16
Dec
Calendar-Thumb

Google Calendar has been updated recently, but a quick glance at the change log only finds "Bug fixes and performance improvements." What actually happened? Not much, but what's there is a doozy - replying to calendar events from within Gmail should now be a much less tedious experience.

What's New?

Now when you press Yes, Maybe, or No in an email invite, you will get a toast notification confirming your response.

13
Dec
Chromecast-Thumb

For many of us, it's getting cold outside. While there's always the option to invest in a thicker coat, bundle up in more blankets, or crank up the thermostat, none of these options particularly involve Android (with some exceptions). So here's another approach. Fire up YouTube on your Android device of choice and load up this YouTube channel. Send it out to the nearest Chromecast and you have yourself a warm fire that will burn for the next hour or so.

13
Dec
nexus5

It's not uncommon for Google (or other hardware manufacturers) to make subtle changes to devices post-release to fix problems that went unnoticed before the device hit hundreds of thousands users. That's exactly what happened with the Nexus 4, and it looks like the Nexus 5 is getting some hardware modifications of its own, as well.

As pointed out by XDA user shinral, the updated model has more rigid power and volume buttons, the SIM tray fits flush with the body of the phone, and probably the most visually noticeable difference, the speaker grill holes are now larger.

12
Dec
Google Thumb

A Google+ Android app update is inbound that should help many of us get in the mood for the upcoming winter. And let's just say, this one is rather quirky.

What's New?

Once the update has made itself at home on our devices, all we need do is give them a shake while looking at one of your own photos to add snow to the shot - the same Auto Awesome effect Google rolled out just last week.

11
Dec
sett

App Ops showed up in Android 4.3 and made it possible to revoke permissions on a per-app basis. It wasn't exposed in the main system settings, but it was easy to access. Then Android 4.4 made it quite a bit harder to get to, and now it appears to be completely missing in 4.4.2. What gives? Well, Android engineer Dianne Hackborn has indicated App Ops was never meant to be a user-facing feature in the first place.

10
Dec
11

Google is already selling zip-up sleeves and some stylish cases for the Nexus 7, but now you can add the new folio case to the list. This is essentially a bumper case with a front flap that can fold back and be used as a stand. It actually looks pretty neat.

2013-12-10 13_58_18-Nexus 7 Folio (Bright Red) - Devices on Google Play

The folio case comes in black and bright red, just like the Nexus 5 bumper. Unlike the N5 bumper, this is more of a bumper design with the back of the N7 exposed.

10
Dec
af (2)

Just when you thought Google couldn't drop any more Android news today, the Sony Xperia Z Ultra has appeared in the Play Store as a Google Play Edition device. This phone runs Android 4.4 KitKat on a big 6.4-inch screen and will cost you $649.

2013-12-10 13_19_33-Sony Z Ultra Google Play Edition - Devices on Google Play

10
Dec
nexusae0_Chromecast-Thumb_thumb

The Chromecast launched last summer with a lot of promise, but very limited app support. We've been limping along these last few months with only the occasional addition like Pandora and HBO Go to keep us going. Well, now the floodgates are beginning to open. Google just announced 10 new apps are launching with Chromecast support, and some of them are super-exciting.

2013-12-10 10_21_42-Chromecast

07
Dec
Nexus_10

Have a Nexus 10? Want the latest version of Android but haven't gotten the update notification no matter how many times you press the "check now" button? Good news - your update is ready to download directly from Google. If you've been around the block before, you know there's an easy way to download and manually install OTA updates for Nexus devices. We'll walk you through it below.

06
Dec
cc

To wrap up the year, TIME's been working on a "Top Ten of Everything 2013" series, listing off the top ten items in various categories from Pop Culture and Social Media to, of course, tech gadgets. In that category, TIME listed things like the LEAP Motion controller, Oculus Rift Developer's Kit, and new iPads, but they awarded the top spot to Google's plucky Chromecast dongle.

The piece, published Tuesday and shared by Larry Page on Google+ this evening, lauds the Chromecast's focus - it essentially only does one thing but does it so well, makes it so easy, and costs so little, that picking one up is really hard to resist.

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