At the start of this review, I was simultaneously excited and frustrated. Now I'm just plain excited. For a bit of context, I have been bouncing between cloud music services since Lala was still a thing. I had one simple desire: I wanted to pay a monthly fee for unfettered access to a large library of content, but still wanted to be able to bring my own. I know that $10/month is not going to get me every song in existence, but if I can pay for most music, and then supply the rest, I'll be happy. Read More
Those of you who like your games served fresh while you peruse the day's social updates might want to sit down. Google+ Games will shut down on June 30, taking users' game data with it. But social gamers aren't aren't entirely without hope. Some developers will designate new destination sites for their games, and a few games already have alternative links set up.
In-game payments inside any of the games that are set to disappear will have to be used up before June 30 arrives. Read More
The new Google Messenger is real! It's not called Babel, or Google Talk, but "Hangouts." It also isn't the unified messenger we've all wanted - maybe it will be someday, but Hangouts is strictly a Google Talk replacement - there's no SMS or Google Voice integration.
What Hangouts does have going for it is that it is really pretty. It supports group messaging, pictures, video chat, and even has read receipts! Read More
Google made a big deal out of its improvements to the Play Store in the massive keynote that kicked off I/O, and at least some of them are live right now. Probably the most important for tablet owners is the ability to highlight apps specifically designed for tablets, or at least, the ones that have given some thought to layout and interface on larger screens. The updated tablet view is being rolled out right now, and on at least some devices (read:mine) it includes the option to filter out the smartphone chaff from the tablet wheat. Read More
Google officially announced the not-so-secretly-kept Play Games this morning, which brings game sync, leaderboards, achievements, and more to Android. Naturally, the first question on many users' minds is do any games already support it? In fact, several developers have already updated their games to add this new feature. Here's a look at what we've found so far:
Between Hangouts, the gorgeous new Maps, Play Music All Access, and everything else discussed in I/O's opening keynote this morning, several revisions to the Play Store developer's console were announced.
Perhaps the most interesting addition to the console will be an organized method for alpha and beta testing, and staged rollouts. Basically, developers can select alpha and beta testers, receiving all feedback directly (instead of through reviews) and, when the time comes, roll out the app to certain percentages of the user base. Read More
Heads up, Google, Glass is about to get some serious competition. Recon Instruments, a Canadian technology company known for athlete-focused heads-up display products, is looking to expand into general-purpose HUD technology. The company's prototype device - dubbed Jet - was officially unveiled today, and Recon Instruments hopes to release a retail product by the end of this year.
At first glance, the Jet looks like little more than a pair of sunglasses with an attached LCD screen; you won't be mistaking Recon Instrument's HUD for Google's anytime soon. Read More
Google TV is the project no one in Mountain View likes to talk about. It was announced with much fanfare, but the platform has languished on an ancient version of Android 3.2 Honeycomb for far too long. Well, Google didn't see fit to mention it at the keynote, but Google TV is getting a fresh coat of paint with an Android 4.2.2 update.
The update should appear on compatible Google TV devices in the next few months and bring new core functionality and support for newer builds of Google Chrome. Read More
For Android fans with children, it can be a bit disheartening to learn that your kids are using iPads and iPods for learning every day. While this is becoming more and more standard across the country, Google is looking to change that with its newly announced "Google Play for Education." This is exactly what it sounds like: a specially curated version of the Play Store made for educational environments. It offers curriculum-based discovery for grades K-12, which will make it easy for teachers to find apps appropriate for his or her students. Read More
Google asserts that over 97% of mobile shoppers abandon their shopping carts because the process simply makes them jump through too many hoops. To free Android users from this heavy burden, Google has launched a new Google Wallet Instant Buy API that will allow mobile shoppers in Android apps to check out in as little as two clicks. No more poking out lengthy street address and re-looking up credit card information. Read More