Over the summer, Google bought Songza, a music streaming company that provides playlists suited for certain moods and times of day. The Big G has left the service running, but that didn't stop it from integrating the functionality with Play Music several months later. This brought recommended playlists to the "Listen Now" area of the Android app and website for listeners in the US and Canada. Now the functionality has expanded to the UK.
OK, European readers. We know Google doesn't always put a rush on features and products outside of the United States. America got lane guidance (which tells you which lane to get into before you approach a turn or exit) way back in May. It looks like US roads were the only ones on which this feature was available, at least until yesterday, when Google announced lane guidance for some European countries on the official Google Europe blog.
Google appears to have turned on carrier billing support for Three customers in the UK. Though the company has not yet appeared on Google's page of listed partners, a reader has submitted a screenshot of the Play Store giving them the option to pay for Sons of Anarchy later on when their Three bill arrives.
I've been writing about Android phones for over three years, and I'm going to be honest: I still think I'm pronouncing "Huawei" wrong. (Wah-way. WAA-whey. Hoo-waa-way.) Huawei is perfectly aware that their branding outside of Asia isn't exactly stellar, and it looks like they're taking steps to improve it. Say hello to "Honor," a new Huawei sub-brand introduced to Europe this week. The first phone launched under the label will be the Honor 6.
You won't find a Phones 4u store anywhere on Main Street USA, but our United Kingdom readers are probably quite familiar with the mobile-focused retailer. Alas, they might not be seeing them for long. The BBC reports that the company is in administration (similar to bankruptcy) after UK carrier EE decided not to renew its contract with Phones 4u stores on Friday. EE was the last carrier to remain as a partner following Vodafone's exit earlier this month.
There are a lot of people upset with Electronic Arts, and more than a few of them are unhappy about the company's mobile re-release of Dungeon Keeper. Even the CEO called the mobile game, which is riddled with in-app purchases alien to the original, "a shame." But an empty apology is unlikely to placate the United Kingdom's Advertising Standards Authority, which today declared EA's description of the game as "free to play" to be misleading advertising.
Getting your hands (eyes?) on HBO programming isn't the easiest task in the world. The shows traditionally come served as an update to your monthly cable package, aren't available on Netflix, and are slow to come to DVD. Yet here in the US, some of the programming is conveniently available straight from Google Play. You just have to be willing, in the case of Game of Thrones, to part with $2.99 per episode or $28.99 a season.
The recently refreshed ASUS Nexus 7 is now available directly from Google's Play Store in Europe in France, Germany, Japan, Spain, and UK as well as in Asia in Japan. Both 16GB and 32GB Wi-Fi-only variants are being offered - we're still counting down days till the launch of the LTE version.
The 5 new countries join the 2 existing ones (U.S. and Canada) for a grand total of 7.
The pace at which Samsung is pushing out Galaxy S III Jelly Bean updates is picking up steam in Europe with the much anticipated arrival of Android 4.1.1 for unbranded UK handsets. The Brits aren't the only ones getting it today - in fact, the list is quite sizeable. Here, check it out:
- UK unbranded
- Switzerland unbranded
- Luxemburg unbranded (update: supposedly, Belgian S IIIs use the same version too)
- Denmark (Three)
- Bulgaria (Mobiltel)
- Romania (Cosmote)
- Ireland (Meteor, Vodafone)
- Czech Republic (O2)
- Sweden (Tre)
- Croatia (Vipnet)
Not bad at all - looks like the next platform distribution update won't be as depressing.
European O2 and Vodafone Galaxy S III owners, it's finally your turn to check out Jelly Bean first hand. Following last week's updates on Hutchison Whampoa networks (Three/3/H3G), now O2 and Vodafone joined the party and started pushing out Android 4.1.1 to Galaxy S IIIs in at least the following locations:
- O2: United Kingdom, Ireland
- Vodafone: United Kingdom, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany
The Vodafone launch started today right on schedule, as per this post from a few days ago.