Yes, yes, we know: Google takes its sweet time in getting all the various parts of the Play Store rolled out to all corners of the globe. This evening (or morning, I suppose) they've expanded the Google Play Books service to South Africa, Switzerland, and Turkey. Android and Chrome users in these countries should be able to buy and read books right now.
Pics or it didn't happen: South Africa
Today's update brings Google Play Books to 39 countries, mostly in North America, Europe, and Asia - in fact, South Africa is the first country on the continent to get access to the service. Read More
Back when the Google Glass Explorer program was starting up, there was a bit of a to do about the fact that users of the beta hardware were not permitted to sell their Glass units. After some consumer uproar, Google amended their position to allow lending Glass to others on a limited basis. They still preferred people not sell Glass, and explicitly told Explorers that their Glass units would be disabled if they did so. Read More
Text-to-speech engines read text aloud, saving users from having to read it themselves. Google's TTS offering comes pre-installed on numerous Android devices, and like much of the software previously shipped as part of Android, it's now ready to spread its wings in the Play Store. Here it's available to far more users, as it can now be installed on devices that don't come with the software pre-installed (pictured below -left). In contrast, on the Nexus 5, Google TTS is apparently already installed and unremovable (pictured below - right). Read More
It's not often that I get to fit the entire changelog of a software update in the headline, but today's the day. Verizon has shared details about an upcoming update for the Galaxy Note 3 that does two things - strengthens connectivity and improves sound quality. Though Verizon hasn't provided a proper software version number, the build hitting devices is apparently VRUBMJ7. Read More
We've received an official statement from Verizon on the ongoing Nexus 7 LTE / Verizon saga, a story that has gone silent in the months since Verizon promised the device was being certified for the network. Today, we've finally been given official word from Big Red on what the problem is, and let me say: you're not going to like it.
According to a Verizon spokesperson, during certification it was discovered that the Nexus 7 had a "systems issue" that presumably would have caused it to fail Verizon's testing. Read More
You might have missed it in the tidal wave of news when the Nexus 5 was released, but Google also posted two new colors of the Nexus 7 zip case in the storefront. They were both listed as 'coming soon,' but now they're live.
The official zip case can now be had in gray, yellow, or black. Note that the gray case is listed as gray/white because the interior is white. Read More
Normally we're pretty pleased when we can report that a new country or carrier has enabled the option for carrier billing in the Google Play Store, allowing customers to charge app and media purchases directly to their phone bill. But for some reason, European carrier Vodafone seems to have dropped the option entirely. Vodafone has disappeared from the list of carrier billing partners on Google's Play Store support page, and we've confirmed the loss of capability from individual users in the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Read More
One of the more drool-worthy aspects of the software from the Nexus 5 (and not necessarily Android 4.4) is the homescreen and launcher, which includes a ton of new features tied directly into Google Now and Google Search. But you might want to curb your enthusiasm: according to a report from The Verge, Google isn't interested in expanding that launcher to other devices at the moment.
Google tells us that the new Launcher on the Nexus 5 is exclusive to the phone — though the company may change its mind and offer it for the Nexus 4 and perhaps even put it on the Play store someday.
There was an unusually specific leak from Samsung last month, showing a relatively accelerated schedule for updates on the Galaxy S4, S III, and Note II on all four major American carriers. That isn't much comfort for those customers on US Cellular, since the #5 carrier wasn't quite important enough to be included in the leak. But now there's a new leak in town, helpfully provided by an anonymous tipster, showing that the US Cellular Galaxy S4 will be updated on Friday the 8th. Read More
When LG announced the G Pad 8.3, I was really excited. Finally, another entry into the eight-inch tablet market! Couldn't wait to get my hands on it and really dig in. Sadly, throughout my use of the tablet, my excitement slowly dwindled – when I opened the box and saw the device itself, I was more eager than ever to turn it on, but as time went on, the user interface just killed the experience for me. Read More