Most of the things happening on Android Wear smartwatches are entirely dependent on the connected phone, but there is support for the watches to be a little more independent. The Sony SmartWatch 3, for example, has its own GPS chip that was enabled by the Android 4.4W.2 update. Now the popular fitness app RunKeeper has been updated to take advantage of it.
If you're a user of the popular media hub / DLNA / UPnP service BubbleUPnP, the Android app has just received a significant functionality enhancement you may be interested in.
Previously, if you wanted to cast a video or audio file not natively supported by Chromecast, you had to have a BubbleUPnP Server install on a computer on your local network so that the media could be transcoded before casting. The reason for this limitation was twofold: battery consumption on the Android device and the limited processing power of older phones.
The Nexus 6 is a big phone with a big 3200mAh battery. Fortunately, it comes with a Motorola Turbo Charger that can breathe hours of life back into the phone in minutes. The thing is, Ausdroid has reported that folks in Australia are finding that their handsets aren't coming with the speedy charger in the box. Instead, there's a weaker charger in its place. What gives?
The issue results from electrical standards in Australia, which the version of the Turbo Charger designed for the global market doesn't meet.
Samsung's finally giving up on its flub of a chat platform, ChatON, early next year. Speaking to Engadget, Samsung confirmed that the app which no one asked be installed on their phone would be going offline on February 1st in all markets except the US, where it will shortly convalesce until some point before the end of Q1 2015. At which time, ChatON will die, and let's be real, probably go on to be reborn as some other not-very-good Samsung software product in a year or two, like a sort of crappy phoenix.
We've now seen the entire first generation of Android Wear watches, many of which have their own angle—a reason for being, if you will. The Sony SmartWatch 3 is great for outdoors, the Moto 360 is pretty and round, the G Watch R is rounder, and the original G Watch is cheap (sometimes). The Asus ZenWatch is the last device to hit the market, but just like the others, it now has the Android Wear 5.0.1 update.
Intuit has released a new version of TurboTax into the Play Store that shouldn't look jarring on your Lollipop-powered device. Despite focusing on something as dense and complicated as taxes, the app is rich with color and comes with plenty of whitespace. This is about as friendly as taxes can look.
I'm no Android developer, but I figure if I wanted to get started, I'd check out some videos and pick up a couple of books. That leads to the obvious question: where are these things? Packt, a publisher of both eBooks and good old-fashioned print ones, is currently offering its full catalog of development-oriented works for $5 each (in digital format only). It's also offering a few videos at the same price.
DualBoot Games, the makers of the Live Wallpapers that our team had taken a shine to back in 2012-2013, have been in a deep slumber for many moons. But they have just risen up (the forced metaphors will make sense in a bit, trust me) and released, of all things, an Android Wear watch face: Celestial 3D.
Celestial builds on DualBoot Games' animations and design capabilities to create one of most impressive and intricate watch faces I have seen on Wear so far.
If you've noticed a few changes around the Play Store on a desktop browser, you're not alone. Some Chrome users spotted a new layout for app pages on Google Play starting this yesterday evening. It isn't universal, and it seems to be a minority for the moment - only one Android Police staff member saw the updated layout, and even then, only in the latest beta for Chrome (40.0.2214.45).
The change modifies the full-width view that we've grown used to into a more narrow, three-column view.
Picture yourself on a couch. Now, across the room is a television. It's just a 48" 720p flatscreen, hooked up to a digital cable box Time Warner sent you like 8 years ago that is slow as molasses and has no remaining DVR space, and beside that is the old Xbox 360 you haven't touched in many a fortnight and is presumably home to a small but happy civilization of dust-eating molds and fungi who are probably as old as the component video cable you have attached to it.