Articles about Android

No, Microsoft isn't taking Android's future out of Google's hands -- here's why

MS Android

Earlier this week, Cyanogen Inc announced that it has entered into a partnership with Microsoft to bundle some apps into its future Android-based operating system. While the companies meticulously chalked out most of the specifics of their collaboration -- and how it wouldn't much affect consumers in the coming months -- many people and even some news outlets are having a hard time understanding these facts, and have started to make bold, misleading conclusions.

Wired, for instance, believes that this tie-up between the two companies will end up taking Android’s future out of Google’s hands. I think they are wrong, and much to the contrary, I believe that this alliance will only be good for Google (and Android). Here’s why.

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Microsoft makes mobile image searching a (nearly) typing-free experience

Microsoft makes mobile image searching a (nearly) typing-free experience

Microsoft thinks that typing on a mobile device is difficult. At the same time it understands that "you love to discover images" on the very same devices. To help make your mobile searches a little easier to conduct, the company is introducing a number of tweaks and changes to the iOS and Android Bing app.

Of course it is not possible to entirely eliminate the need to input words in order to conduct a search, but Microsoft has taken steps to reduce it to an absolute minimum. How has this been done? Enter simple search terms and you're provided with a couple of new ways to drill down to exactly what it is you're looking for with just a few taps.

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Cyanogen will bundle Microsoft apps with its Android ROM

cyanogen mod logo

Future Android-based builds and ROMs from Cyanogen Inc will ship with bundled Microsoft apps, as the startup has signed a deal with the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant. The partnership will result in Microsoft apps and services such as Bing, Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, as well as productivity suite Office among others being prominently showcased on Cyanogen’s software.

The collaboration between the two companies doesn’t come as a surprise as many similar rumors started to crop up when a news outlet reported that Microsoft was making an investment in Cyanogen Inc. The partnership is a win-win situation for both of the companies.

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Lost your phone? Just Google it

Lost your phone? Just Google it

Becoming reunited with your lost phone just got a whole lot easier. It doesn’t matter if you're alone and don't have access to another phone to ring your cell to see if it has slipped down the back of the sofa. To make life a little easier, Google is rolling out a feature that enables you to conduct a Google search for your phone.

Whether you have mislaid it in the house, or somewhere further afield, Google will help you to track down your beloved handset. You just need to make sure that your phone is updated with the latest version of the Google app and you're ready to go phone hunting. It's a bit like an extension of the feature found in Android Wear, so how does it work?

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Google hits back at European antitrust charges

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Google abused its position in Europe to further its own online products, says the European Commission. Following a five-year investigation, Google stands accused of abusing dominance in Europe, violating antitrust laws. EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager says that Google gave its own shopping comparison service greater priority over rivals in search results.

The company's mobile operating system is also in the firing line. Android, it is said, has been used by Google to promote its own products and services over those of rivals.The Commission is also launching a formal investigation into Android to determine whether Google acted anti-competitively with its mobile operating system. Attention is focused on Google's bundling of its own apps after forming agreements with hardware manufacturers. Unsurprisingly, Google disagrees.

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Nokia buys Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 billion, considers selling HERE

Nokia buys Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 billion, considers selling HERE

Following on from yesterday's confirmation that Nokia was in talks with Alcatel-Lucent regarding a possible buyout, the Finnish company has now gone ahead with the purchase. Nokia is paying €15.6 billion ($16.6 billion) for the French telecoms equipment manufacturer. The deal is expected to be finalized in the first half of 2016, subject to shareholder approval.

The coming together of forces is very much a forward-looking venture. Nokia says that the combination of Nokia Technologies and FutureWorks with Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs will allow for "unparalleled innovation capabilities". Nokia also announced that it has initiated a strategic review of its HERE business, but it is not yet clear whether this will ultimately result in its sale.

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OnePlus One gets Cyanogen 12 software update, Yu Yureka to receive it soon

Cyanogen 12

The OnePlus One smartphone has finally started to receive the Cyanogen software update. On a blogpost, the software maker announces that the OnePlus One handset is the first smartphone to snag the Cyanogen update. The Yu Yureka smartphone will be receiving the update soon, the company notes.

Cyanogen 12 is built on top of Android 5.0 Lollipop with some exclusive software features -- such as App Themer that lets you change style system-wide -- and many software tweaks. The build also brings with it the company’s new email app. The update is rolling out over the air.

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Amazon brings Kindle features to its Android app

Amazon Kindle logo

If you don't have a Kindle to read your books on then there's no worries, as apps exist on other platforms like Android. Amazon isn't standing still on this either, now offering customers on Google's mobile platform some new features already available on the stand-alone device.

Included are two new features that Amazon claims customers have found the most useful. First up is Word Wise, which Amazon claims is excellent for young kids and also for those learning English. Tapping a word pops up a box that provides a definition, along with synonyms and more.

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Need more tunes on your Android device? Amazon Prime Music channels arrive

music headphones laptop

There's no shortage of ways to turn your phone or tablet into an MP3 player. The days of dedicated devices like the iPod have waned, and most of us simply use a smartphone as the substitute that replaces that bygone era. With a multitude of services at our disposal we can have an endless supply of music on hand as we work and travel, or just relax on the couch.

Amazon is never far from any new trend and it has brought music streaming to its Prime customers to compliment the other benefits that go along with the service. Now the retailer announces that Android customers will have access to the many playlists available through Prime Music on their devices.

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Android users download Mozilla Firefox 100 million times (and counting) from Google Play

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Firefox is important to me and I hope it is important to you. Even if you do not use the browser, there is value in having an open source browser available that isn't based on WebKit or a fork of it (Blink), as so many are nowadays. Variety is the spice of life, and having only one browser engine is not only sad, but dangerous; competition drives innovation.

If you are an Android user, you probably use Chrome or the stock Android browser and that is OK; both of those browsers are great. With that said, some people, such as myself, prefer Mozilla's Firefox. It is fast, buttery smooth and offers plugins. Today, Mozilla announces that Firefox for Android has been downloaded 100 million times. Whoa.

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Facebook Messenger breaks away into a brand new dedicated website

Facebook Messenger gets a brand new dedicated website

Today Facebook launches a new standalone website for its Messenger service. The separate interface means that it is now possible to chat with your Facebook contacts without having to visit the main Facebook website where you might run the risk of whiling away too much time reading through your timeline as well.

On mobile devices, Facebook has moved users to a dedicated Messenger app rather than allowing them to chat within the main app. By bringing the web-based version of the social network's chat tool in line with the iOS, Windows Phone and Android versions, Facebook has made chatting a distinct feature that can now be conducted completely separately in its own tab.

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Google makes Santa Tracker open source on GitHub -- will you fork Santa Claus?

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April Fool's Day is well behind us, so all the pranks should be over, right? I ask because today, Google announces that it is making its Santa Tracker project open source on GitHub. The fact that it is open source is great, but the timing is odd. The last thing I expected to read about in April is friggin' Santa Claus, but here we are.

While many will be quick to dismiss the Santa Tracker as a novelty, developers may actually find value in the code. Not only is the web version hitting GitHub, but the Android version too. There is no reason why the code can't be used in non-Christmas related projects.

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LG reveals G4's camera and Android Lollipop-based software

LG G4 UX 4.0 Lollipop Android

Announcing a new top-of-the-line smartphone around the same time rival manufacturers are also showing off their latest flagships is not an inspired move, which is why LG has decided to unveil its upcoming G4 after MWC 2015, leaving HTC, Samsung and the like fighting for the public's attention.

So, the new G4 will debut later this month, at a dedicated event that LG is holding on April 28. The flagship will arrive 11 months after its predecessor, G3, and, unlike its rivals, the South Korean maker has already revealed some details about the camera and software.

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Google reported to FTC for 'unfair and deceptive' ads in YouTube Kids

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A number of consumer groups have filed a complaint with the FTC suggesting that Google is targeting children with "unfair and deceptive" ads in YouTube Kids for Android and iOS. A letter signed by Children Now, Consumer Watchdog, Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, and others says that ads are displayed in a way that would not be permitted on broadcast or cable television.

The letter makes three main complaints about the app. The first suggests that Google mixes programming and ads, while another says that the relationship between Google and the manufacturers of advertised products is not clear. The groups ask for the FTC to take action to stop the advertisements.

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Swoosh: deliver presentations with a wave of the hand

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Great presentations aren’t just about the content -- how they’re delivered matters, too. Android app Swoosh helps you stand out by stepping through your slides with just a wave of the hand.

The $2 app needs a server component on your Windows, Mac or Linux system. There’s no installation or configuration required, just run the download, launch Swoosh, and as long as they’re both on the same Wi-Fi, they should find each other automatically.

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