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.
I honestly haven’t been this excited for a turn by turn voice since I first got the John Cleese upgrade for Tomtom back in the day. We’re really curious to see how “funny” the directions might be, we’ll find out tomorrow, but until then, the jokes just write themselves…
Adobe has released a killer update for their Lightroom Mobile app for Android.
Not only does the app bring compatibility for tablets and MicroSD card storage, for folks looking to produce the highest quality content possible while on the go, you can now edit RAW photos.
It’s like the difference between editing the raw audio off of a CD or working from a compressed MP3. Most people use JPG files, which are squished for easier sharing. RAW photos retain all of the detail and information from the camera sensor, before software turns them into the visual equivalent of MP3’s.
This update will require the new Google Camera API which allows for RAW capture. This API was released with Lollipop, but of course not all manufacturers are using it. You can test your phone with this Manual Camera Compatibility app to see if RAW capture will work. The Galaxy S6 for example supports manual photo features, but does not support saving RAW images.
Another handy Google announcement. After updating Youtube, Google is also making their stock camera available on Google Play!
If you’re familiar with a recent Nexus or the Moto X camera, Google is now allowing ANY phone running Android 4.4 (KitKat) to download the app for free. It’s helpful consistency if you’re considering switching to a different manufacturer for your next phone or tablet, you wont have to re-learn the camera UI. It’s also nice knowing that your camera software can be updated like a regular app instead of waiting for a full OS or ROM update to get carrier approval.
Here’s our full hands on feature walk through and review!
Google focused KitKat on improving hardware optimization for lower powered handsets. Cheap Android phone manufacturers would often turn to Gingerbread (Android 2.3), so Google is making efforts to polish up the experience for entry level handsets. As the HTC One Mini was last years mid-range entry, it stands to reason that it too might get a nice little performance boost.
The One Mini wasn’t a terrifically popular phone, so it’s really nice to see HTC continuing to support customers here even if the update has been a bit delayed. I’m updating my One Mini now to take it for a second test drive!
If you manage your music collection online through Google Play Music, you now have a little more control over how you upload tracks to your cloud storage. You originally had to upload tracks through a program which lived on a desktop, but now Google has updated the service to allow for browser uploads.
It’s a handy little update for those moments you might want to manage your music collection while on the go. It’s also a great way to showcase Chrome apps, as the service ties into a new mini-player available through the Chrome browser.
Now I’m hoping they’ll build some of that functionality into the Play Music apps on phones and tablets.