The day is finally upon us - the Gmail 5.0 APK has landed, and we have it for your (production-signed) downloading pleasure.
As we've expected since we first saw the app more than a week ago, the new Gmail is very... "material." It's got a FAB, the beautiful thread interface we've come to know and love from Inbox, and a drawer that complies with guidelines.
But Gmail's beauty isn't only skin deep - the app holds some new features, too.
The Galaxy S5. The One M8. The LG G3. All very good phones - all phones that I like, for various reasons, and dislike in certain respects for others! HTC, Samsung, and LG have generally been the de facto leaders of the high-end Android smartphone market here in the US. But what about Sony? I'll freely admit that I've never been much of a Sony smartphone fan. I didn't like the Xperia ZL as well as its competitors.
Update 10/17/14: Play Store 5.0.32, a small bump over 5.0.31, is now available for download.
Update 10/31/14: Play Store 5.0.37, a bump over 5.0.32, is now available for download. It comes with at least one new change - a new permission bucket called Wearable sensors/activity data to help explain permissions for apps that can grab data from wearables, such as heart rate monitors.
Of course, as I have to pick up my son from daycare, breaking news had to hit, and Google had to start pushing out the Play Store 5.0 update (5.0.31, to be exact).
Several months ago, we discussed something called Nearby, a project that - at the time - seemed to be Google's effort to let "people, places, and things" know when a user is, well, nearby. It seems that Google is still hard at work on its effort to connect various devices to each other and their surroundings, but Copresence (an internal name for this functionality) may have a more specific scope in this effort than we first estimated, apparently including iOS devices in the fun.
File managers aren't flashy or particularly exciting apps, but they're definitely a necessity. HTC has taken to adding a number of its core Sense apps to the Play Store, and now the file manager is taking up residence.
Since launch, some OnePlus One owners have encountered issues with the phone's touchscreen. The complaints center around the display being unresponsive, causing it to miss certain touches and provide a generally frustrating typing experience. Sometimes it resulted in taps while dragging or swiping.
Now a firmware upgrade is in testing that takes care of this problem entirely. It's expected to go out to users soon in an upcoming over-the-air update.
HTC's Dot View case is a cool idea, though the quality of the accessory itself is somewhat suspect. Still, HTC gets points for doing something new. What's more, it turns out the Dot View for the One M8 still has some tricks up its heavily perforated sleeve. There's a Halloween surprise lurking in there.
The Dot View case is able to show notifications and other bits of data by shining light from the screen through the holes in the case.
Smartphone manufacturers have been striving to make their phones thinner for years, and despite how slim phones have become, they're still pushing forward full steam ahead. Today Samsung announced its two thinnest phones yet, the Galaxy A5 and A3. To set these phones apart even further, both handsets have full metal unibody designs.
The larger A5 is just 6.7mm thick. The A3 is only slightly thicker at 6.9mm. For comparison, the Galaxy S5 is 8.1mm thick, and the Note 4 comes in at 8.5mm.
Chromecast's screen casting feature works on a limited number of devices, but that list is gradually growing. For now, Sony appears to have cut to the front of the line of handsets waiting to get support. At the beginning of this month, the Chromecast gods smiled favorably upon the Xperia Z3 and the Z3 Compact.
Now at the end of the month, that attention is being poured upon the Xperia Z3v, Z2, and Z2 Tablet.
Google Admin has recently received its first update of the year. If you aren't the administrator for a Google for Work account, then there's nothing here for you to sink your teeth into. But there are a few new features here for people on the management side of things.
Administrators can now implement a 4-digit PIN that works on numerous devices. This way you could have all of the spare tablets in a college IT department, for example, secured with the same code that gets changed every week or so.