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In Brief

On July 1st, you might notice some changes on your Samsung Galaxy device. The Korean company is renaming its app store from the — somewhat unoriginal — Samsung Apps name it currently uses to Samsung Galaxy Apps. It’s a minor change, but another sign that Samsung’s simplifying its branding, and using Galaxy as its term for its Android hardware and software. The move gives Samsung a way to distinguish between the app store it hopes springs up for its homegrown Tizen operating system and the app store it installs on Android devices. Samsung has already removed the Galaxy moniker from its Tizen-based smartwatch, the Gear 2.

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In Brief

The day before Google’s annual developer conference, Google Glass is getting a lot of improvements. First, although Glass receives subtle hardware tweaks from time to time, its Google Plus page has announced a bump to 2GB of RAM and a slightly bigger battery, among “several [other] hardware updates.” Second, there are 12 new Glassware apps available for download, including Shazam, Duolingo, and other big names. A complete list is here. There’s also a general software update that brings a viewfinder to the device’s camera function. Google’s I/O conference may be the largest collection of Glass Explorers ever assembled, but we’re not expecting a ton of Glass announcements. However, there are three Glass-centered sessions scheduled for Thursday.

In Brief

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At an event in Chicago on Monday, Sprint and Samsung announced a new high-end handset, the Samsung Galaxy S5 Sport. Unfortunately, this handset is basically identical to the standard Galaxy S5 with a 2.5GHz Qualcomm processor, 2GB of RAM and a 5.1-inch 1080p AMOLED display. Like the Galaxy S5 Active, it’s got a bit of rubber trim and physical buttons along the bottom. There’s no new fitness hardware, but there are a number of included fitness apps under a banner called Sprint Fit Live. Sprint Fit, which will be included on all Sprint Android phones later this year, includes a year-long subscription to Under Armour’s MapMyFitness app, a few workout-specific Spotify playlists, and a couple fitness wallpapers.

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In Brief

When Samsung announced its new flagship tablet, the Galaxy Tab S — “S,” like the phone — the only release date guidance we got was July 2014. Well, the AMOLED-packing tablet will be available for sale sooner than expected: according to a post on the US Samsung blog, both sizes will go on sale on June 27. As expected, the smaller, 8.4-inch version will cost $399. The 10.5-inch version will cost $499. Versions with cellular capability are on their way, but we still don’t know the price or the date.

In Brief

As part of its mission to organize the world’s information and make it useful, Google accesses Gmail content to deliver timely updates in Google Now — for instance, its ability to read a flight confirmation email and use that info to serve up a card with your flight time, gate, and airline. Now Google Now can look through your email for invites and appointments buried in the text of emails — inferred updates, as Android Police, which spotted the new feature, calls them. So if you received an email asking if you want to meet for drinks that evening, Google Now can serve a card asking you if you want to add the event to your calendar, and later, when you’re on your way, remind you when to get off the bus. Useful information, indeed.

In Brief

If you’re having trouble with iTunes at the moment — say, your Movies and TV section on Apple TV has disappeared, or you can’t access the App Store — you’re not alone. Despite Apple’s system status showing all services working across the board, there are widespread complaints on social media Thursday afternoon that some of Apple’s media services are down. I’ve asked Apple for comment and will update as needed. Update 5PM ET: It’s back.

In Brief

One of the themes of Satya Nadella’s short tenure as Microsoft CEO so far has been an increasing focus on bringing Microsoft’s most valuable properties to multiple platforms. The latest evidence is a new Outlook app introduced on Google Play this Wednesday. Generically named Outlook Web App, the email client is very similar to the Outlook app introduced on iOS last summer: a barebones way to check a paid Office 365 for Business email account, as well as look up contacts and check calendars on the run. Unfortunately, it won’t work for Outlook.com email accounts just yet, but based on Microsoft’s recent history, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a version for consumers in the near future.

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