Here at Android Police, we monitor a truly insane amount of sites and developers to bring you the latest apps and games fresh from the Play Store. And in serving that duty, sometimes we come across games that don't deserve any attention. More often than not, in fact, and some of the most depressing are games that exploit a beloved TV, movie, or video game license and use it to try and sling the same homogenized crap as ten thousand copycat game developers looking for a quick buck. A lot of these seem to be Candy Crush or Bejeweled clones: we passed over Pac-Man Puzzle Tour just yesterday (Artem literally wrote "ughhhhhh" in the office chat), and Star Trek: Wrath of Gems is such a shameless cash-grab that it makes trekkies spit out their Romulan ale.
NVIDIA continues to hog some of the most distinctive games on Android for itself with the release of Parallax for SHIELD devices. It's a little like Portal, but when you go through a "portal" you're in a different dimension where black is white (literally). There are 32 levels of this, and it looks very neat.
A fresh version of the Android Support Library is now available to developers. This may be one of the biggest updates in quite a while, as some of the changes demand a few significant internal changes. On the plus side, there aren't very many changes that should break existing code, and most of the new features will make it worth the trouble. Here's a quick introduction to some of the new changes.
Vector Drawables and Animated Vector Drawables
Full vector support was first introduced in Android 5.0 Lollipop, allowing developers to distribute apks with easily resizable vector drawings in place of multiple images at various sizes.
Google added voice typing to Docs last year, but it was fairly limited. Today, Google is rolling out more features to voice typing in Docs. You now have control over formatting like text selection, punctuation, and copy / paste. While this is not strictly Android, it's pretty close and we think it's cool.
We had a chance to quickly go hands-on with the Xiaomi Mi 5 at MWC directly after its announcement this morning, and I know what your first question is: will I even be able to buy one? Answer: probably not. Xiaomi said China and India would be launch markets with "some other countries" following down the road, but if the company planned to make a big to do of opening up new markets for their hardware, I have a feeling they'd have made a lot more noise at this launch.
With that said, should you want one, even knowing you probably won't be able to through anything but 3rd-party retailers (and likely with non-functional 4G)?
Android One is Google's initiative to get stock Android into the hands of more users, particularly (though not exclusively) the ones in developing markets. This usually means that devices which are part of the program are very inexpensive — with prices reaching as low as under $100 — and with specs that about match up to those price points. However, Android One devices have something that even most $500+ phones don't: fast and reliable OS updates straight from Google. (The Wall Street Journal reported back in November that this may eventually change, but we've yet so see any evidence of that, and the WSJ doesn't have a perfect track record either.)
General Mobile, a little-known Turkish manufacturer that already makes an Android One phone called the General Mobile 4G, has partnered with Google once more to announce the General Mobile GM Plus 5 — and it has some impressive specifications.
Google has been fiddling around with Project Tango for a few years, but there have yet to be any consumer devices. That's expected to change this summer when Lenovo releases a Tango phone, which it previously announced at CES. Now, Google and Lenovo have set up shop in a Barcelona museum to show what Tango can do for you.
We published a quick look at the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge earlier this week, but today we had a chance to really sit down with the phones and learn a few things. With that in mind, here's our full hands-on.
The hardware on the new S7 and S7 edge is going to be deeply familiar to those with a Galaxy S6, Note 5, or S6 Edge+ - the design features are only slightly evolved, with most of the changes being internal. That's not to say nothing's changed on the outside, though. Samsung specifically considered user feedback, particularly from the S6 edge, and made the phone feel softer and smooth to hold around the sides.
OPPO might have just blown everyone's mind with its Super VOOC fast charging technology, but that doesn't mean that the company's MWC announcements are over. SmartSensor is its new Optical Image Stabilization technology and it happens to be the smallest, fastest, and most precise sensor available on smartphones right now.
OPPO explains that SmartSensor is built on sensor-based OIS (or sensor-shift OIS) as opposed to the current lens-based OIS technologies in smartphones. Instead of using a motor to shift the lens around to compensate for movement, it keeps the lens stable but moves the sensor to counter the motion. It's also as thin as two sheets of paper, overcoming the size limitation when being implemented in modern smartphones.