Another day, another cancelled Google product. Try to sound surprised as I report that the Google Catalogs Android app will go the way of the dodo on August 15th. Too difficult? I understand. I couldn't muster up any shock either. Catalogs scratches a very niche itch, one Google was willing to address on tablets but never bothered with on smartphones. While it's true that some people have installed the app, the vast majority of Googlers probably never knew it existed.
A few of our European readers might have discovered this already, but Google's Carrier Billing page for the Play Store was updated yesterday. According to the additions, Android users on the Bouygues carrier in France and Play (the carrier, not the store) in Poland should now be able to buy apps and media via their phone bill. We've reached out to Google for confirmation and haven't heard back, but a post to this list is usually conclusive.
Update: Well, it seems someone at Google was a bit confused, as LTE has been added back to the European specification of the new Nexus 7, including band 20. Crisis averted.
The last generation of Nexus devices was stuck with HSPA+ mobile data, but with the new N7 Google has stepped into the 4G world. However, it seems like that world may be smaller than we previously thought. The specification page for the Nexus 7 has been tweaked to remove LTE bands from the European version, leaving it with only HSPA+.
Ever since its inception in Android 4.2, end-users have wondered why the multi-user function has been restricted to tablets. While switching between profiles desktop-style certainly makes the most sense on tablets, there's no technical reason why it couldn't be enabled for phones as well. Yesterday an official Android engineer took to Reddit to explain the reasoning behind the limitation.
"...it is not at all clear how it should work on a phone, specifically with respect to SMS and phone calls," writes Dan Morrill, Google Engineer and a regular on the popular /r/Android subreddit.
You may have noticed that Google's shiny new Chromecast streaming gadget has suddenly become a bit popular. The combination of easy streaming and a cheap $35 price sticker has made the dongle a hot ticket, already backed up by three or four weeks on the Play Store, periodically sold out at Amazon and Best Buy, and selling for insane markups on eBay. Google has noticed too: according to a report by the LA Times, they've decided to end the Netflix promotional giveaway, which bundled three months of streaming video service (a $24 value) with the device.
In the realm of nerdy Easter Eggs, the Konami Code is a long-time favorite. It shows up in various games and websites, offering a bit of nostalgia each time. Leave it to Google to have a little fun with the Konami Code on Android. Just a few swipes, and you've unlocked a secret achievement in the new Google Play Games app.
In the Google Play Games app, simply swipe the following directions: up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right.
Wall Street Journal reporter Amir Efrati has let it slip that none other than Chrome/Android head Sundar Pichai has divulged the existence of a next-generation Samsung-made Nexus 10 tablet. If Pichai related more details to Efrati, he's keeping them under his hat. Still, Samsung is more or less confirmed as the OEM for Google's next 10-inch slate.
— Amir Efrati (@Amir_Efrati) July 24, 2013
The Nexus 10 was announced along side the Nexus 4 late last year.
Do you have a spare 64 minutes and a burning desire to analyze every second of Google's latest press event? Alternately, did you miss the livestream and Sundar Pichai's dulcet tones because a faulty alternator stranded you at a truck stop for two hours? Then you're in luck, and so am I! The full version of Google's July 24th event has been posted to YouTube for your viewing pleasure.
If you'd like to dig deeper, check out our coverage of the new Nexus 7, the Chromecast TV dongle, the introduction of Android 4.3, and an in-depth look at the new additions to the third Jelly Bean release.
Want to know how you're expected to connect your phones, tablets, and computers to that fancy Chromecast that's shipping in the mail? Simple, there's an app for that. Google has dropped dedicated software in the Play Store that configures all that Chromecast devices in your house, because I know there are a good number of you that have already ordered more than one.
The app will set up your Chromecast to work on your local network and give you an interface for managing its settings, such as changing the device's name or inputting a new WiFI password.
It's that time of year: a new version of Android is in the wild. Here's everything we could find that's new and notable in Android Jelly Bean 4.3. Most of it is for developers and gives the software a bit of spit and polish, and at least some of the new features require fancy new hardware. But if you want to get a quick overview of all the new stuff coming to a Nexus near you (and hopefully other devices) soon, this is it.