What Is Google Now and How Do I Use It?

Google Now

When Jelly Bean was officially announced, Android users had a lot to be excited about. The latest version of the OS is super-smooth (like Butter!), there are expandable notifications that actually include functionality, there is a better keyboard, better widgets, and a better camera/gallery.

The biggest announcements, of-course, were the addition of a better voice search, and with it, Google Now. So what is Google Now? Let’s find out!

Continue @ What Is Google Now and How Do I Use It? | Android.AppStorm.

Updated Google Play app reveals gift card support, wish list coming soon?

play

If the images and link settings Android Police has dug up from the most recent (v3.8.15) Google Play APK that’s rolling out are correct, we could see a coupe more features coming to the Android app and media store soon. First up are very fleshed out menus for the redemption of Play Store gift cards, perfect for users that aren’t enthused about putting their credit card info out there and would rather purchase a few bucks prepaid and then spend them as they will. Also contained within the APK but not activated or accessible by default is some sort of wish list functionality. Hit the source link for all the images and screens that have been found so far, well have to wait and see when these pop up in a future updated or get activated later on.

via Updated Google Play app reveals gift card support, wish list coming soon? – Engadget.

IDC: Android and iOS continue to carve up the world, another record quarter for smartphones

Android

According to IDC’s latest figures, Android and iOS now account for 85 percent of the 152 million smartphones shipped in Q2 2012. Google’s OS powered 68.1 percent of all smartphones sold — with Samsung making the hardware behind for just under half of those. Apple’s smartphones now claim a 16.9 percent marketshare and while plenty of phone shoppers are holding out for the iPhone’s next iteration, iOS still saw double-digit growth in Q2. There’s more bad news for both BlackBerry and Symbian platforms, which, combined, accounted for less than 10 percent of all smartphones shipped last quarter. Windows Phone 7, meanwhile, hasn’t quite made it to that hallowed third place it reckons it deserves. The mobile OS continues to grow, however, albeit at a gentler rate than both iOS and Android. Microsoft’s likely pinning its hopes on the adjustable widgets and meatier specifications of Windows Phone 8 to draw in some new customers this fall.

via IDC: Android and iOS continue to carve up the world, another record quarter for smartphones – Engadget.

Android Hits 51.8% Market Share In the U.S.

Study

Android has a bigger U.S. market share than all other mobile operating systems combined, according to a new report by Nielsen.

Nielsen’s research shows that 51.8% of smartphone owners in the U.S. use an Android handset. Apple’s iOS has a 34.3% market share, and the rest is divided between RIM’s BlackBerry (8.1%) and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7 platforms (4.3%)…

via Android Hits 51.8% Market Share In the U.S. [STUDY].

50 Completely Free Android Apps

There’s certainly no shortage of free Android apps, but a lot of these are really more like free demos: they’re ad-supported “lite” versions with accompanying paid apps, or they’re 30 day trials, or they require you to unlock extra features via in-app purchases or by paying for a monthly account.

That’s not a bad thing, of course; we shouldn’t expect all developers to give away the products of their hard work for free! But in this roundup, we’ll look exclusively at apps that don’t ask for a penny.

50 Completely Free Android Apps | Android.AppStorm.

Android Shines In 4.1 Jelly Bean Update

Google took the wraps off of the latest version of its operating system, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, at its annual developer conference Wednesday.

Set to come to the Nexus series and the Motorola Xoom in mid-July, the OS is being born into a world where its predecessor -– Ice Cream Sandwich -– still hasn’t made its way onto most Android handsets.

Technically just an incremental update to the OS, Jelly Bean adds a number of welcome features and enhancements that make Android feel like a whole different animal.

Android Shines In 4.1 Jelly Bean Update [REVIEW].