It looks like the "OK, Google" search hotword has now become a standard feature for advanced Android launchers. Nova Launcher added the search function in its 3.0 update earlier this month, and now its biggest competitor, Apex, has followed suit. Users who are on Android 4.4 can enable the voice-activated search function in Apex Launcher 2.4. Earlier versions, sadly, cannot access the functionality - you'll have to search with your fingers like some kind of sad troglodyte.
Once the CyanogenMod team found and implemented the hidden Heads Up notification mode, it was basically inevitable that all the other major custom ROMs would follow suit. The unicorn-powered Android Open Kang Project has done so with their first nightly based on Android 4.4.4. They've also thrown in the usual bug fixes, as well as settings for automatic Immersive mode, disabling the full-screen keyboard, lockscreen orientation, and a few other goodies.
According to our demographics, not many of you will remember playing the licensed Spy vs Spy game adapted from the MAD Magazine characters in its original Commodore, Atari, and Apple II release. Those of you who do (or who tried the various console remakes) will be thrilled to learn that there's a new release of the game, with both modern Flash-style animation and a translated version of the original. And yes, multiplayer is included.
I'm a twenty-something bachelor, so if you were to assume that my homemaking skills are somewhat lacking, I probably wouldn't bother to chide you for stereotyping. If I cared enough about such things (or owned a house), I might look into BrightNest, a subsidy of Angie's List that's focused on giving you tips for keeping your living place in tip top shape. The popular website just launched an Android app to compliment its online tips and tricks.
In case we didn't make it clear with yesterday's post, we were more than a little miffed at Verizon's dismissal of Chromebook Pixel LTE owners. The company told customers that it had unceremoniously ended Google's free 100MB/month data bundle for the Pixel LTE after just one year, despite the initial two-year service promotion. Today Google is offering a consolation prize to those customers who bought the Chromebook Pixel LTE from the Play Store: a $150 refund credit.
Cyanogen, the corporate arm of the popular CyanogenMod custom ROM, is on a roll. After a few high-profile hires from the world of aftermarket Android ROMs earlier this year, the company is after some more conventional hires for its leadership team, dipping their toes into the pool of corporate technology. This week they welcome Tyler Carper, formerly of HTC, Vikram Natarajan, formerly of OEM parts manufacturer MediaTek, and Dave Herman, formerly of Microsoft, Amazon, and Hulu, as new vice presidents.
Admit it, Glass owners, half the reason you're going to Google I/O is that you want to chat with other Glass people about how cool Glass is (hashtag throughglass). Google has given you plenty to chat about: they've just thrown a dozen new apps into the Glassware gallery, all of them from notable sources. Probably the most interesting is Livestream, the official app for Livestream.com, which was previously available as a side-load install.
Sometimes corresponding events that might otherwise be considered mere coincidence are so amazing that they're attributed to serendipity or universal irony. This... isn't one of those times. But it might just make you go, "huh." Google's recent acquisition Nest Labs has launched the Nest Developers Program, which will allow developers to easily create connections between the smart thermostat and smoke detector hardware and other integrated devices. You can check out various tools and documentation at developer.nest.com.
The big question on everyone's mind when Nokia revealed the Android-powered X line was whether their new masters at Microsoft would continue the line after the acquisition. It looks like Redmond is ready for another lap around the Android pool, at least in conjunction with its extensively-customized software load, because Nokia just announced the X2 for immediate release. The 99 Euro ($135) phone is "available immediately in select countries globally." Both global and select, huh?
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Today's roundup is sponsored by Wonder Wood from Herocraft.