Several days ago, I started a series of rumor posts on my personal Google+ account discussing some Android rumors I felt were interesting enough to share, but didn't feel confident enough yet to do so here on the site. The posts were heavily prefixed with disclaimers that none of them may turn out to be true but that I had a certain level of confidence to talk about them in public unofficially.
Charging up phones, tablets, Bluetooth accessories, and external batteries can be a logistical nightmare. As someone who reviews phones (I had, no joke, 9 Android devices on my desk last week at one point), it's a problem that has driven me to the edge of sanity on multiple occasions. As such, I never travel far without a trusty USB wall charger and a portable power strip. The thing is, though, until recently, I wasn't exactly on top of charging my stuff, especially at home (aka work).
Maybe you've never really noticed the sponsored shopping results that pop up in Google searches, but Google is aiming to change that by making those ads more relevant to your physical location. The search giant is rolling out local shopping results that guide users to nearby brick-and-mortar stores. In fact, you may already have them in your search results.
The shopping results that appear on both mobile and desktop searches may now open a dedicated local storefront when clicked.
Cloud storage providers like Dropbox, SugarSync, and Google Drive all have free apps available in the Play Store, but none of these sync up with folders saved on your Android device's internal memory the way their desktop clients do. For that functionality, look no further than FolderSync. This aptly named app can sync folders with over ten different cloud storage services, and version 2.5 adds another option, Copy.com, to the list.
Even with Microsoft pulling Skype's strings, there are still updates coming to the Android version of the app. Skype 4.4 brings the usual collection of bug fixes and tweaks, but there's also a new tablet UI and improved video quality for all Android devices.
The updated tablet UI will emphasize conversations by displaying your most recent calls and chats with each contact entry. The look and feel has been streamlined a bit too.
Google's just posted up the release notes for the latest monthly Glass update - XE10 - and it brings a few significant new features. First among them is transit directions, which is pretty self-explanatory. Here's what that looks like, along with another new feature, avatars in messages and comments.
Avatars certainly decrease the blandness of the messaging interface, and hey, maybe you forgot who you were messaging and need a visual cue to remember who this person is, or something.
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.
It's been just over a month since our review of the iMpulse Bluetooth Controller was posted. It was not flattering, mostly due to what I considered a fatal oversight in its software: the inability to function as a gamepad recognizable by the default profile in Android 4.0 and later. Black Powder Media, the creators of the Kickstarter hardware, have apparently seen fit to remedy that oversight with the latest firmware.
The beta firmware adds a new profile for the controller which should work with any game that supports external controllers natively; the Kickstarter page states that the developers have tested the firmware with Grand Theft Auto 3, Granny Smith, and Mongo Madness without incident.
Samsung has been cranking out the open source kernel files for the Galaxy Note 3 since before the device launched internationally. While the company didn't release files for every model all at once, if you take a look over at Samsung's open source site, you will find that they've been busy. They uploaded the open source kernel files for the AT&T and Sprint Galaxy Note 3's a couple of days after their release, and they're now upping their game by sharing the open source files for the Verizon Galaxy Note 3 (SM-N900V) a few days ahead of its intended launch date.
Carrier-branded Android tablets in the US are usually offered either at outrageous prices or with a two-year contract (or both - I'm looking at you, AT&T). It's refreshing, then, to see Sprint selling at least one tablet with the conventional subsidized price. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7-inch will go for $49.99 at Sprint stores starting on October 11th, a full $150 less than its WiFi-only counterpart.
Of course, whether or not the Tab 3 is worth even that price is open to interpretation.