All of the writers and editors at Android Police are huge fans of Android and Google; it's more or less a requirement for the job. But we're also keenly aware of the things that Google does poorly, and duty-bound to point them out in the hope that they will improve. One of the more obvious areas where Google doesn't excel is customer support, but one of the latest changes to the Support.Google.com site seems like a nice step forward.
Motorola gained a lot of good will by updating its latter phones to the newest version of Android, starting with the Moto X. Even carrier-customized versions of that phone tended to get new incremental updates to KitKat long before other manufacturers' devices. But for some reason, the 2013 Moto X has lagged far behind for updates to Lollipop. Now, five months after Android 5.0 first started rolling out to Nexus devices, the OG Moto X is finally getting its Lollipop update.
We've heard a number of rumors about Google launching its own Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), codenamed Nova. According to reports, the service will source wireless service from Sprint and T-Mobile, but it will rely on Wi-Fi networks to bear most of the weight of both data and voice services (though VoIP). While the details of this plan still aren't clear, another piece of the puzzle just emerged that indicates Google is going to offer its own virtual private network (VPN) service, and it may be targeted specifically at Nova subscribers.
Google is rolling out a new version of Messenger with a few features you might care about. It's a big jump to v1.2 from 1.0, which was the previous Play Store version. There was a v1.1 build floating around, but that was only released on Android One handsets. This one's available to everyone—eventually, or right now if you get the APK below.
Paying a few hundred dollars to cover an ETF has been done, but Sprint's new offer goes a little further. Starting today, the nation's (maybe) smallest carrier will pay "all" the costs associated with moving your number to Sprint, no matter what is owed. They are apparently serious because ctrl+f "$" returns zero results.
The GoneMAD music player has recently (stop me if you've heard this one before) gone mad for material design in its big jump to version 2.0. The app isn't the glossiest or prettiest of the bunch, but it's a fresh upgrade that has spent the better part of a year in development.
We spotted some references to 360-degree videos in a YouTube APK Teardown last month, and now it's live. Google has highlighted several channels that have already published the first 360-degree videos, which are essentially moving Photospheres. They work on desktop Chrome and in the Android app. Check out the playlist below.
As Nexus 6 owners well know, Android 5.1 / LMY47D just started rolling out to devices recently. It appears, however, that Motorola has an even more recent firmware available, build LMY47E. Further, the official filename has "VRZ" in the title, hinting that this newer build may ship on devices that are sold by Verizon. We won't know for sure until Big Red starts sending the devices out next week.