(You're reading all posts by Alex Heath) Alex Heath is a news contributor for Cult of Android. He previously served as an editor for iDownloadBlog. You can find out more about him on his personal site and also follow him on Twitter.
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In what will probably end up being the most random buyout of the year, Lenovo has bought Motorola Mobility from Google for $2.91 billion. Google will maintain ownership of Motorola’s patent trove, which Lenovo will license.
Hugo Barra, former vice president of product management for Android, has left Google to take a VP job at Xiaomi, a Chinese company that makes high-end smartphones running Android. Barra’s departure has been confirmed by Google, and while the move is interesting enough, the circumstances within Google surrounding the exit are particularly sensitive.
Just days ahead of the Moto X’s launch on Verizon, Motorola has started selling the phone through its own Moto Maker website. You can buy the phone without a carrier contract through Moto Maker, and pricing starts at $579.
The Moto X launched on AT&T over this last weekend, and the device will officially go on sale for Verizon customers this Thursday, August 29th.
But there are a couple catches.
The Moto X was already rumored to go on sale at AT&T starting August 23rd, and the launch date has been confirmed today by the carrier.
Yahoo has one of the best looking weather apps out there, but until now it has only been available in Apple’s App Store. After Apple gave it a prestigious design award and then proceeded to rip it off wholesale in the official iOS 7 weather app, Yahoo has released an Android version for free in Google Play.
The app uses lightweight text to display basic weather info at first glance. Flickr is tapped to provide the stunning imagery that matches the current condition. More detailed info can also be accessed, including a 10-day forecast, wind speeds, and humidity. It’s a gorgeous app that works well. Get it for the backgrounds alone.
- Source Google Play
FreshBooks is a fantastic invoice/announcing service I’ve been using for years, and the official Android app was released today in Google Play. If you haven’t heard of FreshBooks, then you obviously haven’t done much freelance work. The service is free for a limited number of clients and charges a small rate for managing more. It can help you itemize, send monthly statements, etc.
“This newest member of the FreshBooks mobile cloud accounting app family is designed for you. Whether you’re tracking time from the coffee shop, capturing expenses in the back of a cab or sending an invoice right from a client’s office, FreshBooks for Android will help you tap your way to getting it all done.”
You can take a picture of a receipt and record it as an expense and manage a work timer with the app. Be sure to check it out in Google Play.
Motorola has said that the Moto X will start shipping later this month and in early September, but we haven’t heard any concrete dates until now. Word on the street is that AT&T and Sprint will start carrying the Moto X first on Friday, August 23rd, followed by Verizon on Thursday, August 29th.
AT&T selling first makes sense given that Motorola has an exclusive launch partnership with the carrier for its Motor Maker website. Moto X buyers on AT&T will be able to customize their device through the website with different color and engraving options before anyone else.
No word on when, or if, T-Mobile will carry the Moto X.
Google Glass is getting smarter with each monthly update. Now Google has opened up the possibility for third-party developers to access the headset’s growing list of supported voice commands. Only two command/app combinations are being introduced to kick things off. “Post an update” works with Path, and “take a note” works with Evernote.
“Updates and notes are just the beginning; soon you’ll be able to use your voice to trigger all sorts of services,” said Google. “We’ll keep you posted (pun very much intended) as we roll out more.”
Google Now cards have also been added in today’s update. There are three categories right now: “Restaurants, hotels, events,” “Movies” and “Emergency alerts.” They can be accessed by swiping back on the Glass trackpad. Google Now will show traffic, sports and weather info in Glass as well.
- Source Google Glass
Today Google refreshed its promoted search results for local business in Google Maps on both Android and iOS. When you search for a business, Google will now show ads for merchants that have paid in a bottom banner. Like Google search on the web, it will be obvious that the listing is a promotion.