When Android founder Andy Rubin announced that he was leaving the Android team back in May of this year, it was a shock to say the least. At the time Mr. Rubin confirmed that he was staying with Google itself, but declined to say what his new role would be. Six months later, a report from the New York Times seems to have the first information on what he's been doing.
Google has provided the tools for developers to create desktop Chrome apps for a while now, but it's looking like Chrome apps are going to be hitting mobile devices too. A GitHub repository managed by a Googler contains tools and documentation for the project. Google isn't really keeping it a secret, but neither is it discussing any official details.
As part of an effort to expand adoption of CyanogenMod, the developers recently released the CyanogenMod Installer app in Google Play. All was well for a few weeks, but today Google contacted the CyanogenMod team to explain that the installer app was in violation of Google Play’s policies. So, the CM folks agreed to take the app down.
The app acts as a tool to help users get their devices connected to a computer over ADB – it doesn't actually do any of the heavy lifting of unlocking and flashing the device.
The 1080p update to the Nexus 7 is all the rage at the moment, but that doesn't make the original Tegra 3 version from 2012 any less worthy. And since it's now being discounted just about everywhere, it's considerably more worthy than it might otherwise be. Case in point: Groupon is offering the WiFi tablet on its online-only shopping portal at $119 for the 16GB version, $149 for 32GB.
These are new tablets according to the description, which technically puts the discount at $80 and $100, respectively.
Google has been building up to something big with YouTube, as indicated by our recent APK teardowns. It looks like yet another version of the YouTube app is rolling out to devices all over the world, and we've got the file for you to check out. It's not a huge update at first glance, but maybe there's something beneath the surface.
The first really obvious visual change is a slight reorganization of the slide-out navigation menu.
Google's voice search feature has been slowly but surely working its way into more mobile products recently. First the hotword came to the search app, then to the search results. The Moto X launched with always-on listening, and the Nexus 5 now has voice commands from anywhere on the homescreen or in the search app. Now the "OK Google" command is coming to the desktop via a new Google Chrome extension.
Google is in the habit these days of selling extremely well-priced mobile devices like the new Nexus 5, but the same cannot be said for the accessories. Cases and chargers are all more expensive from the Play Store than the third-party alternatives, but sometimes it's worth the cost. Last year's Nexus wireless charger was one of the few Qi-compatible units out there, but the same cannot be said this year. Google's updated Nexus Wireless Charger comes in a little cheaper than last year's at $50, and it has some cool features.
We had high hopes for the Nexus 5's camera, and while we haven't gone so far as to call it awful, we wouldn't rush to call it much more than a general improvement over last year's offering. It tops what the Nexus 4 brought to the table, but it doesn't quite match what other manufacturers have come up with since. Yet Google doesn't like this narrative, so its moving forward with efforts to brand its latest handset as the perfect companion for capturing any moment.
Two days ago, Google officially launched Newsstand, an app that combines Play Magazines and Currents to offer an all-in-one-place news source. To celebrate the launch of this new product, the company is now offering several magazines for free or at a discounted rate, presumably so potential customers can get their feet wet and see what the mag experience is all about.
There's a pretty wide variety of titles available for free and/or cheap right now, including MaximumPC, Men's Health, People, PC Gamer, Maxim, Wired, Women's Health, Entertainment Weekly, Runners, In Style, Sports Illustrated, BeerAdvocate, Vanity Fair, Bicycling, Linux Format, Redbook, and a lot more.
There is a growing selection of third party cases already available for the Nexus 5, but Google's offerings, tucked away at the bottom of the Play Store page, are poised to be the first ones many people see. There are two types of cases available: the official bumper case and the LG QuickCover. Liam provided a quick look at the former option already, but what about the latter? It's a solid, snug-fitting case that I strongly want to recommend, but at $49, doing so doesn't come easy.