Spotify finally capitulated and added support for Chromecast streaming recently, but there were a number of caveats. Streaming to the Chromecast Audio required a premium subscription and the first-gen Chromecast wasn't supported. That second issue won't be a problem anymore. Reboot your first-gen Chromecast, and Spotify should work just fine.
Sonos has become the de facto standard for multi-room audio systems, despite the fact that there are now several cheaper (if not better) alternatives. Today it becomes a little better still: those who use Amazon's Prime Music (which is included as a freebie if you've subscribed to Amazon Prime for the free shipping or other benefits) can now stream music directly from the Sonos system. The feature is currently in beta, according to the official Sonos company blog.
Oddly, this isn't the first time that Amazon Music and Sonos have crossed paths, just the first time it's been available specifically for the Prime section of the service.
Google has implemented some battery saving technologies in Android 6.0, and OEMs will have to use them. That's great, but what about tracking your battery usage? Some device makers are famous for obscuring or completely removing certain stats (eg. HTC doesn't display screen-on time). That won't be allowed in Android 6.0, according to the Marshmallow Compatibility Definition Document (CDD).
Bugs happen. As a result, bugfix updates also happen. Kodi 15.2 is the second such release since version 15.0 of the app formerly known as XBMC went stable, and it tackles quite a list of issues. Head's up—all of them are very specific.
On several Android devices that used an Amlogic chipset, Kodi 15 only showed a zoomed in display or only used part of the screen. 15.2 addresses this.
Some users lost video after fast-forwarding. This, too, has been squared away.
15.2 also fixes refresh-rate switching on Android devices like the Nexus Player and NVIDIA SHIELD TV.
Other fixes address non-DVB and MicroDVD subtitles, incompatible MySQL queries, PulseAudo on Linux, default sorting for songs over UPnP, volume adjustment for Xbox controllers, and the time format when setting regions.
If you use any of Garmin's activity tracking devices — be it Edge, Forerunner, Approach, or any of the others — then you've likely used the Garmin Connect app. For as long as I can remember, this has been a buggy, ugly, and almost useless app that didn't work correctly most of the time. In fact, about half the time when I fired it up to enable Live Tracking on my Edge 510, I was faced with a blank white screen. Sometimes a phone reboot would remedy the issue, other times it wouldn't. When the app did work, it was somewhat useful, but it always lacked info that I wanted to see, leaving me with no other option but to hit up the Garmin Connect website (which isn't that great, either).
Since launch, users have been able to download the Samsung Pay app from Samsung's own dedicated app store. But since enough people aren't aware that place exists, the app inevitably must make it to Google Play as well. And here it is.
Play Store availability doesn't open the app to any more devices than before. Samsung Pay remains a Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+, and Note 5 exclusive.
Google Photos' decoupling from Google+ dates back to May, which means five months have now passed since. In this time, Google Photos has received several updates and gained essential features like Chromecast support and albums for adding and reordering images. Now the Photos team is ready to reflect on these five months and share with us a few stats about the app and service's use.
Photos now counts 100 Million active monthly users, but how that number is tallied I couldn't tell you. Does a single search or view count, or did they require uploads for users to be marked as active? I'm not sure. 15 Million animations and collages have been created, either manually or through Assistant.
Xiaomi devices don't have a big footprint outside of Asia, but there are a ton of these phones in the world, and they all ship with the MIUI build of Android. Now, the final build of the new MIUI 7 is set to roll out on October 27th via OTA on supported devices. This version of Android brings a ton of improvements, but it's weirdly still based on KitKat for some devices and Lollipop on others.
Ever since I tried the Misfit Flash a few months ago, I keep recommending it and its more expensive brother, Shine, to people around me as the best "good enough" activity tracker and platform. The long battery life, the seamless sleep and activity logging, the simple app, and the waterproofing up to 50m, all make it a great solution for those who want to start tracking their health but don't want something that is too involved, too complicated, or too demanding.
Now the company is ready to introduce Shine 2, its second generation tracker which solves a few of the issues of the first one.
Google started testing a new way to display star ratings in the Play Store client a few weeks ago, and now it looks like the change is rolling out to everyone. Open your Play Store app, and you might notice app rating stars are displayed numerically throughout the store.