AT&T, a company with a reputation for evil such that placing their logo inside a Death Star has always seemed genuinely appropriate, has announced some changes to pricing on its mobile data plans today. While some of those changes are genuinely good if you're a subscriber with a large data bucket or have some pretty particular usage habits, many new customers can expect to pay $5-10 more a month under the new structure, which AT&T of course claims is a totally innocuous attempt to "simplify" things for customers.
Growing up in Lebanon, I got used to giving and receiving directions to my home as, "take the second right turn after the chicken restaurant, continue straight past the two gas stations, it's the first building on the left after the falafel stand, with a flower shop below it and facing a pharmacy." I even remember how long I had to stay on hold on the phone with some government dude just to get the ZIP code for my area. Then I opened my own pharmacy in a different area of Lebanon, where the streets were divided by colored sectors and the buildings were numbered, but still, no one used the provided addresses because they were accustomed to the old way of doing things.
It has been almost a month since Google Play services 7.8 began rolling out to users, and as of yesterday, it is in wide release to everybody. A previous blog post by Google discussed the big new feature for developers would be the Nearby Messages API, but it turns out there are a couple of other additions worth checking out. In a new post on the Android Developers blog, Google announced a new Mobile Vision API with the ability to detect the presence, orientation, and some details of faces when they are in frame on an active camera.
With the official stable release of Android Studio v1.3 a couple of weeks ago, it's time to begin testing the next string of new features. The first preview release of version 1.4 is now in the Canary channel, and it's sporting some big new features. The Android Tools team has been working on the new theme editor first demonstrated in the I/O session titled What's New in Android Development Tools. There are also new performance monitors for GPU and network activity, a vector asset wizard for turning SVG files into XML vector drawables, and a few new lint checks.
Here is the Google I/O session video cued up to the beginning of the theme editor demo at 36 minutes:
The new theme editor examines the styles in a project and displays visual samples of what controls should look like on a live interface.
Nestled in Lenovo's latest earnings report were disappointing figures for both their own brand of smartphones and Motorola, which was acquired late last year. The Chinese company's response is to do some fairly large-scale restructuring, handing over basically all aspects of Lenovo smartphones to Motorola with the possible exception of marketing. Motorola will continue to develop, make, and market their own line that most Westerners are familiar with.
In light of the earnings figures, it might be surprising that Motorola is the part of the larger company that is rewarded with more responsibility. Lenovo's own brand of smartphones posted a sales increase of 2.3% compared to a year ago as they shipped 16.2 million units.
So far HP's Android tablets have been somewhat unremarkable, with the arguable exception of the Pro Slate series. Despite a lukewarm response from consumers and retailers, it looks like the company is ready to release at least one more model. A new tablet called the HP 10 G2 has been hanging out with both the FCC and the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, and spotted by Liliputing. Based on the "10 G2" name and photos, it looks like a relatively low-cost follow-up to the original HP 10.
Specs are sparse, but we do know it uses a MediaTek MT8127A 1.5GHz quad-core processor, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.
Fans of Warhammer 40,000 have put up with a lot over the years. The IP has been the basis for a great many mobile games, only some of which have been good. The newly announced Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade looks like it has some potential, just judging from the flashy gameplay trailer. Many questions remain unanswered, though.
If you've been watching today's coverage of the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ with bated breath, you won't have to wait too long to pick one up from an American carrier. All five major US networks have confirmed that they'll be carrying Samsung's new flagships, with varying degrees of availability and pre-order status. The official release date from Samsung is August 21st, and AT&T is already selling phones. Here's the breakdown for the other carriers:
Big Red is already taking pre-orders for the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and the Galaxy Note 5. The S6E+ can be had for a whopping $768 in its standard 32GB model or $864 for the 64GB model (ouch) at unlocked prices.
Using the stock market isn't free. Well, obviously. You're buying and selling stocks, after all. But on top of that, brokerage firms tend to charge fees to manage financial transactions. The Robinhood app lets you get around that fee, and now it has made its way over from iOS to Android.