Manufactures have been scaling back the included extras that come with hardware for a while now - you won't find included headphones or cases with any of the latest flagship phones. But you can generally rely on getting a USB cable and a wall-wart charger at least. Such is the case with the current Android Wear devices, the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live. But if you have one, you'd better hold onto that charger like it's made of gold, because it might as well be.
We've heard rumblings about a possible Netflix-like service for books provided by Amazon, and now that service has come to fruition. It's called Kindle Unlimited, and it essentially offers customers access to over 600,000 titles from the Kindle Library and 2,000 on Audible, with unlimited reading or listening on both for roughly $10 a month.
Of course, Amazon isn't the only one offering a service like this, as Oyster just launched its all-you-can-read book buffet last month for the same price.
When the Google Maps Engine app hit Android in late 2013, it enabled users to view and share custom maps. Now an update has landed that empowers them to create and edit such maps as well. Users can spawn new ones, add layers, and move points around as needed. They can then go back and rename aspects as they wish.
The update has also introduced some UI changes, so while it may look largely the same, it's a little cleaner around the edges.
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.