Following yesterdays announcement of three new Android smartphones from Alcatel, they're back again today with the announcement of another 2 — the Scribe HD LTE and the Scribe X.
The Scribe HD LTE looks to be the same device as the Scribe HD that was announced yesterday, but with the added bonus of 4G LTE data capabilities. It's a 5 inch device with a quad-core processor and Jelly Bean. Not bad.
The Scribe X is a pretty interesting looking device. It's a much higher end smartphone from Alcatel, and packs some extremely competitive specifications. Like the Scribe HD LTE, the Scribe X has a 5 inch display, but this one is a full HD 1080p resolution display. It's packing a 1.4GHz quad-core processor, with a 12MP rear camera and a 720p capable front facing camera. We're also promised a bevy of creative features and accessories centered around creating movies, editing photos and wireless sharing to your TV.
We're lacking any information on RAM, storage and battery size at this time, but on the face of what we do know, the Scribe X can potentially go toe-to-toe with the newly announced Sony Xperia Z.
Both are to be shown off for the first time during the ongoing CES 2013 show in Las Vegas, and the full press release can be found after the break.
XBMC is coming to Android, and not in just a remote control app like we’ve seen in the past.
“Not a remote, not a thin client; the real deal,” the team announced in a blog post. “XBMC can be launched as an application on your set-top-box, tablet, phone, or wherever else Android may be found.”
Desktop PC users are probably cracking a smile knowing that XBMC, which has a strong pedigree as a media player, is coming to Android. I previously used an old PC to store my movies and music and play them through the TV using XBMC as a way to easily control it. It was an added bonus that the system supported custom interfaces and the ability to connect other streaming services like Pandora and YouTube long before Google TV was an option.
We’re now approaching a time when XBMC can become a media manager for Android. What’s interesting about this development is that the upcoming version will have complete feature parity with the XBMC that users currently know and love. The software has been made to work on Android devices, meaning you should be able to load it on a set-top box, dongle, or phones and tablets.
XBMC is still in development and the source code is available now for people eager to tinker. The rest of us will have to wait a few weeks before the UI for smaller screens is ironed out and beta APK’s are released. You can read more about the port by visiting XBMC.org.
Here’s something you don’t see every day: a U.S. television provider recognizes that its paying customers would like to be able to access video on their mobile devices, and that company steps in to provide it. And as an added bonus, it’s available to Android users first.
DirecTV has updated its official Android application to support on-demand streaming to phones. The latest version allows users to view movies and original programming from HBO, Cinemax, Encore, Showtime, Starz and other popular destinations. The app works only in the United States and not all devices are supported, but as Engadget points out, this is one of the rare times when a media app is available on Android phones before it goes to iPhone. (And yes, the app supports some Android tablets.)
There’s no live streaming of DirecTV channels yet, but users can see plenty of their favorite shows at their convenience. The DirecTV Android app also supports browsing television listings by channel or broadcast time, and helps fans discover new content by seeing what’s trending. Once a user finds what he or she wants, the app can remotely set recordings through the DVR. It also sets parental controls from the device and includes account management tools.
DirecTV is available for download now in Google Play Device and version compatibility will vary.
Google Music and the Android Market now support song purchases. The oft-discussed, long-rumored music store from Google has finally arrived. At its These Go to Eleven event in Los Angeles today, Google confirmed that its Music venture will now support song and album purchases for music from 3 of the 4 major U.S. record labels. EMI, Sony, Universal, have all reached deals that will allow Google to sell more than 13 million songs directly through the Android Market. (Warner Music is the only group not yet included.)
In addition to announcing that it will begin selling music through the Android Market, Google confirmed that Music “beta” is no more – registration is now open to everyone in the United States. As an added bonus, the company confirmed that Google Music will continue to be a free service for streaming a user’s music collection.
However, users can add to that collection with purchased songs, raising the entertainment options for what was previously only a cloud streaming locker for the user’s personal collection. Google’s music storefront will also come with a “twist” to distinguish Google from other streaming services.
“It’s about connecting you to the music you own and discovering music that we – or better yet, your friends” think you will enjoy, said Jamie Rosenberg, director of digital content at Google.
Here’s how it works:
Android 2.2 is required in order to use the Google Music app. Anyone in the United States can open an account and download the latest version of the Google Music app from the Android Market.
It’s a busy Friday night at your local watering hole, and you don’t want to constantly reach for your wallet every time you get a drink. You also may want to avoid wading through the crowded bar area to settle up at the end of the night and argue with your bartender that your tab doesn’t seem very accurate.
Enter TabbedOut, the mobile payment solution that tracks your drinks and pays the tab directly through the phone. TabbedOut maps a number of nearby locations that can run a digital tab (the service works only at participating merchants). A unique code is produced for the tab, given to a server/bartender, and then drinks are ordered throughout the night as you normally would. When it comes time to leave, TabbedOut sends the linked credit card – stored securely and encrypted – info to the venue. A tip can be added for your server, a tab can be split between friends, and you can pay on your way out the door. Actually, you can pay even if you’re not in the same city, so pick up your brother’s restaurant bill on his birthday since you can’t make it home that weekend.
The TabbedOut process is designed to simplify the night-on-the-town payment system. In addition to being able to make one payment at the end of the night and even get a built-in tip calculator, users get a receipt for each tab. This makes it easy to store .pdf files for budgeting or expense reports, and all of that information can be archived within the app. As an added bonus, the app has numbers for local cab companies for those occasions when you might have had one too many.
Unfortunately, the ease of use is limited to a select group of places. TabbedOut is available at select locations in select cities in 32 states. Because a merchant must sign-up to participate in the program, your favorite hangout or a desired destination in a new city may not be compatible. In order for this app to have any value, it must be readily available at the bar 50 ft away, not 50 miles away. It may be more efficient for both consumers and merchants, but only if TabbedOut manages to increase its footprint of supported locations, which it seems to be doing. The company announced today that it is expanding in Seattle.
Download TabbedOut from the Android Market and see if your local bar or restaurant is supported.
Adobe's come quite a long way in a relatively short amount of time on Android — just about every device released today has Flash Player or AIR on board, or it's one of the first apps you download. Adobe's just announced the next versions of its Flash Player and AIR frameworks, and things are going to get faster and become more immersive — and they're going 3D.
Yes, the updated Adobe framework will allow for 3D Flash and AIR gaming, folks. And that's whether you're talking on a desktop computer, television or, in our case, Android smartphones. No more side-scrollers. We're talking console-quality gaming that Adobe says is 1,000 times faster than Flash Player 10 and AIR 2, and it can deliver a smooth 60 frames per second. (An added bonus is that Adobe AIR can be bundled with an Android application — no more extra downloads.)
And that's just for the end user. There's tons more for developers, naturally. Check out these videos:
And ease on past the break for more from the slide deck, and the full press release.