There may be a major trade show happening this week, but it's still Update Wednesday. Google has updated its 'Google' app (formerly known as Search) to version 4.1. We are still digging around for new features, but we've already found a few goodies and put the APK up for your enjoyment.
First up, there's a new space in settings called "Now Cards," which - as the name suggests - gives you control over the cards Google presents to you.
The Amazon Fire Phone was never a bad phone per se, it just didn't come to market at the right price. At $199.99 with a two-year contract, the handset came in as an upstart thinking it had what it took to compete with the heavy hitters. Today, it's available at the more humbling price of $189 total.
That's not a bad deal at all for an unlocked GSM device with a 4.7-inch display, 2.2GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 13MP camera, especially when you consider the lack of a contract.
Another one bites the dust. The Moto G Google Play Edition is no longer available in the Play Store. You've been able to pick up the low-cost device with immediate shipping since its debut almost a year ago. Now it's "no longer available for sale."
Motorola is now completely under the Lenovo umbrella, so it's the perfect time for it to head back to China after pulling back some years ago. Motorola will be launching three devices in China—there's the Moto G, Moto X, and something called the Moto X Pro. Judging from the description and photo, it's a Nexus 6 without the Nexus.
It's not hard to find an Android tablet for less than a hundred bucks - head down to your nearest drugstore and there's a decent chance you'll see one. The trick is finding one that's worth using at that price. While most of these ultra-cheap tablets are no-name Chinese models, Lenovo just announced a pair of new 7-inchers in the A Series starting at only a single Benjamin. I guess that would make them name brand Chinese tablets, but hey, Lenovo beats whatever company is using the Polaroid license this year.
Dedicated technology newshounds have already heard that all of Sony's upcoming BRAVIA televisions will feature Android TV powering their integrated electronics. At CES, the biggest show around in terms of home theater (among other things), they've made good on that promise. Don't believe me? Watch these attractive people over-emote and demonstrate a BRAVIA television's Google Cast feature and ability to play games from the Play Store.
Android TV runs these TVs, including the various inputs and live television, in a manner similar to some Roku-branded HDTVs already on the market.
There comes a moment in the life of most pre-installed Google apps where they hit the big 1 billion installs mark. This is measure less of how many users have sought out the software on the Play Store and more the number of times people have set up devices in the years since the app became available. Though in the case of Google+, the latest app to reach this milestone, there are surely people out there who didn't get the software out of the box and decided they wanted in on the fun.
The United States Patent and Trademark office publishes publicly-available copies of all accepted patents, a great boon to nerds, lawyers, and technology reporters everywhere. The latest batch of design patents includes hundreds of obtuse examples, everything from glasses frames to mops, and among them is this little gem awarded to Samsung, US Design Patent D720,747. It's an interesting look at a style of tablet and cover from Samsung before in exactly this configuration.
Quick, imagine the typical Under Armour customer. Go ahead, I'll wait. Now imagine which phone he or she brings with them to the gym. Are you imagining an HTC One M8? No? Well both companies would probably like you to, at least after their joint announcement at CES. HTC has joined up with the well-known clothing brand for a cross-promotional program centered on Under Armour Connected Fitness, a health tracking service that's comparable to Nike Plus and other competitors.
Sprint is rolling out an over-the-air update to customers who own a Galaxy Note II that applies a security patch or two from Google. What vulnerability this update addresses isn't detailed, but it's the first OTA Sprint has sent out since the big KitKat update last May.
Once the goods arrive, they will leave your Note II running software version L900VPUCNK2. There's nothing else on the changelog, so don't go digging around looking for anything exciting.