Chainfire's FlashFire is a very handy tool for anyone who likes to flash their phone. Provided the device is rooted, it enables the flashing of OTA files, ZIPs, and full firmware packages, all without needing a custom recovery. Previously, the app had been available in Google Play's beta program, but as of version 0.50, it is now open to all. Read More
Google is constantly testing new features and approaches to getting things done on Android. For example, the new Nearby tab that some users have noticed when doing searches from the home screen search widget. We've gotten a few tips about it, but it seems to be in the early stages of testing. Read More
Google Maps is now accepting beta testers through the Play Store, and it's probably no coincidence that there's already an update to v9.27 to go along with the news. The latest version doesn't appear to have any mind-blowing features, but it's not without a few changes to be found on the screen and buried in the apk. There are new notification settings, a new splash screen for Android Wear, and a few hints from a teardown. We're still looking around for more, so let us know if you stumble across any cool changes.
Unofficial Changelog: (stuff we found)
- New Notification Settings: "Show pending contributions notification" and "Driving notifications"
- Splash screen on Android Wear
More Notification Settings
Just a few days ago I commented on how the Notifications screen had grown quite a bit over the last few months, and with the brand new beta, two more settings join the list. Read More
Around two years ago, we published an article saying that despite the claimed existence of a single, 15-minute app refund windows (now 2 hours), Google Play actually had multiple refund windows available to customers that were automated up to around 48 hours after the purchase of an app. Specifically, from a period of 15 minutes (again, now 2 hours) to up to 48 hours after an app or game was purchased, simply submitting a refund request would generally result in a refund being issued automatically, without regard to reason.
At the time, we actually confirmed some of this with Google's PR, though they declined to state that the 48-hour refund windows was fully automated, likely to discourage abuse of the system. Read More
Samsung is whipping its accessory offerings into shape today with two new fitness-oriented products. The Gear Fit2 is about what you'd expect, a followup to the original Gear Fit smart sports band. The Gear IconX is something new from Samsung. It's a pair of completely wireless earbuds that include some standalone fitness tracking features. If this sounds familiar, that's because both products leaked in April. Read More
Sundar Pichai made a series of statements at recode's Code Conference yesterday that seem to have the internet aflutter. Pichai claimed that Google would be adding more software features to future Nexus devices, specifically: "You’ll see us hopefully add more features on top of Android on Nexus phones... There’s a lot of software innovation to be had."
Some have taken this to mean that "stock Android" on Nexus phones is no more. That Google will begin to differentiate just like its partners, with proprietary features and software, and that this marks a move away from a "purer" interpretation of Android. This makes sense until you actually think about it, because Nexus phones haven't run "stock" Android in years, and it's time for us to have a conversation about what that word even means, let alone the idea that Google's interpretation of Android is somehow "purer."
For starters, all of the following applications that ship on Nexus phones today are closed-source. Read More
Xiaomi has yet to expand most of its mobile products to the US market, but it had an unexpected hit on its hands with the competitively priced (and globally available) Mi Band fitness tracker. The $15 device shipped more than 20 million units, and now the follow up Mi Band 2 is official after being shown off a few weeks ago. It's a little more expensive than the last one (RMB 149 or $23), but it has some nice upgrades. Read More
Depending on who you ask, Amazon's Fire series might just be the most popular Android tablets on the planet. They're certainly up there, thanks to an extremely low entry price and some pretty decent media tie-ins with Amazon's various platforms, the lack of Google Play access notwithstanding. The value at the high end of the range isn't bad either, and Amazon just made it a little better: the big daddy Fire 10 HD now has a 64GB option, and it's available for under $300. Read More
Motorola has long had the worst camera app of any mainstream OEM, which is a bummer as the 2015 Moto X Pure had a decent sensor finally. Now, Moto has posted a revamped camera app in the Play Store, but you probably can't use it yet. It's only for use with the company's 2016 devices like the Moto G4 and upcoming Moto X refresh. Read More
There's a Google Maps beta channel on the Play Store now, and you can sign up for it at this link. You can also download the new APK, version 9.27, directly from APK Mirror if you prefer, right here.
We're still rooting around in the app to see if there's anything new, so let us know if you find anything! (Remember, Maps was also updated last week to v9.26.1, so anything from that update is not new). Also remember that if you're running the Android N preview, you already have Maps 9.30, and so this 9.27 APK will not install over your existing app, as it's a newer version. Read More