In Android 5.0, the default keyboard looks substantially different from how it has looked largely since the days of Ice Cream Sandwich. The new out-of-the-box method of typing comes with a flatter theme that supplies a stark new feel. At the end of the day, though, it's still used primary to punch in letters onto the screen, and there's nothing particularly exciting to share there. One change we would like to highlight though is the addition of new emoji.
In the Android Police review of the OnePlus One, we called it "the best flagship you can't buy." That will change soon: the independent and often divisive manufacturer has finally seen fit to set aside its invitation system and start selling phones the old-fashioned way. Pre-orders will be available via OnePlus.net starting on Monday, October 27th at 15:00 GMT (8 AM Eastern time).
But it just wouldn't be OnePlus without some needless complication, right?
Spotify has announced an option for families that allows them to add discounted accounts to a primary Spotify account, very much like a carrier family plan. After signing up for a standard $9.99 Spotify Premium subscription, users in the US can add up to four more premium accounts for $5 each, a 50% discount. A family of five can thus get a premium account for each member for a total of $29.99 a month.
The G3 is LG's current flagship phone, but Sprint is pushing out an over-the-air update that shows some love to 2013's model, the G2, instead. This special delivery will bring in a number of general enhancements that some users may be happy to see. HD Voice is seeing improvements, and there are some LTE-related changes as well. These are joined by a security patch fixing something that's unspecified in the change log.
Each year, buying the current Galaxy Note device is an expensive undertaking. To own one off-contract, the damage done to your wallet is quite a lot to take in at once. AT&T, for example, wants around $800 to sell you this year's model. The most affordable way around this is to purchase last year's release. It's no less powerful than it was a couple of days ago, and aside from eventually reaching the end of its support period sooner than the newer version, it will satisfy most users just fine.
Thanks to high-end specs, a relatively "clean" build of Android, and Motorola's improved reputation, the Moto X 2014 (AKA Moto X Second Generation) is fast becoming a favorite among Android power users. And now that it's been out in the wild for a few weeks, the modders are lining up to write the usual custom ROMs and tweaks. To help facilitate that, the folks at Team Win have brought their custom recovery to the new flagship.
Face unlock was added in Android 4.0, but it was little more than a clever tech demo. It was a pain to use for many reasons, not least of all it actually took longer to unlock the device than a regular lock screen. Along with trusted devices, Android 5.0's smart lock functionality includes trusted face mode. It fixes face unlock, and fixes it good. It's seriously amazing.
Google showed off the trusted device unlock support back at Google I/O, but the feature didn't make it into the last dev preview. Well, it's there now and it works as advertised. Just pair your favorite wearable or Bluetooth gizmo, and the secure lock screen goes away. Lose connection, and it's back.
We've known Google was looking to bring Chrome into the app switcher since we learned some details of "Project Hera" earlier this year (and confirmed at I/O). The framework for making that happen appeared in Chrome beta in September, but now it finally works in the new developer preview.
When you open Chrome Beta on Android 5.0, you will get the above splash screen telling you where to find all your tabs.
Google's been updating apps left and right recently to fall in line with its new material design philosophy, and the results have been impressive. There are a few apps it appears Google's saving for the final Lollipop release though - Gmail 5.0 among them.
While we won't be distributing the updated Gmail app until the official update is released, we will be sharing a goody from the new onboarding process, which shows some of the new awesomeness coming to the app in its overhaul.