As if you needed another reason to lust after the Nexus 5 and/or Android 4.4, Google just announced a huge new feature for the default Phone app in KitKat. The new version of the dialer/contacts app will match incoming numbers against Google's various databases to provide an automatic caller ID for businesses using Google Places, as we've already seen. But starting next year, this feature will be applied to people as well.
Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.
DigiCal Calendar & Widgets
Today's roundup is presented by DigiCal Calendar & Widgets from Digibites.
Android 4.4 introduces a new interface for accessing files from within apps. Traditionally, trying to upload a file - say, to a social network - created a popup asking which source to pull it from. Now apps will open a sidebar navigation menu that lists all the available options, and Box has already rolled out an update adding support for it.
By default, the new storage access framework only shows local files and Google Drive, but any app that has added support will also appear.
Earlier this week at a Google+ event, the company announced several important additions to Hangouts for Android. The updated version 2.0 comes with SMS support as well as location sharing, the ability to display animated GIF files, as well as the previously discovered in a teardown statuses and moods. AndroidPolice covered the rumor on October 7th following my initial Google+ report on October 4th.
The coveted update may take a while to reach you, considering it hasn't even started officially rolling yet.
If you've never heard of the Bluetooth MAP profile, I don't blame you. Bluetooth profiles are super, super boring stuff. But stay with me here, because you may be more interested in MAP than you thought.
Do you own a car that is "Bluetooth-enabled"? If your car's model year is somewhere in the neighborhood of the last 3 to 4 years and supports Bluetooth, it probably uses the MAP standard to communicate with your phone.
If you've used Android 4.1 or later on a phone or tablet with 1GB of RAM, you know things can get a little tight in the memory department. That's what makes newer and slightly underpowered devices like the Lenovo Yoga a little disappointing. Google has decided to trim the fat with Android 4.4 in an initiative they've christened "Project Svelte." This isn't a single change, it's a wide range of additions to the Android API and optional hardware configurations designed to make KitKat run smoothly on devices with as little as 512MB of system memory.
According to the new 4.4 developer page, Project Svelte starts with recommendations and options targeted at device manufacturers.
The ASUS Transformer series may not be a household name, but it's one of the oldest Android tablet brands around. Each release has been solid, and the latest Transformer Pad Infinity TF701T kicks things up a notch. Anyone in the US waiting to get their hands on this combination tablet and keyboard dock will be happy to know that it's now available on Amazon.
The tablet ships for $449, and the dock is sold separately, just as it has always been.
Tablets are in a bit of a rut as far as form factors go. Aside from ASUS' Transformer models and imitators, they're basically all monolithic slates with very little in the way of variation. Lenovo is trying to buck that trend with its new Yoga tablet line, which borrows the name from the company's flexible and well-received convertible laptops. These tablets feature an exaggerated curve on one side of the case (sort of like a more pronounced version of the Notion Ink Adam).
Earlier today at a livestreamed event in San Francisco, Google's SVP of Engineering Vic Gundotra announced a slew of new features slated for Google+ and Hangouts.
While we're still waiting for the Hangouts update that will enable SMS support, animated GIFs, and location sharing to hit the Play Store, which should happen in a few days, the Google+ update 4.2 is already live.
G+ Photos is now Photos
After playing around with this version for a bit, I'm glad to report that the annoying and superfluous G+ Photos shortcut is now gone.
Vic Gundotra just announced what we've all hoped for (and kind of already anticipated): SMS is coming to Hangouts. Yes.
Aside from that, you'll also be able to share your location with a simple tap. Oh, and GIFs. Prepare for all sorts of animated crap in Hangouts. It's happening. Unfortunately, we're not exactly sure when it will be happening – there's no word right now as to when the updated APK will hit Google Play.