A pretty nifty new feature was talked about at last night's Android Fireside Chat. In addition to the other O features and the rest of the announcements at I/O, it was revealed that we'll soon be able to update our graphics drivers through the Play Store. This is a feature that is presumably only going to be present in O. There's no word yet on the specifics as to how that might work, or which OEMs or chipset manufacturers might be interested in taking advantage of it, but as of yesterday we know it's coming. Read More
One of the bummers about buying electronic devices is that you know there will be a point after which the manufacturer will no longer keep the software updated. We usually hope for at least two years when talking about smartphones, though some OEMs barely even reach half that time. One of the benefits to buying Google's phones nowadays is that the company now maintains a page where you can see the end-of-life for those devices. Read More
After Google improved the Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps a few weeks ago, Microsoft is responding with updates to the Android apps for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The update adds small, incremental improvements which won't matter to the vast majority, but for a little subset of users, might be the thing that gets them to use one or all of the apps.
The major thing that's new in PowerPoint is the ability to share only one slide. It can get really annoying when to send one slide in a presentation of many slides, you have to send the entire thing and say 'look at slide 22,' or whatever. Read More
The HTC 10 was released early last year to mostly positive reviews, minus the high price tag, and caused us to give HTC the "Most Improved OEM" award for 2016. The Nougat rollout for the unlocked HTC 10 in the US started last month, but users across the pond will have to wait a little longer. Graham Wheeler, Product and Service Director for HTC EMEA, announced that the unlocked HTC 10 and One M9 in Europe will receive Nougat in the next two weeks. Read More
Updates are still a huge pain point for many Android OEMs, but Google's usually been okay with them. Historically, devices with the Nexus nameplate have received around two years' worth of updates; for instance, the LG-made Nexus 5, which was released in late 2013, is stuck (officially) on Marshmallow, which was released in late 2015. That trend seems to be continuing with the Pixel phones. Read More
The number of people playing Pokémon GO has declined in recent months, but the player base is still huge compared to most mobile games. The loss of casual players is probably down to the slow rate of improvements, but today there are a few significant changes rolling out. As we previously reported, Pokémon GO now has capture bonuses and improved training at gyms. Read More
When it comes to mobile data, where customers almost always have a limited pool of access to work with, less is more. That's the principle behind the "delta" updates to apps that Google introduced way back in 2012, which in most cases allows the Play Store to download only the incrementally updated parts of an app rather than the entire APK. Now a new tweak to the delta update algorithm has made the updates themselves even smaller. Read More
You usually have to get a car with Android Auto pre-installed if you want the feature to ever be available to you, but Hyundai has embraced Google's car platform more so than others. It just announced an update is available for some of its 2015, 2016, and 2017 models that adds Android Auto and CarPlay. You can install them yourself or go to a dealership and pay them to do it. Read More
According to a Bloomberg article published this morning, Google has been actively tracking the time it takes Android device manufacturers to update their handsets to a new version of the Android OS. Better yet? There are supposedly discussions happening inside Google as to whether or not to make the stats public, as a sort of "name and shame" directive to encourage manufacturers and carriers alike to update their handsets more quickly. To which I respond: oh god yes please, do this, Google.
The report also mentions a few other tidbits that are interesting, and we'll get to those, but let's focus on what I will now call The Android Update Wall Of Shame, which should very much be what it is called if Google does, in fact, publish it. Read More
As most of our readers know, an update to the Play Store rolled out a couple of days ago with a feature many of us have been requesting for nearly three years: the ability to join and leave beta test groups from within the Play Store. For reasons we can only speculate about, the join/leave capability was disabled about 24 hours later. While the headlining feature was covered in our original post, there are still a couple of interesting tidbits waiting for the teardown treatment. Read More