One more app that took part in Update Wednesday yesterday is the official Chromecast app, which helps users set up their new Chromecasts to work with their phone or tablet. The app got bumped from 1.3.10 to 1.5.3 and while Google has published its own short change log, we of course couldn't resist doing a quick teardown to see if there were any other goodies. First though, here's what Google says is new.
|Liam Spradlin||Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.|
WhatsApp, the incredibly popular messaging service recently acquired by Facebook for 19 Instagrams dropped an update for Android users today, bringing the app up to version 2.11.186. The update brings to the Play Store features beta users have enjoyed since version 2.11.181 earlier this month.
Users who grab the update will enjoy new privacy settings for "last seen," profile photo, and status (allowing users to limit who can see each), a camera shortcut (a 1x1 widget for quick photo capture), and several other UI improvements.
Typically, AP refrains from covering crowd-funding projects that have not yet reached their funding goal. Sometimes, though, there comes a campaign that is just too good to pass up. These campaigns usually fall into one of two categories - either the yet-unfunded campaign is unbelievably awesome, or it's really weird and kind of ridiculous. We'll let you decide which bucket the HeadWatch falls into.
On the surface, the HeadWatch looks pretty much like any current smartwatch - it receives notifications, can manage phone calls, and has a big square display and unfashionable wrist strap.
Readers may remember Archos' suite of connected home "objects" announced last December and officially detailed at CES. The suite includes a motion-sensitive camera, lights, a weather station, and a Smart Tracker.
The objects aren't actually available for sale just yet, but the manufacturer has added a couple of new apps to the Play Store to eventually assist in managing the network of smart objects - one that will allow you to connect to the devices from any Android device, and one specifically meant for the 7" Smart Home Tablet.
If you're entrenched in Adobe's creative ecosystem, or just want to try a new photo editing and storage solution for your mobile devices, you may be interested to learn that the company has brought an official Revel app to the Play Store.
Before discussing the app, it would be prudent to remind readers that Adobe Revel works on a plan system with free and paid options - for free, you get unlimited photo and video imports for 30 days.
A few days ago, we published a story about Google's possibly upcoming smartwatch. Current rumors suggest that the watch may be ready in time for Google I/O, and that it might be made by LG. We also mentioned that we had heard of a Motorola prototype previously - a prototype that may have been scrapped in favor of a new design from the manufacturer who made the Nexus 4 and 5.
Just in case you were worried there wouldn't be anything intriguing or unexpected about Galaxy S5, check this out - Spritz, a new company (launched February 23rd) looking to "reinvent reading" will be coming exclusively to the S5 and Gear 2 by way of an email app. From Spritz's news release it isn't clear whether this will be the default app on the phone or a preloaded one, but the technology itself makes it interesting either way.
Besides the TalkBand B1, Huawei introduced three other devices in their MWC presentation - the MediaPad X1 7.0, MediaPad M1 8.0, and the Ascend G6. The first is pegged as a phone/tablet hybrid, the second just a tablet (capable of Wi-Fi calling and SMS), and the third a budget to mid-range phone.
We'll take a quick look at all three, but let's start with the MediaPad X1.
MediaPad X1 7.0
The X1 "combines the functionality of a smartphone and tablet" in its aluminum alloy body, and besides Huawei's own suite of software enhancements with Emotion UI 2.0, has plenty of specs worth looking twice at.
As part of its Mobile World Congress presentation, Huawei officially unveiled its own entry into the wearable market with the TalkBand B1. There's no denying the device looks odd, but there's functionality hidden in its slightly weird-looking body. The display portion of the device actually pops out and can be used as a Bluetooth headset, while the band itself can be uncapped to reveal a USB connector for charging.
According to CNet's hands-on, Huawei claims 7 hours talk time and 2 weeks standby battery life for the device.