We've been eagerly awaiting the new version of Google Hangouts since it was announced at the Google+ event in October, and while a version pulled from the Nexus 5 is mostly working on most devices, its had its fair share of issues with crashing and video chat.
Now the update has finally landed on the Play Store, and with a slightly newer version number. Hangouts v2.0.122 (as opposed to 2.0.012 on the N5) is presumably beginning its slow and steady staged rollout, but you can get it right now.
There are a lot of Bluetooth keyboards aimed at Android tablets, but ASUS' Transformer series of tablets and docks has long been a favorite of those who prefer a full laptop-style form factor. ASUS is trying to bring that same experience (or at least part of it) to a broader range of devices with the TransKeyboard, revealed on the company's YouTube channel late last night.
The TransKeyboard is pretty similar to other mobile keyboards - it's relatively compact and interoperable with Android smartphones/tablets and PCs.
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.
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.
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).