Next month will be the two-year anniversary of Gmail becoming the most widely used email service on the planet. While it remains the uncontested champion, the Gmail app for Android struck its own accomplishment last week as it became the first conventional app in the Play Store to reach 1 billion downloads. Technically, the Google Play services package crossed the same mark back in January, but it is automatically installed on any device equipped with the Play Store and running Android 2.2 or higher.
It's a good day to be an NVIDIA SHIELD owner. Valve's Android ports of PC shooter classics Portal and Half-Life 2 just dropped in the Play Store for $10 a pop. They're only for the SHIELD (even other devices with the Tegra 4 chipset aren't invited to the party), which is a bit of a mixed blessing - these games really require a full controller to play.
Valve teased an Android release for the 2007 classic Portal way back in March, but we only heard about the Half-Life 2 port last week (via crowbar).
It can be easy to forget that the Moto 360 isn't the only Android Wear device coming this summer. Although, its probably the one we know the most about, especially now that LG has posted a teaser video for it.
The G Watch retains the traditional square shape of past smartwatches, but LG promises a sleek, waterproof metal design.There are a lot of fly-in close-ups of the G Watch, which look neat, but don't really tell us anything new about the device.
16GB of on-board storage? Pathetic. 32GB MicroSD card? Miserly. Samsung is teaming up with its subsidiary Seagate to provide an add-on mobile storage solution that should outstrip just about everything out there, and do a few more tricks as well. The "Samsung Wireless" device is combination Wi-Fi/USB portable hard drive and portable battery with a gigantic 1.5TB capacity, set to sell for $179. Unfortunately there's no reliable release date, and it's not available on the Samsung store at the moment.
Google Now does a lot of neat things, but the way Google plugs in its wealth of data makes sure the functionality changes often and in unexpected ways. Case in point, it helps you set reminders for some oddly specific events. Need to cancel an auto-renewing membership? Try asking Google Now.
LG bailed on the tablet market after the amazing flop that was the G-Slate, but came back to the table last year with the surprisingly competitive G Pad 8.3. It became the first Google Play Experience tablet, and now LG is expanding its offerings with 7, 8, and 10.1-inch devices. Guess what we don't know about these devices... pretty much everything else.
While there is no shortage of puzzle and arcade games on the Android platform, it can be easy to get drawn into the mainstream hits like Angry Birds and Cut The Rope. The first time I stumbled onto a "darker" game, I had downloaded World Of Goo as part of a Humble Bundle, and was instantly mesmerized by its graphics and sounds. There was something hauntingly beautiful about it, and I ended up on the Play Store looking at the "Similar Apps" and "Users also installed" sections.
Yesterday, we shared detailed mockups of what we believe to be a UI in testing that will likely come alongside a new release of Android. This UI basically seems to be a replacement for the existing Google Experience Launcher - and it is differenty. As we all know, change tends to spark controversy, and this story sparked like a Fox body Mustang riding on rims down the highway at 60MPH full of illegal fireworks and cheap power strips.
If you missed that big game and want to catch up quickly, you can always tune into Sportscenter or any number of websites. But if you want to do so as fast as humanly possible, Google is happy to oblige with a new addition to the ever-expanding search functions. For the latest NBA games in the US, Google is adding short video recaps to the score cards that automatically appear when you search for a team or a game.
At this point there's little doubt that Motorola will be unveiling the "Moto E" at its event next week. In addition to a leak on Facebook comparing the phone to the low-end Moto G, some new information and a promotional image has come out of FastShop, a Brazilian Internet retailer. According to the specifications that briefly appeared on the site, we're looking at a phone that's very similar to the G with a redesigned case and budget-minded specs.