The Gboard team has unleashed a fresh beta of version 7.3. There's nothing immediately popping up as a brand new change or feature, but there is a lot to look at in the teardown. There are some big practical features coming, like OCR and improved handling for Battery Saver mode; but there are also some fun features like a text tool and new special effects for your custom GIFs. Read More
Mobile electronics use power. And as the software becomes more complex, they use more and more of it. At Google I/O 2015, the company has announced an improvement on the ultra low-power mode found in Lollipop. They're calling it "Doze," for obvious reasons, and it will debut in the M release of Android scheduled to go into a developer preview soon. It should debut in public builds later this year.
Specifics on the improvements made to the low-power mode are scarce, but apparently they are extensive enough for some dramatic power savings. According to the I/O presenter, a Nexus 9 equipped with an Android M developer preview build saw nearly two times the battery life in low power mode versus the same hardware running Android Lollipop. Read More
Facebook's official app is a lot better than it used to be, if only because the service has become so ubiquitous that it's more or less constantly being updated. Even so, there are Android users with older or cheaper phones, and users in areas where it's hard to find a reliable data connection, that Facebook is intent on serving. To that end the company has published Facebook Lite on the Play Store. This smaller and allegedly faster app is not available in the US, but American readers can download it via the APKMirror link below.
Facebook Lite is relatively tiny for an app from a major social network, weighing in at only a quarter of a megabyte - a crucial stat if you live in a place that can only get 2G data access. Read More
The Play Store is consistently pelted with new apps that always run in the background, counting our steps, tracking our location, or listening to us as we sleep. These tasks require that a process remains in an active state, and whenever there's any activity going on within a smartphone, battery life takes a hit. Android 4.4 reduces the impact of these processes with new support for hardware sensor batching.
This optimization allows Android to collect and deliver sensor events in clumps, rather than keep track of them individually. Think of this as the difference between ordering one T-shirt and ordering a thousand. Read More
When Google unveiled the Nexus Q at I/O on Wednesday, there were cheers. But not until the designers and creators of the hardware came on stage to explain what it was for a good 5 minutes. Hell, they even put together a fantastic video showing the process of manufacturing the Q (in the good 'ol US of A!). Seriously, if you haven't watched it - watch it. The production values are outstanding.
And Google topped it all off by giving everybody at I/O a Q to... do stuff with. But what?
The Q is fairly limited in its capabilities at the moment. Read More
Despite all this talk about upcoming phones and tablets running on the Tegra 2 processor, you may want to stop and consider the new offering in the Snapdragon line of processors from Qualcomm. Taking a 28-nm dual core beast (MSM8960), the company promises speeds up to five times their current offerings, as well as 75% less lower power usage.
But the real shocker here is the updated GPU, which Qualcomm claims is capable of delivering gaming performance equal to the of an Xbox 360 or PS3.
We should certainly wait for some real life tests and comparisons to Tegra 2 before really hyping this up, but still: can you imagine the PSP phone launching with these capabilities? Read More