From time to time, Google engages in A/B testing with its live products. Flipping switches from somewhere deep in its Mountain View HQ, Google will turn on new design tweaks or feature changes for small groups of users, and measure their impact on engagement. This is generally a helpful process for validating design decisions, and occasionally we catch them in the act and get a peek at what might be around the corner.
Today, reports started popping up that Google might be testing some UI tweaks with its Google+ app for Android. Before you get excited, these tweaks don't include a hamburger menu.
One of Pushbullet's coolest tricks is the SMS reply functionality accessible on your computer. Just hit the reply button on your PC or Mac when a synced notification pops up, and you can type a reply. There's a new update today that extends this feature to the top messaging apps on Android, but there are a few small caveats.
One of the lesser-known portions of the custom game software on NVIDIA's SHIELD Portable and SHIELD Tablet is GRID, an OnLive-style streaming PC gaming system. It allows owners to play a selection of full-feature PC games streamed from NVIDIA's own virtualized systems at a data center, no personal gaming PC required. The service is still in beta, but has been growing steadily since its introduction a little over two years ago. By the beginning of March, 40 PC games will be available for free to SHIELD owners.
The next PC game added to the service, live this morning, is Saints Row 4.
Material warriors, this is the watch face you've been waiting for. It's a watch face forged from the finest material pixels and animations, presumably with the blessing of Lord DuARTe himself. What time is it? Material-o'clock, now and forever.
Reports about the plans for the next major release of VLC Media Player indicate that support for Chromecast output is on the roadmap. This is scheduled for the v3.0 release of the popular desktop client, but it is unclear in which version to expect it to appear on Android - the beta in the Play Store is at 1.0.0.
While there are a bevy of changes expected in the project's jump from 2.2 (which itself is not yet released) to 3.0, of most interest to Android users and Google fans is the Chromecast capability.
Also of interest is the following snippet from the 2.2.x to 3.0 changelog:
Large rework of the Android video outputs: there is now Surface (2.1, 2.2) NativeWindow (2.3+, supports hw rotation, subpicture blending, opaque)
Support rotation in Android NativeWindow output and hardware decoders
This at least shows that the development at hand is about more than just their trio of desktop clients.
Microsoft's recently released Outlook Preview for Android has generally been well-received by end users, but it had this little problem. One of the main reasons to like it was its native support of Microsoft Exchange accounts. Unfortunately, it did not support the device administrator features we are accustomed to seeing when using Exchange or Office 365 accounts. An update rolling out today helps to bring its security back in line, though.
So what was missing? Well, the administrator of the account can require that your device be locked with a PIN. This is often the case with corporate accounts, since a company doesn't want your carelessness to cause the loss of company secrets or things like that.
The Pebble continues to chug along even with Android Wear garnering most of the limelight among the Android faithful. Today's Pebble update adds a few new features, some borrowed from Wear, and some that improve on it. You'll need the recently released v2.9 firmware and the just released app (v2.3), but it's quick to update.
Most people who know me are aware of how much I love horror movies. And out of all genres of horror, old school slashers are probably my favorite - the more guts, the better. Also, I'm a sucker for a chainsaw...but generally only when Leatherface is holding it. <3
If you're into blood and gore like I'm into blood and gore, and you want to translate that particular obsession onto your homescreen, a new icon pack from Tha Phlash called 13 is sure to make you tingle all over. It was mostly likely released in celebration of the Friday the 13th that hit at the end of last week, but pay that no mind - guts are forever, friends.
Sony is apparently really serious about creating its own Google Glass competitor. You'd think Google's inability to talk everyone into wearing a computer on their faces would give Sony pause, but here we are with the official Sony SmartEyeglass app in the Play Store.