Android Wear is picking up steam with three devices currently available, and several more still dropping later this year. You'll be able to adorn your wrist with whatever kind of screen you want—square, round, slightly different square, slightly different round, and I'm sure many others. You'll want apps to make your screen of choice worth using, and that's where the Roundup comes in. Here are all the Wear apps that didn't suck from the last few weeks.
WhoSampled - it's easy enough to guess what the service is about from its name. Touting the "world's largest and richest database of music DNA" and an apparent one million users, WhoSampled sends users on a "journey of musical discovery" starting from a single song that contains a sample from another song.
The service (which began as a website before launching on iOS) gives users detailed sample information, including where in a song a sample appears, what type of sample it is, and what part of the original song is being sampled.
HTC Scribble is now available in the Play Store. What's that? You've never heard of HTC Scribble? You're in good company, then - it's one of those little add-on features in Sense that doesn't get much press... on account of it not being very useful. Scribble is basically a digital scrapbooking app made to highlight some other features of Sense, like Zoe and some rudimentary stylus support. The app was introduced on the plus-sized HTC One Max, but may be available for other One devices.
Plex makes streaming media from your PC or server to another device staggeringly easy. It's also a killer deal with on-the-fly transcoding, Chromecast, automatic library organization, and a ton of other features for just a few bucks per month. It was such a good deal that Plex decided the cost of a premium Plex Pass subscription should go up a little. The upside being current subscribers can lock in their rate.
[Heads up: to use this application you'll need root permissions on your phone or tablet. If you don't have them, you can stop reading here. Now, we continue with our regularly scheduled blog post.] Yesterday we found out about a new Google Now card that can show you changes in the prices of airfare based on recent searches. At least one developer isn't interested in waiting for Google to rollout new Now cards, and found a way to switch them on manually - even the ones that aren't public just yet.
As a Dropcam user, I often wish I could get a little bit more than an activity notification on my Android Wear watch. I don't want to watch the video feed for 10 solid minutes, but the option to quickly see what my camera is seeing in an instant would be amazing. If you're a tinyCam user, you just got that luxury. I'm jealous.
As of version 5.6, you can now say "OK Google, start tinyCam monitor" to your Android Wear watch and get a quick glimpse of the video feed.
With the obvious exception of watch faces themselves, there aren't many parts of Android Wear that actually benefit from the round screens of the Moto 360 and the upcoming G Watch R - not even Google's official apps. A new and relatively humble tip calculator is the first Wear app I've seen that makes really excellent use of the extra radial space. It's called (appropriately) Wear Tip Calculator.
The app uses a circular design.
Google Now is constantly gaining new abilities that are generally awesome, if a little bit creepy. One such feature, brought to our attention today, is the ability to keep track of flight prices.
This is another automatic feature whereby Google infers your intention and presents useful info on that basis. In this case, if you are eyeing a flight or itinerary through Google Flights (it does not appear that this works with other travel booking sites right now), Google will make a note of that and drop a helpful card into your Google Now screen to let you know when the price of that flight changes.
Google's Play services are gradually working their way out to more countries around the globe, and the latest expansion we've spotted is occurring south of the Equator. Google has enabled Play Music access in the countries of Brazil and Uruguay. This way users can back up their albums to Google's servers and access them from a web browser or mobile device.
All Access has technically come to both countries as well, but in the case of Brazil, there appear to be some substantial caveats.
It's common for companies to eliminate redundancy when an acquisition takes place. So it should come as no surprise that Apple is reportedly in the process of shutting down Beats Music, the streaming service it picked up when it bought the company for $2.6 billion earlier this year. The timeline isn't clear, but the wheels are allegedly already in motion.