Welcome back to another week of the Android Police Podcast. To catch us live on Hangouts On Air every Thursday at 5:30PM PST (subject to change as per the calendar widget below), just head over to androidpolice.com/podcast. For the unedited video show, click here (warning: this video is uncut). As always, we'll take your questions at 530-HELLO-AP and also at our email address: podcast at androidpolice dot com.
On this week's episode: A look at early Pixel C reviews, Google Play Music's new family plan, expanded Chromecast and Chromecast Audio features, our Blu Life One X review, and your questions!
In the tech press, it's easy for us to regurgitate the advertising material that all of the major carriers and companies want potential customers to hear. It's more challenging to hear the voices of the people who find themselves taken advantage of by corporate practices. This work generally falls to unions and advocacy groups that do the research and speak out on their behalf.
Unlike some of my colleagues in the tech media, I don't have any particular beef with Walmart. Yes, they sell cheap imported crap, and yes, they under-pay their employees, stiffing both the people who make stuff and the people who sell stuff. But if you object to that strongly enough to actually change your buying habits, you'll soon run out of places to buy things. I do, however, object to the idea of a mobile payment system that works at exactly one store. That's taking the biggest problem with mobile payments as a whole, the lack of inter-operability, and turning it into a selling point.
If you're on Android 6.0 and use the share menu regularly, you may have encountered a rather annoying issue with Android's Direct Share feature. The issue arises when the share dialog pops open and the direct share contacts don't load immediately. Instead, the UI loads, you go to tap what you want, and suddenly the direct share contacts appear and all the app share links get pushed down out of view. See the animations below for the Android 6.0 and 6.0.1 behaviors side by side - the broken version is on the left.
Like the original Chromebook Pixel, the Pixel C (which became available on the Google Store for a starting price of $499.99 yesterday) leaves many people scratching their heads. The usual criticism is that the device is too expensive for what it is, a high-end tablet hybrid meant for productivity—only one that lacks the requisite software. You could say this dichotomy is part of the Pixel brand.
Today the Pixel C team held an hour-long Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) from 11 to 12 PM PT.
Are you bored of the endless parade of touchscreen slabs that smartphones have become? Do you want a new idea, a strike of genius, something to foam at the mouth for? Then look no further than the Japanese market. The companies there are just scrubbing every assumption we have and building weird products to appeal to their awesome and quirky market, like this Kyocera DIGNO rafre. Let's pretend that we all know how this name is pronounced and move on to the highlight feature of the phone: it's hot water and soap washable.
A couple months ago some Google Opinion Rewards survey-filler-outters received questions about the OnHub that suggested Google had new shells in the works. At least one of the three options provided looked like a paper towel holder, and the others could easily pass for trash cans. Google wanted to know which one people would be most willing to buy. Well, all three variants have appeared in the Google Store, where they're listed as coming soon.
Talk of Age of Empires coming to Android has existed around the water cooler for over two years now, since Microsoft gave developer KLad license to make games with the property. We expected something to arrive long before now, but we understand. Sometimes resources take a while to gather, and you don't want to move with an army that's unprepared. But the time has come, and Age of Empires: World Dominance has now invaded the Play Store.
If you go to the Google Store's Nexus 9 page, you'll see that it clearly shows Verizon compatibility for the tablet's LTE variant. The problem is that this claim simply isn't true. Last December, a thread was started on XDA regarding the issue, in which a few people showed that putting a Verizon SIM into the tablet made it exhibit some rather odd behavior. Specifically: it didn't work. Over a year after launch, there is still no fix. After some extensive testing, it appears this probably isn't Verizon's fault, but more likely a software or hardware issue that needs to be resolved by Google, HTC, or Qualcomm.