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Wall Street Journal Reports That Amazon Has Downsized The Fire Phone Team, Surprising No One

Amazon's Fire Phone, the logical smartphone extension of its Kindle Fire tablet series, is a dud. A combination of lackluster reviews, carrier semi-exclusivity, and most of all being tied into Amazon's app and service environment have made it more or less a total failure. The company never publishes hard data for its hardware sales, but casual observation and constant discounts (sometimes more than $500 off of the original $650 off-contract price) imply that the product has been a wash.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon isn't eager to continue in the phone market. According to the paper, "dozens" of engineers in the Lab126 hardware team have been laid off.

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Report: Google Plans To 'Reboot' Android One In India With Phones Priced Below RS3000

Android One is an exciting program. Inexpensive devices with standard hardware running stock Android, with lightning-fast updates straight from Google - what's not to like? But according to a report this weekend, Android One hasn't been as successful in its premiere market as Google would have liked. The Financial Times, in an interview with Google's managing director for India and Southwest Asia, reports that big changes are coming to the series. First up: even cheaper Android-powered phones.

When One launched in India last year, the first set of phones were sold at around the 5000 Rupee mark - somewhere in the $80 range in USD.

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[Move Along, Move Along] Verizon-Sponsored Report Says That Caps Are Awesome And Customers Shouldn't Want Unlimited Data Anyway

Quick poll, Verizon customers: what's the one thing you want from America's most-hated (but admittedly most reliable) wireless carrier? OK, now those who are clamoring for phones with unlockable bootloaders, sit down - everyone left standing wants unlimited data. But you shouldn't, at least not according to Verizon shill Jack Gold.

OK, so maybe it's not fair to call Mr. Gold (seriously, that's his actual name) a shill. He's an analyst, founder and president of J. Gold Associates, LLC. The fact that he appears to be the only one doing any analysis, and that the website of this "technology industry analyst firm" looks like something from 1998, should probably raise some alarms for anyone looking to get some research done.

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Report: Google Is Working On 'Micro App' Trials To Boost Paid Downloads In The Play Store

Whenever we post a story about a new app or game that has had a considerable delay in coming from iOS to Android, we get commenters asking us what took so long, or even saying that they won't download it because of the delay. We get it, and it's no less frustrating on our side. But despite Android's market share and sales dominance, developers continue to prioritize iOS. Various studies and statistical presentations say (with increasing repetition) that this is because people spend more money on the App Store than on the Play Store. It's hard to argue with the numbers.

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Android Dominates With 85% of Smartphone Sales In Q2, While The European Commission Prepares A Monopoly Investigation

At this point, it's essentially impossible to deny that Android is beating other mobile operating systems with a big market share stick. According to a report issued by Strategy Analytics, phone manufacturers sold a combined 295.2 million smartphones worldwide in the second quarter of 2014, 249.6 million of which ran Android. That gives Google's OS a staggering 84.6% of the market share for new devices, up from 80.2% the previous year.

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Apple is still in an easy but distant second place, with 35.2 million iPhones sold, accounting for the largest portion of the remaining market with 11.9%. Apple's sales rose from last year, but total market share fell.

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Wall Street Journal: Google Plans To Send 180 Satellites Into FREAKIN' SPACE To Offer Internet Service To Remote Areas

Recently, Google's ambitious and public-spirited ventures are sounding less like the careful expansions of an international megacorp and more like the pet projects of Dr. Benton Quest. Self-driving cars, medical contact lenses, industrial robots - seriously, we're just waiting on a Walking Eye and Steve Ballmer in a villain costume at this point. The latest report from the Wall Street Journal (which tends to be spot-on when it comes to Google's plans) says the company is preparing a fleet of low-orbit satellites that will deliver Internet access.

Yes, really. According to the WSJ, recent Google hire Greg Wyler, founder of O3b Networks, is laying the groundwork for a plan to expand Internet service to super-remote locations that are currently underserved.

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Report: More Sources Claim Google's "Android Silver" Premium Phone Hardware Plan Is Underway

Earlier this month Android Police reported on Android Silver, a possible upcoming push into premium hardware from Google and its partners. Android Silver would see Google selecting high-end Android phones with standardized software to promote both itself and through conventional retail channels. According to a new report from Amir Efrati at The Information, the Silver program is still well underway and aimed to take on the iPhone at the top of the phone market.

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Based on the information in our previous post, the Silver program consists of very specific goals for hardware, software, and promotion. Google would select up to five phones at a time (either existing models or phones made specifically for the Silver Program), using criteria that includes the latest version of Android with little to no software modification.

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Report: Former Nest Employees Will Become Google's Primary Hardware Team

Fans of Google in general and Android in particular are still reeling from yesterday's announcement that Motorola is being sold to Lenovo. Google acquired Moto just two years ago, and while its time within Google has been beneficial, it's clearly not going to become the official mobile hardware arm that many had hoped for. But there's no reason to think that the big G is out of the hardware game altogether - in fact, at least one report says that another recent acquisition may be accelerating it.

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Left to right: Nest VP of Engineering Matt Rogers, Google CEO Larry Page, Nest CEO Tony Fadell.

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State Of Security Report: The 100 Top Paid Android Apps For 2013 Have Been Cracked

Even casual observers of the Android ecosystem know that piracy is a big issue for developers. But if a report from mobile security company Arxan is to be believed, app piracy and "hacking" is incredibly prevalent, or at least prevalent enough that most of the popular apps are available in a pirated or cracked form. According to the company's "State of Security in the App Economy" report for 2013 (PDF link), the top 100 paid Android apps have been "hacked."

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We used "cracked" in the headline because Arxan doesn't mention the purpose behind these hacks, so we're assuming that in most cases they're free, pirated versions of paid apps.

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[I/O 2013] Google Gives Developers A 'Better Distribution Experience' In Revised Play Store Console Coming 'This Summer'

Between Hangouts, the gorgeous new Maps, Play Music All Access, and everything else discussed in I/O's opening keynote this morning, several revisions to the Play Store developer's console were announced.

Perhaps the most interesting addition to the console will be an organized method for alpha and beta testing, and staged rollouts.  Basically, developers can select alpha and beta testers, receiving all feedback directly (instead of through reviews) and, when the time comes, roll out the app to certain percentages of the user base.

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The changes also include a major help in ensuring your apps make sense to international users – a full translation service by which developers can order specific translations, come back a week or so later, and download the translations directly from the console.

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