The wounds are still fresh from Google's somewhat disastrous Nexus 6 launch last week, but the company is trying to get things back on track. The Nexus 6 page on the Play Store has been updated with a promise that Google is working to get more stock, and it's aiming to have some phones ready to go each Wednesday.
It looks like Google isn't wasting any time laying down a support infrastructure for its new set-top box push. Just one day after the shiny new Nexus Player officially went on sale, the YouTube app for Android TV has been published in the Play Store to enable easy updates without a firmware upgrade. If you happen to be one of the few people with an ADT-1 developer unit from Google I/O or you got lucky with an early delivery of the Nexus Player, you should see the update automatically.
As far as the actual update is concerned, it doesn't add much: YouTube video recommendations have been added to the homescreen, but based on the screenshots in our own Nexus Player review, they seem to be there already.
In a rather exciting post to its Google Design Google+ page today, Google announced a big set of improvements to the material design guidelines. The design spec, which - since this summer - has been a "preview," has been updated with links to relevant Android developer documentation, a new section called "What is Material?" a "What's new" section (to stay up to date on any changes), and a couple of other exciting changes.
First among those is clarity on more design patterns, including scrolling, swipe to refresh, time and date formats, errors, and navigation drawers. Readers may remember my recent post about the many faces of Google's nav drawers.
You can cross another one off your list—Google Calendar is getting its material design update today for Lollipop devices, according to Google. It's not just the design, though. The new version of Calendar is adding some awesome features and new layouts too. It's a big, big deal. This is usually where I tell you we have an APK for you, but we don't (it's out "in the coming weeks"). We do, however, have all the details for you to salivate over.
Verizon's ongoing DROID program means that most of the phones sold under the label will never appear on other US carriers. When the DROID Turbo was announced last week as one of the most high-end phones to come this year, more than a few of our commenters said that they'd prefer it to the Nexus 6 (also made by Motorola) due to its smaller size, if only a non-locked GSM version was available. It looks like that may soon be an option for some... at least if they live outside the United States.
This morning photos of a phone that looks identical to the DROID Turbo (minus the Verizon branding) were posted to Google+ by one Guilherme Henrique, listed as a resident of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
During October we've been positively innundated with new versions of apps, mostly from Google as the company plasters Material Design over nearly its entire catalog. But there have been some notable launches as well, dominated by Google's own Inbox (and the scramble that comes from an invitation system). For some other highlighted picks from October and a few honorable mentions, read on.
The Nexus 6 came in for a landing on my doorstep yesterday, and I've been happily exploring Google's new phablet ever since. Because I've had it for just one day, there's no way I could write anything resembling a review, so instead I thought it may be fun to do a very basic "initial impressions" post. There are a few things that immediately strike me about the device, so I'll discuss those here, with more details to come in the full review.
The Form Factor
The Nexus 6, known until recently as Shamu, is a whale. It's really big. That should go without saying since the display is 5.9", but when you see it in person its size is truly striking.
Several months ago, we discussed something called Nearby, a project that - at the time - seemed to be Google's effort to let "people, places, and things" know when a user is, well, nearby. It seems that Google is still hard at work on its effort to connect various devices to each other and their surroundings, but Copresence (an internal name for this functionality) may have a more specific scope in this effort than we first estimated, apparently including iOS devices in the fun.
Copresence, which we saw a glimpse of in a recent teardown, appears to be aimed at letting nearby Android and iOS devices communicate with one another in a variety of ways, exchanging files, photos, directions, messages, or other content, essentially making Copresence a sort of contactless, cross-platform version of Android Beam.
Google's apps, alongside Facebook's, remain the only Android apps to reach over 500 million users. Some of the tech giant's offerings, such as Gmail and YouTube, have even managed more than a billion downloads.
Now Play Movies & TV has become the company's latest app to join the former category. On Google Play, it resides in the 500,000,000 - 1,000,000,000 range.
This is a significant achievement for Play Movies, a brand that has only really been around since the Android Market turned into the Play Store not much more than a couple of years ago. While the service has expanded into many countries, TV shows are only available in a handful.
We've been seeing bits and pieces (and fully functional prototypes) of Google Stars for a long time now. The tool, which for now acts as a replacement for Chrome's bookmark manager, has been in development even longer, but it looks like the Chrome extension might finally be ready to roll (assuming it doesn't get pulled again) as Google released "Bookmark Manager" to the Chrome Web Store earlier today.
Despite the new name, the extension takes over chrome://bookmarks just as before, with options to organize bookmarks into folders, give those folders descriptions, and even share folders with others. Of course the interface for adding a bookmark is also updated.