Android Wear 5.1 is surprisingly full of new features, and the lock screen may be one of the more exciting ones. Until now, there was no OS-level way to secure your Wear device from unauthorized use. With Wear 5.1, a pattern lockscreen has been introduced, and it should pop up any time Wear detects your device is no longer on your wrist. For a quick walkthrough of the feature, see the video below.
Setting up a lock screen is dead simple, just go into settings, find the lock screen option, and enter the 4-point-or-greater pattern you want to use (twice). At this point, your watch is set up to lock its screen whenever it no longer detects it's on your wrist.
There's a new version of Feedly out there, but it looks like a staged rollout (currently a beta channel release). Normally that wouldn't be a huge deal, because it's just a feed reader. However, there's some cool stuff in the v27 update. This one adds Google Now integration, and we've got the APK below.
The once and future king of stylized hyper-violent video games is back. The mobile version of Mortal Kombat X, published by Warner Brothers Interactive and developed by NetherRealm, is now ready to download in the Google Play Store after a lengthy geo-limited soft launch. It features high-end graphics and a 2D fighting system based mostly on taps, swipes, charges, and other gestures, very much like NetherRealm's previous mobile fighters Injustice: Gods Among Us and WWE Immortals.
The basic structure uses collectible upgradeable "cards" as stand-ins for the iconic fighters, encouraging players to find and upgrade personalized versions of the over-the-top characters (as opposed to a more conventional static roster).
If the response to the first Episode VII trailer was any indication, pop culture is going to be positively saturated with Star Wars between now and Christmas. If you're in the mood for a take on the original classic trilogy and the other, not-so-classic trilogy, LEGO is happy to oblige. LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, originally released for consoles back in 2007, is now on the Play Store for $7.
Google's monthly platform distribution numbers are in, and there's finally a respectable showing for Lollipop. Meanwhile, the remainder of the versions ticked downward as the Android device ecosystem marches slowly into the future.
When you're hitting up the city and need to get from point A to point B, you turn to Uber. When you're looking to transport your kids, you turn to Shuddle. Fortunately, the service is now opening its doors to Android-using families.
Never heard of Shuddle? I understand. That's because it isn't available in your area (or mine either). In what should surprise no one, its drivers only navigate around the San Francisco Bay Area. The company comes from one of Sidecar's co-founders (another company that probably doesn't support your city).
Like other ride-sharing apps, Shuddle lets you request a trip and provide payment using your phone.
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.