OK, European readers. We know Google doesn't always put a rush on features and products outside of the United States. America got lane guidance (which tells you which lane to get into before you approach a turn or exit) way back in May. It looks like US roads were the only ones on which this feature was available, at least until yesterday, when Google announced lane guidance for some European countries on the official Google Europe blog.
Voracious readers and Word-A-Day calendar fans, this one is for you. While the latest update to Google Play Books isn't anywhere near as dramatic as the Material Design refresh six weeks ago, it nonetheless adds a couple of features that regular readers will find useful. First of all, version 3.3 adds a downloadable dictionary option to augment Play Books' instant lookup feature. To apply it, just highlight a word in any book and then tap the contextual "download" button.
One of the things I love about Android is the way it allows fantastic customization of its user interface, even without root or other major modifications. Take App Swap for example: this handy little app drawer replacement can launch either from a standard shortcut on your launcher (or alternative methods like SwipePad) or it can replace the default Google Now swipe-up-from-the-home-button gesture.
The latest update to this tool adds an even more useful feature: Quick Swipe.
AT&T's Samsung tablet lineup is getting a couple of small updates, but it probably won't be all that interesting unless you've got a very specific need for carrier billing or kid-friendly content. The AT&T branded versions of both the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 and the Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 (good grief, Samsung, your names are a mouthful) are receiving minor updates to their firmware. Neither one boosts the Android software on the tablets (4.4.2), but they do add a few tools.
One of the hindrances of using WhatsApp as your main messaging platform, like most of us do in my part of the world, is that you're tied to your phone (or connected tablet). WhatsApp doesn't authenticate you with usernames or passwords, instead requiring a SIM card to work on any device. It had thus far been completely alien (aside from "hacked" solutions like WhatsRemote) to our desktops and full, comfortable, typing-friendly keyboards.
Halfbrick Studios, creator of popular titles like Fruit Ninja, has published Monster Dash in the Amazon Appstore. Monster Dash is a highly popular classic on iOS that recently received its first significant update in years for iPhones and iPads. The revitalization on its original platform apparently inspired Halfbrick to finally bring the game to Android. For now, it looks like it may be an exclusive to Amazon.
Update: Here's the OTA zip file straight from Google's servers.
Google and Samsung haven't forgotten about the first Google Play Edition phone. Yes, the Galaxy S4 GPE is getting its Android 5.0 update right now. Time to hit that update menu.
For a long time, Google's My Tracks app was basically a niche app, if not just a novelty. However, the recent addition of Android Wear support started to get things to make more sense. Location tracking on a smart watch is more convenient and may render obsolete the GPS watches of yesteryear. With the new 2.0.9 update, My Tracks has Google Fit support, giving My Tracks some credibility as a fitness app.
The Nexus 9 has been shipping for a few weeks already. If you got yours and you want to protect it in style without splurging for the expensive Keyboard Folio, the official Magic Cover has just showed up in stock on the Play Store. Until now, the cover was available for pre-order on Amazon and only the coral amethyst variation was being sold on the HTC website. The Play Store shows all 4 colour options in stock, so you can finally pick the one you like best.
Ok Google, Show me images of Chris Hemsworth. Awwww, that's what I'm talking about! *Clears throat*. Oh hi, I didn't see you there. Come in. We're serving some cool images right to your wrist in the form of Google Image searches on Android Wear. Want some? You'll need the latest Wear update (I don't recall this working before and neither does our tipster - correct us if we're wrong) and you should initiate an image search by asking Google to "show images of [subject]" or "show photos of [subject]."