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United States QR code usage jumps 500%, still isn’t cool

Good news, scanning enthusiasts! Adults in the US are using QR codes and other barcode scanning apps five times as much as least year! Of course, since that's a jump of 1% to 5%, there's still less than one in twenty people who are actually using it. Considering that smartphones in general and Android in particular have seen a genuinely meteoric rise in the general phone market, the rate of QR adoption is positively pokey.

PogoPlug Cloud gives Android access to free cloud storage

Niche hardware maker PogoPlug have made a name for themselves delivering reliable and easy access to network attached storage, both on home and local business networks and across the Internet. Their latest creation is in line with a lot of their more web-centric competitors: PogoPlug Cloud. The free service will give anyone 5 gigabytes of free data storage - no PogoPlug hardware purchase needed - and the current Android app will be updated to access the storage natively.

PayPal for Android updates with NFC, tablet support

Finally, an alternative to Google Wallet - now if only I could find somewhere that actually accepts NFC payment. PayPal completely remade their Android app today, adding near-field communication support, though support for actual retail payments seems to be a little lacking. A completely new layout, a more minimal interface, and a new widget round out the additions. You can download the latest version in the Android Market now.

Android-powered MOD Live makes you a ski slope Terminator

Little GPS gadgets have been a long-time fan for hikers, runners, and skiers, but it looks like Recon Instruments' new MOD Live takes things to a higher elevation. The newest model of wearable computer pairs with your Android phone over Bluetooth to give you a live map of the area, share your run online, and access music and texts without reaching into your coat. The information is sent to a tiny screen that lives on the inside of your goggles.

Griffin’s Beacon Universal Remote Control turns any Android device into a remote

Ever since the faithful old infrared port started disheartening from Palm Pilots, I've been wondering how one might replicate the functionality of the universal remote control programs that graced PalmOS. Today Android owners can get a simulacrum of that experience with the Griffin's Beacon Universal Remote Control system, which will connect with Dijit Media's remote app to control any home theater device with an IR remote. The $69.99 system is shipping from Griffin and major retailers now.

Cartoon Wars: Gunner+ is the animated violence you crave for free

Back in the nineties there was a big scare about cartoon violence. Lots of angry mothers with nothing much to decided to make sure that Spiderman couldn't punch anyone with a closed fist and the Animaniacs had to have a Wheel of Morality. Well you're an adult now, and you can have all the gosh-darned cartoon carnage you want. To celebrate that fact, why not try Cartoon Wars: Gunner+, a free download from the Android Market.

Qualcomm’s Skifta app streams video and manages your DLNA devices

Qualcomm-Atheros is making a cloud push in a big way with their new Skifta service and app. Skifta is a system for DLNA-certified devices that allows streaming media by way of your phone from either your phone or your home computer, giving you options that previously required separate apps. Built-in free content from the likes of Picasa, Revision 3 and TED Talks rounds out the package. Basically, Skifta (man, it's hard to find good non-copyrighted names these days) aims to be a one-stop-shop for all of your media, streaming easily to connected televisions, computers and speaker systems. Video, audio and photos are currently supported. Skifta works on DLNA and UPnP-compatible devices, including Windows 7 computers and the PlayStation 3. The promotional video lays it all out: [youtube ezP6Ee9HoRo] Skifta's a free download from the Android Market, and no, you don't need a Qualcomm processor inside your phone or tablet to use it. The software is in its 1.0 release, so there may very well be some compatibility or stability issues. But hey, it's free - what have you got to lose? This may be a good indication of similar systems from OEMs, like Motorola's upcoming MotoCast.

Vizio 8 owners get three free months of Hulu Plus via software update

Vizio's 8-inch tablet is a bit of a tough sell in a sea of similar competitors, despite its relatively low retail price of $299. But today it's a little more attractive: a new software update is rolling out that includes three free months of access to Hulu's premium streaming app, Hulu Plus. That's in addition to a free month of Netflix, making the Vizio tablet a suddenly attractive alternative for video-hungry Android users.
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