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Google Play Music gets contextual music stations, Material Design

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Google has announced a big update for its Play Music service. First off, the Android and iOS apps have received a new, Material Design-infused coat of paint. Second, the service now brings you contextual music stations.

These have apparently been “hand crafted” by a team of music experts, including DJs, musicians, music critics, and ethnomusicologists, to give you exactly the songs you need for a particular moment. Read more »

HERE maps beta officially released for all Android devices

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Nokia’s HERE Maps launched on Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones recently to offer “true” offline navigation and an alternative to Google’s preloaded Maps.

But the app was in testing only on Samsung’s smartphones even despite the leaked apk file that allowed us all to sideload the HERE navigation on non-Galaxy smartphones. Now that’s about to change – Nokia is releasing the apk for all Android smartphones so you can try HERE maps for yourself. Read more »

Google publishes a guide for users transferring from iOS to Android

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Apple published a switch from Android to iOS guide? Two can play that game – Google has a dedicated page that helps new users switch to Android.

It’s not Google’s first guide though, last year Eric Schmidt himself posted an iOS to Android guide. Read more »

Ambient display mode spotted in Android Lollipop [Update: Only for Nexus 6]

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One of the cool features of iOS is that the screen lights up whenever you get a notification. This does consume a bit more battery than just having a notification light but it’s far more informative, and you know not just what the notification is about but can also get a brief look at the contents of the notification, making it easier to decide if you should act upon it or ignore it.

With the updated lockscreen notifications in Android Lollipop, Google has now also added a feature called Ambient display mode. This will allow the phone to light up the display when notifications arrive. Even better, it will wake the screen when you pick up the device, similar to the Moto X. Read more »

Next Gmail app for Android will handle all your email accounts

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The next version of Google’s beloved Gmail app for Android will feature a a lot more than new material design. Gmail 5.0 for Android is bound to make most email clients for the OS redundant by offering support for accounts beyond those hosted by Google.

Gmail’s hot new feature appeared in a short walkthrough video. Read more »

Skype for Windows Phone adds drawing feature

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Microsoft has published a new update for Skype in the Windows Phone app store. The new version is 2.24, and it debuts an interesting feature: drawing.

It’s just as it sounds, basically. You can tap the “+” icon in any chat and then select “drawing” to, well, draw – a picture, or whatever else your talent level allows you to. There’s also the possibility of adding a “personal touch” to a photo, or to annotate a Bing map. Read more »

Dropbox adds Touch ID support for iOS 8

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Dropbox has updated its mobile app for iOS today, and with the new version comes support for Touch ID. Specifically, you can use the fingerprint sensor embedded into Apple’s wares to get access to your Dropbox.

This means no more entering passwords to view the files you have stored in this particular cloud service. Read more »

Nexus 4 receives a functional Android 5.0 Lollipop port

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Thanks to the hard work of very talented developers over at the XDA-Developers community, the LG Nexus 4 has received Android 5.0 Lollipop earlier than Google is rolling it out officially. In addition, you can now get all of the Google apps with the updated looks on your own phone.

However, only rooted users may apply and the apps won’t work on all smartphones. Currently, the latest Material Design Google apps that are available as downloadable .apk files include Play Music, Play Books, Keep, Calendar, Gmail, Drive, Maps, Messenger and Fit. Read more »

Jolla teams up with Rovio to launch Angry Birds Stella Android launcher

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Jolla and Rovio have teamed up to introduce the Angry Birds Stella launcher for Android. Jolla did an Android launcher in the summer, but now the latest version comes with an Angry Birds theme focusing on one of the game’s latest characters, Stella.

Since in its functionality, the Jolla Stella launcher is the same as before, you can experience the nice gesture-based controls while quenching your Angry Birds thirst. On top of that, the launcher comes with unlimited access to ToonsTV. It is accessible by making a swipe from the edge of the screen. Read more »

New Skype-made Qik app lets groups chat with 42-second videos

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A small team at Skype went the startup route with the popular “send [arbitrary number] second videos!” formula. The new app is called Skype Qik (“quick”) and lets you record 42-second videos that you can send to one person or a whole group.

The app is available on Windows Phone, Android and iOS starting today. Read more »

Carl Zeiss is making its own $99 VR headset

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Renowned optics manufacturer Carl Zeiss is making its own alternative to Samsung’s Gear VR headset that uses an inserted smartphone to generate a 3D world.

Unlike Samsung’s offering, the Carl Zeiss VR One will be compatible with a wide range of smartphones between 4.7″ and 5.2″, although you will have to purchase a special tray for each new device. Read more »

Nokia disses Google Maps, calls its offline functionality “a glorified screenshot”

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Free from Microsoft influence, Nokia quickly reoriented and made its HERE maps available on Samsung devices. And it would have you know it’s so much better than Google Maps where the offline mode is “a glorified screenshot.”

Google is an Internet company so offline mode was never much of a priority, while Nokia has been offering navigation software on its phones since less than 10 people had mobile Internet. Read more »

Google outs News & Weather app for iOS

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Google released a standalone News & Weather application for iOS. Available for download in the App Store, the app joins the rest of Google’s already extensive range of apps for Apple’s mobile platform.

Google News & Weather for iOS delivers coverage from 65,000 publications. Read more »

CyanogenMod 11 gets ported to Android One smartphones

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CyanogenMod 11 is now unofficially available for Android One devices. The ultra-popular custom ROM for Android made its way to the lineup of entry-level devices thanks to a crafty member of XDA Developers.

As is the case with most early unofficial ports, some hardware features of the MediaTek device are not ready for prime time just yet. Read more »

Adobe Premiere Clip is a video editor for iPhone and iPad, now available

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Adobe has launched a new video editing app for iOS today. It’s called Premiere Clip and it’s basically a mobile-friendly interpretation of Premiere Pro, the company’s desktop video editor.

Adobe Premiere Clip is created with the mainstream user in mind, and not just video professionals. It’s a bit similar to iMovie, allowing you to trim and arrange bits, filter your video, as well as add transitions and effects – though these are rather basic compared to what you can do on a computer. Read more »