At the first few major tech conferences of the year, CES in Las Vegas, Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, the current trend of virtual reality is inescapable. Such disparate players as Facebook, Samsung, and Razer are all throwing their weight behind various virtual reality headsets, and software developers are scrambling to meet the demand for apps, games, and videos. According to this report by the Wall Street Journal, Google isn't content to dip its toe into VR with the mostly experimental Cardboard platform.
Google's material design, which I've written about a number of times, has generally been received well by designers, developers, and press alike. We've seen numerous apps adopt it, developers explain and evangelize it, and users react positively to it.
Still, there have been nagging questions about the new design philosophy. A big one, and one that could potentially be a stumbling block for adoption, is the question of branding. Some voice concerns that material design may overshadow existing brands if implemented to Google's spec, or that it's too difficult to brand a "material design app."
Someone recently asked me what I thought about the relationship between branding opportunities and material design, and while I was able to come up with a short version of the answer, there are a few different things packed into this issue that are worth exploring.
On the heels of a very similar promotion from AT&T, Sprint has decided to allow any of their subscribers to add phone insurance to their plan throughout the month. Normally, you can only get a device insured within the first 30 days after purchase, so this is a good deal if you dragged your feet back when you first got your phone or LTE-capable tablet.
The plans, branded as Total Equipment Protection (TEP) and TEP Plus, are serviced by Asurion, just like AT&T. Both will cost you monthly fees that go higher if your phone is newer or nicer. TEP Plus is only for "higher-end" devices and brings with it a higher monthly fee but no deductibles on the first two claims.
Adoption of material design appears to be on an upward trend. It seems that everyfew days we hear news about another app refreshing its design with some inspiration from Google's new aesthetic, with some apps using the design language at launch. This is great for users who have been hungry for a more unified, cohesive design language on Android.
Continuing the trend, Groupon has introduced its update to version 15.2, heavily inspired by material design. The update, while just a 0.1 version bump, greatly refines the app's interface. The tab bar is now colorized and brought into line with Google's recommendations, and the app has adopted the new navigation drawer, including an account switcher and simple iconography.
I don't know about you but I'm not used to Paypal offering stuff for free. Actually the company's policy always seems to be about nickeling and diming at every opportunity it gets, so today is your chance (maybe?) to redeem some of the monies you lost to Paypal in a currency exchange or transaction fee.
A £3 Coupon code is being offered by the company for purchases on Google Play. Open the page (from the source link below), click to save the offer and have it added to your Paypal account, then go to the Google Play Store and make a purchase using Paypal as the payment method at check out.
Google is always coming up with deals to get people to try its All Access music subscription (which now includes YouTube Music Key as well). After offering free trials when the service first launched or with every Chromecast purchase, it's now discounting a 3-months subscription to a total of $3, i.e. a mere Washington per month.
As the deal's terms state, this offer is only valid for new subscribers, but exactly who qualifies as a "new subscriber" remains up in the air. Obviously, if you're completely new to GPMAA, you will get the deal, but it seems that if you trialled the service for free before, you don't.
There are plenty of feed readers on Android, but how many of them slap some news on your lock screen? Not many, I'd imagine. Corgi is an app that plugs into Feedly to pull in news and display it on the lock screen. Android lock screen replacements are never ideal, but Corgi seems to do a rather good job.
A couple of days ago, Google Drive made news with an update that introduced a new, intuitive Drag & Drop implementation for easier file management. While that appeared to be the only significant change, a look under the hood revealed not only that the Drive team is about to fulfill one of the most often requested features, but it also answered one of the many questions about the fate of Google+ Photos after the split.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong. Even in the most cut and dried examples, there is always a chance that details may change or plans may be cancelled prior to the launch of a new feature.
The BeyondPod team has recently rolled out its largest update since the big 4.0 transition, introducing a number of features to please longtime fans and Lollipop users alike.
For the former, a dark theme has arrived, and while it isn't default like the old version of the podcast manager, it's available for folks who find the new standard look too bright. There's also the option to reduce card size, allowing you to fit more information on-screen at once.
The BeyondPod experience is a colorful one, as the action bar changes to match each of your podcast categories. The default look is orange, but when I'm listening to the Android Police podcast, the app turns green (the color I've assigned all of my tech podcasts).
You don't need to understand the lyrics to like a song, but sometimes it helps. Musixmatch is a slick way to sing along with your tunes or have an impromptu karaoke party, and now it's about to get even better. There's an updated version of it in the Play Store beta channel with some new features and a full material redesign.