preview Stories March 9, 2016

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Update: It’s out!

If a now-pulled Arstechnica report is to be believed, Google is set to release the first preview build of Android N to the public soon. This seemingly confirms a tip we received a few days ago suggesting that Google wouldn’t be announcing a major version of Android at I/O later this year. The new version is said to bring a native split screen mode, a completely redesigned notification panel, improvements to Android M’s “Doze” feature, among other features…

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preview Stories June 4, 2015

Android M is now available in developer preview, but only for those that own a modern Nexus device. Specifically, owners of the Nexus 5, 6, 9, and Player can grab the latest developer build of Android M, and the dozens of new visual and functional features that the operating system brings.

But while Google spent a while at I/O going over the big-picture changes it hopes to bring with M (granular app permissions, fingerprint support, better battery life, and more), there are a lot of smaller changes coming to the OS as well that reimagine how some of the most basic user-facing functions of the OS work. In many cases, these changes are more than welcome.

Google said at I/O last week that they’re putting a “big focus on quality end-to-end” with Android M, so let’s find out what that means in terms of the general user experience… expand full story

preview Stories January 14, 2015

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VLC this week has released the first preview build of its app for Android TV. VLC is one of the most popular pieces media playback software available and is loved for its support of a variety of media types and formats. The app was supposed to receive Chromecast support back in June of last year, but that never officially materialized. Android TV availability, however, may make VLC even more appealing to media lovers.

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preview Stories December 19, 2014

Samsung focused blog SamMobile today posted the videos above and below showing off an upcoming Android 5.0.1 update for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge, and Galaxy S5 LTE-A.

The update is mostly bug fixes, according to the report, but it also has a few notable new features including slow and fast motion video recording functions. expand full story

preview Stories October 6, 2014

Along with a number of announcements landing today during Adobe’s MAX conference, the company has quietly released an Adobe Creative Cloud app for Android in preview mode. The app, which works with the free 2GB Creative Cloud membership in addition to paid subscriptions, allows users to manage their Creative Cloud accounts by browsing and previewing files stored in the cloud service. The app was previously available for iOS users and sports a similar design. expand full story

preview Stories October 2, 2014

Facebook rolls outs Mobile Like Button to Android app developers

After releasing a preview of the new feature for iOS developers at an event earlier this year, Facebook today announced that it’s officially rolling out a Mobile Like Button to all, including Android developers. That means that app developers can now easily offer users the ability to “directly Like the app’s Facebook Page, or any Open Graph object within the app, and share on Facebook.”

The mobile Like Button works seamlessly with the Facebook account the person is logged into on their device, allowing people to Like any piece of content, while in your native app.

Facebook is recommending developers show the Like Button when users reach a certain achievement or “level of engagement”. The company pointed an example from The Tribez & Castles game pictured above. Another recommendation is to encourage users to Like as soon as they open the app as pictured in the musiXmatch example above.

Android developers interested in learning more can do so here.

preview Stories September 15, 2014

Shazam app adds Google Play Music streaming & purchasing options

Popular song recognition app Shazam announced today that it’s integrating Google Play Music, allowing users to preview, purchase or stream the song on from Google Play Music or Google’s All Access streaming service in one tap.

Google Play Music joins the other options Shazam offers users for purchasing and or listening including Rdio, Beats Music, and Spotify.

The feature is available first to users in the Shazam app for Android and later the iOS version of the app. 

preview Stories February 19, 2014

Google brings the new Maps out of preview, rolling out to desktops worldwide in coming weeks

Google first introduced us to the new Google Maps back in May during Google I/O and since then users have been able to opt-in to a preview of the redesigned desktop Maps experience. Today, Google announced on its Maps blog that its officially bringing the redesigned app out of beta and making it available to all worldwide. Google said the new app will roll out over the coming weeks for all users.

Apart from a redesigned, streamlined UI, Google notes that the new Maps web app for desktop users includes smarter results for points of interest, improved directions with time and distance, real-time traffic reports, Street View previews, and a new “carousel” view for browsing 3D and Street View imagery.

If you had not previously opted into the Google Maps preview, you should start to see the new experiencover the coming weeks.

preview Stories January 14, 2014

Google releases Chrome 32 w/ tab indicators, new Win8 Metro design & more

Google today released Chrome 32 bringing a few notable features it launched for beta users back in November. Included in the release are noisy tab indicators, which puts a small speaker icon on tabs to let you see tabs that are making noise at a glance. You’ll also see other icons for tabs using your webcam or sending content to your TV (as pictured above). Google says the latest stable release also includes a stronger Safe Browsing malware warnings and beta preview of the supervised users feature to help families monitor browsing habits and set restrictions.

In addition to the above and new apps/extension APIs for developers,Chrome 32 also brings a redesigned Windows 8 Metro mode:

Manage multiple Chrome windows and quickly get to your favorite Chrome Apps with an integrated app launcher.  On the desktop, we’ve updated the default styling of UI elements like form controls and scrollbars to match the sleek design of the new Chrome Metro interface.

The latest version of Chrome is available now.

preview Stories November 27, 2013

Google introduces new personalized Google Maps embed

Google has been adding a ton of new features to its new Google Maps preview on the desktop ahead of a broader roll out. It recently added real-time incident reporting from Waze in new countries and also added a new 3D Earth Tours alongside a revamped StreetView. However, up until now, we’ve still had to deal with the old Google Maps embed that allows us to interact with small embedded Maps on websites and elsewhere. Good news: Today Google announced it’s rolling out a brand new Google Maps embed that users can embed via an HTML snippet from the new Google Maps preview. 

preview Stories November 9, 2011

When we told you about the 1-inch x 1-inch Android-powered WIMM Module back in October, the company had plans on launching the device to developers within weeks. Now officially known as the WIMM One Module, WIMM Labs informed developers today the Developer Preview Kit is now available for $299. While it’s mostly pictured in wristwatch form, the company urges developers to come up with micro apps for unique implementations of the device.

“Throughout the day, Micro Apps help keep people focused on the task at hand. From a pedometer that encourages a healthier lifestyle to cross-training sports companions that push athletes past their performance goals. From coffee payments on the wrist to call alerts that keep eyes on the road. We’re also working with Micro Apps for presentation control, home security settings, instant messaging and pill reminders. Our vision extends far beyond a single purpose device.”

The Developer Preview Kit will include one WIMM One Module, a black wrist strap, and a charging kit (paddle charger, USB cable and power adapter). The device itself will offer a number of preloaded micro apps including weather, calendar, clock, alarm, and stopwatch. In addition to the preview kit, WIMM Labs’ commitment to devs includes access to an SDK, emulators, as well as new forums allowing registered developers to upload and share their ideas and apps. Head over to WIMM’s developer portal to learn more. Below is a video of an early Facebook micro app from a third-party developer running on the WIMM One. expand full story

preview Stories August 4, 2011

If you have ever used Gmail on a tablet, you’ve probably appreciated the improvements made to the mobile UI and missed them when forced to use Gmail from your desktop browser. Luckily, Google just introduced a new preview pane feature for Gmail that allows you to quickly view snippets of messages, much like the mobile interface currently accessible on tablets (which, yes, dates from Outlook 2003 – thanks commenters).

You can enable the feature by turning it on from the Labs tab in your Gmail settings and switching between views via a new toggle button in the upper right corner of your inbox.

You can also move the preview pane below your message list if you have limited screen real estate. expand full story

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