NVIDIA's SHIELD Android TV box has only been available for a few weeks, and it's already getting its over-the-air update. This one improves a handful of the SHIELD's app functions and its accessories. Notably, software build 1.2 enables 4K output in Google's Photos & Videos app, provided of course that you have a 4K TV to view them on.
Kodi, formerly XBMC, has been available on Android in its revamped form since early April. But if you wanted to get your hands on it, you had to join either the alpha or beta groups on Google+, then register on the Play Store as a tester. Not so today: it looks like the developers have opened up the beta Play Store listing for one and all, and you can download it directly to your phone, tablet, or Android TV set-top box.
If you're in the market for a super-portable Bluetooth speaker, you've got a lot of options. But if you're looking for a portable Bluetooth speaker that doesn't suck, and further more can be had at a discount, your options become significantly more constrained. According to Cameron Summerson, who's probably tried more speakers in the last year than he's had hot dinners, the Ultimate Ears MINI BOOM is an excellent choice.
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got a game where a frog kicks the crap out of ninjas, an interesting take on Breakout, a stacking game from Cartoon Network, a Monument Valley-style puzzler, and a text-only narrative game.
Google Hangouts 4.0 is coming. With it come status messages, a more modern chat interface, and a refreshed overall layout that now includes a floating action button. Oh, and there's an Android Wear Hangouts appfinally.
But Hangouts is probably far from the world's most popular messaging platform, even if it is the descendent of the widely-used Google Talk (which is now a term so dated to me that I actually had to make sure that's what it was called). There's Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, LINE, Apple Messages, Skype - and that's just naming a few. Not to mention plain old SMS, which I'm guessing most of us use at least sometimes.
Amazon's HAL 9000-style voice controlled gadget thing, the Echo, (yes, that's the best way to describe it in a single sentence) is gaining more capabilities with each software update. If you can get over the creepy implications of that, it's amazingly cool. The latest update adds the capability to interact with user recipes from the popular IFFT (If This, Then That) web service. At the moment it's mostly requests for music, to-do functions, and connected gadgets.
The practicality of this is dependent upon which recipes you've created or imported. The example from Amazon's promotional email is an Alexa song request that's automatically funneled through IFTTT and shared on Facebook.
We heard at Google I/O about Google's plans to help improve the experience of users on slow connections, especially in parts of the world where even 3G speeds are few and far between. They gave us a peek at how the search interface would change under those circumstances to improve those load times. Now, in select markets, the pages you click on will also be optimized to load much faster.
Google's estimates have you loading the page 4x as fast compared to the unaltered version when on a slow connection, with 80% less data. They claim, appealing to webmasters, that this results in 50% more pageviews due to the better experience and lower wait.
We missed one good new feature - you can now just tap and drag your finger in the result field to adjust how many decimals the answer will be calculated to. That's awesome.
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While the calculator in Android M may not look that much different on first inspection, it's actually almost completely new. According to several responses from Googlers on the Android issue tracker, a host of bugs and problems with the old calculator app should be solved in Android M.