The popular Video LAN Client may finally have a stable release for Android, but that doesn't mean it can't be improved. The 1.2 update adds support for audio playlists, which was apparently missing from the previous releases. Unfortunately due to the limitations of M3U files (the default playlist type for the desktop version of VLC) it's tricky to simply copy your playlists from your computer to your phone. You'll probably need to set them up manually in the app, as below.
UK readers, have you been stewing in jealousy over Americans' access to Android TV and the Nexus Player? Well you shouldn't be - it's not all that great, at least at the moment. But if you're eager to check out the only retail ATV device available thus far, now you can. The Nexus Player is selling on the UK version of the Google Store for £79 (a little less than $120 USD at the moment - sorry about that).
Plex has updated its now unified Android app to v4.0 with a number of important changes. While the app went partially material in a past update, the transformation is now more substantial. In addition to the UI tweaks, you get better server control, user management, and more.
Early this month, Google announced a major update to its Play services framework, which brings the version number up to 7.0 and adds several great new APIs. The SDK for this update was held back until the corresponding apk had time to make its way out to Android devices everywhere. The wait is now over, and the SDK is live. Developers are now free to incorporate all of the new APIs into their apps.
Or your mom, or grandparents, or siblings or children, whatever. The point is that TeamViewer thinks that there's a market for remote support on Android TV. The QuickSupport app allows users to remotely view and control an Android device from a standard PC - it's essentially the reverse of a conventional remote desktop app. And now it works on your TV! How 'bout that.
Honestly, the Android TV interface is so stripped down and simple - think Roku meets the Play Store - that it's hard to imagine a situation where someone would buy a unit for themselves and not be able to operate it.
NVIDIA has just taken the stage at GDC for its big "Made to Game" announcement, and guess what... it's another SHIELD. This one is just called SHIELD, though, and it's an Android TV box. NVIDIA has added its own twist on Android TV, just like it does with regular Android. The new NVIDIA SHIELD has support for native 4K 60Hz video signals and NVIDIA GRID game streaming technology.
The Android ecosystem –as most of us think of it– is built on more than just an operating system and a marketplace for independent apps. It's largely shaped by dozens of services that have been built by Google, allowing developers to add rich features to their apps without building out expensive infrastructures.
Update: Google says that the Nexus Player is also available from TigerDirect. The official Nexus Twitter account also mentions Wal-Mart and Fry's Electronics, though it isn't available from their online sites, so it may only be on sale in brick-and-mortar stores. Staples' online store is also mentioned, but as of noon Monday, the Nexus Player isn't listed.
Dedicated technology newshounds have already heard that all of Sony's upcoming BRAVIA televisions will feature Android TV powering their integrated electronics. At CES, the biggest show around in terms of home theater (among other things), they've made good on that promise. Don't believe me? Watch these attractive people over-emote and demonstrate a BRAVIA television's Google Cast feature and ability to play games from the Play Store.
Not content with making a stylish Android set-top box, Razer is also planning on attacking the Android gaming market on its home turf. The Serval is a full-sized, console-style Bluetooth game controller that's compatible with both Razer's Forge TV and direct connection with Android phones and tablets. It's far from the first controller made with Android in mind, but it's the first to come from perhaps the most high-profile game peripheral company out there, and is thus worthy of examination.