Google Hosting a Mysterious Press Event Next Wednesday

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As reported earlier today by Engadget, Google has this morning sent out invites to a special “breakfast” with Sundar Pichai, the Mountain View corporation’s head of Android and Chrome. There’s no word yet on what the event is exactly for, but we can of course expect there to be an announcement of some kind. Considering Pichai’s position at Google, it’s likely that the announcement will be somewhere in his realm–Android and/or Chrome–but, then again, that’s a very big and broad part of Google now.

There have of course been rumors of Android 4.3 getting some light, but I personally would love to see the next Nexus 7. Google’s own tablet offering is already more than a year old and is due for a refresh, in my humble opinion. For the record, a Moto X unveil is unlikely as that would surely be Motorola’s announcement, not Google’s. What do you think the event will be for?

The news first came from JR Raphael on Twitter; you can find that tweet embedded after the break. (more…)

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Updated Google Maps Includes iPad Support, Better Navigation

google maps

Google promised at their annual I/O conference to push an update for their Maps app to iOS that included iPad support and a slightly tweaked design. They’ve now made good on that announcement, as the 2.0 update is rolling out across the world.

Google Maps 2.0 offers compatibility with the iPad, indoor maps for malls and other popular venues, and an Explore feature to research and review restaurants, hotels, entertainment venues, and other locations.

The update is currently rolling out, so it will be available at roughly midnight in your timezone. 9to5mac reports that some users are having success in updating just by deleting the app and then redownloading it from iCloud.

[App Store]

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Eric Schmidt: Apple and Google Have Rekindled Friendship

SteveJobs-EricSchmidt

The biggest names in the tech space, including the likes of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google chairman Eric Schmidt, are at the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Idaho this week. And when you have that many important figures in one place, you’re almost guaranteed to have some interesting news coming out of the event.

It appears that Schmidt has made the biggest splash in the headlines at this point, after photographs of him using the unreleased Moto X smartphone went viral. Now, according to Business Insider, the chairman has made some interesting remarks about the improving relationship between Apple and Google.  (more…)

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Android, Propelled by Samsung, Continues to Dominate Global Smartphone Marketshare

Android-Developers

Android, riding as a platform on the success of Samsung’s strategy of pushing dozens of devices in most form factors in almost every market, holds a huge lead over any other mobile platforms — including iOS — in terms of global marketshare. While iOS (and even other platforms, like Windows Phone) continue to do well in developed markets, Android’s penetration in undeveloped markets is becoming absolute.

(more…)

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WSJ: Google is Working on an Android Game Console

WSJ: Google is Working on an Android Game Console

ouya

The first generation Ouya might not have been received with much acclaim, but that doesn’t mean the end for Android-powered game consoles. According to The Wall Street Journal, Google itself is developing such a console right now.

Details are slim as of yet, but the reports suggest that Google is developing not only a game console but a watch as well–both to combat potential competition from Apple and other rivals in the near future. Google is designing and marketing both devices itself and, according to a source familiar with the matter, will release one of them as soon as this fall.

The next version of Android, internally dubbed the “K release” and assumed to be “Key Lime Pie,” is slated to see the light of day this fall as well, and is said to contribute to a push for Android on a larger variety of devices–including laptops and refrigerators. Maybe a game console as well if this report rings true.

How would you feel about an official Google gaming machine?

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AOL Reader Incoming, Available in Private Beta on Monday

AOL Reader

With just over one week remaining until Google Reader shuts down for good, AOL has been busy working on its own alternative to the ill-fated reading platform. AOL Reader, with a tagline of “all your favorite websites, in one place,” will launch on Monday as a private beta, featuring a customizable layout, automatic importing and exporting of RSS feeds, and a public API for developers. (more…)

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Quick Thoughts on Minuum: A Clever, But Flawed, Keyboard for Android

minuum keyboard

Minuum is a keyboard for Android with a rather unique take on the market. Instead of providing what is essentially a tiny, software version of the QWERTY keyboard, the Minuum keyboard shrinks everything down and relies upon intelligent software prediction to accomplish the task of inputting text.

The project was crowdfunded on Indiegogo, and I was lucky enough to be one of the first to donate — after all, the concept is interesting and text input on mobile devices has not evolved much in the past few years. I received an invite to the beta earlier this week, and I immediately installed the keyboard on my Nexus 4. After a few days of use, here’s what I think: (more…)

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Project Loon: Google’s Plan to Bring Internet to the World

In the latest Google X moonshot, the Mountain View, California corporation intends to use balloons–yes, balloons–to bring the internet to the entire world. No, this isn’t another one of Google’s April fools jokes and no, this isn’t another “Google Nose.” This is very real and although the project is in its infancy, it’s definitely a project.

We believe that it might actually be possible to build a ring of balloons, flying around the globe on the stratospheric winds, that provides Internet access to the earth below. It’s very early days, but we’ve built a system that uses balloons, carried by the wind at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, to beam Internet access to the ground at speeds similar to today’s 3G networks or faster. As a result, we hope balloons could become an option for connecting rural, remote, and underserved areas, and for helping with communications after natural disasters. The idea may sound a bit crazy—and that’s part of the reason we’re calling it Project Loon—but there’s solid science behind it.

Steven Levy of Wired reports that the project started “a little under two years ago.” The project has apparently already launched in New Zealand with 50 testers and according the project’s blog post, Google launched 30 balloons just this week.

[Google]

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Google Purchases Waze, Bolsters Already-Great Maps

waze

Google has officially purchased Waze, an intelligent traffic routing program. While most mapping solutions, including both Google Maps and Apple Maps, simply provide directions, Waze is slightly different. Waze takes crowd-sourced information, such as potential roadblocks, speed traps, and other holdups, and then displays them on the map to users. The application also intelligently re-routes navigation based on such obstructions.

There are currently no specifics, but it seems that Waze will remain a separate application for the moment:

The Waze product development team will remain in Israel and operate separately for now. We’re excited about the prospect of enhancing Google Maps with some of the traffic update features provided by Waze and enhancing Waze with Google’s search capabilities.

It’s going to be incredibly difficult for Apple to compete with the combined might of Waze and Google Maps, if the two products are ever integrated in a meaningful way.

[Google]

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HTC One Running Stock Android Announced

HTC One Stock Android

Android head Sundar Pichai, speaking at the annual All Things Digital conference, just announced that a new version of the flagship HTC One smartphone running stock Android software will be available on June 26th. The smartphone will launch in the United States initially, compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile, for $599 (32 GB) on the Google Play store.

The handset will ship SIM unlocked and with an unlockable bootloader, running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean out of the box. Parallel to Nexus devices, the stock HTC One will receive further Android software updates from Google. HTC will continue to sell the handset with its Sense operating system, for those that prefer that experience.

This is the second high profile Android smartphone to receive the Nexus treatment in just a few weeks, as Google recently confirmed that it will be releasing a stock Samsung Galaxy S4 model running Jelly Bean. With identical software, the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 can now be compared solely on hardware.

[HTC via AllThingsD]

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