The Chromecast is cheap, affordable, and easy-to-use. Great. That's almost all you need to have a stellar product. Unfortunately, it's been held up by a lack of content. If you want to cast something that hasn't been made by a handful of providers, you've been largely out of luck. But this situation is hopefully about to change. Today Google has released the Google Cast SDK. This way additional developers can finally build Chromecast support into their apps and websites.
Each month, Google updates Android's platform distribution numbers according to devices that have accessed the Play Store in a seven-day period. January's updated pie chart has just hit, and things seem to be following a fairly predictable pattern.
KitKat, which was positioned at 1.1% last month, has eked out an additional 0.3% to reach 1.4%. Gingerbread, meanwhile, fell from 24.1% to 21.2%, continuing its gradual decline. Jelly Bean (including API levels 16-18) has actually grown to 59.1%, up from 54.5%, as manufacturers work to catch up to Android's latest and greatest.
Google Play Services 4.0 was released in late October just after the Nexus 5 and Kit Kat became official, bringing with it plenty of improvements to things like Google+ sign-in, Wallet, Location services, and more.
Today, via the Android Developers Blog, Google announced the rollout of Google Play Services 4.1, which offers developers more and better tools to make compelling apps.
Just a few days ago, Google Glass got a hefty update to XE12 with new Glassware, a new (official) wink gesture for taking photos, a lock screen, and other tweaks.
As expected, the Glass team has made the update's system image available for download from the Glass developers website.
The download table has also been given a fresh coat of paint with a new column dedicated to checksums. The update, which weighs in at 344MB can be downloaded by hitting the link below.
You don't have to spend much time on the Play Store to see that games are a big part of the service and the platform. Google has already done a lot to highlight gaming with Play Store categories and landing page promotions, but starting in February, developers and end users will have roughly three times as many categories to browse through. The new game categories are as follows:
- Role Playing
That's seventeen categories, up from the previous six (Arcade & Action, Brain & Puzzle, Cards & Casino, Casual, Racing, and Sports Games).
When a tech company holds a conference for developers, you can pretty much bet the speakers will have something new to share with the attendees. At the very first Samsung Developer Conference, this pattern continues as 5 new and updated SDKs have been announced for the company's various platforms. This batch of SDKs are centered on Android, Smart TVs, and enterprise development.
- Samsung Smart TV SDK
- Samsung Multiscreen SDK
- Samsung Multiscreen Gaming SDK
- Samsung KNOX SDK
- Samsung Mobile SDK
The Mobile SDK is technically new, but it's really meant to bring together various TouchWiz SDKs that had previously been distributed separately.
Gaming on Android right now is booming, but it's still less than ideal. It's an attractive proposition to play games to go using a device you're already going to have with you, but very few of us keep our phones for as long as we would hold on to a Nintendo 3DS or even an old Game Boy. Sooner than later, we'll be upgrading to a new phone, but before that even happens, many of us will also pick up a new tablet that, if you're reading this blog, will likely ship with Android.
Starting today, anyone with Glass can now submit their own creations to MyGlass, the Google Glass app store. Google has opened up the Glassware Review Process to any developer seeking to make their software available to the many Explorers who already happen to own a pair. All a developer has to do is take a look at the Distributing Glassware documentation and meet the basic requirements provided.
Today's announcement coincides with the release of several new third-party Glassware in MyGlass.
The latest Android platform distribution numbers are in, and they tell a story you probably would expect. There's no surprise ending here - more users are getting their hands on Jelly Bean, whether through updates or by purchasing new devices, and older versions are continuing their descent. Gingerbread remains stubborn, with more devices than Froyo, Honeycomb, and Ice Cream Sandwich combined.
Honeycomb hasn't disappeared yet, with .1% of users still holding on to their aging tablets.
Sony's Xperia Z1 (nee "Honami") made a bit of a splash at IFA in Berlin a few weeks ago. The phone's focus on high-quality imaging via a 20.1 megapixel camera, combined with the undeniably slick high-end industrial design that Sony has been putting out for the last few years, has already earned it a few fans. As usual, Sony has posted the required open-source kernel files for the new device to their developer website, this time before the hardware is actually available for purchase.