Video: Happy Holidays from Android

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Dec 222012
 

With Christmas just around the corner now, the Google Android has put together a video to wish the Android community happy holidays:

Thanks for being part of the Android community in 2012. Happy holidays from everyone at Android!

It’s nice to see that even Bug Droid, the Android mascot, will celebrate surrounded by friends and all the latest Nexus devices.

Is that an unannounced Nexus 7 docking station (last spotted earlier this week) we spy at the 0:52 mark of the video? And is that a Nexus 10 dock a bit further (around the 0:58 mark and again at 1:15)?

Read more: Google Android [via YouTube]

Motorola developing ‘X Phone’ to take on Apple and Samsung?

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Dec 212012
 

Motorola MobilityIt has been relatively quiet on the Motorola front for a while. Having been acquired by Google earlier this year, it’s been unclear how the manufacturer would move forward under the umbrella of its new owners. A report by The Wall Street Journal now suggests that Motorola has some very exciting surprises in store for us for 2013. The report indicates that the company is working on a “sophisticated” smartphone, codenamed the “X phone,” that will square off against flagship devices from other manufacturers (such as the Apple iPhone and Samsung’s line of Galaxy S smartphones).

According to company CEO Dennis Woodside, Motorola is currently “investing in a team and a technology that will do something quite different than the current approaches.” The initiative is apparently being led by Lior Ron, a former Google product manager who specialized in mapping applications.

Little is known about the X Phone at this point. The team has looked into flexible displays, ceramics and other materials, as well as different colours and shapes. Objectives for the device include improving the camera and photo software and the incorporation of features from Motorola’s acquisition of Viewdle, an imaging and gesture-recognition software company. The design process has not been without difficulties . Sources have indicated that Motorola has run into a number of “difficulties,” adding that these are a “normal” part of the research-and-development process.

Motorola is expected to have its X Phone out sometime in 2013. An “X tablet” will then follow.

Read more: The Wall Street Journal

Google Nexus 7 docking station coming soon for US$39.99

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Dec 202012
 

Despite the success of the Google Nexus 7, Google and ASUS have been slow to offer accessories for it. So far, we have only seen a cover (available in three colours) and a charger. Earlier this month, we got a peak at an upcoming docking station. It is now listed on the B&H for US$39.99 (or CA$39.53). It is not available yet but you can sign up to be notified when it will be.

The dock comes with a 3.5mm audio port and micro-USB port at the back. It requires Android 4.2 and audio output requires that the USB AC adapter be connected.

Google Nexus 7 Dock

The site lists an expected availability date of December 30th, 2012.Given the lack of Nexus 7 accessory availability at the Google Play in Canada, you’ll be relieved to know that B&H ships to Canada.

Read more: B&H

New entry-level Google Nexus 7 tablet to cost more than US$99?

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Dec 202012
 

Google NexusThe rumours that Google will launch a new entry-level tablet continue. The latest report indicates that a lower-priced Nexus 7 could launch as early as Q1 2013 although the companies could also wait until Q2 as the first quarter traditionally sees slower sales.

According to Digitimes, Google is working with ASUS rather than Quanta Computer as it reported in the past. The two companies are still hoping to hit the US$99 price point but anonymous market observers expect that supplier costs (including those of touchscreen maker Shenzhen O-Film Tech) may force them to sell for slightly more. If component costs cannot be driven down further, it could sell for between US$129 and US$149 instead.

Google and ASUS will reportedly aim the new tablet at emerging markets. If so, we may not see it in North America where the Nexus 7 already sells for as low as US$199. Initial shipment volumes could reach 600,000 units.

Could this new entry-level Google Nexus 7 tablet be none other than the ASUS ME172V spotted over at GLBenchmark.com recently?

Read more: Digitimes

Video: Google Nexus 4 ads from Google and LG

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Dec 202012
 

The Google Nexus 4 is the subject of two new ads, one each from Google and LG. Google’s ad focuses on Photo Sphere, a feature introduced in Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. LG’s ad is more encompassing, showing different people using the smartphone for different purposes by using different tools including Photo Sphere, Google Now, Wi-Fi Display, and Android Beam. The latter also features a number of shots of the reflective pattern on the back of the smartphone.

Now, if Google and LG could only do something about those scarce and erratic” supplies and get these in the hands of all the people wanting one…

Read more: Google [via YouTube] and LG [via YouTube]

WIND Mobile offering CA$50 credit on new Google Nexus 4 activations

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Dec 192012
 

WIND Mobile is reaching out to those Canadians who managed to get themselves a Google Nexus 4. It is offering a CA$50 credit to those who activate a new line on the Unlimited Wish 40 or Unlimited Wish 25 plan between December 10th, 2012 to December 31th, 2012. It is available to both Pay Before and Pay After customers.

WIND Mobile Nexus 4 credit
Click for a larger version

In fact, the offer is not limited to just the Google Nexus 4. WIND Mobile will extend the same offer to any unlocked AWS (1700/2100) compatible phone.

Anyone taking their Nexus 4 over to WIND?

Read more: WIND Mobile (Source: MobileSyrup)

Google Maps for iPhone downloaded 10 million times in first 48 hours

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Dec 172012
 

Google MapsIt appears that there was a bit of pent-up demand for an alternative to Apple Maps among iOS users. Google’s Jeff Huber today announced that Google Maps for iPhone was downloaded over 10 million downloads in the first 48 hours that it was available.

We’re excited for the positive reception of Google Maps for iPhone around the world. Congratulations to the Maps Team on the recognition for the passion and hard work they poured into it, for this release and over the last 7+ years.

Google Maps for iPhone shot to the top of the App Store charts and remains there today.

Read more: Jeff Huber [via Google+] (Source: TheNextWeb)

Google describes Nexus 4 supply as “scarce and erratic”

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Dec 172012
 

Google Nexus 4Since the Google Nexus 4 smartphone went on sale in mid-November, it has been out of stock far more often than it has been in stock. LG, its manufacturer, has already confirmed that it is struggling to meet the “huge demand.” Google UK & Ireland Managing Director Dan Cobley has now taken to Google+ to offer both an apology and a few more details.

Cobley describes supply from LG as being “scarce and erratic” and called Google’s own communications about the issue “failures” before providing an apology.

Dear all, I know that what you are going through is unacceptable and we are all working through the nights and weekends to resolve this issue. Supplies from the manufacturer are scarce and erratic, and our communication has been flawed.

I can offer an unreserved apology for our service and communication failures in this process.

I am optimistic that we will be able to share some positive news shortly, but I do not want to cause any more disappointment by making a commitment until we are 100% sure we can deliver on it.

Cobley added Google will issue a shipping refund to customers whose orders did nt ship in the promised 3 to 5 day window. Hopefully we will see the overall supply issue improve quickly as well.

Read more: Dan Cobley [via Google+] (Source: CNET)

Google dropping Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support for new devices

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Dec 142012
 

GoogleGoogle today announced that its Google Sync service would no longer be available to new devices as of January 30th, 2013. The service allowed users to access Gmail, Calendar and Contacts through the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol.

With the recent launch of CardDAV, Google now offers similar access via IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV, making it possible to build a seamless sync experience using open protocols.

Microsoft currently does not support CalDAV and CardDAV in Windows Phone 8. It remains to be seen if it will come up with a workaround to this development. New Windows Phone 8 users may want to look at Microsoft’s new Outlook.com service (which supports Exchange ActiveSync) instead of Gmail.

Fortunately for current users, Google will continue to support existing Google Sync connections. Google will also continue to fully support Google Sync for Google Sync for Google Apps for Business, Government and Education.

Google made the announcement as part of a larger announcement. It is also shutting down “several less popular Google Calendar features” such as Appointment slots and Smart Rescheduler and Add gadget by URL. The Punchd Android and iOS apps, used to keep loyalty punch cards on smartphones, will be shut down on June 7th, 2013 along with merchant support for these.

Read more: Google Official Blog

Google Maps now available for iPhone and iPod touch

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Dec 132012
 

As expected, Google has launched much-anticipated Google Maps for the iPhone and iPod Touch (4th gen). Former users of the app will find it familiar but the interface has been refreshed in much the same way that Google has recently updated other iOS apps such as Gmail and YouTube.

Navigate your world with Google Maps, now available for iPhone. Get comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps with built-in Google local search, voice guided turn-by-turn navigation, public transit directions, Street View and more. Use Google Maps to discover great places to eat, drink, shop and play, with ratings and reviews from people you trust. Sign in to save your favorite places and quickly access all your past searches and directions from your computer, right on your phone.

Google also took the time to remind its users that it makes “tens of thousands of daily updates” to keep Google Maps accurate and asks users to shake their phones to send them feedback if something is not right.

Google has also released the Google Maps SDK for iOS so that developers can integrate Google Maps in their own apps.

The Google Maps app is available as a free download for the iPhone and iPod Touch (4th gen) iOS 5.1 and higher. An iPad version of the app is not available at this time.

Read more: Google Official Blog

Google launches Sound Search for Google Play widget for Android

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Dec 122012
 

Google today announced a new widget to help Android users identify that song they’re listening to. The Sound Search for Google Play widget will not only identify the song but also conveniently let you purchase it later through Google Play:

Sometimes, you hear a song you like while you’re out and about but don’t want to download it right at that moment. The Sound Search widget syncs across all of your devices, so that song you recognized with your phone in the coffee shop can be quickly purchased from your tablet at home.

Sound Search for Google Play widget

The Sound Search for Google Play widget can even be added directly to the lockscreen on devices running Android 4.2. This allows you to recognize a song without having to even unlock your device.

The Sound Search for Google Play widget is currently available only in the U.S for devices running Android 4.0 and up. There is no word on when it will be made available in other countries.

Read more: Android Official Blog

Google Maps returning to iOS tonight?

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Dec 122012
 

Google MapsIf Apple Maps has left you wanting or driven you over to bookmarking maps.google.com on your iOS devices, there good be some good news tonight. AllThingsD reports that Google will release its new iOS Maps app tonight.

Google Maps had been preinstalled on iOS devices from the time that the first iPhone launched. It was dropped from iOS 6 this fall in favour of Apple’s own Maps app. Responding to wide criticism and ridicule for its many inaccuracies, Apple CEO Tim Cook went as far as publishing an open letter apologizing for the quality of the app and vowing that Apple would do “everything we can to make Maps better.”

It will be interesting to see how Google Maps fares against Apple Maps. If nothing else, as AllThingsD points out, anyone holding out on upgrading to iOS 6 over the mapping software will now be able to take the plunge.

Read more: AllThingsD

Google Nexus 7 shipments to top one million in December

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Dec 122012
 

Google Nexus 7Despite competition from the new Apple iPad mini and other Android tablets, sales of the Google Nexus 7 tablet remain strong and are even growing stronger. In late October, ASUS indicated that it was nearing sales of 1 million tablets a month and it now appears that it will hit that milestone in December.

According to Digitimes‘ supply chain maker sources, ASUS shipped between 800,000 and 900,000 Nexus 7 tablets in November and will ship over 1 million in December. A breakdown of the sales of the different models (including the new 32GB models) was not provided.

In comparison, Apple’s suppliers are expected to ship two million iPad mini tablets in the same month, up from about 1.5 million in November. Amazon, which does not provide tablet sales numbers, is expected to ship up to 4 million Kindle Fires via its ODM Quanta in Q4 2012.

It looks like more than a few people will find a 7-inch tablet under the Christmas tree this year!

Read more: Digitimes

Dec 062012
 

Google Nexus 4LG has confirmed what many had predicted: It is struggling to keep up with the demand for the Google Nexus 4 [product information]. Not only did it sell out in minutes on its debut on November 13th but it has remained difficult to find since then. The Google Play Store continues to sell out of it in mere hours (including Canada) wherever it is is made available again.

Asked about the Nexus 4 stock situation, Andy Coughlin, the head of mobile at LG UK, told CNET UK that the phone “had proven extremely popular, and as such retailers have been met with huge demand”. LG’s Korean headquarters added that Google underestimated initial demand for its latest Nexus smartphone, explaining why Google so quickly sold out of its initial supply.

LG is working with Google to address the demand. “We are working closely with Google to ensure that those who wish to purchase a handset are able to do so,” he said.

Neither Google nor LG have given any timelines as to when they expect supply to catch up for demand for the Google Nexus 4. Nor have they provided any specific figures for either the first dale of sales or cumulatively.

Read more: CNET UK (Source: BGR)

Google I/O 2013 dates announced: May 15th-17th 2013

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Dec 042012
 

Google I/OGoogle today announced the dates of its next Google I/O developer conference. Unlike this year’s event which took place in late June, next year’s will take place in May.

It might only be December, but Google I/O 2013 is set and is just 162 days away! We’ll be returning to Moscone Center West in San Francisco on May 15-17, 2013, and sharing the experience beyond via Google Developers Live and I/O Extended viewing parties

Last year’s event saw the announcement of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean along with the Google Nexus 7 tablet and Nexus Q media-streaming device. This year’s event could see the announcement of the next version of Android (Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie perhaps?).

Ticket prices and other registration details have not been announced yet. Those details will be revealed in February.

Read more: Google Developers [via Google+]