There's a new Google Play Services app in town, and it includes all kinds of goodies for developers. But there's a nasty surprise waiting inside Google Play Services 4.0, at least for users on some devices: it may have disabled the Android Device Manager's permission to act as a Device Administrator. This is what allows users to access the new remote lock and device wipe features from the web... which some of them might not realize they can no longer do.
|Jeremiah Rice||Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.|
We're not the first to observe this: plug an Android tablet into a charge (or even better, a wireless charger or dock) and it becomes a pretty splendid digital photo frame, like the one you gave your Grandma three Christmases ago that's still in the box. Cloud.TV, the developer behind the excellent HD Widgets, would like to offer you a more powerful alternative. Meet Dayframe, a connected and continuously-updating photo frame app.
Normally we're pretty pleased when we can report that a new country or carrier has enabled the option for carrier billing in the Google Play Store, allowing customers to charge app and media purchases directly to their phone bill. But for some reason, European carrier Vodafone seems to have dropped the option entirely. Vodafone has disappeared from the list of carrier billing partners on Google's Play Store support page, and we've confirmed the loss of capability from individual users in the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain.
One of the more drool-worthy aspects of the software from the Nexus 5 (and not necessarily Android 4.4) is the homescreen and launcher, which includes a ton of new features tied directly into Google Now and Google Search. But you might want to curb your enthusiasm: according to a report from The Verge, Google isn't interested in expanding that launcher to other devices at the moment.
There was an unusually specific leak from Samsung last month, showing a relatively accelerated schedule for updates on the Galaxy S4, S III, and Note II on all four major American carriers. That isn't much comfort for those customers on US Cellular, since the #5 carrier wasn't quite important enough to be included in the leak. But now there's a new leak in town, helpfully provided by an anonymous tipster, showing that the US Cellular Galaxy S4 will be updated on Friday the 8th.
In case you haven't seen Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, the local news, or the latest rabble-rousing speech from your ineffectual Congressman, today is the yearly release of Activision's Call of Duty franchise. Kudos to the publisher: they've managed to get the Android companion app published on day one, so half the male college students in the country can spend today's lecture time customizing their multiplayer loadout.
If you've played a multiplayer shooter in the last few years, you know how this goes.
It was only about six weeks ago that we were reporting on the shiny new Android app from Sold, the dead-simple aftermarket service that promised to make getting cash for your used gadgets and other semi-precious items as easy as dropping them in a box. This morning the company announced that they had been acquired by cloud storage giant Dropbox for an undisclosed sum.
As of now, Sold is not accepting new items for cash sales.
The first batch of Nexus 5 phones reached many early customers yesterday, but many of those taking advantage of the phone's compatibility with the Sprint network are having serious issues getting the device connected. According to several tips, this XDA thread, and this Google Groups thread, incompatible IMEI/MEID numbers on the phones are causing the activation process to fail, and giving major headaches all around.
Update: Sprint reached out to us with word that this is no longer an issue.
It's been a long time coming, but Google's distributed video advice service is finally live. Helpouts is a video chat service with a Google backbone, built on the interface and servers of Hangouts. But this is no mere chat service: it's designed specifically for users to connect with and learn from experts in their respective field. You can access the videos from the web or, naturally, the Android app.
Since you'll be connecting with individuals and companies that are ostensibly experts, you'll have to pay them for their time, either on a minute-by-minute basis or in a session fee.
For the uninitiated, Skylanders is a series of kid's video games that use collectible (read: expensive) real-world toys to unlock and enhance the power of the digital characters. The games have been smash hits on consoles, but so far Activision's only concession to the Play Store has been Cloud Patrol, a basic turret shooter that leaves a lot to be desired. The new Skylanders Battlegrounds, a more conventional action-RPG, should make much better use of the property.