Now that almost every major smartphone has a display with a ratio around 18:9, regular old 16:9 videos aren't looking too hot with their black bars. To combat this, YouTube added a helpful zoom-to-fill feature to its Android app, but that functionality only works on select, more mainstream devices. The Essential Phone is finally getting support for it, months after both its and the feature's release.
YouTube 12.40 brought one small but neat change: a pinch-to-zoom gesture that lets you expand the video to fit an entire 18:9 display. Since most videos are made for the 16:9 format, black bars would sit on each side of the display when you're viewing YouTube videos in fullscreen mode, which sort of detracted from the illusion of having that big shiny nearly full-front display.
With 12.40, only the Pixel 2 supported the gesture, leaving other 18:9 smartphones behind. Now we've verified that v12.44 of the YouTube app makes the gesture available to the Galaxy S8+, LG V30, and possibly more devices.
Ok, guys. Start your engines - here's the download and instructions you need to get the leaked Gmail 4.2 up and running on your device. Keep in mind that this is an unreleased version so some things may be buggy or broken, though I haven't run into any problems.
Twitter continues its march towards being taken seriously as a social network with today's update to its mobile app that brings some interesting new profile additions. For starters, header images. With Facebook and Google+ beginning the trend, it seems a social network can't have just a profile picture anymore. Everyone who's anyone has a profile picture, and a hero image.
Curiously, the header images can only be added via the mobile app itself. The background photo that you chose for your Twitter profile a billion years ago and promptly forgot is not used. Also, just going to app settings won't get you to the dialog to add one.
One of the bigger changes we saw in the jump from Gingerbread/Honeycomb to Ice Cream Sandwich was in the camera app. ICS not only brought a streamlined, more subtle design to an app that so badly needed it, but also introduced zero shutter-lag, meaning the time between pressing the shutter release and capturing a photo was pushed down to (almost) zero. In fact in many cases, the time between touch and capture is imperceptible. This was huge.
At today's Jelly Bean announcement, however, we learned that Jelly Bean treats users to even more enhancements to the camera app. While they are rather minor tweaks, they enhance the app's productivity and usability by a lot, something that seems to be a common thread in Jelly Bean's enhancements.
Last week, I traded my Google I/O Chromebook for an ASUS Eee Pad Transformer/keyboard dock combo and started exploring the fascinating laptop/tablet hybrid. Overall, my impressions so far are more positive than I thought they would be, and I'll most likely end up selling the 3G XOOM that has none of the features the Transformer with the dock have to offer. The only problem with the Transformer that I've experienced is a relatively poor battery life compared to both the XOOM and the Tab 10.1, which I can't explain yet... but I'm getting carried away.
After my exploration of the Transformer was complete, I noted 2 annoyances - the absence of the dedicated app switcher key on the dock, which was conveniently present on the Samsung keyboard dock I tested earlier this month, and the absence of the familiar scrolling area on the touchpad that I got so used to on my laptop.
The impossible has happened: thanks to a new software update, the Xperia X10's Internet and Maps applications are finally multitouch-capable. And as if that weren't exciting enough for X10 owners, the update also introduces support for bi-directional languages (i.e. Arabic, Farsi, Thai, and Hebrew) - a nice addition, though definitely not as high up on most users' wish lists as a version of Android more recent than 2.1 (or 1.6, if you're using AT&T's edition of the device).
And here's where things get interesting for X8 users - you guys are also getting this update, albeit with multitouch stripped out. Hey - if it's any consolation, the new software will make your devices compatible with ANT+, which enables support for "things like heart rate monitors."
Rikard Skogberg from the official Sony Ericsson blog says the update is now available via PC Companion, while an OTA is currently rolling out to "most markets." It isn't yet clear whether AT&T X10 users are getting this update, but I certainly hope so - otherwise, Big Blue headquarters might soon be a little...
Who wants to wait this long? It didn't take long for some smart folks over at AndroidForums to figure out where the update was located on Google's servers and provide instructions on how to accomplish it in a few easy steps. Here they are:
If you have rooted your phone, the 2.1 update will unroot you back.