Monday, February 29, 2016

About That Google Maps Video With the Missing App Drawer…

UPDATE 2/29: Google reached out to confirm to us that this Google Maps video is an inaccurate (read: bad mock-up as we suggested below) version of their UI and that this is not a hint or preview of what’s to come, as has been rumored over the previous couple of weeks.

Yesterday, Google posted a tweet through the Google Maps Twitter account that has Android enthusiasts going a big nuts, all because the video included shows a Nexus 6P without an app drawer. Seriously, lots of people are freaking out because this phone doesn’t have an app drawer. I don’t know that I’m ready to freak out just yet without knowing the full story, but it is worth talking about.

First of all, here is the tweet that’s to blame for this weekend’s fun. 

If you blink during the first 2 seconds, you’ll miss it. See it? If not, just look at the image at the top of this post.

Why are people making a big deal of this? For a couple of reasons. First, it has been rumored off and on for a couple of months that the next version of Android may not have an app drawer. Assuming this video isn’t just a bad mock-up that wasn’t meant to confuse the world, yet is, then we could be looking into the future here.

Second, Android has had an app drawer since day one, so potentially killing it off in favor of Apple’s really shitty app jukebox approach where all of your installed apps get spammed onto home screens, is a big deal. It would be terrible, if I’m being honest. The app drawer has always provided a form of organization that was used to easily jump into specific apps. In fact, the app drawer that arrived around the time of Marshmallow, that included recently used apps at the top, search, vertical scrolling, and quick scrolling between letters is an awesome implementation of the app drawer.

Is that what we’re seeing here, a disappearance of the app drawer? Since we get to view a screen on a phone without an app drawer icon for all of 2 seconds, we really have no idea what the full story is here. But for fun, let’s say that this isn’t just a bad Google mock-up and is pointing to what’s to come. What we are seeing is the Google Now Launcher up and running with only icons in the home screen’s dock for phone, contacts, and camera. If you have used the GNL, you know that the app drawer icon can’t be moved or removed – it’s locked to the dock at all times.

Does that mean that an update is coming to the GNL and Android that will leave us Apple’s incredibly shitty app jukebox approach? We don’t know. If Google is killing the app drawer as we know it, hopefully, they have something else in store that will help you quickly get to the apps you need without just scrolling through pages of apps on your home screen or by forcing you into foldering it all up. Maybe the app experience will become contextual or based on favorites or most used or recently used. Maybe there will be a swipe-out panel of some sort.

There better be something, dammit. We are not iOS users.

google apps

It’s also worth noting that this home screen setup is showing a Google app icon with the word “Search” underneath it. I don’t know about your phone, but mine sure doesn’t say “Search” under the Google app, it says “Google.”

Consider the idea that this maybe isn’t pointing towards Android N at all and is just a preview of an update to the Google Now Launcher and Google app.

What do you think?

About That Google Maps Video With the Missing App Drawer… is a post from: Droid Life

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Screenshot Mockups Detail Notification Shade and Quick Settings in Android N

Google is likely to introduce Android N at this year’s Google I/O, but since when have Android users ever been patient? In the latest mockups produced by Android Police, based on information provided by sources, these screenshots might be what Android N looks like when released. 

According to what those who made these mockups have seen, Google will bring back quick toggles in the notification shade. There appear to be toggles for WiFi, Cellular, Battery, Notifications, Flashlight, and a dropdown button to unveil all of your system toggles. Below these quick toggles are your notifications. If these screenshots are close to what we can expect, Google is removing the card effect, leaving a very thin line in between your different notifications. The Clear All button is still present on the bottom righthand side.

As for the settings panel, when you likely drag down twice or by tapping the dropdown arrow, you access settings for Airplane Mode, GPS, Bluetooth, and everything else. This same look is essentially what we already have with Marshmallow.

The quick settings toggles above the notifications is pretty much like older versions of Android, such as Gingerbread. They are quite usable, but we do hope that in the public version of Android N, Google finds a way to better break up the look. Maybe by implementing better borders or with the use of shadows. As for the complete toggle pulldown, it looks nearly identical to Marshmallow, with the exception of the “page dots” on the bottom. Apparently, you will be able to have plenty more toggles than what you can fit on one page.

You might notice, one of the screenshots shows off an app drawer. As far as folks familiar with the matter are concerned, Android N will have an app drawer. As stated, Google will unveil Android N at Google I/O in May. That’s pretty darn soon.

Take a look over the screenshots, then share your thoughts below.

Android N Mockup

Via: Android Police

Screenshot Mockups Detail Notification Shade and Quick Settings in Android N is a post from: Droid Life

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Waze Announces Version 4.0 With New, Cleaner Design

Through an upload to the Waze YouTube channel, the community-based traffic service announced version 4.0 for its Android app. This version leaked out of an alpha group a few weeks back, so you may have heard of this version already. If not, this is what’s new.

According to Waze, we’ll see a “new, cleaner design for easier navigation, reporting and sharing.” That means you’ll see a minimized number of steps for navigation, items like map, menus, and road reporting, designed for higher visibility and clarity, plus less clutter overall. Waze users will also see brighter buttons and color-coded pins to round out this “head to toe” revamping. 

Waze didn’t announce when the update would be rolling out to all, but I’d imagine it’ll be soon. We will let you know when that happens.

Play Link

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Google Now Selling Cardboard and Other VR Headsets on Google Store

From Cardboard and the Mattel View-Master VR headset, to the latest Google Tech C1-Glass VR Viewer headset, the Google Store now has everything you need for virtual reality. Starting at $15, users can pick up a Google Cardboard headset, which is your standard hands-on VR experience. Google thinks its cutting you a deal if you buy two Cardboard headsets, pricing them at $25 for the pair.

The View-Master from Mattel is priced at $29.99, while the Google Tech C1-Glass VR Viewer is priced at the same $14.99 as Cardboard. While the name sounds fancy, it looks anything but. Featuring plastic, and no type of strap for your head, this unit needs to be held up to your face, which at times makes it hard to really immerse your brain into the believability of VR. If you don’t mind that, though, then it’s another design for you to try out.

Hit the link below to check out all of Google’s current options.

If Google’s options don’t suit you, Google also lists a ton of 3rd-party folk who sell products made to work with Cardboard. You can view those makers here.

Google Store Link

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Watch: Samsung’s “Why?” Commercial Featuring Weezy and Other Celebs

If you caught the Oscars last night, you might have seen Samsung’s latest commercial for the Galaxy S7. Featuring celebrities and kitties, Samsung details the big features of the device, including water resistance and expandable storage, as well as the ability to use it for virtual reality. 

Samsung spared zero expense for the piece, with appearances from many celebrities. Off the top of my head, Samsung included Lil’ Wayne, Wesley Snipes, James Harden, Doc Rivers, and William H. Macy. It was star studded, indeed.

For a commercial, it’s rather enjoyable. However, it doesn’t come close to topping the latest Android piece.

Watch: Samsung’s “Why?” Commercial Featuring Weezy and Other Celebs is a post from: Droid Life

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DEAL: Moto G (3rd Gen) 16GB Drops to $199 at Motorola for Limited Time

The Moto G (3rd gen), a phone that at its price point is almost impossible to beat, is now cheaper than ever, thanks to a short-term deal over at Motorola’s store. From today through March 7, you can buy the Moto G (3rd gen) for $199 without a contract. The deal includes the 16GB version that has 2GB RAM and normally carriers a price of $220. So yeah, you get a $20 discount.

We reviewed the 3rd gen G and told you to run to Motorola’s site as fast as your little virtual legs can go and buy it if your budget is $200. It’s a heck of a value that features top notch performance, excellent battery life, and custom options through Moto Maker. Even after almost a year, it still should be a solid budget option, unless you have another $70 or so to push towards a Nexus 5X. Ooh, decisions. 

Motorola Link

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Report: Samsung in Talks to Acquire Jay Z’s TIDAL

According to a source of the New York Post, Samsung may be in talks to acquire TIDAL, the Jay Z-owned music streaming service for spoiled musicians, by spoiled musicians. The source didn’t offer much from what we can tell, but did say that after being in on-and-off again talks with TIDAL, “Samsung is re-engaging; they are working on something really big, and they’re keeping it very quiet in case it leaks.” Sooooo, that could mean a partnership or acquisition or free Rihanna t-shirts for company executives or vacay with Jay and Bey, chillin’ on a big yacht. In other words, we have no idea, but that’s the word on the NY Post’s streets. 

Does an acquisition of TIDAL even make sense for Samsung? Possibly. You may recall the 2013 release of Jay Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail, where Samsung essentially bought 1 million copies that it handed out for free to its Galaxy phone owners. Samsung recently did something similar with Rihanna’s new album. Rihanna, of course, is signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation record label. Samsung clearly has a good relationship with Jay Z and that relationship could help put the two even closer together with an acquisition of TIDAL.

Still, does a friendly relationship mean you should buy a friend’s potentially lukewarm music service? No, unless you are Samsung and think that owning a major music streaming service is a way to bolster your brand, add to the Galaxy experience, and compete with Apple and Google’s own music streaming services. Remember, Samsung has Milk Music, which is arguably a solid music option for quick-listening, but it isn’t exactly a full-blown streaming service.

Everyone involved declined comment (shocker).

On a related note, Complex is reporting that TIDAL may be delinquent on some royalties payments to artists only a year after it re-launched as the streaming service that would take care of artists and pay them the highest royalties of any other streaming service. That’s certainly not a good look when you friends at Samsung may be considering buying you out.

Via:  New York Post | Complex

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Fallout Shelter Update to Bring Item Crafting, Dweller Customization, and More

An upcoming update for Fallout Shelter is bringing a lot of new features, a few of which should add plenty of exciting gameplay opportunities. The big change – item crafting. Junk, exactly like the kind you would find in Fallout 4, can be used to craft new armor and weapons. Dwellers exploring the Wasteland with a high level of Luck can find junk, and you will be able to receive junk from Lunchboxes. To craft items from the junk, two rooms have been added into the game; Weapon and Armor crafting rooms. 

Also included in the update is the ability to customize the look of every dweller inside of your vault. This can be done be creating a Barbershop. Also in the realm of customization, new outfits and weapons have also been added into Lunchboxes.

Fallout Shelter is also including new pets for your dwellers, so be on the lookout for parrots, plus new cats and dogs. Additionally, new pet bonuses have been added.

The update is set to rollout to iOS and Android devices later this week.

What’s New

  • Turn worthless junk into useful items! Introducing… crafting!
  • New Rooms! Build the new Weapon and Armor crafting rooms and use them to create your own items in game!
  • Lunchboxes now contain a bonus 5th card: Junk! Trust us – it’s more useful than it sounds. Lucky wasteland explorers may also find junk on their adventures.
  • Take the Overseer role to the next level. Build the new Barbershop and customize the look of any Dweller.
  • Keep up with the latest fashions! Find new Outfits and Weapons straight from Fallout 4 in lunchboxes, or craft them yourself!
  • Because four-legged companions bring overwhelming happiness, we’ve added new Dogs and Cats, and are introducing… Parrots! Plus, new Pet bonuses!
  • Time of day is now properly reflected. Because authentic Vault simulation is our #1 goal!

Play Link

Via: Bethesda

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LG Posts Minute-Long Look at G5 in Gold, Details Features Again

We still have half of a month to go before pre-orders begin for the LG G5, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t get a little hyped up for the device. In a new video posted to YouTube, LG gives a detailed look at the features and look of the G5 in Gold, which in my opinion, might be the best looking color offered of the device. 

During the minute-long video, LG shows off the modular design, in addition to the accessories that are available so far. If you don’t already know, there is the LG CAM Plus and HiFi Plus with B&O Play. We did a walkthrough with each of these accessories at a recent LG press event, so you can read up on those here.

LG also highlights features like the Always-On display, Friends Manager (which is the accessory management tool), and has their green fat cat play with the Rolling Ball accessory.

March 18 is coming up. Will you be pre-ordering?

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DROID Turbo 2 Marshmallow Update Starts Tomorrow, We Think for Real This Time

On February 12, Verizon posted information to its DROID Turbo 2 support pages suggesting that the phone was set to receive the update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Within a couple of hours, they pulled that info as if someone had pulled the trigger on that information a bit early. Then on Friday, a number of our readers notified us that they were taking part in a soak test for the update through Motorola’s Feedback Network, which is typically a sign that we are actually close to an update rollout. Today, Verizon has once again posted details of the update, along with a March 1 date of availability. 

The update should rollout in two parts. The first will arrive as software version 23.31.24, before the big dog 24.14.10 shows up. It’s the second update that takes you to Marshmallow.

Assuming nothing bad happens in the next 24 hours, we should start seeing the update hit non-soak testers tomorrow. If our readers start seeing those updates, we’ll be sure to let you know.

In the mean time, feel free to head into Settings>Software updates to check.

Via:  Verizon

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Android’s New “Rock, Paper, Scissors” Commercial is Another Great Spot

Who is doing commercials better than Google at this point?

Oh, and look at this Tweet that relates to this commercial. See any Android N hints? 

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HTC Vive Now Up for Pre-Order

Ready to step into the world of room-takeover VR? The HTC Vive is now up for pre-order (we think, but HTC’s site is dying).

For $799 (plus $30 in shipping), you get the newest version of the HTC Vive headset (consumer edition), two wireless VR controllers, room scale movement sensors, and two VR titles. Just remember that for that price, you don’t get the powerful PC required to power the Vive. So, not only do you need to spend $800 (plus $30 in shipping) for the headset, controllers, and sensors, but you’ll need a Windows PC to push pixels to it or have to buy one. HTC has some recommendations here, which include this $1000 machine from HP.

Orders will ship to the US in April.

Ready to pre-order? Hit that link below. 


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