One of Samsung's claims to fame is a feature meant to improve productivity on mobile devices. One that users of stock Android and manufacturer skins alike have been yearning for for a while. That feature is multi-window, which allows users to run two apps on the screen at once, dragging and dropping between the two.
The problem is no one has been able to get it right yet. A company in the mobile space - in this writer's opinion - has yet to perfect the balance between utility and intuition when it comes to multi-window functionality on tablets (or phones, though I haven't used the Note 4 yet), but a post to Android Internals in March confirmed that Google had been working on the programmatic side of multi-window in stock Android.
With a big OTA expected to hit Android Wear devices starting around October 15th, Google has just published what might be a preparatory update for the Android Wear companion app. Taking the app up to version 1.0.2, the update adds about 3MB to the APK's file size. Google hasn't published a change log quite yet, but we can already tell from a cursory teardown that the new version brings with it an update to Google Play Services for Wearables (a package sent to the watch from the app) - version 6.1.11 (up from 5.0.91).
If you keep tabs on Android Wear, you've probably heard of Facer. It's the leading app for making and sharing custom watch faces for Android Wear. The lack of an official API has not deterred developers, and Facer isn't the only app offering new watch faces. Face for Wear has been in beta for a while now, but it's finally ready for everyone to check out.
Normally the kind of customer who buys a "rugged" phone like the Hydro VIBE isn't all that concerned with having the latest and greatest in software - or at least that seems to be the attitude of the carriers and manufacturers, who don't seem very concerned themselves. Perhaps that's why Sprint and Kyocera launched the phone with Android 4.3 back in May, despite the fact that 4.4 had already been available for seven months.
Android L is probably just a few weeks away, but Google's partners already have the code to begin designing updates. That's why SamMobile was able to get a hold of a nearly complete build of Android L on the Galaxy S5. It looks pretty much like you'd expect a Samsung ROM to look, but there's definitely some L influence.
Update 9/18/14: An updated version 6.1.07 (previous was 6.1.05) started rolling out. We've updated the APK below to this version.
Update 10/2/14: An updated version 6.1.11 (previous were 6.1.05, 6.1.07, and 6.1.09) started rolling out. We've updated the APK below to this version.
At Google I/O this year, we learned that Google Play Services is generally updated on a six-week cycle. As expected, the mighty puzzle piece behind Google's Android services is getting an update starting today that introduces a number of small changes that most users probably won't notice but which may make developers' lives a little bit easier.
Google rolled out the 4.4.4 update to devices earlier this year, with the 2013 Nexus 7 seeing the OTA in mid June. Here we are over three months later and Google has finally posted the full factory images and binaries for the LTE version of the N7. It's about time, guys.
Google is making the best of allowing enthusiasts and 3rd-party developers early access to the next release of Android, and the result will be a less buggy release when L finally hits the grand stage. While new issues are reported each day, there's a lot of progress showing up on the Issue Tracker. Just yesterday, a burst of 18 bugs were marked as 'fixed,' following a 2-week gap without any obvious activity.
Perhaps that title doesn't sound like high praise, but playing games on your smartwatch is a generally distasteful business. I don't know that watch gaming is ever going to be a great experience, but Tales of Pocoro isn't bad. I've played it for a solid 10 minutes and I haven't grimaced with pain. I suppose that kind of makes it the best game for your Android Wear watch.