21
Oct
DSC05461
Last Updated: October 24th, 2014

Android 4.4W.2 is slowly rolling out to various Wear devices this week, and my G Watch R review unit just received it earlier this afternoon. A couple of commenters have pointed out a new feature in W2 that we hadn't yet noticed - you can now hide notifications, as opposed to dismissing them, directly from the watchface.

21
Oct
launcher_drive_icon

We've already seen about a half-dozen Google apps leaked in a Nexus 6 system dump, but we haven't taken a look at Google Drive yet. The app does have some material design in store though - as with the others - it's still in testing, so anything could change. That said, it's worth taking a look. Google Drive has implemented many of the new material design paradigms that make the app cleaner, leaner, and easier to use.

21
Oct
nexusae0_beeeeeam_thumb

Among the many features Google talked about when the Android L preview rolled out was an improved version of Android Beam, and it's here in the new Android 5.0 dev preview. NFC sharing has existed since Android 4.0 in some form or another, but now it's finally something you can use without second-guessing yourself. Just pick a file and start beaming.

2014-10-21 19.41.40 2014-10-21 19.42.04 2014-10-21 19.43.53

21
Oct
flashdrive

Every smartphone out there might not be able to use a microSD card, but it can take advantage of a full-sized flash drive. Hey, hear me out here. I'm well aware that Android phones don't come with big USB ports, but SanDisk has produced a flash drive that your phone or tablet can access wirelessly. While they're not a perfect solution to the problem of limited storage, they're one of the best options out there.

21
Oct
a

Nova Launcher continues to let you emulate the Google Now Launcher while enjoying a plethora of customizations options. The newest version brings Lollipop animations and icons, along with a few tweaks to the existing functionality.

2014-10-21 19.25.26 2014-10-21 19.22.30

21
Oct
wm_DSC05505

The G Watch R is the first truly circular smartwatch, and it's also the first to ship with quite so many watchface options - 18 in all. Here's every one, in both active (as in, the display is turned on and ready for interaction) and always-on (passive sleep) modes.

wm_DSC05474 wm_DSC05475 wm_DSC05476 wm_DSC05477

Left: Castle white, right: Red

21
Oct
Xbox

When it comes to pushing pixels and providing deeply immersive experiences, consoles have a leg up over Android devices. But this doesn't mean that phones or tablets don't have a role to play in couch-based gaming. Xbox One SmartGlass users can turn to the Android app as a way to manage their Xbox account and interact with others without having to back out of their game.

An update has rolled out to the SmartGlass app, which is still in beta, that gives users a place to highlight their best game clips, show off their achievements, or share their location.

21
Oct
HuaweiMate2-Thumb

I know there are more than a few American readers who took a chance on this post, clicking on the headline even though they know the presence of Huawei's name likely means that everything they're about to read won't apply to them. The Ascend Mate 2 is one device that runs counter to this expectation. Huawei sells the phone directly to consumers online, including folks who live in the US.

21
Oct
nexus2cee_2014-10-15-11_18_07-Android-5.0-Lollipop_thumb

Google has used the CRT-style screen-off animation since Gingerbread. That animation is gone in Lollipop, replaced with a gentle fade out. Frankly, I'm surprised the CRT stuck around this long. However, the new animation isn't just a fade to black. It actually fades to black and white—observe.

normal slow

Left: normal speed, Right: slowed by 5 times

21
Oct
HTCOneM8-Thumb

T-Mobile is currently pushing out an over-the-air update to its version of HTC's flagship phone that bumps the software up to Android 4.4.4. Interestingly enough, getting the latest version of KitKat isn't the highlight of this release. This OTA also comes with the suite of features bundled together as the HTC Eye Experience, which the manufacturer detailed in a selfie-themed event where it unveiled the Desire EYE.

The Eye Experience, which we've previously detailed more in-depth, introduces numerous features that range from useful to just plain gimmicky.

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