One more app that took part in Update Wednesday yesterday is the official Chromecast app, which helps users set up their new Chromecasts to work with their phone or tablet. The app got bumped from 1.3.10 to 1.5.3 and while Google has published its own short change log, we of course couldn't resist doing a quick teardown to see if there were any other goodies. First though, here's what Google says is new.
Chromecast support came a little early to the Plex app, but it also came with a catch – only premium PlexPass subscribers could use it. That was only a temporary situation, as the developers added features and improved the feature. Now the preview period is over and everyone can enjoy Plex's excellent content streaming with Chromecast support without a subscription.
It's no mystery that Google has been poking around wearable gadgets for quite some time. The list of projects seems to keep growing as we hear about rumors of an LG-made smartwatch, another prototype watch designed by Motorola, and of course, Google's own Glass. Earlier today at SXSW, Sundar Pichai took to the stage to announce plans to release a brand new SDK for Android-based wearable devices in about two weeks.
I love Update Wednesdays, and today we've already seen pretty decent updates to several Google apps. As you've already seen, Google Play Games was updated to v1.5, but the one I'm excited about the most is, without a doubt, Google TTS v3.0, which made a jump today from v2.4.
So, what's so cool about TTS 3.0?
First and foremost, Text-to-Speech 3.0 adds support for high quality voices.
Google has been buffing up the capabilities of the Chromecast as of late by opening up app access with the SDK, and it looks like even first-party apps are getting in on the action. The latest release of the beta version of Chrome for Android adds in Chromecast capability for YouTube videos. Theoretically, it should work for any standard HTML5 video as well. Now you don't need a laptop to cast web videos to your television.
Were you excited to hear the Google Play is getting an expanded list of game categories? Well curb your enthusiasm - the switch to the expanded list was tentatively scheduled for "February," but as one reader noticed, the new categories haven't been implemented yet. The relevant Play Store support page has been modified, and now it says that the change will come sometime "around March."
Switching from the old list of just six categories to an expanded 17 (which contain the original six plus more specific sub-genres) would be a boon to both Android users and developers.
After the rollout of XE12 in mid-December and the announcement that January would not bring an update, Glass Explorers have been anxiously awaiting the release of XE14, originally due in February. As it turns out, they were to be disappointed. In a posting to the private Glass Community forum late yesterday, Teresa Z explained that XE14 had missed its February deadline. The reason: it simply wasn't ready to be released. Unfortunately, no details were given with regard to the timeline for the next update.
We're all excited by the prospects of Project Ara, Google's upcoming lick-and-stick modular phone that will essentially allow users to upgrade the device's hardware on the fly. Recently, one of the Ara team members showed off a non-functional model of the device at LAUNCH, which gives us a very good idea of how swapping components will work.
They waste no time getting right into the juicy details, so give it a watch.