Next Lock Screen is certainly one of the most usable projects to come out of Microsoft Garage. It's a contextual lock screen made with busy professionals in mind, that not only displays notifications, calendar events, and incoming calls and messages, but also tries to guess which apps you might need based on whether you're at work, home, or moving around. A music player with controls is included as well, along with weather updates, and a quick option to start a conference call.
After getting a sneak preview last week, it's time for Google to unleash another update to its Play Services package. There usually aren't very many highly visible changes in these updates, and this version is no exception. The APK Teardown already gave a pretty solid indication that this version will be responsible for scheduling firmware updates on Android One devices, and it contains an experimental Smart Unlock method based on Activity Recognition; but most of us probably won't see either of these for a while.
Circle is an app you can use to manage bitcoin, assuming, you know, that you're into Magic Internet Money. The latest update adds Android Wear support, which gives you the option of generating a QR code to use as an address for receiving byte-sized moolah or simply keeping an eye on bitcoin's going rate at the moment.
This update also adds NFC support, so you can use the app to transfer bitcoin by tapping your phone against something it plays along with, just in case paying using Google Wallet doesn't provide enough nerd cred.
This year ESPN is letting Cricket fans stream the entire ICC Cricket World Cup over the Internet, as long as they're willing to pay $100 for the content. As part of the package, users will get to use their mobile devices.
So the network has released its Cricket 2015 app into the Play Store, shortly before games begin on the 14th. The app provides access to all 49 live matches and follows the teams from Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates West Indies, and Zimbabwe.
According to The Information, Google is in the process of testing a contextually-aware mobile payment system codenamed "Plaso" around some of the company's offices in cooperation with popular businesses like Papa John's and Panera Bread. That a new Google mobile payment system is under development at all shouldn't be surprising: Wallet's abysmal adoption rate, along with competitor Softcard, have made it obvious that NFC payments aren't resonating with consumers enough to really change buying habits yet. While Apple Pay will go down this tried-and-failed road yet again, it's doing so on the hopes that wider partnerships and better marketing will finally lead to success where Wallet found only failure.
Nokia's Here maps app has proven a popular alternative to Google Maps, thanks largely to its strong international support and offline navigation mode. There's an update rolling out today that improves mapping data across a number of countries and adds new turn-by-turn locations.
It's update Wednesday and that means new apps. Up first is Google+ with a jump to v5.0. Usually such a milestone would include some noticeable changes, but this update looks like a rather minor one, at least so far. You can still download it below.
DS Cam is Synology's interface for interacting with its surveillance camera from an Android device. Version 2.5 adds a number of new features, most of which require Surveillance Station 7.0. One is the ability to control the lens, specifically auto-panning, auto-focusing, and tracking objects. With two-way audio, instead of simply hearing what's going on, you can now project your voice through the camera's speaker as well.
This update also adds the ability to download, view, delete, lock, and unlock snapshots taken with the Surveillance Station.
Only two enhancements are reserved for people who don't own Surveillance Station 7.0: the list view layout is now remembered after logging out and you can rearrange the list of recordings so that newest or oldest entries appear first.