So, Twitter. Hi. It's been a while. Are you people still completely screwing both the developers and the users that helped to make your platform a household name? Yeah? I kind of thought you'd get your heads out of your asses at this point, but I guess not. Since your stupid, stupid, stupid policies have killed yet another quality Twitter app for Android, ostensibly so you can continue to push your entirely mediocre first-party solution, it's time for us to look for another one.
In 2014, HTC rolled out the HTC Advantage, which offered a free cracked screen replacement, two years of updates, and up to 50GB of Google Drive storage space. Today, the company is going a step further. It has announced Uh-Oh Protection, which will provide one free replacement phone in the event of a cracked screen, water damage, or a carrier switch within the first twelve months after purchase.
Alternatively, if you don't get a replacement during this time frame, HTC will offer you $100 towards the purchase of your next HTC One.
Getting your replacement won't require going without a phone, either.
Sometimes old stuff is too old. It's sad, but companies don't have unlimited resources, and they can't provide new software updates and service forever. That's especially true of smaller companies like Dropcam (though it's technically owned by Nest, which is technically owned by Google, so I'm not sure if it qualifies as a "small" company anymore). But instead of simply leaving owners of older hardware in the dust, or compromising on new features for the always-on home monitoring service, Dropcam has decided to simply upgrade the old models for free. Neat!
Here's the gist: if you own the original Dropcam or the Dropcam Echo home security cameras, they'll stop working on April 15th after the company cuts them off from its remote access servers.
When Samsung and LG began selling their Android Wear watches, it seems they made a small oversight: the only way to get the proprietary POGO pin charging docks was to buy the watch. That left customers who had lost or damaged the chargers with no way to get their devices charged again. LG made good on the problem by adding a G Watch Charger to the Play Store back in August, and now Samsung has followed up for the Gear Live as well.
For some of us, breaking a smartphone is unimaginable. For others, it's only a matter of time. Either way, it could pay to have your ducks in a row. Samsung has introduced a new device replacement plan, and since no less than 107% of the world's phones were made by the manufacturer, a good number of people could benefit from this. But it won't come cheap.
Samsung's "Protection Plus Mobile Elite" plan costs $99.99 and provides coverage for two years. This price doesn't mean you get a replacement device as soon as yours breaks. Instead, you will have to pay a service fee each time you issue a claim.
If you follow developer Jack Underwood (or myself) on Google+, you're probably aware that Today Calendar, a calendar replacement that has traditionally put streamlined, pleasing design at the center of its mission, is undergoing a full redesign in anticipation of Android's L release and inspired by Google's new design guidelines.
Until now, testing has been limited to a small community of intrepid early adopters, but today the app has entered a public beta through the Play Store.
As Underwood explains in a post to Google+, the beta does not contain any Android L APIs since Google currently doesn't allow developers to distribute apps reliant on L code through the Play Store.
Developer Klinker Apps, the folks behind the Talon Twitter client and the EvolveSMS messaging app, have just released Blur, a free launcher replacement that takes the approach introduced by the Google Now Launcher and opens it up to other apps. With Blur, any app that adds on support for the launcher can have its own dedicated page that rests right on a person's homescreen. In practice, this means users can swipe to the left to access their Twitter feed, text messages, a basic calculator, or a dedicated Google Now page that the Klinker brothers MacGyvered to imitate the GNL. More pages are hopefully on the way.
Update: The update is now live in the Store – find it by hitting the widget at the end of the post.
Last month, Google announced they'd be killing off Google Reader this July. Yes, in just a couple of short months, one of the most beloved RSS resources in existence would be kaput. Google says it decided to pull the plug because of dwindling use numbers. While there were plenty of discussions about Google's real motivation (everything from well-reasoned examinations of the situation to cries of "EVIL!"), there was something more important happening behind the outcry – there were people stepping up to fill the gap in as seamless and timely a fashion as possible.
Google Voice is a great service burdened by a lack of support, integration, and easy way to sign up (unless you're on Sprint, of course). Those who do decide to jump the hurdles and either get a brand new number—or port their existing one to Google—will find themselves in an uncomfortable paradise. On the one hand, you can text from your desktop, tablet, or phone completely for free which is awesome. On the other hand, you have to use the Google Voice app, which is not that great. 'Messaging + Google Voice', however aims to alleviate that problem a bit.
There are no shortage of keyboard replacements on the market. Between SwiftKey, Swype, and the various manufacturer-skinned versions, you can't help but have three or four options on your phone. Today's latest entrant, iKnowU, still manages to stand out with the ability to predict entire phrases and highlighting of the next letters it thinks you're going to type. Pretty impressive.
Of course, the feature that catches our eye most of all is phrase prediction. SwiftKey is widely known for its next-word anticipation engine that aims to guess what you want to write next. iKnowU take this one step further, recognizing that words are just one building block of language.