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Pelican and AT&T offer durable protection for your Galaxy S5

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Google Play Books now offer single issue DC comics

Google and DC Entertainment have just taken their partnership to a whole new level. Avid DC fans will probably be tickled pink to know that they can now catch up on their favorite titles and characters on Google Play Books on a monthly or even weekly basis.

This is, of course, not the first time Google Play Books has offered DC’s collection. In 2013, Google’s digital library started to sell DC titles but mostly in collected volume or novel formats. Now monthly and weekly releases will also be available for purchase on Google Play Books.

Google’s store is certainly not the only game in town. DC has long been using other channels to course its digital products to mobile devices. In particular, DC has had a long standing partnership with Comixology and has its titles available from the DC-branded app as well as the all-in-one Comixology app itself. This news, then, perhaps makes more sense to those who rely heavily on Google Play for their digital reading or those who haven’t yet invested heavily on Comixology and friends.

Before you jump for joy, however, there is one tiny detail that might douse your excitement, if you’re not living in the US. The single issue periodicals isn’t available in all territories covered by Google Play Books, at least not yet. Currently, it has only been announced for the US but DC promises that additional markets will follow but, as expected, doesn’t give any clue when.

SOURCE: Google Play Books, DC Entertainment

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Clove’s Xperia Z2 pre-order offer includes free noise-cancelling headphones

z2-6

The Sony Xperia Z2 might not be a radical departure from the Z1, but there’s a lot to love about the next-gen Sony handset including noise-cancelling tech, an ever-improved camera and a display with dramatically better viewing angles. We know quite a few of our readers are excited about this one, and for those in the UK that plan on picking up the handset right away, you might want to at least consider pre-ordering from U.K. Retailer Clove.

Why pick up from clove? For a limited time, Xperia Z2 pre-orders include a free Sony SRS-BTM8 wireless speaker and a set of MDR-NC31EM noise cancelling headphones so you can really make the most out of your Z2 audio experience. The total value of the two accessories is said to be £120 (0).

Of course, you’ll have to slam down the full cost of the handset to get in on the deal, which comes to £458.33 (about 5), not including tax. The special bonus offer is available until April 7th, and the Xperia Z2 is expected to ship sometime shortly after that.

What do you think, anyone interested  in taking advantage of this pre-order offer? Those that are more excited by the Xperia tablet Z2 will find that the upcoming Sony slate is also available for pre-order on Clove for £416.66 — though unfortunately it doesn’t include any bonus accessories.


    








Android Authority

G Assets makes offer for Barnes & Noble or Nook, wants 51% stake

Barnes & Noble, the lone remaining major brick-and-mortar bookseller, has received an acquisition offer. The potential buyer, G Asset Management, is proposing a 51% stake in either Barnes & Noble proper, or their Nook division. The offers add an interesting wrinkle to an already opaque future for the bookseller and its digital spinoff.


Barnes & Noble has been in trouble for some time, with hopes Nook would revive their brand as well as create a digital reader following. As eReaders gave way to tablets, Nook followed suit, but failed to really catch on with consumers. Recent news of management shakeups and employees leaving Nook has dogged their move toward a brighter day.

G asset is no stranger to Barnes & Noble, even if we’ve not heard of them. They’ve tried to drive a wedge between the bookseller and their Nook division prior to this offer, and tried to make a play as far back as 2012. In 2013, there were both external and internal forces at work, trying to split the bookseller from its digital self.

Barnes & Noble acknowledges the offer was made, but says they have nothing to say in response. CNBC notes the bookseller is poised to report earnings next week, so we could be looking at a Blackberry situation. If you recall, their buyout offer just prior to their earnings call meant they could cancel such an event. G assets has offered /share, up from a previous offer of share last year. As for Nook, they’re willing to go as high as /share. A /share offer would value Barnes & Noble at .32 billion

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T-Mobile to offer unlimited talk and text sans data for $35

[#protected_0#]

 T Mobile to offer unlimited talk and text sans data for

T-Mobile plans to launch a new limited-time program that provides unlimited talk and text – but no data – for per month. T-Mobile is launching the program starting Sunday, December 8, according to a confirmation T-Mobile provided to [#protected_0#].

The Unlimited Talk and Text plan is available to T-Mobile “Pay In Advance” customers only. Obviously it has limited benefit to customers who want to use smartphones, as no data is included. By comparison, T-Mobile’s unlimited talk, text and web plan (with 500 MB of 4G speed) starts at .

Source: [#protected_0#]

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Google teams up with HTC to offer 25-50GB Drive space for two years to select HTC devices

HTC One

HTC fans listen up, Google has a deal for you! In collaboration with HTC, Google is offering up extra Google Drive space for two years to select HTC devices. The deal will apply to both new and existing owners.

Here’s how it works: HTC One Max owners simply need to launch up the Google Drive app and will be presented with the promo offer. You’ll then push redeem and will then find 50GB of extra space added to your account for the next two years.

For the rest of the HTC crowd things get a bit more complicated. First, only select 2013 models like the HTC One seem to be covered by this promo. Second, you’ll have to wait until Sense 5.5+ hits your device, which is right now for some HTC One owners in Europe.

Once the Sense 5.5+ upgrade arrives, your Google Drive app should have a notification that presents you with the free space offer. Keep in mind that you’ll only 25GB of extra space for the HTC One and other eligible devices (besides the Max).

If you’re in a market that will be waiting on Sense 5.5+ for a while longer, don’t worry – this offer isn’t going anywhere. You have between now and January 1, 2016 to redeem the promotion. For more details, you’ll want to head on over to Google’s official support page.

Android Authority

Rumor: Youtube may soon offer its own subscription music service

youtube-logo

Google already is enjoying quite a bit of success with its Google Play Music All Access service, but now a new rumor claims Google will be bringing a similar subscription service over to Youtube by the end of the year.

According to sources speaking to Billboard, the new service is supposedly a lot like Spotify but with the twist of including music videos into the mix. That means you’ll be able to listen to music (and watch vids) for free with ads, or pay extra for an ad-free experience. In contrast to Spotify, the Youtube service will supposedly allow the free service to work both on PCs and mobile.

Aside from a lack of ads, the premium version is said to bring offline music listening and a few other special features. It is also expected to feature a price tag of around a month.

The new service is supposedly a lot like Spotify but with the twist of including music videos into the mix.

We have to wonder though, do we even want or need this? For starters, it’s hard to imagine how Google would differentiate this from All Access.

The only thing we could think of is that Youtube might focus less on regular music and more of its efforts on creating a massive library of every music video out there (which Youtube already comes close to doing as it is).

In short, we doubt there would be much added value here for existing All Access fans, but maybe that’s the point. Google’s goal could be to attract Youtube addicts and folks that aren’t so closely tied to the Android ecosystem. Adding such a service to Youtube would also require little work on Google’s part, as the Mountain View giant already has secured all the necessary licenses and negotiations thanks to All Access.

Do we have any real evidence that Google and Youtube are planning such a service? Youtube and Google are keeping close-lipped, but their actions seem to hint that something might be afoot.

Recently we learned that not only will Youtube soon feature offline video download capabilities, it will also be able to eventually stream audio in the background. These are both features that would be useful for the Youtube Music service. This is far from definitive proof, but it certainly helps lend a little extra credence to the rumor.

What do you think, is a Youtube music/video subscription service necessary or should Google just stick to All Access and leave this one alone?

Android Authority

Samsung may soon offer a new extended warranty program, dubbed “Samsung Protection Plus”

Samsung logo

When you buy a new Samsung product, you can expect it to include a one-year limited warranty – or two years for those in Europe. For those looking for extra peace of mind when buying from Samsung, you also have the option of an extended warranty. Unfortunately, the current program isn’t actively advertised and seems to only be offered with select products. Thankfully, this might soon be changing.

A new USPTO trademark filing suggests Samsung is getting ready to roll out a new extended warranty program under the name “Samsung Protection Plus”. According to the trademark filing, the program is about “providing extended warranties on consumer electronic products and consumer appliances”. That means from your Samsung refrigerator to the Galaxy Note 3, you should be covered.

No other details are revealed about Protection Plus, though it’s possible the program could end up being similar to Samsung’s existing extended warranty offering, only with support for more products. If it does prove similar, that means we might have several different tiers of coverage, with some extended warranties even including accidental damage handling.  Keep in mind that we are just speculating here.

All we know for sure is that Samsung has filed a new trademark name for an extended warranty program, so take the rest of this with a grain of salt. It does make sense that Samsung might want to improve its warranty program to better compete with Apple, though.

If Samsung does end up offering an Apple Care-esque program for its mobile devices, would you be interested? Or would you rather stick to carrier (or 3rd party) insurance instead?

Android Authority

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App Store Year Four: Subscriptions, iCloud offer fantastic new services… and controversies

 App Store Year Four: Subscriptions, iCloud offer fantastic new services... and controversies

The time between the developer preview for iOS 4 and iOS 5 was the longest to date. Rather than a spring event like in previous years, Apple didn’t reveal any details of iOS 5 until WWDC 2011 in June. Also, rather than a summer release, general availability was held off until October of that year. So what did Apple manage to achieve with those extra months? Several things that weren’t made available to developers, including Siri and Notification Center widgets. iCloud, however, and the sync services that came with it, were big. As was Newsstand and its subscription services, at least potentially. In keeping with tradition, however, neither was without controversy.

Meanwhile, over 500,000 apps were available in the App Store and downloads had topped 18 billion. By January, 2012, over billion had been paid out to developers. By March, App Store downloads hit 25 billion, and by June, the App Store was available in 155 countries.

af3e4aeeb05 api.jpg App Store Year Four: Subscriptions, iCloud offer fantastic new services... and controversies

Subscription perdition

 App Store Year Four: Subscriptions, iCloud offer fantastic new services... and controversies

Apple originally announced App Store subscriptions in 2008 as part of the iPhone OS 3 event, but they never took off. At a special event in February of 2011, Apple’s Eddy Cue joined FOX’s Rupert Murdoch to announce proper subscription support on the App Store, and the Daily, a new, all-iPad magazine to spearhead it.

At WWDC in June, Apple showed off Newsstand, a special kind of folder that housed all the magazine, newspaper, and other subscription, periodical apps. Again, developers had to update to support Newsstand and its subscription features, but once they did:

  • The subscription app would download to Newsstand, not the general Home screen
  • The subscription app would “wake up” once a day to refresh content, if anything new was available.
  • The subscription app would show the latest cover or front page artwork, instead of the app artwork, to visually cue users to potentially new content.

99b8b9f532sstand.jpg App Store Year Four: Subscriptions, iCloud offer fantastic new services... and controversies

Reaction to the Daily was so-so. Reaction to Apple wanting their traditional 30-percent cut of revenue from subscribers, but not allowing any surcharging in the App Store to make up the difference, was explosive. The late Steve Jobs framed his position for Apple:

Our philosophy is simple—when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30 percent share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100 percent and Apple earns nothing. All we require is that, if a publisher is making a subscription offer outside of the app, the same (or better) offer be made inside the app, so that customers can easily subscribe with one-click right in the app. We believe that this innovative subscription service will provide publishers with a brand new opportunity to expand digital access to their content onto the iPad, iPod touch and iPhone, delighting both new and existing subscribers.

The issue became conflated with digital goods being offered as in-app purchases in general, perhaps exemplified most by Amazon’s Kindle App. The platform concerns that come with deviating from 30% in any way were summed up by Matt Drance, former Apple developer evangelist and current Apple Outsider:

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