Today, Google finally opened the Chromecast up to developers in a meaningful way, releasing the Google Cast SDK and integrating the relevant Android API into Google Play Services, the ever-growing backbone of Google's Android-based offerings. The update has already begun its rollout. Of course, that means we're going to look inside and see what's new, and we've also got a download for those who just can't wait for Play Services 4.2 to hit their device.
It feels like we just got done with CES, but Mobile World Congress is looming heavy on the horizon. As usual, Samsung will be there with bells on, but it will shun the show floor in favor of a dedicated Unpacked event. The first Unpacked venue of the year has been set for Monday, February 24th, according to Samsung Tomorrow. It will start at 8:00 PM local time (2:00 PM Eastern), putting it right at the end of the show's first day.
Full disclosure - Ting is my mobile provider of choice. I may write about the constant tug-of-war between the big four American carriers, but at the end of the day, I refuse to sign a two-year contract with anyone, and T-Mobile has precisely zero coverage in the drastically non-urban corner of the US that I'm from. Thankfully, I have options. Ting is celebrating its two-year anniversary this week, and it's doing so by slashing its data prices.
The Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 is two inches larger than your typical beefy tablet, and it's priced to match. The device will soon hit store shelves in the US for a whopping $849.99, over three hundred dollars more than Samsung's own 10-inch Galaxy Note 10.1 2014. Anyone who wants to call dibs on this expensive piece of hardware can do so now at Office Depot. It will become available February 13th.
The Play Store doesn't make it easy to figure out what content you've paid for thanks to all the free apps gumming up the works. You don't have to dig through all that anymore now that My Paid Apps is a thing. It shows you all the stuff in Google Play you've spent money on and even breaks things down into categories.
The Chromecast is cheap, affordable, and easy-to-use. Great. That's almost all you need to have a stellar product. Unfortunately, it's been held up by a lack of content. If you want to cast something that hasn't been made by a handful of providers, you've been largely out of luck. But this situation is hopefully about to change. Today Google has released the Google Cast SDK. This way additional developers can finally build Chromecast support into their apps and websites.
Update: Google says Now is coming to the beta channel this week, but it is already showing up for us on some machines.
Google Now is one of Android's central features these days, but we've known for a long time that Google was planning to bring it to Chrome on the desktop too. The feature first broke cover in the Chrome canary build, which is a standalone pre-dev version of the browser.
Sprint has been marketing push-to-talk functionality (a walkie-talkie style function that's popular with business users) since long before Android came into being. Though the feature isn't nearly as common as it once was, Sprint seems ready to keep it going with an update to the official Android app. The Direct Connect service is now compatible with a handful of new phones, most notably headliners like the Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 3, and LG G2.