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26Jan/120

Valve brings Steam to Android in closed beta

Steam is pretty much the universally accepted standard in delivering digitally downloaded games to the PC crowd, and now it is seeking some of that mojo on Android. Valve is testing an official version of Steam on the Google platform, currently accessible only to users invited to the closed beta but hopefully due to make its way to the general public soon.


The app has a strong focus on Steam’s social features, including chatting with friends and checking out your groups and clans. Users can also browse the collection of games and make purchases directly from the phone. Of course, if you want to play the actual game you’ll still need to go to your computer, but the point here is to expand the Steam experience beyond that one screen.

Steam is so ubiquitous because it has managed to grab most of the big-name PC game publishers. However, it lost some of its steam (pun intended) when EA decided to launch its own proprietary platform instead. In addition, Apple recently set up a Mac App Store for its computer users, leaving Steam a bit less powerful. So now it’s trying to tap into the every important mobile market. That should help keep its brand recognition solid and tight.

[via Android Community]

Valve brings Steam to Android in closed beta is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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26Jan/120

Twitter revolutionizes Tweet censorship process

Because it is illegal to post any sort of pro-Nazi message in France or Germany, Twitter bans all pro-Nazi messages on a global scale. Similar restrictions exist for different cultures and governments around the world, which ends up with an extensive amount of Twitter censorship. That may soon be a thing of the past, though, as Twitter has announced a new way to restrict specific content on a regional basis.


In an official blog post, the microblogging site explained that it now has the ability to ” reactively withhold content from users in a specific country — while keeping it available in the rest of the world. We have also built in a way to communicate transparently to users when content is withheld, and why.” This change goes into effect as of today.

The blog post goes on to say that if and when a Tweet is restricted, users will be notified and the message will be clearly marked. No doubt this move will pave the way for new controversies. After all, there were probably very few people who despised Twitter’s global policy against posting pro-Nazi content. But free speech is always a good thing, and if Twitter can limit the amount of censorship while still adhering to local laws, that’s a definite win.

[via Twitter Blog]

Twitter revolutionizes Tweet censorship process is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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26Jan/120

In Case You Were Wondering: The RAZR and RAZR MAXX Have The Same Exact Software

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If there was ever any doubt that the Motorola RAZR and the new all new and improved RAZR MAXX possibly weren’t the same phone, that has been laid to rest with this screenshot. As you can plainly see, both devices are running the exact same build, kernel — even the model number is the same.

That means you can treat the new Maxx exactly as if it was the OG Razr. When one device receives an official over-the-air update, it should arrive at the same time for both devices. Remember that leaked OTA update? Compatible. Custom ROMs? Compatible. Root methods? Compatible. Anything and everything that works for the original RAZR will work just fine on the MAXX.

A few Android users out there were a bit skeptical that possibly Motorola would try and do something funny, changing up the software on the new device after introducing only a higher capacity battery. Well, there it is folks. They’re the same. One just has a little more junk in its trunk.

Via Droid-Life


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26Jan/120

Sony Xperia S Will Feature Anti-Stain Coating and Fast Charging Ability

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This phone just continues to get better and better. The Sony Xperia S — which is currently #1 on my “sexiest phone of 2012″ — is proving that it’s not just a 1-trick pony. XperiaBlog has revealed a couple of new, less talked about features being introduced on the device that will help set it apart from the pack.

First, it seems the Xperia S will feature a an anti-stain shell. While this will help repel dirt and oil and keep the device looking new, those that have seen it in action have described a demonstration where a rep drew on the device with a pen, and was able to wipe off the marking with a single finger swipe. Neat.

Second — and this one is a whole lot more useful — the Sony Xperia S will come with a “fast charging” ability that gives the device 1 hour of talk time with a single 10 minute charge. 30 minutes is all it will take to charge up the Xperia S to 80%, at which point the device will lower power intake, slowly charging until 100% (for battery health).

Sony is definitely stepping up their game introducing new Android smartphones that not only look fantastic, but have the brains to go along with them. Did I mention how sexy the Xperia S is?


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26Jan/120

Central Core Studios Takes A Break From Video Games And Introduces New HD Live Wallpapers For Android

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I came across these absolutely stunning live wallpapers fresh off the Android Market and felt the need to share them with you here. Brought to you by a couple of self-proclaimed indie game developers, Central Core Studios has taken time away from coding games, instead to work on a few more artistic projects. Like these gorgeous live wallpapers for your Android device.

Seeing how I’m a long time fan of both videogames and sci-fi outer world space exploration, I decided to give them a shot and was absolutely blown away. The fine attention to detail, depth of layers and special effects — these live wallpapers bring even the most stale of launchers to life.

And fantasy worlds aren’t all Central Core Studios has in store. Vehicles, inner-body cell viruses, and animated gnomes will all be arriving soon in the Market. After seeing their portfolio, if these guys can create some videogames for Android as beautiful as these LW, I think they will have a long and prosperous future ahead of them.

You can find the free version — with a single landscape and limited customization options, as well as the $1.50 full version — complete with all 3 landscapes and available options, in the Android Market. Enjoy.

[PlanetScapes Free | PlanetScapes Full Version]


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26Jan/120

Valve debuts free Steam Mobile iPhone app

Valve has released Steam Mobile for iOS, a free app for the iPhone. According to Valve, "With the free Steam app for iOS, you can participate in the Steam community wherever you go. Chat with your Steam friends, browse community groups and user profiles, read the latest gaming news and stay up to date on unbeatable Steam sales."

That's the promise of the app, anyway; Steam Mobile has launched in "limited beta," meaning you first need to input an activation key on your PC or Mac. Entering your username and password into the Steam Mobile app is apparently enough to "express interest" in the beta, but for now that's pretty much all the app does until you receive an activation key.

It's interesting that this app was approved; Apple has traditionally frowned on apps that require users to register for access in this manner, so it's odd to see Valve granted an exception.

Also worth noting is that Steam Mobile will not serve as a front end to Steam selling games for the iPhone. All Steam Mobile will allow you to do is access the community and buy games for your Mac or PC from your iPhone.

TUAW - The Unofficial Apple WeblogValve debuts free Steam Mobile iPhone app originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Thu, 26 Jan 2012 21:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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26Jan/120

Samsung’s surging smartphone business leads to strong fourth quarter

Samsung pulled off a mighty impressive quarter at the end of 2011, with 4 trillion won ($3.6 billion) in net income. That’s a sizable increase over the previous year’s 3.42 trillion won, but not everything in the consumer electronics firm is all peaches and cream. The company saw a woeful decline in its LCD panel business but was able to more than compensate for that with an amazing smartphone library.


Total revenue at the South Korea-based manufacturer climbed to 47.3 trillion won, a 13% increase compared to the previous year. Samsung’s Galaxy brand of phones reached an astounding 300 million units in sales last year. In the fourth quarter, it reported 32 million smartphone sales, making it account for 40% of the entire company’s profit. In comparison, Samsung’s display division saw an operating loss of 220 billion won, a complete 180 from its profitable position the year before.

In other news, Samsung’s semiconductor unit also grew year-to-year, raking in 2.31 trillion won in profit. That represents a 29% increase over the previous fourth quarter. Clearly, though, the story is all about Samsung’s mobile business. The company is now ranked as the world’s largest smartphone seller, ahead of such titans as Apple and Motorola.

[via Washington Post]

Samsung’s surging smartphone business leads to strong fourth quarter is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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26Jan/120

iPad 2 Cygnett Platform vs Logitech Fold-up Keyboard vs Speck HandyShell

There’s a war going on out there no iPad is safe from, and its the manufacturers of cases, stands, and skins that are the weapons. Today we’ve got a three-way war going on between Cygnett, Logitech, and Speck, each of them with an option for you to keep your iPad 2 standing up and off your lap! The Cygnett Universal Tablet Stand is unreleased while the other two options, the Logitech Fold-up Keyboard and the Speck HandyShell are out and about right as we speak – let’s see which one stands up to the rest and takes the test the best!

This is the first of perhaps several wars between similar cases, stands, and skins for devices such as the iPad and the iPhone – two products that have more accessories than Mrs. Wayans has kids. This first war is a selection between some products that have quite different aims but have all been utilized to their maximum potential by your humble narrator. As it turns out, each of these units works rather well when you’re using your iPad 2 as a control unit for video viewing – either right on the device or feeding out through your HDMI converter to your HDTV.

Cygnett Platform Universal Tablet Stand

This stand was shown off at CES 2012 and we got an advanced look at it here, it being made entirely of metal save for the rubber-covered brackets and non-slip rubber cradle and coming in at $39.99 when it gets released. Unlike the other units in this battle, this stand can be used for any and all tablets you might have, including your Android, Windows, BlackBerry, and webOS devices all the same. You’ll be able to purchase this monster straight from Cygnett when the time is ripe (inside the next couple of months) in their online store.

Logitech Fold-Up Keyboard

This product works with the iPad 2 specifically and is certainly a cool customer when it comes to showing off its abilities to your pals. Folded down this unit simply makes your iPad look like a thick industrial-sized tablet made mostly of plastic. When you want a keyboard, on the other hand, you’ve only to hit the button that unlocks the unit and pull your iPad 2 up – swoop come the two sides of the keyboard, meeting in the middle for one big complete show! This device connects to your iPad 2 via Bluetooth and does need to be recharged from time to time, but makes typing one whole heck of a lot easier so long as you’ve got a flat surface to put it on. This unit is currently out of stock at Logitech but will cost you right around $129.99 wherever you end up finding it.

Speck HandyShell

This case made by Speck is by far one of the simplest case and stand all-in-one units I’ve ever seen. It’s got a reinforced one-piece construction for the case part and a flip-out handle on the back that’s got a tension that allows for it to stand at nearly any angle. This case is the only one of the three that does not allow for the usage of your Apple-made Smart Cover, but given that you’ll be using your device for a video and/or living photo frame from now on anyway, who cares? This shell is available right this second in Speck’s online shop for a cool $54.95 and is one of about a billion different cases the group offers.

The Winner

When you take all the instances in the world that I use the iPad 2 for on a daily basis, there’s more than one answer for which case wins this war. Though I’m certain the Logitech unit has its uses for those of you that use your iPad to blog, write lots of emails, and network socially, I’ve not had enough real-world use cases to be able to suggest it as the all-out winner. The HandyShell has proven itself time and time again not only as a stand for hands-off usage of the iPad 2, the handle keeps showing off its uses each time I play a game with the unit – at $54.95, it’s worth the money all day long. Finally the Cygnett Platform Universal Tablet Stand is a perfectly excellent stand for home or business use – it’s certainly not a good choice for traveling anywhere since it doesn’t fold down at all, but just sitting in one place it can’t be beat!

iPad 2 Cygnett Platform vs Logitech Fold-up Keyboard vs Speck HandyShell is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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26Jan/120

Spotify reaches 3 million paying subscribers

Spotify has reached a new milestone, hitting 3 million paying subscribers, up from 2 million in September and 2.5 million in November. The conversion ratio of paying subscribers has also increased, with the new figure representing 20 percent of Spotify’s active user base, whereas that ratio was 15 percent last March.

The new numbers are a good sign for Spotify and help to reassure the music industry that this model works. Spotify operates as a freemium service that allows both ad-supported free accounts and paid premium accounts, all with unlimited playback, although it recently implemented monthly caps on the free accounts.

The new 20 percent ratio doesn’t include people that have tried Spotify but then trailed off. And Spotify believes that its Facebook integration and month-long free trials for its premium service have helped boost its conversion rate. Currently, Spotify offers an ad-free option for $4.99 per month and an ad-free option that also allows for use on mobile devices for $9.99 per month.

“We have achieved some pretty great results in terms of the ratio of paid users,” said Spotify’s US managing director Ken Parks. “We have an enormous internal effort to drive conversion and engagement with the service. We are very focused on growing in our existing 12 markets as well as expanding in other markets.”

[via Financial Times]

Spotify reaches 3 million paying subscribers is written by Rue Liu & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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26Jan/120

Google Friendly Reminder: The Menu Button Does Not Provide For An Ideal User Experience

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The Android developers blog was updated today with a friendly post reminding developers that in Google’s vision for Android’s future — there will be no menu buttons. Google has instead replace the menu button with this little guy (above), dubbed the “action bar.” Everything that ever was hiding inside the menu, will now be displayed in plain view on the app for all to see.

So what happens when you’re using a device on Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich that has yet to adopt Android’s new “action bar” standard? Well, older “legacy” apps will receive a — don’t-you-dare-call-it-a-menu-button –”action overflow” button (those 3 little dots on the side) but make no mistake, this is still a swear word to Google with them saying, “this button doesn’t provide for an ideal user experience.”

Apparently, it’s fairly simple to bring this legacy apps up to date with a few simple code changes and Google even going as far as providing a few icons to match the rest of the decor. Personally, I’m going to miss the menu button. Seems to me those software buttons are looking mighty scarce after Google killed the search button. But perhaps I’m holding on to the old world. What about you guys? Would you rather keep the menu button? Or do you feel action bars is really more intuitive?

[Android Developers]

 


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