Google Search received a pretty significant update this morning, adding yet more Google Now cards, speed enhancements, and three new voice actions. The now cards include nearby events, "suggestions to help you with your research" (whatever that means), QR code boarding passes (!) from Gmail, location-sensitive search by camera (aka Google Goggles), weather at places Now thinks you're travelling to based on Calendar and Gmail, and monthly summaries of your walking and biking activity.
Alright, yes. We've spent over a month getting upset because Christmas starts just way too dang early these days. It's December now, though. Is it finally okay to get in the holiday spirit a bit? Cool. Because these Spheros—robotic balls that can be remotely controlled by Android and carry an array of sensors and lights—are beautiful. The company behind the bots choreographed these 28 units to the tune of Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24, as performed by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
With the end of another month comes a fresh batch of Android platform distribution numbers. Like clockwork, Google has once again updated their numbers, showing Gingerbread's cold, withered hand still holding almost 51% of the pie (though it's down from 54.2% in October), with Jelly Bean making gains to 6.7%, up 4% from last month.
Predictably, Ice Cream Sandwich is still making some gains, rising about 2% to 27.5% from October, Honeycomb is holding tight at 1.6% with a mere 0.2% change for API level 13, and pre-2.3 releases are still dropping off (though Cupcake and Donut are still holding on for dear life).
Normally I rip apart APKs looking for news-worthy items and unreleased features, but I've covered everything that's currently out, so this teardown session is going to be a little different. During my usual digging for features, I've stumbled across a surprising amount of unused files, movie references, and canceled beta assets. I've always thought it was a shame that no one knows about them, so today we'll be exploring all the crazy leftover files that ship on our phones and tablets.
OK, stay with me here - APIs are important. Case in point, ever notice how whenever one of your favorite apps uses a built-in Google Maps viewer, you suddenly want to open up the real Maps app? (Read: because the web maps viewer is old and ugly and terrible.) Today, that's all about to start changing. With Google Play Services 2.0[.10], Google's introduced a brand-new vector-based embeddable Google Maps view.
If you're itching to ROM up your Nexus 10, now's probably the time to start - CyanogenMod 10 nightlies have officially landed for Google's large Nexus slate, available now at the CM website.
Not much else to say about that - other than hoping it'll solve some of the various issues we've been seeing with Android 4.2, like the Nexus 10's delightful little random reboots. Head to the source link to grab it.
In a sight all too familiar to would-be Nexus owners this morning, the Nexus 4 8GB model has once again been listed as "out of stock" on the Play Store. This comes after Google opened up a second round of Nexus sales, which were basically glorified pre-orders, particularly when it came to the 8GB model, which quickly hit a 5-6 week shipping estimate.
Earlier this week, that estimate stretched all the way to 9-10 weeks, and presumably anything past 10 was the tipping point.
Still stuck with an Epic 4G Touch (or stuck a relative with your old one)? If you've been holding off on flashing some of the previously leaked Jelly Bean builds for fear of stability or finality, Sextape has released what is rumored to be the final build that will go out as an over the air update some time in the near future.
Build FK23 can be downloaded here, and is relatively easy to flash.
It's time for another installment of Getting To Know Android, the series where we show you every polished pixel in Google's latest Android update. Today's target is the Gallery, which, in a rare APK Teardown whiff, is not white. I have no idea what was going on with our crazy 4.2 alpha version, but the Gallery is still black, and the icon is still the same. Sorry about that. There is lots of new stuff to talk about, though.
Earlier today, we noticed a bug report for a very strange issue with multiple user accounts on the Nexus 7. Apparently, certain applications are displaying the underlying screen - be it the wallpaper, app tray, or the Play Store (depending on where the app was launched from) - through the foreground app. But here's the kicker: it's only happening on secondary accounts. Yeah, it's confusing and strange.
There's also a Reddit thread that confirms this is happening, and it seems to only be affecting apps that call on some sort of transparency.