Android developers have been able to use Google Drive to back up and restore app and game data for their users for a couple of years now. Android devices too have been able to back up some data like installed apps, device settings, call history, and more to Google Drive and restore it to the same device after a hard reset or to a new one when you switch over. Read More
Perhaps you haven't noticed yet, but virtual reality is kind of a big deal. Samsung has holiday-themed ads running on primetime TV and sports, the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are breaking new ground in a stale gaming industry, and even Google is pushing its new Daydream platform hard. The powers that be think there's money to be made, and that means they're willing to work together (at least to some degree) in pursuit of it. Hence the creation of the Global Virtual Reality Association, announced by Samsung on its corporate blog. Read More
Chrome 55 was released for the desktop a few days ago, and now the Android version has followed suit. If you've been using Chrome 55 beta, most of this should already be familiar, but there are a few new changes in store as well.
Until now, Chrome has used Android's built-in download manager to list browser downloads. Back in September, Chrome's very own Download Manager appeared in Chrome Dev, and now it has finally made it to the stable channel. You can sort by file type, see how much space is being used by downloads, and view/delete your saved pages. Read More
The Play Store team is killing us. Over the past couple of months, we've seen so many server-side tests for interface changes that we've lost track of them all, and which ones are official and which ones are still not available to everyone. Just today we discussed a significant improvement that could have apps and games show up separately on the Store, and now we're back with another change.
The in-app purchase dialog, the one that pops-up whenever you tap on a paid item inside an app or game, might be getting an overhaul soon. Instead of the old pop-up window showing up in the middle of the screen, this new IAP menu covers the bottom of the display and uses the Play Store's new shade of green along with a big Buy button akin to the new wide buttons in app listings on the Store. Read More
I have never understood why apps and games are grouped together on the Play Store. They're both software, but beyond that, there's really nothing there in common. Bundling them together also creates a lot of issues: top grossing or trending charts are a jumbled mix of apps and games, and games have had to use sub-categories to organize everything. Separating the two into their own main sections just makes sense.
And it looks like Google is finally, freaking finally, toying with the idea as well. One of our readers tipped us with this new layout that gives apps and games their own distinct upper-level sections, next to Entertainment (which also shows up as Music, Movies, Books for some users). Read More
For months a small subset of Android users have been seeing a new dual-tabbed interface in the official Google search app's UI. The second tab, initially labelled "Dashboard" and then changed to an icon-only "Upcoming," is now official. Google announced the big change on its Keyword search blog, revealing that the feature should roll out to all Android users starting now, with the iOS version of the Search app following suit later. Read More
If you're not familiar, Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages project aims to make the mobile web faster and less data-heavy. Websites that choose to support it offer AMP versions of their pages, which are then loaded instead of the full site. Google mobile search and the mobile Google+ site already load AMP pages when available, and now the latter's native Android app is joining in. Read More
Duo hasn't been the hit success that Google expected it to be, but that should only serve as motivation for engineers to make it better. The video-chatting app has just been updated to version 5.0, which not only fixes a few bugs, but also improves on the entire user experience. Read More
More and more Live Cases are becoming available, bringing a wide variety of phone protection to suit most aesthetic preferences. In keeping with this, Google announced the En Masse line of Live Cases in collaboration with the multi-artist collaborative group EN MASSE, who specialize in large-scale, "spontaneous" drawings. Read More
The Phab 2 Pro is the first phone to feature Google's Tango. Tango is, to put it lightly, not really ready for anyone aside from curious tech reviewers and maybe developers looking to get into AR content. The Phab 2 Pro itself also isn't a very good phone, and frankly costs too much to justify a largely gimmicky feature. In short, this product has "commercial flop" written all over it, and I think even AR enthusiasts and Tango phones can understand that. I honestly didn't ever expect it to be commercially marketed: this is a gadget that has some novelty and development value, but essentially zero real consumer appeal at this time. Read More