Google Street View is awesome. With just a few taps of a button, you can get transported to new countries to explore their streets, landscapes, museums, and more. I remember using it two years ago to get a feel for my hotel's location in London and check the distance between the metro station exit and the hotel. I didn't want to look like a complete tourist upon my arrival for my first vacation in the city.
But Street View has caused lots of security and privacy concerns. Some countries have outright banned Google from driving their streets, others have spent years arguing with Google until they let it start collecting information (like Greece), and others have citizens who asked Google to blur their houses, and so on.
When the Nearby API started rolling out to Google Play Services in July of last year, it had a lot of potential and promise. It made it so devices could talk to each other based only on their proximity and regardless of whether or not they were on the same WiFi network (in certain applications) or paired via Bluetooth. That's why we've often said it's the genius feature no one is using.
But Nearby in its original form required a lot of involvement from the user. The few apps that implemented the API only used it in specific screens, had to ask for a permission to activate it, and had to show a notification whenever Nearby was on and looking for other devices.
Back in February, Cyanogen Inc. announced the MOD platform, a way for developers to customise the Cyanogen OS experience with deeper-level integration into the framework of the operating system. The update to Cyanogen OS 13.1 - with MOD support included - is now rolling out to the OnePlus One.
Currently, Twitter, Skype, OneNote, Cortana, and Microsoft Hyperlapse hook into the platform and provide features integrated into Cyanogen. Twitter shows trending tweets on your lockscreen; Skype integrates VOIP into the dialer app, along with Skype contacts clearly marked in the phone's contacts app; OneNote integrates with the email and phone apps to enable you to take notes anywhere in the OS; the already-existing Cortana mod takes things further, allowing users to 'take a selfie' hands-free, while also expanding to the lockscreen; and Microsoft Hyperlapse means time lapse videos can be created easily in the camera app, or videos edited in the Gallery app.
Lenovo's Moto Z and Moto Z Force were announced yesterday to a lot of skeptical criticism from fans of the old Motorola brand. Personally, I think they look nice and I like the Mod approach as opposed to LG's, but only time will tell whether they end up being a disappointment or not. For now, all we have to go on is David's quick hands-on and his impressions were mitigated.
If you're interested in the Moto Z and Moto Z Force, there might be some good news to sway your decision even more in favor of the phone. The Droid Edition, which will be exclusive to Verizon whenever it launches this summer, will come with 2 years of "original quality" storage on Google Photos for free.
AT&T announced the Samsung Galaxy S7 Active only 4 days ago and now it's ready to start selling it to you online and at its different retail stores. You'll be able to pick it up today in 3 different colors: Camo Green which you see in the image above, Sandy Gold which looks like it's trying way too much to fit in the desert, and Titanium Gray which is the most inconspicuous and traditional of the bunch. As for the price, you can expect to pay $26.50/month for 30 months on an AT&T Next plan or $33.13/month for 24 months on an AT&T Next Every Year plan (read more about AT&T's new plans here).
We've been getting reports over the past couple of hours of WhatsApp showing a reply button when you select any message. Let's start by clarifying this: it's not exactlyWhatsApp 2.16.118 beta that's adding this quote feature, but your best bet to see it is on this latest beta version. It might be a server-side switch because some users have reported it on 2.16.116 and 117, but from our testing on a couple of devices, it wasn't there. It only showed up when we updated to 2.16.118, and even then, we had to uninstall and reinstall the app on some phones to get it to work.
The YouTube Gaming app is still young, but each version brings little bits of fine tuning. It's progressively catching up with the main YouTube app while also adding little features that are unique to its focus on gaming and live-streamed events. The latest update to v1.4.41 continues this forward motion with some more subtle adjustments to the interface and a couple of new features. The easter egg count has also gone up by one, and there's even a little bit for a teardown. As always, a link to the download is available at the end.
Unofficial Changelog: (things we found)
Recommended videos now have a 'Not interested' option in the overflow menu
"Go Live" has been removed from the main overflow menu
New "Event notifications" toggle in Settings –> General
Easter egg count went from 4 to 5
YouTube's recommendation engine isn't perfect, but once it has had time to learn our viewing habits, the results can be very good.
I had a chance to go hands-on with the Moto Z and Z Force today (full name: Lenovo Moto Z DROID Edition and Lenovo Moto Z Force DROID Edition... which, OK), and here are my initial thoughts. Videos also follow.
First, I think both phones actually feel of a high quality - the design Moto is going with here is actually a lot nicer in person than I think various leaked photos have given these devices credit for. In particular, I love the black / dark gray versions of both devices - they have kind of a Darth Vader thing going on, if you ask me.
The first time we heard about Motorola's plans to launch a phone with modular back plates, they were called Amps and there were going to be at least six of them. However, Motorola only announced four "Moto Mods" with the new Moto Z today. You'll be able to get stereo speakers, a projector, a battery, or a pretty back cover.
Lenovo and Motorola unveiled the 2016 Moto flagships today at Tech World with a line of modular back plates and a few months of Verizon exclusivity (boo). That's not the only thing to be annoyed about. According to Motorola's spec sheet for the Moto Z devices, it only does audio over the Type-C port. We've checked out the device in real life to confirm, and there's no headphone jack to be found. This does not seem like a good idea.