Early this month, Google announced a major update to its Play services framework, which brings the version number up to 7.0 and adds several great new APIs. The SDK for this update was held back until the corresponding apk had time to make its way out to Android devices everywhere. The wait is now over, and the SDK is live. Developers are now free to incorporate all of the new APIs into their apps.
Just before Apple's "Spring Forward" watch event last week, Google released a quick, fun, 17-second spot to promote its own wearable offerings, keeping with Android's new tagline "be together, not the same" by demonstrating that Android Wear watches already come in all sorts of shapes so you can "wear what you want."
Today, Google has released a full minute-long version of the spot, with even more watches and even more dancing. The video uses Shamir's On the Regular as a soundtrack, and features a ton of talented dancers including Dytto, Brian Smith, and dancers from StatusSilver.
On the off chance you've got Android Auto in your vehicle, you might be interested to know there's a developer mode built-in. Even if you don't have Android Auto yet, you might still be vaguely interested in an abstract sort of way. You can access it through the Android app and it only takes a few taps.
Ever since Google began releasing Android 5.1 OTAs last week, there has been a bit of confusion over build numbers. The first build to get released was LMY47D, which went out to international variants as well as US models with Sprint SIM cards. The next build to surface was LMY47E, which appears to be shipping on new devices sold by Verizon, who just launched Google's flagship in stores today. It now seems that T-Mobile USA is getting its own unique build, LYM47M.
Of particularly interesting note here is that LMY47M still uses radio version 01.02.95, which is the same one that appeared with the original LMY47D build.
When your watch and your phone are connected, the ability for one to find the other seems like a natural feature to add. Oddly, Android Wear hasn't been able to do that so far, at least not without third-party apps adding it in. Google is correcting this oversight today with a new update to the Android Device Manager system. With ADM installed on your phone, you can issue an "OK Google, find my phone" voice command to your Wear device to make it ring out like a mildly annoyed baby.
Well, you'll be able to eventually. Apparently this feature isn't available to everyone yet - it looks like it's one of the "silent" back-end updates on Google's end of the system, popping up without an update to either Android Wear's firmware or the ADM app itself.
You knew it was coming. With the Moto 360 being easily the most exciting Android Wear device from the initial video almost exactly a year ago, and then being something of a disappointment upon release thanks to its ancient chipset and not-really-360-degree "round" screen, a follow-up was inevitable. It looks like an executive from Lenovo (the new owners of Motorola Mobility) may have let the cat out of the bag on the company's next Android Wear smartwatch.
Google has finally pushed an official Android Auto app to the Play Store that will allow Lollipop phones to work with the first few head units and cars with support for the platform. It only works on phones running 5.0 or higher, and is pretty much useless without a compatible Android Auto system—you probably don't have one of those.
From the earliest days of Android Wear, there have been those waiting for a traditional watchmaker to get in on the fun. Today appears to be the day. Google, TAG Heuer, and Intel have announced a partnership to design an Android Wear watch powered by an Intel chip.
How many times have you looked at your Android Wear watch while it booted and thought, "Gosh darn it, that's a rrrrreally cool animation right there!" If you love that boot sequence, you probably get a tickle every time your battery dies or your watch updates and you see it starting up again. Boot Watch Face eliminates those requirements by using the animation each time you turn your watch on. Neat!
The super zen video above shows you everything you should expect from Boot Watch Face. It's very customizable with options to pick the clock hands colors and background (there's a cool "randomize" option too), change the needles' thickness (only when the watch is on — the ambient needles are very thin for my taste), remove the seconds ticker, and speed up the animation.
The DROID Turbo is a beast of a phone, combining the over-the-top specs of the Nexus 6 with the more manageable size of the Moto X and throwing in a huge battery for good measure. The only downer is that it's available exclusively from Verizon... which doesn't have the best track record for Android updates. Despite the fact that the Moto X 2014 has been running Lollipop since November, even on Verizon, and the de-branded Moto Maxx for international markets also has Lollipop, the DROID Turbo is still forlornly running KitKat.