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.
06
May
IMG_0027-3

My Google Glass unit has finally arrived. I've had a few days to play with Google's fancy new heads-up display, so it's probably time for some first impressions. A full review will be coming at some point.

One of the most striking things about Glass is just how well put together the whole package is. Everything about the design, from the hardware, to the typography, to the cool little whoosh noises it makes just oozes polish.

02
May
ic_head_wake_up_large_lower

Despite not (yet) having Google Glass, I've managed to get a hold of a system dump, so it's time to have some fun for the day and see if Glass has any (more) hidden goodies for us. It'll also be fun to see just what makes Glass tick, and how the OS is laid out.

APK Teardown is usually at its best when I have a previous version to diff against and, you know, when I've actually used or at least seen the software in question.

29
Apr
2013-04-10-16.09.19
Last Updated: June 29th, 2013

Google I/O is coming! We'll know about all of Google's new projects in just 2 short agonizingly long weeks. While we desperately count the days until May 15th, we thought it would be a great idea to take stock all of the things we've caught wind of lately.

Calling this an "I/O Preview," sounds a little too certain. I'm not predicting everything here will come out at I/O, this is just a list of everything we know Google is working on - their "To-Do" list.

18
Apr
nexusae0_GAMES1
Last Updated: April 20th, 2013

We've got a good one for you today. A teardown of MyGlass, yes that's right, the Google Glass companion app, has given us what looks like the entire Google Games Service feature list. You just can't make this stuff up.

The games service probably has nothing to do with Google Glass; Glass can't run complex apps. The Glass team accidentally shipped the full suite of Google Play Services with their new app, which is not normal.

16
Apr
app_launcher_icon

MyGlass, the Google Glass companion app, has just hit the Play Store.  Since no one actually has a pair of Google Glass yet, no one actually knows what this thing does. To save myself from going crazy while waiting for my Glass email, ripping apart this new app seemed like a good distraction.

Permissions

The package name is "com.google.glass.companion," and, naturally, this release is version 1.0.0. MyGlass has a decent amount of permissions, here are a list of the most important ones:

  • Access Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (ACCESS_WIFI_STATE/ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE/CHANGE_WIFI_STATE)
  • Google Voice Send and Receive permissions
  • Full account access (GET_ACCOUNTS/USE_CREDENTIALS/MANAGE_ACCOUNTS)
  • Receive and send SMS and MMS
  • Full location access (ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION/ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION)
  • Full internet access
  • Read contacts

So basically, it's a tethering app - a tethering app that Glass appears highly dependent on.

15
Apr
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For the first time in a million years, Google Voice got an actual update. While the changelog is, as usual, of no help whatsoever ("Improved the reliability of SMS delivery"), a teardown teases out an eyebrow-raising tidbit: Google Voice’s configuration settings can now be read by other apps.

The GV update comes packing a new service for handing out this info, called “GoogleVoiceConfiguration,” and a new permission, "com.google.android.apps.googlevoice.permission.FETCH_CONFIGURATION."

There’s an explanation of the permission in the strings file:

<string name="google_voice_fetch_configuration_permission_label">Read Google Voice configuration</string>
<string name="google_voice_fetch_configuration_permission_description">Allows applications to read the configuration of Google Voice, including your Google Voice phone number.</string>

That's about it for the cold, hard facts.

08
Apr
nexusae0_bt_thumb

Tech Radar just came through with some really convincing screenshots of the Google Babel web interface. Check this out:

Babel hangout edited-580-90

I believe these are real, and I'll tell you why: They perfectly match the partially obscured screenshots of Babel that Googlers have been accidentally posting to the Chromium bug tracker (props to Craig Tumblison for this awesome list).

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The left side of this image (original here) was posted by a Googler to the Chromium bug tracker.

07
Apr
google-play-logo-1

The final piece of the Play Store 4.0 puzzle was posted on Google+ today. A YouTube employee by the name of Eileen Rivera posted a screen shot of previously-unseen Play Store front page:

ZeDbfEF

The design is a perfect match for the leaked build we got to play with a few weeks ago, and, if you ignore the action bar, a big improvement.

Of particular interest is the new Up button, which features the Play Store logo and a bone in a dog bowl.

04
Apr
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Google Search teardowns are always a huge mess, because there's really no way of knowing what is or isn't implemented. I'm up against a scary combination of Now's entirely context-based UI and Voice Actions, which has absolutely no UI. Rather than try and guess at what does or doesn't work, I'll just post everything that Google neglected to add in the change log. If you manage to see something working, send in a screenshot and I'll add it.

01
Apr
icon_wakizashi

We've managed to score a system dump of the Facebook phone! There's nothing in it that's too earthshattering, and you could probably guess most of the features, but, since we've got it, we might as well take a look at it.

[This is not an April Fool's joke. I promise.]

Now, this being Facebook, nothing really works unless you sign in. The problem is, all of this is pre-release, so it's set up to only work for Facebook employee accounts.

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