Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

26
Jun
arathumb
Last Updated: September 4th, 2014

Project Ara is still going strong, and Google demonstrated it at I/O at the ATAP presentation. Project Ara Technical Lead Paul Eremenko talks up the modular phone platform in the video below (starting at around 23:30), bringing the concept beyond simple phone component upgrades. "What if a phone could see in the dark? What if a phone could test if water is clean?" The collaborative Ara team wants the hardware to be just as flexible as the larger Android ecosystem.

26
Jun
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I don't think the developer behind the Xposed Google Experience Launcher Settings (XGELS) module will be satisfied until he's made the stock Google Search launcher every bit as flexible as Nova and Apex. The latest update to the popular module adds even more customization options. Premium users can now assign custom icons to a single app or the app drawer icon, with or without a full icon theme applied, like most of the more advanced launchers allow.

26
Jun
nexusae0_Chromecast-Thumb-150x150

Just yesterday Google announced that it would soon allow users to send video and other entertainment items to a nearby Chromecast even when they're not connected to the same WiFi network, with the backend relying on location data for verification. It looks like there's some even more interesting technology going on behind the scenes. GigaOm reports that the upcoming update will allow Chromecast and Android devices to authenticate each other using ultrasonic waves.

26
Jun
beeeeeam

Android Beam has been around since 4.0, but the NFC sharing tool has always been a little awkward (I think I've used it successfully twice in three years), since it relies on both phones physically detecting each other in proximity before you can even initiate the sending process. In the preview versions of the "L" release, Beam finally gets its own dedicated option in the standard Android Share menu, which should make it much less ambiguous.

26
Jun
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Update: If you want to flash this new version of Keep, you'll need the latest GMS (Google Play Services) package, released yesterday, as well - you can get it here.

Just one day after Google's expanded introduction of Android Wear at I/O, one of the apps demonstrated in the keynote is being updated to support it. Most of us can't get our hands on the LG G Watch or the Samsung Gear Live until July, but for those who actually attended I/O, and who have one or the other as some awesome swag, the latest update to Google's Keep notation and reminder app will be a welcome one.

26
Jun
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Lyft is a great alternative in between taxis and public transit, but the somewhat egalitarian nature of the service means you don't always know what to expect. Recently Lyft rolled out its Lyft Plus premium service in San Francisco. Lyft Plus still relies on independent drivers, but they've been sold special white Ford Explorers customized by Lyft to meet a higher standard than you'll usually see in normal Lift vehicles.

Screenshot_2014-06-25-14-04-37 Screenshot_2014-06-25-14-04-44

Lyft Plus Explorers seat up to six passengers in leather seats, making them a pretty good choice if you've got a handful of people that need to go somewhere and you'd rather not cram into someone's Civic.

26
Jun
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Back in the 90s, I remember PlayStation games that had warnings that would display on the screen before the action started, stating that the game might just give you seizures. Wave Wave does not include a seizure warning, but it probably should. Between thumping chiptune music, a playing field that's constantly shifting perspective, and difficulty that's beyond insane, it could easily become the next game that mobile players everywhere will love to hate.

26
Jun
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The World Ends With you came out on the Nintendo DS in 2008, and it quickly became a surprising hit, reviving developer Square Enix in the minds of RPG fans everywhere. With the fresh setting of contemporary Tokyo, an art style inspired by graffiti, and a unique battle system that took advantage of the DS hardware, it's easy to see why. The enhanced iOS version came out almost two years ago, but as typical with Square releases, it's just now coming to Android.

26
Jun
nexusae0_wm_IMG_2665
Last Updated: July 9th, 2014

Google took its sweet time updating the Nexus-style Google Play Edition of the G Pad 8.3 to Android 4.4.3, but it looks like they had a good reason. The tablet has been zipped straight to 4.4.4, and the over-the-air update should be going out now. If you're not willing to wait - and it might be a few days, considering the staggered rollout - we've got a link to the update ZIP file below.

25
Jun
fighttothedeath

Two men, each a hardened warrior, each with a single goal: survive. Their wills are iron, their bodies are steel, and their entire being is wrapped around the intensity of their deadly purpose. Only one will stand victorious at the bitter end, and each will give anything, and everything, to make sure that it's him.

You've got to give props to Epic Games: they know how to make a good tech demo.

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