Borderlands 2 is attempting the Herculean task of exciting people about QR codes. With its new LootTheWorld mobile app, Gearbox Software (Borderlands, Brothers in Arms and, er, Aliens: Colonial Marine) is turning any barcode or QR square into in-game gear like acid-burst armor or a flame-spewing sniper rifle with a 12x-zoom scope.
Whether you bought the game last year or just downloaded it for free from the PlayStation Store, this app could be one of the more useful mobile companions on your phone. Perhaps best of all, it's free and available right now from iTunes and Google Play. We've reached out to Gearbox for info on how the loot is determined and will update this post if we hear back. You should hurry along though, Mercenary Day is almost upon us.
So far, the ability to wirelessly stream the display of an Android phone or tablet to your TV has been limited to solutions like Miracast, but information spotted by Cyanogen Inc. cofounder Koushik Dutta suggests that will change soon. Dutta, who has been working on a similar feature (embedded after the break) for CyanogenMod 11 with AirPlay support, posted notes from the Android 4.4.1 patches showing APIs related to the capture of video output from the device. Currently mirroring from a Chrome browser tab on a PC to Google's HDMI dongle works, but so far on mobile devices it's been locked down to just supported apps. Unfortunately, what he's seeing also indicates this API will keep things locked down to approved devices, so setting up receivers for other hardware like an Apple TV or Roku might not work. Between this feature, the Cast SDK that we hope will open up access to more developers and services, Chromecast support for the platform formerly known as Google TV and rumors of a Nexus TV set-top box, our list of most-anticipated TV announcements from Google is starting to get full.
Source: Koushik Dutta (G+)
We haven't even seen the latest iteration of Google TV yet -- oops, sorry, that's "Android with Google services for TV" these days -- but a new rumor from The Information's Amir Efrati points to a Nexus-branded set-top box directly from Google in the first half of 2014. Previous rumors have noted TV-connected hardware focused on videoconferencing and gaming, and this new rumor also focuses on the latter, indicating that at this stage it runs Android game apps with a touchscreen controller, but doesn't carry live TV. The suggestion is that an "aggressively priced" gaming box (that also plays streaming internet video and is controlled by phone or tablet) would give Google the advertising foothold it's looking for on your family's TV screen. The $35 Chromecast dongle has been well received and achieves many of those goals, but we'd like to see what Google could do to separate itself from competitors like Apple TV and Roku, not to mention the next-gen consoles from Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony.
Source: The Information (subscription)
HiSense continues its dedication to Google as an operating system with a slew of new hardware powered by Android 4.2.2 that features Google services for TV (the product formerly known as Google TV). The first is its new line of H6 Smart TVs powered by Marvell's latest ARMADA 1500 PLUS HD Media processor, an upgraded over last year's chip that powered many of the first ARM Google TV devices. Available in 40-inch, 50-inch and 55-inch sizes, the televisions come equipped with the company's Social TV and Cloud Services app, a 120Hz refresh rate, Energy Star 6.0 qualifications, 1GB RAM and 8GB ROM. The remote has 30 keys, a built-in air mouse with IQQI Smart Input and voice search functionality. For those who already have a TV but want the same services, HiSense also revealed the Pulse PRO set-top box, which has many of the same features as the H6 but, like the first generation Pulse, can be hooked up to any television set. Other features of the Pulse PRO include Netflix, Vudu HD movies, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, Google Play, HDMI, IR, DLNA, WiFi, Bluetooth, USB and Ethernet. We're not sure of pricing and availability just yet, and there are no pictures of the new hardware either.
When we reviewed the GameStick Android console, one of our main concerns was how the library of titles on offer would pan out over time. Today, it's just been announced that Ubisoft will be bringing its Prince of Persia franchise to the platform. Specifically The Shadow and the Flame. This is good news for GameStick owners, and represents the first major developer to embrace the platform, though there's no official release date just yet. PlayJam (the company behind GameStick) advises that there are even more big name game houses set to get onboard too. Of course, there's still plenty of love for the indie side of things, but for those that like to ride both sides of the gaming tracks, things are looking up.
Now that British Android users finally have access to TV shows on the Play Store, Google's finally starting to make good on its promise to deliver award-winning content. Following its deal in the US, the search giant has today made Game of Thrones and other popular HBO shows like Boardwalk Empire, True Blood and Girls, available on the UK store. While Sky and Tesco's VOD service Blinkbox beat all other UK players to the punch by offering Game of Thrones TV broadcasts and streams respectively, Google will enjoy the fact it has access to the first three seasons of the show ahead of Apple. For Game of Thrones, you'll pay £18.49 (around $30) for each season or £1.89 (around $3) for individual episodes, with other shows coming in slightly cheaper. Google says classic HBO series like The Wire and The Sopranos will soon be available, letting Android smartphone, tablet and set-top box owners access episodes from early next year.
Via: The Guardian
Source: Google Play Store
It took a while, but Virgin Media has finally brought its TV Anywhere service to Android. Already available on the iPhone and iPad for more than a year, the free app comes to Android smartphones and tablets with nine new UK TV channels including Alibi, Dave, Drama, Good Food, Home, Really, Watch, Yesterday and CBS Reality. That takes the total number of mobile channels up to 67, with up to 90 available online. Virgin Media boasts it now offers more choice than rival service Sky Go, but like it's competitor, some might be frustrated by the patchy support for Android devices. Although you'll find support for Samsung's Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note, HTC One, Sony Xperia Tablet Z and Google's Nexus tablets, you might experience issues if your device is running Android 4.4 KitKat. However, that shouldn't stop you connecting the app to your TiVo box to manage your recordings and plan your future viewing. While you won't be able to install it on your Nexus 5 just yet, Virgin says more Android devices will join the line-up "in the very near future."
Source: TV Anywhere (Google Play)
Google has lately taken to highlighting tablet-native Android apps; it only makes sense that the company would devote the same kind of love to Chromecast owners. Accordingly, the search firm has just posted a Chromecast section in Google Play for those browsing from their Android devices. The selection is thin at the moment -- you'll find only Google's media apps, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Netflix and Pandora. Still, the section should be a handy one-stop shop for anyone eager to stream video on their TV.
Source: 9to5 Google
CheapCast is a great way to get some of Chromecast's functionality for free, sure, but it's been lacking a few of the Google dongle's features since the app launched. If you've been hankering to beam browser tabs to your TV (via an HDMI-or-WiFi-connected mobile device, of course), CheapCast's latest update enables just that. Android Police notes that this seemingly only works with tabs and not fullscreen casting, while DRM'd services like Netflix and Google Play Movies "actually might never work." However, this should make it easier to play Vimeo or other Flash-based video content on your flatscreen -- right where it belongs.
Via: Android Police
Source: Google Play
Say goodbye to ESPN's ScoreCenter app. Don't worry though, the sports broadcast network has renamed the popular mobile software SportsCenter alongside a redesign. The refresh brings video highlights, social functionality and personalized content to those looking to remain up to speed or follow along on-the-go. For example, you'll now be able to set favorite teams to quickly display content and get info on those clubs to the app's inbox. Clubhouses "for every team and league under the sun" serve up all of the latest franchise news in one convenient spot. Tweets from on-air commentators and shows are included with ESPN Now alongside access to WatchESPN content for easy streaming of live or archived events and much more. The latest version is now available for both iOS and Android devices via their respective app libraries.
20/11/2013 - SmartGlass for Xbox One arrives on Android and iOS
An early taste of Microsoft's next-gen gaming experience arrived today for Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 users in the form of the Xbox One SmartGlass app, and now Android and iOS faithful can get their fill as well. There's not much you can do with the second screen app as the hardware it'll play wingman to won't arrive until Friday, but you can find quick clips of launch titles via the Game Clips feature, courtesy of those who have advance access to the console. If you have a device running Android 4.0+ or iOS 6.0 and above, you can sample Redmond's forthcoming gaming experience ahead of time at the bordering source links.
19/11/2013 - Sky Go boosts its TV lineup with 14 new channels
Sky's mission to boost its roster of mobile TV content has today seen it add no fewer than 14 new entertainment channels to its Sky Go streaming service. Available on iOS and a number of Android devices, Sky Go now counts a total of 57 channels after Comedy Central, MTV, Dave, Watch, Gold, Discovery, Nat Geo, History, Alibi, Nat Geo Wild, TLC, Animal Planet, Good Food and Eden all went live earlier today. It comes just weeks after the company expanded Now TV with the launch of its contract-free Entertainment Month Pass, which moved to overlap content with the sister service. In addition to the new channels, Sky Go users can access the box-set catalog of older ABC TV on-demand shows, letting you binge-watch Grey's Anatomy a-la-Netflix when you're out and about.
Dish currently has a splintered mobile app strategy: you have to use Dish Anywhere for streaming TV shows, and Hopper Transfers for all your offline viewing. It's about to get much simpler, though, as the company has just promised that Dish Anywhere will handle offline videos by the end of the year. In addition to consolidating the experience, the upgrade also introduces Transfers support to Android and iPhone users -- you won't have to use an iPad to catch up on Hopper DVR recordings. While we'd prefer a more definite release date, we won't mind waiting for a much simpler approach to remote TV watching.
Just as promised, Sony has delivered the mobile companion apps on iOS and Android for its PlayStation 4 console ahead of launch. Another thing to know for gamers that have already pre-ordered a system or plan to pick one up Friday, is that the v1.50 day one update is also out. The mobile apps (found in Google Play and Apple's App Store) can pull in info about games or your friends latest activities, with links to check out trophies, invitations and game alerts, all without even turning on (or owning, yet) the newest system. The apps have a pretty bare bones design however, with basic layouts and the need for a separate web browser to log in. One final treat for those already camping outside their local retailer: the apps contain a link to the PS4's web-based manual so you can get every detail possible right here.
We've downloaded the 323MB patch on a system ourselves, while forum posters on NeoGAF point out a link (update: it's official, check out the instructions here) to Sony's servers where you can nab a copy in case they're completely crushed on launch day. Unlike the Xbox One you'll still be able to play games without the update, but features like logging onto the PSN, playing games while they download or watching Blu-ray movies require this patch. One way or another, all the software is lined up for the PS4's big debut in two more days, now all we need is the green light to purchase hardware (or a retailer with an itchy "ship now" trigger finger).
Via: Wario64 (Twitter)
Though RCA has slipped from electronics giant to maker of niche products, it's just announced an intriguing music streaming system that is rumored to cost $178 at Walmart, according to Android Police. The Internet Music System (has RCA fired its branding department?) features a removable Android tablet of as-yet unknown size that plays music via Bluetooth to the docking amp and speakers. Music sources can be Google Play Music and apps like Spotify, as well as CDs via a player and yes, FM radio. As a topper , it'll also stream video from the likes of Netflix and YouTube to your TV via an HDMI cable. At the above price, it might be just the device for those tired of explaining for the eighth time how to play a YouTube song through the home theater system. To see how it works, check the video after the break.
Via: Android Community
Source: Android Police
Launching in July with Netflix and YouTube mirroring, Google's $35 Chromecast streaming dongle now has another video streaming service adding supporting the platform to its apps: Hulu. From today, Hulu will provide Chromecast streaming inside its Hulu Plus app, mirroring shows like New Girl and Modern Family on the big screen. Unlike Netflix, which allows subscribers to stream video from Chrome and its official apps, Hulu originally supported Chromecast via its tab casting feature. Today's extenstion will see a Cast button added to Hulu's iPad and Android apps (with iPhone support "coming very soon"). While we're still waiting for Google to open Chromecast to allow local media playback, the addition of Hulu Plus may tide us over until it does.
Wondering why the BBC brought iPlayer downloads to just 11 Android devices, several months after iOS users got their turn? The broadcaster has just explained itself through a blog post detailing the Android app's testing process. Like Netflix, the BBC had to focus its support on a handful of Android products in order to launch on time; this supports what we've heard from our own sources, who suggest that iPlayer development is normally arduous. To address as much hardware as possible on a tight schedule, the network conducted frequent, iterative tests that guaranteed compatibility relatively quickly. While the end result still leaves a lot of viewers without downloads, the BBC suggests that its testing process introduced the feature sooner than would have otherwise been possible. Whether or not you're happy with the finished product, you can check out the corporation's full methodology at the source link.
Source: BBC Internet Blog
The shackles have been officially removed. If you're one of the many folks using FiOS Mobile on Android or iOS, then you're aware the app's live TV streaming feature has only worked while being connected to one's own home network. Beginning today, though, Verizon will allow FiOS TV subscribers to view real-time content even when away from their humble abode, via the FiOS Mobile Android and iOS applications. The number of networks supported is pretty short, with only nine being onboard at the moment -- this includes the Travel Channel, BBC America, BBC World News, EPIX, HGTV, DIY, Tennis Channel and, on the iPad, the NFL Network. But, as they say, you've got to start somewhere, and chances are this channel lineup will become more robust in the weeks ahead.
OUYA's "Free the Games" fund, which matches funds for any indie game on Kickstarter with at least $50,000 in funding (up to $1 million), is embroiled in backlash from the indie game developers it sought to court. After two Kickstarter projects tied to the initiative were found to be taking advantage of the promotion, OUYA head Julie Uhrman attempted to assuage concerns with a blog post last evening. In it, Uhrman says, "Recently, the intention behind our Free the Games Fund - to provide additional funding to crowd-funded games bound for OUYA, and enable developers to make more of them - seems to have been lost."
The post, however, seems to have caused more harm than good. Indie developers took to the comments section to berate Uhrman's response. "This reads like a press release from a console company locked into a foolish policy and using aspirational language to shift the blame, weirdly, onto its critics," Thomas Was Alone developer Mike Bithell wrote in the comments. "You can do better." One dev says she's removing her game from the OUYA marketplace altogether as a result of Uhrman's deflection. "After reading Julie Uhrman's blog post last night it became very apparent to me that the company does not support indie developers who need the support most, and that they are incapable of ever correcting their mistakes," Rose and Time developer Sophie Houlden posted to her blog. "I'm simply no longer comfortable supporting the company."
Aside from a single statement on Twitter, Uhrman (nor OUYA) hasn't responded to critics just yet. "No we are not changing the Free The Games Fund. We are sticking with it," she wrote last night with a link to the blog post in question. We'll update this piece should OUYA decide to alter its course.
Just over a month after its iOS debut, video support for "Play on Roku" is now available for the streaming box's Android app. You'll need a second gen or newer Roku running at least software version 5.1 to push hand-crafted video from your Google gizmo, and then it only works with "select" Ice Cream Sandwich or later devices. Which ones? The company's blog lists the Samsung Galaxy S III and S4, HTC One, Nexus 4 and 2012's Nexus 7 tablet. You have one of those, right?
Source: Roku Blog
Judging from the reader comments when we initially reported on Commercial Break's beta launch, a lot of people wanted to see an Android version and more functionality for sports. Well, the devs appear to be listening. With the app's new "Live Events" feature, you can follow multiple upcoming live broadcasts (ballgames or otherwise) and get push notifications before they start and when they return from an ad-break. The app is now available at Google Play, and both it and the iOS version support a majority of (not blacked-out) nationally televised pro and college football games, as well as the upcoming MLB playoffs. Could the app use any more improvements? Speak up and speak often -- it won't be in vain.
Source: Commercial Break
BBC iPlayer viewers with Android devices have been left waiting for many features, and until today one of them was the ability to download shows for offline viewing. A fresh update is changing that, as the broadcaster is enabling it on several devices running Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. A blog post claims it should cover about 70 percent of app users with compatible devices will be able to use the feature starting today, with more to be added in the future. Just like on iOs, users can download an episode and keep it for up to 30 days offline, with 7 days for viewing after they've pressed play.
A BBC blog post specifically lists 11 devices (included after the break) that will enjoy support once the update arrives on Google Play and the Amazon Appstore today. Unfortunately, two that aren't on it for now are the Kindle Fire 7 and Kindle Fire HD 7. The update for iOS offline viewing launched just over a year ago, but the Android version will bring a trick it doesn't have: background downloading without keeping the screen awake. Otherwise, the update adds support for Android 4.3,
Remember the three-month exclusivity deal where only Samsung tablet owners could watch ITV Player? Well, now that it's September, anyone with a Google-powered slate can get their The Jeremy Kyle Show fix. Along with axing the manufacturer restriction, the company has fixed various glitches including slow performance and video reset after commercial breaks. It's available gratis from Google Play right now, just in time for this week's X Factor.
Source: Google Play
Around nine months ago Ceton unexpectedly announced plans to support the Android operating system and apps on its $179 Echo Windows Media Center extender, but now that's not happening. According to the company, Android is "up and running" on Echo hardware in its labs -- we saw screenshots back in February -- but early beta tests with home users showed a problem with an internal component. That flaw apparently causes a failure to update in some cases, and since efforts to find a workaround have been so far unsuccessful Ceton is shelving the project (presumably alongside its Q DVR). There's no question this is disappointing for Echo users that expected the feature, but the possibility of a bricked box seem worth avoiding. We haven't talked about the Echo much since it came out of beta with a fix for 1080i output issues -- if you're an owner then let us know if you were (still) waiting for Android, or if you've moved onto another solution like Roku, Ouya or Chromecast.
Source: Ceton Blog
Shazam's Android app has needed a makeover for a while; even with tablet support, the sound identification tool has felt more at home in 2011 than 2013. The company is delivering that overdue redesign today with the launch of Shazam 4.0. The new app gives Android users a modern, Holo-inspired interface that scales to all Android devices, including a wider variety of tablets. It also brings the iOS version's faster sound scans and more dynamic listening screen. While there aren't many other changes, there's more than enough here to justify grabbing the update through Google Play.
Source: Google Play