From time to time, Google engages in A/B testing with its live products. Flipping switches from somewhere deep in its Mountain View HQ, Google will turn on new design tweaks or feature changes for small groups of users, and measure their impact on engagement. This is generally a helpful process for validating design decisions, and occasionally we catch them in the act and get a peek at what might be around the corner.
Today, reports started popping up that Google might be testing some UI tweaks with its Google+ app for Android. Before you get excited, these tweaks don't include a hamburger menu.
The Galaxy Note Edge is a little weird, a little out there. So it's only appropriate that Samsung has chosen Australia as the first place to roll out the phone's Lollipop update. According to SamMobile, Note Edge owners in Oz started seeing the update late last night local time, at least for the SM-N915G variant of the phone. As far as we've seen, Australia is the first market to get the update for the Note Edge.
This build is Android 5.0.1, just a tiny bit behind the current AOSP release, and it weights in at just over a gigabyte. (Thanks, Samsung software!) At least some Australian owners should see it come in via a notification immediately - because the Note Edge has a relatively small retail release, it's possible that Samsung could upgrade all units at once.
Today Hulu has unveiled Watchlist, the company's latest way to help you keep up with the shows you want to watch later. Think of it as a favorites list, but smarter.
Currently Hulu watchers have three different locations where they can save and find the shows they're most interested in watching. There's Stuff You Watch, which automatically updates with whatever you've viewed recently. Then there's the Queue, where you save the stuff you want to see later. Lastly, we have Favorites, where you store the shows and movies that you enjoy the most.
Watchlist replaces all three. It's a single favorites list that's supposed to rearrange your content so that shows you enjoy the most are given priority, and those that are simply saved for later wait patiently at the bottom.
Imagine somebody tells you they have an idea for a revolutionary new bicycle. Except it has a gas engine. And headlights. And can be driven at up to 35MPH. You might - mistakenly! - contend that what this person is talking about is in fact a motorcycle, and that it already exists, and why on earth would you invent a motorcycle with skinny bike tires, a tragically low top speed, cantilever brakes, and no sprung suspension (concerns of cost aside)? This, though, ignores the fact that it is in many ways different from a motorcycle, does most of what you need a motorcycle to do, and is categorically worse at every single one of those things.
One of Pushbullet's coolest tricks is the SMS reply functionality accessible on your computer. Just hit the reply button on your PC or Mac when a synced notification pops up, and you can type a reply. There's a new update today that extends this feature to the top messaging apps on Android, but there are a few small caveats.
AT&T is making a bold move for the Mexico market, buying the country's third and fifth largest carriers earlier this year. With these acquisitions, the carrier enhanced its World Connect Value plans with unlimited calling to Mexico. Now it will soon bring the capability to its $60 GoPhone plan.
AT&T is bumping its $45 GoPhone offering up from 1GB to 1.5GB a month and the larger $60 plan from 2.5GB to 4GB. Only the latter will support unlimited calling to Mexico, but the former does still come with unlimited texting to our southern neighbor. Changes will take effect on February 20th.
One of the lesser-known portions of the custom game software on NVIDIA's SHIELD Portable and SHIELD Tablet is GRID, an OnLive-style streaming PC gaming system. It allows owners to play a selection of full-feature PC games streamed from NVIDIA's own virtualized systems at a data center, no personal gaming PC required. The service is still in beta, but has been growing steadily since its introduction a little over two years ago. By the beginning of March, 40 PC games will be available for free to SHIELD owners.
The next PC game added to the service, live this morning, is Saints Row 4.
Material warriors, this is the watch face you've been waiting for. It's a watch face forged from the finest material pixels and animations, presumably with the blessing of Lord DuARTe himself. What time is it? Material-o'clock, now and forever.
Reports about the plans for the next major release of VLC Media Player indicate that support for Chromecast output is on the roadmap. This is scheduled for the v3.0 release of the popular desktop client, but it is unclear in which version to expect it to appear on Android - the beta in the Play Store is at 1.0.0.
While there are a bevy of changes expected in the project's jump from 2.2 (which itself is not yet released) to 3.0, of most interest to Android users and Google fans is the Chromecast capability.
Also of interest is the following snippet from the 2.2.x to 3.0 changelog:
Large rework of the Android video outputs: there is now Surface (2.1, 2.2) NativeWindow (2.3+, supports hw rotation, subpicture blending, opaque)
Support rotation in Android NativeWindow output and hardware decoders
This at least shows that the development at hand is about more than just their trio of desktop clients.