Google is rolling out an update to Keep today, and it's a pretty big one. With the push to v2.2 Keep is gaining a few new features, but probably the first thing you'll notice is that wacky orangey-yellow action bar.
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
Amazon has made it easy to access its streaming content on a number of living room devices, but now it's finally making a play for your TV with its own box – the FireTV. This $99 black box contains a quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor (1.7GHz), 2GB of RAM, optical out, MIMO WiFi, and 8GB of storage. It runs a heavily modified version of Android as the base of Amazon's new content delivery platform.
Pressy tore it up on Kickstarter last year, eventually raising $695,138 of its original $40,000 goal. While backers have been eagerly awaiting delivery of the almighty Android button, Chinese OEM Xiaomi is trying to sneak its own version onto the market first. Xiaomi's Hugo Barra (formerly of Google) posted an image of the gadget on Google+, and the Pressy folks are not pleased.
Google has made its monthly update to the developer dashboard with new platform distribution numbers, and KitKat is on a roll (finally). After making up only 2.5% of active Android devices last month, it's now at 5.3%. Yes, it more than doubled. Those continued Samsung updates probably have a lot to do with the jump.
A new item just popped up in the Play Store sidebar called My Play Activity. Once it's fully deployed, this will act as a list of all the Play Store content you have reviewed and shared. It's essentially the web-based version of the recent activity page in the updated Play Store app.
Google is really heavy on the joke content this year. There's the Photobombing, Pokémon Maps, Signature Apps, and now Chromecast for Squirrels. What? Small mammals have video they want to watch on bigger screens too.
The video really drives the point home that Chromecast is all about squirrel empowerment and choice. No longer will squirrels have to watch human video content, because now there's Chromecast. As for the paw-friendly app situation, Google is working on that.
App developers are getting their own little April Fools prank from Google today in the form Signature Apps. What is a Signature App? Well, rather than a cold, impersonal download, developers can ship apps to customers on a thumbdrive inside an ornate package ready for unboxing. Efficiency be damned.
You know what trend in mobile is easy to make fun of? Wearables, of course. Most smart watches almost make fun of themselves. At some point in the last few weeks, the marketing folks at HTC and Samsung apparently came to very similar conclusions about the best way to lampoon wearables – gloves. Samsung came up with the Samsung Fingers smart glove, but HTC has just pseudo-announced the HTC Gluuv. Same basic joke, different execution.