The Google Search app just got updated, so that means it's teardown time! I still rip into every interesting Google update, but I only write an article when I find something interesting. Things have been slim lately, I know, but today there's good news! I found stuff.
Google Search is the hardest app teardown to do. You can never really be sure if what you've found is in the app or not, because everything is so predictive and context heavy.
According to ReadWrite and The Verge, HP is working on some new tablets. Tablets that run Android. Which is... well, surprising isn't really the world. Interesting? Sort of? Maybe?
After the failure of the Touchpad, HP basically had three options if it wanted to get back in the consumer tablet game: Windows RT, Android, or another stab at WebOS. HP allegedly threw out plans for Windows RT hardware in June of last year, and WebOS is an open source husk of itself that hasn't been acknowledged by the company in months.
Back in December, Media Monkey released a beta of the Android version of the media player app that received a level of success on the desktop. It still packs the same ability to tag and run scripts that the original possessed. Now it's arrived on the Play Store, which should make rolling out bug fixes much easier.
Speaking of bug fixes, the most recent set includes ensuring that playback position will be remembered, improving memory utilization and preventing duplicate tracks.
Around the offices of Android Police, we go through a lot of apps. We're talking hundreds or even thousands every week, to bring you the best in our app and game roundups or (if they're good enough) individual posts. Before every major holiday, we are inundated with more themed applications than we know what to do with. And to be honest, most of them are terrible. But we've found four Valentine's apps that are bearable, even interesting.
If you're a Swype Beta user, the popular finger-dragging keyboard has received a significant update, to version 1.4.5 today. This new release basically just makes things better: smart editor has been improved, the keyboard launches more quickly in web browsers, advanced language models have been been enhanced, and a handful of smaller fixes and tweaks are in tow.
Swype Beta v188.8.131.5237
Implemented a number of Smart Editor improvements and resolved some compatibility issues
Improved keyboard launch responsiveness in web browsers
Advanced Language Models improved for English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Korean
Improved logic surrounding Language Downloads
S-Note: Resolved some instances where text would be duplicated
Plus many more bug fixes and overall enhancements!
Google just pushed an update to its Search app (which, as you know, includes Google Now). Among the new additions are the Google Now widget that we've all been hearing so much about, movie ratings, the ability to pull up movie passes purchased from Fandango, and real estate listings from Zillow when Google thinks you're in the market for a home. Now that's fancy.
Additionally, the update also adds a music button when a song is playing in voice mode, though that feature is currently limited to the U.S.
A small change in Android 4.2.2 has left one of the biggest ad-blocking app on Android basically dead in the water. Adblock Plus is one of the web's most popular ad-blocking tools, and has been available for Android since November of last year. So, why has Google effectively killed it? Security issues.
Adblock Plus relies on the internet permission in Android to function, but it relies on a rather specific subset of that permission in order to work: the ability to automatically set a device's proxy server to 'localhost.' As is pointed out on a thread in the Android issues section of Google Code, this is a pretty serious security flaw.
As if there weren't enough contenders out there for music subscription service, Slacker Radio has updated its business model. You can still get the standard ad-supported radio station features that were always available. However the company has added a Spotify-like buffet option for $10/month. Pony up the dough and you can remove all ads and listen to as many tracks as you want.
The combination is pretty powerful, as one of the biggest complaints over Spotify is its discovery problems.
International trademark, patent, and copyright law is a bit of a legal minefield, and Apple has proven itself to be among the best in navigating it these last few years. But there is one exception to their otherwise impressive track record: the lucrative South American market of Brazil. While Apple iPhones have been sold in the country for years, Apple has never owned the trademark for the name. A regional phone manufacturer, Gradiente Eletronica, registered the trademark for "iphone" way back in 2000.