Google makes the open source parts of Android freely available, but those aren't the parts everyone wants. The Google apps and services are what make Android devices desirable, and Google keeps those firmly under its control. A new report from The Guardian alleges that Google's device certification process for OEMs to get Gapps isn't free – the OEM has to pay a small per-device license fee for Google's services.
There was a time not so long ago when entering keywords into a search engine and getting back a list of relevant URLs was convenient enough, but these days, long after the novelty of search engines has worn off, sifting through pages of blue and purple links can feel quite tedious. So Google is continuing to do more to make using its primary service easier. Starting today, when you click on the name next to a website's link in your search results, you will get served a small window providing a little bit more information than what's provided on the page.
When you hear about a patent case in the Eastern District of Texas, you can bet there will be shenanigans. This time a jury in the capital of software patent lawsuits has found that Google infringed on a patent held by a company called SimpleAir that reportedly covers push messaging systems used in Android.
There comes a time in every Nexus device's life when it must leave the Play Store. For the Nexus 10, that time began earlier this week, when reports began surfacing that the tablet may be permanently out of stock (from the US Play Store, anyway). Since then the device's availability has flipped from available to "out of inventory" again and again, but at the time of writing, the original 10" Nexus' 32GB variant has been out of inventory in the US for two days (since January 16th), meaning we likely won't be seeing it again.
The Play Store device section sure is hopping today. Google dropped the new Moto G Google Play Edition earlier, then a new red N7 sleeve popped up, and now folks in more countries have some accessories to splurge on.
The updated wireless charger is now live in the Play Store for Australia, India, Japan and Korea. Pricing will vary, but it should be about in line with the $49.99 US price.
Google has been increasingly transitioning new features in Android to a more closed model. Whether you're talking about music playback, search, or even the dialer, Google's updated apps have features not included in the Android Open Source Project. The developers of OmniROM are looking to make the handy features of the new Google Dialer available without the proprietary bits, so they're working on an integrated phone number directory without Google.
Schemer, Google's niche quasi-social network for sharing all the things you want to do in life, is being shut down. Since launching over 2 years ago, it has struggled to find a user base, new features were few and far between, and the app itself was only updated a handful of times. For those unaware of how Schemer works, the idea is pretty simple. You use it to list things you want to do, and mingle with other people who either want to do the same thing or have already done it.
Each month, Google updates Android's platform distribution numbers according to devices that have accessed the Play Store in a seven-day period. January's updated pie chart has just hit, and things seem to be following a fairly predictable pattern.
KitKat, which was positioned at 1.1% last month, has eked out an additional 0.3% to reach 1.4%. Gingerbread, meanwhile, fell from 24.1% to 21.2%, continuing its gradual decline. Jelly Bean (including API levels 16-18) has actually grown to 59.1%, up from 54.5%, as manufacturers work to catch up to Android's latest and greatest.
Google Play Services 4.0 was released in late October just after the Nexus 5 and Kit Kat became official, bringing with it plenty of improvements to things like Google+ sign-in, Wallet, Location services, and more.
Today, via the Android Developers Blog, Google announced the rollout of Google Play Services 4.1, which offers developers more and better tools to make compelling apps.