Many of us are anxiously awaiting the official launch of Podcasts in Play Music. While a few people have already been given an accidental early look, there are good reasons to be confident that the real launch will happen sometime in the next week and a half. It should come as no surprise that the latest update to the Play Music app happens to include a few fixes and features for podcast listeners. On top of that, Google is preparing for an exclusive deal with the BRIT Awards.
For those that want to know about new features, it doesn't look like there's anything to talk about right now. Read More
There's a widely known issue with social networks—they're impossible to keep up with. Something is always happening, and unless you follow only a handful of people, there's no way you can read all the content that streams by.
To get around this, some networks have taken their own approach to resurfacing content you may have missed. Facebook and Twitter do this. Now Google+ does as well. Read More
If you're an avid gamer on Android, get ready to see quite a bit fewer of those pesky Google+ sign-in prompts. Google is rearranging things a bit in the Games API to cut back on permission dialogs and authorization requests so users have an easier time getting straight into the action. The changes should also allow game developers to take advantage of Google's Games API and services like cloud sync without asking users to trust them with account details and potentially sensitive information.
With the new model, users will only be asked to sign in once per account—just to set it up—and every subsequent new game that runs can sign in automatically. Read More
Remember Screen? It was Yahoo's 2013 video portal venture that aimed to bring clips from renowned sources like Saturday Night Live, BuzzFeed, and College Humor into one single service that's easy to browse. The corresponding Android app launched less than two years ago, and was actually quite decent for what it aimed to do. But alas, Screen is no more. Yahoo just called it quits and shattered its Screen.
Despite some original programming and lots of money spent on getting the service started and keeping it going, Screen's viewership stayed flat from February 2014 to September 2015. Compared to other video services that were growing rapidly, this wasn't good news and is the main reason for the decision to shut it down. Read More
Google added Drawing Mode to Keep at the end of October and the couple of updates since then seem to focus on fixing bugs. The recent 501 update did make a small but useful addition: there is now an overflow menu in Drawing Mode with links to Delete and Send (i.e. share) your doodles to other apps. Read More
Star Wars? Star Wars Star Wars. But, Star Wars. The new Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars, and Star Wars. Star Wars Star Wars, Luke Skywalker, original trilogy. Jar Jar Binks, ugh. Darth Vader. Empire Strikes Back best. <Mercilessly mock Hayden Christensen as an insufferable, mewling infant, featuring overt and excessive hand-gesturing.> Millennium Falcon! Remastered editions <audible hissing>.
Great. Do we all have it out of our systems? Nope? Yeah, me neither. Anyway, Google released a new Chrome experiment today (find it here) that utilizes your desktop Chrome browser and your smartphone's Chrome browser to turn your phone into a lightsaber, because Star Wars. Read More
Whenever a service we use gets bought by another company, we're always filled with hope and anxiety over its fate. It could either be a case of growth and improvements or a slow dwindling descent into irrelevance. I'm afraid Allthecooks may start falling into the latter category if its new owners don't react swiftly to the criticism of their most loyal users.
Allthecooks has long been among the most beautiful and capable recipe and cookbook apps on Android. It got acquired by the Japanese-born Cookpad service toward the end of 2013 and since then, it got an interface redesign and a name change to Cookpad Recipes, but almost everything else remained the same up until a few days ago. Read More
It's not uncommon to see ports of traditional point-and-click adventure games arrive in the Play Store. Thing is, they're usually twenty years old. Lost Horizon from Animation Arts and Deep Silver hit the PC in 2010, making this port much more likely to put your phone or tablet's graphics card to work. Read More
Back in January of 2014, Blu released what I then called my "favorite Blu phone to date"—the Life One X. At the time, it was a solid budget phone, but affordable smartphones have come so far since then. The last year or so has been great for the budget phone scene, and we've watched devices get more and more powerful while prices kept dropping.
Today, Blu announced the new version of the Life One X, and guess what? It's probably the best budget device I've ever used. One might even say it's probably "my favorite Blu phone to date," save for maybe the new Pure XL. Read More
This isn't the first time we've reported about Google's deplorable policies for removing apps from the Play Store. One day you're the developer of an extremely popular app, distributing it to thousands of users, the next it's poof gone with no warning, no explanation, and no way to easily communicate with the team to understand what has gone wrong.
The latest victim is the famous and ridiculously powerful Tasker app. Tasker has been available on Android since time immemorial and has made many a user extremely happy with its extensive featureset. Want to turn on the popcorn machine when you yell "movie time!" at your phone? Read More