Sometimes the smallest changes can make for the best improvements. The latest update to Chrome Dev for Android scored some points with us earlier for expanding theme color support for users that don't care for merging their tabs with apps, but that wasn't the only cool enhancement that came along. Users can now look forward to seeing a snackbar open up each time a download completes. The handy widget shows both the name of the downloaded file and a button to open it.
Left: The new snackbar in action. Right: Snackbar on Dev Preview 3 missing the open button.
In earlier versions of Chrome, all download operations appeared only as an animated notification. Read More
Google Photos may have started as a part of Google+, but since splitting into a standalone product, it has to move quickly to introduce new features and improvements to keep users engaged. The latest update to v1.5 didn't bring any visible changes to the app, but it does include evidence of some interesting changes we can look forward to in upcoming releases. Read More
After the launch of YouTube Gaming at the end of August, we posted a teardown of the new app that revealed plans to officially support screen recording and live streaming in the future. A recent announcement at the 2015 Tokyo Game Show Keynote (embedded below) confirmed Google's plans to enable Android devices to stream gaming footage to YouTube without the use of any additional software. The latest update to Play Games contains the evidence that Google is moving forward with this, and probably pretty soon.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong.
In a rare twist, Google was quick to update a changelog on the Play Store, and this one is definitely worth it. Some big improvements have been made to the Chromecast (Google Cast) support in the latest update to Play Music, including some stability improvements, gapless playback, and continuous playback after a caster leaves the area. On top of that, a look inside turned up evidence that Google may soon allow users to "gift" subscriptions to other people. If you just can't wait to get the goods, we've got a download link at the bottom.
It's highly unusual, but a changelog was posted right away with the release of the latest update. Read More
There's a certain stage of your life where owning a car is cool, but that feeling eventually wears off. Then it's not having a car that's impressive, it's what you can do with it. Viber's SmartStart app lets anyone who equips their vehicle with the appropriate hardware start, lock, and track their ride using their Android device. Read More
The app updates hit quickly yesterday as about a dozen Google apps were given new versions. Among them, Gmail made an incremental bump to v5.6. There aren't any new features to speak of, but a look inside the apk gave up the goods on a couple of interesting additions we can look forward to in the future. Users will soon have the option to send email with richly formatted text. On top of that, there are signs that we'll soon have deep calendar integration, which should make for smarter and more intuitive auto-suggest results. Read More
The SMS app that comes with new phones tends to suck in one way or another. Why is the interface so ugly? Bah, switching between conversations is so awkward. Samsung, what are you doing? Motorola, the old Messaging app no longer feels stock―it just feels old.
When you ask a friend for good alternatives, don't be surprised if you hear them mention EvolveSMS. Not only is the app pretty, the combination of using the side panel to list conversations and swiping left or right to switch between them is just plain convenient.
Now version 4.0 is here. Unfortunately, you're not going to get to enjoy most new features just yet without the right hardware. Read More
It seems like all hands are on deck to get Google's apps to conform on the new workmark. In all of the rush, a minor snafu occurred yesterday. A dogfood version (generally intended for internal testing) of the News & Weather app was uploaded to the Play Store, adorned with the cute little paw print badge. Well, the accident has been cleaned up and the proper version has been uploaded to the Play Store today. Let's just hope nobody had their noses rubbed anywhere.
Left: Old launcher icon. Center: Dogfood icon. Right: New launcher icon.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence.
A late afternoon update to the Play Store just hit the scene. While we've only witnessed a single new dialog box in the live app, there are plenty of things standing out from a teardown. Preparation for Android 6.0 is clearly a big part of this release as signs pop up for support of the new optional permission model and fingerprint readers. There is also an uninstall manager in the works for those times when you've run out of space. We can also look forward to a new interface for requesting refunds and an option to get very precise recommendations based on location. Read More