Google Play Store at Google IO 2013

Google occasionally updates its Play Store rules to weed out inconsistent or shady behavior in Android apps, and we're witnessing one of its larger clean-ups today. The company's new guidelines more explicitly ban device interference: titles in the Play Store can't modify settings or other apps without permission, and they can't install bookmarks or icons that pitch a third-party service. Google is also adamant that any in-game purchases of virtual goods must go through its billing system. As usual, new apps have to follow these guidelines right away, while developers with existing apps have a 30-day grace period to make any changes. The policies won't necessarily stop rogue code from sneaking into the Play Store, but Google can at least say that it gave fair warning.


DNP iFixit disassembles Moto X, finds TKTKTK

Mere hours after the Moto X made it to stores, the iFixit guys have already torn it apart, revealing its innards to all. The guts of the American-assembled handset aren't entirely a surprise: under the hood we've got a motherboard, 16GB of eMMC NAND storage, the usual rear and front camera modules, inductive charging coils and a 3.8-volt 2200mAH lithium-ion battery. The disassemblers praised the replaceability of various modular components, as the tablet uses only one type of screw throughout. Its taped-in battery, display-fused digitizer and sticky adhesives took the Moto X down a few pegs, but its final score of 7 out of 10 still makes this one of the more easily repairable smartphones on iFixit's list. To have a look at just how Google and Motorola's lovechild was put together, hit the source link below.


YouTube for Android circa 2013

YouTube launched its Data API to let developers integrate online video into their apps, but the modest caps on daily use have limited the potential of those apps. As of today, YouTube is offering much more breathing room: developers now have 10 times more transaction units each day, and uploads require 10 times fewer units. The extra headroom should lead to apps that not only include many more YouTube videos, but also call more frequently on clip data. While it will likely take some time before we see software that takes advantage of the higher limits, we wouldn't be surprised if our favorite apps become multimedia extravaganzas in the near future.


Rdio for iOS updated with Station Tuning feature, new design for Collections

Rdio's used the past few months to bring an array of improvements to its iOS app -- some functional and some cosmetic. To keep the momentum going, the company today released yet another update, including a Station Tuning feature that lets listeners "adjust any station to play more familiar or more adventurous tracks." Additionally, the app's Collection tab now sports a redesigned look, which makes for an easier, better-looking way to view album artwork. Rdio says search within has been improved as well, while other undisclosed, under-the-hood UI enhancements are also part of this version. Per usual, we've included the download link below.


You can literally plug this phone into the wall

Gone are the days of bizarre phones with some special practical use, but not all hope is lost. Earlier today, this author stumbled upon a shanzhai Android 4.0.1 phone with a built-in power plug! It's a bit awkward, though, as you have to take off the back cover to flip up the Type A plug -- we're assuming it has a world-friendly voltage rating, but we'll double check. Should you wish to juice the phone up the old-fashioned way, the micro-USB port is still there.

Externally, this Daxian N100i seems to be very much "inspired" by the Xiaomi Phone 2 or 2S. Given the HK$599 (about US$80) price point (or about US$40 each in bulk), don't expect too many goodies from this outlandish candy bar: there's a dual-core 1GHz MT6517 chipset, a 4.3-inch 800 x 480 TN display, 4GB of storage, a microSD slot, an 1,800mAh cell (plus a spare in the box) and dual-SIM slots -- but for GSM 900/1800 only. The front and back cameras both have a resolution of just 3.1 megapixels, and it was hard to judge the picture quality on that horrible screen. Still intrigued? Then check out the flip plug in action in our video after the break.

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In each issue of Distro, Executive Editor Marc Perton publishes a wrap-up of the week in news.

DNP Editor's Letter Back to school

There was a time when gearing up to go back to school meant little more than picking up a new backpack, some clothes and the latest HP calculator. Those days, of course, are long gone, and even fifth-graders can expect to start the school year with a new smartphone and laptop.

In this issue of Distro, Engadget's annual back to school guide presents our latest recommendations for everything from tablets to TVs to gaming gear. And if you're a US resident over 18 (sorry fifth-graders), there's still time to enter our Back to School sweepstakes, where we're giving away tons of great gadgets, including laptops, e-readers and smartphones.

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Google reportedly working on its own car, considering autonomous taxi service

It's no secret that Google has been slowly but surely finding its way into the automotive industry, as it's already been working with manufacturers to build self-driving cars for quite some time. However, according to Amir Efrati, a former star reporter for the Wall Street Journal, the software giant is looking to drive a few extra miles down that road by designing and building cars of its own. The company has been in talks with component suppliers like Continental AG and Magna International in the hopes that it could put together an entire car under Google's command. The idea, Efrati says, is to put more pressure on car brands to develop autonomous driving tech, regardless of if Google is directly involved or not.

So what would Google do with such a vehicle built under its direct supervision and brand? One idea on the drawing board is a "robo-taxi" service, which is exactly how it sounds: a self-driving car would come and pick you up and drop you off at your destination; at first, a human would need to be behind the wheel just in case, but that could easily change as the tech progresses and becomes more reliable. Steer toward the source link for a few more details about the thought process behind Google's efforts.


The usefulness of Facebook's News Feed ranking algorithm may not be universally agreed upon, but the social network's dedication to improving it is unquestionable. Today, FB has updated that ranking system with a newly developed algorithm meant to better surface "high quality content" from pages users are connected to at the top of News Feed. To do so, the algorithm makes determinations about what content is timely, relevant, from trusted sources and is likely to be shared -- and also identifying content that users complain about seeing or attempts to "game News Feed" distribution with solicited likes. These signals were informed by the results from surveying a few thousand users, and after implementation in a small scale test, Facebook found folks sharing, liking and commenting on more stories, and hiding fewer of them. As such, we can all expect to see the update in the next few weeks, so brace for a Facebook flood of insightful stories, funny cat videos, or whatever else it is you're into.


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