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Entries in Android (22)

Monday
Jun032013

Twitter's Vine App Comes to Android

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Android phone owners, your time to shoot and share six-second video clips has come. Twitter on Monday announced that its Vine app, which allows users to capture six seconds of video and then share it with friends on Twitter or within the app, is available for Android phones.

Released four months ago for the iPhone, the app has quickly became one of the most popular apps in the Apple App Store and has become a widely used social media tool with over 13 million people. President Obama has even joined the service.

The Android app has many of the same features as the iPhone app. Users can easily shoot video, share it and then explore others’ videos. Twitter has added a special feature though to the Android app called zoom. Other features, like hashtags and being able to shoot video with the front-facing camera, which was added to the iPhone app a few weeks ago, are on their way, Twitter said in a blog post today.

“Of course, this is only the beginning -- we have exciting plans for features that could exist only on Android,” Twitter’s Sara Haider wrote in a blog post.

Despite Android phones now outnumbering iPhones, Twitter and other companies have continued to develop apps for the iPhone first and then for Android.

The company also released Twitter Music in April for the iPhone. It said at the time the Android app wouldn’t be far away. Last month Apple announced that 50 billion apps had been downloaded from its store; Google announced that 48 billion Android apps had been downloaded from its Google Play Store.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May302013

Google Announces HTC One with Clean Version of Android

JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Google has taken another step in its efforts to sell Android phones that run the software as it intends it.

At the All Things D conference, Google Android and Chrome OS chief Sundar Pichai announced the HTC One Google Edition, which will take HTC's current One smartphone and put Google's untarnished version of Android on the phone.

HTC's One currently ships with HTC software tweaks to 4.1.2. With this phone, the phone will get Google's own stock version of Android without HTC's new camera features or its Blinkfeed home screen, which brings in personalized news and social updates. Last month Google introduced the Samsung's Galaxy S4 with the same Google software experience. It scraps Samsung's new features for just Google's Android software.

The new phone will be sold only through Google's Play Store for $599 starting June 26. Yes, it is more than the $199 HTC One at AT&T, but this version of the phone is unlocked. You don't have to sign a contract with a cellular carrier, but it will work on AT&T and T-Mobile's network. The rest of the HTC One hardware experience is the same. It has an ultrapixel camera, 5.7-inch, 1080p screen and a quad-core processor.

Pichai said the introduction of the HTC One and Galaxy S4 Google Edition phones doesn't change Google's dedication to openness of Android. "These are the beginning steps about us thinking about how we can get the right user experience including the differentiators some OEMS [phone makers] want."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar222013

Sources: Google Working on Smartwatch, Too

KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The year of the smartwatch is upon us. According to rumors, Apple has a team of 100 working on a watch that works with the iPhone, and Samsung has confirmed that it is working on a watch of its own. And now sources tell The Financial Times that Google is developing a watch to work “as an extension to the smartphones using [Android].”

According to a “person briefed on the project,” Google’s Android team is developing the smartwatch. The source also said that “the [Android] project is separate from Samsung’s efforts.”

When asked about the smartwatch rumor, a Google spokesperson told ABC News that the company “doesn’t comment on rumors or speculation.”

The watch, like other smartwatches, will likely pair with an Android phone and allow one to view messages and incoming call notifications right on the watch’s display. Google did file for a patent describing a “smart-watch including flip up display” in 2011. This patent was approved late last year.

The wearable gadget space seems to be drawing the interest of many companies. Pebble, the smartwatch that works with the iPhone and Android, beat all the odds on Kickstarter, receiving more than 85,000 orders for the watch and more than $10 million from people who wanted to back the company. Many companies have also joined the fitness tracker market, including Nike, Motorola and Jawbone.

Of course, Google is no stranger to wearable computing items right now. Google Glass, those futuristic, Internet-connected eyeglasses that show digital data right before your eyes, is now undergoing testing, and Google plans to release a version by the end of the year. Google is expected to talk more about its Glass project and its next versions of Android at its annual Google I/O conference in May.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar202013

Google Announces 'Keep' Note-Syncing Service

JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Evernote, OneNote and other to-do lists apps have new competition, in the form of Google's new service, Google Keep. The app, announced by Google Wednesday afternoon, allows you to sync your notes and to-do lists across your computer, phone and tablet using your Google account.

“With Keep you can quickly jot ideas down when you think of them and even include checklists and photos to keep track of what’s important to you,” Google’s Katharine Kuan detailed on Google’s blog Wednesday. Google then uses its Google Drive service and servers to sync your content so you can get those important thoughts or notes anywhere.

The app works very similarly to the other note apps, like Evernote and OneNote. Once a user downloads the app, which is available only for Android 4.0 phones right now, they can take notes and then access them via the app on the web, which is located in their Google Drive or at https://drive.google.com/keep. Users can also upload voice notes, which can be transcribed, and even photos. Notes can be color coded or turned into checklists by adding check boxes.

Google Keep joins a host of other note syncing applications, the most popular being Evernote. As of June 2012, Evernote had 34 million users. While Evernote is a general note-syncing app, other apps like Wunderlist and Remember the Milk offer cross-device to-do list services.

Google’s service is in the early stages -- it is only available for the web and select Android phones; there are no iPhone or other platform apps yet.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb252013

Samsung Galaxy S4 to Be Announced on March 14 in New York

Samsung(NEW YORK) -- The rumors were true: Samsung will unveil its next flagship Android smartphone -- the Galaxy S4 or Galaxy S IVa -- on March 14 at a press conference in New York City. The company sent out invitations to members of the press Monday and Samsung mobile division chief JK Shin told Edaily, a Korean website, that it would be showing off the phone.

"We introduced the Galaxy S III in London last year, and this time we changed the venue (to New York) ... as we were bombarded with requests from U.S. mobile carriers to unveil the Galaxy S IV in the country," Shin said.

The new phone is expected to have a higher-resolution screen, an improved camera and a quad-core processor. It is also expected that Samsung will focus on new software features that will set it apart from the other Android phones and the Apple iPhone.

Samsung has become the most popular Android phone maker. In January, Samsung reported that it had sold over 40 million Galaxy S 3 phones since their launch in May 2012. The company has taken shots at Apple in its commercials, aiming to portray Samsung as the cooler brand.

This week at Mobile World Congress, a large mobile tradeshow in Barcelona, Samsung released a new Galaxy Note. The Galaxy Note 8.0 comes with a digital pen and new software features that Samsung says it hopes will differentiate it from Apple's similarly sized iPad Mini.

ABC News will be reporting live from the March 14 event in New York City.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb192013

HTC Claims to Reinvent Smartphone with Latest Android Phone

HTC(NEW YORK) -- HTC is kicking off the start of Android phone season.  At an event in New York City on Tuesday, the Taiwan-based company announced its latest flagship Android phone -- the HTC One.

"We think it's time to shake things up in the smartphone space," Mike Woodward, president of HTC America, told ABC News in an interview.  "We have decided to come out and reinvent the smartphone."

Of course, HTC hasn't completely reinvented what the smartphone looks like -- it's still a large rectangle -- but according to Woodward, the One is a complete shift for the industry, built around how people use their phones now.

"We have re-architected the phone around how Generation Feed behaves," Woodward said.  Woodward and HTC say Generation Feed is those of us who look down at their phones constantly, staying up to date on news and friends.

HTC's Android phones have always been known for their top-of-the-line hardware parts and the One is no different.

The phone is made entirely of aluminum -- no small feat, according to Woodward, who said it took two years to make a good all-metal phone.  It also has a large 4.7-inch, 1080p screen, which is flanked vertically by two speaker strips.  

The phone is fast too, thanks to its quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor and 2GB of RAM.

Where the One stands out from other Android phones on specs is with its camera.

"Generation Feed grew up with a camera in their pocket, but the pictures that they take are not always great and they're not always outside," Woodward said.

With that, HTC has ditched megapixels for an ultrapixel camera.

"An ultrapixel is twice the size of a megapixel -- it lets in 300 percent more light," Woodward says.  "We paired that with dual-axis stabilization.  This is different than letting a shutter open."

HTC says the new technology should allow you to take much better low-light shots without having to use flash, which often makes for flat, blown-out images.

HTC has paired that camera hardware with some new software features.  It has livened up its gallery and allows you to take three-second videos when you take a photo.  HTC calls this sort of video or photo a Zoe; the camera takes one second of video before you hit the shutter button and then two seconds right after, giving you photos that "come to life."  You can then share Zoes with anyone via a URL.

And while HTC backed off from tweaking Android too heavily in its previous phones, it has begun to think of Google's software entirely differently with the One.

The phone is based on the latest version of Android (Android 4.2 or Jelly Bean), but HTC says that the majority of Android users only use one home screen instead of the three provided by Google (80 percent of Android users use fewer than three home screens, says HTC).

"We found that widgets and home panels aren't that well understood, so we wanted to simplify that," Woodward said.

Called Blinkfeed, the home screen on the One is now a grid of news or a newsfeed of your social media accounts and news accounts.

"The idea is in a blink of an eye your phone is constantly refreshed and your phone is constantly alive.  That becomes your home screen," Woodward said.

The feed can be customized and if you don't like it, you can choose to put your Blinkfeed on another pane and use a regular Android home screen.

The One will be offered by 180 carriers in 80 countries over the next few months.  It will be available in the U.S. at T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T in March. 

HTC would not confirm the pricing, but said it would be competitive.  Most high-end Android phones and the iPhone 5 cost $199 with a two-year contract.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb122013

Vertu Launches $9,600 Android Phone

Vertu(NEW YORK) -- British-based luxury mobile phone maker Vertu has announced its first Android smartphone. And no, as was true for other Vertu phones, you probably can’t afford it.

The handmade Vertu Ti starts at $9,600, with a more expensive rose gold-trimmed model that sells for a whopping $19,900.

The hardware is only the best, including a 3.7-inch sapphire crystal screen, an 8-megapixel rear camera capable of 1080p video capture, and a grade 5 titanium casing. The phone is powered by a dual-core 1.7 GHz processor.

But $9,600 won’t buy you the latest version of Android; the Ti is launching with Android 4.0 software, which dates from 2011 (the current version is Android 4.2). Vertu says it has put its own spin on design with a “uniquely tailored” user interface.

In an interview with the BBC, Chief Executive Perry Oosting explained the company’s choice to join the Android community, saying, “You need to be part of an ecosystem.” Vertu previously made high-quality Nokia phones. The phones will only be available through selected high-end retailers.

Though this is not Vertu’s most expensive phone to date, the company claims it is definitely the most powerful.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan052013

A Facebook Phone? Company Testing Voice Apps Now

Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Facebook is building a phone right in front of our faces. Maybe not a real phone, but all the apps and features you'd expect one to have.

Facebook has just added a voice message feature to its Messenger app for iOS and Android. Within the app you can now send a recording to your friends. If you've downloaded the new update you can tap the + button next to the box where you input a message, then tap Record, speak your message and then send it off.

But that's only the start of the voice capabilities Facebook is thinking about. In Canada, Facebook is testing live calls using Voice over IP (VoIP) calling similar to Skype. If you have the iPhone app and live in Canada you can tap the "i" button in the corner of the app and tap "Free Call." You can then make a free call to a Facebook friend who is using the same app. You can't call landline or cellphone numbers.

The system can work over 3G and 4G cellular networks, but it's cheaper if you use Wi-Fi. If you are on a cellular network it will eat at your data plan.

Facebook didn't make a big announcement about the services, but it's a very big move for the social networking company. While Facebook declined to comment on whether it would come to the U.S. or if they could charge for the service, it is a step into voice calling for the company. Not only could that be ultimately disruptive for cellular carriers that offer monthly calling packages, it represents an alternative revenue stream for Facebook.

This is just one of many mobile announcements Facebook has made in the past few months. It upgraded both its iPhone and Android apps to make them faster and it released is new Poke app, which destroys messages 10 seconds or less after you look at them.

In addition to its main app and its Poke app, Facebook also has a Facebook Camera app. You'll also recall that Facebook bought Instagram in April 2012.

Rumors of a Facebook branded phone have swirled around for quite a while now. The New York Times and AllThingsD both reported that the company had internal plans to build its own hardware. However, Mark Zuckerberg denied the rumor in July.

"There are a lot of things you can build in other operating systems as well that aren't really taking, that aren't really like building out a whole phone, which wouldn't make much sense for us to do," he said on an earnings call.

That might make sense, but with all of its apps and now voice features, it sure looks like Facebook is transforming our phones into Facebook phones or it's building its own right in front of our faces.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug272012

Apple v. Samsung: What the Verdict Means for You and the Tech Industry

SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The verdict in the landmark Apple v. Samsung case was a major win for Apple -- the jury finding that many of Samsung's phones and tablets copied Apple's iPhone and iPad, and recommended that Samsung pay Apple over $1 billion in damages.

But it's not just Samsung that is going to pay and it's certainly not just about money (although Samsung's stock price has dropped over the past few days). The impact could ripple out from the company to the rest of the mobile industry, and ultimately to the technology you buy or own.

There's one thing many industry analysts agree on in the wake of the verdict: there's going to have to be more innovation in mobile devices. Plain and simple: products will have to start to look different from the iPhone and iPad.

"The jury reaffirmed Apple's claim that the design may be obvious when you see it but it takes work, vision and refinement to make it all come together as an experience. At the moment the only handset vendors that probably aren't concerned long term are Nokia and RIM," Michael Gartenberg, research director at the market research firm Gartner, told ABC News.

"With Apple patents being upheld, this will force the larger industry toward greater innovation and differentiation. If you're a CE [consumer electronics] vendor thinking of 'borrowing' any aspect of Apple design, you might want to think twice."

Nilay Patel, a former patent attorney and managing editor of The Verge, a technology publication, has said the same, and points out that Apple's competitors have already begun to change their new products to protect themselves.

"I think Apple's proven that its case about copying is very strong; we are already seeing software features change," Patel told ABC News. "I am sure we are going to see other software changes. I also believe we are going to see a highly differentiated hardware design."

During the trial, Apple's lawyers pointed to phones made by Nokia -- the Lumia 900 in particular -- to illustrate its point that not all phones had to be made to look like the iPhone.

Google's Android operating system was a center point in this trial. It is used in more mobile devices than any other, including all the Samsung products in dispute in this case. A number of Android features, including the way users have to move their fingers to zoom in or out on their screens, were found to infringe on Apple's patents.

"I think Apple's ultimate target is not just Samsung but the Android ecosystem. They view Google as their ultimate competitor, this is a setback for all of Android," Mark Lemley, a law professor at Stanford University, told ABC News.

With that in mind, some analysts believe that could be a major boon for Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system.

"The Samsung-Apple verdict was good for Microsoft's Windows Phone," said Patrick Moorhead, president of Moor Insights, in an interview with ABC News. "Not only is Microsoft free and clear of legal encumbrances, the once 'free' Android is looking more expensive every day when you add the Microsoft license fee plus a potential Apple license fee."

Microsoft employees even tweeted that reaction after the verdict was announced. "Windows Phone is looking gooooood right now," Bill Cox,  Sr. Director of Marketing Communications for the Windows Phone, tweeted after the verdict. Microsoft's next version of Windows Phone -- Windows Phone 8 -- is expected to hit in the next couple of weeks. Popular Android handset makers, including Samsung and HTC, already sell Windows Phone devices.

Google, on the other hand, said it doesn't believe the verdict will have far-reaching impact on its operating system. "The court of appeals will review both infringement and the validity of the patent claims. Most of these don't relate to the core Android operating system, and several are being re-examined by the U.S. Patent Office," Google said in a statement.

But those are longer-term changes. More immediately, there is a good chance that Samsung products that infringed on Apple's patents will be pulled from store shelves as Apple has been seeking an injunction against their sale.

Since the law moves slowly, though, many of the products in question aren't on the market anymore. Today Apple announced it is seeking a ban on the following Samsung phones: Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S2 (AT&T), Galaxy S2 (Skyrocket), Galaxy S2 (T-Mobile), Galaxy S2 Epic 4G, Galaxy S Showcase, Droid Charge and the Galaxy Prevail. The Galaxy S2 phone is no longer available at many carriers; the new Galaxy S III and Galaxy Nexus hadn't been released yet when the suit was filed, and were not considered in this case.

That said, Lemley believes Apple will attempt to go after those newer handsets in the injunction. "Is it limited just to these products or does it prevent Samsung from implementing it into other products?" Lemley said.

Samsung could also be forced to make software updates to existing products to alter some of the features cited in the suit. Samsung was forced to issue an update on its Galaxy Nexus phone earlier this summer for similar reasons.

But if you have a Samsung phone, don't toss it just yet. Before all of this happens, Samsung is expected to appeal the decision.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul052012

Galaxy Nexus Android Phone Banned in Apple-Samsung Patent Case

Apple/Samsung/Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While Apple and Samsung’s phones and tablets battle it out on store shelves, the companies (along with Google) have been battling it out in the courtroom in ongoing patent disputes.

Apple has accused Samsung and Google with its Android software of copying the workings of its iPhones and iPads. Earlier this week the dispute came to a head as a California judge granted Apple an injunction — banning the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus smartphone until the case is argued.

“In sum, Apple has shown a likelihood of establishing both infringement and validity,” Judge Lucy Koh wrote in granting the injunction. The judge ordered Apple to post a $96 million bond for the injunction to take effect. Apple posted the money on Tuesday, making it illegal for the Galaxy Nexus phone to be sold in the U.S.

Samsung filed a motion to stay the ban, but Koh denied the request.

The Galaxy Nexus was the first phone to ship with Google’s Android 4.0 operating system, known as Ice Cream Sandwich.

The injunction is primarily over the “Quick Search Box” found on the Galaxy Nexus, a feature that allows users to search the phone’s memory and the web at once. Apple said it already holds a patent for a “universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system.”

On Monday night the Galaxy Nexus phone was pulled from Google’s Play Store.

“Samsung is disappointed with the court’s decision that denied our motion to stay. We believe today’s ruling will ultimately reduce the availability of superior products to consumers in the United States,” a Samsung spokesperson told ABC News. “We will continue to pursue an appeal of the Galaxy Nexus preliminary injunction, which we filed on July 2 to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Meanwhile, we are also working closely with Google to resolve this matter, as the patent in question concerns Google’s unified search function.”

Google told the technology site The Verge that it planned to issue a software update that would fix some of the disputed patent issues. The update, the company said, would disable users’ ability to search the phone and just allow them to search the web. Thursday afternoon, no such update had been sent out to Galaxy Nexus phones. Google did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Apple’s patent war with Google and Samsung continues.  While Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that he doesn’t enjoy the litigation and went as far to call it a “pain in the ass,” he also said, “We just don’t want people ripping us off.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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