On both mobile and desktop, downloading things from the internet is pretty obviously a big deal. Since it launched in 2008, Chrome has had a download manager, and now the Android version is following suit, with a Download menu appearing in the latest version of Chrome Dev, version 54.0.2840.6.
'Downloads' is in the overflow dropdown menu. It's basically exactly what it says it is: a manager for files downloaded through the browser. However, it seems like it's a bit broken at the moment, as some files don't show up in the UI while others do. I downloaded an MP3 file and it didn't appear despite being on my phone, while a picture did show. Read More
Your wrist is looking rather bereft of apps and watch faces, but we can assist with this roundup. Contained herein are all the best things to hit Android Wear in the last couple months. Slap on your watch and get ready to test. Read More
Motorola was the first major smartphone maker to start putting its stock apps in the Play Store. Before that, OEMs would only update those apps as part of an OTA update. It sounds positively barbaric by today's standards. Motorola isn't done yet, though. Just today it added its stock file manager to the Play Store. You won't see much in the way of improvements this time, but who knows what the future could bring? Read More
The Google OnHub was launched one year ago with a lot of implicit promises about smart home functionality. We never saw any of that materialize, though the router has gotten more capable. Now there's finally some smart home integration happening in the form of a Philips Hue partnership. Oh hey, guess what still doesn't work. Yep, the USB port. Read More
Android's always been pretty good at search - it's developed by the world's biggest search company, so you'd hope so - but one thing that it's always struggled with is searching content on your device, having removed it in Ice Cream Sandwich because the API was not up to scratch. Google is attempting to fix that today with the launch of the new 'Search In Apps' feature, which Cody uncovered part of during a recent Google app teardown.
In Apps is basically an extension to the Google search bar. When searching something that's 'personal' such as a name or place, scroll to the end of list of available searches - the one with 'Web,' 'Images,' 'Shopping,' 'Maps,' and more on it. Read More
In February, Snapchat introduced a way for anyone to create custom geofilters for events such as birthdays or weddings (or almost anything else, really). Until now, creating a filter required at least a minimal level of mastery of tools such as Photoshop, so the feature wasn't truly accessible to many users. To address this, Snapchat has designed several templates that make it easy for anyone to make their own geofilter through Snapchat's website.
Snapchat has also updated their app with a few new features. Users can change the style of caption text by highlighting it and summoning the pop-up menu, and it's now possible to animate caption text in video Snaps too. Read More
Earlier this month, I wrote about possibly the worst benchmarking application I had ever seen, 'Nenamark.' But Geekbench has come to save the day, bringing their Geekbench 4 benchmarking utility to Android. Geekbench is another cross-platform benchmarking program, so you can compare your results to a wide range of devices.
The Android Geekbench app, at least compared to the Windows/macOS equivalents, seems rather simplistic. You can benchmark your device's CPU and GPU, which are displayed as a number at the end (unlike Nenamark). The CPU benchmark performs both single-core and multi-core results, which is a nice touch. Unfortunately, Geekbench's battery test has been removed in this version. Read More
Piper's home security and automation unit has been improving year over year. Since my initial review, it has overhauled its app and enhanced many of its features, but it also recently released an IFTTT channel that enabled Amazon Alexa integration and let you schedule and automate a couple of actions.
Now Piper is improving its IFTTT channel with more triggers and actions. You can now control your Piper-connected lights with Alexa, get a tweet when Piper detects smoke via a connected sensor, and set dimmer levels or lights when events are detected while you're away.
The best new recipe though, in my opinion, is the one to upload videos recorded by Piper to Dropbox or Google Drive. Read More
Sonos and Spotify may not be exclusive, but they are in a relationship. Last year we watched a Sonos app update gain Spotify radio integration. Soon Spotify will add the ability to manage Sonos speakers from inside the Spotify mobile app. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. That's how some relationships work. Read More
The next time you do a search on your phone, you may notice something unusual—the search history drop down has a new look. Well, it's new for some people. It's more compact with search terms in a series of blocks. This appears to be the default for a few users, but everyone can try it with a little keyboard trickery. Read More