Kodi, also known as the app formerly known as XBMC, has made it to version 15. This evolution comes a little over half a year since the last major release. We're graced with a number of new features, a big one being 4K support on Android devices with capable hardware and a version of Lollipop. Refreshrate switching and HEVC playback are also available on such gadgets.
The changes don't stop there, and since we're talking about a media player, the additions get increasingly specific. For instance, take the new chapter selector window that lets you select chapters in video formats that support them.
The app updates from the last week seem to be all about where you are, where you've been, and where you're going. It has only been a few days since Google Play services 7.8 began rolling out with a couple of location-related bits hidden inside, and now a new version of Maps is hitting the scene with a host of new features centered around our location history. We can now look back through the places we've visited, when we were last at certain spots, and the routes we've taken.
Sygic, the company behind one of the world's most popular mobile navigation apps, has purchased Fuelio. And to sweeten the deal for users, the company is making all of the app's pro features available for free. That includes Dropbox and Google syncing, a widget, and detailed information presented in the form of stats, summaries, and charts.
In case you've never taken Fuelio on the road with you before, this app logs how much you spend on gas and how much you're getting out of each gallon. With GPS support and Google Maps integration, you can track all the places you get gas.
The long-awaited Nearby is on the horizon, and it will be launching with Play Services 7.8. The APK is in the midst of its rollout right now. It contains a few elements of Nearby, and surely plenty of bug fixes and tweaks, but there are also plenty of interesting pieces hidden inside, as well. After a quick long examination, we've got the interesting bits and pieces ready for viewing, along with some theories about what it all means. It's time for a teardown!
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong.
YouTube's Offline Playback feature was first introduced alongside Music Key back in November, finally giving people a way to store a (limited) selection of videos for trips into areas with poor connectivity, or just to avoid using up capped data plans. While it has remained mostly unchanged in the last 8 months, the latest update finally brings a few modifications. The interface is now a bit more informative and uniform, and there's a new low-quality option (which is actually a good thing). A teardown also revealed some big improvements to the voice command interface that has been in the works for a while.
Version 4.9 of the Google app began rolling out late yesterday, but it's not sporting a lot of obvious additions. The only immediately visible changes appear under Settings -> Now cards, where a new toggle has been added to enable or disable lock screen notifications based on cards. Some updated text also appears below the new toggle, if you care about that sort of thing.
Left: old version. Right: new version.
The existing Notifications toggle gave users the option to determine whether cards from Google Now could occupy space in the notification shade. The new toggle brings a little more control by allowing notifications to appear in the shade without being shown on the lock screen where they could potentially overwhelm more important notifications.
Seven days ago Google offered a game from Cartoon Network as its free family app of the week. Monsters At My Birthday Cake was a Zelda-inspired adventure game that, while skewing young, some of us could still find amusing for an hour or two.
Well, this week's free app is aimed at the little ones. Google is offering up a copy of Sago Mini Space Explorer, in which your kid gets to guide a dog in a spacesuit around a whimsical depiction of space.
Getting the game isn't as simple as going to Sago Mini Space Explorer's Google Play page, as there it's priced at $2.99.
Google finally let the curtain fall on the long-anticipated Nearby API that enables detection and easy connection with other devices in close proximity. The new API was announced with Play services v7.8, but the SDK won't be released until that version has gone into wide release, which will happen in about two weeks. This gives Google a chance to identify some of the bugs that may have slipped through during development, and collect feedback from a larger set of devices in the real world. Of course, we've also got links to download the apk if you don't feel like waiting.
Like most updates to Play services, there's not all that much to see on the user-facing side.
The Time Warner Cable app is somewhat of a luxury reserved exclusively for paying customers. Like competing TV subscription add-ons, it provides the ability to watch shows on your Android device and a way to control the tube other than reaching for the remote. Version 4.0 updates the experience with a new look.
The changes may require a double take. The toolbar remains largely the same, with Live TV, Guide, DVR Manager, and On Demand spread across the top. The user interface tucked away under each category has received an overhaul. Things are flatter now. It's not material, but it's more Lollipop-y than Gingerbread-y.