SmartThings is making it easier to set up and install your smart home thanks a new Android app update that brings with it live in-app chat support. The support feature allows you to chat directly with a member of the SmartThings support team so you can get up and running quickly. Additionally, the update brings better mode management allowing you to switch between modes easily. Along with these new features, the requisite bug fixes are also in tow.
Samsung's Gear VR is one of the leading products on showcase here at SDC, and development is just getting started. With the Innovator Edition of the Gear VR ready to hit the hands (well, faces) of developers, more people are getting excited. Big names in media, gaming and entertainment are creating not only games but also virtual reality experiences for Gear VR, and it's all happening at a rapid pace starting with folks here at SDC.
We had the opportunity to interview one of the brains behind the Gear VR, Director of Software Development at Samsung Andrew Dickerson, at the Samsung Developer Conference. Check out the full interview for more on what's to come with Gear VR.
Those of us of a certain age remember life before PayPal. But as we continue to pay for more and more things digitally, it's increasingly important to have a safe and secure — and easy — way to do it. PayPal, of course, is one of the biggest names in that space.
But another that's been mostly behind the scenes is Braintree. It's used as a facilitator for credit card transactions. If you've used Uber, you've seen Braintree in action, making it possible to switch from, say, your company credit card to your personal card, with just a few taps. (Which, in fact, is what I do all the time.)
We caught up with Jonathan LeBlanc and Tim Messerschmidt from PayPal and Braintree at the Samsung Developer Conference to see what's new, and what's to come.
New Android 5.0 Lollipop factory images for the Nexus 5, 7, 10 and 9
Android 5.0 Lollipop is upon us! The Nexus 9 tablet tablet has been on sale for a good while, but today the first Lollipop updates have started to become available for Nexus devices in the form of factory images. At the time of writing we're seeing Lollipop factory images for the Nexus 5, Nexus 7 (Wifi-only, 2013 + 2014 models) and Nexus 10 over on the Android Developers site. There's also an updated build for the Nexus 9 — LRX21Q.
As always, Android 5.0 updates will filter to Nexus and Google Play edition devices automatically in the coming weeks for those who don't manually update.
However if you don't want to wait to update your Nexus phone or tablet, the good news is that manually updating your device is relatively easy. All you'll need is your Nexus, an unlocked bootloader, a little bit of command line knowledge. We'll walk you through the process after the break.
Work on your swing and technique with modern technology
We've seen fitness trackers, but what about a connected tennis tracker? Babolat's Play Pure Drive is a connected tennis racket that gives you more information on your tennis skills than you could ever imagine, and we've had a chance to use it here at SDC 2014. Working with its massive experience in making tennis rackets, the Babolat Play Pure Drive feels and plays the same as its other high-end rackets but gives you buckets of data after your training session or competitive match for analysis.
TwoDots, the minimalist puzzle game from developer Playdots, has made its way to Android. The game is free to play with in-app purchases and offers up 135 engaging levels located in environments stretching from arctic tundras to the depths of the ocean.
Behold, Android 5.0 Lollipop has started its long-awaited deployment to Nexus devices. Grab your Nexus, be it a Nexus 5 or a Nexus 7, or perhaps even the new vanguard the Nexus 9, and check thee for an update. It might be there, it might not. But it's coming, starting now.
Samsung announced that it will release a Premium Edition of its Galaxy Note Edge. While the launch is limited to Germany and the promotional period will last through the end of the year, users in other regions have nothing to worry about as the Galaxy Note Edge Premium Edition bundle contains the exact same Galaxy Note Edge that will launch elsewhere, just with more accessories in the box, a privilege that will cost potential owners 899 euros.
An update to Chrome for Android — version 39.0.2171.59, to be specific — is rolling out now onto Google Play. It might not hit or be available on your device immediately, but it's coming. Google likes to roll things out nice and slow, just in case something breaks.
Here's what's new in Chrome 39:
Faster browsing with support for preloading pages in the background
Samsung has launched the beta of its Smart Home SDK, first unveiled back in September at IFA 2014. The SDK allows appliances developed with it to be controlled from Samsung Smart TVs and smartphones. The beta is currently available for device developers, as well as service partners.
Google is expanding its voice search today to third-party apps thanks to a new update to the Google Search app for Android. Initially rolling out first to devices with Android Lollipop, like the Nexus 6 and the Nexus 9, the Search app also introduces a visual makeover with Material Design as well as a new Google Now card that reminds you to get on task to finalize plans that you've penciled in earlier.
Samsung has introduced a number of new tools for developers at the second-annual Samsung Developers Conference, including a new platform and SDK around health. Samsung Digital Health (SDH) and allows for the tracking of personal fitness data, including activity, food consumption, and workouts. They are also providing an open hardware reference design, the Simband, which can integrate a number of advanced sensors.
The weird and wacky saga of SMS on Android continues to get weird and wacky with today's release of the new Messenger app into Google Play. The free app handles SMS and MMS duties and only SMS and MMS duties, though with more than a bit of Material Design flair. First there was Messaging, Google Voice, and Google Chat; then there was only Hangouts, and now there's two again.
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