If you're a ROM developer, or just in the mood to poke around the latest Android source code, you'll be excited to know that 5.1.1 has just been uploaded to AOSP. The tag for this release is 5.1.1_r1, and it carries the build number LMY47V. A factory image is already available for the Nexus Player, and the rest of the Nexus family will probably stabilize on this version over the coming weeks.
In its ongoing effort to make classrooms, well, more Googley, Google has a new batch of updates for its Classroom program today.
In a post to its for Education blog, Google has announced a handful of new features for Classroom, the most notable being collaboration. Now, educators can invite other educators to collaborate on a class, so other teachers can give students feedback, create assignments, make announcements, and participate in student discussions.
In fact, Google says, invited teachers can do almost everything the main teacher can do - "everything except delete the class."
Additionally, Google announced the new ability to save announcements and assignments as drafts, which should streamline the workflow of planning classes.
We've seen signs of Android 5.1.1 for the last couple of weeks in both the Android SDK Manager and Developer Portal, and it looks like it's finally ready to go live. The Nexus Player is the first device to be graced by the update, bringing the build number up to LMY47V. So far, there haven't been any reports of OTAs hitting the set-top box, but Google has posted the factory image and binaries.
Google Maps offers some stellar features, but that doesn't mean that it can't be improved upon, particularly in the area of public transit. Moovit is a navigation app that specializes in bus and train routes, and the latest version completely overhauls the interface. In particular it's much easier to assign a destination location from the main screen: instead of manually entering an address via text, just slide the map around until the indicator is where you want to go.
Plex is one of the easiest ways to view local video on your mobile devices, and its developers have been gradually cranking out updates as of late that improve the Android experience. Version 4.2 doesn't overhaul the experience, but it does introduce a number of tweaks to the user interface.
One addition is the new Discover mode to help you browse the content in your library. A panel at the bottom allows you to easily switch between it and standard navigation.
Adobe released Lightroom Mobile on Android a few months back, but at the time there were some baffling gaps in the feature set. Today's update fills in a few of the missing pieces, but you'll still need a Creative Cloud subscription to use it. Don't expect that to change any time soon.
At this point, there is no real shortage of "smart" launchers in the Android ecosystem. Of course, we have to put "smart" in quotation marks, because there still is a void in terms of truly good products trying to do that. So when I tell you that Bento is a new entrant in this bustling market of context-aware launchers, you shouldn't ask, "do we need another one?" You should ask, "is this the one that will really do a great job?"
Bento is a venture capital-backed project that is in a semi-private beta at the moment.
I'm sure you've already heard, but today there are changes coming of biblical proportions. Wait, you didn't hear about Mobilegeddon? This is indeed the term being applied to a Google search algorithm update being applied today that will rank mobile-optimized sites higher in searches from phones. The big drama about this is that, well, Google is very powerful and changes to their ranking systems have a habit of being destructive to affected sites.