Google is working is working its way through all its apps and updating them in anticipation of the release Android L. Next on the list is Play Newsstand, which most obviously is getting a Material Design facelift. That means a card based UI with bigger images and lots of transitional animations. But a visual revamp on its own isn't particularly exciting. The best news is that the reading experience for print magazines has been revamped. Until now reading a magazine meant scrolling around a PDF version of the print editions, with a few notable exceptions that had "interactive" editions. Now, you'll actually be able to browse a list of articles in the issue and open them up in a format that's much more phone friendly. You get clean easy to read text, without having to sacrifice the big images. Newsstand is also getting much more fine grained control over the topics in the explore section. So instead of just Food & Drink, you can get articles dedicated to vegetarian cuisine or the paleo diet delivered straight to your phone. The new version of Google Play Newsstand will be rolling out on Android over the next week. iOS users will probably have to wait a long while...

0 Comments

Asda Man Might Accept Carrier Billing

While carrier billing might be changing the way we buy digital products like apps, music and ringtones, it hasn't yet become a mainstream method of payment. That could be set to change, however, after the UK's three largest carriers agreed a new deal that may soon let you pay for physical goods using only your phone number. EE, Vodafone and O2 have teamed up with payment provider Boku to offer carrier billing through the company's new e-Money service, which allows stores to request your number and have the purchase added to your phone bill. Of course, retailers will need to actively support the service, but with the major operators already pledging their support, we imagine stores would jump at the chance to make it easier for customers to pay.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

For the most part, smartphone peripherals can make your mobile devices even more powerful than they already are. A new add-on, dubbed Seek Thermal, aims to do just that by bringing extra imaging features to your handset. The tiny gadget can be attached to an iPhone or Android smartphone (via Lightning port and microUSB, respectively) and, thanks to a companion app, turn that otherwise common device into one with a thermal camera. Seek Thermal notes it wants to help users across different scenarios, such as being aware of what's around them at night time or, why not, look at clogged pipes throughout the household, just to mention a couple. If you're interested, be ready to pay a premium -- both the iPhone and Android models are priced at $199 a piece. While you think about it, check out the demo past the break, courtesy of Android Police.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Dropbox's mini-planet

If you're a longtime Dropbox user on Android, you've probably bemoaned the lack of SD card support. What good is having gobs of cloud storage if you can't use all the free space you have on your own phone? At long last, though, Dropbox has released an Android update that lets you export files directly to external storage. It's a simple addition, but it's potentially a big deal -- you no longer have to worry about downloading that multi-gigabyte video so long as you have a card with enough room. The upgrade is already available in Google Play, so go and grab it if you're eager to fill up your device.

0 Comments

Tweetbot on an iPhone 6

Tweetbot 3 for iOS is frequently regarded as one of the better mobile Twitter apps, no matter the platform -- it's full of shortcuts and visual flair that most clients (including Twitter's own) sorely lack. It has been lagging on support for Apple's latest developments, however, which makes today's version 3.5 update pretty important. The interface now scales properly on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, giving you much more screen real estate when you're browsing tweets. There are also a few noteworthy upgrades that apply to everyone, including interactive notifications, sharing sheets and support for fetching your login from 1Password. It'll cost you $5 to get the new release if you don't already use Tweetbot, but it might well be worth the outlay if the free Twitter apps aren't quite cutting it.

0 Comments

The market for used iPhones is fraught with risk, because you may end up paying hundreds of dollars for a locked off device, or worse -- one that appears legit but can't make calls. However, Apple has just revealed an iCloud tool that lets you check a device's activation lock status. All you'll need is the iPhone's IMEI or serial number, and if you're the rightful owner, you'll get info on how to disable any activation locks before selling. Meanwhile, buyers will be shown how to remove the previous account (with the seller's permission). The tool will be particularly useful at sussing out "doulCi" devices, which bypass iCloud to enable activation but won't actually connect to a cell network. That'll prevent you from being fooled by a stolen or lost iPhone that appears to work, but is effectively... an iPod.

0 Comments

Since the launch of the Signature Touch, Vertu CEO Max Pogliani promised that "technology will be more a merging factor and not a differentiation point" for his phones. That's literally the case with the new mid-tier Aster launched today: This titanium Android device is identical to its flagship sibling device internally, just wrapped within a more contemporary and unisex design. We're looking at a 4.7-inch 1080p display, 5.1-inch 117 carat sapphire screen, 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 chipset, 13MP/2.1MP cameras (the former certified by Hasselblad), 64GB of internal storage, 2,275mAh battery, front stereo speakers, NFC, Qi wireless charging and great LTE compatibility (though no love for China, for some reason). With the specs out of the way, let's look at why this swanky phone starts from $6,900 or £4,200.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Curious as to just which Honda models you'd see Android pop up in first? If you had money on the 2015 Civic, Civic Tourer and CRV it's time to collect your prize from the pool. Google's mobile OS will appear as standard equipment in those vehicles with a little help from Nvidia, naturally, and as the GPU giant tells it, Honda Connect will be the first infotainment system to run embedded Android on a Tegra chipset. Nvidia says that Connect will sport a 7-inch customizable touch-screen display that acts a lot like what you'd expect from a smartphone or a slate. Naturally that means there are swipe, pinch and zoom gestures along with an app store for the Ice Cream Sandwich-based system. How this will all play with Android Auto, though, remains to be seen.

0 Comments

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

Verizon is about to make it much easier to catch The Daily Show when you can't reach your TV on time. As part of a renewed carriage deal, Big Red will let you watch all of Viacom's live channels (including Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon) through the FiOS Mobile app when you're away from home. You'll also have access to all of Viacom's authenticated TV Everywhere services, so you'll get to stream on-demand shows through a wide array of apps and devices. There's more on the way, too. Verizon says the renewal will let it offer a mysterious bundle of "marquee content" nationwide to its wireless customers -- even if they don't have FiOS -- and it expects to roll out "innovative new TV packages" that better match viewers' tastes. We doubt the channel bundle will disappear entirely any time soon but we'd welcome more choices and, hopefully, lower prices.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster]

0 Comments

Hong Kong protesters light up their phones in solidarity

Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters have more to worry about than they thought -- someone is gunning after their phones, too. Lacoon Mobile Security says it has detected new spyware, Xsser, that tries to trick WhatsApp users on Android and iOS by posing as a coordination tool for the Occupy Central movement. Anyone who falls for the ploy grants access to virtually all of their sensitive info, including contacts, call logs and instant messaging archives. The code is unusually sophisticated, to boot; it's a rare instance of a cross-platform mobile attack, and it updates itself over time.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Verizon Wireless store

If you were worried that Verizon would start throttling your unlimited data plan because you use it a lot, you can relax -- Big Red just had a last-minute change of heart. The carrier tells Droid-Life that it has decided against pursuing "network optimization" (read: throttling) for uncapped LTE users. There's no direct explanation for the about-face, but Verizon says that it "valued the ongoing dialogue" on slowdowns. In other words, it's likely trying to avoid a clash with the FCC, not to mention angry customers, over a potential violation of net neutrality guidelines. Whatever triggered the provider's second thoughts, it's good news if you've felt that the unlimited service you pay for shouldn't have any strings attached. Check out the full statement below.

Update: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler approves, saying in a statement that "I salute Verizon Wireless's decision. This is a responsible action and I commend Verizon's leadership on this issue." Clash averted.

[Image credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo]

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Not to be outdone by AT&T, Sprint and Verizon have now announced they are also going to double the data for users on shared mobile plans, at no extra cost. What's more, both carriers are bringing the promotion to family and business customers alike, making the news all the better. With Sprint, for example, you can get 120GB maximum for $225 per month on a family plan, while business accounts will receive up to 200GB for $330 -- on the former, there's also the $130 option, which lets you share 60GB between lines. Similarly, Verizon is set to double the data amount on its 20GB, 30GB, 40GB and 50GB More Everything plans; the 12GB and 16GB are making the jump as well, but only to 15GB and 30GB, respectively. Verizon's promo is kicking off tomorrow, with Sprint following suit the day after. But be sure to act fast, since the networks will only be offering this through the end of October.

0 Comments

In the midst of attempting to gobble up its largest counterpart, battle Netflix on net neutrality and face down customer service scandals, Comcast is still slowly extending its new TV platform. The latest addition to its X1 setup is enhancing the cloud DVR feature that CEO Brian Roberts showed off at the beginning of the year. While the 500GB cloud DVR and in-home streaming are already a part of the system in several areas, in the Bay Area and Houston viewers can stream or download recordings to their mobile devices (iOS or Android, PCs can only stream) starting today. Inside the house, the X1 app fulfills Roberts promise of turning any mobile device into a television, with access to live TV streaming, recordings and video on-demand.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Microsoft Office Sway

Sharing ideas on the web is tricky. You probably want something more persuasive than a social network update, but it's usually overkill to design a whole web page just to get your point across. Microsoft may have reached a happy balance between the two with Sway, a new part of the Office portfolio that lets you publish content in a slick, web-native format without knowing a thing about code or design. All you do is write and pull in content, whether it comes from your device or internet sources like Facebook, OneDrive and YouTube; Sway automatically organizes it all into polished web layouts that adapt to any screen size. You can switch layouts to fine-tune your work and update projects over time. Think of this as a Medium-like authoring tool that handles much more than just articles -- it's possible to publish daily photo diaries, non-linear presentations and other pieces that would typically require a dedicated web editor or a specialized app.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Remember that Pokémon iPad game that was teased not too long ago? Well, if the mere mention of it stoked a fire inside that made you want to abandon Blizzard's Hearthstone forever, Joystiq has spotted that the pocket monster trading card game is available on the App Store now. Pokémon TCG Online is free to download, but there are a few catches. As the name suggests, it requires an internet connection to play and your Apple-branded slate needs to be of the Retina-display variety -- your first- and second-gen iPads won't cut the mustard, according to iTunes. If you're already heavily invested in the game on OSX and Windows, Time points out that progress you've made in the last three years transfers over to the mobile version as well. Handy! And just like that, a Nintendo property is appearing somewhere other than on one of its own devices. Somewhere, an investor is probably smiling.

[Image Credit: Josh Wittenkeller]

0 Comments