It seems like it's hard to find a non-Nexus device that uses anything close to stock Android. Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony, Asus, Acer - everywhere you look there are customizations to a greater or lesser extent. Even Motorola, formerly Google's own subsidiary, uses a custom launcher. Chinese manufacturer ZTE is looking to break that trend, however. The company is planning to launch new smartphones that use the Google Now Launcher (AKA the Google Experience Launcher) by default.
In the future, people will not only be surrounded by gadgets, they will be able to control everything by speaking. In this distant time roughly six or seven years from now, the basic voice commands we've grown accustomed to thus far will look like adorable relics of a bygone era. It looks like it may already be possible to get a taste of this promising way of life by configuring the latest version of AutoVoice.
An image of what looked to be a Shield-like controller at the FCC last month had rumors swirling about a successor to NVIDIA's hybrid touchscreen-gamepad system. Well, it looks like that may have only been part of the picture because @evleaks has just dropped a shot of what is claimed to be the Shield tablet. Take a look.
This device is remarkably similar to NVIDIA's Tegra Note reference hardware in regard to design language, so we're clearly looking at something they've created.
Raise your hands if you're excited about Guardians of the Galaxy. Now put them back down, because this is a text-based news story and I can't see you. As usual before a big summer movie, Marvel has released a new mobile game to get fans excited for the upcoming release. But what I'm really excited about is the fact that Marvel published the game itself (instead of outsourcing it to Gameloft) without the usual free-to-play trappings.
DoubleTwist's unique Android music app has been able to stream audio to Apple's AirPlay standard for some time, and to Qualcomm's competing AllPlay WiFi speakers since May. But for some reason, the company's Pandora-style streaming music service Magic Radio wasn't included. They have now corrected this oversight, and the latest version of the DoubleTwist app on the Play Store can now stream Magic Radio to AirPlay or AllPlay devices. You'll need the $8.99 upgrade to access streaming.
Games made specifically for Android Wear devices were almost inevitable. Despite the small size, there's a lot of potential for Wear integration for full-sized Android games - you could use your watch as a Star Trek-style alert system for an RPG, or as a fun secondary screen, like the Visual Memory Unit on the old Dreamcast. Even games limited to Wear itself could do a lot with simple taps or swipes.
Some of you have probably been coveting Google Shopping Express, the service which delivers groceries and other items from local retailers directly to your door on the same day, ever since it launched. But with an extremely limited rollout in only certain areas of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City, it's not exactly widespread. A report in ReCode says that Google plans to spend a huge sum of money, as much as $500 million, to give the shopping service a true nationwide rollout, covering major urban areas from coast to coast.
You probably know that you can use the "OK Google" command in Google Now (and just recently, anywhere else in Android) to do some cool things like set an alarm or check a flight number. But up to now, it hasn't been able to do much with the actual hardware on your phone. There's no easy way to expand Google Now functionality with third-party apps, but at least one developer found a work-around: meet Commandr, the new in-between service for flipping hardware switches in Google Now.
In the run-up to I/O (starting all the way back in March), we posted a relatively large number of leaks and rumors based on information that was provided to us about some of Google's plans. It's easy to lose track of all the rumors, and just how accurate they turned out (or didn't turn out) to be, so we thought it would be helpful to do a quick recap of the pre-I/O rumors now that the dust has settled.