In addition to things like stock Android and being carrier-unlocked, one of the big features of Nexus and Google Play Edition devices that Android power users love is an easily unlockable bootloader. While OEMs and carriers often make a policy of locking their devices' bootloaders to prevent installation of unauthorized software, Google makes it very easy for us to tinker with devices bearing its brand. All you really need to unlock a Google device is a tool called "fastboot," which is made available through the Android SDK.
If you told me that you'd never heard of Foursquare, I'd call you a liar. We've all see the cross-posts from Foursquare on Twitter and Facebook. I'd find it hard to believe that you had gone your entire life without seeing Foursquare notifications, but if you told me you didn't know what Foursquare was for, that I could believe. Foursquare, at its heart, is a fairly straightforward location-based game.
Doing searches from the Google Search app can be strangely slow on many devices, but the cause isn't obvious. The community might have figured it out, though. If you're sick of watching the Google Search app chug along on Android, this might fix you right up.
The cause is alleged to be the Search Applications Provider in Android, which returns a list of installed apps on the device to build suggestions.
Google may've said during Wednesday's keynote that it planned to roll out Hangouts to Gmail users gradually, but if you just can't wait to integrate the new messaging service into your e-mail dashboard, there's a way to gain early access. Simply log into Gmail, ensure you've signed into Google Talk (if you're having trouble enabling Talk, try installing the browser plugin), click on the thumbnail associated with your account in the Talk sidebar, and select the "Try the new Hangouts" option.
Between Hangouts, the gorgeous new Maps, Play Music All Access, and everything else discussed in I/O's opening keynote this morning, several revisions to the Play Store developer's console were announced.
Perhaps the most interesting addition to the console will be an organized method for alpha and beta testing, and staged rollouts. Basically, developers can select alpha and beta testers, receiving all feedback directly (instead of through reviews) and, when the time comes, roll out the app to certain percentages of the user base.
Facebook has been making numerous changes to its Android apps as of late, thanks to the arrival of Facebook Home. Sometimes, new features also bring "hidden" options – things that may not be quite ready for prime time but can be accessed within the app. Facebook Messenger has one such "feature" tucked away in its emoticon menu: stickers. Big ol' images with goofy faces and cats and other stuff. I'm not entirely sure why this is a thing that anyone wants, but it's there, and you can use these oversized emoticons now.
You could continue to add events to your Google Calendar the old fashioned way, or you could use this super cool (and fun!) method of SMSing things to your GCal.
The process is so easy a caveman could do it, so follow along and you'll be one step closer to speaking (almost) directly to your calendar:
- Add GEvent (48368) to your contacts, name it “Magic Calendar”
- Click and hold the Search button to bring up Google Voice Search and say, “Text to Magic Calendar, Pick up kids 2pm at the Cliffs in Valhalla, New York” (or, you know, whatever event you want to schedule)
- Wait a bit… you should receive a confirmation text and it should show up on your Google Calendar
- Bring up event in your favorite calendar app or widget… click on the link for the location
- Click on bubble to check out Places and to get turn-by-turn directions from your free Google Navigation
- Extra credit – do the step #2 voice search hands-free using VLingo InCar
And that's it.