A few days ago, we posted a teardown of the latest Google Maps beta. Another minor, but much appreciated, change in this beta version is that distances now appear alongside results in search.
This is a very minor feature, but definitely one worth mentioning. Most of the time when I searched for locations, I had to look at the map myself and figure out which was the closest. As you would expect, it shows the distance in either Imperial 'Murican or Metric units, depending on your preference.
If you want to try out the beta release, you can download the APK from APKMirror. Read More
It's a Friday afternoon and wouldn't you know it, Google set loose an update to the Maps app just in time for the weekend to begin. (Not like some of us didn't have plans...) Like so many recent updates to Maps, this one has some pretty notable changes worth checking out. There's a new settings screen for controlling how your personal content shows up in the app and the notification settings have been organized into sub-groups for easier browsing. A shortcut has been added to get into your timeline quickly, and it looks like level 3 Local Guides can now work with some of the recently added features for making contributions to places nearby. Read More
You might have received notifications from Google Maps for the last few months, asking you some information about places you've visited. For example, after I left McDonalds a few days ago Google Maps asked me if it was a "good place for parties" (I guess?). Answering those questions gets you points on Google Maps' Local Guide program, and after accumulating enough points, you can level up.
I myself am just a Level 2 'Local Guide', but Google has released new features to Level 4+ guides. Numerous people have sent us tips about a new 'Improve the map near you' section on the Contribute tab. Read More
The Vulkan graphics API is a big deal for mobile developers, since its direct GPU access allows for complex graphics to be rendered with a considerably lower hit to the processor, and thus a lower overhead on the hardware and battery life. A few devices like the SHIELD family and Samsung's 7 series already supported Vulkan several months ago, but Nougat now features full support for all updated Android 7.0 devices. Developer Super Evil Megacorp, which turned heads last year with its Vainglory mobile MOBA, now has a beta version that uses the Vulkan API. Read More
Last week, CodeWeavers announced that after three years of development, a preview version of CrossOver for Android would be released. Why was I so excited? Because CrossOver allows you to run Windows programs on Mac and Linux, and they brought their expertise over to Android. After trying out the Preview version for a week (which you can sign up for here), I'm extremely impressed by its capabilities, despite some major limitations.
Kodi version 17 is bringing a new look to the app that turns your Android device into a media center. Some of you may still recall the open source project by its old name, XBMC. Either way, the upcoming release has reached beta status. That makes now a good time to dive in if you can't wait to get what's coming next. Read More
Many were surprised when Sony began offering an Android N Developer Preview build for the Xperia Z3. Nobody expected a two-generation old Sony flagship to join a beta program that only Google devices were included in. Sony is now following up by offering up an Android N beta build for the Xperia X Performance, a phone that we didn't especially like.
The beta, which Sony is calling the Xperia Beta Program, is currently only available to Xperia X Performance users in European countries (specifically Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands). Sony has not commented on whether it plans to expand the beta's reach. Read More