It's pretty rare that we get to talk about Google's text-to-speech engine. Updates are fairly uncommon and most of them can be summarized as bug fixes and performance improvements. But every once in a while there's an update that brings a pretty cool new feature to this workhorse of an app. Version 3.8 adds one of the top requests to speech output: user selectable gender and voice variations for each language.
Left: previous version (v3.7). Center + Right: latest versions (v3.8).
As of version 3.8, each language's voice packs now offer a default voice (usually female) or one of six other variations split between male and female. Read More
Running remote desktop software from an Android device has a different purpose than doing the same from a traditional PC. When you're connecting from a laptop, you're probably accessing an application at home or work that only exists on that one machine. But on Android, you have the option to greatly expand what your phone or tablet can do.
In a way, it feels like cheating. Read More
The Clock app doesn't get a ton of updates, but when it does there's almost always something worth talking about. The latest version does a little bit of everything with a little bit of visual polish and updates for the Android Wear app. As usual, there's a link at the bottom if you'd like to grab this version before it rolls out to your devices in due time. Read More
There's a new version of the Play Store floating around in the wild, taking us up to v6.2. If you haven't read the title already–which might be possible–you probably want to know what this update includes. There's really only one immediately visible feature, and it's not big, but it's there: the Play Store can now use your Gmail messages to give app recommendations. There are also a couple of minor changes to the navigation drawer and even something we already knew about that will get a teardown mention. Let's be honest, you're here for the apk, so just jump to the link at the bottom and start downloading. Read More
Sneaker addiction is serious business. My current collection stands at about 20 pairs, but they're all regularly designed and priced shoes — nothing fancy. And I know how hardcore some people can get about their sneakers, but I had no idea it could go so far as to cost them hundreds or thousands of dollars for a pair of shoes until I heard NPR's Planet Money What The LeBron episode. Well, Nike lovers who use Android devices need not worry about feeding their addiction anymore, just about financially funding it.
SNKRS is Nike's app for the sneaker lovers, featuring classic and new releases, their story and advantages, some exclusive content, with a customized feed for your preferred franchises and notifications for upcoming designs. Read More
Sticking a Chromecast dongle is one of the cheapest ways to teach a dumb TV how to stream your favorite content. The downside is that Google's little media stick is heavily tied into the company's ecosystem. If your Android device lacks Google Play Services, you're not casting.
Here in the States, only a minority of Android devices have this issue. The majority of them are Amazon Fire tablets, with a few belonging to folks who either try to avoid or can't install Google Play Services for one reason or another. Then there are all those Chinese phones and tablets that get apps from alternative app stores. Read More
The Play Books update from a couple of days ago turned up the first sign of life for the Family Library we've seen since mid-November. At the time, I made a quick prediction that matching strings would pop up fairly soon in Google's other content apps, and Play Movies & TV is the first to follow through. But this wasn't just a mirror image of the same strings, there's actually a bit of new information regarding movies sold as a bundle and seasons of television shows.
In case anybody is curious, this update doesn't have anything in the way of notable new features. Read More