We're starting our week with music and song — cheerful stuff. Shazam was updated a couple of days ago to add a feature that I can't believe wasn't available before. I use the app intermittently, mainly because of the Android Wear component ("OK Google, Open Shazam") and Google Now command integration ("OK Google, Shazam this song"), but I rarely venture to the My Shazams tab so I never noticed that those songs never synced across devices. Lolwut?! What was the point of signing up for an account in the first place?! Apparently, it just worked to keep your followed artists in sync, but not your Shazams. Read More
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got a unique indie shooter, a surprising "rolling" platformer, a new book-game, a new take on Q*Bert, an old-school RTS, and a cute block puzzler. Without further ado: Read More
College students: don't sign up for LinkedIn. Please. It's easily the worst social network on the block, career-focused structure notwithstanding. LinkedIn is the 21st century version of the Columbia House Record Club... not that any of you are old enough to remember it. However, at some point you might find that you're forced to create a profile and start playing the most boring MMO on the planet. If you've resigned yourself to such a fate, then I suppose LinkedIn Students isn't such a terrible place to start. Read More
US carriers offering free service to disaster-stricken areas of the world has become something of a grim but inspiring tradition at this point. After a devastating earthquake struck the area off the coast of Esmeraldas, Ecuador last night, all of Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile have announced that they are offering free calls and texts to the country for the time being. This allows US residents to contact family members and friends in the affected areas. The offer extends to any calls or texts made from yesterday through Sunday, April 24th on Sprint, Saturday the 23rd on T-Mobile, and Friday the 22nd on AT&T. Read More
Virtual reality is the tech topic du jour, with nearly every major hardware and software company (or one of their partners) looking into it in some capacity. Time will tell if this is just a fad or something that will truly change the way we interact with technology, but Google is hedging its bets. In addition to the growing Cardboard VR platform, a few user-facing changes in the second developer preview of Android N point to more robust support for virtual reality in the future. Read More
For a long, long time, emoji support on Android has been playing catch-up with iOS — sometimes lagging behind by as much as several years. In many cases, characters sent from another device (such as an iPhone) wouldn't display at all on Android, leaving a lot of information lost in translation. Even the few characters that did render were often depicted differently: if you've been on Android since the days of Jelly Bean, you probably remember those peculiar little monochrome Bugdroids that Google used in lieu of smiley faces.
A lot has changed since then: emoji on Android have gained some color, they more closely match the samples from the Unicode Standard, and they've grown to include several hundred different characters. Read More
The times they are a-changing. A few years ago Verizon infamously stabbed a dagger in the back of Google Wallet in favor of its own carrier-partnered mobile payment system, Isis. Now Wallet is more or less gone, Isis has been rebranded (thanks to, well, ISIS) as Softcard, Google has bought up its technology, and Verizon would really like you to consider using Wallet’s spiritual successor, Android Pay. In other news, my spec script for a soap opera based on the machinations of the US mobile industry still hasn’t been optioned. Read More
The second round of N Preview factory images and OTAs are out and most people are updated. The team at Android Police HQ is still digging around to find all of the new additions, but in the meantime, there are a number of changes buried right in the source code. Google posted some of the source code for 'N' to the Android Open Source Project, and we've built a changelog from that commit history.
During the preview stage of a new OS version, Google usually limits the code it releases to just GPL-licensed projects. Unfortunately, that excludes most of the parts of Android where the big new features and UI changes would have happened, but don't count out those changes as boring, they can still contain quite a few interesting details if you look a bit closer. Read More