Google Play quietly updated its device availability page over the weekend, making the Nexus 7 available to Germany, France and Spain. Patient Europeans can now pick up Mountain View’s seven-inch wonderkind’s 8GB and 16GB models for €199 and €249, respectively. Conversion rates comparatively price the slate at about $248 and $311, meaning the new markets will have to suffer a small premium for the slate. Worse still, is that not all of Google Play’s services are available worldwide, with both Play Music and Magazines retaining US exclusivity. If you can bear with the inconveniences, however, one fine little tablet awaits.
When setting up a gadget for review, delicately unboxing and smelling the carcinogenic whiff of freshly molded plastics, we typically feel some amount of excitement and anticipation to see how it stacks up against the competition. It’s either that or a resigned sense of duty as we run yet another iterative evolution of this or that laptop through the same benchmarks to see just how this year’s model stacks up to the older model now being sold on discount. With the Nexus Q, though, we felt something different altogether: genuine curiosity.
Why? Well, it’s a high-end device with a $299 MSRP, a price that’s multiple times higher higher than media streamers like the Apple TV, anything from Roku and, indeed, Google’s own Google TV. And yet, the Q has considerably less functionality than any of them. Largely because of this, many who witnessed its unveiling at Google I/O were quick to write it off. Despite having our own doubts we pledged to give it a fair swing, a week of solid use at home and with friends. How did it do? Does this high-concept device with high-end componentry make up for some decidedly low-end capabilities? There’s only one way to find out.
Adobe confirms it won’t support Flash on Android 4.1, stops new Flash installs from Google Play on August 15th
Adobe was very public about dropping mobile Flash last fall. In case that wasn’t clear enough, the developer just drew a line in the sand: Android 4.1 doesn’t, and won’t ever, get certification for Flash. The company is stopping short of saying that Flash won’t run, but it’s evident that Adobe won’t help you if the web browser plugin doesn’t install (or breaks in spectacular fashion) on that Nexus 7. Just to underscore the point, the firm is also halting new installations of Flash from Google Play as of August 15th. Security updates and other vital patches will continue on for existing users. Any fresh downloads after that fateful day, however, will have to come from Adobe’s mausoleum for old versions. The company had already said that HTML5 was the way forward on phones and tablets — now we know just how quickly it’s backing up that claim.
After a brief stretch in beta followed by some vague teasing, Firefox’s native Android app update is finally set to hit Google Play. While there are a raft of bells and whistles — a new welcome page, curvy Australis tabs, Flash and HTML5 support, for starters — it’s the browser’s newfound speed that is getting the MVP treatment. That rapidity is as good a place as any to start a quick hands-on, especially since the native browser lag on one of our older handsets, a Galaxy S, often makes us want to hurl it through a pane of glass. Mozilla claims it built Firefox to a new benchmark it developed called Eideticker, resulting in an overall browser experience twice as fast as the stock Android one. As advertised, initial loading is quasi-instant, and navigation, zooming and tab switching seemed smooth as well, even on the two-gen-old phone.
Feature-wise, preferences and other desktop settings imported easily with Firefox Sync’s shared password system, and the unfortunately named “Awesome Screen” is the new home page shown above, from which it’s fairly simple to launch your preferred sites. Flash and HTML5 generally displayed correctly despite a few minor rendering bugs, and the curved tabs and other design touches make it one of the more elegant Android browsers we’ve played with. Unfortunately, many sites display in full because they don’t yet detect Firefox as a mobile app, but the installation of the Phony 3.2 add-in lets it impersonate other smartphone browsers, and it seemed to work well. We also didn’t like that tabbed browsing now requires two taps to get to another page, unlike the previous version, but we imagine that was needed for the increased speed. Overall, Firefox is a welcome addition to the Android ecosystem — we bet you’re just as eager to start browsing as we are, so stay tuned for the app to hit Google Play later today, or jump past the break for a quick speed demo from the kind folks at Mozilla.
Google Play, which was previously the Android Market has hit a new milestone, there have been more than 15 billion Android apps downloaded from the Google Play Store.
The news first came from the Independent who said that Google was about to reach the 15 billion app downloads mark, and TechCrunch reached out to Google and discovered that they had actually hit 15 billion downloads a couple of weeks ago.
It isn’t clear as yet why Google decided not to announce reaching the 15 billion downloads mark, the last official number we had from Google was 11 billion downloads back in 2011.
Apple’s app store has reached 25 billion downloads, and according to TechCrunch, Apple is hitting around 1.25 billion downloads per month and Google is hitting around 1 billion downloads per month.
Google has this week added a new method to pay for music, applications, books and movies whilst browsing its Google Play online store from your mobile devices.
Now a variety if carriers will allow you to charge your Google Play purchases directly to your monthly phone bill. For example in the U.S. T-Mobile customers can now charge purchases from Google Play directly to mobile bill, and in Japan, DoCoMo, KDDI and Softbank customers can do the same.
Others include, Italy Vodafone: Korea KT, SKT, LGU+ : Spain Vodafone: UK T-Mobile International, Vodafone : Germany T-Mobile International, Vodafone:
The new Direct Carrier Billing added by Google to its Google Plus online store now makes it easier for users to purchase apps and no credit card or registration is required to use the service.
DirecTV’s still-in-beta “Everywhere” streaming package only arrived on the iPad a month ago, and now the company has updated its app for Android phones with access to the same set of video-on-demand streaming movies and TV shows for viewing wherever subscribers might be. Interestingly this feature is arriving on Google powered devices before it hits the iPhone (neither one so far has added the in-home live TV streaming feature from the iPad app, however the iPhone does have a player for the Nomad transcoder which Android and the iPad lack), in opposition to the usual trend of video streaming apps from cable and satellite TV providers, often for DRM and compatibility reasons. On Google Play the app was still installable on our various tablets and phones alike, although YMMV on what happens when you select the “Watch on Phone” tab to stream from HBO, Cinemax, Starz, Encore or DirecTV Cinema. Of course the usual DVR scheduling and remote control features are still present and accounted for, so hit the link below to grab the free app and try it out yourself.
Scalado just released Album, its first ever Android app to land in Google’s Play store. The company — which is best known for imaging technologies such as zero shutter lag, Rewind and Remove — usually provides software to device manufacturers instead of end users directly. Album is billed as “a simple to use, high performance, photo/video viewer with a clean and smooth user interface” that handles pictures up to 200 (!) megapixels in size. The app costs $0.99 and is available for both smartphones and tablets. It features some interesting touches, like the ability to browse geotagged images using a map view.
We had the opportunity to take Album for a spin before launch and the app offers an intuitive and responsive user experience. Beyond organizing photos into bins like the “camera roll” and the existing folders on your device, the main screen lets you browse content by time (monthly) and location (including nearby). Pictures can be deleted, shared, rotated in place, cropped and turned into wallpaper. Animated thumbnails are used for videos, and multiple items can be selected. Check the gallery below, and hit the break for Scalado’s demo video and PR.
With Robocop currently in rotation on both Netflix and HBO Go, you’re probably wondering, “where else can I get my daily dose of media and cultural criticism delivered by a trigger happy law enforcement cyborg?” Well, YouTube and Google Play apparently. MGM has struck a deal with the folks in Mountain View to bring 600 of its titles to the streaming services, including the aforementioned dystopian-Detroit sci-fi classic. Of course, plenty of other top shelf titles will also be available to rent and purchase in the coming weeks — including Terminator, Rocky and Rain Man. Unfortunately for those not in the northern portion of the western hemisphere the deal is only applicable to the US and Canada. This also means that, regardless of whatever struggles Google has had in the content distribution market, it now has four of the five major studios on board. Though, we wouldn’t hold your breath for Fox.