Google has announced that the Now Launcher is end of life. The popular skin will be removed from the Play store in March, and manufacturers are encouraged to remove it from future products. What does this mean for consumers and OEMs? Let’s take a look.
Companies like Google and Microsoft consider themselves “services” companies, even though they sell hardware like the Nexus and the Surface. Those brands exist to make sure that other hardware partners have the proper “incentive” to continue producing high quality devices to utilize the software that Microsoft and Google produce.
While it’s important that consumers have access to high quality gadgets to run these services, it’s equally important that consumers have access to affordable data networks to utilize services which are becoming increasingly data intensive.
We’re seeing progress in some areas, carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile embracing practices like rollover data, but we’re also backsliding in other areas with Comcast expanding the number of areas where they will be capping data for home broadband even though it won’t have any significant impact on bandwidth or service stability.
For Google and Microsoft, it’s becoming increasingly important to support initiatives which improve coverage, data speeds, and reduce prices for their customers. Where those initiatives don’t exist, it’s up to those two tech giants to create them.
In my recent #SGGQA Podcast I bemoaned the amount of gestures on Wear watches which required me to swipe the screen. There’s a near permanent cross of fingerprint grease in the middle of any Wear watch face.
Google must have been listening to my show, as they’ve sneakily revealed new gesture and wrist action controls for the next Android Wear update.
The last update introduced a twisting action to help you scan through cards and notifications. This now extends to dropping the quick settings located at the top of the watch. The App menu can be accessed by “dropping” your wrist quickly while holding your arm in front of you.
The arm drop can also be used to slide through notification cards. A pivot up action can slide yo back out of a card, and a quick wrist shake takes you back to your home watch face, kinda like clearing out an etch-a-sketch.
These might sound like small improvements, but anything which prevents me from having to use both hands to control a device designed to simplify my interaction with notifications will be a welcome change.
We finally have a real option for video editing on Android! How does CyberLink’s solution stack up to the competition? Let’s take a look!
PowerDirector on Google Play: https://goo.gl/k1hNg1
Phones have recently started saving RAW photos, but we didn’t have many options for editing those photos out in the field. We would have to transfer those images to a proper computer for any manipulation.
In an update today, Google has added RAW support to their popular photo editing app Snapseed!
RAW photos are just what they sound like, the RAW data captured from the camera sensor. These are very large files, chock full of info, but often don’t look that great, and the larger file sizes make them more difficult to share. Snapseed now let’s you tweak a shot from the RAW info, then compress that into a smaller JPG file to share.
The editing tools also got a small update for more precise developing, including kelvin values for exposure and white balance.
The G4 had one of my all time favorite smartphone cameras. With the V10, LG is looking to improve their video by introducing manual settings similar to their still photography controls. Does the V10 improve upon its predecessor? Does it live up to the hype? Let’s take a look at the most comprehensive camera review available for LG’s fashionable flagship phone!
Sure Apple has their own watch, but if you’ve been eyeing the diversity of hardware in the Google ecosystem with envy, now you can use Android Wear without giving up your precious iPhone.
Starting today, any iPhone running iOS 8.2 or higher can install the Wear companion app through iTunes. Compatible with all current Wear watches, and you’ll have access to features like your notifications, fitness tracking, and “OK Google” voice search.
I know you’ve been checking out those round watch faces like the LG G Watch R… Don’t lie… You can catch the full press release below.
Continue reading Android Wear Smartwatches Now Work With iPhones
We’ve been seeing leaked versions of Microsoft’s digital assistant popping up on Android forums, but Cortana for Android is now available as a public BETA for everyone, no special login or credentials required.
One of the more popular features found on Windows Phones, Cortana can replace Google Now as the search and assistant on Android devices. Known for having more personality, she often does a better job of responding to casually delivered commands. We showcased some of her capabilities here in this older review of Windows Phone.
You can grab the BETA for yourself by going to this preview page, and happily you wont need to sign up for any Google Plus community or developer access. Enjoy!