This might be the best new Android 5.1 feature yet. Lollipop brought with it so-called heads up notifications, where the entire notification appears at the top of your screen momentarily when it first arrives. The problem was that you had only three options:
Wait until it goes away
Tap on it to open up the app notifying you
Swipe it away, making the notification disappear permanently
With this feature addition to Android 5.1, you can swipe up to get it out of your way without losing it entirely.
You can get a very popular book for a really, really low price on Google Play today. And by low price, I mean it's totally free. The book, which inspired the movie, is number two of the three-part series by Suzanne Collins that follows Katniss Everdeen's adventure in the dystopic future.
Normally, the book is $12.99. The first and third books are also marked down to $8.57 and $6.50, respectively. Giving away the second book is kind of clever, since it is not all that useful without also getting the first book.
If you have ever been traveling and wanted to know where the best place to get gas is, you might know that this can be kind of difficult at times. Gas station X might be near you as you search for options, but is it on your route? Or, you don't want to stop just yet, making that problem even more complicated. Well, Google Now has added a card to help with that.
To be honest, I never really expected to have anything to say about a teardown of the Drive companion apps, but here we are. Google uses Docs, Sheets, and Slides to give Android a mostly seamless editing experience for each of Drive's primary document types. They've gone through a steady set of improvements since launching in April and June of last year, either keeping pace or progressively catching up with the features offered by their web counterparts.
In a document posted to their corporate website, Netflix sought to describe their long-term plans. The piece reads like a fascinating mixture of investor relations propaganda and fantasy or media theory. While it touches on all kinds of different aspects of their business and the changing environment it exists in, perhaps the most intriguing part has to do with how they are describing their ideal content catalog.
We don’t and can’t compete on breadth of entertainment with Comcast, Sky, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Sony, or Google. For us to be hugely successful we have to be a focused passion brand. Starbucks, not 7-Eleven. Southwest, not United. HBO, not Dish.
Wallet has to be pretty frustrating for Google. They beat Apple to the punch by quite a long time, but the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus basically introduced the lay public to mobile payments. How did this happen? Insert the tired cliches about Apple's control over hardware and software here. More interesting is what Google will do, considering how much they still have to gain by getting more adoption of their Apple Pay competitor.
A report by The Wall Street Journal indicates that Google is not going to stand pat while this burgeoning market passes them by. While it seems much is still in the air, Google is apparently planning several interesting things to remake Wallet, which they will re-introduce at this coming May's I/O conference.
Despite its appearance on Android One devices, we've had complete radio silence from Google about Android 5.1. Still, as long as it is in the wild, we're going to keep hearing about it. In this case, we have found out that the animation associated with toggling the auto-rotate feature has come back in 5.1 after disappearing in 5.0. Take a look.
This might not exactly change the way you use your Android phone or tablet, but it's nice. Google has done some big talking about being more of a design-focused company, which means the minutiae like this have to be important.
Bubblesoft, the developers of the popular BubbleUPnP app, have published a server equivalent for Android. Previously, you could run a BubbleUPnP Server on Windows, Mac, Linux, Raspberry Pi, or a NAS. Then you could use the player app on Android to access or share your local media. Now your Android devices can also be used as a server, but with several important caveats. At least if you know where to find the app.
As you might expect, it's pretty minimalistic and not made for hand-holding. And, even to the extent you might know what you're doing, you do not want to be using your daily driver devices as BubbleUPnP servers.
Google has come out unscathed from a lawsuit in which consumers accused the company of anti-competitive practices. The basic allegation was that Google requires manufacturers to use a Google version of Android and that the way they place their own apps at the forefront has increased prices and prevented potential rivals from emerging. The main issue is the stipulation that Google's search be default in order to preload Play Services on Android devices.
There is probably some merit in the raw outline of the complaint; requiring Google Search to be default in order to access the rest of the Google goodies has probably held down competitors both in the search and mobile software market.
Owners of Tegra-powered devices know those chips are capable of some fantastic graphical feats. There isn't another hardware platform out there that can play Half-Life 2 and Portal in their original forms. So what is Pure Pool doing with all that power? It's rendering really, really shiny billiard balls.