As we've said before, Phonebloks' concept of a modular phone built using swappable, easily upgradeable parts is as awesome as it is unlikely. Yet that doesn't mean we can't sit here, watch the company's videos, and dream. We have our eyes on Project Ara, Google's take on the idea, and we can't wait to see what comes of it. But apparently Phonebloks already sees this as small potatoes. The company doesn't want just a world of modular phones.
Someone at the Caterpillar equipment company had a lot of fun devising this promotional video for CAT's Android-powered, ruggedized smartphone, the B15. In addition to some dramatic drops using machines right out of a Tonka fantasy, the demonstrators set up a line of 600 smartphones, all powered on and running, then ran over them with a CAT 277D Multi-Terrain Loader weighing over 9,000 pounds. Let's watch!
Naturally the phones come out unscathed, or at least apparently so.
XBMC started life as a hack for the original Xbox game console, but it has since evolved into a much-beloved open source home theater system on a number of platforms. After months of release candidates and betas, XBMC 13.0 (codename Gotham) is ready to download on Android (and other stuff).
The new version brings a number of improvements, only some of which pertain directly to Android. The most relevant to our interests is the inclusion of hardware media decoding on ARM and x86 Android devices.
Full-length content is all around us. Netflix will give it out, though subscribers have to commit to a monthly fee. Hulu's willing to give at least some of its offering away for free, and Crackle's even easier. But what if all you're after are good new-fashioned clips, something that doesn't need much time or attention to digest, and something short enough to toss up onto a social network. Yahoo hears you, so they've brought Yahoo Screen to Android.
The big XE16 Google Glass update hit two weeks ago, but as we saw in our teardown, some of the included features were not turned on yet. That is set to change sometime this week. The Glass team has shared a number of features to be on the lookout for, with the first of which being a change to how the glasses handle automatically backing up photos and videos to the web.
With all of the video streaming options out there these days, it wouldn't surprise us in the slightest if Redbox isn't the first app that comes to mind when the movie-watching mood strikes. But a new app update has rolled out that freshens things up a bit for anyone who just really likes the feel of a physical disc. Now there's a wish list in the sidebar for the media that is best saved for later.
Most apps that stream video to the Chromecast come with support for a few sources like local storage, Dropbox, Google Drive, and so on. The new CloudCaster app comes with support for 23 different cloud sources, plus local content and DLNA files. You can even give it a shot for free.
CloudCaster certainly has a ton of file sources for casting, but it's only compatible with the Chromecast – the similar AllCast app supports DLNA receivers and other devices like the Fire TV as well.
At the recent Accel Design Conference, Google's head of design for Android, his holo-ness Matias Duarte, sat down for an interview with The Verge Editor-in-Chief Joshua Topolsky. The wide-ranging chat touched on how Duarte approaches design, some things he looks at when thinking about Android's UX, and the death of mobile. How's that for a teaser?
Back in September, the BBC iPlayer jumped to version 2.0 and introduced the ability for users to download full episodes and store them for up to 30 days. At the time, the feature only worked on the eleven devices that the developers tested. Now it should work on any Android device running Ice Cream Sandwich or above.