White version of Google smartphone identical in specification to original
A white version of the Google Nexus 4 smartphone could be released in the next month. A rumor suggests the white mobile device will become available through Google Play on the 10th of June, and will be accompanied by the release of the next iteration of the Android mobile operating system, version 4.3.
Agency preps developers for changes to important act
The US Federal Trade Commission has started sending out two letters to app developers, preparing them for changes to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act taking effect July 1st, according to an announcement. The letters warn developers that restrictions on the collection of personal data from kids under 13 have been expanded, and now cover things like audio or video bearing a child's likeness. Previously, rules only covered the gathering of names, addresses, and phone numbers.
Paid-for service provides track recommendations, instant playlists
Google has announced its music service at its Google I/O developer conference. As leaked yesterday in a report, Google Play Music All Access is the search giant's take on Spotify and other similar music streaming services, with users able to stream from the large catalog of tracks already available to download from the Google Play Music store.
Google Maps preview page shows maps customized by searches
Google has updated its Google Play app store, just before the first day of the company's developer event, Google I/O. A new sign-up page for Google Maps also briefly appeared online before an expected reveal at the conference, which gave more information about the search giant's plans for its navigational product.
Gaming framework for Android could appear at Google I/O
Google may be revealing an entire gaming framework to developers at Google I/O next week, based on newly-released data. The Google Play Services component for Android includes support for various game-related features in a new update, including synchronizing saved games and various multiplayer components seen in a previous leak.
Google addition to Nook HD leaves Kindle Fire as last closed Android system
Barnes & Noble is boosting the number of apps available for its Nook HD and Nook HD+ tablets, by adding the Google Play store. The software update will add Play alongside the company's own app store, boosting the number of apps available to its users by over 700,000, along with the millions of songs found on Google Play Music, and other Google-supplied content.
Policy change to affect Facebook, other independently-updated apps
Google has updated its Play store with a small change to its developer program policies, to prevent malicious code appearing on devices. The small change now forbids applications supplied through the Google Play store from receiving updates using another process, in an effort to improve the overall security of apps provided to Android users.
Developer revenue more than 2.6 times higher on iOS side
The Apple App Store and Google Play are now nearly equal in terms of download volume, according to new data by analytics firm App Annie. "While the iOS App Store and Google Play both had solid gains in app downloads last quarter, Google Play had a higher percentage growth rate as well as a greater gain in absolute downloads," the firm writes. "As of Q1 2013, Google Play’s app downloads were close to 90 percent of iOS App Store downloads." The App Store is, however, continuing to do far better than Play in terms of generating revenue.
Facebook home downloadable in UK, Canada
Facebook Home is now available to Android users in the UK and Canada, after the limited launch in the US. The Home launcher, replacing existing front end software used on Android smartphones, allows users to see their Facebook news feed from the home screen, and includes a number of socially-focused elements, including the Chat Heads system released earlier in Facebook Messenger. The initial range of devices that can use the Google Play download remains unchanged, populated by the Samsung Galaxy Note II and Galaxy S III, HTC One X, One X+, and One.
Apple remains the number one platform for app developer profit
A new report by Canalys estimates that the top four app stores served up a total of 13.4 billion apps for the first quarter in 2013. App downloads across Apple’s App Store, Google Play, Windows Phone Store and BlackBerry World grew 11 percent over the previous quarter. Revenue for developers also grew by 9 percent with app revenue reaching $2.2 billion in gross returns.
Caveat emptor when it comes to buying hardware from the Play Store
So you see a great deal on some Nexus hardware on Google Play, what could possibly go wrong? Well, quite a lot it seems, if my recent Google customer experience is one by which its customer support can be judged. I have been trying to return my second faulty Google Nexus 7 and I still haven't managed to get it back to Google since first initiating the returns process in January…
Google puts Nexus 7 on sale in Indian Google Play store
Google has opened up the Nexus 7 to pre-order in India, ahead of the April 5th release date. The Google Play store lists the tablet at 16,000 rupees ($295) for 16GB of storage and Wi-Fi connectivity, reports ZDnet, and will have the same 32GB option seen in other territories available to purchase. A version with mobile data access is not currently listed in the store.
Google Now-style cards used in app lists
A redesign of the Google Play store is in the works, according to a report. The refined store, said to be version 4.0.16, appears to show a highly-simplified and clean design, complete with larger icons, a design influence at seems to be inspired by Google Now cards, and a lighter-in-appearance home page.
Adblock Plus updated to work without Google Play
A new version of Adblock Plus for Android has become available. The revised app, including changes to configuration options and a visual overhaul, now includes an update system separate from the Google Play marketplace that it previously used before being banned. Users will have to sideload the latest version through the Adblock Plus website.
The Article 29 working group -- composed data protection authorities from across the European Union -- has issued a new set of recommendations which may have a significant impact on app developers. Under the new guidelines, it's proposed that developers should ask for consent for each kind of data an app wants to access, including not only common items like location, contacts, payment info, and social network logins, but browsing history and other content. Even then though Article 29 argues that this "does not legitimize excessive or disproportionate data processing," and further recommends setting an inactivity window, after which data collection from a person's app account will stop.
Week of discounts, free items for Android users
Google is celebrating the one year anniversary of rebranding the Android Market to Google Play, by offering discounts and free downloads to users of Android tablets and mobile devices. The celebratory offers come at the same time as Google makes available its Google Play gift cards in retail stores in the United Kingdom.
Nintendo, Apple claimed to be close in game revenues
New research suggests that gaming on mobile devices is now a more lucrative market for developers than portable game systems. Spending on gaming apps in the Apple App Store and Google Play is said to be higher than for dedicated portable consoles from Sony and Nintendo during the last quarter of 2012, with the largest amounts of spending taking place in December due to hardware being given as gifts.
Recent change allows all Android developers right-to-reply
Google has extended its program to allow all app developers to respond to user comments. The ability to respond to user feedback in the Review section of Google Play app pages has now been extended for all creators of Android apps using the storefront, after initially being rolled out to programming teams with a Top Developer badge.
Google still seeing significant revenue increases
Google Play is catching up to the Apple App Store by some metrics, but still has a ways to go, according to a year-end study by Dutch analytics firm Distimo. Both stores now have over 700,000 apps, but the App Store generates about 4.3 times more revenue than Google Play. "On a typical day in November 2012, the revenues in the Apple App Store exceeded $15M USD, while in Google Play the revenues are just below $3.5M USD in 20 of the largest countries in both app stores," Distimo writes.
Apps, websites to require consent before obtaining data
The US Federal Trade Commission has formally updated rules derived from the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, better known as COPPA, says the Wall Street Journal. The act was originally passed by Congress in 1998, but subsequent evolution of the Internet prompted the FTC to start reconsidering its enforcement in 2010. Influenced by feedback, proposed changes started emerging last year.
Google launches Maps beta app for Mexico
The Google Maps team has been hard at work, earlier this week announcing the release of a beta app that will allow navigation in Mexico. The app is available to download on Google Play (free) and supports devices running on Android 2.2 and newer. Like for other regions, the app will provide directions, maps, local information, and traffic updates in real time.
Google Play revenue up sharply, Apple generates 4 times as much
Google Play sees strong revenue growth, 311 percent higher than last year according to a new study by App Annie Intelligence. By comparison, Apple’s iTunes App Store revenue made four times as much in revenue over the same period. However, while Apple retains a strong lead in app monetization, revenue was up only 12.9 percent according to the App Annie study, although Apple disputes those figures.
Galaxy S III going for $100 with two-year contract
Starting this sunday, RadioShack will be offering Samsung's Galaxy S III smartphone with a complimentary $50 Google Play credit. The retailer is offering Samsung's flagship smartphone for $100 with the activation of a two-year contract. Customers looking to get the S III on AT&T will have to make their purchase in-store in order to take advantage of the offer, while Sprint and Verizon customers can get the Play Store credit in-store or online.
Music locker capable of holding 20,000 songs at no charge
Google Music [Google Play] has gone live on Android handsets in Europe, following a previous announcement that Google Play Movies and Music would be launched on the continent from November 13th. Users in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain now have the option of buying music from the service, as well as storing tracks already in their possession in a digital locker for future streaming.
Date of additional content launch matches Nexus 10 release
Google is expanding the number of markets that can use Google Play Movies and Music. Launched last month in the US for Google TV devices, the same service will be available on supported set-top boxes in the UK, France and Germany from November 13th onwards. An earlier post by the company claimed that it would also take place in Canada and Australia, but this has since been corrected.
Rovio's latest game already at number 1 on App Store
Rovio’s eagerly anticipated Angry Birds Star Wars is out now on iOS, Mac and Android. The game is available in a standard version for iPhone and iPod ($0.99, App Store), an HD version for iPad ($2.99, App Store), and for Mac ($4.99, Mac App Store. It is also available as an ad-supported version for Android (Free, Google Play) and as an HD premium version ($2.99, Google Play).
Google Play price far below prices of European retailer
Google may be subsidizing the cost of the Nexus 4 for its customers. While the Android smartphone is priced at $300 on the Google Play store, the same cannot be said for sales to retailers and networks. Phone House, Spanish mobile phone retailer and part of the Carphone Warehouse group claim that LG are selling them far higher.
Carrier billing will begin rolling out over the next few weeks
Verizon subscribers with Android devices will soon get the option of paying for their Google Play purchases on their monthly bills rather than with a credit or gift card. The Twitter announcement revealed the change will be phased in over the course of the next few weeks. With the move, Verizon joins AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in offering the option.
ISIS mobile payments to arrive in Salt Lake City, Austin, on October 22
The ISIS mobile payment system is set to go live on October 22, according to some leaked memos from the carrier. Shared by TMoNews, the image reveals that the ISIS Mobile Wallet app will arrive at Google Play store on October 22. Those in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Austin, Texas, will be able to use the system as part of a pilot program.
Txtr Beagle promises to be the world's smallest, simplest e-reader
German e-book developer Txtr has just shown off what promises to be the most affordable and smallest e-book reader on the market. Called Beagle, it sports a 5-inch, 800x600 E-ink screen and is under a fifth of an inch (under 5mm) thick. The device otherwise keeps features to a minimum, which helps keep the weight down to just 4.5oz (128 grams).
Streaming Stick promises to bring Android 4.1 to HDTVs for $50
Favi Entertainment has began taking pre-orders for its Streaming Stick product that plugs into HDTVs to deliver an Android 4.1-powered Internet and media experience. The stick will bring Internet connectivity to HDMI-equipped TVs thanks to its Wi-Fi radio. A basic remote control is included, but the device will accommodate a USB or wireless mouse and keyboard.
Google celebrates 25 billion apps served with five days of specials
Google Play has crossed the 25 billion apps downloaded milestone, according to its Android Official Blog. It reached its latest milestone just three months after reaching the 20 billion apps served, marking a sharp upward trend in app downloads as captured in Google’s graph embedded below. To celebrate, Google is launching a series of special offers to mark the occasion.
Fox' Digital HD movies coming to iTunes, Google Play, YouTube, Xbox Live, more
Google was one of many on Tuesday to reveal that it has signed a new deal with Twentieth Century Fox to bring over 600 titles to Google Play and YouTube. Dubbed Digital HD and available on the premium services, the shows and movies will be available to rent or buy, with many in high-definition. The campaign is highlighted by Fox's Prometheus, which can be purchased on Tuesday in HD for just under $15, a full three weeks before it comes out on Blu-ray, DVD, and video-on-demand services.
Adobe bows to partner pressure, revives mobile Flash temporarily
In a slight reversal, Adobe has returned its Flash media player to Google's UK Play Store. According to the BBC, the move comes following pressure from Adobe's "strategic partners," including the BBC itself, who asked that Adobe continue to support mobile Flash, as that is the technology underpinning many of their applications.
Camera supports Google Play apps
Confirming recent rumors, Nikon has officially unveiled its first Android-based point-and-shoot, the S800c, which pairs camera functionality with smartphone features, sans calling capabilities. The Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) operating system provides full support for Google Play apps, while enabling users to take advantage of Wi-Fi connectivity for image sharing and GPS for location tagging.
Could improve movie selection at iTunes, Google Play
HBO and Fox have renewed a rights agreement originally set to expire in 2015, AllThingsD reports. Under the new deal, Fox movies will continue appearing on HBO until 2022. More importantly, however, Fox and HBO officials say that the agreement includes a "softening" of something known as the electronic sell-through window. Previously HBO maintained a strict policy that while it was running a movie for the first time, no one else could sell or rent a title electronically.
Initial stocks run out forcing a 2-3 week wait
Google has sold out of its initial batch of the Nexus Q. The Google Play store shows the streaming media player as having a shipping timeframe of 2-3 weeks instead of the 3-5 day estimate from yesterday. Customers are now forced to wait for Google to get another batch of stock in for sale. It is unclear if the quick sale was from extreme customer demands or Google severely underestimating how many units were required, as it has not been revealed how big the initial stock allocation was.
No wait on shipping apparently for 8GB version
The 16GB version of the Nexus 7 tablet from Google and Asus appears to be in high demand, as Google's site no longer lists the device as available for order. Instead, visitors to the 16GB's versions product page on the Google Play Store are now presented with a notice saying the device is "Coming Soon" and given the option to sign up to be notified by email when the device becomes available. The development comes in the wake of previous reports that the Nexus 7 was seeing high sales across retail outlets.
Deal follows resolution of publisher litigation
French customers of Google's Play Store will now be able to purchase books through the entertainment hub. The news was announced in a post on Google's European Public Policy Blog. French access to Google's book store comes following the resolution of a six-year legal saga involving suits from both French author and publisher guilds.
No music, magazines, TV shows due to rights
When Google's Nexus 7 tablet launches later this year in the United Kingdom, it will apparently have to do so without anything in the way of music, magazine, or television content. The Guardian has found out that the search giant hasn't secured the distribution rights necessary to sell content in the UK through its Google Play Store. That means that Nexus 7 buyers will have to wait a while before watching or listening to content on their new tablets.
Gingerbread continues to be the dominant Android installation
Android 4.0 is now running on just over a tenth of all Android-based smartphones, some eight and a half months since it was originally released. Statistics on the Android Developer website for devices accessing Google Play in a two-week period show Ice Cream Sandwich running on 10.9 percent of the Android ecosystem as of July 2. The recent release of the latest Android "hero" phones -- including the Samsung Galaxy S III and HTC One X, along with updates to older devices that are starting to roll out -- are thought to be behind the boost.
Streaming device pulls media from Google Play
Today at the Google I/O keynote, the search giant took the wraps off of a new media-streaming peripheral, the Nexus Q. The small, spherical device plugs into speaker systems and televisions, allowing users to stream media directly from the cloud. Additionally, users can control and interact with the Nexus Q using an Android phone or tablet running Android 2.3 or higher with access to Google Play. Google touts the device as "the first social streaming media player."
Developers get their own voice in Google Play reviews section
Communication is key, and two-way communication is better still, which is why Google has now
allowed Google Play developers to respond to user feedback in the Review section. From their developer consoles, programmers can let users know if their suggestions or concerns have been addressed. Users who wrote the initial review can also be notified using email that the developer has issued a response.
Track scrobbling joins Android interface improvements
Spotify has updated its Android app with an improved interface and new features. Previously hinted in April, the app [Free, Google Play] has upgraded sound options, high-resolution artist imagery and a new slide-out navigation system. Users of Last.fm can also add their account details to the app, so played songs can be scrobbled and added to the playlist history.
Developer tool allows Android tablets, iPad to test Metro touch UI
Splashtop has unveiled a new app aimed at helping developers build interfaces for the Windows 8 Metro interface on Android tablets and iPads. Win8 Metro Testbed ($25 in the App Store and Google Play) reproduces the Metro UI, and mirrors many of the capabilities of Microsoft's forthcoming operating system.
Options for monthly and annual subscriptions now within Android apps
Google has introduced in-app subscriptions to its Play store, according to the a post on the company's official Android developers blog. From today, App developers can use in-app billing to sell monthly or annual subscriptions from within the app itself. The addition brings Google's app portal in line with the Apple App Store in offering recurring billing to its customers and developers, with all subscriptions being auto-renewing by default.
Android.Opfake reemerges, now pushing fake free apps
Symantec has discovered a novel implementation of the Android.Opfake malware, one that takes users through a fraudulent app-download process before charging them for what was initially billed as a free app. The malware is notable because it actually directs users through the Google Play app store in the process of defrauding them of money.
Turntable.fm app finally arrives at Google Play
Nearly eight months after it made its debut at the app store, the Turntable.fm app is now available for the Android platform (free, Google Play). It's compatible with Android 2.2 and newer versions of the OS, though Android users are reporting a few issues, including incorrect formatting in the chat function and the tendency to crash when there is a lot of traffic in the chat. Despite the launch, it's already in version 2.0.
Sirius XM app for Android gives more control, flexibility
Sirius XM Radio has updated its (free, Google Play) SiriusXM Internet Radio app to version 184.108.40.206, bringing with it some new features. Users can now go back up to five hours on most channels to hear content. A Start Now button will go back to the start of a program even if they've tuned in part-way through.
comScore shows Kindle Fire propping up Android
Amazon's Kindle Fire now makes up the absolute majority of the Android tablet platform in the US, comScore found in a fresh study. The e-reader and tablet crossover represented 54.4 percent of all Android tablets sold in the country. At second place, the entire Samsung Galaxy Tab lineup comprised just 15.4 percent of Android slates.