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A new service called Live App Testing is available for programmers making apps that run on Amazon’s FireOS devices. Live App Testing allows beta versions of such apps that developers can distribute to users who own a Kindle Fire, Fire Phone or Fire TV says Android Central. Amazon announced the Live App Testing initiative through its developer blog on Wednesday noting that end users can be invited to install and beta test applications, helping developers ensure they run properly on Amazon hardware. In that regard, Amazon’s Live App Testing is similar to programs currently available or planned for Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS platforms.

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In Brief

google-plus-chromecast
photo: Android Police

You won’t see mention of it in the release notes, but the latest version of Google+ for Android now has a Chromecast button. Android Police spotted the Chromecast icon and says you can cast a main Google+ stream to a television over Wi-Fi using Google’s $35 Chromecast dongle. Using your Android phone or tablet, you can scroll through your feed — just the “Everything” feed at the moment — or let the app automatically scroll as new content becomes available. We’ve seen situations in the past where the Chromecast icon appeared and disappeared, so it’s possible Google is just testing the feature for now.

In Brief

Yandex on Jolla

Finnish handset maker Jolla has begun offering its Sailfish OS-based smartphone in Hong Kong through the carrier 3. This is the first notable Asian channel for Jolla — when the merry band of ex-Nokians were first developing their Meego-derived platform, they were set to have a huge distribution deal through Chinese retailer D.Phone, but that didn’t pan out. Jolla handsets, which can run Android as well as Sailfish apps, will also soon be on offer through Indian retailer Snapdeal. According to recent reports, Jolla is looking to hire former Nokia employees recently laid off by Microsoft, to support its international expansion.

In Brief

T-Mobile announced on Monday it is making changes to its prepaid Pay As You Go plans, simplifying the billing rate as well as adding an option to add limited-time LTE data passes. Previously, prepaid minute purchases at T-Mobile were tiered: If you bought 30 prepaid minutes, it would cost $10. Compare that to 1000 minutes for $100 — those are two very different per-minute rates. Starting August 17, after a $3 monthly minimum charge that includes 30 minutes, a single minute or text message costs $.10. If you’d like data, $5 gets you a one-day pass with 500MB. There’s a $10 option for a seven-day pass with 1GB of LTE-eligible data as well.

In Brief

Nokia-130-Single-SIM
photo: Microsoft

Since Microsoft bought Nokia’s hardware division, the company is in the non-smartphone market whether it likes it or not. To that end, Microsoft announced the Nokia 130 on Monday: A basic €19 ($25.43 US) handset aimed at music listeners and video watchers. The candybar styled handset runs Nokia OS and can pump out tunes for a whopping 46 hours on a single charge; there’s definitely a battery life benefit to not running a complex mobile OS or having to power a multitude of sensors. As you’d expect at this price, hardware is minimal: You’ll be watching videos on a 1.8” color screen, for example.

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