App discovery on Android Wear isn't outstanding to start with, but one thing that always rubbed me the wrong way was just how blissfully unaware you could be that an app you had installed on your Android smartphone also installed a Wear mini-app on your watch. With Android Wear 5.1, you'll live in ignorance no longer: every time a new Wear app is installed on your watch, it'll serve up a notification letting you know, just like the one above (this is also true for watch faces).
Is it a small feature? Absolutely. But it's one of those things you're happy to have when you do, and might not even know you miss when you don't.
One thing that I've always found annoying about notification management on Android Wear is that dismissal is generally handled in bulk. If an app is serving you multiple notifications, like Inbox, for example, you can't go through each of those messages and dismiss them individually. Nope, you can either dismiss all of them or none of them (unless you use a specific action that subsequently dismisses the card, eg, "Done").
Android Wear 5.1 appears to have addressed this in some apps, with the Inbox, Hangouts, and Calendar apps on Wear now allowing you to dismiss single cards from a larger stack, instead of having to swipe them away en masse.
There's a new Humble Mobile Bundle today, and that means it's time to get some cheap games and support charity at the same time. The selection right out of the gate is good, but there are more games on the way as usual. You can probably get the bundle a little cheaper if you jump on it now.
Timeful produces an iOS app of the same name that takes your calendar or to-do list and makes it smarter. The service suggests events to go along with those you create manually. I see you have a meeting at 12. How about spending the hour before working on your presentation? That sort of thing.
In a post to the official Gmail blog today, Google announced that it has acquired Timeful. Going forward, the team will now spend its time working on Google apps.
Google Calendar already creates events based on messages in your Gmail account. This acquisition shows that more expansive predictive capabilities are on the way.
Wi-Fi connectivity has been one of the real headline features for Android Wear 5.1, and rightly so: this new functionality will allow your Android Wear device to stay connected to the internet even when your phone is nowhere to be found (so long as you have a saved Wi-Fi network nearby). Here's what we've learned about the feature in using it so far, including a video primer of how to get it set up.
First things first: this feature will not allow you to use a Wear device without ever connecting it to a smartphone. An Android smartphone is still required, because things like entering the Wi-Fi network password take place on the paired phone rather than the watch itself.
So you didn't want the GOgroove Bluetooth speaker we highlighted earlier today, but you have nothing against Bluetooth speakers, NFC support, or a $20 price tag. You just thought the cube was ugly. In that case, here's another speaker that offers you the same things. It normally costs $35, but entering LOMOTHER at checkout will knock that down $15.
The Omaker M4 Portable Bluetooth speaker is hardly an identical product. It's rugged and splashproof, so you don't need to be as cautious. It takes up less space, and it offers twice the battery life (12 hours). You can't plug a flash drive into the side of it though, nor does it have a removable battery.
Comcast has had a rough couple of weeks with the implosion of the Time Warner merger. Maybe releasing a new feature will help it move past the disappointment? Xfinity Share is a tool that lets you stream pictures and video to a cable box, either yours or someone else's. This is part of the Xfinity X1 platform, so both you and the owner of the target box need to be subscribers.
Microsoft's commitment to Android keeps on impressing us with new app releases, frequent improvements to its existing portfolio, and decent overall adoption of Google's design guidelines. Case in point, Remote Desktop. This handy app that lets you remotely connect to any Windows computer has been available for a while on Android, but its design was outdated and its features were slightly limited. Well that's no more.
Remote Desktop is finally getting the updated design and multiple account support that have been in testing through the app's Beta channel for a few months now. As you can see from the screenshots, the interface is more in line with Lollipop and although the nit-picky amongst us can point out a few missteps here and there, it's still a significant improvement over the old UI (pictured at the end of the post).