Sunday, 16 February 2014

Piper Mobile Lets You Control And View The Home Automation Tool Remotely

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Remember Piper, the crowdfunded home automation tool we featured almost half a year ago? Well the campaign is over and the gadget is on sale now. Once you get yours in the mail, you'll need to set it up and start useing it, which is where the official Android app comes in. Piper Mobile is a free download, compatible with all Android devices running Gingerbread or later.
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Piper is a little gadget that combines a wide-angle webcam and microphone with a Z-wave controller. The WiFi-connected box allows you to view your home from your phone, pan the camera and listen in to the mic, making it a relatively inexpensive security camera or pet minder. There's also a 105 decibel siren and a motion detector that might scare off a robber. The Z-wave controller can interface with compatible lights and appliances, controlling them manually or through various pre-set rules.
The app itself is pretty impressive, giving live readouts of data such as ambient light and noise, motion, temperature, and humidity, and it allows you to set the rules for behavior and notifications. The interface is surprisingly effective for so many functions. An event log will keep you up to date on the daily happenings while you're gone, and you can choose to be alerted by text message, phone call, email, or a typical push notification.
Piper starts at $239, with some discounts available for multiple camera units and Z-wave automation accessories. There are no monthly fees for accessing your hardware.

Piper Mobile
Piper Mobile
4 ratings

game Oiseau Maladroit Clumsy Bird

ÇA COMMENCE LA CHASSE! Battez les ailes des Clumsy Birds dans cette aventure de vol #1 passionnnante et pleine d’actions. Rencontrez des pauvres Clumsy Birds qui ont besoin de votre aide! L’existence des Clumsy Birds est en péril, parce que les dragons vilains ont volé leurs précieux oeufs. Avec leurs ailes battants, les Clumsy Birds n’ont plus peur d’aucun danger. Votre tâche est de guider ces mignons oiseaux voler à travers toutes sortes d’obstacles pour finalement récupérer leurs oeufs.
Features du jeu :
- Contôle simple avec un seul tact: toucher l’écran pour battre les ailes.
- Facile et drôle à jouer, mais un défi pour une bonne maîtrise.
- Graphique impressionnant : vous êtes entré dans un monde magnifique et détaillé sur AndroidOiseau Maladroit Clumsy Bird - screenshot

THE CHASE IS ON! Flap the little wings of the Clumsy Birds in this #1 thrilling and action packed flying adventure.
Meet the hapless ever Clumsy Birds and they need your help! The survival of the Clumsy Birds is at risk because the bad dragons have stolen their precious eggs. With their little wings, the Clumsy Birds are not afraid of any danger. It's your job to guide these cute birds fly through all kinds of obstacles to get back their eggs.
Game Features:
- Simple one touch controls: touch to flap the wings
- Easy and fun to play, but a challenge to fully master
- Stunning graphics: beautifully detailed world comes to life on Android
How to Play:
- Tap anywhere on the screen to fly higher!

Online Play: Fly as far as possible to beat other players within 60 seconds

LG Announces L40, L70, And L90 KitKat Phones Before Mobile World Congress

The L series has made up the middle and bottom of LG's lineup for a few years now, and the company is unsurprisingly refreshing the line at next week's Mobile World Congress. The new L90, L70, and L40 phones stretch from the mid-range to the low end of the current hardware spectrum, so they probably won't be getting the same amount of marketing attention from LG or its carrier partners. On the plus side, all three phones run a skinned version of Android 4.4.
The L90 is th biggest of the new phones with a 4.7-inch display. But with a 960x540 resolution, 1.2Ghz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and an 8 megapixel rear camera, it's already a step or two behind a lot of phones in the same size range. It might be worth considering for just the battery, however: it's a spacious 2,540mAh, and removable to boot. The L70 has a smaller 4.5-inch, 800x400(?) screen, 4GB of storage, and either an 8.0 or 5,0 MP camera (depending on the market), but the same processor and RAM. The battery will be 2,100mAh. The L40 drops down to a 3.5-inch, 480x320 display, a dual-core processor, and just 512MB of RAM, which might test KitKat's lower memory footprint to the limit. The battery is either 1540mAh or 1700mAh, and the rear camera is just three megapixels. All three phones are GSM only.
Physically, the new phones break somewhat with LG's current high-end designs by featuring a Samsung-style physical home button and two capacitive buttons. LG is quick to point out the mesh pattern on the plastic bodies, which will hopefully help reduce slips and drops. The new L series is probably aimed at prepaid markets and other typically frugal customers, so I wouldn't expect the bigger American carriers to leap at the new models right away. You might see them pop up on our shores a few months later, especially on smaller carriers like US Cellular.
LG hasn't announced a price or date for the L90, L70, or L40. Expect more information once Mobile World Congress rolls around.
SEOUL, Feb. 16, 2014 ― LG Electronics (LG) will be unveiling the third generation of its popular L Series smartphones at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2014. The L SeriesIII devices retain LG’s distinctive minimal design philosophy while boasting an impressive package that includes enhanced hardware, UX features and OS unmatched in its class. With the original L Series and L SeriesII having enjoyed tremendous success worldwide, the L SeriesIII is expected to continue the momentum with its handsome design and practical user benefits inspired by LG’s more premium G Series.
Key elements of LG’s design heritage can be found in all facets of the visually striking L SeriesIII smartphones. The seamless layout, delicate finishing, refined metallic frame and Quick Window smart cover all come together perfectly in the L SeriesIII. Quick Window, which comes in three vibrant colors, is the first cover from LG to be designed specifically for a mid-range smartphone. Quick Window also offers functional benefits beyond just protection from drops and bumps, as the see-through window allows one to see who’s calling and check the time without opening the cover.
All L SeriesIII models come with Android 4.4 KitKat, making them further stand out in the mid-tier market. LG has equipped the entire lineup with Google’s latest OS in order to provide the most up-to-date and optimized Android experience to a larger audience. In addition the refined UI that’s more beautiful and immersive, KitKat offers improved performance and a more intuitive user experience.
“In addition to inheriting the refined design aesthetic that is synonymous with LG’s premium devices, the L SeriesIII provides an array of user benefits that extend far beyond a simple upgrade,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “From the design to the OS to the UX, the L SeriesIII exemplifies LG’s commitment to bringing the best smartphone experience to as many consumers as possible. We’re confident that the L SeriesIII will be a strong volume driver in 3G markets.”
Visitors to MWC 2014 can experience the first three L SeriesIII smartphones ― L40, L70, L90 ― first-hand at LG’s Booth in Hall 3 of Fira Gran Via.
L Series III Design Interview:
L90 Key Specifications:
- Processor: 1.2 GHz Quad-Core
- Display: 4.7-inch IPS (960 x 540) qHD
- Memory: 8GB / 1GB RAM
- Camera: 8.0MP / 1.3MP
- Battery: 2,540mAh (removable)
- Operating System: Android 4.4 KitKat
- Size: 131.6 x 66.0 x 9.7mm
- Network: 3G (HSPA+21Mbps)
L70 Key Specifications:
- Processor: 1.2 GHz Dual-Core
- Display: 4.5-inch IPS (800 x 400)
- Memory: 4GB / 1GB RAM
- Camera: 8.0MP or 5.0MP / VGA ? depends on market
- Battery: 2,100mAh (removable)
- Operating System: Android 4.4 KitKat
- Size: 127.2 x 66.8 x 9.5mm
- Network: 3G (HSPA+21Mbps)
L40 Key Specifications:
- Processor: 1.2 GHz Dual-Core
- Display: 3.5-inch (480 x 320)
- Memory: 4GB / 512MB RAM
- Camera: 3.0MP
- Battery: 1,700mAh or 1,540mAh (removable) ? depends on market
- Operating System: Android 4.4 KitKat
- Size: 109.4 x 59.0 x 11.9mm
- Network: 3G (HSDPA+14.4Mbps)

ThinkGeek's Android Plush Doll Just $5.99 From Amazon (That's $4 Off)

In case you didn't already know, ThinkGeek (in collaboration with Google) makes an adorable Android plush doll - it's about nine inches tall and has pose-able arms and a rotating head. Plus, it's super soft.
Typically, the doll goes for $9.99 from either ThinkGeek or Amazon, but the latter has it on sale for just $5.99 plus about $4 shipping for those without Amazon Prime.
At $5.99, the plush is an absolute no-brainer for those who have an Android obsession, love adorable squishy toys, or have children on the track to Android fandom. Just hit the link below to grab one while the sale lasts.

Google Begins Rejecting 'Flappy' Games From The Play Store As Clones Continue To March In


When Flappy Bird left the Play Store and Apple's App Store, it left a vacuum. And since it was pulled, that vacuum has been pulling in all kinds of lint, in the form of knockoffs, clones, or games that simply want to use Flappy Bird's success as promotion for their own games.
It would seem, though, that Google (along with Apple) has begun taking steps to prevent the store from becoming overrun with such entries. As Tech Crunch reports, multiple developers have complained that Google Play, the Appstore, or both have rejected their recent Flappy efforts, multiple times in some instances.
Even as Google and Apple take action against a few late-comers to the Flappy party, there is still a lot of work to be done. A cursory search of the Play Store reveals a flood of Flappy clones that have yet to be taken down, including Flappy Fish, Flappy Fins, Flappy Tappy, Flappy Pig, Flappy Cupid, Flappy Bee, Flappy Troll, Flappy Doge, Flappy Flying, Flappy Crow, Flappy Hipster, Flappy Plane, Flappy Hungry Shark (points for adding one word to the title), Flappy Crocodile, Flappy Soccer, and plenty more, for a total of approximately 250 Flappy Somethings in Play's search results, all flapping desperately for attention.
According to developer Ken Carpenter (cited above), Google did not provide any warning before yanking his game Flappy Dragon. As Tech Crunch reports, Google cited the Play Store's "spam" policy as the reason for taking down the listing. Carpenter explains:
The message they sent me simply referenced the ‘spam’ provision of the Google Play terms and did not specifically call out what my transgression was.
Google's action here may seem inconsistent, but we can only hope that this is the beginning of a more uniform and fair action against the myriad clone games flooding the market. Since, at the time of writing, it's a weekend, Google is unlikely to respond to requests for comment until at least tomorrow, but we will update the post if and when Google offers an official statement.
Source: Tech Crunch

Google Acquires SlickLogin, A Sound-Based Password System That Uses Your Phone For Authentication


An international mega-corp like Google buys companies like the rest of us buy coffee. Google's latest latte is SlickLogin, a startup that aims to make authentication simpler and safer by using sonic login codes on phones. The details of the purchase aren't public just yet, but SlickLogin's site confirms that "the [team] is joining Google."
SlickLogin's system is unique: it uses a cell phone as an authentication key with the help of nearly-silent audio codes sent via computer speakers. When you access a site or service with SlickLogin, your computer speakers send out a series of tones and pitches. Your phone picks up the nearly inaudible signal, then confirms the code with SlickLogin's servers. No passwords are necessary. This creates a very basic login system that's almost entirely passive once set up. SlickLogin has been featured at startup events and partnered with at least one bank for a proof-of-concept, but the website doesn't show any active partnerships. TechCrunch has more information and a video on SlickLogin from Disrupt 2013. The company's contact information is being forwarded to Google's Tel Aviv office.
The application for Google's own services is obvious. A seamless way of logging into existing services (and/or making them more secure with an easy two-factor authentication system) could be a big boon. Then again, this could always be a talent buy or "acqhire" of SlickLogin's three founders, all veterans of the Israeli Defense Force's cyber security team. At the moment it isn't clear whether or not SlickLogin will continue to operate as a separate entity a la Waze, but considering the company's relatively small size and reach, I wouldn't bet on it.
Source: TechCrunch

Official Holofication Nation App Lets You Automatically Update Community-Modded Versions Of Popular Apps

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More than two years after the Holo visual style became standard, there are still quite a few major apps and publishers that aren't on the trolley. Plenty of eager graphic designers have submitted visuals for Holo versions of these apps, but the two-man team at Holofication Nation has gone further: they've actually remade the apps themselves. If that's not enough for you, they've also released an official HN app to the Play Store, making it easy to download and update these unofficial app mods.
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All the apps in the Holofication Nation library are modified versions of free apps, so there's nothing untoward about downloading them. (The services' copyright lawyers might have something to say, but I doubt any of them are aware of the HN apps, and probably wouldn't care if they were.) The team is targeting well-known apps with non-Holo user interfaces and large userbases. At present they've re-skinned just four apps, Instagram, Grooveshark, CNN, and Steam. Don't hold it against them - they're a small team doing a big job, and more apps are coming. There are a few restrictions; CNN will only work on devices with XHDPI resolution, for example.
2014-02-16 02.42.14 2014-02-16 02.37.46 2014-02-16 02.37.51
You'll need to uninstall the Play Store version of the relevant apps to get the Holofied version, and of course, you'll have to wait on HN to issue updates to any of the apps you install. Once you've got everything set up and sync enabled, the apps should update automatically. Their modified apps looks pretty good for unofficial work. If you'd like to contribute or comment on Holofication Nation's progress, be sure to catch up with them on XDA or on the Google+ Community. There's also a dedicated Holofication Nation website.
Heads up: This app installs unverified versions of apps on your phone or tablet, some of which have access to your login information for various websites and services. I don't think there's anything duplicitous going on here, but there is at least some risk with all non-Play Store installs. Make sure you trust any apps that you install manually.
Holofication Nation
Holofication Nation
0 ratings
by Creative Trendz
500 - 1,000 downloads

New HTC M8 (Or Possibly M8 Mini) Leak Reiterates Dual Rear Cameras And Virtual Navigation Buttons


It's not exactly news that HTC will be updating its flagship phone for 2014, but more and more leaks seem to indicate that we can expect a phone that looks a lot like the current HTC One. Yet another leaked photo , this time from M Helal on Google+, shows what looks like a One with the dual cameras and a dual flash module that we've seen on a previous leak. The casing is a bit glossier than the current model, and the front view seems to confirm that HTC will switch to virtual navigation buttons.
Helal has specs to share as well: a 4.7-inch 1080p screen, a Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 5 megapixel front camera. There's still no word on the purpose of that second rear camera, though a specific low-light module has been suggested. XDA TV regular Shen Ye says that the pictures are indeed genuine. Discussion on the Android subreddit points out that this could be the "mini" version of the M8, and it's worth considering, since the metal finish and the flash module look a little different compared to previous leaks. The specifications posted on Google Plus clash with leaked specs for a supposed M8 Mini.
Of course, all this information is unofficial. HTC still hasn't announced any plans for a media event at Mobile World Congress, so at the moment it seems unlikely that we'll see a new flagship in Barcelona later this month.

Contest Ends And The Winning Entry Is Awesome


One of the darlings of the Android custom ROM world, AOKP, has a new, and pretty incredible, boot animation. Some of you may recall that the AOKP team started soliciting new boot animations from their user community back in December. That contest has now ended, and the winner, Joachim Holler, certainly delivered the goods.

For what it's worth, I was pleasantly surprised at how awesome this looks. Generally, boot animations may not be noteworthy, but they are still the first thing you see when you flash a ROM. For that reason, they can be very important because they can set a good first impression.
By winning the contest, Joachim won his choice of a Nexus 5 or Nexus 7, and his work will soon be featured as the default boot animation for all new official AOKP builds going forward.

White 16GB Nexus 7 2013 Briefly Showed Up At Best Buy Before Being Taken Down - Did Someone Pull The Trigger Early?

The white Nexus 7 has been available since December, and it's a thing of beauty. Unfortunately, only a 32GB version is currently offered. Sure, that's the bare minimum amount of space I'd want in a tablet these days, but that also means a price point of $269.99. A 16GB option would allow people to pick up a Nexus 7 in white without having to withdraw as much money from the bank. Well, such a version did appear, albeit briefly, at Best Buy just this morning before being taken down.
A Google cached version of the listing is still accessible. This could be a fluke, but that seems unlikely. The model number on the page read NEXUS7 ASUS-2B16-WH and a SKU number was listed. More than likely, a release is on its way. also has a 16GB Nexus 7 on display, only it's marked as sold out. MacMall has a listing with the white Nexus 7's model number, but it shows the 32GB version's price.
A white Nexus 7 at Best Buy's listed sale price of $199.99, or even the regular $229.99, is significantly cheaper than the 32GB model, and not everyone needs the extra space. We've reached out to Google about this and are awaiting a response. Stay tuned.

Qualcomm Releases The Toq SDK, Empowering Developers To Finally Create Apps For The Otherwise Limited Smartwatch


Qualcomm has released the software development kit for its Toq smartwatch, which could be just the shot in the arm the limited product needs. The Toq's colorful Mirasol e-ink display, which is easily visible in sunlight, gives the smartwatch a real advantage over competitors. But without more compelling functionality, it struggles to justify its relatively expensive price point. Hopefully there's enough interest in the product for developers to flock to the SDK.
Curious developers can just head over to Qualcomm's page and download the SDK from there. The kit offers the ability to install, update, and uninstall applets on the device. It also supports sending notifications, which is still arguably the most useful aspect of any smartwatch.
The Pebble has benefited greatly from all the cool things developers have enabled it to do, and we can only imagine what might eventually pop up on the Toq's much more capable screen.
Source: Qualcomm

Android 4.4.2_r2 (KVT49L) Shows Up In AOSP, Here's The Changelog


A brand new OTA began rolling out to the 2013 Nexus 7 LTE just two days ago, and today those changes finally appeared in AOSP. As is the tradition, Al Sutton built a list of changes and posted them to his site. Every bug fix and tweak from KOT49H (4.4.2_r1) to KVT49L (4.4.2_r2) is included. There isn't a lot to look at, but if you're interested in what's new, you can find the developer changelog here.

The changes appear within just three groups: kernel, Calendar, and LatinIME. The latter is actually the name for the AOSP software keyboard, which also happens to make up almost the entire changelog. The changes aren't particularly interesting, mostly tweaks to naming, themes, and minor bug fixes.
There is one small exception in commit 87cd391. It has the comment, "handleBackspace should always send KEYCODE_DEL for InputType.TYPE_NULL," which stands out to us because it appears to be the fix for a potential Bug Watch candidate. This should save a little bit of grief for a few developers that were running up against this issue.
Since these changes don't appear to be very urgent, it's hard to explain why this update rolled out. Still, we're always happy to see fixes!
Thanks, Al Sutton!
Source: FunkyAndroid

Xposed GEL Settings Adds Much Needed Features To The Google Now Launcher For Rooted Users

The impending release of the Google Now Launcher (GNL) presents a bit of a dilemma. The cool Google Now integration isn't possible with third-party launchers, but GNL doesn't have many customization options. If you're rooted, there is at least one way to get around that – the new Xposed GEL Settings, which as you can tell from the name, requires the Xposed Framework.
Xposed GEL Settings adds a number of useful features to GNL (remember it used to be known as the Google Experience Launcher). This is still an early release, but here's what it can already do.
  • hide Google search bar / automatically show search bar on Google Now
  • hide apps from the app drawer
  • resize the home screen grid
  • change the number of hotseat apps (icons above the navigation bar)
  • hide icon labels on home screen and/or on app drawer
  • apply settings without rebooting your device
  • The developer, who has posted this mod on XDA, plans to add more features as he gets requests. Coming soon are export/import settings, changing the color/size of the icon labels, hiding the page indicator, and more. Keep in mind messing around with Xposed modules can cause some instability, and root in general makes it easier to break things. The full details are available at the link below. Use your best judgment and have fun.

    App And Game : Rayman Fiesta Run, Battery Widget Reborn, Assassin's Creed Pirates, And More


    There's a holiday of sorts coming up tomorrow, but there's still time to get something special for your significant other. There happen to be some apps and games on sale. That'll do it, right? Actually, that's terrible advice – don't do that. You can still check out these sales for completely unrelated reasons, though.

    My Date HD – $0.99 from $1.99
    A Better Camera Unlocked – $3.99 from $6.99
    Battery Widget Reborn – $0.99 from $1.99
    BT Handwriting – Free from $1.99 (Amazon)
    Celtic Garden HD – $0.99 from $1.99
    Haunted House HD – $0.99 from $1.99
    Season Zen HD – $0.99 from $1.99
    My Beach HD – $0.99 from $1.99
    Christmas HD – $0.99 from $1.99
    Ocean HD – $0.99 from $1.99
    Office Story Premium – $1.11 from $1.99
    Rayman Fiesta Run – $1.49 from $2.99
    Assassin's Creed Pirates – $2.99 from $4.99
    Move – Free from $0.99 (use promo code appgratis)
    Bag It! – $0.99 from $1.99

    Got A Bunch Of APKs To Rename And Manage? Do It Easily With LocalAPK For Windows

    Google keeps a running list of previously downloaded apps available in the Play Store, but if you want to genuinely backup and own the apps you buy, you need to extract the APKs to a safe location. Not a problem. Rooted users just need to navigate to the correct location and save those files. Even if you're not rooted, finding an app that will get those APKs for you isn't all that difficult. But after that's done, eventually you're stuck with a bunch of awkwardly named files that aren't that easy to keep up with. In this case, LocalAPK is just the piece of software that could make life easier for Windows users. Its sole purpose is organizing and managing APKs.
    LocalAPK is jam packed with features. You can bulk rename files to something more readable such as their package or application names. When it comes time to move a file back to a smartphone, you can transfer it over using just a QR code. As for the files that have grown outdated, this program will empower you to remove them quickly and easily.
    The software is free, so if you have a growing folder of APKs sitting around, or you're thinking about having a folder with a bunch of APKs sitting around, go give it a shot.

    Google Cast SDK Gets Final Release As Play Services 4.2 Is Rolled Out To All Devices – Prepare For The Flood Of Chromecast Apps


    Google announced the final version of the Google Cast SDK and Play Services 4.2 early this month, but it wasn't quite ready for the public. Developers were asked by Google to hold off until the new services framework was finalized, and today is the big day – it's open season on the Chromecast.

    Play Services 4.2 is now rolled out to all devices worldwide, so apps built with the Cast SDK can be freely released in Google Play. Since Play Services 4.2 is required for these new Chromecast-enabled apps to work, it wouldn't have made sense to release the apps preciously anyway. I expect apps that had to remove Chromecast support will be getting it back soon. Dayframe, which had to pull back on Chromecast last week, has an update propagating in Google Play already.
    The Android SDK Manager also has the new Google Play services SDK ready for developers to download and start tinkering with. While Play Services 4.2 is available worldwide, that's still more than we can say for the Chromecast... sorry.

    Rumor: T-Mobile Jump Plans Will Include [More?] Tablets, Change Upgrade Threshold To Price Model Instead Of Time

    According to TmoNews, Americas magenta-est carrier (and don't you forget it!) will unveil some changes to the company's JUMP! device installment plans on February 23rd, and while they're heavy on "unlimited" language, the plans are actually getting a bit more restrictive for customers.
    First, in the "good news" departments, tablets are joining the JUMP! family of devices, so you'll soon be able to finance a tablet from T-Mobile. Which if that's something you, you know, want, sounds good. However, T-Mobile already offers the iPad Air and iPad Mini Retina on JUMP!... so I'm not sure what new tablets they're adding, but I'm guessing it's going to be more.
    The next piece of news is definitely a bit of marketing speak - JUMP! upgrades are now "unlimited." The claim is that you can now upgrade to a new device whenever you want, irrespective of how long you've had your current JUMP! phone or tablet. This is as opposed to the previous model which required customers to wait 6 months after adding their JUMP! device, then trade it in for a new phone, up to twice a year.
    The catch? You have to have paid at least half of the device's total MSRP before you can upgrade again. So, you can upgrade whenever you want, just as long as T-Mobile's gotten enough money out of you. The new plan will effectively make many customers wait longer to upgrade for a couple of reasons. First, JUMP! device payments don't usually start until the two to three months after you've had the device, meaning it takes a while to even start making a dent in that MSRP. Second, JUMP! devices take a long time to pay down - 24 months if you choose to utilize the longest financing term making the minimum payments with $0 down on the device. You wouldn't be eligible for a no-cost upgrade until 12 months into the term. It's more often than every 2 years, but it's still obviously a worse deal than what T-Mobile was offering before.
    The reasoning for this change is, I think, pretty obvious: customers changing phones every 6 months after only putting a couple hundred dollars into the MSRP isn't exactly going to turn T-Mobile a profit, even if they are selling the used phones back to refurbishment companies. So, while the language of these tweaks will doubtless be awash in John Legere's typical UNLIMITEDNESS, the changes to the JUMP! plans are actually cracking down on customers who sought to take the greatest economic advantage of the 6 month upgrade period. Now those customers who choose to put $0 down and opt for the longest payment period will need to put in 12 months of device payments (vs months of service, which would be 13-14 months because of the delay in payments starting) if they want optimal value out of the plan, versus the 6 months of service they had to put in previously.
    Users of the old-style JUMP! plans will be grandfathered in under the old 6 month rule, though presumably if you end your JUMP! plan at any point, you'll be out of luck and forced into the new plan.
    So, what say you? Worse? Better? Who cares? I guess we'll find out if these rumors hold water on the 23rd.

    Google Play Music Labs Adds A Fireplace Visualizer For Your Chromecast, Barry White Not Included

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    Valentine's Day is tomorrow, and you know what that means: bitter disappointment fruitlessly displaced with technology. (That might just be me.) Google's got you covered on the second part, at least if you have a Chromecast. A new visualizer option for Google Play Music ditches the bars and equalizers in favor of a looped video of a cozy fireplace. You'll have to supply your own music, of course.
    The visualizer isn't on by default, but it's easy enough to enable. Just go to Google Play Music on the web, hit the "settings" gear icon, click Labs, and change the "Chromecast Fireplace Visualizer" to Enabled. Of course, it's no replacement for the real thing - you'll only get as much heat as your super-efficient LCD television can put out - but it should help you set the mood if you don't have the real thing. Now all you need is a bearskin rug and a box of fine wine.
    This isn't Google's first foray into the arena of cheesy fireplace videos: they had a special fireplace YouTube channel for the holidays. This one seems a little better since it takes up the whole screen, which makes more sense.
    Source: Google+

    The Web Version Of The Google Play Store Now Shows An Indicator For Apps With In-App Purchases

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    If you're a dedicated gamer who's wary of the ever-present freemium model (or an Android blogger who's tired of reaching for his phone for every app in the roundup), there's good news tonight. A recent adjustment of the Google Play Store website will let you know whether an app features in-app purchases or not. It appears just below the Install button, right next to the drop-down list of compatible devices.
    This change mirrors the one made to the on-device Play Store back in December. It should help users decide whether or not they want to try out apps or games at a glance.
    Unfortunately, both the web and device versions of the Play Store lack a more robust breakdown of how many IAPs are being offered - see the web version of the iTunes store for a good example. That means there's no standardized way to differentiate between an app that's based almost entirely around in-app purchases, like EA's Dungeon Keeper, or one that offers just a one or two premium upgrades or disables ads, like a lot of the smaller Android tools out there. A dedicated section for IAPs and their popularity could fix this.
    Even so, it's a much-anticipated addition to the Play Store. IAP indicators should be visible on all apps that use the standard Google Play payment system. Please note, we've only tested this on the US version of the Play Store

    CyanogenMod 11 Nightlies Now Available For The Moto X T-Mobile/GSM Developer Edition (XT1053) And Verizon Developer Edition (XT1060)

    If your phone was already one of the very first devices to get the latest version of Android, do you really need a custom ROM like CyanogenMod? If you're shouting "YES" at the screen right now, you'll want to know about the first nightly builds available for the Moto X. The CM team has published CM11 nightlies for the Moto X on T-Mobile (XT1053, which is also the standard unlocked GSM edition) and for Verizon (XT1060), though the later needs to be a Developer Edition. cmnightly
    Those users who sprang for the Verizon developer version of the phone should be particularly happy to hear this news, since the Moto X is about as close to a recent Nexus phone as you can get on Big Red. AT&T customers who insisted on an unlocked bootloader and bought the GSM Developer Edition should also be covered, since it's essentially the same phone as the T-Mobile model. As far as we know, no one has cracked the bootloader on the standard Moto X models for AT&T and Verizon, despite a large bounty for the exploit. There's no word on a CyanogenMod build for the Sprint version of the Moto X or any of the smaller regional carriers.
    At the time of writing each phone has just one nightly published. As always with nightly builds, be prepared for a few bugs here and there. If you've already got a custom recovery installed, just load up the ZIP file (and Gapps if you'd like access to the Play Store), wipe your old ROM, and flash it. Remember to back up your current build before doing anything else.

    The LG G Pad 8.3 Is $250 ($100 Off) With A Discount Code At Newegg

    g pad newegg

    Looking for a good mid-sized tablet? You can't do much better than the LG G Pad 8.3, the company's first tablet in two years, at least in terms of hardware. The price is a bit high at $350 retail, but today you can get some relief from that sticker shock. Newegg has the G Pad 8.3 on sale for just $279.99, plus a $30 discount with a code at checkout, bringing the total price down to a very reasonable $249.99.
    newegg cart
    It's important to note that this isn't the G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition, which is a much better tablet for running a clean build of Android 4.4. (The Google Play Edition is the V510, whereas the version with LG's 4.2 software is the V500.) That said, anyone with the will to root their hardware and flash a new ROM can get much the same experience thanks to CyanogenMod. CM11 nightly builds for the V500 have been rolling out consistently for two months, and there are even a couple of the more stable snapshot builds available. Happy flashing.
    To get that extra $30 discount, apply the code FWPD213B when checking out at Newegg. Both black and white models are on sale. Free shipping is available, but unless you use Newegg's Premiere service, you'll have to settle for "4-7 business days." The promotion only lasts until Monday, February 17th, so get a move on if you want one.
    Update: At present, only the white model shows the discount. Hat tip to commenter Derek.
    Source: Newegg

    Klinker Apps Updates Talon For Twitter And EvolveSMS, Offers Beta App Just For Themes

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    Klinker Apps is on a roll lately. In addition to debuting the excellent Talon for Twitter and EvolveSMS apps last month, they've been consistently updating their portfolio with new features like Pebble integration. Yesterday Talon was updated to version 1.4, and there's a new version of EvolveSMS in the pipeline for the next few days as well. But perhaps most interesting is the way that the small developer has issued a secondary support app, Klinker Apps Portal.
     2014-02-14 13.51.54 2014-02-14 13.50.49
    The Portal app isn't on the Play Store - you can download the beta version directly to your device in the Theme Settings menu of either Talon or EvolveSMS. It's pretty barebones at the moment, with a basic theme gallery (no downloads) and periodic updates from the developers on the primary apps. According to Klinker's Google+ posts, the functionality of the Portal will gradually be expanded. You can still download themes directly from the Play Store.
    As far as the updates themselves go, Talon gets customization options for the two pages to the side of the primary timeline view, a long-tap option to remove favorite users, a progress bar for the integrated browser, and a few stability and bug fixes. The upcoming EvolveSMS update is more drastic, adding SMS backups to Google Drive and Dropbox, emoticon display, new options for contact images, and more themable portions of the app.
    Talon for Twitter

    Japanese Web Retailer Rakuten Purchases Viber VOIP Service For $900 Million

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    Rakuten is often referred to by western media as "the Amazon of Japan." That description seems more and more apt given some of the mega-retailer's recent purchases, including Canadian e-reader company Kobo. Yesterday Rakuten announced that it had purchased Viber, an up-and coming voice-over-IP company with apps on Android, iOS, and Windows, among others, for a whopping $900 million. 
    Viber is primarily a Skype competitor, though it also offers text and picture messaging, group chat, and cross-communication between mobile and desktop operating systems. Indeed, the company's dedication to being available on as many platforms and in as many locations as possible seems to have been a major plus - according to TechCrunch, the service has 225 million registered users. Viber offers discounted calls to cell phone numbers and landlines plus in-app purchase "stickers" for basic monetization.
    What will Rakuten do with Viber? Presumably the same thing they've done with Kobo: try and use their economic muscle to make Viber viable and profitable. Rakuten seems to have a rather hands-off approach to the companies it acquires, so it's unlikely that regular users will see any drastic changes in the short run, aside from perhaps the addition of "A Rakuten Company" to marketing materials. The Viber Android app itself has been consistently updated since its debut in July of 2011.
    2,614,631 ratings
    by Viber Media Inc.
    100,000,000 - 500,000,000 downloads
    TOKYO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Rakuten Inc (4755:Tokyo), one of the world’s largest Internet services companies, announced today its acquisition of pioneering messaging and VoIP company, Viber. Rakuten will acquire Viber for a total consideration of $900 million. The acquisition represents another bold step for Rakuten into the digital content space, following its acquisitions of Kobo,, and Viki.
    As people continue to shift from traditional content and communications platforms to mobile applications, Viber, one of the most popular mobile communications services worldwide with a rapidly growing global user base of 300 million registered users, perfectly complements Rakuten’s strategy in the digital space. As Rakuten aims to become the world’s No.1 Internet services company, this acquisition will enable Rakuten to penetrate new markets with multiple digital content offerings, in combination with its e-commerce and financial services platforms.
    With 40 different services, Rakuten has built one of the world’s most robust and dynamic Internet services ecosystems, centered around a unified ID membership database that features the enormously popular and successful online Rakuten Super Points rewards program. Viber’s fun approach to messaging and high quality VoIP services is a perfect marriage with Rakuten’s digital content offerings and its “Shopping is Entertainment” philosophy laying the foundation for the world’s most comprehensive and engaging daily online platform. The combination also unlocks massive new potential markets for Viber through Rakuten Group’s roughly 225 million global members.
    Rakuten Chairman and CEO, Hiroshi Mikitani, commented:
    “I am tremendously excited to welcome Viber to the Rakuten family. Viber delivers the most consistently high quality and convenient messaging and VoIP experience available. Additionally, Viber has introduced a great sticker market and has tremendous potential as a gaming platform. Simply put, Viber understands how people actually want to engage and have built the only service that truly delivers on all fronts. This makes Viber the ideal total consumer engagement platform for Rakuten as we seek to bring our deep understanding of the consumer to vast new audiences through our dynamic ecosystem of Internet Services.”
    Viber CEO and Founder, Talmon Marco, underlined these synergies:
    “Rakuten is one of the world’s most important Internet companies. It is truly dominant in its home market of Japan and has been rapidly expanding globally. This combination presents an amazing opportunity for Viber to enhance our rapid user growth in both existing and new markets. Sharing similar aspirations with Rakuten, our vision is to be the world’s No.1 communications platform and our combination with Rakuten is an important step in that direction.”
    Viber’s multi-platform application adoption is undeniably impressive. The business has demonstrated significant growth reaching 300 million registered users, growing over 120% in 2013.
    Rakuten began its march into global digital content in 2012 with the acquisition of Kobo Inc., one of the world’s fastest-growing eReading services, that now offers 4 million eBooks, magazines and newspapers to customers in 190 countries. In 2012, Rakuten acquired, an innovative Europe-based video-on-demand and streaming service, which recently began its international expansion beyond Spain by offering customers in the UK its premier movie titles catalogue and unique hybrid payment model. More recently, in September 2013, Rakuten acquired borderless digital content platform, Viki, which now reaches 65% of its 30 million monthly users through mobile devices.

    Sony Xperia D6503 'Sirius' Shown Off On Video Along With New User Interface


    Note to cell phone leakers: please try and get decent video before you send your information out into the world. A YouTube video spotted by XperiaBlog does indeed seem to be Sony's latest phone, or at least a phone that looks a lot like their previous hardware and seems to be sporting a new version of the company's Android UI. Unfortunately there's little to be seen of the hardware itself.
    What we can see is a short tour of some of the new interface functions on what is purported to be the D6503 "Sirius," expected to succeed the Xperia Z1 whenever it's announced. The user in the video pays particular attention to the Walkman music widget, a revamped lock screen, and refreshed camera apps. Take note of the music widget on the lockscreen: even in its minimized state, you can track to any point in a song, something that most music widgets can't do.
    We've seen the Sirius in a few candid photos and a ton of screenshots, which show that the phone is probably a flagship and coming soon. Leaks indicate a 5.2-inch 1080p screen, a Snapdragon 800 processor, Sony's 20.1MP camera, and various other top-of-the-line hardware and software features. As you can probably tell from the video, the phone is currently running Android 4.4 (dig that transparent navigation bar). An announcement at Mobile World Congress later this month would make sense, but we haven't heard anything official yet.
    Source: XperiaBlog

    Rovio Teases New Angry Birds Game 'Stella' With A Pair Of Images And Not Much Else


    Who's ready for a new Angry Birds game? If you're not, you might just want to ignore the gaming news for the next month or so. After a tepid critical response from kart racer Angry Birds Go, the next entry in the series was revealed as a short social post leading to a small sub-site of The title will be Angry Birds Stella.
    According to the Angry Birds Wiki (of course there's an Angry Birds Wiki), 'Stella' is the name of the Pink Bird whose only real job before now was playing Princess Leia in Angry Birds Star Wars. That said, the movie-style teaser poster and the single image on the website indicate that there will be some kind of story associated with the new game, presumably revolving around the eponymous Pink Bird. The image on the website shows a few new character designs and a background that looks like it came right out of a straight-to-video Lion King ripoff. The tagline is "Best friends forever... most of the time."
    Considering how poorly games like Amazing Alex have performed relative to Angry Birds, and how lucrative the Angry Birds merchandise has been, I would expect a return to the standard Angry Birds gameplay for the next title in the series. However, the two images revealed thus far might indicate a change in the visual style, which could be a significant upgrade for the somewhat tired franchise. There's no further information abut when the game will be published aside from "2014."
    Source: Google+
    Espoo, Finland -- February 13th -- Get ready for something new in the Angry Birds universe! Meet Stella and her friends, a group of feisty characters with a shared love for fun, adventure and creativity. The story of Stella swings the fans to parts of the Angry Birds world we've never seen before. Angry Birds Stella is all about inspiration, empowerment and other real issues, without forgetting entertainment and quirky fun.
    “Angry Birds Stella is breaking the mold by introducing strong, passionate characters who really stand for something, while adding plenty of action and reality into the mix", said Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio Entertainment. “The Angry Birds Stella story will live and evolve across physical and digital, bridging them in fun and innovative ways. Stella and her friends are here to stay, with plenty of adventures ahead of them.”
    Angry Birds Stella will bring fans a wide range of entertainment across multiple media, such as games, animation, toys, books and other retail products for many years to come. Stay tuned for more details, including exciting products and partnerships lined up for the future.