Update, 10:30PM CST: Wow, it looks like Google really dropped the ball on this one. While previous Play Store launches have been problematic, today's Nexus 6 pre-order has left the vast majority of prospective buyers high and dry. Google seems to have sold out of a low initial stock almost instantly, and there was never a single point in the afternoon where you could reliably go to the Play Store and pay for a phone.
Chinese manufacturer Oppo has been making a name for itself thanks to some unconventional designs on top solid hardware (on paper, at least). The latest round of upgrades for the company's product lines are novel, to be certain: the new Oppo R5 is the latest phone to steal the coveted "world's thinnest" title, and the N3 uses a new rotating camera that's positively unique. But do these features actually make the phones desirable, or are they mere gimmicks?
We've been seeing bits and pieces (and fully functional prototypes) of Google Stars for a long time now. The tool, which for now acts as a replacement for Chrome's bookmark manager, has been in development even longer, but it looks like the Chrome extension might finally be ready to roll (assuming it doesn't get pulled again) as Google released "Bookmark Manager" to the Chrome Web Store earlier today.
Despite the new name, the extension takes over chrome://bookmarks just as before, with options to organize bookmarks into folders, give those folders descriptions, and even share folders with others.
Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides have all received some love today, though the visual changes here are minor. For the most part, these apps were already all material-ed up, and while this update does dot some i's and cross some t's, it doesn't quite leave us satisfied. Fortunately that's not all there is to see here.
Let's get the biggest visual tweak out of the way first. Yes, Google has changed the hamburger menu icon in the action bar.
Months ago, we posted a rumor about "modular actions" set to come to Google's Search app (now just called Google) along with "Ok Google Everywhere" functionality that would allow users to activate search from anywhere on their device. The latter has already been implemented, but Google is still inching toward the former. With the technically unreleased Google app, the search interface can overlay apps from which it is called, but Google today announced another step forward - the ability to let apps hook into search by accepting voice queries from the user.
Primer: Marketing for Startups isn't like most of Google's other Android apps. For starters, it's the first to appear in the Play Store under the publisher "Google Learn." The app also happens to be such a niche product that only a specific target demographic will benefit from it.
As the name says, Primer is aimed at helping startups manage their marketing efforts. A great deal of work and knowledge goes into getting a new brand in front of consumers and establishing awareness.
I've been writing about Android phones for over three years, and I'm going to be honest: I still think I'm pronouncing "Huawei" wrong. (Wah-way. WAA-whey. Hoo-waa-way.) Huawei is perfectly aware that their branding outside of Asia isn't exactly stellar, and it looks like they're taking steps to improve it. Say hello to "Honor," a new Huawei sub-brand introduced to Europe this week. The first phone launched under the label will be the Honor 6.
Project Ara stirred up plenty of excitement when it was first announced, and it continues to entice people with its promise of a modular and upgradeable phone. We recently learned that users will be able to hot-swap modules (excluding the CPU and screen) while the device is on thanks to a modified version of Android Lollipop.
Now Phonebloks has shared a video of Ara's porgress at NK Labs, a Massachusetts-based contractor doing a great deal of work on the project.
There aren't a lot of options for big tablets with styluses, so the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 is kind of the automatic winner. The only problem is it's so darn expensive. Well, unless you're down with a refurb. You can pick one of those up on eBay right now for the reasonable price of $389.99.
The Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 has a 2560x1600 LCD screen with support for the pressure-sensitive S Pen.