After a controversial edit or two appeared in Map Maker alongside an uptick in spam, Google decided to halt user submissions while it figured out a way to deal with things. Now the company is starting to open Map Maker back up to users. It's doing so gradually. The first phase announced includes the countries of Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, India, Philippines, and Ukraine.
Previously Google automatically approved most submissions. A Googler would then review edits manually, especially if community members brought something to the company's attention.
You knew this was coming sooner or later. Android Auto has been viewed as a mostly closed system, if not by nature of the software itself (which is technically open source) then by the fact that it's an extension of Android running on a big chunk of metal installed in your car. But some intrepid developers over on enthusiast forum AVIC411 have discovered a way to boot software directly from the SD card slot on Pioneer's NEX series of aftermarket Android Auto head units. That paves the way for custom ROMs in your car, or at least your car's entertainment system.
Play Newsstand v3.4.3 has started making its way from the Play Store to avid readers, and it has a pair of features users have been asking for. Magazine subscribers will be happy to know auto-download has been added to give them convenient delivery of each new issue as it is released. Readers with a focus on current events will find the Unsubscribe option has been returned to the Read Now overflow menu where it is easily accessible but won't be tapped accidentally.
One of the best things about digital magazines is that they can be stored on a device and saved for occasions when little or no data connectivity is available.
Qualcomm's new Adreno 530 GPU won't be something you'll find in any phone until next year, but nonetheless the newer, better, faster GPU powering the upcoming Snapdragon 820 chipset was detailed (well, lightly detailed) at SIGGRAPH 2015 this week. Qualcomm also confirmed that Snapdragon 820 devices will be available starting in the first half of 2016 - all but ruling out the chip in rumored Nexus devices launching this fall (unless, of course, they're not launching until next year).
While the rest of Snapdragon 820 is still largely under wraps, the new Adreno 530 was described to us in a short presentation, with the major figures to take away being a 40% increase in speed over the Adreno 430, along with a 40% decrease in power consumption under the same workload.
Hey, game pirates: screw you. Seriously, you're part of the reason it's so hard to find a decent game that isn't packed with $100 in-app purchases. Of course, good old-fashioned greed on the part of game developers is a big part of that, but a demonstrable loss of revenue from relatively easy piracy (a problem on other platforms like Windows) is giving developers little incentive to release conventional premium games for a simple price. Prolific publisher Noodlecake recently looked at statistics for the excellent Wayward Souls action-RPG and found that only 11% of Android users (and possibly fewer) had actually paid for the app - the rest had pirated it from various Internet repositories.
Online streaming music is all well and good, but if you're hankering for the good old days of sliding FM dials, Rdio wants to oblige your craving. The long-standing streaming service is adding a new section to its app called "On the Air on Rdio," which gives users access to digital streams of 500 United States radio stations. The collection of stations covers basically every major market in the county, usually with a mix of top 40, classic rock, country, sports, and news content.
The radio stations come from a partnership with Cumulus Media, a radio conglomerate that owns all of the stations added.
Some homes are smart, and the Logitech Harmony serves as their brain. It provides a single location to control all the things, assuming of course that the products are supported. The latest update adds quite a few more to the list ranging from door locks to thermostats and a few things in between.
The latest updates to Microsoft's OneNote app have taken advantage of an ability granted to it by the openness of Android OS: the ability to place an overlay on top of other running apps. Similar to Facebook Messenger's chat heads UI, OneNote now has an opt-in feature called "floatie" that remains accessible while you use non-OneNote apps. The idea is that inspiration for notes may come at any time and you may not want to leave the app you're in to do it. And in spite of the silly name, my first impression of floatie is that it serves its purpose well.
Keeping to their normal rapid release schedule, Mozilla published v40 of the stable release of Firefox to the Play Store today. The biggest user-facing change in the update is one that was also present in the beta version of v40, allowing you to long press the forward or back buttons to see a list of your recently visited pages. Here's a quick look at how that works:
This is the sort of thing that only catches your attention when there aren't any other major changes, but this is one of those times. I don't think mobile browsers generally make going back very easy and sometimes the system back button isn't ideal when you plan to go back multiple pages.
The idea of paying using your phone may be exciting, but that's all it will ever be until more stores start playing along. Today Rite Aid announced that you will soon be able to add its nearly 4600 stores to the list. Starting August 15th, it will accept Google Wallet NFC payments in stores. It will also take tap and pay credit cards.
That's right, it'll be like you're shopping at Walgreens. Remember when Android users got to first play around with mobile payments in 2011?