Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got a space puzzler, a space arcade game, a space RPG...
Can you believe it's been three years since Google introduced its very own social network in private beta? We can - Android Police has published hundreds (Hell, maybe thousands) of articles about Google's social network, since it's been tightly integrated with the company's mobile, web, and search platforms. There have been a lot of big changes since then, and it still isn't the Facebook-stomping behemoth that some people hoped it might be.
If you couldn't make it to Google I/O, and thus couldn't get one of the first Android TV units as part of the developer swag, you can still start developing your apps for the platform's retail debut later in 2014. Google has included Android TV modules in the official Android SDK, underneath the Android L (API 20) package. That includes an emulator specifically for TV, so you should be able to build and test apps without any extra hardware.
So long, QuickOffice, we barely knew you. Well, that's not true - the app has been around for years, long before Android itself, and before Google acquired the company last year it was considered one of the better options for those who needed Microsoft Office-style editing on the go. But now that Google is integrating the main features from QuickOffice into Google Drive/Docs, most notably the ability to edit Microsoft Office files, there's no reason to keep it around.
Google isn't the only one laying the groundwork for Android TV in the Play Store. It looks like Netflix is making sure that people can access its streaming service on the new system, despite the fact that only a few thousand people have been able to get their hands on the developer hardware from Google I/O. There's already a Netflix app for Android TV on the Play Store.
Naturally, it's incompatible with everything except the ADT-1 developer device.
All the talk about Android L this week overshadows the unfortunate fact that the previous release is still on less than 15% of Android devices. This weekend US Cellular is helping in a small way, releasing KitKat to two of its Samsung phones. The US Cellular versions of the Galaxy S4 Mini and the Galaxy Mega (6.3) are both being updated to KitKat, so those with the applicable hardware should keep an eye out for the over-the-air alert.
Let's be clear about this: developers don't have any kind of obligation to update their apps for the Android L preview release. It's a preview - by definition, it's not ready for prime time, and developers shouldn't have to immediately treat it like consumer software. That said, it's nice to see that some have already begun to prepare for the full Android L release later this year. Even relatively large players like Twitter are getting in on the action.
The biggest reason to turn down Samsung's Pro line of tablets is easily the exorbitant pricing. $750 for a tablet? Seriously, Sammy? Unsurprisingly, the various models have quickly fallen to some dramatic discounts, none more so than the top-of-the-line Galaxy Note Pro 12.2. BuyDig's eBay seller account has a refurbished 32GB model going for $449.99. That's $200 off the Amazon price (and technically $300 off retail), and $50 cheaper than we saw earlier this month.
As with most of these promoted eBay deals, standard shipping is free, at least if you live in the United States.
There are big things happening at the world's biggest video site. Which one is biggest will probably depend on exactly what you want out out of Google's streaming behemoth, but the most notable addition from an Android perspective is the new YouTube Creator Studio app. This add-on allows frequent YouTube uploaders to check analytics, likes, comments, and that sort of thing without needing a PC. If you make your living on YouTube, which is statistically unlikely, this will be an invaluable resource.
Google is slowly expanding support for developers all over the world, and while devs in hundreds of countries can publish Android apps on the Google Play Store, only a small subset can charge money for them. After extending support to eight new countries last month, Google has added another nine today, bringing the total up to 54. Here are the new additions:
- Belarus (US Dollars)
- Chile (Chilean Pesos)
- Colombia (Colombian Pesos)
- Costa Rica (Colón)
- Egypt (Egyptian Pound)
- Kazakhstan (US Dollars)
- Kuwait (US Dollars)
- Nigeria (US Dollars)
- United Arab Emirates (Dirham)
To be clear, customers in these countries could already download and/or pay for Android apps on Google Play, and developers could already upload free apps, but after today they can charge for apps and in-app purchases and collect revenue from a Google Play Merchant account.
If you want in on the action, head to the Google Play Developer console and set up a Merchant account for $25 USD (or your local equivalent).