Google's long, slow journey towards bringing Play Store media to all corners of the globe has advanced another step today: the Movies section has opened up to Android and web users in Italy. Italian readers can check the Play Store on their phone, tablet, or PC to see what's available for rent or purchase. At present it looks like most of the major American studios are on board for the new territory.
It's about bloody time. Starting today, some of HBO's most popular currently-running original programming is available for purchase on the Google Play Store. For starters the fantasy drama Game of Thrones (seasons one and two), urban fantasy True Blood (seasons one through five), and political drama The Newsroom (season one) are available. Episodes are $2.99 for the dramas and $1.99 for The Newsroom, with small discounts for buying a full season.
You hear a lot of reports about malware and other undesirable third-party apps these days, especially from security researchers (and people who want to sell you something to make you feel safe). It's undeniable that malicious apps are a problem on an open system, but new data from Google indicates that the amount of actual harm being done might be negligible. QZ.com reports on a presentation from Google's Android Security Chief Adrian Ludwig at the Virus Conference in Berlin.
Korean readers, there's good news tonight... or more accurately tomorrow afternoon. The new Nexus 7 has gone on sale in the South Korean Google Play Store, or at least the WiFi version has. You can pick up a 16GB tablet for 329,000 won, which works out to just over $300 USD. The 32GB model is going for 369,000 won, about $340. According to this page, the LTE version that just launched in the US is coming soon, though there's no price.
Nearly all the attention for reader-tablet hybrids goes to Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but today the Toronto-based Kobo is making a compelling case for their share of the market. The company announced three new tablets: the Arc 7, Arc 7HD, and Arc 10HD, set for release on October 16th. The three models are roughly analogous to the latest Kindle Fire, Fire HD, and Fire HD 8.9, but they've got two distinct advantages: they run Android 4.2.2, and they've got access to the Google Play Store.
A couple of weeks ago, Play Store users started receiving frustrating errors when downloading or updating apps. The bug flashed a dialog reading "Package file is invalid" after refusing to download an app. It seemed to affect people and apps randomly. Google marked the issue as "resolved" on the Play support page on August 13th, but it has been moved back into the Known Issues list.
A casual search on the social networks reveals that more than a few users are still experiencing the issue, though it doesn't seem to be as widespread as before.
Good evening, Australian readers. If you're reading this story right after it's posted, it's very nearly Wednesday by your clock, and you're one day closer to getting Google Play gift cards down under. The Google Play support page for gift cards was recently updated to include Australia, saying that prepaid cards will be available in denominations of $20, $30, and $50 AUD.
The cards themselves don't seem to be on store shelves just at the moment, but according to an anonymous tip sent to Ausdroid, they've already been sent to a "national supermarket chain" and are awaiting an official rollout on Monday, August 26th.
Remember when Google's app verification and malware scanning service debuted with Android 4.2? No? Well, that's probably because statistically speaking, you're likely to be one of the 95% of Android users rocking 4.1 or earlier. To help address this, it looks like Google has moved the Verify Apps system to Google Play Services, which at this point should be installed on all Google Play Store-equipped Android devices running Gingerbread or higher.
The Nexus 7 has been a solid little workhorse, but now that the next generation is in, it's time to put it out to pasture. The original Nexus tablet is no longer available for purchase in the U.S. This is just a bit surprising - I had expected Google to try and get the last bit of stock out with a closeout sale. The various pages for the 16GB and 32GB models plus the AT&T and T-Mobile 3G versions are still up, but there's no option to buy.
A lot of little things got the axe in Google's latest redesign of the Play Store website. Most don't seem to be coming back (oh how we miss you, 30-day download chart!) but one of the most useful ones for browsing has been resurrected. You can now narrow search for apps based on their free or paid status: just click the drop-down menu next to "Android Apps," which is set to "All prices" by default.