Think of smartwatches now like smartphones were around 2008 - despite the fact that the idea has been around for a long time, everyone is still trying to figure out the best way to go about it. In Android Wear, Google is trying to make a super-simple interface based on short swipes, taps, and voice commands... which leaves a lot of users craving more conventional tools. So we've got a launcher, a web browser, a file explorer (ugh) and now a substitute for the Recent Apps menu in Android OS.
Here's something that you might not know about Chrome for Android: you can search for text within a web page by typing your query in the URL bar, without using the menu button to manually tap the "find in page" tool. When searching for non-URL queries, you can tap the first result with the magnifying glass icon in the corner to search the text of the current page.
(If Chrome's URL bar auto-fills an address, just press backspace.)
It's a little-known feature - in fact, an informal Google+ poll from our own Artem Russakovskii found that less than half of over 700 users even knew it was there.
Just like any open marketplace, there's a lot of crap in the Play Store. In a strange and roundabout way, I'm actually OK with that - separating the silver from the dross of Android apps is one of our core functions at Android Police. But a recent promotion from antivirus vendor Trend Micro painted an extremely dim picture of the Play Store. The company claimed, among other things, that the Play Store was full of "potentially evil doppelgangers...
So, technically using software to unlock digital carrier blocks on your phone in the US is a violation of everyone's favorite draconian copyright legislation, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Unlocking your phone yourself could be seen as breaking a "technical measure," akin to cracking a DRM package (which, in most cases, is illegal). The Library of Congress can grant specific exemptions, like it already does for rooting and jailbreaking, but the latest one in 2012 was passed over without renewal.
Welcome to the future, ladies and gents. Your jacket isn't dry, your pizza isn't freeze-dried, and your car can't fly, but if it comes from Tesla, it's still pretty cool. If you also happen to have an Android Wear device, you can pretend to be Michael Knight by talking to your car through your watch, thanks to the unofficial Tesla Command app for Wear. Unfortunately it won't talk back, unless you count honking the horn.
It takes a lot for an Android web browser to get our attention. We've got Chrome in all its Googleyness, and we've got Dolphin if you need something more extensible. But the new Atlas browser beta, from NextApp (developers of SystemPanel App), may just warrant your attention. In addition to speedy rendering and surprising responsiveness, Atlas has some advanced features hidden behind a solid user interface. Oh, and did we mention it uses some Material Design cues in its visuals?
It's impossible for new customers to buy unlimited mobile data from Verizon. But this wasn't always the case: back in the glory days of, uh, 2010 and earlier, Verizon Wireless was still offering true unlimited data for as little as $30 a month. It's been increasingly hard for users who want to keep their unlimited data to do so: since late 2012, they haven't been able to buy a new subsidized phone without switching over to a plan with a data cap, and the "grandfathered" unlimited data customers who download the most are already subject to "network optimization" when using Verizon's 3G network.
We've been hearing rumors and seeing at least some evidence of a new Motorola flagship for the past few months. The Moto X was released in August of last year, which makes it just about time for a refresh in the current yearly phone cycle. Recently a tipster sent us a series of photos, claiming that the device is a "near-final prototype" from Motorola. The source claims that what you're looking at is the Moto X+1, and based on the evidence, it seems reasonably legitimate.
Valve's Portal and Half-Life 2, despite being quite old in terms of PC games, are two of the best showcase titles for the SHIELD right now. Naturally NVIDIA (which publishes both games in the Play Store) is eager to highlight them for the shiny new SHIELD Tablet. Actually, it's not shiny - the tablet is quite matte. But anyway, both games have been updated with SHIELD Tablet support, a week before the device is released.
Tynker made waves back in March when the developers released the teaching app on the iPad. It introduces children (or anyone, I suppose) to the basic principles of coding and programming. Tynker was available on the web before that, teaching extremely basic programming with a puzzle-style visual interface and pre-made tools. The Android app is only available on tablets, which makes sense given the format, and it costs $4.99 with no in-app purchases.