Google let the cat out of the bag yesterday with a blog post detailing just what we should expect in the next major version to Android Wear. An upcoming software update will be adding Wi-Fi support, always-on apps, and a few other interesting options. While we wait for new firmwares to hit our wrist-bound hardware, the Android Wear app just received its own update to prepare for the new features. This isn't just a small maintenance release to add configuration screens, there are some major visual and organizational improvements, and a few new features.
We've been hearing (and seeing) more and more about Google's possible wireless service lately, but WSJ published a report this evening indicating that the service's launch may be even sooner than we anticipated.
For those unaware, rumors have been swirling that Google might be ready to open up its own wireless service, an MVNO backed by Sprint and T-Mobile networks, codenamed "Nova."
Tonight's report from the Wall Street Journal suggests Google could be ready to announce the service as early as tomorrow, April 22. Additionally, the report corroborates previous whisperings that Nova would only charge customers for the amount of data they actually use every month, with totals being driven lower by the service's apparent emphasis on using WiFi for voice and data when possible.
At one time in history, building an app that gave a consistent experience across all (or most) versions of Android was nearly impossible without dedicating a lot of time and effort. Thanks to the Android Support Library (a.k.a. AppCompat), it's easy to use some of the most important and commonplace user interface elements on versions of Android going as far back as Donut and Éclair. A fresh update for AppCompat was just released, bringing it to v22.1, and it introduces some really big changes. The ActionBarActivity has been deprecated for a new AppCompatActivity class, several new features from Lollipop were ported back to the Support V4, and some big improvements were made for Leanback, Palette, RecyclerView, and Renderscript.
While Microsoft's wide release of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint for tablet users was more than welcome, there were more than a few strings attached. Most notably, it was incompatible with Android 5.0+, making the newest devices unable to use them. The other major hangup was the lack of support for x86 processors, which basically means all Intel SoCs, a popular choice in the midrange tablet market. Microsoft is now working on a semi-private beta that adds support for both of those groups.
The announcement was made to the Office Preview for Android Tablets Yammer network. All who tested the current public versions before they left beta should be able to access this message, ask questions, and the like.
Target's Cartwheel app serves as a way for the company to offer discounts and get you into its stores. Today you can get the LG G Watch for 50% off. Since the retailer is selling the smartwatch for $160, that brings the price down to $80.
This offer is only valid in stores, as Target isn't even selling the G Watch online. You must sign up to redeem the coupon and then scan the Cartwheel barcode at the register. The offer expires May 9th, but it's only valid while supplies last.
Since there's a good chance many of you have never heard of Target's Cartwheel app, I'll include a link below.
The music of my parents generation didn't rely on digital bass tracks or Auto-Tuning to craft a hit song. Instead, the artists of the seventies and eighties rocked out using the tools they had – electric guitars, drum sets, sweet vocals, and a whole lot of hair. Two great creators of music from that haira... I mean era, were Meat Loaf and Toto. Today, the very best of albums from both artists are available free on Google Play with each featuring more than a dozen songs. The albums normally would ring up to about twelve bucks apiece, so it's a pretty nice gift from Google.
There are dozens of Reddit clients in the Play Store, which is important seeing as the Reddit website sucks so hard on mobile devices. It doesn't really have a mobile UI at the main URL, it just scales things (awkwardly) to fit the screen width. There's also a little used "compact" site that's terrible in every way. Thankfully, Reddit is testing a beta mobile version of the site, and you can check it out now. It won't make you want to give up Reddit is Fun or Sync just yet, but maybe one day.
I've seen many Android games that offer gorgeous screenshots in the Play Store that hardly reflect the visuals I encounter after downloading the title to my Nexus 7. That's not the case with EA Sports' newly-released UFC game. The press images were spot on. The fighters in this game are impressive, and fans are in for a visual treat.
Controls are more of a mixed bag. EA Sports UFC uses a combination of taps and swipes to perform basic strikes and dodges. Special moves appear at the bottom of the screen that you can perform with quick taps rather than traditional console or arcade style combos.
When a new version of Android hits, we want to know what's inside of its candy-coated shell. One of the best ways to discover all of the new treats is to read through the developer comments located in the Android Open Source Project. We've downloaded the code and generated a changelog of every single modification made between v5.1.0_r5 (LMY47O) and the newly released v5.1.1_r1 (LMY47V).
There are a total of 34 commits, with the majority falling into either core OS functions, media decoding and handling, or telephony. From a quick look, it's not hard to pick out some of the more well-known issues that are fixed with this release:
One thing is for sure, if you ask developer Chris Lacy for something enough times, he's going to do it. Well, maybe. Case in point, the new version of Action Launcher includes a number of highly requested features. You can grab v3.4 from the Play Store right now to check it out for yourself.