The Nexus Q has had a tough life so far – that goes without saying. Things just got a little worse for the handful of us that use (and enjoy) the Q though – Google has seemingly sliced streaming support from the latest Play Music update, further reducing the impact of the Q's admittedly very limited use case.
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.
The changes also include a major help in ensuring your apps make sense to international users – a full translation service by which developers can order specific translations, come back a week or so later, and download the translations directly from the console.
Listen up, Android users. If you're using Google Now, don't go to its Settings -> My Stuff and try to modify sports teams or stocks right now, as doing so completely borks the whole app. As soon as you go back to the main screen or click into Search, you will experience a force close. Repeated attempts to restart it will result in a crash as well:
The only thing that works is clearing out Google Search's data in Settings -> Applications, after which you need to re-enroll into Google Now. Changing your Home or Work locations does not seem to trigger the issue - it's just sports teams and stocks.
Samsung has just announced details of a new syncing/file management tool called Side Sync, which it mentioned last month alongside new ATIV PC branding.
The basic idea behind the app is easy, painless file and information transfer from PC to mobile and vice versa. This is accomplished using a dock that plugs into your PC's USB port. Once hooked up, you can share your mouse and keyboard with your Samsung phone, dragging and dropping files, and copying and pasting information as you please. Users can also set the service to automatically sync photos. Here's Samsung's introductory video for the product:
As great as the service looks, the tagline "PC in Mobile, Mobile in PC" is at least a little misleading - Side Sync doesn't just work with just any PC – it's only compatible Samsung PCs.
Back in February, TestFlight announced that it would be bringing its services to Android in the form of a private beta, having already served over 300,000 apps on iOS. Today, though, TestFlight has announced that it is ready to lift the private beta, opening beta Android compatibility to all users. TestFlight says that during its 45-day beta period, 5000 developers uploaded over 4500 apps.
The service, for those unfamiliar, is a widely popular beta testing platform, allowing developers to quickly and smoothly deploy beta apps to select users. Though, as we mentioned in our previous coverage, other options do exist for Android developers (like the Play Store’s private app deployment), TestFlight does offer considerable value in terms of security, helpful tracking and analytics, and - perhaps best of all - centralized feedback.
For the unfamiliar, Ashley Madison is a dating site that enables couples in monogamous relationships to find partners for illicit affairs. That's the baseline we're starting from. The company's new app, however, takes this concept one step further by providing users with disposable phone numbers that can be used for calling and texting without your spouse finding out.
The BlackBook app doesn't include access to the social network itself, so it's purely used for correspondence. The irony, of course, being that the very act of having an Ashley Madison-branded app on your phone is more suspicious to a scorned lover than any of the dozens of other disposable phone number services would be.
As anyone who's gone house hunting knows, the process can be dull. Driving circles around suburbs for hours is frustrating, as is trying to use poorly designed real estate listing websites. Homesnap, an app launched on iOS in March of 2012 and today on Android, seeks to make some aspects of home searching a bit more fun.
What it Does
Homesnap seems simple on the surface: take pictures of the houses you want to know more about, and compare them side-by-side. Under the hood, though, things are pretty complicated. The app relies on in-phone sensors like the GPS, magnetometer, accelerometer, and gyroscope.
Spotify's bringing it down to the flo'. Nah, not really, but kind of. The crew behind the venerable music service has released an app update on Google Play, and among bug fixes and a playlist-sorting enhancement, a unique feature is listed in the changelog: "This app looks great in trousers."
The most significant change is playlist and track sorting. The app also now remembers what you were listening to when you last logged out. Couple that with playlist view improvements, and the new Spotify is perfect for a party in your... living room.
Some apps enter the Play Store that leave me scratching my head wondering why someone would take the time to develop them. Snoop Lion's Snoopify is not one of those apps. This "photography" app fulfills a real societal need. Finally, I can be as cool as Snoop Dogg - erm - Lion. But that's just the beginning. My friends, family members, co-workers, and anyone else I've ever taken a picture of can now be as cool as Snoop Lion, too.
What it Does
The concept behind Snoopify isn't too difficult to grasp. It's a photography app that allows you to take a photo and apply some edits.
If you've been paying attention to TV Guide's official app, you know that it's needed some attention for a while. Its UI through version 2.x was an outdated pastiche of Gingerbread tabs and gradated iconography desperately in need of a redesign (and support for 4.0+). Today, TV Guide has fulfilled that need (for the most part), bringing to the Play Store TV Guide Mobile version 3.0. The update also brought "many cool new features" to the app, which we'll discuss momentarily. First though, check out the difference between the old and new interfaces.