Chainfire's FlashFire is a very handy tool for anyone who likes to flash their phone. Provided the device is rooted, it enables the flashing of OTA files, ZIPs, and full firmware packages, all without needing a custom recovery. Previously, the app had been available in Google Play's beta program, but as of version 0.50, it is now open to all. Read More
Google Maps is now accepting beta testers through the Play Store, and it's probably no coincidence that there's already an update to v9.27 to go along with the news. The latest version doesn't appear to have any mind-blowing features, but it's not without a few changes to be found on the screen and buried in the apk. There are new notification settings, a new splash screen for Android Wear, and a few hints from a teardown. We're still looking around for more, so let us know if you stumble across any cool changes.
Unofficial Changelog: (stuff we found)
- New Notification Settings: "Show pending contributions notification" and "Driving notifications"
- Splash screen on Android Wear
More Notification Settings
Just a few days ago I commented on how the Notifications screen had grown quite a bit over the last few months, and with the brand new beta, two more settings join the list. Read More
Around two years ago, we published an article saying that despite the claimed existence of a single, 15-minute app refund windows (now 2 hours), Google Play actually had multiple refund windows available to customers that were automated up to around 48 hours after the purchase of an app. Specifically, from a period of 15 minutes (again, now 2 hours) to up to 48 hours after an app or game was purchased, simply submitting a refund request would generally result in a refund being issued automatically, without regard to reason.
At the time, we actually confirmed some of this with Google's PR, though they declined to state that the 48-hour refund windows was fully automated, likely to discourage abuse of the system. Read More
Motorola has long had the worst camera app of any mainstream OEM, which is a bummer as the 2015 Moto X Pure had a decent sensor finally. Now, Moto has posted a revamped camera app in the Play Store, but you probably can't use it yet. It's only for use with the company's 2016 devices like the Moto G4 and upcoming Moto X refresh. Read More
There's a Google Maps beta channel on the Play Store now, and you can sign up for it at this link. You can also download the new APK, version 9.27, directly from APK Mirror if you prefer, right here.
We're still rooting around in the app to see if there's anything new, so let us know if you find anything! (Remember, Maps was also updated last week to v9.26.1, so anything from that update is not new). Also remember that if you're running the Android N preview, you already have Maps 9.30, and so this 9.27 APK will not install over your existing app, as it's a newer version. Read More
It has been a few weeks since Play Music formally launched its take on podcasts, so it goes without saying that there are probably a few things left to be done. An update to version 6.9 takes care of one of the bigger gaps in the functionality by putting podcasts onto its Android Auto interface. Also on the list for this update are some small-to-medium visual tweaks. As usual, the apk is available for download at the bottom of this post if you're interested in jumping ahead of the normal rollout. Read More
According to a new dialogue on the mobile Facebook website, the company will soon be forcing users of the service to download the native Android Facebook Messenger app in order to even view conversations.
The mobile site has been pushing users to download Messenger for some time, but it in the last few days, Facebook has begun much more aggressively shuffling mobile web users who go to the chat (messages) tab over to the Messenger app. Simply tapping the "messages" tab on the mobile web UI will immediately send you through to the Play Store listing for Messenger without any warning whatsoever. Read More
Facebook appears to be testing a new option in its Android app among some users that will make the app use less of your precious geebees. However, it doesn't appear to be anything beyond a simple photo resolution switcheroo, reducing the size of images that appear in your News Feed so that downloading them consumes less data. Interestingly, the toggle for the feature is positioned directly at the top of Facebook's labyrinthine sidebar menu, which is prime real estate. It's possible a wide rollout implementation would see this feature nested down in the settings area, though, and that this current placement is simply an attempt to maximize engagement with the toggle among users with whom it is being tested. Read More
Google+ is hitting v8.0. But don't let this major version jump trick you into thinking that you should expect big changes in the app. It's still the same Google+ you've grown to know since it was last redesigned, but with a few small changes here and there. Even Google's own Luke Wroblewski is quick to downplay the modifications.
So what should you expect in version 8.0? The usual fixes and general improvements along with three new features. First, you'll start to see a prompt to make a new post at the top of your home feed, encouraging you to contribute your own musings to the site. Read More
Direct Reply, which was introduced in Android N, aims to help you act on some notifications right away, without having to head into the app first. Its benefit is easily felt in communication apps and we've seen it so far implemented in Hangouts and a couple of other messaging apps. It's now making its first appearance in Facebook's own Messenger, in version 220.127.116.11.65 which is only available to beta testers of the app (or through APK Mirror).
If you're on this latest beta, you'll see a Reply button right beneath the notification, allowing you to type and send an answer to your contacts instantly without having to switch to the app. Read More