Before today, the official Starbucks app was perfectly serviceable - in fact, I'd say it was better than most retail apps. You can store pre-paid Starbucks cards in the app and pay with them, see your rewards for being a loyal customer, and find coffee shops with the built-in map (in case you can't see one by turning your head from side to side). But today's sizeable update from version 2.4 to 2.7 adds some neat stuff, most notably the ability to tip your coffee minion.
Android users have yet another option for data-only calls and text messages today, as BitTorrent Inc. posted an alpha version of its Bleep communication client to the Play Store. Bleep is designed to be an alternative to conventional calling and texting systems like Skype or WhatsApp, and requires no central server or service. Bleep has been invite-only since July, but now it's ready to go public. Clients are also available for Windows and OS X computers.
We usually point people to the Play Store for apps, but it's really a one-stop-shop for all the things, depending on where you live. Due to laws, licenses, and any number of variables, products aren't simply available to everyone at once, which makes it our job to inform you when things pop up in another area. As it turns out, Play Movies has launched in Austria.
Here's what an Android Police reader in Austria was pleasantly surprised by when they recently paid the Play Store a visit.
In addition to a handful of new Chromecast-supported apps announced by Google, Sling Media is getting in on the action. According to this blog post, the Slingplayer app for Android smartphones now has Chromecasting capability. Though the latest update for the app itself was way back in July, Chromecast support is often enabled via a server-side switch, so it should be working now. Compatible Sling hardware includes the Slingbox M1, 350, 500, and SlingTV.
Back in mid-August, Simple pushed out version 2.0 of its app, bringing with it a bold, yet simplistic new interface, as well as a handful of other new features. Now the company is pushing version 2.1 to the Play Store (as well as Appstore for iOS devices), which brings a couple more useful features to the table.
First off, Wear support. As of now, Simple will send push notifications to your Wear device, which includes both support messages and transaction notifications.
Take it from a guy whose entire professional life is digital: backups are kind of important. Off-site backups are ideal, at least if you can get a decent connection and a reliable service, since it mitigates the risk of a local failure. Online storage and backup tends to get expensive once you go past 5 gigabytes or so, but today StackSocial is offering a terabyte of storage from the IDrive service, accessible for a year, for twenty bucks.
Back in June, Dropcam announced that it had been purchased by Nest (and, by relation, Google). It's been a few months since that happened, and it looks like the first signs of that merger are now taking place, starting with Nest integration in the Dropcam Android app.
Dropcam now works with both the Nest Protect Smoke + Carbon Monoxide detector and Nest Thermostat, and will provide different levels of feedback according to settings and the device.
Motorola really happened upon a great strategy with the OG Moto X when it added core features to the Play Store. It allows Motorola to update functionality without waiting for a full OTA, and other OEMs have been following suit. It's going to be much the same with the new Moto X—four new listings have appeared in the Play Store for this device.
Here's a Google app that few people would judge you for not knowing about. There's this thing formerly known as Maps Engine that lets people create custom maps and share them with others. Now it goes by the name of My Maps. And, put bluntly, it's a change that makes sense. This conveys to users what the app actually does. Map Engine? Not so much.
To go with the name change, Google has changed the app's icon as well.