January brought us the yearly madness that is CES, but that doesn't mean much in terms of software. The biggest news is probably Microsoft's continued expansion into multi-platform support for its biggest software sellers, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and now even Outlook. Google has been uncharacteristically quiet so far in 2015, aside from updating its current stable of apps.
The Nexus 6 is a confounding beast. This big phone doesn't have tap to wake functionality, but it does have ambient screen mode. This way of displaying notifications as they come in might be the reason there's no LED notification functionality built in. There is, however, a physical LED.
Out of the box, you probably don't give your phone or tablet's LED notification light all that much thought. It glows, sure, but that's just one more way of conveying information otherwise relayed via a sound or vibration. Well, if you take control of your LED and color-coordinate your apps, then you can get that little light to convey quite a bit. And if you want to do this, Light Flow is going to be one of the best recommendations you get.
While certain manufacturers are removing LED flashes from high-end smartphones (we're looking at you, Sony) Samsung is improving theirs. In a lengthy blog post on Samsung Tomorrow, the South Korean company posted technical specifications and photos on five new OEM flash modules, some of which use new techniques for brighter and wider flashes.
To be honest, the whole post is pretty dry, mostly talking about size and power improvements.
Knight Rider may have starred David Hasselhoff, but it was his autonomous car that stole the show. This Pontiac Trans Am could talk, had bulletproof glass, and, most distinctively, featured a prominent set of red lights on the front for eyes. Two decades later, we still can't cram most of KITT's functionality into a car, but a new Indiegogo project can help us replicate what matters most, those distinctive LED lights.
Have a KitKat device? If so, you've made the leap to the latest version of Android faster than most other people. That's the fun part. You've also jumped to Android 4.4 before most apps. That's the not so fun part. While older apps are generally stable and compatible, sometimes an update is in order to iron out the kinks. Thus a new version of Light Flow is now available that makes the app more compatible with Android 4.4 and the Nexus 5.
Light Flow is the kind of app that best showcases Android's sensibilities: esoteric, amazingly customizable, and downright impossible on other platforms. The popular notification manager for devices with LED indicator lights has just had a big update to version 3.8, most notably bringing support for the popular NinjaSMS texting app. NinjaSMS users, make sure you're running the latest version of both apps, and enable Light Flow in the settings menu.
Anyone that has ever spent any length of time with an e-ink based e-reader like the Kindle or Nook can attest to their uselessness in dark spaces. Now it looks like Barnes and Noble is going to be taking a crack at fixing that shortcoming of e-readers in an effort to gain some traction in its battle against Amazon. Leaked signage points to an updated Nook Simple Touch with a front-lit screen, and it might be here sooner than you think.
Team iLuminate, one of the most visually impressive and creative dance troupes who just happened to win be one of the finalists in America's Got Talent last year, recently joined Labrinth in this stunning performance at the Sony Xperia S party. There really isn't much to say here - just watch:
I've been a huge fan of iLuminate, and while this isn't by far their most original performance, it was still quite a treat.