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Google Play

As we approach the last week before the last week before Christmas, Google has dropped an early gift in the form a bunch of new and updated Google Play edition products ensuring this festive season is a robotic one. Let’s take a look at This Week in Android! (more…)

Leaks, leaks and more leaks. That’s the word of the week in the Android world over the past seven days. This one-time run of week 42 of 2013 has hosted Nexus 5 leaks on the Google Play store, giving us a glimpse of the design and pricing of the device. We’ve also had a sneak peek at the future of SMS in Android post-KitKat and an unofficial glimpse at a redesigned Google Play Store for Android. Let’s jump in and take a look!
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If you’re a Galaxy Note fan, an international user waiting for Google Play Music All Access or a disgruntled Ouya owner with an affinity for the number 1337, you might have some interest in this week’s Android news. Let’s take a look!

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Google I/O week is a time in which we’re always promised a bunch of news from everyone’s favourite Mountain View-based company. While some rumoured announcements, especially in regards to hardware, failed to show, the week was still filled with a whole host of interesting Android news. Let’s jump in and take a look! (more…)

The rise in popularity of mobile devices can be intrinsically linked to the real birth of a casual, mobile gaming market. While individual hardware manufactures and game developers have tried to unify certain games from a specific developer or specific platform with a companion social service, the proprietary nature has historically lead to low user engagment and adoption. That’s where Google comes in.

At Google I/O this week, the company announced Google Play game services, a developer and client-side system for powering and syncing games cross-platform, providing matchmaking, achievements, leaderboards, cloud saves and more for platforms such as Android, iOS and the web. In this article, we’re going to take a look at what Google Play game services is all about and evaluate whether it might have a shot at revolutionising how we play games on our phones and tablets.

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It’s a New Year and after a holiday hiatus, it’s time for another instalment of This Week in Android. With CES starting tomorrow, there wasn’t an awful lot of groundbreaking news in the world of Android but, even as we look forward to next week’s influx of news from the show, things were still happening.
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At Google I/O, amongst new tablets, new operating systems and extreme sports demos, Google announced the Nexus Q, a new device for the living room that describes itself as a social streaming media player.

The Nexus Q is clearly out to compete with the Apple TV, a product that Apple majorly refreshed in late 2010 with AirPlay, a feature to stream media from one Apple device straight to a TV. However, while it seems like a product that only exists to let Google cover that particular base, it does signify another product joining the “pure” Google Nexus experience.

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I’m an Apple user at heart; I use a Mac as my computer, an iPhone as my smartphone and an iPad as my tablet. In my opinion, it’s a pretty great setup, especially when it’s backed by Apple’s iTunes and iCloud ecosystem that keeps everything working together. But although that’s probably not going to change, I’ve felt an impulse (though I have not succumbed, yet) to break the circle of devices and introduce a new Android phone to the mix.

Let me be clear: I’m not talking about Android in general here. I’m talking very specifically about Ice Cream Sandwich and its significant advancements for the platform.

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If you’ve bought an app (or read this site) in the past day or so, you’ll have noticed that the app store formerly known as the Android Market has been rebranded as part of Google Play.

There’s more information in our full review, but here’s the summary: Google’s consolidated the Android Market, the Google eBookstore, and the Google Music shop into one storefront, called Google Play.

Google also announced at GDC that, within 2012, they planned to combine their different game platforms (Google+, Android, Chrome) into a single service, too. Given the name “Google Play” – with no mention of Android and the word “Play” in the title – I think it’s fair to guess that the new game platform will be a part of this as well.

I think it’s a smart and frankly necessary move on Google’s part to rebrand the Android Market under Google’s name; since a number of Android devices do not feature the Market app as default (most notably the Kindle Fire), the old name led to confusion. I’m not so sure that Google Play is the best possible name for it, though: the word “play” suits games, movies, and music, but not apps or books.

I’m also very glad that the old market.android.com links continue to work, as I didn’t fancy changing every single article on the site to match…

What do you think?

Back in February last year, Google made a pretty big step by bringing the Android Market to the web through your browser, aiding the discovery and installation of apps off-device. And at other various points in recent history, the company has introduced music services, as well as accompanying marketplaces for books and movies. They’ve all been available, but as individual services that’s caused one big mess and forever shown how Apple’s simplistic approach has reigned superior.

No longer, as Google has introduced Google Play, tying together the various Google storefronts into one location with shelves for music, movies, apps, games and books. In addition to simply consolidating everything (which is already a major improvement), Google have taken some inspiration from iCloud and enforced an “everything, everywhere” mantra. In this article, we’re going to review Google’s updated service’s web app.

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