Google may produce Android and maintain Google Play so that we can easily get content onto our devices, but at the end of the day, it's the developers that make the magic happen. They create the apps that make Android devices worth buying in the first place. So it's good news to see, as we would expect, that the Android 4.4 SDK is now available. Developers can make the upgrade from directly within the Android SDK Manager.
Android has had native support for user-taken screenshots since 4.0, and a few OEMs like Samsung have had supported the feature even before that. But until now, getting a reliable video recording of your device's screen has been a major pain, usually requiring some kind of root solution that doesn't work for all hardware. In KitKat, Google is doing away with that, allowing end users to record video directly from the screens of their devices.
A few of our readers spotted the Chromecast icon hanging out in yesterday's tablet-focused update to Pandora, and sure enough, it looks like the flip was switched this morning. You can now use Pandora to stream your stations directly from Chromecast the same way that you can with Google Play Music. Our guess is that Google needed to enable support via its media provider app list.
There's no need to update the app again if you grabbed yesterday's update, though you may need to force close it if it's been running in the background.
The ASUS Transformer series may not be a household name, but it's one of the oldest Android tablet brands around. Each release has been solid, and the latest Transformer Pad Infinity TF701T kicks things up a notch. Anyone in the US waiting to get their hands on this combination tablet and keyboard dock will be happy to know that it's now available on Amazon.
The tablet ships for $449, and the dock is sold separately, just as it has always been.
Tablets are in a bit of a rut as far as form factors go. Aside from ASUS' Transformer models and imitators, they're basically all monolithic slates with very little in the way of variation. Lenovo is trying to buck that trend with its new Yoga tablet line, which borrows the name from the company's flexible and well-received convertible laptops. These tablets feature an exaggerated curve on one side of the case (sort of like a more pronounced version of the Notion Ink Adam).
Earlier today at a livestreamed event in San Francisco, Google's SVP of Engineering Vic Gundotra announced a slew of new features slated for Google+ and Hangouts.
While we're still waiting for the Hangouts update that will enable SMS support, animated GIFs, and location sharing to hit the Play Store, which should happen in a few days, the Google+ update 4.2 is already live.
G+ Photos is now Photos
After playing around with this version for a bit, I'm glad to report that the annoying and superfluous G+ Photos shortcut is now gone.
Following the new improvements to Hangouts revealed at today's event, Vic Gundotra announced a slew of new features for Google+ photos, including new auto-enhance options, 1000 additional image recognition words, Auto Awesome Movies, and other tools aimed at making backing up, editing, and retrieving your content even easier.
Google+'s new auto-enhance options improve upon the tweaks Google already applies to images that are automatically backed up to the service. Faces look brighter, noise is reduced, and vignettes are applied.
Vic Gundotra just announced what we've all hoped for (and kind of already anticipated): SMS is coming to Hangouts. Yes.
Aside from that, you'll also be able to share your location with a simple tap. Oh, and GIFs. Prepare for all sorts of animated crap in Hangouts. It's happening. Unfortunately, we're not exactly sure when it will be happening – there's no word right now as to when the updated APK will hit Google Play.
Since the dawn of mobile gaming, there have been numerous requests from traditional PC gamers for gaming keyboard support in Android. After all, an FPS is just more fun when you use WASD, right? Alas, this just isn't a thing – we live in a land of touch controls and Bluetooth gaming controllers. And SHIELD.
Mad Catz, maker of all sorts of cheapish gaming accessories (and upcoming Android-powered gaming console M.O.J.O.
Owners of the budget-oriented Sony Xperia L are getting a nice surprise today as the company announced an update to Android 4.2 (build 15.3.A.0.26). The device launched with Android 4.1, and this update not only bumps it up to 4.2, it includes some improvements to Sony's apps and features.
— Sony Xperia News (@SonyMobileNews) October 29, 2013