It seems like it's hard to find a non-Nexus device that uses anything close to stock Android. Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony, Asus, Acer - everywhere you look there are customizations to a greater or lesser extent. Even Motorola, formerly Google's own subsidiary, uses a custom launcher. Chinese manufacturer ZTE is looking to break that trend, however. The company is planning to launch new smartphones that use the Google Now Launcher (AKA the Google Experience Launcher) by default.
Tasker is right up there with our lord Matias Duarte in the amount of love it gets from the Android community. There's really no other way to get anywhere close to the same kind of automation running on your device. The new v4.4 update adds even more functionality to this already robust app. Heck, you almost don't have to touch the phone anymore. That doesn't really sound as fun, though.
A month ago Facebook Pages Manager hit the big 2.0 and brought in a white, new UI to celebrate. It looks like the app had so much fun growing old that it's changing its number again. But what good is skipping up one number when it can do three? So the app has now hit 5.0. Say hello.
In the future, people will not only be surrounded by gadgets, they will be able to control everything by speaking. In this distant time roughly six or seven years from now, the basic voice commands we've grown accustomed to thus far will look like adorable relics of a bygone era. It looks like it may already be possible to get a taste of this promising way of life by configuring the latest version of AutoVoice.
One of the first applications I installed on my LG G Watch is Wear Mini Launcher. I know it is not the Google-approved way of launching apps on Android Wear, but I don't see myself talking to my watch in public or scrolling through a long list of commands to get to the Start menu. This third-party app offers a quick way to launch Wear apps and is being updated regularly to add more features.
It's not update Wednesday anymore, but Google can do whatever it wants with its apps. That's how things work. Today Mountain View has started rolling out an update to Google Maps with some stuff to make cyclists very happy. Not to leave everyone else out, there's now conversational voice actions while in navigation.
NBC Universal has launched Sprout Now into the Play Store, giving parents all over the country the option to let their kids stream a full episode of their favorite series and get a couple moments' rest. The app comes with a full program guide, plenty of shows, and enough content to occupy children for up to four, five minutes tops.
Of course, there are caveats. Parents need to have a TV subscription of some kind in order to get access to the shows.
Starbucks is looking to provide customers with the option to order their beverage in-app, saving them the effort of waiting in line to get in and get out with something to drink. Re/code reports that the company will start testing the feature in an undisclosed market later this year.
The concept of placing an order using a mobile app in order to skip the wait later on is not groundbreaking. After all, Chipotle expanded this feature to all of its locations late last year.
There are ways to share your real-time location with people, but doing so typically requires some degree of hassle. People either have to predict how long they want to share their data with someone or manually remember to turn it off later. Google account holders can send a map via Hangouts every couple of minutes and experience some degree of success, but Jink looks like a more elegant solution. The app lets multiple people share their location with a few taps, and the connection will automatically end once everyone meets up.