Until now if you wanted a Nexus phone, Nest Thermostat, or some other device sold by Google, you'd go to the Play Store device section. Well, not anymore. Google has just launched the Google Store, a hub for all things Google with listings for phones, tablets, smartwatches, Chromebooks, and more. Basically, hardware is in the Google Store, and software is in Google Play.
Snagging a Nexus 5 from the Play Store hasn't been the easiest thing since the Nexus 6's launch, with the affordable handset fluctuating in and out of stock. The red and white versions disappeared before the end of the year, while the black option soldiered on for people who consider the Nexus 6 too big, too expensive, or both.
Have you ever wished that Google would just open its equivalent of an Apple Store, so you could have a one-stop-shop for your favorite phones, tablets, and Chromebooks? The company has dabbled with the idea before, and Americans can kinda-sorta experience this in the corner of a local Best Buy, but now the Big G is taking things to the next level by opening its first branded shop. It just happens to be at Currys PC World in London.
For some reason, Google has only now released a watch face for Android Wear. It's called Street Art, and it features the work of more than a dozen artists from the Google Art Project. It's light on options, though.
Back in October, we posted a quick look at some of Google's very early plans for multi-window functionality on Android Lollipop, a feature that had apparently been in the works since at least KitKat. The system, in a nut shell, would allow users to have two apps open at a time, scaling the apps to take up more or less space on the screen, and interact with the overview or Google Search, passing text or other data back and forth.
Today, a reader pointed out an interesting Android commit that makes mention of the feature (about which we've heard nothing official). The commit in question, made January 27th 2015, mentions "multiwindows" briefly, implying that it's a feature destined for some unspecified future release.
Today we've got a quick tip for Chrome - a new method of switching between what we'll call "sibling tabs" in Chrome for Android when you've got apps and tabs merged.
First, what are sibling tabs? In Chrome on Android Lollipop, when users have tabs and apps merged (so Chrome tabs show up in the overview space), tabs opened using the "open in new tab" action will group together with the parent tab, making a nice little group that will stick together as you scroll vertically.
Now here's the tip: when you are looking at one of these grouped tabs, a simple swipe across Android's system navigation bar will jump between those tabs.
Apple has a big event scheduled to kick off whenever the hour, with folks looking forward to learning more about upcoming MacBooks and the Apple Watch. The latter will be a first-generation device, Apple's long-awaited debut into the wearables market.
But forget about that product for a moment and remember that, whatever the headlines, Apple's watch will hardly be the only decent smartwatch in town. Google has just released a short commercial showing consumers that Android Wear is a thing and that its watches are cool.
The 17-second commercial features plenty of young people wearing various circular and square watches all sporting different faces.
Adoption of material design appears to be on an upward trend. It seems that everyfew days we hear news about another app refreshing its design with some inspiration from Google's new aesthetic, with some apps using the design language at launch. This is great for users who have been hungry for a more unified, cohesive design language on Android.
Continuing the trend, Groupon has introduced its update to version 15.2, heavily inspired by material design. The update, while just a 0.1 version bump, greatly refines the app's interface. The tab bar is now colorized and brought into line with Google's recommendations, and the app has adopted the new navigation drawer, including an account switcher and simple iconography.
A couple of days ago, Google Drive made news with an update that introduced a new, intuitive Drag & Drop implementation for easier file management. While that appeared to be the only significant change, a look under the hood revealed not only that the Drive team is about to fulfill one of the most often requested features, but it also answered one of the many questions about the fate of Google+ Photos after the split.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong. Even in the most cut and dried examples, there is always a chance that details may change or plans may be cancelled prior to the launch of a new feature.