The developers that brought us Pushbullet have announced a brand new app. Portal is designed to do one thing and one thing only: move files between your computer and your Android device. While this is possible with Pushbullet, it isn't a strong point and requires sending those files to their servers and back. Portal sends them within your local wireless network, avoiding potentially costly data fees and making possible far faster transfer times.
To be clear, the developers haven't really invented anything here. Sharing files over your local wireless network is as old as, well, wireless networks. The innovation here is making it so simple that you don't have to have a clue how it works.
The preview release of Android M has shown magnificent growth in the platform. There are new things for everybody to enjoy. While we're always excited to see new APIs and cool features – not to mention some pretty important bug fixes – we shouldn't overlook the interesting changes that have also come to the tools we use to work with Android and our devices on a different level. The preview SDK brings an updated version of ADB with a few new commands, including a handy new shortcut to reboot directly into Sideload Mode.
Cyanogen Inc. has forged an alliance with Playphone to bring its exciting bloatware social game store to Cyanogen OS in multiple international markets. It's not clear when or where the Playphone store will be bundled with Cyanogen OS phones, but it should start happening before long. I'm sure no one will be annoyed by this.
Money and expense managers are excellent tools for those of us who have a little trouble staying on top of their budgets, counting the ins-and-outs of cash flow from their pockets and bank accounts, and saving a few pennies for emergencies or big purchases. However, most of them usually expect you to have a fixed regular salary and rigid monthly payments in order to calculate their data. That's the problem Level's latest update tries to fix.
If you're a contractor, server, freelancer, and you work on tips, commissions, or variable paychecks, it's now possible for you to add your income to Level in different amounts and intervals that go anywhere from a week to a year.
According to Droid-Life, this is the new Cam. It looks like a Dropcam, predictably, but slimmer, more modern, and like the result of a Stuart the minion and Mike Wazowski inspiration. Bee doo bee doo! Presumably, the Nest Cam will be capable of 1080p streaming and recording, though the report wasn't clear on whether that means local storage or Dropcam's expensive subscription tiers.
Back in September, Hangouts switched from gray to green in its 2.3 update, ostensibly making the first baby steps on its journey toward joining Google's material design parade. Then in December we first spied a slightly more material version of the app. Now, users are running version 3.3 and many aren't satisfied with the app's layouts or structure. Things like the seemingly unnecessary contacts tab, the somewhat messy drawer, and the non-standard toolbar are common complaints.
It looks like Google is working on fixing a lot of issues with an upcoming update to Hangouts 4.0 though. We've heard rumblings from Reddit of the new update, and now we've got an early look at the app.
The PBS Video Android app has gained support for a cheap little media stick that frees shows from mobile devices and sticks them on something bigger. This way users can go back to viewing shows like Frontline, NOVA, and PBS NewsHour the way they've been watching them for decades.
Chromecast support works the way you're likely already familiar with. You open up the app, you locate the icon in the top-right corner, you select the dongle you want to cast to, and you watch your show.
The adult PBS Android app gains Chromecast support nearly a year after the PBS Kids one did, but hey, parents are used to putting their children first.
Remember that "Voice Access" talk that was supposed to happen at I/O but was removed from the schedule? It turns out that, while it wasn't the full-on in-app voice craziness we had hoped for, Google did have some news about voice interactions to share.
Specifically, with Android M, Google has introduced the Voice Interaction API, which will allow apps to get a better handle on a user's voice-initiated requests. Check out the video below, by the leaders of a sandbox talk at I/O about voice actions.
The new API, as Google Search Developer Advocate Jarek Wilkiewicz explains, shouldn't be confused with custom voice actions.
Fix for multi-column layouts
From a user-facing standpoint, the only directly relatable change came to multi-column layouts in Chrome.
The kids these days love watching videos of other kids playing video games. They're hooked. It doesn't matter if the title is Minecraft, Skyrim, or Five Nights at Freddy's—if someone out there is willing to record their gameplay, someone else is willing to watch.
Kamcord simplifies the process of doing this on mobile devices. If you want to record your game, you can do so without going back to edit the seconds you spent switching between Goatz and your screen recording app. Kamcord specifically targets gameplay footage.
The app can record all games on devices running Android 5.0 or higher.