Enjoy the Discovery News app on your Windows PC, tablet, and phone

The people who brought you the Discovery Channel, have released a new Discovery News Windows Phone app. The Discovery News app is also available to download from the Windows Store on your PC or tablet. With these apps, you’ll be updated with news articles, videos, photos and more – with a primary focus on explaining the world through a lens of curiosity. The Discovery News team is comprised of experienced journalists dedicated to satisfying the curiosity of readers by bringing them stories and perspectives they won’t find anywhere else.

Features you’ll enjoy:

  • New stories and videos added daily.
  • Awesome Categories: Earth, Space, Tech, Animals, History, Human and Adventure.
  • Video: Watch countless episodes of DNews and get the lowdown every weekday from hosts Anthony Carboni, Laci Green and Trace Dominguez.
  • Photos: Swipe through a vast catalog of stunning photo galleries.
  • Discovernator: An endless supply of crazy, amazing facts so you can find out what you didn’t know and impress your friends.

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Download the Discovery News app for Windows and Windows Phone for free today.

Now live on Android TV: SportsCenter, HBO and more with Sling TV

Android TV brings the best entertainment — apps, games, movies, shows, music — to the biggest screen in your home. Today, the Sling TV app adds your favorite dramas, live sports and more.

The NBA Playoffs and SportsCenter on ESPN
Sling TV offers 22 channels for $20 per month so you can catch live sports like The NBA Playoffs on ESPN and highlights on SportsCenter. Best of all, the app is available for phones, tablets and televisions powered by Android. Whether you’re at home or stuck at the office, Android and Sling TV keep you connected to the teams you love.

Ballers℠ premieres on HBO®
Sling TV’s tailored add-on packs also bring more current-season shows and live premieres to Android TV. Add HBO® to your core package for $15 to watch premium content like Game of Thrones® and True Detective®. Ballers℠ premieres at 10pm on June 21 — catch it live on Sling TV.

Get started with a 50% discount on Nexus Player
Starting today in the United States, you can get the Sling TV app in Google Play on Nexus Player. If you’ve been considering getting Android TV, Sling TV is also offering Nexus Player at a 50% discount when you pre-pay for 3 months of service.

Posted by Thomas Riedl, Android TV Partnerships

Always-on and Wi-Fi with the latest Android Wear update

Posted by Wayne Piekarski, Developer Advocate

A new update to Android Wear is rolling out with lots of new features like always-on apps, Wi-Fi connectivity, media browsing, emoji input, and more. Let’s discuss some of the great new capabilities that are available in this release.

Always-on apps

Above all, a watch should make it easy to tell the time. That’s why most Android Wear watches have always-on displays, so you can see the time without having to shake your wrist or lift your arm to wake up the display. In this release, we’re making it possible for apps to be always-on as well.

With always-on functionality, your app can display dynamic data on the device, even when the app is in ambient mode. This is useful if your app displays information that is continuously updated. For example, running apps like Endomondo, MapMyRun, and Runtastic use the always-on screen to let you keep track of how long and far you’ve been running. Zillow keeps you posted about the median price of homes nearby when you’re house-hunting.

Always-on functionality is also useful for apps that may not update data very frequently, but present information that’s useful for reference over a longer period of time. For example, Bring! lets you keep your shopping list right on your wrist, and Golfshot gives you accurate distances from tee to pin. If you’re at the airport and making your way to your gate, American Airlines, Delta, and KLM let you keep all of your flight info a glance away on your watch.

Note: the above apps will not display always-on functionality on your watch until you receive the update for the latest version of Android Wear.

Always-on functionality works similar to watch faces, in that the power usage of the display and processor is kept to a minimum by reducing the colors and refresh rate of the display. To implement an always-on Activity, you need to make a few small changes to your app’s AndroidManifest.xml, your app’s build.gradle, and the Activity to declare that it supports ambient mode. A code sample and documentation are available to show you how it works. Be sure to tune in to the livestream at Google I/O next week for Android Wear: Your app and the always-on screen.

Wi-Fi connectivity and cloud sync

Many existing Android Wear devices already contain hardware support for Wi-Fi, and this release enables software support for Wi-Fi. The saved Wi-Fi networks on your phone are copied to your watch during setup, and your watch automatically connects to those Wi-Fi networks when it loses Bluetooth connection to your phone. Your watch can then connect to your phone over the Internet, even if they’re not on the same Wi-Fi network.

You should continue to use the Data Layer API for all communications between the watch and phone. By using this standard API, your app will always work, no matter what kind of connectivity the user’s wearable supports. Cloud sync also introduces a new virtual node in the Data Layer called the cloud node, which may be returned in calls to getConnectedNodes(). Learn more in the Multi-wearable support section below.

Multi-wearable support

The release of Google Play services 7.3 now allows support for multiple wearable devices to be paired simultaneously to a single phone or tablet, so you can have a wearable for fitness, and another for dressing up. While DataItems will continue to work in the same way, since they are synchronized to all devices, working with the MessageApi is a little different. When you update your build.gradle to use version 7.3 or higher, getConnectedNodes() from the NodeApi will usually return multiple nodes. There is an extra virtual node added to represent the cloud node used to communicate over Wi-Fi, so all developers need to deal with this situation in their code.

To help simplify finding the right node among many devices, we have added a CapabilityApi, allowing your nodes to announce features they provide, for example downloading images or music. You can also now use the ChannelApi to open up a connection to a specific device to transfer large resources such as images or audio streams, without having to send them to all devices like you would when embedding assets into data items. We have updated our Android Wear samples and documentation to show the best practices in implementing this.

MediaBrowser support

The Android 5.0 release added the ability for apps to browse the media content of another app, via the android.media.browse API. With the latest Android Wear update, if your media playback app supports this API, then you will be able to browse to find the next song directly from your watch. This is the same browse capability used in Android Auto. You implement the API once, and it will work across a variety of platforms. To do so, you just need to allow Android Wear to browse your app in the onGetRoot() method validator. You can also add custom actions to the MediaSession that will appear as controls on the watch. We have a Universal Media Player sample that shows you how to implement this functionality.

Updates to existing devices

The latest version of Android Wear will roll out via an over-the-air (OTA) update to all Android Wear watches over the coming weeks. To take advantage of these new features, you will need to use targetSdkVersion 22 and add the necessary dependencies for always-on support. We have also expanded the collection of emulators available via the SDK Manager, to simulate the experience on all the currently available devices, resolutions, and shapes, including insets like the Moto 360.

In this update, we have also disabled support for apps that use the unofficial, activity-based approach for displaying watch faces, as announced in December. These watch faces will no longer work and should be updated to use the new watch face API.

Since the launch of Android Wear last summer, Android Wear has grown into a platform that gives users many possibilities to personalize their watches, with a variety of shapes and styles, a range of watch bands, and thousands of apps and watch faces. Features such as always-on apps and Wi-Fi allow developers even more flexibility to give users amazing experiences with Android Wear.

The limited-edition Skrillex Live Case: Built for fans. Made for Android.

We spend a lot of time with our phones every day. They’re essential to how we communicate and for many users, an extension of our style. We think that means your phone — and its accessories — deserve to be as interesting as you are. So we decided to seek out some of the world’s top artists to make that happen.

Enter Editions, a series of creative collaborations to develop limited-edition cases for Android phones. We are kicking off the series with Grammy-winning producer, Skrillex, who has created three unique designs inspired by his lifelong fascination with space. The Skrillex Live Case connects to your phone to bring you VIP access to Skrillex content and a companion live wallpaper that extends its design onto the screen.

From Skrillex’s satellite to your screen

The companion live wallpaper updates over the course of the day showing stunning images of Earth shot from the stratosphere. At night, it changes to display constellations visible from your current location.

To capture the Earth images, Google and Skrillex launched a custom-designed balloon satellite named after Skrillex’s dog, Nanou. Once Nanou’s photographic mission is complete, a lucky fan will win the autographed satellite in an upcoming giveaway. Follow @Android on Twitter for more details.

In a short documentary about the project, we join Skrillex in Downtown LA to hear him talk for the first time about the origins of his fascination with space. We also travel deep into the Nevada desert to launch his satellite into the stratosphere.


VIP access to Skrillex content

Fans who get the Live Case will get early access to a free OWSLA album from Google Play and Skrillex updates sent directly to their phones. A shortcut button built-in on the Live Case gives you one-touch access to Skrillex’s music feed on YouTube. The button can also be customized to open your favorite apps, launch your phone camera or go to Skrillex’s website.

Exclusively on the Google Store

The limited-edition Skrillex Live Case is individually numbered and available for Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Get yours at the Google Store today through the end of June while supplies last. Stay tuned for the next collaboration. We can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Posted by Kari Clark, Senior Manager, Google Accessories

Android Developer Story: Wooga’s fast iterations on Android and Google Play

Posted by Leticia Lago, Google Play team

In order to make the best possible games, Wooga works on roughly 40 concepts and prototypes per year, out of which 10 go into production, around seven soft launch, and only two make it to global launch. It’s what they call “the hit filter.” For their latest title, Agent Alice, they follow up with new episodes every week to maintain player interest and engagement over time.

The ability to quickly iterate both live and under development games is therefore key to Wooga’s business model — Android and Google Play provide them the tools they need and mean that new features and updates are made on Android first, before they get to other platforms.

Find out more from Sebastian Kriese, Head of Partnerships, and Pal Tamas Feher, Head of Engineering, and learn how the iteration features of Android and Google Play have contributed to successes such as Diamond Dash, Jelly Splash, and Agent Alice.

You can find out more about building successful games businesses on Android and Google Play at Google I/O 2015: in person, on the live stream, or session recordings after the event. Check out the following:

  • Developers connecting the world through Google Play – Hear how the new mobile ecosystem including Google Play and Android are empowering developers to make good on the dream of connecting the world through technology to improve people’s lives. This session will be live streamed.
  • Growing games with Google — In addition to consoles, PC, and browser gaming, as well as phone and tablet games, there are emerging fields including virtual reality and mobile games in the living room. This talk covers how Google is helping developers across this broad range of platforms. This session will be live streamed.
  • What’s new in the Google Play Developer Console – Google Play’s new launches will help you acquire more users and improve the quality of your app. Hear an overview of the latest features and how you can start taking advantage of them in the Developer Console.
  • Smarter approaches to app testing — Hear about the new ways Google can help maximize the success of your next app launch with cheaper and easier testing strategies.

Celebrating Microsoft Solitaire

It was 25 years ago that Microsoft Solitaire debuted on Windows, and to honor the decades of fun it’s given us all, we’re celebrating with two big competitions. First, an internal competition among Microsoft employees kicks off today to determine who leads the leaderboards here. Then, in early June, the same challenges used in the tournament will be released in the game for the world to play.

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Play five popular versions of solitaire including the classic Klondike Solitaire.

From Klondike to FreeCell to Spider, TriPeaks and Pyramid game modes, you’ll be challenged to bring your best to defeat our best. Are you up to the challenge? Get your Solitaire game on today.

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Download the Microsoft Solitaire Collection for Windows and Windows Phone for free today!

Genuine Windows and Windows 10

This week we shared more details about Windows 10 “editions.” Today, I thought I would provide answers to some questions we’ve received regarding how this will work for Genuine vs. Non-Genuine Windows.

With Windows 10, we have extended an offer to our Genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. Once a customer upgrades, they will continue to receive ongoing Windows innovation and security updates for free, for the supported lifetime of that device.

These customers purchased their Genuine Windows license from our valued OEM partners, which ensures Windows is properly installed, licensed, and not tampered with. Windows 10 offers our customers an even more secure and modern experience. Bringing all of our customers to Windows 10 improves the ecosystem for developers which makes Windows better for all of our customers. We are working hard to make the in-place upgrade experience from Windows 7 or Windows 8, to Windows 10, seamless for the customer. Throughout the Windows world, I am humbled by the excitement being associated with this opportunity to upgrade to Windows 10.

When we can’t verify that Windows is properly installed, licensed, and not tampered with, we create a desktop watermark to notify the user. If you ever encounter this watermark on a new machine, I encourage you to return the device immediately to the retailer from whom you purchased it and request a Genuine Windows device. Non-Genuine Windows has a high risk of malware, fraud, public exposure of your personal information, and a higher risk for poor performance or feature malfunctions. Non-Genuine Windows is not supported by Microsoft or a trusted partner.

Microsoft and our OEM partners know that many consumers are unwitting victims of piracy, and with Windows 10, we would like all of our customers to move forward with us together. While our free offer to upgrade to Windows 10 will not apply to Non-Genuine Windows devices, and as we’ve always done, we will continue to offer Windows 10 to customers running devices in a Non-Genuine state. In addition, in partnership with some of our valued OEM partners, we are planning very attractive Windows 10 upgrade offers for their customers running one of their older devices in a Non-Genuine state. Please stay tuned to learn more from our partners on the specifics of their offers.

Windows 10 is still in development and we won’t be able to answer all questions yet, but I hope this provides some clarification on important topics. If you’d like to help shape the future of Windows and contribute to Windows 10, please join the Windows Insider Program, where you can download technical previews of Windows 10 and provide us valuable feedback.

Thank you for your support of Windows and our Windows partners by choosing genuine Windows 10.

Terry

Sing along with the new Shazam on your Windows Phone

Shazam for Windows Phone received a cool new update this week, bringing you an exciting new feature that goes beyond just giving you the name of the song you’re listening to. You can now sing along to the beat of your favorite songs with real time lyrics, simply Shazam a track to check them out.

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You can also get song recommendations based on your past Shazams, even preview your favorite Shazams with Xbox Music Playback, and add favorite songs from Charts to My Shazams. Enjoy music more – and now, sing along, too – with Shazam. Download Shazam for Windows Phone for free today.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 10080 for phone now available

Hi everyone,

We’re releasing Build 10080 of the Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones to the Fast ring today (will show as 10.0.12562.84 in Settings > System > About). We’re excited to get this build out because it brings many improvements but also because it adds support for a few important phones that Insiders have been asking us about. Specifically, it supports the Lumia 930/Lumia Icon, Lumia 640 and 640XL, and our first non-Lumia phone – the HTC One (M8) for Windows. (Please note that if you are on Verizon and your HTC One (M8) for Windows is on version 8.10.15143.154, you won’t be offered today’s build just yet. We are still working to offer the upgrade to Windows 10 for these particular devices.)

This is a Fast ring build so be aware there are some bugs that will affect your experience with it, make sure to read the known issues below before installing.

Here is what’s new

Windows Store Beta for phones: This build brings a first look at the new Windows Store in Windows 10 for phones. You will see it designated as Store (Beta). The Store Beta has a new visual design and if you’ve been using the Store Beta on PC, it should feel familiar since it’s the built using the new Universal Windows Platform code. As a beta, there are a couple of known issues to be aware of with this Store app. Both the app selection and markets where the Store Beta is available are limited in this release. You can browse and search, as well as download apps. You can pay for those apps and games with options such as international credit card, gift cards and PayPal. However, carrier billing is not enabled yet. At Build, we announced that all Windows 10 devices (not just phones), will be able to support carrier billing. That means that the growing number of carrier billing connections we have today may be used by Windows 10 customers to purchase all Store content. We’re also adding music, movies and TV shows into the Store for you to purchase and access across all your devices. Movies & TV page is functional. Music is not available in this build but will be coming soon. And just like on PC, the current Windows Store remains available in this build.

Universal Office apps: Now that the Store Beta is included in this build, you can download the Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote Preview apps. For more information on the Universal Office apps – read this blog post from the Office Blog. We know that you’ve been waiting to try these apps on your phones, so we’re very excited for them to be available for you now.

Xbox app: The Xbox app for Windows 10 is also now available for phones in the Store Beta (version 4.4.230). With the Xbox app on your phone – you can access your activity feed, achievements, friends list, activity alerts, messages, watch Game DVR clips, and connect to your Xbox One. For more information, see this post on Xbox Wire.

Music Preview app: Access your music collection and play all your music – including songs you have added to OneDrive. The new experience for Now Playing makes it easy to swipe between songs and it looks great. We’ve got more improvements coming in future app updates that will be delivered through the Store Beta including a Live Tile showing what’s currently playing, pinning favorites to your Start screen, exploring the full catalog and listening to Radio with an Xbox Music Pass, support for Kids Corner, the ability to shop for music in the Store Beta, and more. Download the Music Preview app here.

Video Preview app: Browse and play video files (including MKV files!) on your device. Try out filtering and sorting your collection and adding a folder of videos to include in your collection. You can also browse and play movies and TV shows you’ve purchased and rented from Xbox Video. Try starting a purchased video on your PC or Xbox and pick up playback right where you left off on your phone. In a future app update, we’ll be adding the ability to download movies and TV shows for offline playback, new device management so you can manage your offline downloads on the devices you care about, improved search results, movie reviews and cast info, and more! Download the Video Preview app here.

Check out the new Camera app: We want your feedback on the new Camera app for Windows 10! Make the Camera app your default camera app by going to Settings > System > Photos & Camera (or pin it to your Start screen) and let us know what you think. Note that high-end Lumia devices (1520, 1020, 930, 830, 640, and 640XL) have some features not supported by the new Camera app. For these devices, the new app will work but to get the full functionality from your device you will need to use the Lumia Camera app. In coming weeks we’ll have updated versions of Camera apps with the superset of all features. Here are a few things to try: try out HDR (click the magic wand button), video stabilization for video and look for faces getting recognized (not identified) in the camera preview window (will help with autofocus).

A few fixes: We have fixed a few things in this build. Tapping on an e-mail notification now launches you into that e-mail message instead of the calendar. Incoming calls should play a ringing sound now.

Here are some known issues

  • We’re aware of several migration issues after upgrading to this build.

    • After upgrading, you may see duplicate tiles for apps like Search and Phone under All Apps.
    • “Pending” may show under some apps after upgrade and those apps are unresponsive. Restarting the phone will clear the pending flag and the apps should work.
    • All data and settings for apps installed on a SD card do not get migrated and you cannot launch these apps or install them again. Workaround is to uninstall then reinstall these apps.
    • The old email app will still show up after upgrade in All Apps list with “Error” text displayed and cannot be removed. This app also shows up banged out on the Start screen if it was pinned previously. It can simply be unpinned to remove.
  • When upgrading from Windows Phone 8.1 to this build, even if you have your cellular data connection turned on, it will get turned off during upgrade. Go to Settings > Network & wireless > Cellular and SIM to turn it back on.
  • VERY IMPORTANT: there is a condition in which you may never receive MMS messages. Usually when someone sends you a MMS message and your phone’s cellular data connection is turned off, you will receive a “Get message” link in the text thread from the sender, allowing you to download the message once you turn your cellular data back on. There is a bug in which this link is not received in this case and the MMS message is completely lost. To ensure MMS messages are not lost, be sure to turn cellular data on (via Settings > Network & wireless > Cellular & SIM > Data connection). This issue will occur any time your cellular data connection is turned off in this build.
  • If you are in a region where Cortana is enabled (US, China, UK, France, Italy, Germany, or Spain) and you have changed the default shipping language on your phone – please ensure that your region, language, and speech settings are restored to their default values before initiating the update. This is required in order to avoid a bug that will cause Cortana/Search to repeatedly crash.
  • After upgrade, uninstalling an app may not remove it from the All Apps list. Usually restarting your device resolves this issue.
  • Playback of movies and TV may fail with error 0x8004c029 in the Video Preview app. If it does, go here to learn more about how to fix it.
  • After upgrading, the Twitter app may crash on launch. If you uninstall and reinstall the app, it should work.
  • Auto-update for apps is not enabled in this build for apps installed via Store Beta. You will have to manually check for updates.
  • After upgrading from Build 10052, the Insider Hub still does not launch. However, if you upgrade from Windows Phone 8.1 the Insider Hub should now launch.

We’re really excited to get a build out for Lumia 930, Lumia Icon, Lumia 640XL, and HTC One (M8) owners who have been wanting to participate, and also to get new apps, Store Beta, and Office Preview apps into your hands.

It’s also worth briefly talking about timing for releasing Windows 10 for phones. Last month, we announced that Windows 10 for PCs would be launching this summer. At the Build conference a few weeks ago, Joe Belfiore spoke to a group of press and elaborated a bit more on timing for other devices including phones. Because we’re treating Windows more like a service, this allows us to release Windows 10 on different devices and customers at different times. For phones, Windows 10 will arrive later this year – both on new devices and also upgrades for existing Windows Phone 8.1 devices. Even though Windows 10 will be arriving for phones later than it does for PCs, the underlying OS code is still the same. As Terry mentioned earlier this year, Windows 10 will support the broadest device family ever – from PCs, tablets and 2-in-1s to phones to Xbox and the Internet of Things. To enable this, we work to specifically tailor Windows 10 to these device types. And what you’re seeing with phone builds today is that work in progress to tailor Windows 10 to be great on phones.

Please continue to send your great feedback and problem reports on things that you see when using this build on your devices, and thanks for being a Windows Insider!

Thanks,
g

Meet Microsoft Hyperlapse

Meet Microsoft Hyperlapse, a new set of products that create smooth, stabilized time lapses from first-person videos. Microsoft’s hyperlapse technology is built on more than 20 years of research in computational photography.

For consumers, Microsoft Hyperlapse Mobile turns any long video – from a bumpy bicycle ride to a family stroll in the park – into a short, distilled version easily shared with friends and family. For professional shooters and serious video enthusiasts, Microsoft Hyperlapse Pro creates a hyperlapse using a Windows computer from video shot on any camera or device – including drone footage. A third product, Hyperlapse for Azure Media Services, lets developers integrate hyperlapse options into websites and apps.

You can download Microsoft Hyperlapse Mobile onto your Windows Phone today*.

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Read the full story on Microsoft Hyperlapse on Microsoft News Center – including how an idea born in the mountains became a reality – and check out the project website. Stay up to date on what’s happening with Microsoft Hyperlapse on their YouTube channel and Twitter.

*Phones with 512MB of RAM cannot capture at HD resolutions. Windows Phone 8.0 or lower are not supported.