Inbox was the Gmail team’s method of taking a fresh approach on sorting and managing your email inbox, and so far it seems like it’s gone over smoothly with most users. Inbox hit the market at a time when people expect their apps and services to work flawlessly regardless of what platform they were currently using, so Google’s team of engineers had to figure out the best way to make an app that worked well on the web, plus Android and iOS.
Prior to the launch of the Nexus 6 and Android 5.0, we knew Google was moving to making device encryption mandatory for all new devices shipping with Lollipop. As far as security goes, that’s a great move, but it looks like it’s actually having some negative effects on the Nexus 6.
Early benchmarks seem to show that Lollipop’s full disk encryption (FDE) are having some fairly significant performance impacts on the Nexus 6. This is especially unfortunate since the Nexus 6 encrypts itself on first boot and there’s no way to turn it off, outside of flashing custom boot images. That’s not exactly a user friendly solution.
PayPal makes an effort to keep its service available on just about every device out there, and Pebble’s smartwatch is the latest in a long list of phones, tablets, and other connected things. The app lets Pebble users check-in and punch in payment codes to pay for things at several retailers that accept PayPal. You’ll also get notifications for payments without having to check your phone.
This app means PayPal is available on nearly any smartwatch you can buy, including Samsung’s Gear offerings, Android Wear watches, and now the Pebble.
Google has released a new game called Pie Noon, designed specifically to show off just how easy it is to create games for Android TV. The game is completely open-source and written in C++, and it supports all of the basics that Google wants to push with Android TV. It features multiplayer with up to 4 players, a single-player experience, dedicated touch controls, and Google Play Games leaderboards and services.
We knew Motorola was planning on releasing a keychain device soon, and they’ve made it official today. The Motorola Keylink is a keychain that’s designed to help you find your lost Motorola smartphone for when you just can’t seem to remember when you put it down at. The Keylink connects to your device with the Motorola Connect app, and the link actually works in reverse, too. If you can’t find your car keys, but you have your phone on you, you can just page the keylink and it’ll beep from up to 100 yards away.
Lollipop is fantastic. It’s one of the best operating systems Google has ever put together, and it’s a dramatic overhaul compared to what we’re used to seeing in Android. However, it’s not without its own share of bugs and glitches, which we’re starting to see more and more of.
The latest issues are being reported by Nexus 4 and 5 users that have taken the Lollipop update. Some of those devices are certain carriers are unable to send text messages, and they’re being shown an error code 38 whenever they attempt to send something. Receiving text messages is seemingly unaffected, but that’s still half of the texting experience that’s broken.
Root access was achieved on Lollipop not long after its official release, but there have been many issues with root apps on Lollipop not working like they did on KitKat and below. Much of this has to do with Android 5.0′s implementation of SELinux for additional security.
Fortunately, Chainfire has been working on potentially fixing many of those broken root apps, and his latest SuperSU beta claims to resolve many of the issues. This SuperSU beta version 2.23 is freely available for download on Chainfire’s website in the form of a flashable zip, and he’s opened a thread on XDA to track which apps are now working correctly and what still needs to be addressed.
We’ve heard a few things about Sony’s upcoming Xperia Z4, but thanks to a leaked front panel, we’re getting our first actual look at what may potentially be Sony’s first phone of 2015. The panel is the touch screen for the device, and while we can’t get a screen resolution or anything out of it, we can at least see how it stacks up next to the size of the Xperia Z3.
Fortunately, it looks like Sony is sticking to that 5-inch range with the Z4 instead of going with a massive 6-inch screen like we’ve heard off and on. The display looks very similar to the Z3 with just a few minute differences. The cut-outs for the proximity sensor and camera have switched, and the speaker hole has moved up to the edge of the digitizer instead of sitting halfway between the screen and bezel.
Google is cconstantly working on improving their image search and recognition algorithms, and the latest research shows some really impressive results. Thanks to some recent advances in translation technology, Google’s image recognition can actually see a photo and describe what’s going on in the picture, like you can see above.
Not only is the algorithm able to recognize individual objects, but it can describe scenes and phrases. This could potentially help users to search for images based on a very specific phrase, or on the opposite end, help users see understand a picture when they can’t see the image, like when a slow data connection can’t manage it.
One of the best (or worst) features of Google’s Play Store is that Google doesn’t screen any apps before they’re released to the masses. There are a few requirements that the apps have to pass so they aren’t malware, but otherwise, Google doesn’t monitor quality control for third-party apps.
Within the Play Store, it’s a mostly effective strategy. Low quality apps get low reviews and are generally filtered to the bottom, while better designed apps get more and higher review scores, so they become more visible to users. It looks like Google is taking a different approach when it comes to Android TV apps, however.