Google IO 2015 Coverage

Lucid Sleep function allows your Chromebook to stay up-to-date even whilst sleeping


If you are the proud owner of a new Chromebook Pixel, you’ll be glad to hear of a new, experimental feature called Lucid Sleep. Whilst it sounds like some sort of hush-hush project at Lockheed’s SkunkWorks facility, Lucid Sleep is actually a way of ensuring that your new Pixel Chromebook keeps up to date with push notifications while it is sleeping, much like your smartphone does.

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Having trouble reading notifications? Take a look at BIG Notifications


For most people, vision will deteriorate with age. Others just have naturally poor vision. That is why apps like BIG Notifications, while perhaps serving a smaller audience, are so important. BIG Notifications does exactly what the name suggests: magnifies items in the notification tray to make for increased legibility. AnĀ Enlarge notifications banner stays in the notification tray and tapping it switches over to the BIG Notifications view. Everything that was seen before is still present, only the font size was changed. Also, an option to clear all notifications is available rather than missing the dedication button. The paid version of BIG Notifications adds configurations and features such as TalkBack screen reader support and varying text sizes.

To use BIG Notifications, a device with at least Android 4.3 is required.

Hit the break for the gallery and download links.

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Google+ getting revamped notification system on desktop site

Google_Plus_BannerGoogle+ is getting some improvements on the desktop site to make keeping on top of your notifications a little easier. You’ll be able to check out updates and other alerts in a dedicated page, instead of being confined to the smaller area that we’re used.

In the normal notification tray, you’ll also be able to filter out unread notifications from what you’ve already cleared, which can be useful if you’ve got a ton of alerts popping up. Read more

Shhhh – Google removes silent mode from phones with Lollipop


When Google first announced Android L last summer with a developer’s preview edition and then in October made the official announcement sans a final version being available, it was clear Google had all hands on deck to try to wrap up all the details that go into a major operating system overhaul. So it should be no surprise that some things may have been overlooked. At least, we hope this one is an oversight and not something intentional on the part of Google. Android Lollipop users have discovered that silent mode has been removed when running on a smartphone and other volume and notification management choices are just not well thought out. Read more

Snowball tries to pack messaging platforms into single app


A new app called Snowball has been released to the Google Play Store with the intent of providing a one-stop source for a user’s messaging apps. Although still in beta, Snowball will let users connect to their Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, SMS, Hangouts, Twitter, Line, WeChat and Slack accounts. “Connect” is only used in the broadest terms though as all the app really does is watch for notifications from the different messaging platforms and then lets you know so you can check them in an inbox Snowball builds. Read more

Get an eye on new notifications style in Android L with Heads Up! app


One of the new features that Google showed off in Android L last week was a new way of displaying notifications in a floating window that will pop up over running apps. If you want to get an idea of how this may work without installing Android L and you have a device running Android 4.3 or 4.4, you may want to check out the new Heads Up! app fro XDA member Dr.Alexander_Breen. Read more

Motorola Active Display app gets buzzy with latest update


Motorola has released a minor update to their Active Display app for Moto X, Droid Ultra, Droid Mini, and Droid Maxx smartphones. The primary change included in this latest version sets the app to honor the system vibration settings you may have set for your device. Just go into Settings -> Sound -> Vibrate on touch to turn vibrations on or off. Motorola also included some bug fixes and other optimizations in the update which reportedly make everything work much smoother.

Owners of the impacted Motorola devices should be receiving a notification that the update is available, but if they can’t wait for that they can use the link below to grab the update from Google Play.

Google Play Download Link

Twitter updates Android app once again, this time bringing improved conversations, new notification settings, and more


Twitter has been firing out some really nice updates to their native Android app at a pretty regular rate lately, and continued the trend with an update today which will bring improved conversations and new notification settings. The update makes it much easier to follow conversation threads, as each tweet is linked to the one above it, giving it a much more natural look and feel. It’s definitely a nice addition, because the app was certainly missing the feature. The update also applies to the Twitter site. Here are some more things provided in the update:

  • Optimization for entry-level Android smartphones
  • Report Tweets as abusive or spam
  • New notification settings
  • Bug fixes for direct messages, login verification and more

It’s a staged roll-out so you might not get it quite yet— but check the Google Play link after the break to see if its arrived for your device. There’s also a video by Twitter about the new conversations feature below.

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HTC Mini+ shows up on HTC’s site, essentially a phone for your phone


HTC has certainly been unpredictable for basically the past year, with troubling sales figures, angry executives who ditched the manufacturer, rumors of a sale of the company, and more— now we’re seeing some really odd phone accessories.

Today, the HTC Mini+ showed up on HTC’s website, which is essentially a phone accessory that provides added functionality to your device— a “sidekick,” if you will. The Mini+, which comes with built-in NFC capabilities, a laser pointer, and an IR blaster, serves as a Bluetooth handset/remote control for your smartphone meant for taking calls and showing instant notifications for things such as emails, texts, events, etc.

The product is certainly aimed at a small niche market and is only compatible with select HTC devices including the One Mini, Butterfly S, Desire 200, Desire 500, and will eventually work with the international HTC One. Who knows, something like this may eventually catch on, especially with phones becoming bigger and bigger, and with multitasking becoming even more prominent than ever before. We’ll just have to wait and see…

Pricing and release date is still unknown for the HTC Mini+ in the US, but we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as we find out.

Source: HTC