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Google’s App Indexing brings search engine power to locating apps

Posted by wicked September - 20 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

Remember those heady days of 1998 where a lot of us were so amazed at the way the Google search engine could find virtually anything on the intarwebs? That was a result of ground breaking search indexing algorithms that placed Google on top of the search engine pile. Fast forward to now, and Google is set to apply the same algorithms so that your apps will show up in related searches better. Sounds yummy, right?

Google says that app information and content exist generally in silos, and generally the opinion about Google Play Store’s search function is pretty much negative. App Indexing will allow apps to appear in search engine results, making a way for app developers to engage their public better.

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As an example, cyber-savvy people tend to have restaurant apps installed in their phones BUT still rely on search engine results for more relevant information. App Indexing connects the information on the search engine result page to a relevant app that you already own, and could encourage you to view the search engine result straight on your app.

That’s very good news for app developers, full stop. No wonder Google is very excited about this new feature. The mothership is encouraging developers to add the deep linking feature to their apps so that they could be the first to piggy back on this search engine innovation.

SOURCE: Google

Amazon, Apple makes family sharing easy, Google misses out

Posted by wicked September - 19 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

With almost everyone owning a smartphone or tablet these days, these mobile devices have become more than just individual, private experiences but sometimes even familial ones. Realizing that families would sometimes want to manage their mobile experience as, well, a family, Amazon and Apple have revealed features in their new operating systems that makes all that not only easy but even more engaging as well.

Yesterday, Amazon announced the arrival of new Kindle Fire HD and HDX tablets, which came with an also brand new Fire OS 4, codenamed “Sangria”. Of the many new features that are arriving with this version, one is marked as still Coming Soon but is also probably the most interesting in this context. Amazon’s Family Library service does just what its name implies. It pools together the apps, games, audiobooks, books, and Prime Instant Video content that family members have purchased in order to make the available to each and every member of the family or device, without having to switch user accounts just to download them. It definitely makes sharing a lot easier, though Amazon has yet to detail the privacy features Family Library will, or should, have.

iOS 8′s new Family Sharing feature does the same but admittedly adds a few more touches that are definitely desirable for families. Aside from getting access to others’ music, movies, TV shows, books, and apps, you can also create a shared family album. But iOS 8 family sharing goes beyond media content. For example, you can have a shared family calendar. You can even locate each family member or their device, should the latter get lost, Of course, you can opt to remain hidden from that family map if you wish to (but better have a good excuse ready for Mom or Dad). And lastly, Apple might have finally solved the problem with “accidental” purchases made by kids. Family Sharing lets you set a single credit card for making iTunes purchases. It also lets you configure connected Apple IDs to ask permission before making a purchase, which you, as the parent, can allow or deny anywhere, any time.

Of course, here at Android Community, we root for Android naturally. Sadly, Google has been left out of the family party, at least for now. It has yet to implement any sort of family sharing feature in Google Play Store, much less curb in-app purchases beyond the simple password requirement. That said, there might still be hope. Android L, 5.0 or Lemon Meringue Pie, is expected to finally arrive next month. Google could very well be working on such a similar feature behind closed doors. Or hopefully it has been for some time now and isn’t just going to haphazardly slap on such a feature in such short a time just because its competitors have.

SOURCE: Amazon, Apple

Android L may hit Samsung Galaxy S5 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 by early December

Posted by wicked September - 19 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

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Although Android L was first released as a developer preview back in the summer during Google I/O, no official release date for Google’s next iteration of their mobile operating system has been announced. Nevertheless, as Google continues to push out application updates that incorporate their new Material Design guidelines that are a big part of Android L, we get a sense that the time is quickly approaching. That could be within the next couple months as a new report suggests Samsung is gearing up to have Android L ready to roll out to their flagship devices by late November or early December. The sources indicate Samsung will be ready with Android L for both the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 during that time frame.

For many consumers, the wait may be a bit longer though as the update goes through carrier certifications. Android fans are probably hopeful that Google, the smartphone manufacturers and the carriers are getting better at putting the operating system together in such a way that a major update can be rolled out much more quickly than in the past.

source: SamMobile

Come comment on this article: Android L may hit Samsung Galaxy S5 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 by early December

Google Play coming changes: developer address, IAP price range

Posted by wicked September - 19 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

To comply with consumer protection laws, according to this leaked communication, Google will be changing some of its Google Play Store policies and features. While the ability to see a list of price ranges for apps with in-app purchases is definitely a welcome development, displaying a developer’s physical address might scare off not just a few from publishing on Google Play Store.

In-app purchases have been the bane of app stores, not just Google’s but including Apple’s and Amazon’s. Currently, Google Play Store does display if an app has in-app purchases but stops at that. Then again, Google’s wording below is a bit ambiguous and can be a bit open to interpretation. What will that list contain? Will it list top apps with IAP just like Google Play Store lists top free and paid apps? Or will it list the IAP purchases inside an app, which is a more difficult thing to keep track off. We will just have to wait for Google to formally roll out these changes to find out.

“We will display the price ranges for apps that offer in-app purchases and/or subscriptions on the app’s store listing page.”

The other more major change affects developers more than users. The developer console is now requiring developers that provide paid apps or apps with IAP to give a physical address. That in itself is probably nothing surprising, as it increases the sense of accountability for an app and could very well help curb the number of fake apps with IAP. However, what follows the requirement is the part that’s more worrying for developers. Google says that the physical address will be displayed on the app’s details page in Google Play Store, definitely a cause for concern about the privacy, not to mention the safety of the developer.

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“Beginning September 30, 2014, you need to add a physical address to your Settings page. After you’ve added an address, it will be available on your app’s detail page to all users on Google Play.”

Aside from the address requirement, the rest of the changes, or the reasons for them, are not yet set in stone. The information comes from a developer who asked Google why such a worrying change is being made. While it is commendable that Google is actively working to protect consumers (though some might point out only after it has been hit by numerous lawsuits), It should not forget to also fairly treat its developers, who provides the goods that users will be paying for, and not like criminals in the making.

VIA: Android Police

Google Maps adds turn-by-turn navigation to 20 more destinations

Posted by wicked September - 19 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Google has been adding a lot of improvements to Google Maps. Its Maps Engline Lite edition was recently renamed to My Maps. This time, the search giant has updated the Navigation app and added turn-by-turn navigation to 20 countries.

The Google Maps with Navigation feature offers free walking, biking, and driving directions to more people in more countries. It may still be in Beta mode but it’s now accessible in the following countries: Angola, Bahamas, Bolivia, Botswana, Fiji, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Malata, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Tobago, and Trinidad.

Free navigation instructions by Google Maps are expected to be accurate but there may still be errors. Don’t depend too much on the Navigation app, or at least, not yet. This Navigation app is available in Android devices running different version of Google Maps. However, some older versions may not run in some countries so it is advisable you upgrade the Google Maps (or better yet, your Android phone).

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The Google Navigation also features Voice Action shortcuts to allow the user navigate to a destination without typing any word on the device. Simply touch the microphone icon on your home screen, say “Navigate to [destination]”, then wait for the Navigation app to launch and tell you turn-by-turn directions to your destination. Note that Voice Actions are available in certain cities only and that Navigation feature is only available in devices that have GPS.

Download Google Maps from the Google Play Store.

VIA: Android Central
SOURCE: Google

Rumors say HTC Nexus 9 launch probably on October 16

Posted by wicked September - 19 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

If you remember, the Nexus 10 was not so much of a certified victory for Google. Cooperating with Samsung, Google wanted to put out what was supposed to be an Apple iPad killer. While it opened the eyes of tech consumers to just how great an Android tablet could be, it fell way short of its expectations. Now Google is on course to launch a new effort at a Nexus tablet with HTC – and the most recent rumors say that the new Nexus 9 tablet might drop on October 16.

Fortunately for Google and HTC, there is a good amount of technology available to them to be able to produce a kickass Android tablet than was available to them at the time of the Nexus 10. And if the rumors about its specs are any indication, we could have a real snazzy tablet by the time October 16 rolls in.

Initial rumors pointed to an earlier launch (October 9), but this new source is quoted by the good guys at SlashGear to be a tad bit more confident about its own revelations. Google is not really known for big and elaborate launch events for the Nexus line – UNLESS the Nexus 9 tablet will be launching side by side with the anticipated Nexus 6 smartphone from Motorola. That possibility should really call for a launch event.

If event invites suddenly surface during the early days of October, then we can probably start getting excited, because that would mean Google has seen it fit to go for a big event. But of course, this is all speculation at this point. If you have thoughts on this, hit us up via the comments section.

VIA: SlashGear

Paid Android App Developers Will Soon Have to Provide Physical Address

Posted by wicked September - 19 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

googleplay

Google has now changed its policies regarding paid app developers. Every developer who opened the developer console today was greeted with a message stating that a physical address must be added in account settings. The change will influence primarily developers who distribute paid apps or allow in-app-purchases.

Developers were shown the following message stating the required changes:

Add a physical contact address Beginning September 30, 2014, you need to add a physical address to your Settings page. After you’ve added an address, it will be available on your app’s detail page to all users on Google Play. If your physical address changes, make sure to update your information on your Settings page.

If you have paid apps or apps with in-app purchases, it’s mandatory to provide a physical address where you can be contacted. If you don’t provide a physical address on your account, it may result in your apps being removed from the Play Store.

Essentially, this means that app devs will soon have to provide a full physical address or their applications will be pulled from the Play Store after September 30th. The notification system itself is rather strange, though. Google didn’t send an Email informing developers about the policy change, therefore developers who aren’t too active may see their applications pulled without formal notice beforehand.

It remains unknown whether indie developers will accept the policy change or not. Rule changes will not be a problem to big developer studios, but might be an important factor for those smaller developer who want to monetize their work.

[via Android Police]

The post Paid Android App Developers Will Soon Have to Provide Physical Address appeared first on xda-developers.

Question of the Day: Has Hardware Design Reached a Plateau?

Posted by Tim-o-tato September - 18 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

In a recent discussion posted online between Vodafone and Warren Saunders, Sony’s UK and Ireland Sales Director, Saunders talks about the new Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 Compact. Early in the talks, Saunders states that when it comes down to a buyer deciding between the larger Xperia Z3 and the smaller Z3 Compact, it’s simply, “a choice thing.” With almost identical internal specs, the question is, do buyers want a big phone or a not-so-big phone?

But more importantly, and the actual reason for this post, is that Saunders alludes to one very important theory within this discussion. To him, it appears that hardware/design innovations have essentially reached a plateau, and companies like Sony, will begin to focus more on a cohesive package across multiple devices. 

He continues with, “It’s all about how we can offer a much more in-depth and immersive level of service. In terms of software, we wanted to bring all of the Sony hallmarks together in one cohesive package. There’s the camera, which leverages knowhow from our digital imaging lenses that are used across the world. There’s the Sony display panel technology with the TRILUMINOS screen.”

Taking a step back and looking at many of the flagship products offered from today’s top device manufacturers, it would appear that each company has basically reached its peak in terms of hardware design offerings. For example, while minor tweaks have been made, the past few Galaxy devices from Samsung have basically looked the same, plus HTC seems quite happy with the appearance of their M series of One devices, with last year’s One (M7) looking very similar to this year’s One (M8).

The point is, each company seems content with their own individual design language. Does this mean that we, as consumers, should no longer expect major design revamps from the top OEMs? Should we only look forward to what new software these companies will bake into the operating systems they run? If this year was any telling as to smartphone “innovations,” then where do we go from here? We already have insanely-powered smartphones with crazy-high resolutions, capable of running complex software, followed by us only being disappointed that our phones are dying every night because battery technology is still trying to catch up.

Below in the comments, feel free to share your thoughts on whether you think innovation in hardware and device design has reached a plateau. If you feel it has not, please share your ideas on what you might think is the next big step for mobile devices.

Question of the Day: Has Hardware Design Reached a Plateau? is a post from: Droid Life

Nexus 6 aka Nexus X Announcement and Release Date Approaching

Posted by wicked September - 17 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

nexus 6 release infoThe Nexus 6 or Nexus X whatever it may be called will be announced and released October or November this year according to sources.

With all of the hype around Google’s next flagship device the Nexus 6 aka Nexus X there has been no word around its actual release date. This said there have been many sources reporting that the new Nexus X will be released in either October or November this year along side the official announcement of the device.

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Nexus 9 set to launch in October, folio keyboard leaked

Posted by wicked September - 16 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

You’ll have to jog your memory backwards a bit for the last time you saw one of the Google-approved Nexus devices being launched. But it looks like October is going to be the month for Nexus fans as HTC looks set to launch the Nexus 9 tablet device in the next few weeks.

An invite has gone out for an HTC media event interestingly titled “Double Exposure”. There has been no official hints about the subject matter of the event, but it is strongly pointing to a launch of the Nexus 9 device. All the rumors point to a strongly-specced tablet – a 9-inch 1080p Full HD display powered by NVIDIA’s premium Tegra K1 chipset, 16GB of internal storage, a 16MP camera, and 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage among others.

HTC is also making available an app that can control the tablet via other Android and iOS devices. Speaking of peripherals, one such accessory has been leaked out of China’s parallel for the FCC – this is an external keyboard that doubles as a folio cover. Given the strong specs of the Nexus 9, we’d like to see more accessories that lean towards gaming and such, but hey, we’ll take what we can.

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The timing of the launch is also quite interesting in that it could be very close to Google’s official launch of its new OS – Android L. In fact, there are rumors that the Nexus 9 tablet could be the first official device to carry the newfangled operating system. We will have to wait and see – the event is slated for October 8th, so it will not be that long a wait.

VIA: BGR, SlashGear