Google is really dropping the ball with regard to surfacing Chromecast enabled apps in the Play Store. Sure, there's that Chromecast app page, but that's just a tiny fraction of all the apps and games with support for Chromecast now that third-parties have been turned loose. Enter Cast Store, which aggregates a bunch of apps with Chromecast support.
Our friends across the pond will no longer have to resort to importing a Chromecast from the US as of March 19th. That's apparently the day Google's streaming dongle is set to hit shelves in the UK. At least one retailer already has the device in stock and has alerted employees to the impeding launch.
It's a foregone conclusion at this point that Google is getting into the wearables game with a smart watch sometime this year. The specifics for the device are still somewhat hazy, but now we have an idea what the specs might be thanks to noted leaker of things, @evleaks.
More Google (LG) smartwatch specs: 1.65" IPS LCD @ 280x280, 512MB RAM, 4GB internal storage, processor TBD.
— @evleaks (@evleaks) March 13, 2014
According to @evleaks, the device is being made by LG and will have a 1.65-inch LCD running a resolution of 280x280.
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.