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Google Maps gets offline search, navigation support

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Google Maps for Android has had some sort of offline support for years now, but it’s definitely not good enough for most use cases, in the current iteration at least. At its I/O conference Google has announced that it’s working on bringing better offline support to Maps sometime before the end of this year.

So in the future you’ll be able to start navigating to places while offline. Currently navigation works offline, but you need to be online when you start it. Additionally, Google Maps will allow offline searches for places and points of interest (with autocomplete no less), something which you can’t do right now. Read more »

Google makes Android Pay official

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Get ready for the third “Pay” program. After Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, Google has today unveiled Android Pay at its annual developer conference. Just like its competitors, Android Pay is all about allowing you to easily make payments with your phone, by using NFC and even fingerprint sensors on devices that have them.

In a similar fashion to the other systems, with Android Pay you add a bank card to an app on your mobile device. When you’re at a merchant that accepts Android Pay, you simply unlock your phone and place it near the NFC terminal. The payment goes through without requiring you to open an app or do any other additional thing. Read more »

Content from iOS apps is now featured in Google search results

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Today Google has announced that it’s brought its App Indexing feature from Android to iOS. What this allows is for you to jump straight to a relevant iOS app from Google search results. In the example showcased by the image below, a restaurant reservation is required, and following a Google search tapping on the first result will take you to the OpenTable iOS app that’s installed on the same device. In it you can then make the desired reservation, or go back to the search results with one tap.

The feature exists in both the Google app for iOS as well as Chrome for iOS, as long as you’re signed into your Google account. For now such links to iOS apps will be limited to a short list, with Google having worked with some initial test partners so far. Read more »

LG, Sony, and 18 other companies will preinstall Microsoft apps on Android tablets

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Today Microsoft has announced the expansion of its strategic agreements with Android OEMs for preinstalling its productivity apps on devices running Google’s mobile operating system. The first step in this strategy was revealed in March when we found out that Samsung and Dell agreed to preinstall Microsoft’s apps on their devices along with a few smaller, regional players.

And now the software giant is adding 20 more OEMs to the list, the most well-known of which are LG and Sony. This round seems to concern only tablets, by the way. So, “in the near future”, these companies will ship tablets with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype preinstalled. Read more »

Google now sells the Asus-made Nexus Player for just $79

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Since last fall when it launched, the Asus-made Nexus Player Android TV-running console has been offered for $99 in the Google Play Store. Now, though, it’s seeing its first price cut.

If you’re in the US, you can grab a Nexus Player for just $79. That’s $20 less than before, which doesn’t seem like much. On the other hand, consider that it’s in fact a 20% price reduction. Read more »

Periscope, Twitter’s live video streaming app, finally arrives on Android

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Periscope was launched by Twitter on iOS back in March, and today it’s finally become available for Android too. The app can already be downloaded from the Google Play Store, in fact. It should work on Android 4.4 KitKat or newer versions of the OS.

Periscope arrives on Android almost a month after its chief competitor, Meerkat (which was also iOS-only for a long while). Read more »

OnePlus is planning to “shake up the tech industry” on June 1

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Once again, OnePlus is teasing something via its official Twitter account. This time it looks like we’re going to see a new announcement from the Chinese company on June 1, which is next Monday.

Obviously no big clues as to what that will be are given, but as you can see from the accompanying image OnePlus is talking the big talk. Read more »

LG G Watch R will only get Wi-Fi support in Q3 through a special update

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A few days ago the latest version of Android Wear, 5.1.1, started rolling out to all smartwatches running Google’s platform. This release has many new features, chief among them being Wi-Fi support. What that means is that if a particular watch has the necessary hardware, it can connect to Wi-Fi networks directly, thus not being dependent on a Bluetooth connection to a phone.

The LG Watch Urbane launched running the latest Android Wear iteration, but the G Watch R is only now in the process of getting it. Intriguingly though, even if the G Watch R does have the required internals for Wi-Fi support, this will not be enabled after applying the Android Wear 5.1.1 update. Read more »

Apple Maps rumored to finally get transit directions in iOS 9

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The lack of public transit directions in Apple Maps may be baffling, but it looks like the company is finally going to take care of this glaring omission soon. According to a new rumor, transit directions will be added to the Apple Maps app that will be part of iOS 9.

Apple’s next version of its mobile operating system should be demoed in June at the company’s annual developer-focused conference (WWDC). As in previous years, we expect iOS 9 to be released around the time the new iPhones ship, so probably in the fall. Read more »

AT&T announces the LG G Pad F 8.0, available on May 29

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Today AT&T took the wraps off a new Android tablet made by LG. It’s called G Pad F 8.0 and will be up for grabs at the carrier starting on May 29, which is next Friday. It bears some resemblance to the G Pad 8.0 from last year, both in terms of looks as well as specs.

The G Pad F 8.0 however comes with a built-in stylus and a full-size USB port. Those seem to be its main differentiating features. The screen is quoted as being an “HD+” IPS panel, which we assume means it has a resolution of 1,280×800. Read more »

Android 5.0 Lollipop is now rolling out to the LG G Pad 8.3 LTE for Verizon

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Another day, another Lollipop update rollout. This time we’re talking about the LG G Pad 8.3 tablet, in its LTE-capable incarnation, which was launched by Verizon. Following the update to Android 4.4 KitKat, which it got last year, and then another bug fixer, the G Pad 8.3 is now finally receiving the tasty treat known as Android 5.0.2 Lollipop.

Verizon’s support documents say you should expect to see a new software button arrangement (and design), lock screen notifications, smart lock (using proximity to other devices to auto-unlock the tablet), the new notification screen design, the much-hated Interruptions feature that replaces Silent mode, floating action buttons everywhere, screen pinning, search in Settings, multi-user accounts accessible from the notification panel, as well as an “Avoid bad Wi-Fi connections” item in Settings. Read more »

Verizon’s original Moto G is now just $19.99 without a contract

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The original Moto G from 2013 started out life at Verizon costing $100 sans contract, which is a very good amount for the specs. But that was then. Months have passed, it’s now 2015, so Best Buy decided it’s time for a discount.

Hence, the well known retailer will give you a Moto G for Verizon for just $19.99. Again, without a contract. This price drop now makes the original Moto G one of the cheapest prepaid phones for Big Red, and possibly the best of them all in terms of its price per features ratio. Read more »

Apple Watch receives its first ever software update, filled with performance improvements

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Today Apple has pushed out the first software update for its first wearable. The Apple Watch is getting Watch OS 1.0.1 through the companion iPhone app for the smartwatch. The download comes in at 51.6MB, and as the version number implies this is all about fixing bugs and improving performance for various bits of the Apple Watch experience.

In fact, Apple lists no less than six items under the “improved performance” heading in its official release notes. So after applying the new software, expect to see enhanced operation in third party apps, Siri, measuring stand activity, calculating calories for indoor cycling and rowing workouts, distance and pace calculations during outdoor walk and run workouts, as well as better accessibility features. Read more »

MixRadio brings its streaming music to iOS and Android

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MixRadio is a streaming music service that started life as Nokia Music. It then got renamed to MixRadio, picked up by Microsoft as part of its Nokia acquisition, and subsequently sold to Japan’s Line Corp., which operates the messaging app with the same name. From the moment the music service got out of Microsoft’s hands, everyone was expecting it to become available for platforms other than Windows.

And today marks that much-anticipated event. MixRadio is now out for iOS and Android, in addition to Windows Phone. You can download its mobile apps from the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store. Interestingly, though, it will continue to be preloaded on Microsoft’s Lumia devices. Read more »

Microsoft’s Office for Android preview finally reaches phones

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Microsoft has been running an Office for Android preview for certain tablets since last fall, with it reaching the Play Store this January. And starting today, you can also use the Office preview apps for Android on a phone.

Microsoft is clearly taking its time while developing these apps, so don’t expect the ‘preview’ tag to be dropped anytime soon. Read more »