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[Updated: Fourth] Xiaomi Becomes The World's Third Largest Smartphone Manufacturer, Celebrates With A Jolly Super MiTu

Xiaomi isn't letting its devices' limited geographical availability get in the way of its heated competition with other brands for worldwide smartphone sales. As reported by both the IDC and Strategy Analytics, the Chinese manufacturer has shipped the third most smartphones in the world in Q3 2014, leapfrogging LG, Lenovo, and Huawei, and only trailing behind Samsung and Apple.

This shouldn't come as a surprise: Xiaomi has been on a roll for the past year. Before snatching the third global spot, it had already surpassed LG as the world's fifth largest smartphone manufacturer in Q2 2014 — only three months ago.

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Google Updates Play Games SDK With Real Time Multiplayer For Cross-Platform C++ SDK, Dev Console Improvements, And More

Excitement over products like the Ouya, nVidia's Shield line, and even numerous gamepads proves that gaming on Android has entered the mainstream. Developers have been jumping at the opportunity to build games that work across many of the different operating systems; and thanks to the Cross-Platform SDK, they're able to integrate most of the Play Games services into their products on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Until now, this SDK has lagged behind the SDKs for Android and iOS on one specific feature: real-time multiplayer support. As of today, Google is rectifying this oversight and making a number of other improvements with updates to the Play Games SDKs, along with some new features in the Google Play Developer Console.

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[New App] ViaProtect Gives A Basic Look At Where Android Apps Are Sending Your Data

No one app is going to make an Android device immediately safe from any and all threats, but some can make it easier to remain ever vigilant. viaProtect may one day be such a app. This piece of software gives you a basic idea where the apps installed on your phone or tablet are sending your information. It doesn't go into specifics, but it will at least show you how much of your traffic is encrypted and some other security-related information.

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Perhaps more interestingly, viaProtect offers a look at what companies' servers your data is speeding off to and where they reside in the world.

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PowerLine Is The OSD For People With OCD, But It Will Probably Make Matias Duarte Cry

I really enjoy having a great looking home screen with a good balance of colors and very little distraction. But I felt like destroying something beautiful by splashing tons of brightly colored pixels everywhere. The app responsible for this is PowerLine, an on-screen display that uses persistent lines to keep you apprised of almost any live stat you could ever ask for. This comes to us from Urbandroid Team, the developers of Sleep as Android.

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This isn't a brand new idea by any means, and battery bars like this reach all the way back to the Windows Mobile days. Plenty of ROMs and apps deliver similar features, but few of them offer quite as much customization or as many stats.

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AppAnnie: Play Store Downloads Reach Nearly 90% Of App Store Levels, iOS Still Bringing In 2.6x Revenue

Back in January, we learned that if you want to be a developer and avoid leaving money on the table, you need to be on both Android and iOS. One or the other isn't going to cut it. However, according to AppAnnie, if you have to choose just one platform, Android is still struggling to prove it's the one you should go with.

According to the report, Play Store downloads are nearing App Store levels, reaching close to 90% as much as the iOS store. Unfortunately, equal exposure isn't quite translating to equal revenue. As it turns out, Apple's platform is still bringing in about 2.6 times as much revenue as Google's counterpart.

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[Update: Never Mind!] CyanogenMod Will No Longer Allow Opting Out Of CM Stats – Cyanogen Says To Chill

Update: So, scratch all that. Steve Kondik took to G+ today to say that CM will return the opt-out option and will not require users to share data. Though it's with a heavy heart, it seems. Expressing some exasperation, he had this to say on the matter:

It's incredibly frustrating that a handful of incredibly vocal users are ready to "fork" over the issue. News flash: there are already a hundred forks of CM... In the end though, we should respect everyone's wishes here.

CyanogenMod is one of the most popular Android ROMs as far as anyone can tell. It's actually hard to know for sure.

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Google Releases Android Platform Distribution Numbers For March With New Collection Method – Gingerbread Down To 39.8%, Jelly Bean Hits 25%

Well, it's that time again – time for the monthly update to Android's Platform Distribution Numbers. Each month, Google publishes the latest figures, letting developers know what versions of Android are currently dominating active devices.

This month, we're seeing a familiar pattern – Gingerbread is continuing its slow descent, hitting 39.8%, down from 44.2% this time last month. Meanwhile the latest and greatest – Jelly Bean – accounts for exactly 25% of the overall distribution, meaning it's finally hit one quarter of all tallied devices. That, for those interested, marks a nearly 9% jump from last month's 16.5% figure.

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Ice Cream Sandwich is still strangely climbing, hitting 29.3% up from 28.6% in February.

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Millenial Media: Samsung Ad Impressions Market Share Doubled In Last Year While HTC And Motorola Halved

If you needed any clearer indication that Samsung basically owns the Android world while HTC and Motorola are in trouble, maybe this will help. According to Millenial Media, a mobile advertising firm, ad impressions on its platform from Samsung handsets shot up from 23% to 46% in the last year. Meanwhile, HTC plummeted from 32% to 16%, while Moto dropped from 22% to 11%. This is a massive change.

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Now, before we go getting bent out of shape over this, let's clarify a couple things. First off, this is coming from ad impressions. What that means is that it has no tangible relationship to units sold or profits made by a company.

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Google+ Is The 'Fastest Growing Network Thingy Ever': 500m Users Upgraded, 235m Active Across Web, 135m In The Stream

As if the news out of Google couldn't get any hotter today, the company decided to just casually announce that it has over 500 million users with Google+ accounts, 235 million of whom are active "across Google" which means anything from +1ing things in various Google products to "connecting with friends in Search"...whatever that means. The most important stat, though, is 135 million users are active in the stream. That means, if we can assume past definitions are still true, those users either visit plus.google.com or use the mobile app to view content.

In other words, it's time to stop pretending that Google+ is a ghost town.

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