Kyocera isn't exactly a big name in modern Android smartphones, but it does make a lot of rugged devices that don't get much press. It's also big in materials science, which is where sapphire comes in. See, it seems like a safe bet that the next iPhone will have a sapphire glass display, and Kyocera happens to know a lot about manufacturing synthetic sapphire for watches and electrical components. So, they're making sapphire screens for smartphones.
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.
He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM
If you've got one of those shiny new Android Wear watches to fiddle around with, you've probably noticed the sad state of custom watch faces. There are a few already in the Play Store, but they often don't work right. Google has finally provided an update for developers on what they should do about custom watch faces. Basically – don't make them yet.
All the custom watch faces we have right now are basically hacks that are using workarounds to show you the time.
There once was an app called Flayvr, and it did okay. Then one day, the developers decided it should work differently, so they gave it a new name and design, and it magically became MyRoll. And they all lived happily ever after. The End. Oh, but the app is available in the Play Store, and it does stuff.
Update Wednesday has gotten off to a slow start, but there's a new Google Wallet version to get things moving. You can now use Wallet to manage your gift cards and request money. As usual, it's US only.
Language learning app Duolingo is getting an update today, but most of the people who will be excited about it can't read this yet. Maybe someday they will with the help of Duolingo. This update expands the options for learning English and adds some more courses that have nothing to do with English.
The devices you buy from US mobile carriers are almost always locked to a single network, and unlocking them has been a legal gray area for the last few years. Now Congress is finally taking action to remedy that. The Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act has been passed by the Senate, matching a House bill passed in February. As you can imagine, consumer rights groups are pretty jazzed.
There are uncountable multitudes of weather apps in the Play Store, which makes Earth Networks' latest move all the more perplexing. The company has removed its popular WeatherBug Elite app from the Play Store, much to the chagrin of paying users. We reached out to Earth Networks looking for specifics about the removal, and have learned that there will only be a single WeatherBug app going forward, and it will offer an ad-free experience in the form of an annual subscription.
Google has certainly been busy today with all sorts of Play Store improvements, and here's a new version of the Android client to top it all off. Version 4.8.19 has started rolling out to devices, and we've got the APK below for you to install on your own.
We're digging in to see what's new. We already knew about the PayPal and some UI tweaks, but it's looking like there's more going on.