Google Maps product manager Evan Rapoport revealed another Android 4.3 change on Google+ this morning - better photo spheres. Photo spheres were introduced in Android 4.2, and I truly believe they're one of the biggest things to happen to personal photography in years. They're limited to Nexus devices for the time being - and viewing outside of Maps / Google+ is still hard - but it's encouraging to see that Google is still going strong developing the feature.
It's no surprise that Google's latest update to our favorite operating system is in instant demand amongst power users and enthusiasts. Without fail, the people eagerly installing 4.3 are frequently the same ones who consider root privileges a necessity for a good Android experience. Unfortunately, it seems a wrench has been thrown into the works when it comes to exposing ultimate access, and people are experiencing more than a few hiccups because of it.
Wall Street Journal reporter Amir Efrati has let it slip that none other than Chrome/Android head Sundar Pichai has divulged the existence of a next-generation Samsung-made Nexus 10 tablet. If Pichai related more details to Efrati, he's keeping them under his hat. Still, Samsung is more or less confirmed as the OEM for Google's next 10-inch slate.
Expect to see new 10-inch Nexus 10 Android tablet (made by @Samsung) in the near future, Google's @sundarpichai tells me
While we aren't going to claim benchmarks are any kind of end-all measurement for real-world performance, there's little denying many people take a lot of stock in such utilities when purchasing a new device. The new Nexus 7, which is now packing basically the same chip as the Nexus 4, should provide a major performance boost over its Tegra 3 predecessor. But just how much of a boost? Google quantified it as 1.8x CPU performance, and 4x GPU performance.
Do you have a spare 64 minutes and a burning desire to analyze every second of Google's latest press event? Alternately, did you miss the livestream and Sundar Pichai's dulcet tones because a faulty alternator stranded you at a truck stop for two hours? Then you're in luck, and so am I! The full version of Google's July 24th event has been posted to YouTube for your viewing pleasure.
Good old T9 is still good for some stuff, as we recently learned from T9 App Dialer. Apparently this is becoming a thing now, because here comes LevelUp Studio (of Beautiful Widgets fame) with an alternative T9 app launcher. Quad Drawer lets you tap out app names, but it does a lot more.
You can launch Quad Drawer like any other app to get the keypad, but it also has swipable tabs with multiple ways of listing your apps – recent, install date, alphabetical, and most used.
It's been less than a day since Google unveiled the Chromecast, and after both virtual and physical dashes to the store, it's worth pausing to see how the dust has settled. Many of us couldn't help ourselves and may have accidentally bought two as impulse buys, but there are bound to be some of you who needed a bit more time to come to a decision. Here's how the landscape looks.
Almost all the GSM phones released in North America have a single SIM card, but there are a lot of areas of the world where having a dual-SIM device is a big advantage. These devices can utilize two networks at the same time for calls, data, and SMS. For when two just isn't enough, LG is going to soon offer phones with three SIM slots.
LG is teaming up with MediTek to create the new triple-SIM devices, which will almost certainly never arrive in the US.
Android 4.3 has a hidden feature! It's called "App Ops" and it lets you selectively disable some permissions for your apps. Is some misbehaving app constantly pinging your location and draining your battery in a few hours? You can fix that now.
Update! Optional permissions at install
I'm working on my full 4.3 teardown, but I just ran across this and had to add it here:
<string name="grant_confirm_question">Do you want to grant the following permissions?
Prospective second-gen Nexus 7 buyers, you've got one more option for when the Play Store is (probably) overwhelmed on July 30th. Staple has already posted pages for the 16GB and 32GB WiFi versions of the new Nexus 7, though of course you can't buy one just yet - they're both marked as out of stock. Staples was one of 11 retail partners mentioned in the Google announcement. The prices are the standard $229.99 and $269.99, respectively.