Ron Amadeo
Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
15
May
Hangouts Logo

The new Google Messenger is real! It's not called Babel, or Google Talk, but "Hangouts." It also isn't the unified messenger we've all wanted - maybe it will be someday, but Hangouts is strictly a Google Talk replacement - there's no SMS or Google Voice integration.

What Hangouts does have going for it is that it is really pretty. It supports group messaging, pictures, video chat, and even has read receipts!

14
May
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Last Updated: October 13th, 2013

A hot new Play Store update just hit the internet. We're now up to version 4.1.6. So far we've spotted a much nicer looking button and wishlist designs, more consistent menu text, and a few minor visual tweaks, like new open/uninstall buttons.

Here's the new content section buttons, which are a lot more inviting than the old designs.

13
May
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Welcome back! Google Play Services 3.1 is such a ridiculously huge update; I had to stretch it out over two articles - that's a first for APK Teardown. If you somehow missed the Google Play Games extravaganza, part one is right here.

Part two is all about the non-games discoveries, which there are a lot of.  Before we get into that though, there is one detail I left out of the games article that I really should mention:

The Play Games Codename

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Google always comes up with the coolest code names for projects, and the Play Services games client is no exception.

11
May
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Remember how we told you Google Games was coming, and how it's going to pack multiplayer functionality, leaderboards, achievements, and stuff like that? That's happening. There are going to be cloud game saves too.

Fresh out of Google HQ, we've managed to score a copy of the new Google Play Services v3.1.36, which is very slowly rolling out to devices right now. For comparison, the current Play Services that most people have is v3.0.27.

10
May
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What exactly is the deal with slide-out sidebar navigation? Is it a standard Holo thing? Is it not? 3rd-party developers aren't really sure what to do with it, and even Google-made apps are all over the place. Some apps have sidebar navigation, some don't. The ones that do have it all function a little differently and none of the implementations were actually any good - until now.

Google Earth and Google Shopper were just updated with a new sidebar design, and, well, have you seen them?

08
May
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Man, Google Glass moves at the speed of light. This is crazy.

The big XE5 update just hit the interwebs, so that means it's time for a teardown! XE5 is still Android 4.0.4 based, but now we're up to build 4.0.4-665738; the old version was 4.0.4-625737.

The Glass Team is still extraordinarily messy; any new file usually has copies in a million different locations. Basically, everything ships in every APK.

08
May
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Have you tried finding a Glass system dump? It's impossible. A Google search turns up the same thing, over and over again: Me, talking about system dumps or begging for one.

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So, to rectify this great injustice of the Internet (and because people keep asking me, personally) we've decided to hit you up with the Glass system dump. The Explorer program seems to be all about hacking and experimentation, so hopefully Google adopts an open policy towards posting Glass code.

08
May
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Last Updated: June 4th, 2013

Wow. So when Glass was first making the rounds, we heard a few rumblings about a ridiculously fast update cycle; something like monthly updates. Sure enough, it seems like Google is delivering on that sort-of rumored promise:

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Today, less than a month after the Glass unit left Google HQ, there's a new update: Version XE5. There's no public change log, but Phandroid says they emailed Google and got back the following list:

New features in XE5:

  • Change to sync policy: require power + wifi for background uploads
  • Crash reporting
  • Incoming G+ notifications (direct shares, comments, +mentions), including ability to comment and +1
  • Incoming Hangout notifications
  • Transcription of queries & messages is now wicked-fast
  • Long-press to search from anywhere in the UI (no longer just from off)
  • International number dialing + SMS
  • Hop animation on disallowed swipes in the UI
  • New On-Head Detection calibration flow
  • Show device Serial Number on Device Info card
  • More reliable estimation of battery charge remaining
  • New recipient-list mosaic

Google+ integration sounds awesome; the only problem is it doesn't actually work right now.

07
May
2013-05-03_19-32-04

We are gearing up for I/O here at AP, and with the release of the I/O Sessions schedule, we've got an even clearer idea of what Google has in store for us.

Google I/O is a traditionally developer-oriented conference, but it's also always been a huge source of news about upcoming products. I/O is the one time of year when Googlers are allowed to show off their projects, so there's lots of news out there; you've just got to pay attention.

07
May
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Let's have some fun.

We always kind-of expect Glass to be Android based, but I was surprised to find just how Android based it was when I did a teardown of a Glass system dump. "Android based" is selling things a little short, Glass is Android, with just a few APKs piled on top. It reminds me a lot of Facebook home.

So, while I am still plugging away at my full review, I decided to take a bit of a break and see what happens when you try and run real Android apps on Glass.

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