Google Maps product manager Evan Rapoport revealed another Android 4.3 change on Google+ this morning - better photo spheres. Photo spheres were introduced in Android 4.2, and I truly believe they're one of the biggest things to happen to personal photography in years. They're limited to Nexus devices for the time being - and viewing outside of Maps / Google+ is still hard - but it's encouraging to see that Google is still going strong developing the feature.
|David Ruddock||David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.|
While we aren't going to claim benchmarks are any kind of end-all measurement for real-world performance, there's little denying many people take a lot of stock in such utilities when purchasing a new device. The new Nexus 7, which is now packing basically the same chip as the Nexus 4, should provide a major performance boost over its Tegra 3 predecessor. But just how much of a boost? Google quantified it as 1.8x CPU performance, and 4x GPU performance.
Get excited, students - textbooks are coming to the Play Store next month, so you can get gouged digitally rather than in your university book store. This morning at an event which also featured the new Nexus 7 and Chromkey, Google announced that you'll soon be able to get some of those gigantic hardback tomes in eBook form on the Play Store, and they will presumably be viewable through the existing Play Books app.
Update: We have the official Google Play Games APK here - just pick a mirror:
Google's brand-new Android gaming hub has its own app, and you can get it in the Play Store right now, just see the widget below and start downloading! Check out the announcement post to learn more.
Basically, Google Play Games will serve as a hub for your gaming achievements, friends you play with, and the games you play.
Android 4.3 factory images and driver binaries for most recent Nexus devices have just been published on the Google Developers site, and chances are if you've got a new-ish Nexus, the image you're looking for is there. The Nexus 10, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 (Wi-Fi and mobile data), and Galaxy Nexus (takju / yakju variants) all have factory image downloads available right now, here.
Matching driver binaries can be found here, as well.
This is definitely one of the highlights of today's Nexus 7 presentation for me: multi-network LTE support in one device. No mucking about with carrier-specific models. This is really great, assuming your carrier is supported.
The new Nexus 7, if you opt for the LTE model, will support LTE data connectivity on AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. That's just kind of awesome. There are some potential caveats, though. Google did not elaborate on which frequencies were specifically supported, or if 3G support would be available on all three networks.
Google has announced the much-anticipated successor to the Nexus 7, released a little over a year ago, today at a small press conference. Hugo Barra introduced the device, which has been leaked extensively in the past month (several of those times being here, more recently).
The new Nexus 7 is thinner by 1.8mm, and narrower by 2.75mm on each side of the bezel in portrait orientation. It's also 50 grams lighter.
Motorola and Verizon unveiled the newest members of the DROID family today, and I had some time to play with these freshly-minted Kevlar constructions. My initial conclusion? These phones are all really, really alike.
In fact, it is easier to talk about the ways they are different than the ways they are the same. The Ultra is slimmest of the three (it's also the only not packing Qi wireless charging, because it would make the phone thicker).
With no DROID 5 in sight for an unveiling at next week's Verizon festivities, it seems the writing is on the wall for the form-factor that basically got Android off the ground: the QWERTY slider phone.
It's been nearly 4 years since the original DROID and HTC G1 debuted, two phones that really carried the Android platform in those early, uncertain days. It seemed, perhaps, that the trend the Sidekick (aka Hiptop) started in 2002 might continue on into the true smartphone era, side-by-side with the increasingly popular touchscreen slab (which at that point really just meant the iPhone).
The HTC One Mini has been a pretty poorly kept secret for some time now, and while it has previously been rumored as an upcoming AT&T handset, we can now all but confirm this fact - with pictures! This is the AT&T "HTC One mini," (the model name in the settings menu has 'mini' in lower-case) as leaked to us by an anonymous tipster.
Now, as you'll notice, these photos have various areas blacked out.