Just about a week after Motorola released update notes for the second version of its Moto E budget handset, it looks like the Lollipop 5.1 update is indeed hitting the airwaves. Multiple posters on XDA have alerted their fellow users that the update (version XT1527, if you're wondering) has reached their phones. Thanks to the Moto E's off-contract nature, it should hit users on all carriers at the same time.
Screenshot credit: XDA user talbe009
According to screenshots posted on the forum, the update is a bit over 250MB in size, which is practically tiny for over-the-air updates these days. Read More
Miami-based BLU has made a name for itself by working with overseas partners to design and sell a line of Android devices with solid specs and low price points. We've featured a few of BLU's phones here, but there's always one caveat—KitKat. BLU's phones are still on the previous version of Android, but that starts changing today. Ten phones are now slated to get Lollipop by mid summer.
Samsung's Active line of phones have been dull but reliable machines for the last few flagship generations, and it looks like they're bringing them back for another round. GSMArena has posted photos of what definitely looks like a Galaxy S6 Active, and we've been able to confirm that this is what the phone will look like (with a very small margin of error) thanks to a secondary source. Read More
Do you have a burning question about Chrome for Android? Yes? Well, today is your lucky day. The team behind the Android version of Chrome is doing an AMA on the /r/Android sub-Reddit. That means you can ask them anything, not that they'll answer anything.
Android TV may look different from vanilla Android, but underneath that tiled interface is the same operating system you know and love. That means it's possible to sideload whatever APKs you want. The thing is, without a touchscreen, most of them are pretty useless.
Take the regular Amazon Instant Video app. Besides requiring that you have the general Amazon app installed first, it fails to provide a passable experience on Android TV (which lacks an officially sanctioned Instant Video app because Amazon). Read More
You've got a zillion choices for home screen replacements on Android, but Nova Launcher has consistently been one of the top options for the last few years. It was starting to look a little dated, though. After a number of beta updates, the stable v4.0 redesign is ready to bring your home screen into the material age.
Video quality keeps getting better, which means file sizes keep getting larger, things keep getting more complicated, and software must continue to work harder. According to Googler François Beaufort, the developmental version of Chrome now has a new video renderer that should be able to handle 4K content without stuttering.
You can try things out for yourself by installing Chrome Dev from the Play Store, enabling chrome://flags/#enable-new-video-renderer, and restarting the browser. Read More
Update Wednesday is starting off with a new version of the Gmail app. There don't appear to be any grand changes with this release, but it does boast at least a couple minor improvements. The only obvious change in this update comes in the form of a new full screen workflow for adding email accounts. A quick teardown also reveals that users will have the option to add vacation responders to their Exchange accounts, and Gmail's Unsubscribe feature is coming soon. Read More
Google Fit users, it's time to get off your butts and update the activity-tracking app. Version 1.52 has rolled into the Play Store, and it's ready to hit the gym with a new set of clothes and one of those fancy wristbands.
For starters, Fit can now track distances and calories. Fire up the app to see how far you've gone and how much you've burned in the process. Google has tweaked the look a bit, and you can now group your fitness history by days, weeks, and months. Read More
For American penny-pinchers who can meter their phone usage to a tiny sliver of voice and data and supplement with Wi-Fi, FreedomPop offers a pretty amazing deal. If you can snag a compatible phone and SIM card, you can get a small amount of service every month for free, gratis, and nothing. The service is now expanding outside of FreedomLand (he said, with only a trace element of irony) and hopping the pond to the United Kingdom. Read More