If the presentations at Google I/O last month were any indication, Android Pay is growing quite quickly. Several new features were announced, but most were still only demos, not available to the public. A fresh update to the Android Pay app came out yesterday and a teardown reveals a few of those key features are either ready to launch or getting closer. There's also work being done on a map that will show merchants in close proximity that accept Android Pay, and a shortcut already showing up that will direct users to apps with Android Pay integration. Read More
A few small tweaks to the YouTube player UI for Android have caused a few issues of late - digital issues. And by digital, I mean digits, as in fingers. In summary: it's hard to touch stuff right.
You see, the YouTube app for Android has been experimenting with this new player UI for some time now, but as it rolls out to more and more users, some issues are cropping up. Specifically? Well, for one, the progress bar is now a little too responsive given the placement of the "full-screen" button in the portrait UI. The newer YouTube UI places the "full-screen" button directly above the progress bar for the video, whereas previously this button sat to the right of the bar, as below. Read More
VLC is one of those apps that takes beta testing seriously. The developers have been testing a big revision (1.9.x) for ages, and now it's finally rolling out on Android as v2.0. This update finally embraces the LAN part of VideoLAN Client with proper network browsing, and that's only the start. Read More
There was some stiff competition for alternative launchers in the early days of Android, but now thanks to tireless dedication and improvement from the developer, the excellent Nova Launcher stands at the top of the pile. Nova has been one of our favorite apps since it debuted way back in the Ice Cream Sandwich days, and while it's quite serviceable as a free app, the $4.99 upgrade to the Prime version is worth every penny. Luckily, you won't actually have to pay every penny today: it's on sale for 99 cents. Read More
Sony announced on the official US PlayStation blog this morning that its Vue live TV and video streaming service will launch on Android next week (the week of June 26th). The Vue app will work with Android smartphones and tablets with Android 4.4 or higher, and the app will support Casting - hallelujah.
PlayStation Vue essentially aims to be a "cable replacement" service of sorts, offering cable, premium, and specialty channels at a variety of pricing packages ranging from $29.99 up to $54.99 per month. PlayStation Vue also offers a number of a la carte channels. And now, with an incoming Android app, you'll be able to Vue anywhere - including on TVs without PlayStations (and with Cast). Read More
After five years, ADW Launcher has returned with a version 2.0. It looks pretty sweet, and there's an in-app unlock for the premium version that disables ads and tosses you a few new features, and by a few, I mean a ton. Including no ads. Here are all of said features. Read More
Logitech announced today that its UE Boom 2 and Megaboom speakers are being updated to add support for Google Now voice interactions. To use it, just press the Bluetooth button, and I'll let Engadget's explainer take away the rest:
Just do a quick press of the small Bluetooth button on the top of the speaker and wait to hear the audible prompt, which is the same as when you say "OK Google" or press the microphone icon for voice control on your phone. Both the Bluetooth button and the power button will flash during this interaction. If you're playing music while dropping into voice control functionality, it will pause and listen for your inquiry.
Last week brought a rush of new app updates from both the Play Store and the Android N developer preview. There were surprisingly few new features to discuss, and not much for teardowns; but the Google Keep app does have at least one notable addition in store for us. It looks like Keep is going to give users the ability to pin important notes so they remain readily available and won't get lost as new items are added.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android's application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information.