Google just updated the web Play Store with a completely new UI that was teased back at I/O 2013, and it immediately caused a whirlwind of mixed reactions. We have a separate post coming up on all the differences as well as the features that didn't make it into the redesign (there are, unfortunately, a lot - even more than went missing in Maps v7), but right now I want to commend Google and address one aspect that immediately stood out to me within the first few seconds - speed.
Most college kids are at home this time of the year, celebrating the end of finals and/or nursing hangovers. But the ROM's scene's number one destination is hosting classes all year round at the the new XDA University site. XDA-Developers has been working on the extension of the main site as a destination for newcomers to the world of root, custom ROMs, and other Android modifications, as well as a place to learn about more serious Android development.
Folks, I can't believe it myself, but this day has finally come - Google seems to have finally sorted out all its backend and frontend issues with Google contact sync. Jelly Bean's 720x720 hi-res contact support was surely a nice addition, but ended up almost completely useless in our earlier tests: Jelly Bean Bumps Contact Photos To Hi-Res 720x720 But Google Sync Continues To Clobber It With Low-Res Mush.
As of today, all the problems I ran into before are resolved.
Getting CyanogenMod builds onto an Android device has always been easy as pie, but who is going to say no to yet another, even simpler method? While redesigning the CyanogenMod Downloads page, the CM team recently added a really subtle ability to send downloads straight from the web right into ROM Manager - all with just one click, a-la Chrome to phone or Amazon's 1-click purchasing.
In fact, the change to the site was so subtle that it went unnoticed by us for a week until Koush posted this video to his YouTube account:
Brilliantly simple, isn't it?
BOLT Browser, which touted tabbed browsing and high speeds in an effort to provide a capable replacement for Android's stock browser, has been discontinued due to economic circumstances, according to the app's website:
The news came earlier today as BOLT's listing in the Android Market vanished, and the app's website closed down, leaving only the above note. While BOLT may not have been the most robust browser solution for Android, it's always a little sad to see an app go like this, especially considering the fact that BOLT debuted only a couple of months ago.
You can now email developers with a question or a bug report right from the web Market - a feature previously available only in the device Market. For example:
The email url is a simple mailto: link, which should pop up your favorite email client (Gmail in my case).