Google is certainly no stranger to testing new features slowly. Most recently, it released an update to YouTube's UI that's been in testing for at least four months. And for Google, this is a good thing. Testing new features with limited samples of users helps get data not only on their usefulness, but also on how they augment user experience and engagement.
That brings us to the Play Store, an app where nothing is more important than engagement. Google appears to be testing a new feature called "Related Interests," which lists off various categories with round chips similar to the chips used for artists on Google Play Music's web interface.
It's not in VR or anything, but if you want to see our best look yet at the upcoming OnePlus 2, a five-minute video of the phone has leaked onto YouTube. Well, it's apparently the OnePlus 2 - we can't confirm it, of course, but the low-quality video seems to match the leaked images from a Chinese regulator that we saw earlier this week. Look closely and you can see what appears to be a fingerprint sensor beneath the screen.
The video is mostly silent and the text is in Chinese, but it's pretty easy to follow along as the operator takes in the About page and runs a benchmark.
Earlier this week the super-skinny Dell Venue 8 7840 was given its Android 5.1 update. It looks like the firmware developers left in a goodie for power users: the new "OEM Unlocking" option in the Developer Options menu, first noticed on the latest round of Nexus devices when Lollipop 5.1 was going out earlier this year. According to an Android Police tipster and multiple posts on the XDA-Developers forum, this allows end users to easily unlock the bootloader of the tablet, something that wasn't a simple process before.
To unlock the bootloader, you just need to go through the familiar steps that are shared across most Nexus and "developer" devices: install Fastboot on a PC, make sure you've got the right drivers, connect the device, reboot into fastboot mode, and execute the command "fastboot OEM unlock." The only difference is the addition of the prerequisite manual switch in the Developer Options menu when Android is booted.
Remember the Tegra Note 7? It was supposed to be an OEM platform from NVIDIA, but it got a bit overshadowed when the SHIELD Tablet came out. About a half-dozen manufacturers took NVIDIA up on its offer, notably EVGA, Zotac, Gigabyte, and HP, but it doesn't look like a second model is coming any time soon. Still, they're pretty nice little tablets, especially if you want one with a relatively clean version of Android and a built-in stylus for a low price.
One of the other nice things about the Tegra Note 7 tablets is that updates come straight from NVIDIA (though HP's Slate 7 Extreme seems to be an exception).
Do you have a Chromecast or an Android TV device? Then open up Chrome on your desktop, make sure that you've got the Chromecast extension installed, go to this website, click "redeem all offers," then click the Google Play offer in the upper-left corner. You'll get a free movie rental voucher on your account, which can be applied when you checkout any movie on the Play Store. HD movies are valid as well. Even though the freebie is specifically to promote the Chromecast's second birthday, connecting to an Android TV box will get you the credit too.
This offer is valid in the United States and a few other countries (commenters mentioned Germany, Australia, and France) but doesn't appear to be a worldwide promotion.
Knock Knock. Tap Tap. Scratch Scratch. Jot Jot. Wait, that's not how the joke goes. Let's try again. Knock Knock. Who's there? Fin. Fin who? Fin Gersense. Aha, now it makes sense.
Bay Area start-up Qeexo has been working on its FingerSense technology for several years, and it looks like it's starting to reap the fruits of its labor. The software solution, which allows modern touchscreen devices to detect the difference between fingertips, knuckles, nails, styli, and erasers, has been licensed by Huawei (under "Knuckle Sense") and has been shipping with its P8 and P8max since April. It's also included in the company's more recent Honor 7.