Something interesting is happening on the Play Store this evening. Users are reporting mysterious "Play Daily" and "Dogfood Apps" buttons appearing on the store's home and apps pages, respectively.
The Play Daily button - at the time of writing - leads to an error page (the app gets a 500 error trying to reach https://android.clients.google.com/fdfe/daily), while the "Dogfood Apps" button leads somewhat predictably to a special apps collection called "Google Apps for Googlers." Inside the collection is, well, a bunch of Google apps including apps from Google Samples like Pie Noon and VoltAir. Worth noting is that the Play Store is not dispensing actual dogfood apps from this collection, just the normal variants that are always exposed to the public.
One of the greatest problems in stock Android since the debut of Lollipop last year has been the volume slider - putting aside Lollipop's initially confusing volume modes, the slider unceremoniously pops into place when the user hits the volume keys on their device. Of course I'm kidding, but nevertheless it looks like Google has enhanced the volume controls in the latest Marshmallow dev preview with some motion design love.
Now, when users hit a volume key, the panel slides into place from off canvas. The slider's current position is highlighted with its own translucent halo (which may or may not really be necessary).
Google continues to tweak Android 6.0's visual interface with the latest Developer Preview, in ways both big and small. The default Google launcher has been seeing subtle changes since the M Preview was introduced, and the latest one is... interesting. The Preview 3 version of the app drawer includes a little "pop" effect when scrolling, highlighting the first app that begins with each successive letter in the alphabet. It's a little hard to describe verbally - check out the video below from YouTube user Zaid Salem.
If you'll recall, Developer Preview 1 separated apps by beginning a new drawer row for each new letter of the alphabet.
Since The Pre-Sequel was a considerable disappointment (and 2K and NVIDIA seem to be taking their sweet time porting it to SHIELD hardware in any case), Tales from the Borderlands is the only game in town for the massively popular shooter IP. That's OK, because TellTale is doing a fantastic job with the odd mix of sci-fi and comedy that the series is known for. The fourth episode in the adventure game story, "Escape Plan Bravo," went live for the Play Store version of Tales from the Borderlands today.
This is the fourth of five total episodes, so things are starting to heat up for our protagonists Rhys and Fiona.
Is that the new Moto 360 on your wrist? Wait, sorry, no, I'm not going to say that out loud. I'm just going to sneak out my phone and... ah hah, got it! Time to upload these images and show the world that yes, this is precisely how the new Moto 360 will look.
Huh? Hello there. Sorry, I have imaginary conversations in my head sometimes. But yes, what you see above is an alleged picture of the Moto 360 version 2.0 on the arm of a woman talking on her smartphone somewhere in Chicago. That's a crown located at the 2PM position, and those are lugs at the top and bottom, matching what we've seen before.
The Android public issue tracker is a place for users to report possible bugs to Google's engineers, but just because something is reported doesn't mean it'll get fixed right away. Many users have been experiencing a battery draining bug in Lollipop caused by the device's radio remaining active for too long, but only now is Google doing something about it. The fix is expected to roll out in Android 6.0.
This is pretty cool, and here's why. If you have your hub controlling a bunch of other devices, you can now use Amazon's device to boss them around. Alexa, turn on the television. Alexa, turn off the lamp. Alexa, have your way with whatever else is plugged into my SmartThings Power Outlet (okay, maybe this command won't work exactly as written).
Maybe you're seeing this and you're thinking: Gee, maybe I'd like one of these Echo things after all.
We all have that friend or relative who can't help but swipe through dozens of photos when we hand them our phone to check one pic. It's an involuntary reflex, a primal need to just see what's after and before that photo, because what if they were better than the one they're looking at? And why do those photos have to stay hidden and undiscovered, they should be seen by more eyes — that's their destiny as photos.
Android's screen pinning feature isn't that useful in that instance because nosy voyeurs still have access to your entire gallery. Focus is an alternative app that lets you lock viewing to a single photo, but that's a paid upgrade and there's no real fun in using it.
Every couple of months the members of the exclusive billion installs club have to roll out the red carpet as they introduce another app into their ranks. This time, they're welcoming two. The likes of Gmail, Facebook, and WhatsApp now have to say hi to Play Games and Talkback.
Play Games (which only launched in 2013) isn't as old as other Play apps such as Music, Movies, and Newsstand —but that hasn't stopped it from beating all three to the one billion installs mark. Now, before anyone gets too excited, that doesn't mean a billion people have all gone out of their way to install the app.
Have you heard? Samsung has announced new phones. In case you have not heard, here's an ad in your notification shade. It looks like this has happened to at least a few people thanks to the Samsung Push Service. In a separate incident, I myself have been served an ad by the bundled Peel remote app. Is nothing sacred anymore, Samsung?