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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

Google’s Chromecast streaming stick just got a bunch of new apps: Digital music service Deezer gave its paying subscribers access to casting through its mobile apps. Video workout service Dailyburn added Chromecast support to its website, iOS and Android apps, and PBS Kids added Chromecast support to its mobile apps as well. Earlier on Tuesday, video discovery app Stevie announced its own Chromecast integration.

lg g watch on wrist

This year’s Google I/O developer event is about to take place. Surely we’ll see Android Wear watches debut but will there be any other hardware? It’s not likely; this year is more about software interface changes and shared experiences in Android and Chrome. Read more »

In Brief

galaxy-s5-sport crop
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.

In Brief

google glass angled
photo: Google

Following earlier news that Glass with Diane von Furstenberg frames is now available, Google announced that Google Glass is available outside of the U.S. for the first time. Glass fans in the U.K. can now purchase the wearable display online for a cost of 1,000 pounds (US $1,701.34). Google isn’t calling this a consumer launch, even though the offer is good for any U.K. resident over the age of 18. Instead, the company is expanding the beta and all buyers will be part of the Glass Explorer program to help provide feedback to Google.

In Brief

Google Glass DVF
photo: DVF

Announced last month, the new Diane von Furstenberg frames for Google Glass are now available. Google announced the news early on Monday morning through its Glass Explorer Google+ page. While you can purchase the frames and shades directly from Google, anyone can purchase Glass and the frames online at Net-A-Porter, with the bundle costing $1,800. That’s an expansion from the Google-only sales of the wearable computer. Will Google get many takers at this price? It’s not likely but at least those who do opt-in for Glass will look a bit more fashionable with the DVF frames.

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