It's been a while since we last heard anything about Project Soli - Google's radical post-touch experiment unveiled at I/O - but it looks like the project is still rolling right along. According to a tipster, Google has begun notifying interested parties of an impending "Soli Alpha DevKit," asking that those notified fill out an application for the chance to receive one.
Google says it's looking for pretty much everything when it comes to possible applications - health, art, interactive installations, robotics, HCI, VR, and more are all specifically called out as fair game in Google's email.
The email says that those selected to receive a DevKit will get a development board and SDK, along with the opportunity to participate in a Soli Alpha developer workshop at some point in the future.
You've probably never heard of a smartphone maker from the UK called WileyFox, and with good reason. The company didn't exist until just recently. This upstart London outfit is releasing two new mid-range smartphones, and they'll be powered by Cyanogen OS. They won't be targeting the Americas, though.
Here's another of my favorite kind of deal. Free stuff! Presently you can pick up a digital copy of the album, Play: Blues Pioneers, on the Google Play Store for the delightful price of nothing. It is full of wonderful bluesy songs like, Stormy Night Blues, Hokum Blues, and Blind Pig Blues. I've kindly provided the full list here for your perusal.
Ok, confession time. I have no experience whatsoever with the blues and I've never heard of a single one of these songs, or artists. (Barbecue Bob? That's a real person?) When I think of the blues this is what comes to mind.
Koush makes a lot of neat Android apps like Helium Backup and AllCast, but what's next? It's a thing called Vysor that will let you easily control your phone from Chrome. An early beta of the app is available in the Chrome web store, and it's already surprisingly solid for something that isn't even done yet.
Filed in the category of "things we just noticed" is a pretty strange interface element discovered in the "help" interface of Google Settings. When opening an article, users can tap a "full screen exit" icon in the toolbar to trigger the little floating window seen above.
The window is reminiscent of the one found in YouTube, where users can collapse a video and keep browsing, but this window can be moved up to the top of the screen as well. Sliding it to either side will dismiss the mini-window. Here's a quick video demo:
There's no doubt this element seems a little out of place in Google Settings, but my first guess is that, functionally, it would serve a similar purpose to YouTube's mini player - if a user is following step-by-step instructions in a help article, they may want a fast way to switch between the steps and the app that they're dealing with.
tinyCam recently made the big leap to version six dot oh, dragging along a new icon and material design. On the functionality front, we saw the introduction of 24/7 background video recording. This allowed users to keep recording long after they've switched their attention to another app.
With version 6.2, the developer has added in an internal web server that lets users record video on one device and remotely access them from another. For someone who already has multiple Android phones and tablets lying around, this is a cheap way to make an NVR.
This may be the primary new feature, but the lengthy changelogs include a few other noteworthy additions.
Floatify has been around for a little over a year now. It's an app that presents an alternate way to display notifications, specifically the Heads Up (AKA Peeking) notifications that were hidden in Android 4.4 and fleshed out in 5.0. The app has been continuously updated even as Lollipop has become public, and now it's a full-fledged alternative to most of Android's built-in notification systems. The latest update is something really special - we kind of wish Google would steal some of developer Jawomo's ideas.
While the Note 5 and S6 edge+ are far from the first Samsung phones with reported issues killing background tasks with unusual aggressiveness, they are the first ones with four freaking gigabytes of RAM to do so. We've long assumed that Samsung's background task issues on certain handsets are related to a lack of RAM headroom due to TouchWiz, and yet, the Note 5 and S6 edge+ may exhibit the most aggravating task killing of any Samsung devices we've yet seen. Let's cut to the video for a complete explanation. (I realize it's long, but I'd recommend watching all the way through to see what's going on here.)
The issue was readily reproducible on both our S6 edge+ and Note 5 review units, and we aren't the first people to point this out.