Users of Google Voice have long called for the company to pay more attention to the seemingly forgotten service for quite some time. Unfortunately, they may be getting more than they were hoping for. While many people are thrilled to hear Voice will finally support MMS and become a part of Hangouts in early 2014, Google is also planning to close up shop for all 3rd-party apps that relied on the service for free texting and VoIP calling.
As you may have noticed, your friendly neighborhood Android Police writers have been more than a little busy in the last couple of days. Google had the odd notion of launching a new flagship device and a major operating system update on a holiday, so it's understandable if you haven't been able to keep up. If you spent most of last night escorting your kids around the neighborhood (or if you don't have kids, and you spent most of this morning nursing a Halloween hangover), here's everything we've got on KitKat, the Nexus 5, and anything else you want to know.
Stop me if you've heard this one before. Reuters reports that the Rockstar consortium, a joint effort between Apple, Microsoft, Sony, and Blackberry, has sued Google and Android manufacturers Samsung, HTC, LG, ASUStek, Huawei, ZTE, and Pantech over patents formerly held by the now-defunct Nortel Networks. Rockstar won the patents in an auction in 2011 that topped out at $4.5 billion - Google lost the same auction with a $4.4 billion bid.
Earlier this week at a Google+ event, the company announced several important additions to Hangouts for Android. The updated version 2.0 comes with SMS support as well as location sharing, the ability to display animated GIF files, as well as the previously discovered in a teardown statuses and moods. AndroidPolice covered the rumor on October 7th following my initial Google+ report on October 4th.
The coveted update may take a while to reach you, considering it hasn't even started officially rolling yet.
About a month ago, we found some enticing goodies in Hangouts' 1.2 update. Specifically, we found evidence of activity statuses - rich status messages that would allow you to set a status with accompanying iconography for things like biking, driving, laptop, tablet, and phone. Some of these, (like biking and driving) we predicted, may be set automatically by Hangouts. The teardown also revealed the possibility of moods, using the bouncy yellow fellow found on Google+.
Just a quick note to anyone waiting for full OS factory images and drivers for existing Nexus devices (outside of the Galaxy Nexus, which bit the dust with KitKat) - as is customary, they will follow over-the-air updates released according to Google's favorite timeline: "in the coming weeks."
The Nexus 5 factory images will be out later today, but don't sit there hitting F5 expecting factory images for the Nexus 4, 7 (new and old), or 10 to pop up any time soon.
The news out of Google is coming rapid-fire with the Nexus 5 going on sale, KitKat becoming a reality, and now the rollout of Google Play Services 4.0. The updated framework comes with a host of improvements to Google+ Sign-In, Wallet Instant Buy, Location Based Services, Maps, and comes with a brand new Mobile Ads SDK.
One of the most popular features announced during Google I/O 2013 was a massively improved set of tools for Location Services, which included geofencing and substantially improved location discovery.
Ladies and gentlemen, today is the day you've all been patiently (I kid, I kid - I mean, have you seen /r/Android lately?) waiting for.
Update 11am PT: Like clockwork, the Nexus 5 and KitKat are live!
After speaking with no less than five different sources with knowledge of the matter, I am ready to confirm that the LG-made Nexus 5 should be unveiled later on today, along with Android 4.4 KitKat, additional details of which were leaked last night by former WSJ reporter Amir Efrati.
A few of our readers spotted the Chromecast icon hanging out in yesterday's tablet-focused update to Pandora, and sure enough, it looks like the flip was switched this morning. You can now use Pandora to stream your stations directly from Chromecast the same way that you can with Google Play Music. Our guess is that Google needed to enable support via its media provider app list.
There's no need to update the app again if you grabbed yesterday's update, though you may need to force close it if it's been running in the background.
In a move that's sure to please Glass explorers, Google's added a "Glassware" tab to the online MyGlass interface. The Glassware "Boutique" is something many expected to come with the XE10 update, after Google began accepting submissions for review. The update came without a peep about the boutique, but we found plenty of ways new Glassware could hook its claws into your Glass once approved.
While no new apps have been added to the Glassware section at the time of writing, it would seem Google's getting ready to provide easy access to approved apps.