With Android Lollipop, Google gave the keyboard its biggest visual refresh since the release of Honeycomb. If you like the look but don't particulary care to use the default input method, you have to wait for third-party keyboards to jump on board themselves. SwiftKey already introduced a couple Material Design-inspired themes in the past, but now it's back with five more.
In the newest theme pack, you get three new colors to work with: Material Orange, Material Phosphor Green, and Material Pink. Read More
Not all new features are created equal, and this particular change has us kind of scratching our heads wondering why Google would consider it a good idea. In Lollipop, you can now access your quick settings straight from the lockscreen. This way you can toggle Wi-Fi, cellular data, and Bluetooth without unlocking the device, even if it's secured behind a passphrase. Read More
Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of defense to your online accounts. Typically there are two ways to go about it: having a text sent to your phone containing a numerical key, or typing in one that appears inside of a dedicated app. Google Authenticator serves this function just fine, but you have to settle for something that hasn't been spruced up since the Ice Cream Sandwich days. Authy is an alternative offering that looks a bit easier on the eyes. Read More
The Lollipop Smart Lock functionality is pretty cool. You can have the phone stay unlocked when it's connected to a trusted Bluetooth device, in range of a certain NFC tag, or when it sees a trusted face (presumably yours). Trusted Face mode in particular is quite cool, but it's not necessarily as secure as a PIN or pattern lock. You can, however, temporarily switch to the secure lock screen with a single tap. Read More
If you're excited to try out YouTube's new music subscription service, you may not have long to wait. We've gotten several tips this morning from users who now have access to YouTube Music Key on the web, though that access doesn't seem to extend to the Android app just yet. Most users seem to be left out at the moment, so it's probably another one of Google's frustrating staged rollouts.
Having the latest version of the YouTube app (5.17) installed on your phone doesn't seem to help, though at least one reader with Music Key enabled said that there were now no ads being shown during music videos. Read More
As today's Deal of the Day, Amazon is offering the 16GB version of last year's Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 for only $259. The 32GB model goes for a slightly more expensive $274, and the 64GB model comes in at $289.
With the first two models, we're talking about a savings of $140. The 64GB sees a discount of $160. Either way, this amounts to a pretty big chunk of change, and it just goes to show that it can pay to wait until hardware is no longer brand spanking new before making a purchase. Read More
In a somewhat surprising, but completely understandable, move, Google has added a pretty large caveat to Play Store app submissions for Android TV. According to the Android developer documentation page on submitting apps, the company will pre-screen and approve all Android TV apps before making them available for download via the platform's marketplace.
Before distributing apps to the Play Store on Android TV devices, our team reviews apps for usability with a DPAD (apps) and Gamepad (games only) and other quality guidelines.
This Nexus launch is without precedent—the Nexus 6 is big, expensive, and compatible with all the major US carriers. It seems like Google is trying to make nice with the carriers too. Case in point, AT&T is selling a Nexus directly at launch for the first time. However, an image of the Nexus 6 posted on AT&T's site shows the Nexus 6 with an AT&T globe logo on the back. Yikes. Read More