Android 11 has reached its "beta" milestone, and while we'll still probably see a few tweaks over the coming months, the general concepts and big-feature changes in the next Android release are just about set in stone. But while the common refrain is that Android 11 is a more minor (or even boring) update to Google's Android platform, the longer I use it, I'm not sure that's fair to say.
In Lebanon, when someone says it's 3 o'clock and it's daytime, we all know they mean 3pm and not 3 o'clock in the morning. So you can imagine my confusion when I moved to France for a year where everyone uses the 24-hour format and I had to do the mental gymnastics every time (pun intended) to figure out the correct time. There are countries where this is the norm and others where it's not, but until now, you had to manually pick that setting in your Android phone. Not with P though.
Since its inception it seems that Inbox, by Google's Gmail team, has had the goal of streamlining your email experience in mind. To accomplish that goal, it makes every email a task, lets you quickly triage messages, and pulls out highlights like reservations, plane tickets, or attachments for faster access. But, according to the official Gmail blog, Inbox is getting one more cool feature starting now: the ability to automatically choose the best snooze date for your messages. For those unfamiliar, a "snoozed" message is temporarily dismissed, bubbling back up to your inbox at the selected date and time.
With this new feature, the app will take a look at certain types of emails to pull out the relevant date and provide a perfect time option in the snooze menu.
What's the point of being one of the world's most powerful tech companies if you can't use those resources to travel back in time? Google is tackling this conundrum head on with the ability to roll back the clock in Street View. From the comfort of Google Maps on a desktop, users can select various periods in time to see how locations have changed.
Google is rolling out this feature starting today. You know you can fire up the ol' TARDIS when you see a clock icon in the upper left-hand area of a street view image. Clicking that will bring up an adjustable slider will clickable thumbnails.
To wrap up the year, TIME's been working on a "Top Ten of Everything 2013" series, listing off the top ten items in various categories from Pop Culture and Social Media to, of course, tech gadgets. In that category, TIME listed things like the LEAP Motion controller, Oculus Rift Developer's Kit, and new iPads, but they awarded the top spot to Google's plucky Chromecast dongle.
The piece, published Tuesday and shared by Larry Page on Google+ this evening, lauds the Chromecast's focus - it essentially only does one thing but does it so well, makes it so easy, and costs so little, that picking one up is really hard to resist.
GMD, or Good Mood Droid, has been known to make some incredible – if relatively niche – apps (remember GestureControl?). Today, the developer is back with GMD Speed Time – an aptly-named tool for root users that will bring in your digital corn harvest faster than you can say "cheating device."
The app is incredibly simple – it speeds up your device's system clock, allowing you to cut the waiting time in farming (or other time-dependent games) with speeds anywhere from 2x up to 1000x normal. When you're done, the app will automatically return your system clock to the correct time.
We've already heard that Google was expanding their Play Movies and Play Music services today to new countries and with new content. Play Magazines isn't getting left out in the cold, though. Today, the storefront is opening up to our neighbors up north, in addition to signing extra content partners for a more robust distribution platform.
As part of the huge announcement Google put together, the company touted its magazine partnerships:
We’re now working with Time, Inc. to bring you even more magazines like InStyle, PEOPLE, TIME and others...We’re now working with all...the major U.S. magazine publishers."
We're definitely pleased with the major expansions that have been happening today.
The Sony SmartWatch, which was only just announced for the US earlier today, is already available for an awesomely reduced price. Expansys USA is offering the device for just $118, which is $32 off Sony's price of $149.99.
For those unaware, Sony's SmartWatch allows users to "check updates discreetly," and control certain features of their Android device (like music, for example) from the Bluetooth-connected timepiece.
For those interested, here are a few more details about the SmartWatch:
1.3" OLED display with a 128x128 resolution (16 bit color)
Aluminum/high-polished plastic body
Dust and splash-proof
Compatibility with devices running Android 2.2 and higher
~3-4 day battery life
As an added bonus, Expansys USA is promising customers that the device will ship in about 7 days, which is much sooner than Sony's May 4th date.
KF Software House recently introduced a solution for the more time-constrained Android users among us, releasing App Timer Mini to the Android Market. App Timer Mini (ATM) does exactly what you may expect after reading its name. The app allows users to observe and track how long they spend using certain apps by placing a handy timer in the corner of your screen.
App Timer Mini's functionality is just as simple as it should be – users can select apps to be monitored, and customize the timer's aesthetics. When activated, ATM will automatically show a tiny timer in the corner of your screen when your selected apps are running.
As we know, the source code for Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" is going to be published fairly soon, which means developers of all trades will be able to download, modify, and compile it into ROMs. A few great examples of this are handset manufacturers (SE, Motorola, HTC, etc) working on incorporating ICS into new and existing devices as well as CyanogenMod developers merging the source with all the awesome modifications they've added into CM so far.
Have you ever wondered what it takes these people to build the Android source? I never really gave it too much thought, but whoa - never in a million years did I think that building ICS would take these kinds of resources (according to JBQ, a Google developer working on Android):
ICS will be a much larger release than any previous Android release.