Turn-based games are perfect for mobile platforms. The fact that they're essentially paused after every move means you can play in bits and pieces throughout the day. That same relatively slow pace means that the disadvantages of touchscreen controls are erased, and in fact the UI can be optimized for taps and swipes. If the rest of the game is designed well (particularly to account for a smaller screen), a turn-based game on a phone has the potential to be more engaging than a console or PC equivalent. Read More
After a series of shootings and explosions occurred in Paris Friday evening, Google has made calls to France via its Hangouts service temporarily free. Callers can use the Hangouts app on Android, iOS, and the web to place calls to the country without incurring the normal international charges. The Google+ post making the announcement did not specify any particular countries, so presumably free calls are available from any location where Hangouts can be used. It's not clear if Google Voice users are also being given free calls. Read More
Google announced yesterday on their Lat Long Blog that the Local Guides program would be receiving one of the largest updates since its inception. Local Guides is a global community of people who love to contribute to Google Maps. These contributions come in the form of writing reviews, uploading photos, adding new places, answering questions, and fixing data about businesses. Millions of people around the world rely on information in Google Maps every day to navigate to their destination or choose where they want to eat dinner, so having more information at their disposal can only be a good thing. Becoming a Local Guide is as easy as visiting this sign-up page. Read More
Coming across a genuinely new launcher interface and paradigm on Android is rare. Most third-party clients try to emulate the default Android launcher and add some customizations and improvements here and there. Not to undermine the power of something like Nova Launcher, but there's only so many times you can swipe left and right between homescreens or tap to open and close an app drawer before you wonder what that new launcher you installed does differently. If you seek the novelty of a new welcoming interface each time you unlock your phone, choices are somewhat more limited especially if you want a reliable and simple app, not one that has been built for the sake of difference more than usability. Read More
If there's one place that Google Docs is a market leader, it's where it comes to collaboration. A web app was a natural place to build on the familiar commenting features from Microsoft Word and make them work in real time and without formal software requirements. On the other hand, we don't normally think about spreadsheets in those terms. With the latest updates to Sheets, though, Google is bringing comments to Android and the web.
I know I haven't even thought much about the need for this kind of feature in a spreadsheet app, but in hindsight it makes plenty of sense. Read More
With all of the activity surrounding YouTube Red, including a brand new YouTube Music app, it seems like a good time for a Play Music update. Version 6.1 just landed and aside from a mysterious new "Auto-offline" feature and a bit of cleanup in the Settings screen, it looks like a pretty typical bug fix release. However, the teardown tells a different story. It looks like this version also brings support for the recently announced family plans and Android Wear speaker support. As usual, we've also got a download link at the bottom if you can't wait for the apk to roll out to your account. Read More
Virtual reality is posed to be the future of gaming for folks who like wearing goggles that close them off to the world. While you wait as the necessary tech rolls out to consumers—and for your bank account to grow—you can get a taste without much investment. Wizard Academy is an educational action game you can play using Google Cardboard. Read More
If you want a top end phablet with a stylus, you can't find one with better specs than the Galaxy Note 5. You also can't find it cheaper anywhere than you can on eBay right now. The N920C unlocked international version is on sale for $550, over $200 less than the asking price at T-Mobile and AT&T.
This version of the device has very broad GSM band support. The antenna is compatible with all the following frequencies.
- 2G Network: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
- 3G Network: 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
- 4G Network: LTE 2100 (B1), 1900 (B2), 1800 (B3), AWS (B4), 850 (B5), 2600 (B7), 900 (B8), 700 (B12), 700 (B17), 800 (B18), 800 (B19), 800 (B20), 800 (B26)
The seller will ship the device for free anywhere in the US. Read More
Things are heating up for Android Wear lately. Earlier this week, a new version of the Android Wear companion app began rolling out to make preparations for the next OS update. There's now an update to the Google app in the Beta channel which follows up with some interesting changes of its own: a new Wear-specific app that places the Google Now stream into a distinct card on watches. A teardown also shows some interesting new experiments for continuous queries and text-to-speech. There's even a small tweak for the Google Now Launcher.
The Google Now Card
Views of the new Google Now card and the first page to the right. Read More