If you fire up a game on Android with Play Games integration, you may notice something new. The level cap for those at the top of the XP heap has been raised to 25, and the icon border is blue. It used to be 20 with a pink border around the icon. That means you may be a whole five imaginary points better than your friends now.
Welcome to Google Update Wednesday, everyone, where you never know quite what you're going to get. The Wheel of Fate has given us a Chromecast update this week, and it's a doozy. A brand new user interface matches the rest of Google's various Material Design apps, more or less. But even more interesting is that the Chromecast app now allows screen casting (where your phone or tablet's screen output appears on your television) for all devices. Read More
The foldable cardboard VR kits Google gave away at I/O 2014 weren't just a one-off stunt. Today, in its developers blog, Google had some big announcements for the home-brewed virtual reality viewer.
First up, Google has grouped a handful of Cardboard-compatible apps into their own collection on the Play Store. The Cardboard app itself has also received an update, with the ability to discover cardboard apps on the Play Store, and launch them directly from the viewer. Read More
Roman Nurik's Muzei, the live wallpaper that puts art (or any other collection of images) front and center on your home screen, got a big update to version 2.0 today.
The most noticeable changes are in the app's interface, which has been updated for Lollipop. The design stays true to the experience many users are already familiar with, but adds some new touches, including a revised launcher icon, and a FAB for adding images to the "my photos" category. Read More
Android Wear is receiving one of its major updates in the next days to 5.0 with a lot of goodies in tow, like official support for custom watch faces, undoing for notification dismissal, and more. The app counterpart on Android devices is getting updated too to keep up with these new features, and that new version is starting to roll out now.
The update bumps Android Wear (the app, not the software running on your watch) to 1.0.5 and doesn't seem to bring much beside a spiffy interface update to a more Material look. Read More
Among the feature additions in the latest Hangouts update is the ability to switch between Google Voice and carrier SMS without diving into the app settings. All you have to do is tap on the "spinner," the toggle in the conversation window that already allowed you to alternate between Hangouts and SMS. Now, provided you have a Voice and carrier number, you'll have two SMS options. Read More
There are updates, and then there are updates. For Cerberus, version 3.0 is the latter. It gets the app ready for Android 5.0 by covering it with pretty materials. Well, as pretty as this particularly unflattering app is going to get.
Cerberus still consists mostly of menus, but now the action bar is very red, a hamburger icon sits in the top left corner, and a sidebar (redesigned since the last time we took a look at the beta) now pulls out over every other part of the interface. Read More
While it's possible to create a TV platform that doesn't deal with live channels, smart TVs and game consoles alike generally try to integrate the content as best they can. Google intends to as well. The company made an effort with Google TV, and these days it's trying again with Android TV.
Today Google has released an app for accessing live channels into the Play Store. The "Live Channels for Android TV" app is unsurprisingly incompatible with phones and tablets, and while it shows up as already installed on one of our Nexus Players, it doesn't appear anywhere on the device. Read More
Update: Looks like Google let the developer restore 4.4 support to the existing app. So...you can have Facer again.
When it comes to rolling your own watchfaces, few apps do it better than Facer. It's crazy-customizable, feature rich, and easy to use. I figure at this point most hardcore Wear users are sporting it (or have at least tried it out), and today it's getting a pretty significant update. Read More
The new version of Android Wear is rolling out, and with it comes the official watch face API. Developers have been making custom watch faces for months using a workaround, but now the party is over. All watch faces need to be updated with the official API by January 31st, 2015 or they will be removed from the Play Store.