Microsoft's employees have a lot of free time on their hands, what with taking forever between each update to their Windows Phone platform and other priority stalling operations. They like to use this free time in the Garage, developing apps for Android, just 'cause y'know, it's fun to imagine yourself working on cool projects for once. After Bing Torque, this Journeys & Notes app seems like a mash-up of some features from Foursquare, Field Trip, and The Traveler.
"OK Google, what is Microsoft Garage?" Well, Rita, it's an idea incubator for Microsoft employees who like to dabble with things non-Microsofty in their spare time, like Android for example. They have a crush on us, but they still can't completely deny their allegiance to the quad colors of Redmond so they indulge by mixing in some Bing bangy bongiddy features. "Ah, thanks Google. Can you give me an example?" Sure Rita, that Bing Torque app they just released, though if you ask me, they need a copy editor for their Play Store listing: "It is like to have Microsoft’s Cortana running on your smart watch." That was a direct quote and it is like to read a torturous story for me.
Back in September, we heard Google's official plans to update Android Wear and add more functionality to the platform and its watches. The first update promised to bring GPS and offline music playback capabilities, so that Wear watches could be used without a phone to track activities and listen to tunes via Bluetooth. The second update is supposed to add native support for watch faces. And it looks like LG's G Watch is the first Android Wear device to start benefiting from these additions.
We're no strangers to the Nexus 9's Keyboard Folio accessory. After posting an exclusive look at its technical drawings, then seeing it pass by the NCC, we were treated to a few renders along with the Nexus 9's announcement and then spotted it in the flesh in Vietnam. However, if you went to the Play Store expecting to pre-order an HTC Nexus 9 and its case, you must have been disappointed to find out that the latter is still marked as "coming soon".
With every new Android version, we get a long list of useful new features and a few, well, quirky ones. Nevertheless, we're here to dissect every aspect of Lollipop and that includes this fun new feature of the Clock app. Short story: the app's background now switches gradually throughout the day to mirror the time. Just in case, you know, looking out the window or reading the actual time isn't clue enough as to what it feels like, outside.
With every new version of Android, we get a collection of new wallpapers to feast our eyes on and set as default on our homescreens. Lollipop is no different. It packs 11 new wallpapers for us, though if you ask me, they are a lot less playful than the KitKat ones.
The first few are abstract geometric shapes, while the rest seem to be real photographs, but of what, I could not tell you.
When HTC announced its newest Desire EYE smartphone with the camera-focused Eye Experience, it promised that those features will soon find their way to older devices like the M7 and M8. And sure enough, the One M8 in Europe started getting the update the very next day. It's now the unlocked Developer Edition's turn, as an OTA to version 3.28.1540.5 is starting to hit some users.
The update bumps the Android version to KitKat 4.4.4 and brings the entire suite of HTC's new photography tools to the phone, including Auto Selfie, Face Tracking, Split Capture, Live Makeup, and Face Fusion.
I've never been to Vietnam, but (after seeing the earlier hands-on photos and now this video here) I'm tempted to check out airplane ticket prices for the country. I hear they have gorgeous landscapes, an interesting culture, and a bunch of geeks loose with Nexus 9s. One of them is parading in a coffee shop with a chocolate drink, a couple of books, and our coveted tablet. But I might be mistaken.
When the Nexus 9 was announced yesterday (check our post for the specs and release details), we were only served a series of rendered graphics to give us an idea of what the hottest new tablet in the Android world looks like. But we all know how deceiving renders can be, sometimes making devices look better than they do in real life and other times conveying a less flattering image of them.
We often talk about the power of Android, from custom ROMs to modding and personalization, but it still baffles me when I come across an app that opens a world of possibilities like AutoInput and see that it doesn't even require root for most of its functionality. Built as a Tasker plugin, AutoInput comes to us courtesy of joaomgcd, the same guy who brought us AutoCast and AutoVoice. It allows you to create a series of input actions, including physical button presses and various taps and swipes, to emulate some sort of macro sequence that can be executed inside any app of your choosing.