We first reported on Android Silver back in April this year as an attempt by Google to premiumify Android phones with more Google branding and stock software in partnership with OEMs and US carriers. The program was supposed to launch early next year, and according to our source, would even entail custom retail booths in carrier stores, supplied and funded by Google. Google would also provide marketing assistance, customer support, and help carriers with sell-through, providing employees training on selling and teaching customers how to use Silver devices.
Here's a Google app that few people would judge you for not knowing about. There's this thing formerly known as Maps Engine that lets people create custom maps and share them with others. Now it goes by the name of My Maps. And, put bluntly, it's a change that makes sense. This conveys to users what the app actually does. Map Engine? Not so much.
To go with the name change, Google has changed the app's icon as well.
With its first wearable, the Shine, Misfit took a different approach to the whole activity tracking thing. Its spherical device wasn't tied to a bracelet like its competitors', it could be popped inside of a necklace or strapped to a belt as well. And forget days of battery life, this thing could go for months. The product was compelling, but at $129.99, it wasn't cheap, so Misfit is addressing that with its second go at the market, the Flash.
In another gesture that shows Microsoft's increasing willingness to play along with its competitors, the company has launched a OneNote Android Wear app into the Play Store. However, this release oddly requires users to have this separate app installed alongside the standard Android one in order to interact with OneNote on their smartwatches. It's awkward, but hey, it's better than nothing. With this new integration, people are able to dictate words to their wrists and have them appear among their notes.
The stable of apps that support Google's Chromecast device just seems to keep growing. In addition to NPR One and Watch ABC last month, Google just announced a handful of new apps that have been enabled today. The biggest additions for our readers are probably Twitch, the online game stream broadcasting service, and iHeartRadio, the radio streaming service from
ClearChannel iHeartMedia. Both of them should be ready to stream content to your TV now.
Pandora is currently rolling out a redesigned version of its Android app that may just cause more than a few double takes. The Internet radio service has looked largely the same on Android for a few years now, but the UI introduced in 5.5 is strikingly different - at first, at least. This change is stark, but it's only surface deep.
The Pandora app has been stripped of its blue gradients.
If you're a developer who uses Testdroid for app compatibility testing, then some newly-announced price changes and other features will probably be of interest to you. First, and probably most importantly, Testdroid Recorder is now completely free – a price drop of $200. If you've already subscribed to Testdroid Recorder, don't sweat it, the company is offering a nice perk for you: 12 months of support. Would-be Recorded customers can also get support access for $200 a year.