Root Explorer is one of those apps that has been on each and every one of my Android devices for years, and part of the reason why is that developer Speed Software has kept it relevant with near-constant useful updates. The latest, version 3.3, takes advantage of the revised SD card management on Android 5.0. Those with Lollipop devices can once again write to an external SD card even without root.
Since the launch of Android 5.0 last month, the sheer number of app updates has been magnificent – and downright overwhelming. Believe it or not, most of the new versions haven't done much more than add Lollipop support and splash a fresh coat of Materialized paint on the UIs. Seriously, we've been checking. This isn't entirely a bad thing, as it's giving me time to work on some other projects...
Over the last few years, few topics have been more hotly contested by Android users and developers than how SD cards are handled by the OS. Back in February, I discussed some of Google's changes during the transition from Android 2.3 to 4.0, and then how more recent policy changes ultimately led to 3rd-party applications losing most of their access to removable storage. By the time I/O came around, Google acknowledged that KitKat's newly added Storage Access Framework still didn't offer enough range for apps to get their work done.
Yesterday, Google's Camera app was updated to add a pretty handy remote shutter feature that can be used on a paired Android Wear wristwatch. But what if you're packing some serious camera equipment –let's say, something in the Canon EOS family– and you'd like to appear in some of your own shots from time to time? Chainfire has you covered with the latest update to his incredibly powerful DSLR Controller. Not only does the new version offer a remote shutter button on Android Wear, but it's also sporting some big improvements to the Timelapse feature, new white icons and faster wi-fi transfer speeds on KitKat, and fixes for the way SD cards are handled on KitKat and above.
The first major update to the Beats Music app since Apple bought the company two weeks ago is now rolling out to Android devices. This release, version 1.1, addresses some areas that previously revealed just how young a piece of software this is. For starters, the app now supports landscape mode. Go ahead, turn your phone sideways and see what happens. Better yet, fire Beats up on a tablet.
In addition to that, people listening in offline mode can now save music to an SD card.
DoubleTwist fans, we have some good news and some bad news. Since it's Friday and you're probably in a pretty good mood, let's start with the bad: as of today's update, DoubleTwist can no longer import pinned Play Music tracks. Why? Because Google put the hammer down. You knew it was only a matter of time, right? Yeah, you did.
With that bit of grimness out of the way, this update also brings a couple of improvements, like the ability to stream to Qualcomm AllPlay Wi-Fi speakers.
Alongside the launch of the brand new super-budget Moto E, Motorola also announced an improved variant of its marginally more expensive Moto G. The updated version is now equipped with an LTE radio and an SD card slot. Naturally, the price of the LTE model is also a bit higher at $219, which is still a bargain. Oh yeah, now it also comes in white!
This is certainly a boon to those seeking a low-cost device, but don't want to settle on 3G speeds.
"Because the history of computing has taught us is that data will not be contained. Data breaks free. It expands to new media, crashes through barriers; painfully, maybe even dangerously. But, uh, there it is… Data finds a way." - Jeff Goldblum as Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Gift Shop)
When we last left our favorite removable storage device, OEMs had begun adopting Google’s policy for restricting write access to SD cards.
Samsung really likes expandable storage. Pretty much every single Samsung phone and tablet out there includes support for MicroSD cards, and with today's Amazon Gold Box sale, you can take advantage of them. Amazon's one-day sale portal has heavily discounted Samsung MicroSD cards for sale, with dramatic discounts on both speedy cards and more economical options.
The "PLUS" MicroSD cards are the ones we'd recommend - they're considerably slower than the more expensive "PRO" models, but for expanded storage in a phone or tablet, you really don't need screaming speeds.
Last month we posted an article examining some very significant changes to the way SD cards could be accessed and how Google's partner OEMs had begun enforcing these restrictions with Android 4.4. There can be no doubt, a lot of people were displeased to see their expandable storage crippled. While some have vowed to never update to KitKat, and others have turned to custom ROMs that don't enforce the same rules, there are still many people that still want to have the best of both worlds.