Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

09
Jan
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Last Updated: January 12th, 2014

Update: You will find several mirrors of the APK below for manual flashing.

Google Play Services 4.0 was released in late October just after the Nexus 5 and Kit Kat became official, bringing with it plenty of improvements to things like Google+ sign-in, Wallet, Location services, and more.

Today, via the Android Developers Blog, Google announced the rollout of Google Play Services 4.1, which offers developers more and better tools to make compelling apps.

09
Jan
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Described by the Wall Street Journal as "a vulnerability that could allow malicious software to track emails and record data communications," a potential vulnerability in Samsung's Knox platform was discovered in late December by researchers at Israel's Ben-Gurion University. The researchers said the vulnerability would allow those with malicious intent to "easily intercept" secure data from Knox users. Samsung's initial response was that the problem may be less serious than researchers implied, and that it would investigate the situation thoroughly.

04
Jan
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Getting in some early news, Samsung has - as part of CES 2014 - announced its new Samsung Smart Home service, a means by which users will be able to control all their connected home appliances (from refrigerators to air conditioners to smart light bulbs) through a single app on their compatible smartphone, tablet, smart TV, or wearable device.

To start, the service will cover three main areas, which Samsung identifies as Device Control, Home View, and Smart Customer Service.

01
Jan
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If you want a smart watch but aren't compelled by the Galaxy Gear or enamored with the Pebble, there are other options out there to sate your desire. One of those options is Sony's Smart Watch 2. Best Buy is offering the second iteration of Sony's smart watch effort for $159.99, forty dollars off its normal price from the retailer, and thirty dollars off its price at Amazon.

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With a 1.6" transflective LCD display (which, unlike regular LCD displays, actually reflects and transmits light), IP57-certified water resistance, and a design language reminiscent of Sony's Xperia devices, the Smart Watch 2 isn't a bad choice for those looking to try a wrist-mounted wearable.

25
Dec
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Amid the flurry of new devices quietly launched recently, Google released a new Nexus accessory - a folio case for the Nexus 7 (2013). Despite my varied experiences with Nexus accessories, I'm always eager to see what Google thinks will work best with their devices. I'm particularly interested in tablet accessories. Tablets are meant to be super portable and usable anywhere, so making an accessory that retains the appeal of the device's form factor while also adding some utility is an interesting challenge.

20
Dec
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Just a few days ago, Google Glass got a hefty update to XE12 with new Glassware, a new (official) wink gesture for taking photos, a lock screen, and other tweaks.

As expected, the Glass team has made the update's system image available for download from the Glass developers website.

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The download table has also been given a fresh coat of paint with a new column dedicated to checksums. The update, which weighs in at 344MB can be downloaded by hitting the link below.

18
Dec
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Earlier today, we published a first look at what we believed to be a Yahoo!-made competitor to voice assistants like Google Now and Siri. The video, sent to us by an anonymous tipster along with screenshots showed what looked to be a very impressive app with an implementation similar to Facebook's Chat Heads, whereby a Y! icon would constantly float on the home screen waiting to be activated.

This evening, TechCrunch learned through a source "familiar with Yahoo's internal projects" that the app wasn't real, implying the video was nothing more than a really nice concept demo.

18
Dec
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Update 2: According to TechCrunch, and Co-Founder/CEO of natural language processing startup Robin Labs, the app is a real, functional product built on the startup's "white-label" voice assistant platform. While it was not commissioned by Yahoo!, it was created during ongoing discussions with the company. Read the full story here.

Update: According to TechCrunch, who has a source "familiar with Yahoo's internal projects," the video doesn't depict a real Yahoo!

17
Dec
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Glass has just gotten a nice update to XE12, which besides foretelling the long-awaited iOS app, brings with it new Glassware, gestures, and questions.

Perhaps most important, the update introduces new glassware for Hangouts. Not being able to interact with the service by sending and receiving messages has been an elephant in the room for Glass from the beginning, so it's great to see that compatibility has finally arrived. The glassware will also take over Glass' video call capabilities, and allow users to send photos too.

17
Dec
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Yesterday, The Information reported that Google is rumored to be working on smart thermostats, in a renewed bid to help users manage their home energy (and interior climate). Information on the project is sparse so far, but Google hopes it will be a successful follow-up to the unsuccessful PowerMeter, a service that was killed off due to apparent scaling difficulties.

Thanks to a tipster who is - we know you've heard this before - familiar with the matter, we've got an early glimpse into Google's upcoming thermostat foray - we've got a few new details and a look at the service's Android app.

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