Keeping a constant data connection is getting easier every day, whether we're in heavily populated areas or in the middle of nowhere. But there are still situations when we're bound to lose service, perhaps during a power outage or while driving through a dead zone. Just because you've lost access to Google's servers, it doesn't mean you should lose all of the powerful capabilities your phone has to offer. Google has just enabled a small set of voice commands for use even when you're completely offline.
If your phone was offline about a week ago and you tried a voice action, you probably would have seen a "Something went wrong" error message pop up just below the Google search box. Read More
The leaks continue to flow out of Mountain View. The latest information on Huawei's Nexus 6P, the larger and presumably more expensive of the two Nexus devices Google is expected to announce next week, comes from a public image gallery posted to Imgur. It's a series of slides that appear to be designed for retail employees to use as an information and promotional tool. The slides include a set of hardware specifications and new photos. Read More
We've been hearing rumblings of an impending update for Hangouts, bringing it to version 5.0 and coming "soon." The update will allegedly resolve lots of lag issues, but it will apparently fix at least one other problem: GIFs.
In Hangouts 4, GIFs appear to send as static images, which kinda ruins the fun. Hangouts 5 appears to send GIFs as they were meant to be enjoyed, though - as you might expect - GIFs sent from Hangouts 4 to Hangouts 5 still won't work. Read More
Ready for the new Nexus phone announcements next week? Google is, and apparently they're preparing for a launch soon after that. A device that's without a doubt the LG Nexus 5X has arrived at the Federal Communications Commission for documentation and certification, an essential step in selling any wireless device in the United States (and a frequent source for gadget leaks to hungry nerds). This particular phone uses the model number LG-H790, presumably the carrier-agnostic version for the United States, while the international version leaked by an Amazon India listing yesterday is the LG-H791. The LG-H791 has also been listed in the FCC database. Read More
Android Pay has turned out to be much more than a simple rebranding of Google Wallet. Google is working with banks to support cards natively and doing away with those virtual MasterCards altogether. However, the lack of support for rooted or ROM'd devices has irked power users. A Google engineer popped up on XDA to explain the reasoning and calm the mob. Read More
Have you noticed an improvement in your phone's voice search or voice dictation capability in the last few days, especially in noisy environments? You can thank the Google Speech Team. They've implemented a new system for automated listening to human voices. Adding recurring neural network functionality to the system has allowed it to more accurately identify complete words instead of individual snippets of sound. From the Google Research Blog: Read More
In version 39, Chrome for Android learned an awesome trick: using a simple HTML tag, any webpage could tell Chrome to theme its UI (and your device's status bar) with a specified color. The downside to this feature was that it only worked if tabs and apps were "merged," meaning your Chrome tabs would show up inline with your recent apps, rather than relying on Chrome's own in-app tab switcher.
Today, a Chrome for Android developer at Google let Reddit know that the theme-color attribute will soon make Chrome snazzy even if you don't have tabs and apps merged. Right now the flag (chrome://flags/#enable-theme-color-in-tabbed-mode) will only work in Chrome Dev 47.0.2516.0 (available from the Play Store or APK Mirror), and support isn't complete yet - the flag won't allow Chrome to theme your status bar and swiping across the toolbar to switch tabs is a little glitchy, for instance. Read More
Android has more birthdays than a cheapskate in an Applebees. November 5th, 2007 is often given as one option, because that's the day that Google announced the development of the platform itself. October 22nd, 2008 is another one, the day that the HTC's G1 phone was first released by T-Mobile. But for some reason, the Google Store team is choosing to pin down today, September 23rd as Android's "seventh birthday." On this day in 2008 Google and T-Mobile announced the availability of the G1 for the following month. That's also the day that the Android 1.0 SDK was first available for public download. Read More
Google seems to really love tinkering with its Clock app. The latest version of the app, 4.2, should be rolling out in the Play Store now. This one is available to everyone running Android 4.4 or higher (we didn't grab it from one of the Android M preview builds). It has exactly one new notable feature: the ability to gradually increase alarm volume, which is a fairly typical feature of alarm apps (and even real, physical clocks). The rest is a bunch of visual tweaking. Read More