Google Maps has been performing solid, mostly thankless service for more than eight years now, and last week its most significant update yet was leaked. It's that time of year, so we naturally assumed that we'd be hearing more about it at today's Google I/O keynote, but someone in Mountain View must have been a little quick on the trigger. Droid Life spotted a signup page for the revamped web interface and managed to grab a few screenshots before it was hastily shoved back in the digital closet.
Hey HP, we know you're new to the Android game, so here's a tip: if you've got a hot new piece of hardware, the absolute worst time to announce it is a few hours before Google I/O. That said, the new SlateBook x2 might garner some interest thanks to its internals alone - it's one of the first devices after NVIDIA's own Shield to use the Tegra 4 SoC. Throw in a 10.1-inch 1920x1200 screen and a very familiar-looking keyboard dock, and you've got the makings of a serious competitor.
StraightTalk has become a popular alternative for those who don't need all the bells and whistles of flagship smartphones, or don't want the sometimes ruinous cost of keeping them connected. But even budget carriers move with the times, and the Wal-Mart partner looks like it's finally ready to embrace LTE. The Samsung Galaxy S III is now available for purchase on StraightTalk's website, and should be at your nearest Wal-Mart soon.
Among dedicated Android fans, there is a consensus that stock Android is the best experience. That being said, not everyone is smitten with the Nexus hardware. A new option for conflicted users is rumored to be dropping tomorrow at Google I/O. A version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 – dubbed the Google Edition – could be released with the latest version of stock Android on board.
If this is indeed true, it wouldn't be the first time Google has created a new variant of a Samsung product.
On the eve of I/O, Google managed to finalize deals with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment to bring a music subscription service to both YouTube and Google Play, according to a report by The Verge that is now being corroborated by The Wall Street Journal. If everything goes smoothly, a preview or launch of the new service tomorrow isn't out of the question. The Journal similarly says the streaming solution could launch "as soon as this week." That would give Google a substantial leg up over Apple, which is still in the process of negotiating contracts for its own music streaming solution.
Even if you're not physically attending Google I/O, the official convention app might serve you well. It allows attendees to scan badges, view schedules, and just guide themselves around with vector-based maps. If you're not going to be in Moscone Center tomorrow, you can stream sessions with the app. Waiting just about as long as possible, Google has pushed an update to the I/O app, and it adds some cool stuff.
Cydia by developer Saurik has been around the block a few times, beginning in 2008 as a means of installing and modifying software on jailbroken iDevices. A diverse ecosystem has sprung up around the platform, expanding what iOS fans can do on their usually restricted devices. Saurik's Cydia Substrate, a platform for modifying devices without flashing new ROMs, has now made its way over to Android.
Cydia Substrate does not do anything interesting on its own, but developers can use the platform to distribute extensions that modify software without requiring access to source code.
Google I/O is almost here, so surely you've got Google on the brain. Why not take your mind off things with some neat new apps and games? Oh, but the cost! At least there are some cool sales going on to reduce the impact on your wallet. The selection is solid today, ranging from classic utilities to polished games. These deals aren't just in Google Play – Amazon's Appstore is makes a few appearances this time, as well.
This edition focuses only on new games. The app roundup is coming up soon.
Looking for the previous roundup editions?