Chrome and Android have been strengthening the old Google family ties for a while now, but according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, they just got a little tighter. The WSJ reports that Hiroshi Lockheimer, who currently serves as the Vice President of Engineering for Android, has also assumed the role of Vice President of Engineering for Chrome. That would put him in charge to a greater or lesser degree of the Chrome browser on desktops, Chromebooks and similar ChromeOS hardware, and Chrome on Android and iOS, plus whatever else Google has cooking up.
When Samsung and LG began selling their Android Wear watches, it seems they made a small oversight: the only way to get the proprietary POGO pin charging docks was to buy the watch. That left customers who had lost or damaged the chargers with no way to get their devices charged again. LG made good on the problem by adding a G Watch Charger to the Play Store back in August, and now Samsung has followed up for the Gear Live as well.
Sony's relationship with "pure" Android is an interesting one. As a company they generally make it easy to root or otherwise modify their phones or tablets, with a few notable qualifiers. The AOSP for Xperia project, which provides the basic tools for building standard Android ROMs on popular devices, is also one way that Sony stays relevant for those who buy phones with the intent to add aftermarket software. Today it gets two new flagship options, the older Xperia Z1 and Z2.
After Star Wars, Marvel, and The Walking Dead, it seems like just about any property is fair game for Zen Studios' expanding pinball franchise. The latest addition is South Park, Comedy Central's foul-mouthed animated show now in its 18th season. As usual with Zen Pinball expansions, you can get the two new 3D tables as either a stand-alone paid app or as in-app purchase expansions to the original game. The separate app is $4, or each table is $2, so it works out the same.
If you were a fan of "sim management" games in the early 2000s, you probably played at least one version of RollerCoaster Tycoon. Next year Atari will revive the franchise with RollerCoaster Tycoon World on the PC, but for now the official fourth installment of the series is oddly limited to mobile, arriving about six months late on Android. RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 uses the same basic structure of the original 1999 game, albeit with remixed limits and annoyances for the free-to-play format.
NVIDIA has generally been among the best manufacturers when it comes to timely Android updates. With semi-monthly software updates to the original SHIELD Portable and SHIELD Tablet, complete with bug fixes and feature improvements, there wasn't really any doubt that the company's new Tegra K1-powered flagship would be getting a Lollipop upgrade. Even so, NVIDIA went and made it official with the tweet below.
Android 5.0 Lollipop and more is coming to NVIDIA SHIELD tablet.
Are you super-anxious to get your hands on Android L, now that it's been officially revealed as version 5.0 with the Lollipop name? Well tough noogies - it looks like we'll have to wait for the releases of the new Nexus 6 phone and Nexus 9 tablet before the older Nexus and Google Play Edition devices get their updates. But if you have a Nexus 5 or a Wi-Fi Nexus 7, you've already got the Android L Developer Preview builds as an option.
The Nexus 6 looks to be Google's most widely-released phone ever, at least in the context of United States carriers. While the company has taken an "unlocked first" approach to carrier partnerships since the ill-fated Verizon Galaxy Nexus, it has offered at least some of the traditional phone sales on the Nexus 5. For the new Motorola Nexus 6, every major American carrier will have a phone option, though whether that means there's one phone that will work with all or there will be multiple versions, we can't say at the moment.
Someone at the unconventional indie carrier Republic Wireless is a big fan of Motorola. In addition to carrying both the high-end Moto X and the budget-oriented Moto G (both from 2013), the company is now offering the low-end Moto E in its limited lineup of customized phone hardware, as promised. Interested customers can pick one up from the company's online store for $99. White and black colors are available.
A quick spec refresh: the Moto E uses a 4.3-inch, 960x540 screen, a dual-core Snapdragon 200 processor running at 1.2GHz, 1GB of RAM and 4GB of storage, plus whatever you can fit in the MicroSD card slot.
Some Americans waited literally years for the weird and wonderful PadFone series to show up on a local carrier... and were finally unsurprised to see AT&T be the only one to bite. (Seriously, between all that Amazon and HTC hardware, AT&T seems like the only American carrier willing to take a little risk.) Now AT&T and ASUS are teaming up again for the slightly smaller version of the phone-tablet docking concept, the PadFone X Mini.