Google has come out unscathed from a lawsuit in which consumers accused the company of anti-competitive practices. The basic allegation was that Google requires manufacturers to use a Google version of Android and that the way they place their own apps at the forefront has increased prices and prevented potential rivals from emerging. The main issue is the stipulation that Google's search be default in order to preload Play Services on Android devices.
Ah, February: the time when mobile hardware leaks spring out of the ground like daisies. It looks like Thai gadget site MXPhone has gotten its hands on portions of the Mobile World Congress phone lineup from Lenovo weeks ahead of the event, giving us a tantalizing look at the company's hardware plans for the next several months. Of course, it's possible that at least some of the Vibe phones on display below will never leave China, and the chance of any of them coming to the US market is basically zero.
Google has revealed their intention to roll out a new YouTube app just for kids, starting next week. It will be aptly named YouTube Kids and is geared towards those 10 years old or younger. Perhaps most interesting for non-children is that the app, at least initially, will be released exclusively on Android.
Image by USA Today
It features a fairly dumbed-down user interface that will leverage Google's voice recognition rather than rely on the spelling abilities of young children.
A couple of days ago, we reported that NVIDIA was pushing update 2.2 to SHIELD Tablet units. For the most part, the update is a good one – it brings more GRID games, improved battery life, broader support for high performance chargers, and overall performance enhancements. Those are all the makings of an excellent update, no doubt.
However, a small number of users are experiencing weird color reproduction issues on their tablets, mostly with bright colors like red and orange – they just look dull post-update.
Sprint has announced that it will begin offering the LG G Flex 2 on March 13th. People with their hearts set on this curved poster child will be able to place a pre-order starting tomorrow, February 20th. The phone will go for twenty-four payments of $12 or $504 altogether, and it will be available in Platinum Silver or Volcano Red (a Sprint exclusive).
The G Flex 2 isn't quite the sequel to last year's model that you would expect.
There have been a number of rumors regarding Samsung's intention to build its own mobile payment platform to compete with Apple and Google, and maybe now we know how. The Korean company just bought mobile payment start up LoopPay for an undisclosed sum. Using LoopPay is a little like NFC, but it works on 90% of payment kiosks using standard magnetic stripe readers.
Last month an interesting rumor circulated on El Androide Libre. According to a tipster who got in touch with Libre by email, Google was working on a new service called Tablescape - an apparent extension of Google+ aimed at foodie photographers.
Information was relatively sparse (we don't know, for instance, when the service may debut if at all), but the tipster provided Libre with plenty of screenshots, showing a stream reminiscent of Google+, with posts, content creation, and awesome iconography for food categories.
Yandex is often called "the Google of Russia," for pretty obvious reasons: it owns and operates the largest search engine (by market share) in the country, and it has expanded into familiar markets like webmail, online video, mapping services, and even an app store. Still, Yandex has found that Google's hold on Android is basically unshakeable at this point, so the company has resolved to take advantage of Android's open source nature and provide superior alternatives to its customers.