It's simple: the numbers don't lie. Clearly aware of the many, many hours viewers are squeezing out of their tablets, the BBC has, for the better, made its iPlayer for Android more friendly with 10-inch models. Folks using the app will no longer have to rely on a shortcut to the website, with the BBC iPlayer now offering native support for those larger Android slates. The changelog also notes some tweaks to the UI on smartphones and 7-inch tablets, but mum's the word on what the changes were exactly. Either way, we're sure owners of, say, a Nexus 10 will be happy to hear there are fewer steps required to catch up with their favorite shows.
Via: Android Police
Source: Google Play
A fresh release of Dish Anywhere for Android just hit Google Play, bringing it up to speed with its iOS counterpart. Now, the application allows users to stream On Demand content from wherever they have an internet connection, and adds Facebook and Twitter sharing. The experience has also received a dedicated app for tablets running Google's mobile OS, sporting a look that makes better use of the extra screen real estate, and a skinned remote to boot. In addition to a few miscellaneous bug fixes, the update includes support for handsets with large screens, such as the Droid DNA. Jab the links below to grab ahold of the latest version.
15/05/2013 - Google TV officially updated to latest versions of Android and Chrome, faster updates promised going forward
It apparently wasn't big enough to garner a mention earlier today, but Google has now followed up its slew of I/O keynote announcements with the news that it's moving Google TV to the latest versions of Android (that'd be 4.2.2) and Chrome. What's more, it also says that it's "refactored" Google TV so that its OEMs can update their devices to future versions of Android faster than they're currently able to -- in a "matter of weeks rather than months," according to Google. Likewise, Chrome for Google TV will now be on the same six week upgrade cycle as its desktop counterpart going forward, and it'll also now come with support for hardware-based content protection.
As for those with existing Google TV devices, though, the company's only saying that they can expect to see updates in the "coming months." We've yet to hear from most Google TV manufacturers themselves yet, but LG has chimed in to say that it will be updating its devices to Jelly Bean sometime in the third quarter of this year. You can get a look at what the update will bring in the video after the break.
The Hulu Plus app for Android has a new update, and the most noticeable change is that its player UI to closer match the one on its website and in iOS. It also brings features from those platforms like 10 second skip back and a preview thumbnail in the scrub bar. Hulu also claims it's rebuilt "for optimized awesomeness" with reduced buffering, better playback, and more device compatibility. Finally, in a move that should make plugging in your HDMI-out a little easier, it supports remote control navigation from game controllers and "similar peripherals." A picture of the new UI is above, check out the old version after the break or just hit the source link to try it out for yourself.
Source: Google Play
So you want a console for free, eh? BlueStacks is apparently prepared to offer you just that in its GamePop game console, which costs nothing for the month of May with a one-year subscription to the service (wouldn't you know it, that costs $93.83 -- just below the price of an OUYA at retail). Like its counterparts, the GamePop is powered by Android (4.2) and runs mostly mobile games. The company isn't sharing specs just yet, sadly. BlueStacks is promising "over 500" games, and has some top mobile devs offering credence with in testimonial.
"We've been a featured partner in App Player since early on and they've delivered on every promise in terms of distribution," Fruit Ninja studio head Shainiel Deo said, referencing BlueStacks' App Player software. "GamePop is a great incremental channel for us." Since games won't be bought, but included in the subscription, devs receive a 50 percent cut of subscription revenue, determined by how often users play their games. Should you be interested in getting in early, pre-orders are now open at the GamePop website; we've also included an intro video from BlueStacks just below.
While we've seen broadcasters and other content providers launch smart TV apps with only one manufacturer, ITV's decided to give Samsung rare exclusive Android access to its ITV Player. The Korean outfit announced it would get the refreshed app all to itself until August 31st, meaning Brits who use the previous, Android-agnostic ITV Player will have to forego the new version until that time. The update now includes landscape navigation support for smartphones and tablets, along with 3G/4G streaming, improved video playback and support for older versions of Android. ITV says it's offering the app exclusively to Samsung "for an initial period while we endeavor to optimize and improve the experience before releasing to other device manufacturers." Oddly enough, Samsung didn't mention that beta-testing aspect in its own PR, which is right after the break.
Source: ITV Player (Google Play)
Just weeks after TWC TV was overhauled for iOS products, the carrier has announced that a "serious" update will hit the Android version of TWC TV as soon as next Tuesday. The refresh will add access to over 4,000 On Demand shows and movies, as well as live TV streaming and On Demand support for older Android devices still stuck on v2.2+. Moreover, some of that content will also be available while you're away from home, "mirroring the experience" already available for iOS products. Moral of the story? Keep an eye on the Play Store as May 14th rolls around.
Remember how TV Guide relaunched its mobile app for iOS last summer? Well the company's Android app, One-Stop TV, is finally catching up with the iOS version thanks to a complete redesign. The app includes TV Guide's popular Watchlist feature, a personalized profile which lets you find different ways to watch shows -- from sources like TV, on-demand, streaming and DVD. One-Stop TV automatically links to the HBO GO, Hulu Plus, The CW, MAX GO and Crackle apps, allowing you to access shows instantly. Another new feature, New Tonight Trending, provides a "social hot list" of what others are watching. But wait, there's more! The app gains a heavy dose of social networking integration plus content filtering, curated watchlists (including topics such as celebrities and sports) and original editorial content. Want to try it out? Follow the Play Store link below, then check out the PR after the break.
Starz Play has had a home on iOS since October, but now it's made the jump to Android, and it's brought Encore Play and Movieplex Play along with it. By wielding the apps, users can stream video from the TV network over WiFi and 3G -- provided they have a cable subscription with AT&T U-verse, Cox, DirecTV or Verizon. Comcast customers aren't entirely left out in the cold, however, as they can already catch content licensed from the television channel through the Xfinity website and apps. If you're ready to get your fill of Starz flicks, hit the bordering source links for the downloads.
Via: Android Police
27/04/2013 - iPlayer for Android update brings improved experience on Galaxy S III, Note 2 and Nexus 4, tablets to follow
Excuse us while we interrupt your episode of The Archers, but we thought users of BBC's iPlayer might like to know about the latest Android app update. Amongst the usual bug fixes, the update promises to offer a "much improved" viewing experience on big hitting devices such as Samsung's Galaxy S III and Note 2, plus the Nexus 4. The Beeb stopped short of spilling further details, but it does go on to confirm that it'll continue to apply spit-and-polish to the playback experience for as much hardware as it can, without having to wait for app updates. We hope this doesn't mean it'll be treading on any toes, of course. Fans of slightly bigger screens (which is more of you, apparently) can expect some attention soon, with a hat tip about a tablet update coming in the next release.
Source: Google Play
The OUYA's off to a rough start, with reviewers -- us included -- encountering button sticking and faceplate issues with the controller, and a variety of complaints about the $99 game console's OS software. A variety of backers also received their console in the mail with the controller's removable faceplates already removed, having slipped off during shipment. OUYA's addressing at least some of these concerns by the console's June 4th launch, company CEO Julie Uhrman promises in a letter to backers on OUYA's official site.
"Our software is constantly evolving," Uhrman says. As such, OUYA has "a host of features" that it's working on adding to the console ahead of its impending retail launch: "external storage for games, simpler game install process, more metrics for developers, controller support for video players, and more payment options." But first, Uhrman says her team is "focused on optimizing the performance of our software (this mean responsiveness)," directly addressing criticisms of the console's seeming lag between input and on-screen response. As for the controller, OUYA is "considering adding additional magnets" to help with the faceplate issue -- the controller's faceplates are attached via six magnets apiece, currently. It's unclear if the controller will change in any other significant ways ahead of the console's retail availability, but we're hopeful that the button sticking issue is also addressed.
04/04/2013 - Google TV Remote app for Android gets its first update, with voice search and design tweaks
The official Google TV Remote app for Android has been around since late 2010, but it only just received its first update since launch. So what's changed? Support for voice commands has been extended for compatibility with Voice Search on Google TV 3.0, the old swiping directional circle has been replaced with an easier to use tappable d-pad, the look has changed slightly (check after the break for a screen of the old UI) there's accessibility support, and now the icon is sporting a small microphone. They're all minor tweaks, but after a couple of years, it's nice to see any attention being paid. We'll see if bigger changes for the platform are in store at Google I/O in May.
Source: Google Play
01/04/2013 - Unboxing the OUYA (video)
With Kickstarter backer shipments kicking off last Thursday, it's no surprise that some folks are already receiving their OUYA consoles. Two of our US-based, East Coast staffers just got their consoles this morning, and here we are with an unboxing video and screens so that you can share in the excitement with us. Of course, we'll have a full review of the Android-powered $99 game console coming later this week -- long before the console becomes available at retail on June 4th -- so keep your eyes loose and your brains ready. For now, enjoy the melange of media we've prepared for you; should you prefer a deeper dive, our hands-on is right here.
Gallery: OUYA console unboxing
It's been a long time coming, and now the Android-powered, Kickstarter-funded OUYA video game console is finally heading to backers. Sure, the final retail units for non-backers won't be available until June, but around 50,000 lucky folks who pledged over $99 to OUYA's massively successful campaign will be receiving their units in the coming days. We've already heard what developers have to say about it, but this week we got our first hands-on with the miniature, Tegra 3-powered game console we've been hearing so much about since last summer.
Is it the "best Tegra 3 device on the market," as OUYA's claimed? Let's find out!
Gallery: Ouya hands-on (GDC 2013)
29/03/2013 - OUYA available at retail on June 4 for $99
The Android-powered $99 OUYA game console becomes available at retail on June 4th -- a date which was revealed this week during the Game Developers Conference. OUYA's calling June 4th its "official launch date," despite Kickstarter backers receiving units starting this month. Essentially, the two month waiting period between Kickstarter boxes and retail availability is being used as a consumer beta, giving OUYA time to adjust its software after getting feedback from early adopters.
It's not clear if bundles will be available, but the game console itself and a controller (as well as power and HDMI cables, plus two AA batteries for the controller) are included in the $99 package. Major retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and others are on board, so it shouldn't be too hard locating one in June should your interested be piqued -- and yes, pre-orders are available. Of course, it's a pretty small little game console, so it might be a bit tough locating the thing with your eyes.
The GameStick is the second of two Kickstarter-backed Android-powered game consoles announced in the past 12 months, and its arguably the less visible of the two (the other being OUYA, of course). It's a bit different than the OUYA as well, in terms of both form factor and specs: the GameStick is roughly the size of a USB thumb drive and runs a dual-core Amlogic processor, rather than the Tegra 3 found in the OUYA. Similar to the OUYA, the GameStick also comes with a proprietary wireless controller -- the standard four button layout, two analog sticks, two shoulder buttons, and a d-pad make up its inputs -- though the GameStick's controller is actually the bulk of the hardware. The GameStick itself actually nestles into the back of the controller, making the whole bundle rather portable.
But perhaps you already know all of this? We have been hearing about the GameStick for some time now. Should that be the case, you'll wanna know how the thing actually feels, and we can deliver that just beyond the break, as we've just put GameStick and its controller through the paces.
Gallery: GameStick hands-on (GDC 2013)
27/03/2013 - GameStick dev unit found at GDC 2013, we go eyes-on
GameStick is here ... er, sort of. The development units are at least here at GDC 2013, quietly hanging out behind a nondescript computer monitor running a few Android games paired with a Nyko wireless controller. That's right, it wasn't running with the proprietary GameStick controller, but a third-party wireless -- we'll go hands-on with the company's internally built controller later this evening, and thusly we didn't want to offer a half-impression with the third-party units available on the show floor. Stay tuned for more, and take a gander at the gallery below for now.
Gallery: GameStick Dev Unit (GDC 2013)
Fans of ThinkFlood might want to shed a few tears today, as the company has just announced it's closing its doors. As a reminder, ThinkFlood was responsible for the RedEye universal remote control system that allowed any smartphone or web-connected device to control everything from a home theatre to a HVAC unit. It was an ambitious project to be sure, which might be the reason behind its demise. If you're a current RedEye customer, rest assured that your hardware and apps will continue to work. However, certain licensed tech like ThinkFlood's device code database and television program guide will become unavailable as licenses expire, so be sure to get those configured ASAP. As the curtains close, there might be a sliver of hope; ThinkFlood's intellectual property is currently up for sale from a creditor, which could point toward a RedEye resurrection if the right buyer is found. Until then however, we might suggest looking for an alternative solution.
The Xiaomi Box has had an arduous road to travel before it could go on sale: Chinese regulations reportedly kept it in limbo until local broadcaster iCNTV stepped in this January to get the ball rolling once again. The end is in sight now that a limited trial is set to start on March 19th. Changsha, Hangzhou and Shanghai will get about 10,000 total units of the Android media hub, whose price is dropping from the originally chosen ¥399 ($64) to an extra-frugal ¥299 ($48). The price slash could well make the set-top box that much more alluring, especially when it's still poised to give both Android and iOS users some media sharing love. Could you please hurry up your release plans, Xiaomi?
Via: The Next Web
Source: Xiaomi (translated)
This year's version of the NCAA March Madness Live app is live in the iOS App Store (an Android version is scheduled to arrive on Google Play this weekend) and unlike last year the apps are free. Unfortunately there's still a catch, since while the games aired on CBS will be streamed registration free via the web and apps, games on cable (TNT, TBS and TruTV) will require users to login with the account they use for their pay-TV provider.
The action gets started with the seedings on Selection Sunday, with the First Four games kicking off on the 19th. The March Madness apps are ready for smartphones and tablets on Android and iOS and "redesigned for optimization across platforms" this time around. Whether or not you have the privilege of membership (or can borrow a login from a friend) the apps are available beyond the source link.
Just because XBMC 12 Frodo has been officially released we wouldn't expect the team behind the media PC software to take too long of a break. In fact, in a blog post it's announced plans to return to a monthly development cycle, as well as a code name for version 13 of the software: Gotham. While we wait for the next official release to arrive, the February build features improvements to UPnP with a "Play Using..." push server feature that should be familiar if you've used Play To on Windows for example. also new are Android fixes that let it rotate in any direction, and control the device's native audio. there are other changes as well, which can be reviewed beyond the source link, along with test versions for your preferred platform.
Source: XBMC Blog
15/03/2013 - Google Fiber app reaches all Android 4.2 devices
If you're one of the precious few to have access to Google Fiber, you may have been disappointed by the need to use its companion app on a Nexus 7 -- a fine tablet, but certainly not the only device in Google's universe. Thankfully, a new update significantly broadens that pool. The app should now offer remote control and content browsing on phones and tablets that run Android 4.2 or later, whether it's a Nexus 4 or the upcoming Galaxy S 4. Viewers should also see a simpler interface, no matter what hardware they're using. Those fortunate enough to have the fiber TV service just need to swing past Google Play to expand their control of the living room.
Source: Google Play
Fox has been quietly busy over the last few days, unveiling plans for a 24-hour sports network that may be the biggest challenger to ESPN's throne, and adding new features to its mobile apps. Fox Sports 1 is scheduled to launch Saturday August 17th, loaded with content including NASCAR, soccer (Champions League, Europe League and World Cup in 2018 and 2022), weekly UFC fights, college football, college basketball and in 2014, pro baseball. The bad news? According to the LA Times, for Fox Sports 1 to live Speed TV will die this fall, while Fuel TV is expected to be replaced by Fox Sports 2 while Fox Soccer is turned into an entertainment channel. One tweak it will bring is the "double box" commercial format that keeps the game on while ads play, which is expected to be used frequently on the new channel. It will have a suite of studio shows to compete with the sports leader as well, and even a Fox Sports Go "mobile experience" on iOS, Android and the web with live video streaming and news/stats for authenticated subscribers.
Speaking of "authenticated" cable and satellite subscribers, the broadcaster also updated the free Fox Now second screen apps on iOS and Android, adding access to stream full episodes of its TV shows wherever you are -- as long as you have a membership with a participating provider. That list currently consists of Mediacom and Verizon FiOS, but it may grow in the future. The Fox Now apps still have other features, with synced content, Twitter streams and behind the scenes info, so New Girl and Bones fans may still have a reason to check them out.
Source: Fox Sports 1
We bet you thought your DirecTV receiver and Android tablet would never get along, didn't ya? Well, it has been over two years since the satellite provider released an iPad app, and although software for both Android and Apple smartphones were available long before that, Android slates have curiously been neglected. That's all changed now, however, as "DirecTV for Tablets" quietly snuck onto the Play store yesterday. Better late than never, we suppose, and at least it's got the functionality you'd want to make up for its tardiness. The app allows you to use your tablet as a remote, stream various channels (including the Audience Network), manage your DVR, access a bunch of TV-related content, and
overshare your viewing habits on several social networks. If you've been waiting for the app so long you refuse to believe it's actually here, don't trust us. Head to the source link for proof.
Via: Solid Signal Blog
Source: Google Play store
25/02/2013 - Samsung HomeSync Android TV box hands-on (video)
Yesterday, Samsung announced the HomeSync Android TV box, and as expected that device is making an appearance here on the MWC 2013 show floor. Boxy media hubs can only be so attractive, but the HomeSync's grey-and-black aesthetic is sleek, and the brushed-metal finish will look familiar to anyone who's used a Sammy handset or laptop. There's a pair of USB 3.0 inputs, an HDMI port, optical audio and Ethernet connections on the rear, and buttons for power and settings on the front, but you can easily hide the console deep inside your home theater rig -- it can be controlled exclusively with a Android 4.2-equipped smartphone or tablet.
The Jelly Bean-powered HomeSync runs a 1.7GHz dual-core processor with 1TB of storage, and it supports up to eight accounts for uploading, downloading and sharing content between devices. Those with a Galaxy device will be able to wirelessly stream content to their TVs in full 1080p, and Play Store access is on board for downloading additional media. It worked well during our hands-on, but as with any WiFi-equipped streaming device, there was noticeable lag when mirroring the smartphone display on the connected HDTV. Still, assuming the price is right, we can see this being a solid component within any home theater setup. Take a closer look in our hands-on video after the break. Gallery: Samsung HomeSync hands-on
Gallery: Samsung HomeSync hands-on