This should be fun! Here's a really early peak at Google's latest content push: it's called "Google Play News," and these bits of News come in "Issues" and "Subscriptions," so we're guessing Google's getting into the newspaper business. "Play News" will be a new, "colored" Play Store section to go along with Apps, Music, Books, Magazines, Movies, and Devices.
A few days ago, a pair of apps called RemotePlay and RemotePlayM by new Android developer Piddas21, a subsidiary of Taiwanese Quanta Computer, hit the Play Store ahead of SXSW. The idea is great - media and document sharing in real-time, across multiple platforms, such as Android, iOS, and Windows 8. Want to easily stream a video from your Nexus 4 to your iPad? No problem - it should be as simple as dragging it to a bucket with your iPad's name on it, and voila - you're watching a video on the big screen.
As we get closer and closer to Google I/O, speculation inevitably ramps up about what Mountain View will be unveiling this year to set the Android world on fire. The most likely plans involve boosting Play Store features and availability, given the recent push not only to expand into new countries, but to frame the Nexus line as a great content consumption platform. If Fortune is right, then Google may have a huge axe to swing in that battle with not one, but two different subscription music services coming soon.
When Android first came out, there were a lot of concerns about an open source OS. One of the biggest ones was, what if a company takes Android, strips everything Google out of it, and builds an entirely new platform on top of it? Well, Amazon seems dead set on making sure we know what that's like. The company has already built its own Appstore, content delivery services, and closed hardware on top of Google's baby.
Just a few days ago, we saw a hint that Google might be ready to expand its gift card program to the UK. Today, our suspicions are confirmed as the cards have started showing up at the distinctly British Tesco grocery stores. So far the only denominations confirmed are £10 and £25, though the support pages indicate that there are some £50 vouchers running around out there somewhere.
So far, Google has only seen fit to launch gift cards in the US and the UK.
In what seems to be a fairly arbitrary move, Google has trimmed the fat from the Play Store's Nexus 7 cover selection. The lineup, which formerly included pink, light blue, and gray, has been cut down to just the light blue color in the US, with the pink cover variant appearing outside the US. The gray cover has been axed completely.
A mere seven months ago, we saw the launch of Google's Play Store gift cards, a much wished-for addition to the store front that made gifting the store's digital content almost as easy as it should be. Unfortunately for international users, though, the cards were only destined for the US at launch. When "redeem pages" popped up in the UK's online and device-based stores in mid-December, many thought the cards would hit retail stores in time for the holidays.
There are a lot of security apps for Android that go a little ways into overkill territory. Whether you're talking about superfluous task managers or "virus scanners" that may provide some minimal protection while generating more fear than is warranted, Android has a persistent problem with companies applying a Windows-era mentality on a completely different OS. Secunia PSI, however, takes the cake for being one of the least effective apps on the Play Store.
Around a year and a half ago, Google removed access to paid apps from the Taiwanese Play Store after a complaint was issued claiming that the company violated a local law demanding a seven day return window. A surprisingly short court battle ensued and 8 months later Mountain View walked away with a $34k fine (you read that right), and a losing appeal. The company opted, at that point, to simply remain out of the Taiwanese market.
Samsung just unveiled the Galaxy Note 8.0, but they won't be satisfied until there's no stone unturned for Mobile World Congress. In a disappointingly dry press release the company debuted the Samsung HomeSync, an Android-powered set top box that combines Google TV features and a home media server. Major bullet points include a full terabyte of storage, WiFi and Ethernet access, and an interface powered by Jelly Bean (presumably 4.1) with full access to the Google Play Store.