Yesterday’s update to Google Maps was certainly no slouch for new features; it came packing some great improvements for cyclists, new voice commands during navigation, and a few other interface tweaks. In addition to these public changes, there are also two brand new features buried within the code which are not active yet, but they may point to some exciting stuff on the horizon.
"I Am Here"
Google Maps is pretty good at figuring out where we've gone; between GPS, Wi-Fi, and even things like BLE-based iBeacons, it's possible to pinpoint our locations just about everywhere, even inside of buildings. Read More
Just a day after @evleaks dropped a render of the upcoming NVIDIA Shield Tablet, VideoCardz.com (a name only a writer for a site called Android Police is not allowed to make fun of) has burst any bubble the new slate had left to pop - by dropping a massive pile of leaked, high-quality slides. Yep, you're going to get all the details.
The short of it, for those of you in a hurry, is as follows - an 8" 1920x1200 tablet, Tegra K1 quad-core (A15, 32-bit) processor, 2GB of RAM, two models (Wi-Fi 16GB and LTE 32GB), $299 and $399 respectively, on sale in the US July 29th, Europe August 14th, with more regions this fall. Read More
Motorola has some Moto Xs lying around that it wants to get rid of, so it's offering the smartphone on its website at a discount if you happen to know the magic word. In this case, that word is gibberish. Just head over to the site, pick out a Moto X in any size, and enter the coupon code MBXISMOT at checkout. Read More
Update: After we reached out to a Google representative, the company gave us the following statement:
We’ve been working closely with the European Commission and consumer protection agencies for the last few months to make improvements to Google Play that will be good for our users and provide better protections for children.
The representative was unable to comment on potential changes for the Play Store in the US or other non-European locations. Read More
LevelUp lets customers pay using their mobile phones at thousands of businesses across the country. The company's app simply opens up a barcode that, once scanned, handles the transaction. To make things even easier for users, an update is rolling out that adds support for Android Wear. So instead of scanning their phones, Wear device owners can have establishments scan their wrists instead.
The Wear app can shoot out a notification when wearers enter a place where they frequently pay with LevelUp, and, with a swipe and a tap, lets users open up the payment screen. Read More
Manufactures have been scaling back the included extras that come with hardware for a while now - you won't find included headphones or cases with any of the latest flagship phones. But you can generally rely on getting a USB cable and a wall-wart charger at least. Such is the case with the current Android Wear devices, the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live. But if you have one, you'd better hold onto that charger like it's made of gold, because it might as well be. Read More
We've heard rumblings about a possible Netflix-like service for books provided by Amazon, and now that service has come to fruition. It's called Kindle Unlimited, and it essentially offers customers access to over 600,000 titles from the Kindle Library and 2,000 on Audible, with unlimited reading or listening on both for roughly $10 a month.
Of course, Amazon isn't the only one offering a service like this, as Oyster just launched its all-you-can-read book buffet last month for the same price. Read More
There are currently only two Android Wear watches available for purchase, but HTC has been reportedly planning to throw its hat into the ring too. There's a new render of what may be HTC's Android Wear watch from @evleaks, and it's another square.
When the Google Maps Engine app hit Android in late 2013, it enabled users to view and share custom maps. Now an update has landed that empowers them to create and edit such maps as well. Users can spawn new ones, add layers, and move points around as needed. They can then go back and rename aspects as they wish.
The update has also introduced some UI changes, so while it may look largely the same, it's a little cleaner around the edges. Read More
It seems like it's hard to find a non-Nexus device that uses anything close to stock Android. Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony, Asus, Acer - everywhere you look there are customizations to a greater or lesser extent. Even Motorola, formerly Google's own subsidiary, uses a custom launcher. Chinese manufacturer ZTE is looking to break that trend, however. The company is planning to launch new smartphones that use the Google Now Launcher (AKA the Google Experience Launcher) by default. Read More