The off-topic tag doesn't get a lot of use here at AP, but why have it if we aren't going to let it stretch its legs once in a while? I thought I'd start off the morning with a video I found particularly hilarious. Everyone knows about Google's self-driving, steering wheel-less car. It's adorable and, ostensibly, the future. But this GTA V parody of a news station's "first ride" clip from the car's public debut had me in absolute stitches, it's the funniest thing I've seen in weeks.
Just a bit of light, pedestrian-striking humor to get your day started. It's all in good fun, though; technological breakthroughs are worthy of the occasional well-intentioned mocking.
Cody found evidence of an improved smartburst for Google Photos in his v1.16 teardown, and on the v1.17 official changelog it listed 'Improved burst photo support' as one of the points. Now, just after the v1.19 update, it seems the new Smartburst is finally starting to rollout to general users via a server-side update.
Right now mega-publisher 2K is in full promotion mode trying to get people to play Battleborn. It's a brand new shooter from (at least some of) the makers of the hugely popular Borderlands, and it attempts to blend conventional pew-pew gameplay with the variety and marketability of the MOBA genre. As part of this push the company has published Battleborn Tap, a mobile game that is neither a MOBA nor a shooter. Instead, it's underwhelming.
Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications, games, and live wallpapers that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous 2 weeks or so.
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Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.
Internet Radio - PlayTime
This week's roundup is brought to you by Playtime Internet Radio from HandyApps. This useful all-in-one radio manager allows users to search for specific songs or shows streaming on thousands of live channels all across the Internet, or use the more conventional recommendation engine for a more random experience.
Dwayne Johnson, AKA The Rock, may be the most likeable man in the universe. And now he has an alarm clock app that, above all else, perpetuates this, because he's The Rock. You may say, "David, what makes this so much better than my amazing alarm clock app that I already have?" To which I would answer: this one contains nearly infinitely more Dwayne Johnson. And Dwayne Johnson does not do "snooze" buttons.
One of the alarm tones is just Johnson saying "beep, beep, beep." This may sound boring, but it is, in fact, objectively amazing. Another begins with a soft, typical-morning-wake-up harp ringtone, followed by The Rock smashing said harp, and then shouting "JABRONI!" You cannot make this up.
It's impossible to launch a new flagship phone these days without some fancy (and expensive) companion devices. At least that seems to be the approach that Samsung and LG are taking, and the former has a very interesting 360-degree action camera on the way. The Gear 360 captures both still photos and video in (you guessed it) 360 degrees thanks to dual lenses and a ball-like design. The Gear 360 is launched in Samsung's home market of Korea, and though it's yet to get a western release, the companion app is already available.
If you're an avid tabletop role playing game enthusiast, it's almost impossible that you haven't heard of Pathfinder. This re-organized variant of the Dungeons & Dragons ruleset, published by Paizo and supplemented with a huge variety of extra modules, literature, and lore, has quickly become one of the most popular tabletop RPGs on the market. The publisher has created a few satellite properties for Pathfinder, including novels, comic books, and a licensed card game called Pathfinder Adventure.
I always felt like one of the big downers to web browsing on mobile was typing in passwords. Of course, the built-in password management for Chrome (and other mobile browsers) can sometimes take care of things for you. But I'm sure if you do a lot of signing in, you know there are some sites whose login system just doesn't work with the browser's password manager. With Chrome v51, now in beta, Google is taking some steps to help smooth things out.
W3C, the web standards group, has created an API to help homogenize the relevant aspects of signing into websites.
Late last year, Amazon started to allow hobbyists and developers to integrate the Alexa virtual personal assistant into their own products through the developer preview of Amazon Voice Service. This effort has already borne fruit with Invoxia's Triby.
Looking a bit like an FM radio from yesteryear, the Triby immediately loses points in the looks department, especially when compared to the sleek, futuristic aesthetic of the Amazon Echo. It packs a magnetized back, allowing you to attach it directly to any metal surface, such as a refrigerator or knife rack, as well an E-Ink display for showing messages and notifications.
Not only can it be controlled through voice commands, but there's also an official companion application available for Android and iOS.
The OnHub has been out for more than six months now, and it hasn't evolved much beyond the basic router functionality. Google promised us smart home features, and now it's starting to happen. The latest OnHub update added support for IFTTT. The channel is already live for you to start crafting automation recipes, but your OnHub needs to be on firmware version 7978.51.0, which is rolling out now.