CyanogenMod Installer app removed from Google Play Store

CynogenModCyanogenMod is a very popular ROM in the Android ecosystem. All users needed was a rooted Android device. About three weeks ago, CyanogenMod introduced its CyanogenMod installer app on the play store. This was a sign that CyanogenMod or CM as its known, was now friendly enough to be installed by Android users who were not really technical adept at installing ROMs.

The party came crashing today with CyanogenMod having to voluntarily remove it’s installer app from the Google Play store.

The reason from removing the app in CyanogenMod’s blog post was that the app encouraged users to void their warranty. This was against Google Play guidelines that would have basically meant the app would have been kicked out at some point of time, if it had not been removed voluntarily.

Google will get bad press, but it is right!

Google for this action will soon be called evil and I am sure many thousands of words will be written about how this indicates that the Android ecosystem is closed and not open. Google might get bad press but in my opinion it is doing the right thing.

Getting CyanogenMod installed on a phone is not something a newbie does or even explores. Most people who do this through Cyanogenmod.org are actually technically adept at installing 3rd ROMs on their phones. With a Play Store app a newbie could easily install CyanogenMod on his phone without knowing the risks of voiding warranty. Also reverting back from CM is also not easy and that is a very important guideline for any app on Google Play.

CyanogenMod in all probability will fix this with changes in the future.

Do drop in your comments.

Google lists Nexus 5, Nexus 7 (2013) on Play Store for India

If you are one of those who wants to buy the new Nexus 5 phone or the Nexus 7 tablet, you should head over to the Google Play Store. Though I expected the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 to debut on 14th November  but that date seemed off by a week. It might have ended up missing the shopping frenzy in India but Android enthusiasts were probably aware the Nexus phone will show up

Nexus 5 in India

The Nexus 5 phone running the latest Android 4.4 KitKat is available in two variants with 16 GB and 32 GB memory storage. While I checked Google Play store, the phone was not available in black colour but was available with white. The price of the 16 GB phone was as expected Rs. 28,999 and the 32 GB is priced Rs. 32,999.

Nexus 5 India

Link: Nexus 5 phone on Google Play

Nexus 7 (2013) in India

The Nexus 7 tablet’s latest 2013 version was released a few months ago in the US. The device runs Android 4.3 Jellybean but it will have an assured update to Android 4.4 KitKat. The tablet is available in three different varieties. The 16 GB variant is available in WiFi only and the 32GB variant is available in WiFi and also another one with LTE unlocked (GSM).

Nexus 7 2013 India

Pricing

  • Nexus 7 16 GB WiFi – Rs. 20,999
  • Nexus 7 32 GB WiFi – Rs. 23,999
  • Nexus 7 32 GB LTE + WiFi – Rs. 27,999

The Nexus 7 32 GB LTE + WiFi version is a pretty good deal. I personally ordered myself a Nexus 7 32 GB WiFi tablet and when its delivered, you can expect a complete review.

Link: Nexus 7 on Google Play

Old Nexus 7 tablets are a bargain

While the new Nexus 7 is far superior to its last years predecessor, it still is a handy tablet to have. The best part of the old Nexus 7 are being sold at prices as low as Rs. 8,999. I saw that price on Flipkart but on Amazon.in it was available for Rs. 11,299.

Google revamps Play Store web, adding Android touch to it

One of the announcements which didn’t get much attention at this year’s I/O, was about Play Store web getting redesigned. It’s kind of hilarious but Google took this much time to release the redesigned Play Store (almost two months).  The Android Play Store app too got redesigned a month back.

To sum up the design of the new Play Store web in one sentence – it’s like Android, on the Web.

Play store

As you open the website, you’ll see a clean header image notifying you about the redesign. The icons have all the attention, in the new design. This is not expected, because generally app icons in Android are very inconsistent in size and never have a harmony between them.

The colors will look amazing. It’s the same ones you see on the Google’s new Android apps like Play Books, Movies and so on.

The app pages also look very good now. Screenshots will be viewed in full sizes and everything is nicely laid out. The Editor’s Choice page looks stunningly good because of the Roboto Slab. It’s the same typeface you see in Google Keep app and now it’s on Play Store web.

You can now also manage your Wishlist items right from the website. This functionality was so badly needed.

Play Store is of course not just about apps, so even the Movies, Books and Music sections look nice. There are a few inconsistencies like this which can be easily fixed.

I also see a “Redeem Gift card” option in the sidebar, after seeing which I got excited, but as it turns out, gift cards aren’t yet available in India.

If there’s one thing I miss in the new Play store, both the Web and Android versions, that’s the featured sections. Google has to bring that back.

Link: Play Store

Related: How To Return Android Apps After 15 Minutes Trial Window (it works just fine the new Play Store)

How To Return Android Apps After 15 Minutes Trial Window

It is a well known fact that Google Play allows the users to return the purchased Android apps after 15 minutes minutes of purchase. What if you want to return an app that you bought a month back? This guide highlights a quick way to easily refund your purchased Google Play app even after the 15 minutes trial window.

Guide to Return Android apps After 15 Minutes

  • Go to Google Play and login using your Google account.
  • Click on the “My Orders & Settings” button at the bottom of the page to see the list of all Android purchases that you made. It will show the list of both free and paid Android apps that you purchased.
  • Search for the app that you want to refund.
  • Click on the “Report a problem” button available next to that.

report-a-problem

  • A box appears, select the “I’d like to request a refund” option in the “Select your Issue…” drop-down list.

request-a-refund

  • A text box appears then. Type a brief message in that box.
  • Click “Send report“.
  • Now it’s time to wait for a while. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a mail from Google immediately, stating that a refund will be issued. There are also circumstances when you don’t get any mail from Google, yet get your account credited with the refund amount.

This is a really useful option that most of the Android users are unaware. I have returned around 5 apps myself after finding them pretty ugly.

Google cleans up Android by removing 60,000 Apps and redesigns Play Store

Google has announced a new card based design for Google Play. The new design for Google Play Store, shows larger images for highlighting apps, continuously shows new recommendations and more has also made purchasing and paying for apps and content easier.

New Design Google Play on Tablet With 700,000 apps on Play Store, it becomes a little difficult for users to navigate and find the best apps for their Android phones. Also there are many apps which are malicious and also untrustworthy on Android. This is one place where Apple’s app store is better as the apps that are listed go through a rigorous process of approval.

But lately Google seems to be getting its act together.

Google deletes 60,000 apps from Play Store

According to TechCrunch, Google has done a bit of clean up of Android apps by deleting over 60,000 apps from the Play Store. That is a big number and if the number of apps are at 700,000 then its amounts to over 8% of the total apps being removed.

That is a big clean up and it is understandable move by Google. It wants to make Google Play as a big revenue earner for selling content like movies, books and music. So it will need Google Play to be a trustworthy brand which deletes spammy or malicious apps.

Related: How to use Entropay’s Virtual Credit Card to buy apps on Google Play

Indian movies are available on rental at Google Play and YouTube

It looks like Google is finally taking India seriously as a consumer market. Today Google unveiled a double treat for users. First was making movies available on Google Play and also making movies made available on rental with YouTube.

Google Play has started listing local movies that can be downloaded for Indian users. I saw that a quick search of Hindi movies brought about a few popular movies that can be purchased.

Google Play Hindi Movies

Mostly the prices are lower for older movies while newer ones are expensive. Foreign language movies are even more expensive.

This move comes on the heels of Google Play listing Nexus 7 available in India. It had already started selling books on Google Play for users.

So was not surprise that Google Play has started renting out movies.

Link: Google Play – Movies

YouTube Movie Rentals

YouTube_Rentals

The movies are up for rental on YouTube with their new featured channels that allow Indian users to not just stream full length movies free but also rent them online. This option of renting movies is newly introduced in India. The listings and pricing seems similar to Google Play movies.

Link: YouTube Movies

What is in store for the future?

Apple has already launched Apple TV in India. I can see Google now is preparing the ground for something similar. It is reasonable to expect Google TV being made available in India at some point of time.

Though one major drawback in India are broadband speeds are not exactly blazing fast all over but if more people rented movies online, ISPs will see an opportunity to improve broadband speeds.

Bonus Tip: If you are having trouble using or registering your bank card to buy apps, books and movies on Google Play, check our guide on using Entropay’s virtual credit card.

Android app to hide SMS and call log details of specific contacts [Shady Contact]

Shady Contact - app to hide SMS and call logs

This post is for those folks who want to hide their text messages and call details from certain numbers on their phones. We can do this on Android by locking your phone with a password or drawing a pattern. But what if you want to hide call logs and text messages from certain specific contacts? This is where Shady Contacts app ends up being helpful.

What does Shady Contacts App do?

Shady Contact - Screenshot

  • The app allows you to hide text messages and call logs from particular phone numbers.
  • The Shady Contacts app basically hides text messages and call logs from the stock app of your phone. You can save it using pattern as a password.
  • It also has the additional option of auto-deleting all the data if you get the pattern wrong a certain set number of times.
  • Users can protect this data based on contacts and also set up customized notifications.

I personally did not find any real use of this app as I do not know any shady contacts.

But I found out that the app settings allows you to hide all messages and calls logs from numbers that are not saved on my phone. That actually removes a lot of the clutter from my phone’s inbox.

Do try out Shady Contacts and drop in your comments.

Link: Shady Contacts

Google Play Store Celebrates 1-Year Anniversary with Discounts on Apps

Google_play_1_year_offersGoogle is now celebrating the one year anniversary of its Play Store. Google Play which was formerly the Android Marketplace, was re-branded as a big challenge that Google is mounting to Amazon and Apple. The other two big services who sell content like movies, music, books and apps on devices. Today, to celebrate the one year anniversary of Google Play, it is rolling out a lot of discounts on apps, movies, music and magazines.

Just visit the Google Play promotion page and you should be able to see the apps available free or at a discount. I checked

The discount and free apps will be given away for a limited period of time. So it won’t be a bad idea to check their birthday offers link once or twice a day to see if you can pick up something interesting.

Not much choice for India!

I was looking forward to some discounts on books but it seems there is not hardly much choice for Indian users. I think only a few apps with discounts are available for users from India.

I think as I am using Android 4.0 ICS on my phone and not the latest Jelly Bean version hence it might be showing me lesser apps  as available for my phone. Also I am guessing tablets using Android will also get more apps to choose from.

If you have got a discount on a app from Google’s birthday offering, do let us know in your comments.

Link: Birthday Offers – Google Play

Google adds Books to Play Store’s catalogue in India

It’s been a long time since Google has moved from Android Market to Google Play, aiming to create a store for all kinds of content, including Apps, Music, Books and Magazines. But in many countries, Play store is restricted to Apps, nothing more than that.

Until today, India was one of those. Thankfully, Google has added new kind of content to its store – releasing Play Books in India.

play-books-india

If you open Google Play in your browser or the app on your Android, you should be seeing a Books section inline with Apps. You’ll be prompted to download Play Books app for Android, which is what you need if you want to read any books you’ve bought.

The collection seems to be pretty huge, especially for a first time release. There are a good number of books you can get for free, too – check out the ‘Top Free’ section for those.

You can preview the books before buying which is nice to have. Apart from Play Books app on Android, you can even read the books on your library from the site itself. If you’re on iOS, you can get the Play Books app, it’s also optimized for iPad.

Flipkart has been doing pretty great with their eBooks collection and Apple has recently brought music to iTunes store in India. It’ll be interesting to see which service people will go with for buying content.

Link: Google Play

Buy apps on Google Play with EntroPay’s Virtual Credit Card

Google Play never officially supported debit cards for app purchases, but few debit cards like that of ICICI Bank’s do work. But if you’re like me, you’re left out with a debit card which Play store doesn’t support. This was the case only until I found out EntroPay, which lets you get Virtual Credit cards (VCCs), and guess what, Play store supports them.

entropay-vcc

Getting an EntroPay card

The process is pretty simple. You head over to EntroPay, fill the sign up form with details that match the one on your credit/debit card (which is just a precaution).

As the account is created, you’ll be asked to recharge your card for the first time, the minimum amount you can deposit is 20$. You can deposit via credit/debit cards or even bank transfer.

EntroPay takes certain amount of money you deposited as fees, which depends on whether you deposited via credit/debit card or bank transfer. For example, if you have deposited via a credit/debit card, 4.95% of the deposited money is taken as fees. Check the Fees page on the site for more information.

After all this gets done, you’ll be granted a virtual credit card, which looks something the screenshot above.

Using EntroPay card on Google Play

After that’s done, you have to go to Google Checkout (which is basically what’s used in Play store) and enter details of the EntroPay VCC.

This is the tricky part, as it asks for address – while denying your actual home address. The solution is to put address of EntroPay’s headquarters which are located in Malta. You can get the address from the contact page on their site.

This is how the address should look (including country, pin code and city):

google-wallet

And you’re almost done.

Next time while you’re buying an app on Play store’s website or the Android app, select the VCC which you just created (you’ll be shown a list of cards available from Google Checkout).

I’ve tried all this personally and can assure that it works.

This is not restricted to Play store, though. It should work for others too, like Skype credits (haven’t given a try for App store).