The convergence of multiple devices can be a good thing. After all, who wants to carry a bunch of different stuff around when a single thing will do? This is, presumably, the rationale behind the Sprint LivePro, but maybe it's gone a little far. This is a mobile hotspot with a built-in projector and a battery that can charge your phone. The whole thing is, of course, powered by Android.
The first Android Wear devices are just starting to show up on doorsteps, but already a second update is heading out to the Samsung Gear Live. The OTA bumps the build to KMV78X from KMV78V. What does it do? Unclear.
Google's recently launched Android Wear platform had a bit of a rough weekend when it ran into an unexpected snag regarding paid apps – it couldn't install them. It turns out that the behavior could be traced to a Play Store security feature that was responsible for encrypting paid apps to make them more difficult to pirate; but in doing so, it had also made it impossible to extract and install any micro-apps contained within the apk. Tuesday night, Google responded to developers with an apology and a set of steps to reconfigure development projects to circumvent the installation issue.
Android is really turning into a jack of all trades, having become the OS of choice for phones, tablets, face computers, and now wristwatches. The combination of flexibility, open source code, and low cost of entry make it a prime candidate for countless utilitarian purposes. With the upcoming release of Android L, Google is aiming to make it even easier to deploy highly specialized environments with a new feature called Task Locking that allows a single app to take control of the interface and prevent users from switching apps or even seeing notifications.
Games made specifically for Android Wear devices were almost inevitable. Despite the small size, there's a lot of potential for Wear integration for full-sized Android games - you could use your watch as a Star Trek-style alert system for an RPG, or as a fun secondary screen, like the Visual Memory Unit on the old Dreamcast. Even games limited to Wear itself could do a lot with simple taps or swipes.
Based on evidence from two tipsters, it seems all but inevitable that Google Now will be receiving media and music playback controls at some point in the future. Some users are already seeing these actions in proto-form on their devices, which can be activated simply by saying "next song." What appears, if your account is enabled for the feature, is shown in the left screenshot. If the function doesn't work, you'll see the one on the right.
Another month, another set of platform distribution numbers. The constant ebb and flow of Android's population by version number continues to swing in KitKat's favor, though not by a whole lot. Android 4.4 is up 4.3% month over month during the 7-day period measured by Google from July 1st to the 7th, while Jelly Bean appears to have undergone its first net shrinkage. Though the number of 4.2 installs grew by 0.6%, 4.1 fell 1.2%, and 4.3 by 1.3%, marking a net decline for Jelly Bean of 1.9%.
Android L still has a few tricks up its sleeve – specifically, in the Status menu. If you go to the About section of settings and tap on Status, Android L allows you to copy any of the values listed there with a long-press. Neat.
Google's hot new item, Android Wear, is barely out of the box, but there's already a pretty big issue deserving of a place in our Bug Watch series. The initial rush of native Android Wear apps is starting to roll into the Play Store as developers get their hands dirty with the freshly released SDK. So far, most of these apps have been given away at no cost, but the few that have attempted to charge a fee have run into a wall.
Google has only posted official images of the Android L developer preview for the WiFi Nexus 7 and the Nexus 5, but Nexus 4 users want a piece of the action too. That's why folks on XDA have been burning the midnight oil to get Android L running on last year's Nexus. Beta 2 of the N4 port is now up, and it seems to have resolved the showstopper bugs from the first one.