The Nexus 9. For many of us, it is the chosen Android tablet. It's setting out to change the landscape (literally, to portrait 4:3). It's Google's first big tablet since the Nexus 10, back in the landscape orientation days. It's built in cooperation with HTC, a company whose few tablets to date have been utter flops. It looks like a giant Nexus 5. No really, it looks like a giant Nexus 5 so much it's a little weird.
The LG G Watch R seems to be the best Android Wear device yet, at least in the opinion of our own David Ruddock. But that doesn't mean much if you can't actually buy one. LG has been silent on pricing thus far, but it looks like AT&T just spilled the beans by announcing its plans to carry the G Watch R in its retail stores. You can pick one up this Friday, November 7th...
LG and Samsung got the Android Wear party started, releasing the G Watch and Gear Live, respectively. Those watches only need Google's Wear app to function, but Motorola changed the formula a bit with the Moto 360, tying the watch to the existing Motorola Connect app. For the upcoming ZenWatch, ASUS is beating them all (well, sort of) with three separate watch-focused apps.
The first new ASUS app is simply titled "ZenWatch Manager," and it's essentially a remote setup function for your watch on your phone screen.
Several months ago, we discussed something called Nearby, a project that - at the time - seemed to be Google's effort to let "people, places, and things" know when a user is, well, nearby. It seems that Google is still hard at work on its effort to connect various devices to each other and their surroundings, but Copresence (an internal name for this functionality) may have a more specific scope in this effort than we first estimated, apparently including iOS devices in the fun.
Months ago, we posted a rumor about "modular actions" set to come to Google's Search app (now just called Google) along with "Ok Google Everywhere" functionality that would allow users to activate search from anywhere on their device. The latter has already been implemented, but Google is still inching toward the former. With the technically unreleased Google app, the search interface can overlay apps from which it is called, but Google today announced another step forward - the ability to let apps hook into search by accepting voice queries from the user.
Google's Inbox implements a really smart management paradigm - specifically, users can swipe in one direction to "snooze" a message (designating a time at which the message will reappear in the inbox), or swipe the other way to mark the message "done," essentially archiving it. Steve Albright, in a post to Google+, recently opined that this paradigm might find a good home among all of Android's notifications, rather than being confined to Inbox messages.
Well son, time is but an illusion of change
Yesterday you had a tiny phone with Snake
Today you're overcome by a desire so strange
To buy the biggest phablet Motorola can make.
Time comes, flies, runs out, it's an elusive affair
Don't waste it by constantly checking the clock
Free yourself from it, put a blank screen on your Wear
It's always noon somewhere, Paris, Rio, or Bangkok.
One smart dev sensed the deceptive nature of time
He made a watch face so black it seemed like Void
So before I trip on a word that doesn't rhyme
I'll advise you to instantly download it on your droid.
Carrier bloatware apps are quite an issue in the US, where many smartphones ship with almost as much useless junk as they do genuinely necessary applications. This junk is lovingly called "crapware," "bloatware," or "shit" interchangeably by those in the smartphone community. Because it is. This disdain largely stems from the fact that many bloatware apps can't be fully uninstalled, only disabled (some can't even manage to do that).
In Android 5.0, Google is hoping to give everyone another option: don't be so awful about it.