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[Hands-On] Google Announces MODE 'Snap-And-Go' Watchbands For Android Wear

Google already sells various Android Wear devices in the Google Store, but now it's getting into the accessory game with the MODE watchbands. These watchbands are on sale today in leather and silicone varieties and will work on any watch (Android Wear or other) that uses standard lugs. They're designed to be easily swapped with a new clip system, but they're not cheap. Google is asking $50 for the silicone ones and $60 for leather.

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[APK Teardown] Advanced Camera Mode, Photo Sphere Live Wallpaper, And More Hiding In Google Camera

Most of the time, we execute APK teardowns by comparing the code of older app versions to an updated version. Newly released apps can hold juicy information too, though. We've quickly taken apart Google's newly released camera app and discovered a few tidbits worth mentioning.

Our primary target for this teardown is the strings file. This file holds a wealth of strings not yet revealed in the interface that look like they'll bring missing features back and add some new ones, too.

Photo Sphere Live Wallpaper

One of the most exciting finds in the strings file is reference to "featured" photo spheres, and displaying photo spheres as live wallpapers.

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New Google Play Services Also Introduces Photo Sphere 'Compass Mode' Just Like Streetview [Updated]

It looks like the new Google Play Services rolling out today held one more surprise besides hints of Android Device Manager. With the latest update, Android's Photo Sphere viewer can make use of the on-board compass, allowing you to navigate a sphere just by moving your device, much like Streetview's "Compass Mode."

To enter compass mode, users need only press the arrow icon in the lower left corner of the screen. The icon automatically disappears when you aren't touching the screen, allowing you to look at the sphere uninterrupted.

crop

This is a small enhancement, but one that makes Photo Spheres just that much more awesome.

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[New App] Voice, Text Translator Vocre Comes To Android, Signature 'Table-Top UI' In Tow

Vocre, a voice and text translator that won audience choice in TechCrunch's Disrupt, came to Android today, bringing with it a promising challenger to Google's own Translate app and a "tabletop UI" meant specifically for extended conversations with those on either side of the language barrier.

As shown in the video above, Vocre's interface is exceedingly simple. Users need only select languages and genders, then record their message, check for accuracy, and let the app do the rest. Vocre, for those curious, uses Nuance services to translate your words as a text string, returning results (with pretty reliable accuracy) in the desired language.

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Aby Escape Lands On Android, Perpetuates Stereotypes That All Raccoons Are Thieves On The Run

Yes, this is a story about a running game that was popular on iOS now arriving on Android. No, it's not that one. Or that one. This one is called Aby Escape. In this game, you play as a raccoon attempting to escape from a hunter, a cop, and...a biker? Sure, I guess they chase raccoons. Who says they can't? And just to prove it, this raccoon, Aby, is going to run like mad from all of these pursuers.

If you've played a running game before, you know the drill. Avoid obstacles, collect things, and don't get caught. This iteration of the genre also includes a story mode that promises you will laugh.

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[Updated] Froyo For Samsung Epic 4G Now Available To Download [Hands-On] [Instructions]

Update: A Sprint official has just posted on the Samsung Epic forums saying that this is not the final version of Froyo for the Epic. What's more, he gave one commenter an ETA of about three weeks. Ridiculous, isn't it?

Below is a statement from the Epic Product Manager regarding the leaked release (DK28):

Sprint is working on a software package for the Samsung Epic4G that will upgrade it to the Froyo version of Android.  Over the weekend, some users were able to access and download a test build (DK28) for the Samsung Epic from some 3rd party developer sites.  Unfortunately, this is not approved software for Sprint production devices and we strongly recommend that users refrain from loading it.

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Coming Soon To CyanogenMod: Drunk Mode

Remember when a new piece of code hit Gmail Labs called Mail Goggles - the one that made you do a few math problems before emailing somebody at pre-determined time-frames (such as late at night on the weekends)? Today, Brian was browsing the CyanogenMod (CM) Gerrit and noticed a new series of code - similar to Mail Goggles - has been added: Drunk Mode.

drunkmode

As I'm not a developer, I haven't the slightest idea how it works (and Brian is "in drunk mode" himself) - but I'd guess the "professional" in the description provides something of a hint. Also noteworthy: it has yet to be officially approved, although Cyanogen himself seems to be on-board with it, saying "This is hilarious and awesome, and I would take this feature..."

Now if only they could figure out something to prevent beer goggles....

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