Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Google’s Snapseed Receives Update, Brings Horizontal Flip and Last Edit Features

An update for Snapseed, Google’s photo-editing application, is bringing two new features for those who are still using the app. The two features are Apple Last Edits and Horizontal Flip. Both are pretty self explanatory, but just in case, let’s go over what they do. 

Apply Last Edits allows users to apply the same edits to a newly uploaded photo that was used last on a previously saved photo. For example, if I apply a bit of HDR to a photo, then save it, that same exact edit can be done to the next photo I upload, without me having to fiddle with the HDR dial.

As for Horizontal Flip, this feature allows the user to horizontally mirror a photo. This can be used for your fudged up mirror selfies or for whichever other use you may have for flipping a photo.

A detailed changelog is listed below, as well as a link to Google Play to download the update.

What’s New

  • Apply Last Edits from the Main Screen. Use this feature to apply the same edits on a new photo that have been applied to the last saved photo. This feature only applies adjustments that have no local dependencies (i.e. no crop, transform or brush filters)
  • Horizontal flip in Straighten (y axis). Use this feature to horizontally mirror a photo, for example to fix front camera selfies which did not get mirrored correctly by the camera app.

Play Link

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OnePlus Drops Pricing for OnePlus 2 and OnePlus X by $50

Dropping a few phones in price to likely make way for incoming OnePlus 3 inventory, OnePlus has the OnePlus X, OnePlus 2, and if you can find it, the OnePlus One on sale via its online store.

Once priced at $349, the OnePlus 2 is now marked at $299. The OnePlus X, launched at $249, is priced now at $199. I’m assuming you see a trend, as every phone currently available on the OnePlus website has been lowered by $50. 

For those here who may have purchased a OnePlus device within the past 14 days, you can contact OP support and request a refund of the price difference. Good Guy OnePlus.

Now, when is that OnePlus 3 coming?

OnePlus Links: OnePlus X | OnePlus 2 | OnePlus One (Out of Stock)

Via: OnePlus

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Never Alone for Android TV on Sale for $5, Down From $15

One of my all-time favorite games for the NVIDIA SHIELD, called Never Alone, is currently on sale through Google Play for only $5. Regularly priced at $14.99, Never Alone is the story of a young Iñupiaq (Alaskan natives) girl and her Arctic fox friend attempting to stop a blizzard from destroying their village.

The game itself is a puzzle platformer, forcing you to complete mildly difficult puzzles to advances chapters in the story. Throughout the game, as you complete tasks, you unlock additional stories based on Alaskan indigenous folklore. It adds a very authentic and visually appealing aspect to the gameplay. 

During your adventure to find a source of the massive blizzard, you are your fox will come across locals, vicious polar bear predators, as well as spirits that will help guide you on the journey. There are a few sad parts to the story, but slight spoiler alert, there is a happy ending.

If you have the required hardware (NVIDIA SHIELD, SHIELD Tablet), the game is definitely worth the $5. Do make sure you have a gaming controller, too. It is also being reported that a touchscreen version of Never Alone is set to come to Android soon.

Play Link ($4.99)

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Report: Google Created a Android Update Ranking System by Manufacturer, Might Publish It

According to a report out of Bloomberg, Google has created a ranking system for Android device manufacturers based on how quickly they are not only updating their phones to the latest versions of Android, but applying the most recent security patches as well. Google has apparently considered publishing their findings, which of course, would be bad for manufacturers, almost all of which are terrible at updating phones in a timely manner. 

The report dives into slow updates and how some manufacturers have attempted to improve their timeliness, but carrier involvement has often delayed important updates for months. Some carriers have softened timelines a bit over security patches since big scares, like Stagefright. However, the larger, feature-packed updates are still taking longer than we all want them to. None of this is news to us, as we continually complain about how much of a disgrace most Android phone manufacturers are in the update department. Sure, some have improved in recent years, but we see them all come and go as the shining update stars from time to time and hesitate to crown anyone as even “good.”

But we really just care about whether or not Google will post this ranking system, right? Think about how amazing it would be for consumers to be able to point to Google’s list and then at the manufacturer of their phone (and the carrier) to say, “You know what, you are terrible at updating, so I’m not buying another phone from you until you get better.” That’s power I think we all deserve to have.

Google could place a chart or list for this right on their Android distribution page and update it monthly. They already show updated numbers at the beginning of each month for each Android version’s percentage of the pie, so they may as well include the phone manufacturers whose phones are contributing (or not contributing) to each slice.

Quick, someone fire off a change.org petition to force Google into publishing their findings. (That’s sarcasm, by the way.)

In all seriousness, this is something that Google really should do. While it might be a bit of PR disaster for a number of companies on day 1, it should only lead to improvements from everyone in pushing out updates, assuming they care about their public perception and consumers coming back for more. I can’t think of a better way to start turning this all around.

Via:  Bloomberg

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Report: Next Galaxy Note May be the Note 7, Not Note 6

In the whacky world of smartphone marketing, it may seem odd to have two lineups of devices not on the same number-naming structure. At Samsung, we have the Galaxy S line, as well as the Galaxy Note line, but these lineups are not on the same number, and apparently, that’s a problem. This issue, if it even is an issue, originates from Samsung releasing the first Galaxy Note device one year later (October, 2011) than the first Galaxy S (June, 2010). Because of this time difference, it has caused the two lineups to be out of sync in the numbering structure.

Today, the latest Galaxy S on the market is the Galaxy S7, and the latest Galaxy Note is the Galaxy Note 5. Note that the next Galaxy Note, the Galaxy Note 6, is likely only a few months away from launch. Well, according to the latest overseas report that cites industry insiders, Samsung may skip the “Galaxy Note 6” name completely, and instead, will release the Galaxy Note 7 to go right alongside the popular Galaxy S7. 

Stated in the report, Samsung wants to eliminate any inconsistency it currently has with the numbering structure, so jumping ahead to the Galaxy Note 7 seems to solve that issue entirely for them. However, to my recollection, skipping a number in a series of smartphones has not been done before, by any company, so we won’t know the possible affects it has on the unbeknownst populace. Will average consumers even notice that “6” has been skipped, or will there only be a few angry bloggers?

According a reported high-ranking representative of the telecommunications industry,”When Galaxy Note 6 has its model number lower than Galaxy S7, which is the newest model, is released, it can give out a feeling that it is an outdated phone. It is known that Samsung Electronics has made the numbers same to unify a premium image.”

That is certainly an argument Samsung can make, but if you ask me, the fact that the Galaxy Note and Galaxy S line are not the same is fine by me. The company continues to sell millions of phones, so I don’t get the sense they have been losing business because of numbering. This is the first report we have seen that describes a potential name change, and as we get a bit closer to an unveiling, we will certainly keep you posted.

I guess this answers the “Why was 6 afraid of 7?” question pretty well.

Via: ET News

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Samsung Intros Galaxy Tab Iris for India, Features Actual Iris Scanner

Minority Report, eat your heart out. This morning, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Tab Iris for Government and Enterprise use in India. While the thought of a new Galaxy Tab is not enough to get me out of bed in the morning, this tablet features a fully-working iris scanner on its backside, providing yet another layer of data protection for users of the device.

As detailed by Samsung, the idea of including an iris scanner is not exactly for personal usage, but to help India’s population as a whole. Written in the company’s press release, the inclusion of this technology, “will help India spread its Digital India vision of providing technology so that every citizen of the country can have access to financial inclusion benefits.”  With this forward step, the iris scanning technology will support, “government benefit programs,” and, “enable banks and financial institutions to streamline the process of an individual’s authentication, regardless of language and literacy barriers.”

On top of the tablet hardware itself, Samsung is also releasing an SDK for application developers to build financial inclusion, payments and authentication solutions. As you can see, Samsung’s hope is to offer a better digital experience to the people of India, where language and literacy issues are more common.

In early April, a report surfaced that the Galaxy Note 6 may also feature this iris scanning technology, but our hope is that the camera/sensors for the tech is on the frontside, not backside.

The tablet is launching in India with a price of about $200 USD.

Via: Samsung

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TripAdvisor Gains Google Play Music Integration to Play Trip-Related Tunes

TripAdvisor and Google announced a new partnership today that puts Google Play Music inside of the popular trip planning and booking service to help you get in the mood for your upcoming vacations. Through a new update to TripAdvisor, you’ll be able to stream locally-curated or tailored playlists from places all over the world. That’s a fancy way of saying that as you plan your trip to Italy, you’ll hear music you might find while in a cafe, sipping espresso. Or maybe you’ll just oonce-oonce it out for a bit once you step foot in Germany. 

Within the TripAdvisor app, users will see a Google Play Music icon within select destination pages that take them into the curated playlists. To get a feel for the integration, take a look at the image above.

If you aren’t a Google Play Music subscriber, Google and TripAdvisor are handing out a 2-month free trial of the service to help promote this new partnership.

Here are some examples of the playlists you’ll see:

Play Link

Via: Android Blog

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