It's a good milestone day for Android's side-projects and apps. Earlier we reported that the Android Wear app had reached 10 million downloads on the Play Store and now we're seeing the same number for the Android Auto app.
10 million downloads since March of 2015 is a nice number, especially considering that the app is geo-restricted and you either have to be aware that it works on phones without needing a compatible car or have to have purchased a new compatible car or heads-up unit in the past 2 years or so to know about it. By comparison, the Android Wear app has been available for about 3 and half years, is available worldwide, and the cost of entry is much lower (if you don't take into account those who use the Auto app as standalone). Read More
It's been a busy year for Samsung Pay, as the Korean company's mobile payments platform has been gradually rolled out around the globe to counter competing services from Google and Apple. It's particularly popular in India, where Samsung's MST technology is the most common at payment terminals. It launched there in March this year, and now it's gaining another handy feature: bill payments. Read More
What a world we live in. After Amazon and Google's long-lasting row of we won't sell your products and you won't get our services, the last straw seems to have been pulled when Google disabled YouTube on some of Amazon's products. Now Amazon is trying to make up a little by selling Chromecasts again (while nefariously plotting something with Amazontube?) and the second step appears to be by making Amazon Prime Video available on Android TV devices. Hell, indeed, hath frozen over. It will go liquid nitrogen when the regular Amazon Prime Video app for phones adds support for Chromecast or when you can link a Google Home with Prime Video as the main video source. Read More
Android Wear has been out for several years now, though it can't be considered a commercial success. After all that time, the companion app has just reached 10 million downloads on the Google Play Store. That being said, that figure doesn't allow us to draw any conclusions about sales figures. Read More
Chrome 64 is scheduled to be released in January, which means we get a beta version this month. In Chrome Beta 64, the blocking feature for redirecting ads is enabled by default, there's a white navigation bar for Android 8.1, and plenty of smaller changes for users and developers are included. Read More
As we hit the last few days before Christmas, app updates from Google have gone from a firehose to a slow trickle. It's only natural that most of the developers don't want to ship any major updates right before their holiday plans for fear that they might be called in to fix a catastrophe. Hey, I've done it too. Nevertheless, there's a new version of Google Duo rolling out today. It probably comes as no surprise that this one isn't taking any unnecessary risks either. There are a few very minor tweaks to the interface. However, there is a little bit for a quick teardown, so let's get into it. Read More
Justin O’Beirne is what you would call a modern cartographer. He has long believed that the future of map making has to be intertwined with technology, and his career has seen him work in Cupertino contributing to Apple's Maps platform. He's also an avid blogger and public speaker and even spoke at Google I/O back in 2011 about styling digital maps for enhanced usability.
On his website, O'Beirne likes to track the progress of different map apps, comparing them against previous versions and each other. His most recent post looks in depth at Google Maps and just how far ahead of the rest of the pack it is. Read More
Microsoft Garage's project keeps pumping up new apps and ideas for Android and the latest is Favorites Lock Screen. As the name implies, this is a lockscreen replacement app that puts emphasis on your favorite things. Unlike Microsoft's graduated Next Lock Screen, this one is still in its infancy and it shows. The icon is disturbingly low-res and the interface doesn't feel half as polished as Next. However, it could still be worth checking out if you'd like some news to go with your phone unlocking.
The idea behind Favorites is to have two screens: one has an HD image with a Bing search bar, camera icon, and quick access to Bing searches for the character in the wallpaper; and the second has a stream of news for your favorite topics. Read More