We've been seeing a handful of Samsung flagships get updated to Lollipop here in the United States, where the lion's share of phones are still sold with shackles firmly attached to the carriers. The standard international model of the Note 4 uses Samsung's own Exynos chipset, but there's also a variant with a Snapdragon 805, model number SM-N910F. Users in Germany can access the official Lollipop update on these phones today via Samsung's Kies program, according to SamMobile.
European markets tend to get updates in batches, so once the over-the-air update starts in earnest you can expect it to propagate quickly. Read More
Google introduced the Helpouts service, a special version of live video Hangouts specifically intended for instruction and guides, back in November of 2013. The Android app followed shortly thereafter, allowing users to access paid and screened experts for a variety of skilled or specialized tutorials. Apparently it hasn't been as popular as Google had hoped: the company has informed users that the service will be shutting down on April 20th.
Google posted the following explanation on its support site and issued the same statement to users via email:
We have some sad news to share: Helpouts will be shutting down on April 20, 2015.
Facebook's app has long been a source of great discontent among the Android faithful. Facebook goes its own way with design and is slow to change direction, but it looks like some users are getting an updated version of the UI that has at least a little material influence. Specifically, there's a floating action button.
You're probably more aware of WebView after the recent dust-up over security issues in older versions of Android. WebView is a tool developers can use to display web content in an app without implementing a whole browser, and today Google is opening a beta test for WebView on Android 5.0 and higher. Simply head over to the Google+ page to join and get the latest tweaks and fixes.
Far be it from us to question the actions of a multi-billion dollar corporation... no, wait, questioning the actions of corporations is exactly what we're supposed to be doing. Let's try this again: hey AT&T, what gives? Today the carrier is introducing a new tier to its data pricing, giving it a grand total of eleven options in its Mobile Share Value plan segment. $75 gets you 7GB of data, with the new rollover feature enabled.
AT&T's current collection of data tiers. The $75/7GB option will be available Sunday.
There's nothing odd about that in and of itself, but AT&T's plans have become strangely specific over the last few months. Read More
When Google kicked off its Be Together, Not The Same campaign, it started off with Androidified characters just being generally adorable. This month, the company has decided it doesn't need to make any references to Android, phones, tablets, or devices of any kind in order to sell its products. Google handles most of our searches, and it knows nothing draws eyeballs like cute animals doing cute animal-y things.
Now it's released another ad that's nearly as absent of tech as the last. This one is all about handshakes and the many different ways people of various ages and backgrounds come up with giving each other dap. Read More
Google Cardboard seemed like a bit of a joke when it was announced at I/O last year, but as time goes on it becomes increasingly apparent that Cardboard was the legitimate starting point for Google's take on VR. You'll probably recognize the next step—Google is teaming up with Mattel to revive the classic View-Master brand as an Android-powered VR headset. It even has collectible reels.
The Verizon Ellipsis 7 launched in November of 2013, a time shortly after Google released the Nexus 5 and manufacturers were thinking about pushing KitKat to their devices. Given the timing, it made sense that Verizon didn't ship Android 4.4 on its tablet.
But man, the carrier sure took its time. Three months after the world has had time to become acquainted with Lollipop, Verizon has decided to push KitKat out to its 7-inch tablet. As part of the over-the-air update, users get screen casting, wireless printing, and other features they've had more than enough time to get to know on other devices. Read More
Google services may take a while to make the long trek north from Seattle to Vancouver, Detroit to Toronto, or from Portland to Montreal—but Canadians still get to enjoy Google hardware such as the Chromecast. Television network CTV has added support for the spiffy little dongle inside the latest version of its Android app (though this, too, kind of took a while).
Chromecast support is the most exciting item on the changelog, but this release also tweaks the interface. Everything is still mostly black and red, there's just more of the latter. Some of what used to be in the sidebar is now spread across the top of the screen in tabs. Read More