After getting a sneak preview last week, it's time for Google to unleash another update to its Play Services package. There usually aren't very many highly visible changes in these updates, and this version is no exception. The APK Teardown already gave a pretty solid indication that this version will be responsible for scheduling firmware updates on Android One devices, and it contains an experimental Smart Unlock method based on Activity Recognition; but most of us probably won't see either of these for a while.
Exclusive titles like Half-Life 2 and Portal have served to make Nvidia's Shield devices more attractive to gamers, but that's usually about graphical optimization. The newly released OlliOlli is a bit different. This is a retro-themed skateboard stunt game that previously resided on Steam. Now it's on Android and exclusive to the Shield Portable. Yes, the Portable. Oh, and it's $12.99, just like the Steam version.
Circle is an app you can use to manage bitcoin, assuming, you know, that you're into Magic Internet Money. The latest update adds Android Wear support, which gives you the option of generating a QR code to use as an address for receiving byte-sized moolah or simply keeping an eye on bitcoin's going rate at the moment.
This update also adds NFC support, so you can use the app to transfer bitcoin by tapping your phone against something it plays along with, just in case paying using Google Wallet doesn't provide enough nerd cred.
In English, the word "limbo" can refer either to a party dancing game where participants walk under a horizontal bar or a theological concept referring to plane of existence between life and damnation. Take a look at the screenshot above. Which one do you think the game LIMBO is about?
LIMBO debuted on Steam, Xbox Live, the PlayStation Network and other download services back in 2010. It helped kick off the current trend for dark and moody platformers focused on exploration and atmosphere more than twitchy action.
Google is reportedly experimenting with a new feature called YouTube Radio. According to Google Operating System, this addition will enable you to create a non-stop music station filled with music similar to what's currently playing. It's apparently only available to a limited number of users for the time being, but here's the pop up they're seeing.
After creating a station, you can like, dislike, or dismiss videos in order to tailor the content to your liking.
At CES this year, Blu announced a handful of new devices that should all show up in the first half of 2015. We've already taken a look at the sleek and slim Vivo Air, which really surprised me in almost every possible way. So much, in fact, that I've been using it as my daily driver for the last few weeks. I really like it.
As much as I enjoy using the Air, however, I had to put it off to the side to spend some time with the newest Blu handset, the power-packed Studio Energy.
This year ESPN is letting Cricket fans stream the entire ICC Cricket World Cup over the Internet, as long as they're willing to pay $100 for the content. As part of the package, users will get to use their mobile devices.
So the network has released its Cricket 2015 app into the Play Store, shortly before games begin on the 14th. The app provides access to all 49 live matches and follows the teams from Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates West Indies, and Zimbabwe.
According to The Information, Google is in the process of testing a contextually-aware mobile payment system codenamed "Plaso" around some of the company's offices in cooperation with popular businesses like Papa John's and Panera Bread. That a new Google mobile payment system is under development at all shouldn't be surprising: Wallet's abysmal adoption rate, along with competitor Softcard, have made it obvious that NFC payments aren't resonating with consumers enough to really change buying habits yet. While Apple Pay will go down this tried-and-failed road yet again, it's doing so on the hopes that wider partnerships and better marketing will finally lead to success where Wallet found only failure.
Nokia's Here maps app has proven a popular alternative to Google Maps, thanks largely to its strong international support and offline navigation mode. There's an update rolling out today that improves mapping data across a number of countries and adds new turn-by-turn locations.