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Android Gets Its Very Own Official Xbox LIVE App From Microsoft- In Other News, Pigs Now Fly

Well, this sure came out of left field. Microsoft has released an official Xbox LIVE app for Android! The app can be used to view and modify your 3D Xbox avatar, track your achievements, connect with Xbox LIVE friends, and even get news and information from the Xbox Spotlight feeds. Color us surprised at how fully featured this app is.

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The app has a distinctly Metro UI feel to it, which is unsurprising as Redmond has been keen to slather the vector-based UI on all of its properties these days, but the theme definitely clashes with Android.

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iOS Didn't "Stomp Out" Android, And Both Platforms Are Doing Just Fine

It's inevitable that, when a new version of iOS or Android gets released, the fanboys will come out of the woodwork to mourn the death of their beloved rival. In most cases, it's best to ignore them. However, in most cases, they also aren't the founder of a major tech publication. As such, it feels like Mr. Geller's premature funeral service for Android deserves its own bit of attention because, in the immortal words of Monty Python, Android isn't quite dead yet.

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OpenDESIGN Aims To Bring All The Best Features From Manufacturer Skins To CM9-Compatible Devices

One of the biggest downfalls of major third-party ROMs is that often they miss out on features added by manufacturers. OpenDESIGN is an attempt to rectify this problem, spearheaded by XpLoDWilD of TeamHacksung, a subgroup of the CyanogenMod team. Ultimately, the goal is to rebuild popular and useful manufacturer features and build them into CM9 for all to be able to use.

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The site's FAQ says that these features will be "written from the ground up and will be opensourced early on." This should be extremely helpful for the community as a whole.

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YouTube For GoogleTV Poised To Receive A Slew Of Enhancements Via Update Later This Week

In a post to the official GoogleTV blog earlier today, Product Manager Jurek Foryciarz revealed that Youtube for GoogleTV is set to receive an update "in the next few days," bringing some "big improvements" to the app.

First off, Google touts smoother navigation, and a new feature called "discover," which allows users to find YouTube channels by categories, which range from comedy, to cooking, to news, and more.

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Next up, you can expect the YouTube app to feature channel pages, meaning users can navigate an individual channel's playlists, videos, and subscribe to said channel quickly and easily.

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ADWLauncher EX Receives Huge Update To Version 1.3.3.5 Just In Time For Its Birthday (And Google's 10 Billion Download Celebration)

ADWLauncher EX, one of the most popular launcher replacements on the Market, has received a major update just in time for the app's birthday, and Google's 10 Billion app download celebration, which is set to bring 10 apps a day to the Market for just $0.10 each over the next 10 days. ADWLauncher EX is set to be one of the promoted apps, so new buyers should hold off until it appears in the promotion.

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[Updated] Ice Cream Sandwich Is Finally Official, And Here's What To Expect

Update: This post has been updated with links to a deeper look at each feature. Enjoy!

Holy crap. The Samsung/Google event ended just a little while ago, and I have to say, I'm pretty overwhelmed by the amount of awesome that I just experienced. The Galaxy Nexus is official, as is its counterpart OS: Ice Cream Sandwich. There is no doubt that ICS is the most polished version of Android to date.

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Ice Cream Sandwich Feature Closer Look - Android Beam Proves That NFC Isn't Just For Credit Card Payments

Everyone has been making a big deal about NFC lately - which phones have it, where it can be used, etc. Until last night's announcement, many (including myself) didn't see much on the horizon except a fun way to pay for things using your phone. That perception has changed, however, thanks to Android Beam.

Beam utilizes NFC technology to quickly, seamlessly transfer data from one device to another. As demonstrated last night, one has only to touch the two devices together to send just about anything from web pages, to photos, to apps.

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Ice Cream Sandwich Feature Closer Look - Android's New Camera Packs A Serious Punch, Offering Sophisticated Still And Video Options

One of the features I'm most excited about in Ice Cream Sandwich is the camera. The new camera app really raises the bar, bringing a heap of improvements, as well as plenty of features we haven't seen before.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of ICS' camera is that it has zero shutter lag. That's right - zero. Photos are taken as soon as you hit the shutter button. In last night's demo we got a glimpse of how powerful this is, as the presenter snapped off several images back to back with no wait time in between.

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Ice Cream Sandwich Feature Closer Look - Gmail Gets A Facelift

Gmail, probably the most used app on my Evo 4G, will be getting a major facelift with the introduction of Ice Cream Sandwich, bringing it into line with - and, in some ways, surpassing - its Honeycomb counterpart.

First of all, Gmail for Ice Cream Sandwich features an "action bar" at the bottom of the screen, much like Honeycomb's action bar, which allows users to create messages, search, sync, and more with just one touch.

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Ice Cream Sandwich Feature Closer Look - Live Speech-To-Text Allows Users To Dictate Messages With Even Greater Ease

Android's voice capabilities have always impressed me, giving me the ability to speak to my phone instead of spending time typing. Raising the bar a bit, Google introduced us tonight to live speech-to-text, making message dictation faster and more streamlined than ever.

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Android's new speech-to-text functionality happens completely live, as we saw in tonight's demo. As soon as you start talking, your phone begins typing. It will even wait for you if you take a pause, and add emoticons and punctuation per your request.

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