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Play Store search now lets you filter apps with 4-star ratings or more

Posted by wicked October - 20 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

play store ratings filter (2)

The app section of Google’s Play Store can be like the Wild West at times, what with the barely disguised adware, clone infestation, and plain-old poor quality apps. The low barrier of entry for apps in the Play Store has made possible a rich and varied ecosystem, but we wished Google did a better job at improving app discovery, especially since Google is so good at search in general.

Now Google has taken a step towards improving the app search experience with the addition of a ratings-based filter. You can now limit search results to apps that have a 4-star rating or higher, which, in theory, should weed out most bad or exploitive apps.

play store ratings filter (1)

It probably won’t remove all poor quality apps, for a couple of reasons – this may not catch some new apps with just a handful of reviews, and, second, apps with tons of fake reviews will still go through.

Nevertheless, this small new feature will weed out most blatantly bad apps and is a good addition to an area where Google still has lots of room to improve.

For now, the ratings-based filter is only available in the web version of the Play Store, but Google will probably waste no time bringing it to the Android app as well.


Via: Android Police;

Sony Smartwatch 3 now at the Google Play Store, coming soon

Posted by wicked October - 18 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

Sony has made its desire known to be a major player in the burgeoning market of wearables. Its newest effort is the svelte and sleek-looking Sony Smartwatch 3, which follows in the trail of Motorola’s relatively successful round-face Moto 360. As part of Google’s Android Wear, the wearable device was bound to show up at the Play Store, and it has now.

The Sony Smartwatch 3 was initially launched at IFA 2014, although ship date was always going to be at a later time. As promised, it will come in black or lime colors. The processor is a 1.2GHz quad-core ARM A7 unit operating at 1.2GHz backstopped by 512MB of RAM. The screen is a 1.6-inch 320 x 320 LCD with capacitive touch.

sony_smartwatch_1

Of course, other features include an ambient light sensor, accelerometer, vibrator, compass, gyro, GPS, with NFC and Bluetooth connectivity. The Sony Smartwatch 3 is compatible with Android devices running version 4.3 or better. Internal storage is at 4GB, and the battery is rated at 420mAh, which Sony says is good two days of use.

sony_smartwatch_2

It is still marked as “coming soon” at the Play Store, but the pricing is already revealed at USD$249.99. As to how successful this will be in competing with a wearables market that is growing increasingly saturated is still anybody’s guess. What do you guys think?

SOURCE: Google Play Store

Sony SmartWatch 3 is now in the Play Store, “Coming Soon” for $250

Posted by wicked October - 18 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

Sony Smartwatch 3 Google Play Store

A lot of new devices have arrived in the Google Play Store this week, including the new Android Wear powered Sony SmartWatch 3. The listing for the Sony SmartWatch 3 in the Google Play Store lists the device for $249.99, but has the purchase button greyed out in favor of the label “Coming Soon.”

The Sony SmartWatch 3 is a well equipped wearable, at least as compared to the other offerings on the market. A Snapdragon 400, 512MB of RAM, 1.6-inch 320 x 320 resolution display and 4GB of internal storage are kept lit by a 420mAh battery.

Where the SW3 stands out is in the available sensors and connectivity. Specifically, the SmartWatch 3 comes with its own built-in GPS antenna and lists as being ‘WiFi ready.’ Aside from this, Sony includes a few apps of their own that will step up your fitness tracking game, particularly focused on standalone, or offline, functionality.

Be sure to check out our hands-on of the Sony SmartWatch 3 from its official launch at IFA back in September.

Early speculation includes the idea that the SmartWatch 3 will start to sell in conjunction with the release of an expected upcoming update to Android Wear itself. Android Wear 2, if you will, was expected by many to join Android 5.0 Lollipop and the new Nexus devices in launching this past week. Hopefully ‘soon’ in this case isn’t a long wait.

As the list of available Android Wear smartwatches grows, are you planning on grabbing the Sony SmartWatch 3?


Via: Android Police;
Source: Google Play Store;

Google, Best Buy, HTC offers Nexus 9 pre-orders

Posted by wicked October - 18 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

You excited for the Nexus 9 yet? Google’s iPad killer was launched recently but will not be available until the early part of November. The Google Play Store has made the item part of their listings, although it is still noted as “coming soon”. All of us are going to have to wait ‘til November to get our hands on the tablet that has been branded as – “for movers and makers” – but there are pre-order options already.

Firstly, Google has it available at the Play Store, as mentioned already. There are three options when it comes to color for the tablet – “Sand”, “Indigo Black”, and “Lunar White”. You might also want to try pre-ordering via HTC, which is also selling the tablet directly – they are the ones who manufactured the tablet anyways.

Another option for you is Best Buy, which has also made the tablet available for pre-order. The tablet, as mentioned before here in the site, has no expansion storage options – and so you will have to be content with either 16GB or 32GB as internal storage options. Also, there accessories that have come on sale for pre-order via the Google Play Store. There is the Nexus 9 Cover for USD$39 and the Folio Keyboard for USD$129.

nexus9_keyboard
nexus9_folio

We also wrote down in an earlier article that Amazon has also put the product up in its listings for pre-order. The Nexus 9 16GB will be available for USD$399 and the 32GB for USD$479. Are you going to pre-order? Let us know why or why not in the comments section.

VIA: SlashGear

Chrome Beta adds Reader Mode, v39 rolling out now

Posted by wicked October - 15 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

Chrome Beta v39 Update

Google is pushing out an update to the Chrome Beta app for Android this evening. Chrome Beta v39 brings with it the usual bug fixes and performance enhancements, but this time around we get a new treat, Reader Mode.

As you might guess, Reader Mode will take a webpage and strip it down to the bare essentials, a great way to both ease the task of reading on a small screen and potentially save you some data when on the go.

For those unsure, Chrome Beta is Google’s way of letting us play with some bleeding edge features before they find their way to the standard Chrome browser on most Android devices. It is possible to run both Chrome and Chrome Beta at the same time on Android, just in case you were wondering. Finally, Chrome Beta sees a good number of app updates, and far too many of them include only a vague ‘What’s New’ write up. Like I said above, the typical bug fixes and performance enhancements.

Chrome Beta v39 Reader Mode

With updates usually having little of note to offer, it is great to see not one, but three new evident features. As mentioned, the big one is the Reader Mode, after that we are treated to a new tab dismissal animation. It doesn’t sound like much, but as you swipe a tab to the side it no longer simply travels off the screen, it now reduces in size and goes transparent. For me, this goes beyond aesthetics, as it allows me to easily see the tab below without having to swipe things up and down.

Adding to these tools, it sounds like there is a Chrome://flag that can be turned on to put a Reader Mode button in your toolbar. Look for #enable-reader-mode-toolbar-icon.

Finally, Google would be remiss to skip Android L enhancements, what with “L” expected to launch within hours. Chrome Beta now works within windowed mode on Android L Preview.

The update is rolling out to devices now, or head on into the Google Play Store to grab a fresh copy. Remember Chrome Beta is, well, beta, not everything you see here will make to to stable release Chrome, nor is everything here guaranteed to actually work.

Give it a go and be sure to let us know if you find any extra goodies in there that we may have missed. Are you a Chrome Beta user, or do you stick with the stable release?


Via: Android Police;
Source: Google Play Store;

Cyanogen Camera has landed in the Google Play Store

Posted by wicked October - 14 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Cyanogen Camera app

Before I say anything else, yes, the Cyanogen Camera app is now in the Google Play Store, but no, if you are not running CM11s, you probably can’t have it.

Well, with that out of the way, Cyanogen has dropped their Camera app into the Play Store for ‘all’ to enjoy. The camera app is designed to run with Cyanogen’s own Android ROM called CyanogenMod and it appears so far that the Google Play Store download restriction will require you to be running CM11s, which is the latest stable release of their ROM.

Although the Play Store is limiting the app to CM11s devices, we are hearing plenty of reports of users that have found the apk elsewhere for sideloading. Their results? Mixed, as you might have imagined. Most CM based ROMs are working just fine, but a lot of AOSP ROMs are simply enjoying force closes.

OnePlus One Camera Sample

Enough of that, is this camera app any good? Well, we’ve had the chance to run through it a few times in the past, I suggest taking a peek at our OnePlus One camera shootout to see this thing in action. Also, don’t forget that it recently received Kate Upton mode, adding ease of use through your headphones.

If you have an eligible device and are in need of the Cyanogen Camera, head on over to the Google Play Store for your free copy. For the rest of us, the apk is out there for your side loading pleasure, just be sure to let us know how it goes for you on your device.

What’s your verdict – Cyanogen Camera, is it worth installing?


Via: Android Police;
Source: Google Play Store;

Champ Man 15 is Square Enix’s football management sim

Posted by wicked October - 11 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

Ok, we’re not necessarily in agreement with Square Enix’s decision to put Arsenal’s long-serving manager on the cover – being that they haven’t exactly won any major silverware lately – but hey, it’s your game. Champ Man 15 – short for Championship Manager, we suppose – is Square Enix’s attempt at getting into the football management simulation game market.

Arsene Wenger’s face notwithstanding, you have to understand that the serious football management genre has always been dominated by the big boys (a.k.a. Electronic Arts), although there are some alternative cartoon-y sims that do the job as well. Square Enix has always been known for its great action games, and so to venture into the realm of sports games is a bit odd.

champ_man1

That said, it seems that Champ Man 15 meets all the requirements for a football management sim. As a user, you can choose from over 400 teams across an impressive 23 leagues. You get to have access to players from England, Scotland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, and Portugal – all the ones with big football leagues. You get to pick formations, training regimens – all standard stuff.

champ_man2

The game is available as a free download with IAP via the Google Play Store, so check out the source link if you’re interested. And then give us a holler if you’v tried it. I’m still on the fence with this one. Maybe your opinion about it can finally convince me to download a game with Wenger’s famous frown up front.

SOURCE: Google Play Store

(Updated with hands-on video) Google Play Store v 5.0 brings lots of Material changes

Posted by wicked October - 10 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Update: Here’s Joe Hindy’s quick impressions of Google Play Store 5.0:

Original post:

Google promised that its apps would receive Material-inspired updates to go with Android L, and Play Store is the latest to get a Material facelift.

Version 5.0 of the Play Store brings lots of visual changes, as well as smaller changes to the functionality of the app.

The most striking new element is the use of bright, bold colors from the Material palette throughout the app, from the labels for the media categories (apps, movies, etc.) to the header menu and the various sub-categories. The color of each media category carries over to its interface, so the Music section, for instance, features an orange color scheme, while Books is blue, and so on. Everything is flatter overall, with no visual delimitation between menu items; Google also abandoned its “folding crease” motif, in favor of an all-flat esthetic.

google play store 5

google play store 5 (7)

Another big change is the new “hamburger” button, which is bigger, spaced off from the left edge, and no longer has a category icon. Clicking on it opens up the side menu, and the icons turns into a back arrow with a smooth little animation. The side menu is different as well – the top options now feature gray system icons, while the bottom options (which had icons before) are now just plain non-capitalized text.

google play store 5 (4) xxx

Moving on to the app view, the What’s New section was relocated at the top of the interface, from its original place at the bottom of the pile. Clicking on it expands it, and also displays info such as version number, last update date, size, and developer name and contact info. Having this info – especially the “what’s new” part – at the top makes more sense than having it buried below everything else.

google play store 5 (3)

Finally, one small, but important change is the refresh of the Play Store icon, which is now flatter and less three-dimensional, though it lacks the hard 45-degree shadow we’ve seen on other updated Google icons. For a trip back memory lane, Kirill Grouchnikov, one of the engineers in Google’s Play team, shared this graphic:

google play icons

Play Store 5.0 will automatically hit your device in the coming hours or days, though with over a billion devices to update, you may have a lot to wait. You can try to speed up the update by tapping on the version number in Settings, though tapping repeatedly won’t trigger an update. If patience isn’t your forte, the folks over at Gapps Early have the Play Store apk file for download.

Google expands PayPal support for Play Store

Posted by wicked October - 10 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

This is clearly good news for all of us here who rely on the Google Play Store so much for apps, entertainment, productivity and such – Google has expanded its list of countries where it accepts payments via PayPal. We have been aching for PayPal support for the longest time, and in May this year, it seems that the gods of Google finally heard our cries.

Of course, it wasn’t a top-to-bottom, all countries kind of list – the initial move was to accept PayPal app purchases from 12 countries – namely Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, the US, and the UK. This move, while surprising, was definitely accepted with positive support from the Android community.

Just recently, if you didn’t know, Google added to this list (together with a significant design and aesthetic update) – because really, if you didn’t live in the 12 countries listed above, that would still be a bummer. The added countries are these, for your information: Australia, Greece, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, and Sweden. This brings the list up to 18 countries now.

We hope this momentum will build to the point where we can say that majority of the countries enjoy PayPal purchase support at the Google Play Store, because the convenience is just miles and miles above having to use real plastic credit cards for your purchases.

VIA: Android Police

Google Play Store gets Update

Posted by wicked October - 10 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

google-play-logoGoogle has released the Play Store 5.0.31 update, which includes a new layout, icon, and design. The icon has been updated to a flatter look that fits the new theme. The design update follows the Material Design layout. Lastly, the “What’s New” section on the new store shows what has been updated on the app and is at the top of the app page and highlighted in green. Google will be pushing the update to devices throughout this week, so either be patient to get the app, or download it here: http://www.apkmirror.com/apk/google-inc/google-play-store/google-play-store-5-0-31-apk/.

Source: Android Police

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