Thanks to semi-standardized hardware and "pure" builds of Android, Google has maintained an impressive track record when it comes to speedily updating the Android One phones that it's designed with various partners in emerging markets. One of our readers was kind enough to track down a handful of links for over-the-air updates to Android 6.0 for these phones, in case users are tired of waiting and want to update their phones manually. To flash these OTA files in recovery, you need to be on the latest Lollipop build (LMY48M) with unmodified software. Read More
Google has announced that Google News will soon be available in seven new languages - Romanian, Bahasa Indonesia, Bengali, Bulgarian, Lithuanian, and Thai.
The new languages will be available in "the next few days" according to Google. Google claims this will add a potential audience of over 260 million new readers to news, with the native language versions available on the web or the Android and iOS mobile apps.
The Google News & Weather app received a huge version 2.0 release last summer after languishing as a stock Android widget for years, and its popularity has boomed in the meantime, racking up between 100 million and 500 million installs on the Play Store. Read More
Streaming movies from Google Play is rather nice. I sort of scoffed at the feature at first, wondering why I'd want to spend that much money to rent a movie when I could wait and buy a physical copy later. But hey, $3 to $5 really isn't that much compared to watching a film in theaters, and it lets you see a movie much sooner than waiting for the DVD version to drop in price.
The thing is, Play Movies isn't available all over the world. But we've had a few readers let us know that the service has gone live in Indonesia and Malaysia. Read More
We heard at Google I/O about Google's plans to help improve the experience of users on slow connections, especially in parts of the world where even 3G speeds are few and far between. They gave us a peek at how the search interface would change under those circumstances to improve those load times. Now, in select markets, the pages you click on will also be optimized to load much faster.
Google's estimates have you loading the page 4x as fast compared to the unaltered version when on a slow connection, with 80% less data. They claim, appealing to webmasters, that this results in 50% more pageviews due to the better experience and lower wait. Read More
Despite the continuing tense relationship between Cyanogen and OnePlus, the former seems to be making new partnerships all the time, particularly with low-cost phone suppliers in emerging markets. The latest to run the company's custom build of Android is a carrier phone from Indonesian company Smartfren, the Andromax Q. Despite having a name that sounds like some kind of multi-gendered Replicant, it will be Indonesia's first phone running Cyanogen "OS."
The specs on the Andromax Q are decidedly low-end - here in the states it would probably cost $100-150 off-contract, and it will sell for 1.3 million Rupiah (about $97 USD) from Smartfren. Read More
Direct carrier billing is one of the most convenient ways to buy apps and content from the Play Store. Instead of making sure you have a valid credit or debit card or trying to find gift cards or setting up a Paypal account, you can simply have the purchase amount billed with your regular mobile service.
In today's round of new carrier additions on the Google Play support pages we find the French company Free, Hungarian TMI (Magyar Telekom), Indonesian Telkomsel, Slovakian PPF (O2), and Taiwanese Taiwan Mobile. Most of these won't affect a lot of subscribers (Free: 9M - TMI: 5.4M - O2: 1.7M - Taiwan Mobile: 7.6M), but Indonesia's Telkomsel is really a big deal. Read More
Google's Android One program is the company's play to capture the billions of potential users who don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on a smartphone. The initiative is running a little behind based on Google's previously announced timeline, but the Indonesian launch is coming later this month. Indonesia is a huge country, so the Android One rollout would be big news all on its own, but according to Google's official Android One site, the Indonesian One devices will have Android 5.1 included. Google... what?
OnePlus isn't letting the situation in India get it down—the OnePlus One is coming to Indonesia later this month, and that's a rather large market too. Sure, it's not India, but Indonesia is the 4th most populous country in the world with 250 million people. All of them will be able to pre-order the One on January 27th without an invite. Remember when you didn't need invites to buy a phone? Those were the days.