In an email sent to Google Mobile Services partners on October 5th, Google outlined a significant change to the core GMS package (AKA gapps) for telephony-enabled Android devices (basically, smartphones). As of December 1st, Google will no longer require Hangouts to be bundled with new hardware. An excerpt of that email follows.
Today, we are announcing that Google Duo will replace Hangouts within the suite of core GMS apps, and Hangouts will become GMS Optional for telephony products. This change will take effect on December 1, 2016.
This does not mean Hangouts, or Hangouts for Android, is dead. It does mean that manufacturers may opt to stop including it on smartphones released in 2017, so you'd have to download it from the Play Store after initial setup. Read More
While the Pokémon GO hysteria has mostly died down, there are still a lot of people playing. Those who have stuck with the summer's hottest mobile game will soon be able to enjoy significant improvements to training Pokémon at gyms and the way rare Pokémon are caught. Read More
OUYA may have been a bust as an Android-powered game console, but after being sold to Razer and focusing on software, it has cultivated an impressive specialization for local multiplayer. The publisher's latest release for Android TV is Gurgamoth, a 4-player 2D brawler that landed on Steam back in February. It's available on the Play Store now for five bucks with no in-app purchases. Read More
After being listed only for pre-registration, the latest game from Halfbrick Studios has finally dropped on Android. Dan The Man is a classic action platformer with lots of punches, kicks, and bad guys just begging for the liberal application of both. It's free to play, but the IAP system doesn't seem too offensive. Read More
Giphy is one of the most popular repositories of GIFs on the web, and the site has published their newest app to the Play Store - Giphy Cam. The application allows you to either record video from your camera, or shoot five images in burst mode. Once your content is recorded, you can apply all the effects and stickers your heart desires. The app description states that Giphy plans to add new filters weekly, "to help you keep your GIF game on point." Read More
With so many things happening this week surrounding Google's new hardware, it's easy to overlook some of the software updates rolling out. The latest version bump to YouTube Music doesn't include much in the way of visible changes, but a teardown of the apk also reveals some worthwhile additions in the works for the future. As always, the apk is ready and waiting at the APK Mirror link below if the Play Store isn't already serving the latest version to you. Read More
The regular Shazam app is becoming more and more of a social network centered around music than the music discovery engine it once was. It weighs over 27MB, tries to load recommendations and popular tracks each time you open it, and has charts and Auto Shazam, and plenty of features that you may not need or want especially when you're on a slow network or have limited bandwidth. That's why Shazam Lite was created.
It goes to the heart of Shazam: music recognition. Read More
Whenever a paid app or game goes free on the Play Store, it's for one of three reasons: a) the developer is being super generous, b) the developer has abandoned it, or c) the developer decided to use another monetization model. It is almost never the first case, though. The second one is just friendly behavior that we like seeing, despite it giving us grief over the death of another app/game. But it's incredibly annoying when it's the third scenario.
Carmageddon, unfortunately, seems to fall in that category. The game, which normally cost $1.99 for the ad-free version (another Carma (free) version used to pop up every now and then) is now free. Read More
Lately I've been looking at security cameras for homes and small businesses. Among the different options, Blink makes a very compelling proposal. Forget about wires and always-on connectivity, forget about monthly plans and limited server storage, the system works wire-free, hassle-free, and well, completely free after the hardware purchase. You just need to put in 2 AA batteries and they'll last up to 2 years, getting triggered only when motion is detected and uploading 5-10sec clips to the cloud.
The one problem with Blink though? Until today, it didn't integrate with any other smart home product. That summarizes most of the complaints on its online reviews: users say that you have to manually arm/disarm each camera separately in the app. Read More