If you felt like Google clubbed you over the head with tons of announcements and releases last week, you're not alone. Between giving out the codename for Android M, a new preview release, an Android Wear update, and about a dozen other things, it was a huge week. Toward the end of the onslaught, a fairly innocuous update to Google Maps bumped the version up to 9.13 and it has a couple of useful shortcuts that deserve a look. There's also a new Google app, but it's not in the Play Store, and that deserves a Teardown-style discussion of its own.
While the Note 5 and S6 edge+ are far from the first Samsung phones with reported issues killing background tasks with unusual aggressiveness, they are the first ones with four freaking gigabytes of RAM to do so. We've long assumed that Samsung's background task issues on certain handsets are related to a lack of RAM headroom due to TouchWiz, and yet, the Note 5 and S6 edge+ may exhibit the most aggravating task killing of any Samsung devices we've yet seen. Let's cut to the video for a complete explanation. (I realize it's long, but I'd recommend watching all the way through to see what's going on here.)
The issue was readily reproducible on both our S6 edge+ and Note 5 review units, and we aren't the first people to point this out.
Android Pay was announced at Google I/O around 3 months ago, and Google has since said we can expect the platform to launch here in the US sometime "later this year." It appears "later" could now be "like, next week," if this notice to employees at a McDonald's location is to be believed.
The August 21st launch for Samsung Pay is wrong, but it's the launch date for the devices (Note and S6 Edge+) - which seems like an honest mistake.
When we reported on leaked images of Lenovo's upcoming Yoga Tablet 3, I said at the time that the big lingering question was what is on the inside. The current generation, the Yoga Tablet 2, is very much a mid-range device in both specs and price. The specs posted on an inadvertently published product page for the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 3 8" version suggest a step down into the budget market.
There are two listings at Rozetka, the Ukrainian retailer who apparently pulled the trigger too soon on marketing the new tablets. They are both 8" versions, one with LTE and one without.
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got a collection of cute mini-games, a minimalist first-person shooter, a punishingly difficult puzzle game, a platformer-slash-match three title, a builder game that's all about the Benjamins, and a tie-in for League of Legends.
Asus was one of the first Android tablet OEMs to distinguish itself with devices like the original Transformer, and it followed that up with two 7-inch Nexus tablets. While Asus is no longer the Nexus tablet maker of choice at Mountain View, it's still doing some interesting things with Android slates. After a run of heavily budget-oriented tablets, Asus is launching a somewhat more premium offering, the ZenPad S 8.0. As the name implies, this is an 8-inch Android tablet with a very similar vibe to the Zenfone 2. Depending on how you look at it, that can be either good and bad.
Do you want an Amazon Fire Phone? If you do, I'll bet you want it at a discount - even with a free year of Amazon's Prime shipping/video/music service, it's a hard sell at two hundred bucks. It's a good thing, then, that the Fire Phone is so often on sale. The latest discount comes courtesy of an eBay seller, who's getting rid of the phones for as little as $140. That includes free shipping and free access to Prime, bringing the effective price down to $40 for a contract-free phone. Not bad.
When the economical and long-lasting Moto X Play was announced specifically without US availability, it raised a few eyebrows here at Android Police. Some of us speculated that Motorola's tight relationship with Verizon, which goes all the way back to an exclusive on the original QWERTY-packing DROID, might have something to do with it. According to a report from Phandroid, that may indeed be the case. The site is reporting that the American carrier will sell a customized version of the Moto X Play as a sequel to its 2013 flagship, the DROID Maxx.
That makes sense: the Verizon-exclusive (at least in the US) Maxx line has always highlighted huge batteries and long usage times, and the Moto X Play uses a 3630mAh battery, larger than either the flagship Moto X Style or the enormous Motorola-made Nexus 6.
Another week, another free music album on Google Play. This time it's something a little more contemplative: a classical instrumental album from Yo-Yo Ma, probably the best-known concert cellist on the planet. You can grab The Sound of Yo-Yo Ma, which incidentally is exclusive to Google Play Music, for free right now. The deal is available in the United States and probably a few other places, though we can't be sure exactly where it is and isn't valid.
Yo-Yo Ma was born in Paris, and his family moved to New York City when he was five years old. His talent for the cello and other instruments earned him a place at the prestigious Julliard School.