Do you care how much battery life your phone has? No, do you really care? You have a spreadsheet set up in Google Slides documenting your experience over the past few weeks. You can recall at a whim the amount of screen on time you've experienced on every Android device you've owned since Gingerbread. You don't get mad at your hardware when it dies at 4PM—you blame those wakelocking S.O.B apps. Read More
For basketball fans, tonight marks the start of the most exciting time of year: the beginning of the 2015-2016 season. Just like the start of every season, there are new players to look forward to seeing, old players on new teams, new coaches, new player dynamics, and so much more. I know I'm stoked — can't wait to see what my Bulls do this year under new leadership.
But I digress, this isn't about the Bulls. This is about the league as a whole, because the NBA just updated the GameTime app for the 15-16 season, and it's completely different. One may even argue that it actually makes sense now. Read More
Remember that time you were super jazzed about Hangouts 4.0, and when it finally came out, it wasn't that great? How about when v5.0 began its rollout, and it was basically the same thing, but with working animated GIFs? Version 5.1 is now making its way out into the world, but if you weren't happy with the previous releases, you're probably not going to be too thrilled with this one. It looks like a relatively light bug fix update, and nothing more.
It's probably no coincidence that a v5.1 update was also just released on the iOS App Store with a very sparse changelog. Read More
It has been a busy month for Google. Marshmallow was officially released, YouTube finally has the subscription service we've been asking for, and some new Nexus phones are shipping. Also on the docket for this month was a new version of the Play services apk. A couple of weeks ago, v8.2.98 began rolling out to a short list of handsets. It was followed a few days later by a .99 release, and then another minor bug fix pushed it up to v8.3.00. There hasn't been a blog post to discuss new features or APIs, which is a bit unusual, but there are a few interesting bits in the apk waiting to be seen. Read More
You might recall almost two years ago when AT&T started working on a sponsored data program. The idea was companies could pay AT&T to exempt certain services from your data cap. AT&T has now rolled out a different take on sponsored data as an app called Data Perks. By completing offers, you earn teeny tiny buckets of data that can be applied to your monthly plan. If you sign up now, you get a whopping 25MB of data to start. Twenty-five whole megabytes!
Remember Samsung's Smart View app? It's OK if you don't - it's basically a mix of a remote control and some Chromecast-style functionality, exclusively for use with both Samsung phones/tablets and Samsung smart televisions. It's the kind of cross-platform"synergy" that gets a lot of play in press releases and on-stage product reveals, but is rarely used by actual customers. The app listing in the Play Store is plagued with negative reviews complaining of frequent bugs and infrequent updates.
Samsung is apparently ready to start over, and I mean that literally: the new version of Smart View gets a completely separate listing from the older app (which is still available to download at the time of writing). Read More
Google Keep received a seemingly minor update this week, bringing the version number up from v3.2.354 to v3.2.415. There aren't any visible new features or even any particularly notable changes, but that doesn't mean the only changes are bug fixes. A teardown shows that Keep is due to receive its own built-in drawing mode so users can easily record their own doodles, scribbles, and sketches. Additionally, users will be able to annotate imported images like photos and screenshots. Read More
We already knew that Apple is working on an Android app for its new Apple Music service (the descendant of Beats Music, which Apple acquired along with the headphone maker last year). We've also heard that it's due sometime this fall. If screenshots posted by German site MobileGeeks can be believed, work on the Android version of the Apple Music app is progressing nicely. We can't verify the shots, but they seem to line up with Apple Music on iOS.
According to the screenshots, Apple Music on Android will feature the same dynamic radio stations as the current Beats app, plus individual music downloads and curated playlists. Read More
Right now there are three Android phones and four Android tablets within arm's reach of my desk, and another half dozen or so in my closet. (It's OK, I don't have a problem. This is my job.) If you're in a similar situation, you can put some of those gadgets to use: they work great as remotes for set-top boxes like Android TV or Roku, or you can cobble them together into a sort of poor man's Sonos multi-room speaker system. Here's one more option: turn it into a home security camera. Read More