Update Wednesdays are always exciting, but particularly so when Google releases a new app. Today, Google has hit "publish" on Google Handwriting Input, a new keyboard option that - as the name implies - allows users to type by handwriting text in 82 languages.
Google says the app supports print and cursive, written with or without a stylus. If you draw a smiley face, Handwriting Input will even suggest emojis.
Of course the input method is styled to resemble Google's other input methods, using the same light grey and teal (or dark blue-grey and teal if you choose the dark theme) colors found in Google's main Keyboard app. Read More
If you've got a Nexus 4, your days on Android 5.0 are numbered: because you're going to Android 5.1! Assuming you, you know, want to. The OTA link is right here, allowing you to upgrade from LRX22C to LMY47O. The update clocks in at 174MB.
You can check out all of the new Android 5.1 features in our various feature spotlight posts, and there are actually quite a few. 5.1 is also a major bugfix release, so hopefully the inevitable issues you've been running into on Android 5.0 are largely solved with this OTA. Or, more likely, hopefully they will be solved in Android 5.1.1, the bugfix to the bugfix. Read More
Amazon's Prime Music service is demonstrably behind competitors like Spotify and Google Play Music. Maybe that's why it's thrown in with Amazon Prime (which most people get for the shipping discounts) as a freebie. But never let it be said that Amazon rests on its laurels when it comes to new features: the latest update to Prime Music adds streaming music stations, like... well, like just about every other music service at this point.
The new stations are available in version 4.4. It's rolling out in the usual slow Play Store way, but a tipster sent in the APK and we've uploaded it to APKMirror for you to download at your leisure. Read More
Google Calendar is meant to be precisely that, a calendar. The app serves as the default way you keep up with events and appointments on a stock Android device. As a result, some users were a little miffed when the big 5.0 redesign stripped the app of its ability to display a month's worth of events on a phone's screen at once.
With 5.2, that changes.
5.1 could show a single day, three days, or a week. 5.2 bumps this up to a full month. The option to do so is listed alongside the previous ones, but don't go looking for them in the same spot. Read More
The Google Play Edition program seems to have been mostly forgotten by Google and its hardware partners, but at least those devices that were released are still getting steady updates. The latest one to be blessed with Android 5.1 is HTC's One M8 Google Play Edition from last year. Users are reporting that the over-the-air update is heading out now, so check your Settings menu if you happen to own one.
The update from Android 5.0 is 244MB, which is pretty typical. Read More
A fresh update to the Google App, formerly Google Search, just started rolling out. Don't get too excited yet, it looks like the only user-facing change today is that Nicknames has finally gone into wide release for the users that didn't already have it. The good news is that a quick teardown shows that Trusted Voice might be launching soon, possibly even with this version. There's also a new experiment in the works called Seamless Hotword.
If you were one of the many users that didn't already have a Nicknames in the Accounts & Privacy settings screen, this update probably enabled it. Read More
Before you ask, yes, this article is basically just another excuse for me to use Android Police's favorite device abbreviation, LGGP83GPE. (That's the short-lived Google Play Edition of the LG G Pad 8.3, from way back in 2013.) According to at least one Twitter user and, hey, my own tablet, the LGGP83GPE is getting its Android 5.1 update right about now. If you're running stock software, head to the usual spot (Settings>About tablet>System updates) to check for yours.
If you're already running Android 5.0, the upgrade to 5.1 should be just a bit over 200MB. Read More
The Play Store is where you go to watch your other apps get updated, but occasionally it's nice to sit back and watch as the store gets its own renovation. Sometimes the changes are stark. Other times, there are just a few new lights here or there.
In version 5.4, it's not about what's been added, but what's been taken away. The notification bar has lost its color. Now Play Store pages appear with banner images that reach towards the top of the screen. The green strip doesn't return to the bar until you start to scroll down.
Left: Old, Right: New
The amount of chrome at the top of the screen has gradually eroded since 5.2. Read More
For any readers visiting this post on or after April 2, check the post date before continuing :)
In 2013, Google announced the death of its RSS reading platform Google Reader. At the time, Google cited declining usage as the official reason for Reader's closure, wrapping it up along with things like Cloud Connect, Voice for Blackberry, and Building Maker as part of a second round of "spring cleaning."
It comes as a huge surprise then to see the app back in the Play Store almost two years later with a new icon and brand new interface, jumping from version 1.1.8 up to 2.0. Read More