Sony has just announced the follow-up to its flagship device, the... why does it feel like I've written this story before? Oh, because I have. So a month after making its Xperia Z4 official in Japan, Sony is taking that device and releasing it with a more appropriate name for the global market: Xperia Z3+. Let's face it, the changes compared to the Z3 are minimal enough not to warrant a full number increase, so the switch back to the Z3+ is more honest on the company's behalf.
On the outside, the Z3+ looks almost exactly like the Z3, give or take a few slots and speaker grill placements.
As is well known by now, Verizon Wireless has, thus far, refused to activate any Nexus 6 that wasn't purchased from the carrier, at least through official procedures. Thankfully, it would appear that things are ready to change.
Nexus 6 owners on Verizon are now reporting that their non-VZW Nexus 6s are showing up on their accounts as "Nexus 6 Non VZW," rather than just a generic "Non-VZW Device" as it had in the past. This is huge for anyone who has wanted Verizon as an option for their device. With all that said, don't go running down to your Verizon store to activate service yet, as it might not be ready for prime time.
As we all know, Google I/O is right around the corner. So far this year, we haven't seen too many early clues as to what Google will cover in its keynote (though Ars Technica's I/O tracker is a great place to get some ideas) outside of its new Photos app, but we do expect that Google will be telling us about Android M (internally called macadamia nut cookie or MNC).
The specifics of what Android M will bring to the table are still a mystery, but we've heard a few things that could make this an exciting update.
Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications, games, and live wallpapers that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous 2 weeks or so.
Please wait for this page to load in full in order to see the widgets, which include ratings and pricing info.
Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.
Expense IQ - Expense Manager
This week's roundup is brought to you by Expense IQ - Expense Manager from Handy Apps. This amazingly complete expense tracking system has a solid and colorful UI, and just about every possible checkbook, alert, and tracking feature you could want.
Google has decided to bless us with some free stuff, as they are apt to do. This time, you can own each of 12 episodes of shows on Comedy Central by just heading over there and grabbing them, free of charge. Each episode comes from a different program, which is probably just the network trying to give people a reason to get familiar with their offerings. Google, on the other hand, wants to remind you that the Play Store is a good option to buy this sort of thing.
Here's what's on offer:
Key & Peele, Season 4 - Episode 1: "Alien Imposters"
Big Time in Hollywood, FL, Season 1 - Episode 1: "Severance"
Nathan For You, Season 1 - Episode 1: "Yogurt Shop/Pizzeria"
Kroll Show, Season 3 - Episode 1: "Gigolo H-O-R-S-E"
Drunk History, Season 1 - Episode 1: "Washington D.C."
Workaholics, Season 1 - Episode 1: "Piss & S**t"
This Is Not Happening, Season 1 - Episode 1: "Brain on Drugs"
Google's current Photos app uses some image processing smarts to piece together auto-awesome compilations and Stories, but the new Photos experience pushes the limits of computer vision. Not only does it pick out and identify faces, it recognizes objects like cars and food. It's not perfect, but it's sometimes creepily accurate.
Roman Nurik works for Google, but he also develops really cool (and free) Android apps from time to time. He's the man behind Dash Clock, Muzei, and now the FORM Watch Face for Android Wear. You can grab it right now and enjoy it all on its own, or you can take advantage of the sweet Muzei functionality.
We've already taken a brief look at Google's upcoming Photos app and discussed how it will be able to employ link sharing, but there are still other details worth looking at a little closer. One of those is "Assistant," a new screen in the Photos app that seems to replace "Autoawesome" from the app's current iteration. This screen is where users will find automatically-generated stories, animations, movies, and collages, but - happily - users will no longer have to wait and hope for those autoawesome goodies.
In the current Photos app, users can create movies, animations, and mixes (collages), but not stories or albums, two new options added in the upcoming app.
We gave you an overview of the new Google Photos app earlier today, but there's a lot more to see than can be covered in a single post. We're breaking some of the new features out so we can go over them in detail. First up, the new link sharing component of Google Photos. Not only can you share photos or videos in a snap, you can preserve some of your privacy while doing it.