Google Search received a pretty significant update this morning, adding yet more Google Now cards, speed enhancements, and three new voice actions. The now cards include nearby events, "suggestions to help you with your research" (whatever that means), QR code boarding passes (!) from Gmail, location-sensitive search by camera (aka Google Goggles), weather at places Now thinks you're travelling to based on Calendar and Gmail, and monthly summaries of your walking and biking activity.
Alright, yes. We've spent over a month getting upset because Christmas starts just way too dang early these days. It's December now, though. Is it finally okay to get in the holiday spirit a bit? Cool. Because these Spheros—robotic balls that can be remotely controlled by Android and carry an array of sensors and lights—are beautiful. The company behind the bots choreographed these 28 units to the tune of Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24, as performed by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
As of the newest update (1_65K_1027), this method no longer works. Refer to this post for the most recent method (which also works on this build).
Republic Wireless hit the scene with an interesting idea: to offer full-fledged mobile service for $19 a month. The low-cost service relies on customers using Wi-Fi and "hybrid Wi-Fi calling" in order to keep the cost low, and, for the time being, RW only has one phone: the Motorola Defy XT.
Bringing what it calls the first multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game for mobile consoles to Android, Gameloft today released Heroes of Order and Chaos to the Play Store.
The game, a spinoff of the original Order and Chaos, takes place in a "unique fantasy setting" where players will join a battle that's been raging for centuries. It pits teams of three or five players against each other in one of two maps (depending on your party size), combining non-stop arena combat with RPG elements.
Of all the services that I use on a daily basis, Dropbox is probably the one that I absolutely can't live without. I store nearly everything in it, use it to quickly (and automatically, thanks to FolderSync) transfer screenshots to my PCs, and easily share files with other AP team members, friends, and family. However, the fact that files and folders couldn't previously be moved from within the Android app has always been pretty annoying.
Sometimes, it can be a bit arguable what counts as a "low end" phone these days. Even cheap phones are so powerful that calling them anything lower than mid-range can seem insulting. This one, however, makes us pretty comfortable with the moniker. With a 1GHz Snapdragon S1 processor, a 320x480 TFT display, and a 3.2MP rear camera, the Xperia E fills out Sony's budget line just fine.
Optionally, the Xperia E Dual has the option for dual SIM card slots, which is great for business users, and those who need to work with multiple networks.
For the last few weeks, I’ve had the fortuitous opportunity to spend some time with the Microsoft Surface RT. I have a few thoughts I’d like to share about that experience.
Productivity (Office vs. Drive)
Drive / document editing and creation at large on Android sucks. Office on the Surface RT blows it away. Not even close. Office RT still has its quirks, but Microsoft continues to show that it dominates the spreadsheet and document ecosystem for a reason: it’s had nearly 30 years of experience perfecting it.
While the majority of Galaxy S III owners on U.S. carriers are still waiting to get the Android 4.1.1 update, those with unlocked handsets in Poland are already receiving the Android 4.1.2 OTA. This update brings more than just a Jelly Bean point release, though; it also comes with a host of new features:
Multi-Window (a la Note II)
New Gallery app (also from the Note II)
Customizable Notification panel
Paper Artist app
The update is rolling out in phases over the air right now, and is also being made available via Kies.
Ever since Chameleon Launcher was released, users have been wanting to see a version designed for phones. Looks like that time is finally coming, as the Chameleon dev team has posted a call for 25 alpha/beta testers for the new project, requesting that they have specific phone models to test on:
HTC One X+ HTC One X Samsung Galaxy Note® II Samsung Galaxy Note™ Samsung Galaxy S3 Nexus 4 Galaxy Nexus MOTOROLA RAZR HD LTE LG OPTIMUS G DROID DNA By HTC MOTOROLA RAZR MAXX HD
It's pretty clear that they want to get this thing running on the current top dogs as quickly as possible - if you think you can provide valuable, well thought-out feedback, head to the source link to find out how to get in on the action.
Getting your hands on Google's latest iconic Android handset seems to just get harder and harder as the holidays approach. Today, T-Mobile has the device back in stock yet again, however, the subsidized price is now bizarrely raised to $400 with a 2-year contract for existing customers. Um, T-Mobile...what?
This is still $100 off the "Suggested retail" price, which hasn't changed, but it's still $50 more expensive than buying it from Google outright.