Avid readers on Android have some exciting new toys to look forward to in the latest version of Amazon Kindle. Update 4.8 adds some significant features to an already-packed app, specifically linked to in-book search. "X-Ray" is a proprietary system that downloads a pre-configured, collated file that includes information about the book itself, the characters, the setting, and the context of basically everything. For complex fiction, non-fiction, or textbooks, it's an amazing system previously reserved for the Kindle e-readers and tablets.
It's been a long and winding road to find the truth behind the recent announcement that Cyanogen Inc. had signed an exclusive deal with Micromax in India. OnePlus made waves when it said that meant there would be no CM updates for the OnePlus One sold in India, but Cyanogen Inc. made a blog post saying all global devices would get updates, and all was well. Except it isn't. A new post on the Cyanogen blog expands on the situation.
There's an elite club among Android apps: those chosen few that have been consumed by enough people to surpass the 1 billion installs mark. Most of the names found on this list come from Mountain View. Gmail was the first to cross the threshold (discounting Google Play services, which comes pre-installed on every Android device with access to the Play Store), followed by Maps and YouTube. Facebook has also passed the milestone, though I'm not sure how many of our readers are particularly happy about that one.
For dedicated Android users, there's a certain feeling of comfort that comes from seeing Google Play gift cards line the shelves of their local convenience store. The visibility serves as a sign of the platform's popularity and reach, a little reminder that the OS we've come to rely on isn't going away anytime in the near future. Now those little cards are appearing in two more countries: Turkey and South Korea.
Update: Here are better screenshots a reader has sent us.
Indosat, update: one of the largest mobile carriers in Indonesia, appears to have added support for Play Store billing. This means that subscribers throughout the world's fourth most populated country should be able to pay for Google Play content by adding the fees to their monthly bills.
If you own a Sharp Aquos Crystal on Sprint, you've got an update on the way. According to Sprint, there are quite a few bug fixes as well as some new bloatware added, such as Sprint's new premium caller ID service that lets you see a caller's name as well as their phone number, and integration with Yahoo's Communications Suite.
The new update bumps the firmware version to SA300 and is still based on Android 4.4.2/KitKat.
So you own a Galaxy S4, Tab 4 8.0 LTE, or Avant and have just received an over-the-air update from T-Mobile. What does it do? Regardless of which of the three devices you own, the answer is the same: not much.
The Galaxy S4, easily the most popular gadget of the three, is receiving a bump to version M919UVUFNK2. This brings with it Chinese language support. Don't speak Chinese? Proceed not to care about this update.
A couple of weeks ago, a release candidate for Android Studio 1.0 rolled out to the Canary development channel to allow users a chance to poke and prod at it before an official launch. The serious issues have been worked out and Android Studio has been given its first official release to the stable channel. Alongside the title change, Android Studio has also been declared the "official Android IDE." ADT with Eclipse is still available, but is no longer considered to be in active development.
Among tech-savvy media fans, Video LAN Client (VLC for short) is easily one of the most popular video and audio players in the world. It's available for every major desktop platform, and for almost two years, it's been in beta for Android. Today the app has officially graduated to a 1.0 build, marking its formal exit from beta and a day of celebration for fans of flexible media playback on mobile devices.