I've said it dozens of times, but I'll say it again: there aren't enough eight-inch Android tablets. When the iPad Mini was announced, I assumed more manufacturers would jump on the form factor, but nope – there still aren't that many. Needless to say, when HP announced the Slate8 Pro, I was intrigued. It's an 8-inch tablet with a 4:3 aspect ratio, which treads directly on the iPad Mini's territory. Of course, we have to be realistic here – it's an HP tablet, and so far there hasn't been anything really remarkable coming from them.
The white Nexus 7 has been available since December, and it's a thing of beauty. Unfortunately, only a 32GB version is currently offered. Sure, that's the bare minimum amount of space I'd want in a tablet these days, but that also means a price point of $269.99. A 16GB option would allow people to pick up a Nexus 7 in white without having to withdraw as much money from the bank.
Looking for a good mid-sized tablet? You can't do much better than the LG G Pad 8.3, the company's first tablet in two years, at least in terms of hardware. The price is a bit high at $350 retail, but today you can get some relief from that sticker shock. Newegg has the G Pad 8.3 on sale for just $279.99, plus a $30 discount with a code at checkout, bringing the total price down to a very reasonable $249.99.
If you're a dedicated gamer who's wary of the ever-present freemium model (or an Android blogger who's tired of reaching for his phone for every app in the roundup), there's good news tonight. A recent adjustment of the Google Play Store website will let you know whether an app features in-app purchases or not. It appears just below the Install button, right next to the drop-down list of compatible devices.
This change mirrors the one made to the on-device Play Store back in December.
If your phone was already one of the very first devices to get the latest version of Android, do you really need a custom ROM like CyanogenMod? If you're shouting "YES" at the screen right now, you'll want to know about the first nightly builds available for the Moto X. The CM team has published CM11 nightlies for the Moto X on T-Mobile (XT1053, which is also the standard unlocked GSM edition) and for Verizon (XT1060), though the later needs to be a Developer Edition.
Valentine's Day is tomorrow, and you know what that means: bitter disappointment fruitlessly displaced with technology. (That might just be me.) Google's got you covered on the second part, at least if you have a Chromecast. A new visualizer option for Google Play Music ditches the bars and equalizers in favor of a looped video of a cozy fireplace. You'll have to supply your own music, of course.
The visualizer isn't on by default, but it's easy enough to enable.
Google announced the final version of the Google Cast SDK and Play Services 4.2 early this month, but it wasn't quite ready for the public. Developers were asked by Google to hold off until the new services framework was finalized, and today is the big day – it's open season on the Chromecast.