Google faces many interesting challenges with Android Auto. It seems like a simple task to build an interface that is less messy and more enjoyable than existing in-car systems. Given the low bar set by most existing platforms, this doesn't sound very difficult. However, Google is taking advantage of more advanced technology and clever design so Auto isn't just another small iterative step forward. A teardown of the latest update shows some interesting progress on new input methods that don't require as much attention and a parking assistant feature that remembers where you left your vehicle.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (application packages) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.
Wednesday was packed with an onslaught of app updates, many of which came with at least a few notable features. While a bit on the quiet side, the Play Movies & TV app came with some worthwhile new features of its own. Most of the new features are hidden under the Settings screen, including a toggle to finally shut off binge-watching on phones and tablets and a pair of options to enable notifications for new TV shows and when things on your Wishlist become available or drop in price. There are also a few other subtle differences behind the scenes.
Here's the official changelog for Play Movies & TV v3.10:
- Wishlist any movie that's not yet available for purchase and receive notifications when it's available to buy or rent
- More reliable playback
- Settings improvements
- Play Movies & TV channel in Android TV Live Channels app
An update back in early October brought binge-watching, which filled in a popular feature for serious TV watchers. Read More
Version 1.40 of YouTube Kids, Google's way of getting your children hooked on video clips from a young age, doesn't want any youngster missing out on what's going on outdoors. Encouraging them to look away from the screen would be too risky, so instead YouTube Kids now has a winter-themed homescreen. Look at the snow, and imagine the cold. Read More
Opera Mini, a web browser whose existence revolves around reducing how much mobile data you consume, has received an update that spruces up the download manager and the search bar. Read More
If you saw our post about last month's update to Maps, you may remember a teardown showed hotels would soon gain listings for amenities. Google didn't keep us waiting for long; amenities can now be viewed on many hotel listings and in search results. As usual, we've got the download links below if you don't want to wait for the slow rollout to hit your device. Read More
The Photos app saw a small bump to v1.10 yesterday (and a tiny bug fix today), but it seems most people will be hard pressed to find much in the way of changes. However, there seems to be one interesting feature popping up for a very small number of users. If the right circumstances are met, users will have an option to create a tiny floating shortcut to the Photos app over the screen of their camera apps. Yeah, it sounds pretty weird, but it would be useful for apps that don't offer a shortcut of their own.
Thanks, Dominic Witte. Read More
It's easy to laugh at Yahoo. Other tech brands like Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft have grown in prominence over the last ten years. But rather than improve, Yahoo has mostly just continued. It's still a giant presence. Millions of people use its services. It just doesn't grab headlines like the competition.
Well, Yahoo has now re-released one of its most widely known properties, Yahoo Messenger. Read More
When it comes time to design an interface, there is a serious question to ask—are you a top or a bottom? Me, I'm a bottom. I find buttons much easier to access when they're at the bottom of the screen. Reaching towards the top, to me, is simply awkward.
In the latest version of Outlook, the developers must feel the same. Read More
Viber is a free way to communicate with anyone else who has installed the app, which makes it easy to get sucked into a conversation and reveal information that you probably don't want floating around out there. Maybe you even go so far as to accidentally send the wrong message to the wrong person. No matter. The latest version of the Android app will let you remove a message from the devices of everyone in the conversation. Read More