There seems to be quite a lot of movement happening behind the scenes at the Play Store - yesterday we discovered that Google Play Store gift cards and wishlist are getting prepped for launch, and today Google seems to have enabled those smart app updates that we've been salivating about since Google I/O.
Normally, when an update to an application comes out, the Play Store downloads it in full, which with large apps and slow connections can get quite painful (think 50MB+ sizes).
Chinese company Xiaomi (known for their popular ROM MIUI) has just announced a new phone, and this one looks to be every bit as impressive today as the original was when it was announced a year ago. The specs on the cleverly named Xiaomi Phone 2 stand out even in the world of quad-core superphones, and the company has managed to do so while maintaining a price point of just $310 USD.
A new Google Play Store v3.8.15 apk started rolling out to Android devices today, but upon running through its UI, I was unable to uncover anything different from the versions before that. Yet the apk size gained a few pounds kilobytes, and not knowing what the 300KB of code and resources added was killing me. Not to worry, a few minutes later, I decoded both 3.7.15 and 3.8.15 and compared their contents.
EA just announced at a GamesCon press conference that it will be bringing the popular Origin game store to Android (along with Facebook, Mac, and Smart TVs). For the unaware, Origin is basically EA's answer to Steam as a go-to place to purchase and download games.
At this point there are no other details, but it's worth noting the Mac version has a tentative release timeframe of February 2013. Perhaps we'll see the Android version around that time, too (but I wouldn't count on it).
Just three short months ago, China approved Google's purchase of Motorola Mobility, effectively finalizing the deal. Apparently, neither company is looking to waste any time, as Motorola's new Google-driven leadership has already revealed the basics of the big turnaround plan. The first step: lay off 20% of its employees (including about 1,330 in the US) and close 94 offices around the globe. Given that Moto's phone unit has only made a profit in 6 months of the last 4 years, that's not so surprising.
Mapsaurus, released today by a developer team of the same name, is perhaps the new app to end all new apps. By pairing an interactive map of Google's Play Store with an intuitive UX, Mapsaurus takes app discovery to a new level – not just of ease, but also of convenience.
The app, which promises to help users "discover apps you never would have known to search for," can branch out an interactive web of apps and games based on apps you already have installed, curated subcategories, or general categories and function sets.
In a maneuver that the New York Times describes as "an effort to give economists, policy makers, business owners and citizens greater access to real-time data on the health of the nation's economy," the US Census Bureau recently released its America's Economy app to Google's Play Store.
The app, which is available in separate downloads for tablets and phones, gives users a quick look at a wide range of economic indicators, from business inventories to construction spending, homeownership rate, monthly wholesale, and a heaping handful of others.
CyanogenMod is a pretty big deal in the Android modding world, and there's a good reason for that: it's fast, lean, well-featured, and supports a ton of devices that manufacturers have abandoned. When Android 4.0 was released, the CM team made it clear that CM9 (based on ICS) would be a long time in the making, as they were going to focus on doing everything properly and cleaning up the code.
I've written more than a few of these giveaways for products covering just about every aspect of Android development, and written by dozens of authors. But this one... well, this is special, because it's a series of LiveLessons from none other than former Android Police contributor Ian Clifton.
This contest is now over. Here are our winners, selected at random:
Mario II Valenzuela
Congratulations, guys - all of you will be contacted for your information in the near future!