If you are at all into the root/ROM community, then you should probably be familiar with Open GApps, which combines the Google services that most of us need for our Android phones (i.e., the Play Store, Play Services, and other Google apps) into a collection of convenient, recovery-flashable packages. In a milestone, today Open GApps has released its first builds for Android 9 Pie. ARM packages are live, with ARM64 and x86 architectures to follow in the next few hours. Read More
Google has always controlled which devices ship with its proprietary GApps—a package that includes such necessities as the Play Store and Google Play Services. Until now, they've even been pretty lenient about allowing custom ROM users to flash the necessary payload on top of their modified OS. Unfortunately, some OEMs used that loophole to their advantage, ignoring Google's CTS certification process while shipping devices with GApps or shamelessly encouraging users to sideload them.
According to XDA Developers, that loophole has now been closed. Google Play Services will soon check the build date for a given system image, and if that date is after March 16th, it will be blocked from completing the sign-in process—though custom ROM users can manually register their devices for an exemption. Read More
Google Assistant was introduced at Google I/O last year, as a more personal voice assistant than Google Now. Since then, it has been made available on several platforms - Pixel phones, the Google Home, Android TV, and Allo. But Assistant is still unavailable on non-Pixel phones without a special build.prop tweak. Now the Open GApps team has made enabling Assistant a little easier. Read More
Android has been around for eight years now. It's the most-used operating system on the planet, and it's helped spearhead a revolution in mobile access and capability. That being the case, it shouldn't surprise anyone if the truly mind-blowing new apps aren't exactly thick on the ground anymore. This year's crop of apps aren't especially amazing, but each one exhibits new functionality for users that wasn't accessible (or at least practical) before. All of them deserve a spot on your phone or tablet. Read More
If you're involved in the world of custom ROMs, there's little chance you haven't heard of the Open GApps Project. As of late, Open GApps has been the go-to site for downloading Google Apps packages. It's not hard to understand why; the site is pretty and easy to use, and the packages, which come in nine sizes and variations, are always up to date. Now, the guys behind Open GApps have taken the stuff that makes their site so great and infused it into a new Android app. Read More
In an email sent to Google Mobile Services partners on October 5th, Google outlined a significant change to the core GMS package (AKA gapps) for telephony-enabled Android devices (basically, smartphones). As of December 1st, Google will no longer require Hangouts to be bundled with new hardware. An excerpt of that email follows.
Today, we are announcing that Google Duo will replace Hangouts within the suite of core GMS apps, and Hangouts will become GMS Optional for telephony products. This change will take effect on December 1, 2016.
This does not mean Hangouts, or Hangouts for Android, is dead. It does mean that manufacturers may opt to stop including it on smartphones released in 2017, so you'd have to download it from the Play Store after initial setup. Read More
We've talked quite a bit about Fuhu's Nabi 2 tablet, which was designed specifically for children. Given its $200 price tag and powerful Tegra 3 processor, 1GB RAM, and Android 4.0, this device is not only great for the kids, but it packs a punch for parents, as well. (To get a better idea of everything the Nabi has to offer, check out my full review.)
The one downside of the Nabi 2, however, is its lack of Google Apps. That means no Play Store, GMail, GTalk, or any of the other services we've all come to rely on. Thanks to one enterprising dev over at XDA, though, the tablet has been rooted, gotten a custom recovery, and now has full access to Google Apps. Read More
Google just pushed an update v4.1.2 to the Gmail app (up from 4.1.1 and 4.0.5) that brings a few enhancements to Android 4.0+ devices, including improved support for 7" tablets. The full changelog for this update reads as follows:
Android 4.0 (ICS) and up:
- Improved 7" support
- Bug fixes and performance improvements
At first blush there don't appear to be any visual alterations, so we'll just assume that most of these enhancements take place under the hood.
Looks like Google left part of the old changelog in place with this update, as Android 2.2+ received the labels API several months ago
While the bulk of us have been enjoying Google+ from our personal accounts for a few months now, those who exclusively use Google Apps (GApps) have been left in the dark... until today. Google+ is now open to all GApps users, and it even brings some new features for some users.
Additional Sharing Options
When sharing posts on Google+, you have the choice of sharing content with specific users, specific Circles, or publicly. With G+ for GApps users, there is another option: sharing with your organization. This is enabled by default -- no need to create a circle just for your coworkers, fellow students, or anyone else in your organization. Read More