Messenger is Google's basic alternative to Hangouts for sending SMS messages, and today it has received an update bringing along a widely-requested feature. No reason to tease you about it. Let's jump in.
Quick Reply is the ability to respond to a message without having to switch to the full app. Now when the notification comes in and you hit the reply button, you can tap out a response and go about your day.
Google is turning app developers loose on Google Now, but search data is still finding its way into the feed in new ways as well. If you haven't already, you'll soon start to see cards that tell you when a product you've searched for goes on sale. Google previously did this with flight data, but now it seems to work with all kinds of stuff.
It might surprise you to learn that the Android Police staff does not work on a series of networked Chromebook Pixels connected to Google's sentient God-Cloud. Nope, most of us use Windows for daily posting and other general tech stuff. So it's awfully interesting that Microsoft is making a push to bring Android apps to its various Windows platforms starting with the upcoming Windows 10. At today's Build 2015 developer keynote, Microsoft said that devs will be able to "reuse nearly all the Java and C++ code from an Android phone app to create apps for phones running Windows 10.”
If you haven't heard, there's an Android version of the popular desktop file manager Total Commander. It has been around for years, and through all of that time, it hasn't been a particularly pretty piece of software. Okay, it started out somewhat fine by Gingerbread standards, but successive versions of Android have not been nice to it. If you go to the Play Store right now, here's one of the screenshots you will see.
In the midst of update Wednesday, Google has just pushed a brand new version of Chrome to the Play Store - Chrome Dev.
For those unaware, Google's browser comes in four main channels - Stable, Beta, Dev, and Canary. As you descend the list, you get closer to the bleeding edge. So while you can see some of what's next in Chrome Beta, the Dev channel shows what Google is working on "right now," giving a peek into "whatever code [Google's] got."
The Play Store listing of course warns that any new functionality in the Dev version of Chrome may be "rough around the edges," but Google says this release will be updated "on roughly the same schedule as other platform Dev channels."
Google's long awaited carrier play was announced recently as Project Fi, an MVNO running on Sprint and T-Mobile that will begin as a Nexus 6 exclusive. The official Project Fi app is now live in the Play Store—not that it will do you a lot of good without an invite, which no one seems to have yet.
It's Update Wednesday, and you know what that means. Yes, time to sideload some APKs, because staged rollouts are lame. First on your to-do list is the new My Tracks update, which runners will be happy to see has a new map option. You can now see your path with an "Earth" overlay.
Does the lack of $1000+ status symbols available for the Android Wear market really get you down? If it does, then start saving your pennies now. According to Bloomberg, TAG Heuer and its owner LVMH intend to release a luxury smartwatch in either October or November of this year, with a price tag expected to be around $1400. That's much, much more expensive than even the priciest Android Wear devices to date, about entry-level for a TAG watch, and approximately one tenth the price of the most expensive Apple Watch.
Some people may not understand this, but there are things in this world that don't need to be "connected." They just don't. Case in point: these stupid connected bike pedals that have somehow managed to raise 180% (at the time of writing) of the $50,000 goal on Indiegogo. I'm pretty sure the people who are backing this don't actually ride bikes, but rather romanticize the idea of how useful something like this could be if they actually did.