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
Cloud storage and reminder apps seem to go together naturally - Evernote and Google Keep both have some basic attachment tools, and they share collaborative elements with things like Dropbox and Drive. Today Dropbox is trying to bring it all together with Paper, the company's first new app in quite a while. It's up on the Play Store in beta form, and like the primary storage app, it's free to download and use. Read More
Microsoft wants to get in on some of that sweet action that services like If This, Then That and its competitors have been working on for years. To that end they've created Flow, a new web tool that automates actions across some of the major web services available at the moment, most of which (shocker!) aren't even owned by Microsoft. Flow allows users to set up automated "recipes" to complete tasks in Twitter, Dropbox, Google Drive, Slack, OneDrive, Github, Facebook, YouTube, and more. Read More
Forgetting children in a car on a hot summer day is, sadly, not that uncommon of a way for young people to die. Hospitals give out notices to new parents alerting them to the risk. But a piece of paper is easy to, well, forget. So Waze is doing its part to reduce the number of incidents. Read More
Who says that Nexus owners get to have all the fun? Yesterday an innocuous XDA thread claimed to have a beta version of an Android 7.0 build, ready and waiting for Huawei's dual-camera phone, the P9. Usually that sort of post when we're still weeks or months away from a full AOSP release of a new Android version is, to put it bluntly, bunk. But in this case, users who have flashed the ROM say that it's functional and apparently legitimate - Huawei's proprietary EMUI skin, marked as version 5, is running on top of Nougat. It's working on the EVA-L09 model; others may not be compatible. Read More