 25, 2014

The FBI is very concerned with the new privacy features Apple is touting in iOS 8, the organization’s director James Comey told The Huffington Post on Thursday. In particular, he’s concerned the company is marketing something “expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law.”

Comey’s remarks follow Apple’s move last week to be more transparent and informative about its user privacy policies. In a new webpage on the topic, the Cupertino firm said it no longer stores encryption keys for devices running iOS 8, meaning it can’t bypass pass codes—even under subpoena.  Read More

 

Google announces first low-cost Android One handsets launching in India, starting at just $105

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 15, 2014

The Internet giant Google during a Monday media event in India announced the first wave of low-cost Android handsets running the company’s optimized Android One software, with prices starting as low as $105.

“The world is filled with potential: people who are ready to leave their mark and need a phone as ambitious as they are,” said the firm during the event. The Android One project has been conceived to bring stock Android experience to inexpensive mid-to-low-range handsets sold in emerging markets such as Russia, India, Brazil and China. Read More

 

Poll: is leaked iPhone 6 design too Android-ish?

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 7, 2014

With 48 hours until Apple’s big reveal, we’ve by now seen our fair share of leaked footage showing off a nearly-assembled 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and a new iOS 8 Passbook icon with a credit card pictogram on top.

There’s also that fresh clip out of China making the rounds this morning, giving us our best look yet at purported iPhone 6 design and the smoothness of iOS 8 running on the device. Still, there’s no denying that all some folks can muster after seeing these videos is Android.

I guess you could make an argument that the iPhone 6 design aesthetics are reminiscent of some high-end Android handsets from the likes of HTC and others. On the other hand, there are only so many ways to design a bar phone.

What are your feelings on the matter? Is the leaked iPhone 6 design too Android-ish for your tastes? And has the handset lost the design language that made it uniquely an iPhone, do you think? Read More

 

Motorola’s Android Wear-powered $249 Moto 360 smartwatch arrives

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 5, 2014

Having previewed it in March, handset maker Motorola today launched its Moto 360 smartwatch with wireless charging, a rounded face, optical heart rate monitor, “all-day battery” and other perks.

Starting at $249 and available through Motorola’s website, Google’s Play store and Best Buy, the device runs Google’s Android software for wearables dubbed Android Wear and features premium materials making the circular smartwatch feel “comfortable and familiar” on your wrist. Read More

 

Competitor watch: LG, Samsung debut new smartwaches during peak of iWatch rumors

By Jake Smith on Aug 27, 2014

Two of the top-electronics manufacturers LG and Samsung took the wraps off two new smartwatches on Wednesday evening, hours after a major report pegged Apple’s iWatch debut for September 9 instead of later this year.  Read More

 

Flappy Bird returns as an Amazon Fire TV-exclusive with new features

By Cody Lee on Aug 2, 2014

It’s been nearly 6 months since Dong Nguyen pulled his smash hit Flappy Bird from the App Store. The game was reportedly earning over $50,000 per day in revenue at that time, but Nguyen didn’t like the added attention it brought him, so he pulled the plug.

As he promised, though, Flappy Bird has made its triumphant return as ‘Flappy Birds Family,’ bringing along with it a new multiplayer mode and other additional features. Unfortunately, it looks like the title is exclusive to Amazon’s Fire TV platform for now… Read More

 

iPhone captures 42% market share in the United States for May

By Joe Rossignol on Jul 3, 2014

The latest numbers reveal that the iPhone remains the most popular smartphone in the United States, with 41.9% market share for a three-month period ending May 2014. Samsung was the second most popular smartphone maker with a 27.8% share, attributed to its Galaxy-branded devices. LG (6.5%), Motorola (6.3%) and HTC (5.1%) round off the top five.

While the iPhone was the most popular smartphone, Android held a commanding 52.1% share among mobile platforms. iOS followed not too far behind at 41.9%, while Windows Phone (3.4%), BlackBerry (2.3%) and Symbian (0.1%) all trailed by quite a distance. Android also had 52.1% market share for the three-month period ending February, while iOS gained 0.6 percentage points…  Read More

 

Motorola shows off Android Wear on Moto 360

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 26, 2014

Among the flurry of announcements yesterday, Android Wear files as the most exciting and talked-about aspect of the Google I/O 2014 keynote.

To help jumpstart Google’s platform for wearables, both LG’s G Watch and Samsung’s new Gear Live started selling through Google’s Play store yesterday.

Google also said that Motorola’s Moto 360, announced back in March, will launch later this summer with Android Wear. Motorola has now posted a nice video for those who couldn’t attend Google’s two-day conference for developers.

It gives a sneak peek at some of the cool features of Android Wear running on premium hardware so give it a quick watch (pun intended) and share your impressions with fellow readers down in the comments… Read More

 

Google I/O 2014 keynote recap: Android in your car, living room, on your wrist and more

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 25, 2014

Earlier today, Google kicked off its two-day summer conference for developers with a keynote talk. It always pays to keep tabs on competition, my colleague Joe Rosignoll and I have been covering key advancements concerning the Android platform in the form of Android L, Android Wear, Android Auto and Android TV announcements.

Making sense of it all, I’ve put together this recap of the most important developments from the Google I/O 2014 keynote. Give it a read and feel free to chime in with your thoughts and analysis in the comment section… Read More

 

Google details Android Auto with APIs for audio and messaging apps

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 25, 2014

More than forty partners have joined Open Automotive Alliance, which Google announced in January as an Android initiative for your car.

The program has received a significant boost with today’s official introduction of Android Auto, an in-car software solution which strives to put the right information for the road ahead at your fingertips.

Android Auto extends the Android platform into the car in a way that Google says is purpose-built for driving and focused on navigation, communication and music. Jump past the fold for the nitty-gritty… Read More

 

Google unveils Android Wear enhancements, releases full SDK to write native apps for wearables

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 25, 2014

Google has kicked off its two-day conference for developers with a keynote address in San Francisco and we’re continuously covering major announcements to deliver you important news as it happens.

Company executes took to the stage to announce changes coming to Android Wear, Google’s platform for wearables based on Android that was previewed back in MarchRead More

 

Google announces Android ‘L’ developer preview, coming later this year

By Joe Rossignol on Jun 25, 2014

Google has just unveiled a developer preview of Android L, its latest software version for smartphones and tablets. Android L has several improvements to its design, graphics, notifications, multitasking, battery life and more. We’ve recapped the major new features in Android L ahead, ranging from Material Design and Project Volta to Android Extension Pack and Enhanced Notifications ahead…  Read More

 

Watch the Google I/O keynote streaming live here

By Joe Rossignol on Jun 25, 2014

iDownloadBlog is providing a live video stream of the Google I/O keynote, which kicks off at 9:00 AM Pacific in San Francisco. Google’s head of Android and Chrome Sundar Pichai is expected to unveil the latest version of Android, in addition to talking about the Android Wear and Android TV platforms. You can expect at least a few other announcements on top.

We’ll be providing comprehensive coverage of the keynote as it unfolds, keeping you up to date with the latest news and announcements. While waiting for the special event, perhaps go back and watch the WWDC keynote or guess what you think the name of the next Android version will be in the comments section down below. Hint: it should start with an L. Join us for a chat… Read More

 

Google I/O teaser: the future of Android and more

By Joe Rossignol on Jun 24, 2014

Bloomberg Businessweek has published a feature-length profile with Sundar Pichai, head of the Android and Chrome divisions at Google. After a lengthy interview that details Pichai growing up in India, getting a scholarship at Stanford and eventually working at Google, the report drops some big news: the future of Android, Android Wear and Android TV will be unveiled this week, alongside other announcements…  Read More

 

Geohot “makes it ra1n” on Android with a rooting tool for the Samsung Galaxy S5

By Jeff Benjamin on Jun 16, 2014

Geohot—a name that’s virtually synonymous with iPhone jailbreaking—has taken up quite a few different ventures since departing from the jailbreak scene. He’s dabbled in Playstation 3 hacking, and working at Facebook. He was even rumored to have been on the precipice of an iOS 7 jailbreak, but nothing formally materialized from him.

But yesterday, Geohot (real name George Hotz) made his name known on an even wider scale when he released a new rooting tool for the Samsung Galaxy S5 and other Android devices. The tool, which is called Towelroot, is a downloadable package that allows Galaxy S5 users to quickly root their devices. This is especially helpful for GS5 users on Verizon and AT&T, because those two mobile carriers lock the bootloader.

I’ve tried out Towelroot on my Galaxy S5, and it works just as described. In fact, it reminds me a lot of Hotz’s past jailbreak tools. Check inside for all of the details. Read More

 

Google said to be building its own health platform called Google Fit

By Cody Lee on Jun 14, 2014

Hot on the heels of Apple’s big HealthKit unveiling comes word that Google is building a health platform of its own. The news comes from Forbes, who says the service—dubbed Google Fit—will be announced at Google’s upcoming I/O conference.

According to the report, Google Fit will closely resemble HealthKit in that it will collect and aggregate data from popular fitness trackers and health-related apps. And Google is believed to have already forged partnerships with wearable device makers… Read More

 

Microsoft mulls porting Cortana assistant to iOS

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 13, 2014

Microsoft has wont to arrive late to parties: following Siri’s introduction nearly three years ago, Redmond in April of this year has finally gotten around to unveiling a personal assistant of its own, Cortana, at the Build Developer Conference in San Francisco.

Originally conceived as a Windows Phone 8.1 exclusive, the Windows giant is now reportedly considering bringing the virtual assistant to rival platforms, namely to iOS and Android.

Let me get this straight. Beats updates Android appMicrosoft launches Office for iPad before even releasing a touch-optimized version for Windows 8 tablet. Apple reportedly mulling iTunes for Android

What a difference a few years make, eh? Read More

 

Despite Apple deal, Beats updates Android app, plans on using Samsung shill LeBron James in ads

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 13, 2014

Looks like Tim Cook wasn’t joking when he told The Financial Times Apple would keep alive Beats Music apps for Android and Windows Phone platforms. Keep in mind that Cook made that promise after Apple snapped up Beats’ streaming-music service, headphones, brand and talent in a $3 billion transaction.

Indeed, Beats has now issued an update to its Android client, the first refresh post-acquisition. But that’s not all: it seems Beats will continue to feature Samsung endorser and Miami Heat cager LeBron James in future advertising… Read More

 

Meet Ringly, the smart ring that alerts you to iPhone notifications

By Cody Lee on Jun 11, 2014

At first glance, the Ringly appears to be an ordinary piece of jewelry. Slip it on your finger, and it looks and feels like a typical fashion ring. That all changes, however, when your iPhone receives a notification, as the ring begins to vibrate and light up.

Using the low energy Bluetooth standard, Ringly connects to your phone and sends you customized notifications through vibration and light. It’s discreet enough for a meeting, but conspicuous enough that you’ll never miss an important call or message… Read More

 
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