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February 28, 2013

Chrome for Android gets major update as ver. 25

Chrome update
The stable version of Chrome for Android has received a major upgrade, from version 18 all the way up to 25 -- the version that was in beta until recently. Major changes include significantly improved scrolling performance, improved JavaScript and HTML5 processing speed and speedier pinch-to-zoom. You can download he update from the Google Play Store.

February 27, 2013

ORANGE RANGE Announces First New Single In 4 Years


ORANGE RANGE has announced that they will releasing a new single, "Oboro na Ageha / Moshimo", on April 17th.

The band's upcoming single will be its first new single in nearly 4 years. Their last single, "Hitomi no Saki ni", was released on July 8th, 2009.

The single release announcement was made during the band's Tokyo performance of their nationwide tour in front of an audience of 2,700 people who immediately began screaming in excitement at their announcement.

"Oboro na Ageha" will be an upbeat song with quick, deep beats. The song was composed by the band's bassist, YOH. "Moshimo" will be a slower-paced love song composed by the band's guitarist, NAOTO.

The double A-side single will come in a regular edition and a limited edition. The limited edition version will include 3 extra tracks, all of which are live recordings from their tour "ORANGE RANGE LIVE TOUR 012 ~NEO POP STANDARD~".

Check out the single's track list and covers below:

Regular Edition
http://www.jpopasia.com/i1/news/3/13075-zo2w52900l.jpg
1. Oboro na Ageha
2. Moshimo
3. Tonari no Josephine

Limited Edition
http://www.jpopasia.com/i1/news/3/13075-guywiw9834.jpg
1. Oboro na Ageha
2. Moshimo
3. Tonari no Josephine
4. Restart
5. Hello Sunshine Hello Future
6. Baby Baby

Source: jpopasia

Chrome gets an audio icon to point out noisy tabs, so you can reload in peace

chrome audio throbber
Google Chrome will soon add an animated indicator to your tabs that lets you know which ones are playing back or recording audio. While it has the benefit of making it easier for you to pin down the tab that’s blaring Thrift Shop, it’s also wired to a more functional change in Chrome’s tab maintenance routine.

Behind the scenes, the new code will prevent Chrome from discarding tabs that are processing audio tasks in the background when it’s trying to free up memory. Right now, if Chrome becomes overwhelmed and needs to shut tabs down to create some headroom it may indiscriminately close your mood music. Google wants to make sure the good times keep rolling, however, so future versions of Chrome will monitor audio subsystem activity on a tab and mark them off limits. Other tabs will see their resources clawed back instead.

Eagle-eyed Chrome enthusiast Francois Beaufort noticed the change in the Chromium code recently, and the feature has already landed in Chrome Canary. Progress from Canary to Chrome’s more mainstream channels doesn’t always follow the same regimented 6-week release schedule, so there’s no telling when the audio throbber might pop up on the dev channel build. Once it does, however, you’ll only have to hunt for the favicon with the animated EQ to track down rogue audio tabs. It’ll be way more convenient than trying to guess based on titles or clicking through every tab manually until you spot one with a pause button on the page.


[via Geek]

Why is there Google Settings on my Android?

Google Settings
As part of its new Google+ sign-in initiative that went live today, Google pushed a silent update to the Google Play Services app to support the new feature, which also brought along a new app called Google Settings. Google Play Services updates in the background routinely, much like the Play Store itself, in order to have phones up to date and syncing properly. The updates don't usually install new apps, but there's nothing to worry about here, the Google Settings app is indeed supposed to be there.

That being said, it doesn't seem all that useful, as it just provides shortcuts to the settings menus of other apps on the phone -- like Google+, Maps and Location. These settings could all be accessed previously, but in order to have everything working out of the box and have a settings area set up for the new Google+ sign-in, Google had to push something out there. We may have preferred if there was some kind of notice of what was going on though.

Going forward it's likely that Google will use this app to house more than just a few settings shortcuts -- and the functionality could easily just be baked into the general OS settings as well.

[via Android Central]

February 26, 2013

ONE OK ROCK releases PV for “Clock Strikes”


ONE OK ROCK has released the PV for their new song, “Clock Strikes“, through their official YouTube channel.

“Clock Strikes” is one of the tracks off of ONE OK ROCK’s upcoming album, “Jinsei Kakete Boku wa“, that’s slated for release on March 6th. Check out the PV below!
Source: Tokyohive

The Real Reason We All Want Jetpacks


If only the world had jetpacks. It would be awesome. It would be handy. Jetpacks are the must-have ingredient for the future. But remember, the real reason you want one: to escape. Everything. All the time.

[via Gizmodo]

I Knew You Were Trouble Goat Edition


YouTube user Christopher DrifterSX decided to upload a short clip of Taylor Swift's I Knew You Were Trouble music video with a slight twist. When the song reached the climax of the chorus, a random goat (or is it a sheep) would appear and bleat like crazy. It is quite humorous to listen to and it definitely will make your day.

February 25, 2013

Nurse Miku Entices Fans to Donate Blood to Red Cross



The Red Cross Blood Center in Nara Prefecture joined forces with virtual idol Hatsune Miku in a campaign to encourage young people to donate blood last week. As part of the campaign at the Aeon Mall Kashihara, donors received an original Hatsune Miku poster ("Your courage means another life") and a postcard:
This is not the first time Hatsune Miku did her part for blood donations. For years, a blood donor center called akiba:F in Tokyo's Akihabara shopping district has recruited potential donors through stickers and other tie-ins to Hatsune Miku, Evangelion, and similar popular franchises.

Source: ANN

Samsung confirms Galaxy S4 to launch March 14

Samsung's Galaxy S3.
Samsung Electronics will unveil its next flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4, on March 14, CNET has confirmed.

Samsung is set to send out invitations this morning to a "Samsung Unpacked" event in New York for next month, CNET has learned. While the invitation contained little details, CNET has confirmed with a high-level executive that the Galaxy S4 will make its debut there.

After the blockbuster success of the Galaxy S3, anticipation has surged for the successor to the Galaxy S franchise. The Galaxy S3 last year emerged as a true rival to Apple's iPhone, even seeing accelerating sales after the iPhone 5 launched late last year.

Indeed, Samsung's tease will likely overshadow many of the other announcements at Mobile World Congress, which like the Consumer Electronics Show has seen its relevance diminish as the major players opt for their own announcements. HTC last week debuted its flagship One smartphone at its own global event in London and New York.

Earlier reports pegged the launch to occur on March 14, and there have been loads of specifications that are rumored to be included.

Among them is a rumored eight-core Exynos processor, a separate eight-core graphics processing unit, a 4.99-inch SuperAmoled display, 2GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear camera with 1080p video capability, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, and the latest version of Android, known as 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.

Samsung told CNET that it is also considering embedding its new security software, Knox, into the Galaxy S4.

[via CNET]

February 24, 2013

Pumpkin's Update

You may or may not have noticed my absence from this blog for the past two months. There were two main reasons: 1) I went to Melbourne for a Summer school/holiday, and 2) After I returned I had to complete my PhD confirmation. Anyhow, I am back now and hopefully along with my usual J-related news updates.

Unfortunately, halfway through my Melbourne trip my phone SD card suddenly died/wiped itself, so I lost all the photos and data I had on my phone; I tried recovery programs but it was no use.
Brunetti's - An expensive but awesome coffee/desert shop in Melbourne.
I pretty much completed my confirmation on Friday (22nd Feb), and in celebration I had a little splurge on myself. I visited the anime/manga shop Zombster and happily wasted $50. Here were my spoils:
Tiger, Bunny and Karina figurines (from Tiger and Bunny), Himari keychain (from Mawaru Penguindrum), and Zero, Suzaku and Lelouch keychains (from Code Geass). 
Today I saw this really cute bag and couldn't resist buying:
Yes okay, it's a fake angry bird but isn't it adorable?
Yesterday I also completed a few bookmarks to stick on my wall.
Kuro and Poyo from Poyopoyo Kansatsu nikki.
The princess from Mawaru Penguindrum.
So what are my latest plans/projects? None. I'm happy to receive ideas and feedback or even requests!

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and flumpool to interact with fans via Google+

A new channel featuring music content from Asia (A-Pop) has been launched on YouTube. In accordance with this, a Google+ page has also been launched to share music from Japan, Korea, and China. As the opening project, there will be a special event between artists and fans from March 8 to the 14.

Participants of this project include Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and flumpool from Japan, 2PM,SUPER JUNIOR, and SHINee from Korea, and MAYDAY and LeeHom Wang from China. The artists will take turns interacting with their fans via Google+ hangout.

Currently, Google+ is looking for questions and messages of support to artists. The due date for these submissions is set to February 25.

===

<A-Pop Channel Opening Project Schedule & Artists>

Friday, March 8th – SHINee
Saturday, March 9th – LeeHom Wang
Sunday, March 10th – SUPER JUNIOR
Monday, March 11th – Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
Tuesday, March 12th – flumpool
Wednesday, March 13th – 2PM
Thursday, March 14th – Mayday

Source: Tokyohive

Watch Hatsune Miku Designer KEI Draw the Virtual Idol in Video

The official Hatsune Miku channel on YouTube posted a video of KEI, the original character designer of Hatsune Miku, drawing the virtual idol in a time-lapse video:
The video ends with KEI answering a few questions about life as an illustrator — and how Miku got her signature twin tail hairstyle.

Source: ANN

Sakura Miku Bean Jam Buns Celebrate the Coming of Spring


The FamilyMart chain of convenience stores will begin selling Sakura Miku Man (Koshian) — sweet bean jam buns inspired by the springtime variant of virtual idol Hatsune Miku — about when the cherry blossoms bloom on March 19. This is FamilyMart's second steamed bun inspired by Hatsune Miku, after last summer's Hachune Miku Man.

The new buns will cost 160 yen (about US$1.70) in about 9,300 FamilyMart locations nationwide. It is just part of a larger "Hatsune Miku de Sakura no Ua no Campaign" of 16 different Hatsune Miku items, including Ume (dried plum) & Jako (dried sardine) Ricebentō (boxed meal), bread, and desserts, that will start rolling out on March 5. Most of them will have seasonal themes such as Sakura Miku and the popular songs "Senbonzakura" (One Thousand Cherry Blossoms) and "Sakura no Ame" ("Rain of Cherry Blossom").

The "Po Pi Po" (Poppippo) vegetable juice is back with six designs. FamilyMart has priced the drink at 200 yen (US$2.15) — to match the lyrics in the original "Po Pi Po" song.
People who buy 500 yen or more of these items will have a chance to win prizes such as 39 satin varsity-style "Hatsune Senbonzakura" jackets, 39 premium Sakura Miku Nendoroid sets, 100 "Hatsune Senbonzakura" premium sets, and 10 Kaito V3 software sets.

In addition, people who buy two of the sweets will receive a Hatsune Miku Crystal Card, starting on March 15 and while supplies last.

Source: ANN

2nd Snow Miku Festival Report Video Features Event Tour

The official Hatsune Miku channel on YouTube presented the second part of the Snow Miku Report 2013 on Friday. The video features various Vocaloid exhibits from the 64th annual Sapporo Snow Festival, including an art and merchandise gallery, a Hatsune Miku playground, workshops, game demos and a graffiti wall. The video also features an interview with the artist Chiho, who was featured in the art gallery.

Source: ANN

Vampire Knight Manga to End in May

The April issue of Hakusensha's LaLa magazine announced on Saturday that Matsuri Hino will end her Vampire Knight manga in the July issue on May 24. The series revolves around Yuki, a high school girl whose unique school features a "day class" of normal kids and a "night class" of vampires. She works with her adopted father and headmaster to prove that vampires can coexist with humans peacefully, but the school — and the vampires — hide many secrets.

Hino launched the manga in LaLa in 2004, and the manga entered its final arc last month. Hakusensha published the 17th compiled book volume in December.

Source: ANN

Ghost in the Shell Online Game to be 'Hacking FPS'

The staff at the Ghost in the Shell Arise press conference revealed more details on Tuesday about the Ghost in the Shell Online(tentative title) PC game.

The staff revealed that the game is classified as a "hacking-FPS" (First Person Shooter) game. Neoburu, a subsidiary company of game-developer Nexon, is in charge of the game's development. The game lets players strengthen their characters by utilizing information and remodeling their cyborg bodies. Players will also be able to collaborate with Tachikoma to fight. Nexon plans to release the game in the first half of 2014. The company also plans to release the game worldwide, although a time frame for the worldwide release has not yet been revealed.

Famitsu and Online Gamer have both posted additional artwork images for the game and pictures from the presentation.

Nexon announced in December that it had signed an agreement with Japanese publisher Kodansha to develop and release a PC online game based on the anime titles Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG, and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society. The company's releases in Japan include MapleStory, Arad Senki(Dungeon & Fighter/Dungeon Fighter Online, the inspiration for the Slap Up Party -Arad Senki- anime), Mabinogi, Sudden Attack, and around 60 other games. Nexon currently operates in more than 100 countries and territories in Asia, North America, Europe, and elsewhere.

Source: ANN

Zetsuen no Tempest Manga's Main Story to End Next Month

Manga artist Ren Saizaki announced on Wednesday that the Zetsuen no Tempest: The Civilization Blaster manga's main story is ending in the April issue of Square Enix's Monthly Shonen Gangan magazine on March 12. However, Saizaki with writer Kyo Shirodaira and story collaborator Arihide Sano are continuing with a spinoff story.

The main story centers around Yoshino Takigawa, an ordinary high school student with a mysterious friend named Mahiro Fuwa. Mahiro made a deal with a witch named Hakaze to hunt down the killers of his parents and sister. Now Mahiro is missing, and Hakaze confronts Yoshino. Yoshino finds himself involved in a crisis that may doom the entire world.

The manga debuted in Monthly Shonen Gangan in 2009, and Square Enix published the eighth book volume last month. The fantasy mystery manga inspired a television anime series last Fall that is still ongoing.

Source: ANN

How to Make a Snow Miku Sculpture in 3 Time-Lapsed Minutes

The official Hatsune Miku channel on YouTube presented the first part of the Snow Miku Report 2013 on Friday. In the 210-second video, snow sculptor Tsutomu Hatakeyama shows how he and his crew made this year's snow sculpture of Hatsune Miku in five days:
The sculpture debuted at the Sapporo Snow Festival earlier this month. This is the third "Snow Miku" that Hatakeyama has sculpted.

Source: ANN

Wield Sword Art Online's Elucidator Sword … Bag

The character goods maker MOVIC is offering a bag shaped like the Elucidator, the sword wielded by the lead character Kirito in the Sword Art Online anime. The cloth bag measures 1,000 millimeters (about 39 inches) long and includes mesh pockets that are handy for storing game systems and gadgets.

The sword will go on sale on April 4 for 5,250 yen (US$57).

Source: ANN

Google preparing a music streaming service

Google Play Music
Google owns YouTube, the largest video streaming site in the world by a huge margin, and Play Music, the service that lets users download songs from a catalog of over 13 million of tracks. It makes perfect sense for the tech giant to move into the music streaming business, and, according to the Financial Times, that is precisely what Google is doing.

The move will put Google in competition with established music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify. When Apple was rumored to weigh in an entry in the sector, Pandora’s stock tanked, so I am wondering how the markets will react at the news of Google getting into streaming. Larry Page’s company has a reputation of offering free or cheap services, which would put even more pressure on a competitive and notoriously difficult industry.

As The Next Web notes, Google already announced plans to roll out paid subscriptions on YouTube. From there, the move to paid music subscriptions is logical and quite reasonable to envisage. Google certainly possesses the infrastructure required for the venture.

Also, Google’s Music Match service is similar to a streaming app, albeit without the paid subscription. With Music Match, Google scans the users’ drives for music, which it then proceeds to match with cloud-stored versions. Users of the service (limited to the US and some European countries) can then listen to up to 20,000 tracks directly from the cloud, from any Internet connected device.

[via Android Authority]

February 23, 2013

YouTube for Android update integrates Google+, improves TV controls

youtube logo
The beauty of Android is its tight integration with Google’s ecosystem of products and services. Not everything is instantaneously available, but the search giant does add in important integration in its product updates. For instance, we recently learned that the YouTube app for Android has been updated to integrate Google+.

Among other incremental improvements, the YouTube app version 4.3.9 includes integration with Google+. You can now use your Google+ profile when commenting or liking videos. Also, YouTube has fixed the “fullscreen button bug” which some might have experienced while switching across fullscreen mode.

Another feature is the TV playback controls directly available on the notification bar. This gives you easier access to YouTube playback even while switching across apps. This will come in very useful when you’re watching YouTube videos through a paired TV and you want to use another app.

As usual, you can update your YouTube app from Google Play right on your device, or you can initiate the update from your browser through Google Play on the web.

[via Android Authority]

February 22, 2013

Chrome Beta update fixes crashes, adds tilt scrolling when switching tabs

Chrome Beta
Google's Beta channel of Chrome on Android has just received another update, this time fixing nasty crashes and adding a few more features. First, issues with text selection handles being placed in the wrong location have been fixed. Next, several "frequently occurring crashes" have been fixed. You're now able to log in to the LinkedIn desktop site, which could be an important fix. On the feature side, the ability to tilt the phone to scroll now works in tab switching mode, so if you like to keep lots of tabs open it should be easier to navigate through them if you choose this option.

There are still many notable bugs -- it is Beta after all -- such as text entry problems with Swype, popup issues and text formatting abnormalities. For this reason, at this point Chrome Beta isn't available for download by searching in the Play Store, so you'll have to install it from the Play Store link. You can also check out the full changelog here.

[via Android Central]

February 21, 2013

Google updates 'What's new in Android 4.2' for the ultimate Jelly Bean changelog

As with previous updates, you can now check out Google's own complete Jelly Bean changelog for the new features of Android 4.2, all on one page. We all know about the big additions of lockscreen widgets, redesigned clock and quick settings in the notification bar, but you may have forgotten about some of the more subtle changes. We're going to be honest there were even a few small things -- like some obscure networking improvements -- in here that we didn't know about.

February 20, 2013

Ubuntu phones to ship in 2014

Ubuntu
With the recent unveiling of a Ubuntu tablet which led everyone to wonder just when we'll get that Ubuntu phone we've been hearing about on and off. Today, Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu, gave us a much better idea: 2014, not late 2013.

Citing that Ubuntu 13.10, which is the phone-friendly version of the popular OS, will be available sometime late this year, he noted that many devices won’t be ready for them until early 2014. Why the delay? Carriers will need a little time to test those devices out before they’re comfortable selling them. He also mentioned that Ubuntu was working on low and high end devices, clearly an attempt to gain better market saturation. No word yet on who Ubuntu is partnering with on those devices, but we know there will be at least two.

Need another wrinkle to this story? Ubuntu may be available for carriers to do with as they please, a move we see with Android all too often. With such a fragmented space already present in Android, we’re left to wonder if Ubuntu will only complicate the issue. In addressing that, Shuttleworth said:
“We’ve had fairly substantial conversations… none of [the carriers or OEMs] have expressed a desire to recreate the fragmentation of the Android operating system.”
Carriers and their desires are a major contributing factor in fragmentation, so we hope Ubuntu treads lightly. While Google has the Open Handset Alliance to help keep partners honest, Ubuntu currently has no such leverage. So far, it seems Ubuntu is going to rely on handshake deals to work with carriers and manufacturers on keeping Ubuntu true to form.

[via Android Authority]

February 19, 2013

Unity Launcher: a little bit of Ubuntu flair on your device

Canonical has laid out its plans to release Ubuntu phones at some point in 2014 -- but you don't have to wait that long to get a little bit of Ubuntu flair on your current Android device. Unity Launcher brings Ubuntu's interesting swipe-in sliding app selector to your device without changing your current launcher setup.
Android Central Android Central
If you haven't seen the demos of Ubuntu's interface, the main app selection paradigm is anchored in a sliding menu that is revealed from the edge of the screen with a swipe -- bringing in a vertically scrolling list of your recently used applications. Unity Launcher brings this exact paradigm to your Android device, and does so extremely smoothly. The name is a bit of a misnomer though, as you don't actually replace your current launcher with it but rather use both in conjunction. Installing and configuring Unity Launcher simply puts the slide-in app selector functionality on top of whatever else you're using.

When you first open up the settings of Unity Launcher, you need to set the sizing and position of the swipe area before you can use it. You have to edit the "edge width", which essentially tells the app how much of the screen to have "reserved" to recognize when you're swiping. As the app indicates, the smaller the area the better because it will make that portion of the screen unresponsive to normal UI touches. I made the area on my Nexus 4 almost as small as the slider goes without any ill effect on the functionality of Unity Launcher or other apps I was using. It does take some getting used to once you make the area so small, but it quickly becomes a natural gesture.

Beyond the width of the swipe recognition area, you can also change how high the area is, it's color, sensitivity and position on screen - left, right, top bottom and everywhere in between. Once you've got it set up and working as you'd like, you can edit how long to have the tray visible when you swipe it in (default 1200 worked fine for me), the animation delay and the background styles of both the tray and individual app icons themselves.


There's a free version of the app with very limited functionality, but luckily the paid version is only $1.99 to unlock all of the bells and whistles. If you're interested in trying out a little slice of the Ubuntu phone OS on your current device, it's certainly worth a try. Download here.

[via Android Central]

Ubuntu Gearing up For Tablet Announcement Tomorrow

ubuntu-website-tablet-countdown
The Ubuntu website is once again displaying a countdown - similar to the one shown ahead of January’s Ubuntu Phone announcement.

Next to the clock sits a not-so-subtle clue about the purpose of the countdown that reads: ‘Tick, tock, tablet time!‘

Unless Canonical decide to throw a curveball into the mix here by announcing the release of an Ubuntu-powered graphics tablet I think we can all safely assume that the reveal will concern the next step in Canonical’s ‘multi-device strategy’ – namely, tablets.

Aside from the presence of a countdown there is, for now at least, little else to go on.

If Canonical are announcing a tablet version of Unity then what form is it likely to take? Will it be based on the Ubuntu Phone OS code? Or will it be some form of rejigged Compiz-powered Unity?

My money is on the former.

In the same way that Android powers both smartphones and tablets (albeit with marginal interface differences between the two) so too do I imagine that the ‘Ubuntu Phone OS’ – more accurately known as Ubuntu Touch – will.

It makes sense, after all. Ubuntu Touch has been designed from the ground up to be gesture-centric. Confining such an experience solely to small smartphone screens would be a waste.

The timing of the tomorrows announcement is also curious. It’s being made just days before the source code for “Ubuntu Phone OS” is released alongside installable images for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and LG Nexus 4.

With the Nexus 7 already having history with Ubuntu development could it be likely that an install image for it, and even it’s older sibling the Nexus 10, also see released on that date?

[via OMG! Ubuntu!]

February 18, 2013

Get some help with Market Helper

market-helper-logo-1
In case you happen to own a device that’s not supported by a certain application that you absolutely musth have, you may be interested in an app that deals with that problem, Market Helper.

Running Market Helper on your Android device will let your device steal the identity of a different device (handset or tablet) that’s compatible with the app you want but can’t otherwise download. According to the developer, the change is done without any modifications to the build.prop file “or any system files,” and once you get what you need, you can revert right back.

Unfortunately, while the app is available as a free download from the developer’s site, you’ll need to root your device to get it, as you won’t find it in the Google Play Store. In fact, in case you do a search on the Play store for “Market Helper” you’ll find an app that goes by that name, but it’s something completely different so don’t bother getting it, as it won’t offer any similar features.
market-helper-2

February 17, 2013

Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. for Android to bring virtual pet ownership back in style

Tamagotchi-for-Android-2
Feel like some nostalgia? Then look no further. Head on to Google Play and get yourself a copy of a new app called Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. installed on your Android device of choice right now. For those that don’t know – come on, really? – Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. is an app that is based on the “tamagotchi” virtual pets which became wildly popular in the 90s.

According to the app’s makers, the Tamagotchi is now better than it has ever been before. For starters, the pets are in color, but that’s not the only thing the app has going for it.

Indeed, all the people who will end up downloading and poking around this app probably will go out and tell their friends all about it. It can be downloaded and installed now on all Android tablets and smartphones that are running Android 2.3 Gingerbread or later. And as the description above says, it’s available free of charge.


Get ready for Google Stores

Google Stores
We know about Apple store, the recent Samsung stores and plenty of other popular branded device companies opening up stores. However, we have never had a Google Store; until now. In a move that would help Google continue its push beyond the Internet and into the realm of consumer electronics, the company reportedly plans to open its own retail stores ahead of the holidays this year. According to a single "reliable source", 9to5Google says the is confirmed that Google will open stores in several major metropolitan areas across the United States. The stores will reportedly be used to showcase and sell the company's Nexus-branded devices as well as computers running Chrome OS. The store may also be a perfect place to show off Motorola's upcoming "X Phone".

[via BGR]

Skype officially adds video messaging feature to its service

skype-logo-1
Last December, a change in Skype’s terms of service hinted that a new video messaging feature was going to be introduced soon. Now, it looks like the feature has been officially rolled out to the apps on Android and iOS.

If you’re eager to give it a try, don’t get too disappointed to learn that it may not be available in your region yet, because only folks in the U.S., UK, and several other countries — that have yet to be fully revealed — can start sending those video messages through Skype – at least for now.

Once you got the update, you’ll be able to send up to three minutes of video to your contacts. It’s reported that premium users will get to send an unlimited number of videos, which won’t be the case for regular Skype users. Another incentive for premium users is that their videos will never be deleted from the server.

[via Android Authority]

February 16, 2013

Skype now beta testing video messaging service with some mobile users

Skype Video Messaging
Skype is actively testing a new video messaging service with a "group of mobile and mac users" according to its official Twitter account today. The new feature, which doesn't require a new update to the mobile app, enables users to send video messages back and forth up to 3 minutes in length. If you've been selected to be part of this initial test, the option will be found under a contact's name in the "More" category, which now holds options to do video messages and send files. You get a basic video interface where you can press the record button to start, and when you're done hit the record button again to save and send the message.

The menu item clearly says "20 free video messages remaining", so we're going to assume that sending video messages is going to be a premium feature costing Skype credits going forward.

[via Android Central]

February 15, 2013

Google rolling out Android 4.2.2

The latest version of Google's Jelly Bean Android OS is now being pushed out to Nexus devices.
Google has begun rolling out the latest version of its Android mobile operating system, version 4.2.2, to its range of Nexus smartphone and tablet devices.

The latest update is currently being pushed to the Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus smartphones, and the company's Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets as an over-the-air (OTA) update. Google has also published the factory images of the 4.2.2 software for users to download.

Version 4.2.2 of the Jelly Bean platform is a minor update. Among the new features introduced include progress percentage and time indicators when downloading applications from the Google Play Store, the ability to long press on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi icons in the quick settings menu to use them as toggles, and new sounds for wireless charging and low battery notifications.

There is also longer vibrations for notifications and a new Gallery app animation. In addition, the latest Android update claims to address some minor bugs and performance issues.

[via PC World]

Steam Added to Ubuntu Software Center, Celebrates With Big Sale

steam
Valve’s Steam for Linux client is now available to install on Ubuntu directly from the Ubuntu Software Center.

The app, which has been in various beta stages since November 2012, is available on both Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and Ubuntu 12.10 on either 32bit or 64bit installs.

Although the client itself can be installed (and uninstalled) from within the Ubuntu Software Center all future updates to the app will be handled by the Steam client’s built-in updater, linked to the official Steam for Linux repository.

To mark the release, gamers can save between 50-80% off the price of every Steam Linux title – of which there are over 50 to choose from – until Thursday February 21st.


February 14, 2013

Pokemon TV for Android, gotta watch em' all

Pokémon TV
ere's one for all the kids -- and big kids-- out there. Pokemon TV has been released into the Google Play Store bringing with it hours upon hours of cartoon battling fun. We've all come across Pokemon at some point, be it on the old Nintendo Game Boy's, or the cartoons, or the trading cards, and there's probably a good few of you guys out there that will be secretly -- or not so secretly -- delighted by this.

Pokemon TV is an official application, completely free of charge, and promises fresh episodes every week. It's good for both phones and tablets, we've had no problems installing it on a range of devices, and only requires Gingerbread and above.



Unofficial Ouya forum lists confirmed upcoming games

OUYA
An admin at an unofficial Ouya forum has listed hundreds of games that have been confirmed – either by developers or the people from Ouya – to be arriving on the Android-based game console.

There are so many games listed that to enumerate them here is quite cumbersome. Some worthy games, however, have caught our attention. Among them are games we have already reported about such as Double Fine Adventure and The Cave by Double Fine Studios. The action RPG Dungeon Quest, which is currently downloadable on the Play Store as beta, is also headed for Ouya.

The catalog has over 300 games already and continues to increase whenever forum moderators receive new information. Even though this is not an official list, almost every game mentioned is linked to another forum thread or a website that verifies that the game is indeed coming to the Ouya console.

[via Android Authority]

Google Now officially gets widgets in latest Google Search update

Google Now Widget
Google Now has been updated including the support for home screen and lock screen widgets!

First off is the lock screen widget. It works on a home screen or lock screen (the latter only if you've got Android 4.2). We not noticing any real customizable settings just yet -- sing out if you see any. But you can at least resize it on the home screen, and you might well need to if it tries to take up a full 4x4 spot by default.

Then there's support for movie passes from Fandango, as well as ratings from Rotten Tomatoes. If you're searching for a home, you'll get real-estate listings from Zillo. In the United States, you'll now see a music button when a song is playing in voice mode. And, as some of you have already noticed this week, there's now support for college sports.

[via Android Central]

February 13, 2013

SwiftKey Flow beta updated with fresh round of bug fixes

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The SwiftKey Flow beta test continues with another release for phones and tablets today. Version 4.0.0.99 includes a new round of bug fixes, including behavior fixes for the Google Chrome Beta, various crash fixes and a new Turkish layout.
  • Fixed crash on changing keyboards
  • Fixed force close on clicking update language
  • Fixed other crashes
  • Resolved majority of non-English punctuation problems
  • New look installer to match SwiftKey Flow colors and include an introduction to SwiftKey Flow
  • Added Turkish layout
  • Chrome Beta should now behave like Chrome
  • Snap and tap (correction of words) now compatible with Vietnamese
  • Memory usage of settings app reduced
  • Improved handling of non-zero length selection in Chrome and Samsung mail client
  • Fixed jumping cursor in ExDialler and Samsung calculator
  • Microphone key disabled in fields that don’t support voice input
  • Fix for keyboard disappearing when phone build installed on tablet sized devices
  • Disabled predictions in Kingsoft Office and UC browser to make SK usable in them
  • Double space for period turned off by default to prevent accidental period insertion when flowing
  • Replaced ‘learnt’ with ‘learned’ in personalization page (US English)
  • Turned off slide down from candidate bar to close keyboard when flow is on (to be consistent with the description in the Settings menu)
There's still a handful of known issues in the current beta build, so you might want to take a look over them at the source link before installing for the first time. That's also where you'll find download links for both phone and tablet versions of the keyboard.

[via Android Central]

February 12, 2013

Galaxy on Fire: Alliances announced, free-to-play MMO real-time strategy game for Android

Galaxy on Fire
If you are a fan of the Galaxy on Fire series by Fishlabs Entertainment, we have some great news for you. Galaxy on Fire: Alliances has just been announced, bringing the series into MMO real-time strategy territory.

The upcoming MMORTS will run on a proprietary game engine called ABYSS 3, the same engine used in the other Galaxy on Fire games. The game will also be cross-platform for iOS and Android users and will be fully rendered in 3D.

Galaxy on Fire: Alliances focuses on three different factions: the Terrans, Vossk and Niveliens. The game itself allows you to work with other human players to advance your colonies and fight against your enemies, or you can play out an “us against the world” strategy if you so prefer.

As you can see, this MMORTS could potentially be a lot of fun not only for current fans of the series, but RTS gamers in general. So when is it actually coming? Unfortunately, iOS gets the game first with the Android version to fully shortly thereafter. No exact word on release dates for either platform just yet.

[via Android Authority]

Real Racing 3 for Android arrives on February 28

Real Racing 3
Good news, racing game fans, the wait is almost over! EA Mobile has set February 28 as the release date of the much-anticipated game Real Racing 3. When the big day comes, the app can be downloaded simultaneously on iOS, Android, and Amazon Appstore. Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that, unlike its predecessor, Real Racing 3 is free to play.

Given the awesome features that developer Firemonkeys teased fans bit by bit, there is no doubt in considering Real Racing 3 to be one of the best racing games of the year. For instance, the Time Shift Multiplayer allows players to compete against fellow human opponents even without an Internet connection during the race. The game simply records the best performance of opposing players and let the AI control the cars and replicate their driving skills and track times, so that players don’t need to be online at the same time.

Besides the unique multiplayer mode, there are also realistic physics, gorgeous race tracks, and a wide selection of cars to look forward to.