Back in September, Hangouts switched from gray to green in its 2.3 update, ostensibly making the first baby steps on its journey toward joining Google's material design parade. Then in December we first spied a slightly more material version of the app. Now, users are running version 3.3 and many aren't satisfied with the app's layouts or structure. Things like the seemingly unnecessary contacts tab, the somewhat messy drawer, and the non-standard toolbar are common complaints.
It looks like Google is working on fixing a lot of issues with an upcoming update to Hangouts 4.0 though. We've heard rumblings from Reddit of the new update, and now we've got an early look at the app. Read More
Android Auto is starting to finally show up in cars and third-party head units, but there are still a handful of compatibility issues to work out, it seems. The latest update to the Android Auto app includes compatibility for the Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5 on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.
Google made some big changes to Gmail when it retired the stock email app. You have the ability to manage non-Google email accounts in the app these days, but here comes something new. Today's Gmail app update has improved matters further by adding Oauth support for Yahoo and Microsoft accounts. Read More
There hasn't been much news out of OUYA for the last year or so, and Razer's first effort at mobile hardware, the Android TV-powered Forge TV, hasn't exactly been lighting the world on fire either. Would combining forces make either of these products better? Probably not. But according to a recent post on TechCrunch, at least someone thinks it might be a good idea.
TechCrunch reports that premium game accessory maker Razer is interested in purchasing OUYA, or at least what's left of it now that the "mini console" fad has come and gone. OUYA has tried numerous strategies to gain back the excitement of its initial Kickstarter campaign, including the addition of a subscription service and farming out its game library to competitors like MadCatz. Read More
About three weeks ago the beta version of Opera for Android added a handful of new features. Today most of them graduate to the standard version, marked as v30.0.1856 on my phone. The biggest change (at least according to Opera's official blog) is that the sites saved to the "speed dial" homepage will sync across Android and desktop versions of Opera. That's provided, of course, that you're logged into your Opera account on all devices. If you prefer different Speed Dial options for mobile and desktop, that's an option too.
Perhaps more notable from a technical standpoint is an upgrade to the Chromium 43 rendering engine. Read More
Google's Camera app isn't exactly feature-rich, at least not when it is compared to alternatives offered by OEMs and many independent developers. Of course, that may be one of the reasons it is fairly popular – the interface remains simple and the features that did make it in, like Photospheres, are pretty cool. After looking through the latest update, it looks like Google is working toward another major feature addition called Smart Burst, and it might just become the best way to take photos of your friends.
Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong.
At an event in Paris, Google apparently showed off a brand-new feature of the search app that is aware of your current location in relation to your queries. Google calls this Location Aware Search, or geocontextual search if you want to get technical. Basically, this allows you to ask questions without specifying an address or proper place name and still get information if you're near said place.
Sorry for all the blacking out - but my query was "What is the phone number for this place?" and this is what I was shown.
For example, if you're at the Louvre in Paris and you ask Google, "When was this building built?" it's going to tell you that the Louvre Palace was built in the late 12th century, presumably. Read More
The PBS Video Android app has gained support for a cheap little media stick that frees shows from mobile devices and sticks them on something bigger. This way users can go back to viewing shows like Frontline, NOVA, and PBS NewsHour the way they've been watching them for decades.
Chromecast support works the way you're likely already familiar with. You open up the app, you locate the icon in the top-right corner, you select the dongle you want to cast to, and you watch your show.
The adult PBS Android app gains Chromecast support nearly a year after the PBS Kids one did, but hey, parents are used to putting their children first. Read More
You want the internet on your TV? There are several ways to go about that, but the latest is to use Android TV and the Opera TV Browser app. It's free to download, but compatibility is a bit odd. It doesn't seem to support the Nexus Player right now, but it will install on the Shield and ADT-1 just fine.