A week ago, a Chromecast Preview Firmware changed all references of the companion Google Cast app to Google Home. The reasoning for that change seemed simple at the time: presumably you would control Google Home and your Chromecasts from the same app. But a recent report from Variety sheds light on Google Cast's role in Google's smart home ecosystem.
It's no secret that adoption of Google Cast in WiFi speakers has grown exponentially. Cast is a huge step up from Bluetooth speakers in terms of usability (no finicky pairing), and unlike Apple's AirPlay technology, is platform-agnostic. Thanks to the rapid adoption of Google Cast, Google has relationships with numerous companies in the audio industry - relationships it hopes to use for Google Home. Read More
Generally speaking, smartwatches are pretty cool. While they might be just be wrist-worn extensions of a phone, that can be pretty useful sometimes. However, I think most of us agree that smartwatches should be multi-platform, like most other electronic accessories such as battery bank chargers and Bluetooth speakers. This is why Android Wear is awesome - because it works with both Android and iOS. With the release of the iPhone 7, though, a few Android-based smartwatches have not been working or pairing correctly with the new flagship Apple device.
It's not really known why these watches are not working with the iPhone 7. Read More
There's a new version of Gmail rolling out today with a number of small changes. You may or may not notice these tweaks to functionality, but you'll probably notice the new graphics Google has added for an empty inbox or spam folder. It's kind of like Inbox. Read More
Google's new smart home hub, Google Home, will work with the Samsung-owned SmartThings platform out of the box, according to a source familiar with the companies' plans. We trust the quality of this information implicitly, so consider this rumor a '10' on the confidence scale, barring some sort of delay that leads to Google postponing the announcement.
Google Home would probably be near-dead on arrival without compatibility for some common smart home technology, and aside from Nest (for which we assume Home compatibility is a given), SmartThings is one of the most obvious choices. SmartThings hub devices work with a wide variety of smart home products, and making Google Home compatible with this platform will ensure that SmartThings users have another, non-Echo option for a smart home assistant and speaker device. Read More
The Force Awakens is approaching a year old, but by Star Wars standards, the merchandising is only just beginning. A particularly new offering is the Star Wars Force Band, which lets you control Sphero's tiny BB-8 droid that has been rolling around since the film hit theaters. But instead of doing so using an on-screen interface, you use the Force. Read More
The Text-to-speech app doesn't see many major updates throughout the year, but when it does, there's often something interesting to see when it happens. Version 3.10 began rolling out yesterday and it comes bearing a pair of new settings to intelligently alter volume based on existing audio playback and to control the intonation of synthesized voices. As always, we've got a link below to grab the latest apk if you aren't among the first to get it straight from Google. Read More
I don't "read" news anymore. If you saw what my Gmail inbox looks like every morning, you'd understand why reading something, anything really, other than the 300 or so emails we get at Android Police every day is a bit of an optimistic dream that I stopped entertaining a long time ago. I do listen to news though, in the form of podcasts that I've cherry-picked to my preferences and that I enjoy while driving or walking.
Back when I did read the news though, Flipboard was something I liked. It had a beautiful magazine-style approach, interesting articles and curated collections, and a large user base, which is crucial when your whole news network relies on user interactions and content too. Read More
If you click the source links at most of our posts about Google products, you might notice there is a lot of Google blogs. Almost every Google product has its own blog - Android, Gmail, YouTube, Chrome, Google Fiber, you name it. I think Google finally realized the need to consolidate, and has created 'The Keyword.'
The Keyword replaces the former Google company blog (googleblog.blogspot.com), which has been mirrored by the Internet Archive if you want to compare. The blog is a mix of product announcements and coverage of various events. In the official announcement post, Google says The Keyword combines content from 19 other blogs - but doesn't say which ones. Read More
Unity, if you're not familiar with game development, is a popular cross-platform game engine. Although Unity games can most often be found on PC and consoles, Android games utilizing the engine include Crossy Road, Monument Valley, Lara Croft: Relic Run, and more. Today Unity has announced the Vulkan Renderer Preview, finally allowing developers to use the Vulkan API with their games.
The Vulkan API (not to be confused with the Star Trek planet Vulcan) has been hyped to the moon and back in the gaming industry recently, and for good reason. Based on AMD's Mantle API, it is a new graphics API designed to be cross-platform (much like Unity) and have a low overhead. Read More