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Good news! Google Now launcher now in the Play Store UPDATED

Good news! Google Now launcher now in the Play Store UPDATED

Google Now launcer

But not for everybody…officially

Yesterday Google finally put the Nexus 5’s Google Now launcher on the Play Store for all to use and enjoy.  All, that is, except for people who don’t have a Nexus or Google Play Edition device running 4.4 KitKat.  If you do have any device that fulfils the criteria then go ahead and get it from the link below!

If you don’t however, I’ve got you covered.  Download it from the link below!

UPDATE: Some people not running 4.4 are having issues installing this APK.  Now I don’t know if the problem is the APK or if it’s because anything other than 4.4 is unsupported.  There is, however, an alternative!  I had written a Pro Tip a while back with a link to an Android Police download, check it out here!

Google Now launcher: Google Play APK

App Spotlight: Notification Weather for Android

App Spotlight: Notification Weather for Android

Notification Weather

If there’s just one single are in which Android stands head and shoulders above the competition it just has to be notifications. Windows Phone’s notifications are basic, but rather rudimentary. Notification Centre on iOS is a step in the right direction for the platform but is still a clumsy and inefficient method of handling notifications. No no, Android is indubitably superior. Notifications on Jelly Bean are clean, organised and oh so versatile. Any app can plug into the notifications and expandable notifications just make everything that much better. See the basics when busy, expand for more info when the shade isn’t quite that full.

That, fellow readers, is the basic premise behind Notification Weather for Android. A weather app hiding away in your notification shade. As I said earlier this app has 2 views, a “collapsed” view and and “expanded” view. The UI is spot on – the damn thing looks stock! Really, Matias Duarte himself could have designed this. Read on past the break for more.

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LG Nexus 4 reviewed and leaked on Google+

LG Nexus 4 reviewed and leaked on Google+

lg nexus 4 front

LG’s Nexus phone seems to have a name now, as pictures posted on Google+ have “LG Nexus 4” listed as the device name in the pictures’ EXIF data. Want to know who posted the photos? LG and Google employees. If that’s not confirmation enough for you, I don’t know what is.  The photos themselves are nothing special, and the ones posted by LG have been removed (the person who took them was testing the front-facing camera and an LG Electronics lanyard is clearly visible around his neck. Read on after the break for more information and a gallery.

exifdata

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LG’s Optimus Nexus spied in the wild

LG’s Optimus Nexus spied in the wild

LG Optimus Nexus

Images hit the blogosphere last night of the LG-E960 – LG’s Nexus device, maybe called the Optimus Nexus. Alleged specs are a quad core Qualcomm Krait S4 Pro procesoor, 4.7″ IPS screen, and onscreen buttons. All in all, rather standard fare for a late-2012 device. What do I like? While reports are that the Optimus Nexus won’t have a removable back I do see two screws flanking the microUSB port on the bottom. Modding FTW!  Secondly, the bezel is nice and slim and, like the Galaxy Nexus before it, this phone’s facade takes the big black slab to the max. I personally adore the Monolith look.  The back, on the other hand, seems to get some much needed love.  It has a weird, glossy texture akin to a really fine glass mosaic.  Don’t know if it will carry on to the final design, but I sure hope it does. Read on after the break for more photos and information.

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Did Ice Cream Sandwich just get a video walkthrough?

Did Ice Cream Sandwich just get a video walkthrough?

So a guy goes ahead and orders a Nexus S from ebay, right?  Well, he gets the phone, plus a little something extra to the side.  You see, this particular Nexus S did not have Gingerbread installed.  Not Froyo either, perhaps as some cruel joke.  This Nexus S had Ice Cream Sandwich. A little too good to be true?  Perhaps, but it seems too grand a prank to pull.

Anyway, it seems to be an early build and from the settings this particular build is the same as that we saw leaked in photos a few months back.  The UI really does look like a cross between Gingerbread and Honeycomb, with some cool neon blue highlights and redesigned icons.  The task switcher looks cool too, but seems to be a little TOO Honeycomb-like.  It just seems added on, and there are apps out there that can pull off the same trick.  Take a look at the video yourselves after the break.

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Google Nexus Prime get’s a hands on preview on 4Chan

Google Nexus Prime get’s a hands on preview on 4Chan

This was quite a surprise.  An anonymous user on 4Chan posted quite a detailed, albeit amateur, hands on of the upcoming and HIGHLY anticipated Nexus device.  Without further ado here are his own words (or her, no gender issues here):

Alright so these Samsung representatives dropped by work today and gave our team a heads up about their mobile division and their flagship phones coming out in the near future. Basically they came in with the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus. They said it was a beta model, but it looked like a proper retail version. They talked about that phone, their Galaxy S II, it’s success and the Galaxy S III next year which is already in R&D.

 

Samsung Galaxy Nexus:

– Samsung representatives showed a working a working model of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus but not the Galaxy S III. They passed around the Galaxy Nexus phone, and we got about an hour to play with it while they were here. The phone looks similar to the Sprint variant of the Galaxy S II, with a round-edged body, but also similar to the Nexus S with a curved screen. It’s a good size, not too big if you’re used to Android phones. It’s a monster compared to iPhones though.

– Reps said that Verizon passed on the SGSII to have an exclusive deal with Samsung to stock the Galaxy Nexus.

– The SGN will run on Samsung’s Exynos dual core CPU clocked at 1.5 GHz, 1 GB RAM, Super AMOLED Plus 4.65-inch 1280 x 720 HD display, 16 GB internal memory (with SD card slot). It’s 8.8mm thick with a metal body and a 2000 mAh battery (the same as the new one that’s being released for the Galaxy S II).

– It is heavier than the SGSII, weighing in at around 130g-140g because of the metal casing. It feels nice and has got decent weight.

– The phone is blazingly fast; I guess it’s as fast the SGS II. It has no issues with general use and opens apps, drawers, etc. instantly. No lag. I tried opening a whole bunch of apps, but it was still running smooth and would auto-kill once it got overloaded anyway, so you never feel the performance taking a hit.

Ice Cream Sandwich:

– Ice Cream Sandwich is very nice. It works like the current Gingerbread OS but has gotten a major facelift. The menus are a lot nicer and smoother, screens have a ‘glassy’ look to them. It just feels more polished with more animations (fast and smooth) when accessing things on the phone.

– On the demo unit, the Android version was 2.4.1, not 4.0 or whatever people were expecting.

– The app drawer has three sections at the top that you press and it goes to the drawer for your selection. There are sections for apps, games and widgets. The apps section is what we are all used to. Just a drawer for all the apps on the phone. The games section is just a drawer for all the games you’ve downloaded; the widgets section shows all the apps that have widgets available. The cool thing is you can click the widgets in the widgets section to get a view of what they look like. So you don’t have to screw around with applying a widget on a homescreen, seeing you don’t like it, deleting it, doing it again with a slightly different setting, etc. to see the difference. On ICS you get a visual representation of the widget, you can swap easily between the widgets the app provides, change the settings in real time, and then you can go ahead an apply it on a homescreen.

– Best of all with the drawers is that you can create and name your own app drawer if you want. I think the ICS comes with three standard drawers mentioned above (apps, games and widgets). The demo phone had app drawers created called “Sports” and “News” that contained all the sports and news related apps that you download. I’m not sure if the sports apps you download automatically go to the sports drawer (with some setting like auto push sports apps to drawer “Sports” or something) or if you have to put it there manually. Either way, it was very good and reduced the amount of searching for an app. With the Galaxy phones, if you didn’t know where the app was–which page it was on–it would take a while to search through it, because they weren’t in alphabetical order; they were just in the order you downloaded them. This is a LOT cleaner, more organized and feels more polished.

– I’m not familiar with Honeycomb, so I don’t know really what it pulled from there. I’m guessing quite a bit, because visually it’s quite different to current Android phones. I always thought that Android phone manufacturers made great phones, but the Android software lacked polish and user-friendliness. I was told the glassy look is from Honeycomb. There are a lot more blues and purples on the phone, rather than green. The icons look different, more shiny. The marketplace app is the same as the current one. Not sure if a new one is being worked on.

– The Gmail app is a lot better looking than the current one. If you flip the phone to the side, it has the preview pane, like how Outlook works, with the emails on the left and the message on the right. It looks really nice. Vertically, it works similarly to the current Gmail app, but looks a lot cleaner. In an email the reply button says “reply” rather than having that arrow. There’s a down arrow next to the reply button that has “reply all,” “save as draft,” etc. The threads are smaller (could be due to the higher resolution screen) and around 10-12 threads can fit on the screen. Other than visual tweaks, it’s the same thing.

– Calendar app is revised, a lot less cluttered, glassy bluish look. New calendar widget available.

– The internet browser is leaps and bounds better than what you currently get. It has a completely revamped interface, and the icon is no longer the blue earth icon. The icon is now an Android behind the earth, which is green and blue. Name is still “Internet.” But it’s really easy to use. I personally hated the stock browser for Android, but I’d actually consider using this. It has its tabs at the bottom of the screen now, similar to Opera Browser mobile. The pinch to zoom is better than before, the rendering is excellent, no checkerboards. Zoomed out the text is pristine. Really liking the browser app.

ANONYMOUS4Chan

 

All in all it’s shaping up to be quite a device but I, personally, can’t help but feel that this is more of a Nexus S than a Nexus One.  Meaning, this is going to be an upgraded and rebadged Galaxy SII, a product that has already been proven to be a runaway success in the US of A.  The Nexus One was a Google Phone first, an HTC Desire later.  Still, only time will tell, right?

Oh, and you can check out more on the Nexus Prime here and here, more on Ice Cream Sandwich here, here and here and more on possible Ice Cream Sandwich devices at HTC’s next event here.

Samsung’s Legal Team Confirm The Nexus Prime

Samsung’s Legal Team Confirm The Nexus Prime

When it comes to manufacturer’s faux pas it doesn’t get any bigger than this.  Samsung’s legal department sent a Cease and Desist letter to a person claiming to be in possession of leaked Nexus Prime firmware.  Sammy, quite rightly of course, wants its property back as it is indeed Samsung’s unique property and hasn’t yet been released to the public.

So there you have it.  The Nexus Prime is indeed being made by Samsung, dashing dreams of a newborn Nexus One everywhere.  At least, judging by the Nexus S’ success, it’ll sell well this time round.  You can find details of the initial rumours here with more evidence to support the purported 4.5″ HD screen here.  You can also take a look at the letter right here, down below.

 

First Glimpse Of Ice Cream Sandwich

First Glimpse Of Ice Cream Sandwich

And here they are! Round about two months ahead of launch we have our first glimpse of Ice Cream Sandwich. These leaked images come from a T-Mobile Samsung Nexus S. From what we can see Ice Cream (short for Ice Cream Sandwich from now on) ditches Gingerbread’s black for a dark and rather AMOLED-unfriendly blue. It also seems o be an evolution of Honeycomb in this aspect, with the holographic design cues more having a more mature, modern and coherent form. Much of the images is blacked out, but the source did give some extra info about what Ice Cream Sandwich shall entail.  Read on past the break for more info.

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