Earlier this week we spotted a new Google Voice Actions / "OK Google" feature - it's called preferred apps. The idea behind it is wonderful: if you use a particular voice action that maps to multiple apps on your phone, you can pick one, and from then on, Google will launch the activity in that app by default. It's simple and brilliant and I love it. Well, I would if Google's implementation was a bit more...
On around June 18th, a number of Hangouts users began reporting that merged SMS/GVoice/Hangouts messages in Hangouts conversations were, well, unmerging. This obviously annoyed people, because this is an annoying thing to have happen.
About a week after that, a Google community manager responded to that Google Product Forums thread to let everyone know the team responsible had identified the issue and would be rolling out a fix "shortly." Well, we all know what that means in Google time (read: when it's done), but it looks this week that fix did begin to propagate. At least, sort of. Some users on the Google Product Forums and Reddit are reporting that Google Hangouts and phone SMS conversations are remerging themselves, but Google Voice users are still being left out in the cold, harsh, unmerged text wastes.
June didn't see any huge releases in terms of Android apps, though we did finally get a publicly-available version of the Kodi Media Center, and Photoshop for Android (yes, yet another version of Photoshop). There are also some new tools for cloud storage fans, and probably the best cooking app on the Play Store. We've got some notable extras (especially if you're a Stephen Colbert fan). Here in no particular order are the best seven new apps from June, along with some honorable mentions.
The original CSR Racing racked up over 130 million downloads, becoming one of the top free-to-play games on mobile devices. It's no surprise that Zynga snapped up the developer, NaturalMotion last year for half a billion dollars. Now, the sequel has just been announced, and it's predictably titled CSR2.
Like its predecessor, this game will focus exclusively on the drag racing aspect with a ton of officially licensed cars from Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, and others. It's very, very pretty, but the gameplay is also quite simple. That's the formula that made the first one so popular, I suppose.
This update isn't just for the nutrition-minded among us. It also adds the ability to integrate your account with Google Fit. This way you can take workout data collected in Endomondo and share it with Google.
I hope this news was worth taking a pause in your workout. Feel free to check out the changelog before hitting play on your music app and returning back to your sweat-inducing routine.
We've seen a ton of Android games launch in June, but even so there are some clear standouts. There are true premium games for fans of top-down shooters, space flight games, tactical RPGs, and crafting... and that's without even dipping into the Honorable Mentions section. On a technical level we've got everything from 60fps 3D masterpieces to a game that looks like it was made in Microsoft Paint. Check out the best offerings from an extremely generous month on the Play Store below.
Are you a goat? You can be one just by tapping a few things in the new Solid Explorer 2.0 to activate goat mode. Okay, you're not really going to be a goat, just like tapping the Android build number to activate developer mode doesn't make you a developer. Still, it's pretty funny.
Look, I've got nothing against the pixelated graphical style, sometimes erroneously referred to as "8-bit." But for the last few years it's often been used as a crutch for developers who can't be bothered to make truly good 2D graphics. That doesn't apply to Sword of Xolan, the latest game from developer Alper Sarikaya of Manuganu fame. The environments, enemies, and main character have enough definition that you can actually see what's happening on screen, and the excellent animations make the world come to life in ways that developers could only dream of back in the old SNES days.
Aside from being a visual treat, Sword of Xolan is a joy to play.
It's Wednesday, which means there should be some Google app updates at some point. Nothing much has happened yet, but here's a good way to pass the time while waiting—get some new apps and games. We've assembled some deals to help you justify the cost.
Solid Explorer is one of the most popular file managers on Android, but the app has never been particularly attractive. It's much improved today, though, with the release of Solid Explorer v2.0. I know what you're thinking, is that really just happening now? Well, it's been in beta for more than six months.