Articles about Android

Shazam! Rdio deepens its partnership with music ID service

Girl listening to music

Rdio is already partnered with Shazam, the app that allows you to identify that song you're hearing and are dying to know -- on the radio or TV, it can’t help with the one stuck in your head. That app hasn’t been invented yet, but I personally hope it is soon.

Now Rdio announces it has expanded the partnership beyond previous bounds. Until now users of Shazam could add songs they discovered to a Rdio playlist. Now customers of the app will be able to add any song to that list.

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Black Entertainment Television launches BET NOW mobile app for Android and iOS


When it comes to mobile media apps, there is no shortage of available content. It is simply overwhelming to choose between the various music and video services, such as Netflix, Beats Music, and Hulu Plus, to name a few. However, more choice is always a good thing, as it can cause a competition that ultimately helps consumers with lower prices.

One network that has been lacking a representation in the mobile app landscape is BET -- Black Entertainment Television. While the network self-proclaims to focus on African-American audiences, people of any color or nationality can enjoy it. Today, the network launches the BET NOW app for iOS and Android.

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Windows' future is looking increasingly bleak


Analyst Gartner has just released its latest worldwide devices forecast, which shows, unsurprisingly, traditional PC shipments declining, and tablets, mobile phones, and ultramobiles (hybrid and clamshell) all growing. In total, device shipments are set to rise 6.9 percent, up from the 4.8 percent growth achieved last year.

There are few surprises in the report. Shipments of mobile phones, the most popular device type in the market, are expected to reach 1.9 billion units in 2014, a 4.9 percent increase from 2013. The worldwide tablet market is forecast to grow 38.6 percent in 2014, shipments of traditional PCs are forecast to total 276.7 million units in 2014 (a 6.6 percent decline from 2013), and ultramobiles are set to grow from 21.1 million in 2013 to 37.2 million this year. Gartner has also forecast shipments by operating systems, and while Windows still shows growth, overall it's far from happy times ahead for Microsoft.

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Microsoft and Dell still BFF -- sign patent licensing agreement for Android, Chrome and Xbox


Peanut butter and jelly. Fish and chips. Salt and pepper. Dell and Microsoft. These are all things that go great together. Sure, Dell has strayed a bit, offering things like laptops with Ubuntu and tablets with Android. However, Windows has been and will likely continue to be the manufacturer's bread and butter.

In the technology world, Dell and Microsoft are "BFF" -- best friends forever. If the companies were teen girls, they'd be braiding each other's hair and gossiping about boys. Today, Dell and Microsoft have signed a monumental patent agreement -- tantamount to BFF's exchanging friendship bracelets.

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Overcome an alien invasion and get in shape at the same time with BattleSuit Runner Fitness

Battlesuit runner

As much as I enjoy running, I often need help and motivation to get started, and keep going, and Zombies, Run! has been my savior. I’ve mentioned the fitness app several times in the past, but if you’re not familiar, it’s a sort of interactive radio play, in which episodic stories unfold in-between tracks from your playlist as you run, transforming a real-world jog into a journey through the zombie apocalypse.

Season 3 of Zombies, Run! is out next month, but I’ve found a new running app to keep me occupied until then. BattleSuit Runner Fitness is available for both Android and iOS and is quite similar in that the missions unfold in-between your running songs, but in this game you’re DeltaSuit, an exosuit-wearing commando battling against an alien invasion.

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Meet HTC's new One (M8)

HTC One M8 Official

After a string of unexciting smartphones, last year, HTC wowed Android fans all over the world with the One. For the first time, in my opinion, a smartphone powered by the little green droid looked attractive. It did not take part in the silly specs race, as, at the time, the display was not the largest in its class, the processor was not the fastest around and it was not even the most compact Android smartphone given its specs. However, it performed well and offered unique software features, which, combined with the stunning looks, made it one of the best-received smartphones of the year. Sadly for HTC, it was not quite the sales success the company hoped it would be.

Because the original One set the bar so high, it will be interesting to see how its successor will stack up. It has pretty high expectations to live up to. Luckily, we do not have to wait long to find out, as HTC just took the wraps off the new One (M8). The name is not as inspiring, but it does pack a fair punch.

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Google teams up with Ray-Ban to gain some cool for Glass


After trying to drum up more interest in Glass by dispelling some myths believed to have built up around the wearable tech, Google is looking to push things even further, gaining a little cool cred by teaming up with Luxottica the group behind well-known names such as Ray-Ban and Vogue. Teaming up with such a premium brand could be key to the success or failure of Glass, and Google is keen to push Glass as being the next step in the gradual evolution of eyewear.

At the moment, there are more than forty different looks for Glass (once the various frames, colors and styles are factored in), but it is hoped that the new partnership will result in even more designs. Love them or not, Ray-Ban and Vogue are names you will be quite familiar with, and it seems as though this is something that Google is keen to latch on to -- although it is, of course, a household name in its own right. "Luxottica understands how to build, distribute and sell great products that their clients and consumers love -- something we care deeply about at Glass, too," purrs Google on its Google+ page.

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UK digital download tax will cripple sales and damage the industry


Last week in the UK, the announcement of the new budget for the country was closely watched as citizens kept an eye on whether they'll be paying more for beer and whether taxes are going up or down. There's a lot to talk about in George Osborne's 2014 budget, but this is not the place to discuss most of what it involves. One thing is of interest for technology enthusiasts, though. The cost of digital downloads -- meaning ebooks, music and apps -- could be set to rise as the chancellor (the guy holding the purse strings) closes a tax loophole.

At the moment, companies offering digital downloads are able to avoid paying taxes in the UK by routing them through another country where taxes are lower. This is not a new technique, and there is nothing illegal about it. It is a loophole that has been exploited for many years, but now plans are afoot to close it off. What is this likely to mean? Well, it should come as no surprise that, ultimately, it's probably going to lead to higher prices for people in the UK.

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Forget the iWatch Apple, it's another race you've lost to Android

horse race

Apple has rarely been first to market with a product -- it did not build the first MP3 player or tablet, but it does have a history of revolutionizing those markets, as it did with the smartphone. There isn't anything wrong with stepping into an existing market and bringing along fresh and innovative ideas. In fact, it has worked out quite well for the company over the years.

However, more recent history shows that Apple can also lose the markets, as both tablet and smartphone have fallen behind rival Android, which entered the scene later. Openness plays a part in this -- a multitude of devices to choose from, along with more customizable options, is a big deal when compared to a closed system with one device released annually.

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Smartwatches -- the harsh truth is that no one cares


OK, maybe that's a slight exaggeration. But wearable devices are really struggling to get off the ground, at least in the UK. All of the excitement that surrounds smartwatches that can be used to read email, VPN into a home computer, check vital stats, set off The Bomb, or tell the time (imagine!) -- maybe a couple of these are a little far-fetched -- seems to be little more than manufacturers' fluff and guff. The wheels of the marketing machine have been whirring away furiously, but it has had very little effect. With a population of approaching 65 million people, only a very tiny proportion of the nation has seen the need to invest in a smartwatch -- below 1 percent in fact.

Figures from Kantar World Panel show that a lowly 0.9 percent of UK consumers have put their hard-earned money towards a smartwatch. Other statistics to come from the research are of little surprise. Almost three quarters (72 percent) of smartwatch owners are male, and 56 percent are aged under 35. There are a small number of names associated with smartwatches, and the spread is fairly evenly distributed. At the top of the heap is Samsung with a 32 percent share, followed by Sony with 21 percent and Pebble with 18 percent. There is obviously a leader, but with the numbers being so low, percentages are very easily swayed.

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Sony rolls out Android 4.4 KitKat for flagship Xperia smartphones

Google starts the KitKat rollout for Nexus 7 and 10 owners

Most Android smartphones and tablets do not run the latest-available version of Android, as vendors choose older iterations, even for their flagship products. As a result, it can take many months -- or it may never even happen -- for a software upgrade to finally close the gap.

One of the vendors that finds itself in this situation quite often is Japanese maker Sony, which cannot seem to release a high-end device, like the Xperia Z, Xperia Z1, Xperia Z Ultra or Xperia Z Compact, without shipping it with a dated version of Android. Luckily, KitKat commences its much-awaited roll-out for the company's most-recent flagship smartphones and tablets.

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Android Wear -- Google brings its mobile OS to your wrist

time watch laptop waiting impatient

Wearable technology is not a brand new innovation, it's not even new to Google. We've long become accustomed to Android-powered products like Google Glass, and Pebble and Galaxy Gear smartwatches. While I've had no real desire to foray into the Glass market, I am on record as wanting a Pebble, though I've yet to convince myself to shell out the money.

Now Google is diving into this market a bit more officially -- no more dipping in toes to test the water. The company announces wearable Android, and it begins with watches.

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HP launches NFC authentication for enterprise printing

HP corporate

The increased use of mobile devices in the workplace leads to a number of issues. Not least of which is establishing control over shared resources like printers.

To address this HP has launched its first touch-to-authenticate solution for enterprise customers using NFC enabled smartphones or tablets.

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The most popular stories on BetaNews this past week March 9 -- 15


This is the week that saw the web celebrating its 25th birthday and Tim Berners-Lee took the opportunity to call for a web bill of rights, which I argued is essential for the future of democracy.

Another week means a fresh batch of security concerns. In Europe, users were warned of the dangers of connecting to public wifi hotspots, while a new report found that cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their techniques. Ian was on hand with advice for anyone trying to tackle or avoid viruses.

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Facebook for Android improves photo support, group admin tools


Facebook has unveiled a major update to its Android app with the release of Facebook for Android 7.0. The latest version concentrates on improving photo management for users, and also gives group administrators more control from within the app itself.

For the first time, users can now include photos when posting comments using the Android app -- it’s an overdue update, as the feature has been present on the web since June 2013 and first appeared in Facebook for iOS five months ago.

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