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Top Android news of the week: Fire OS update, Android One, Microsoft cross-platform keyboard

Amidst this week's hoopla over iOS, Amazon announced a major update to its version of Android Fire OS, Google shared its vision for Android One, and Microsoft released a cool mobile keyboard that works on several platforms.

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Fire OS 4.0 announced by Amazon

Amazon unveiled several Kindles and Kindle Fire tablets, along with the next major version of Fire OS, Version 4.0. The new OS adds new features, notably the introduction of multiple user profiles. This lets several users share one Kindle Fire tablet with each having their own personal space.

The cool Firefly feature that debuted with the Fire Phone comes to the Kindle Fire 8.9 tablet with 4.0. This is the feature that makes searching Amazon for a product easy by snapping its photo. Firefly can also translate text captured with the camera.

Source: ZDNet

Google unleashes Android One for emerging markets

Android One
Image: Google

The Android One initiative announced this week by Google targets emerging markets with low-cost phones. The intent is to have partners in Android One produce phones for less than $100. Google already has several partners in India lined up for Android One.

To make this initiative work, Google will take over software updates, unlike standard Android procedures that come under criticism. The process will have Google release updates to all Android One phones. Expect Android handset owners in developed regions to start demanding universal updates to relieve fragmentation that is common.

Source: ZDNet

Microsoft releases mobile keyboard for Windows, iOS, and Android tablets

The folks in Redmond are serious about mobile, and that includes accessories. The Universal Mobile Keyboard is an accessory designed to work with tablets running Android, iOS, and Windows 8.1.

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The Bluetooth keyboard has a toggle switch for each supported platform to enable specific controls for each. It lacks a trackpad so it can work with the iPad, so Windows tablet owners might want to think twice about using it.

Source: ZDNet

Hidden feature in Chrome for Android answers queries while typing them

The Chrome browser in Android is quite capable, and this hidden feature makes it even more so. Once enabled, Chrome for Android will start showing answers for queries as they are typed in the URL bar.

The answers are displayed in the Omnibox that drops down while typing in the URL bar, so there is no need to do anything but tap on the desired answer.

To enable this feature do the following:

  • Go to chrome://flags in a new tab
  • Find the ‘Answers in Suggest’ flag
  • Tap on the drop-down box
  • Set it to ‘Enabled’

Restart the browser when instructed and you’re good to go.

Source: OMG! Chrome