We've talked a little already about Second Screen apps in the living room, and how they can make watching some of your favorite television shows even more entertaining. It's cool to have access to that extra information if you are a big fan, and as that experience grows and continues to take shape it'll be interesting to see just how much information we get from those experiences. While this setup is fun for TV shows, it's incredible for movies. Additional content for a TV show is nice, but all of our movies today come with hours and hours of additional content for viewers to enjoy. The advent of Blu-Ray has only made bonus content even more popular, and to take that experience one step further we've now got Second Screen apps to offer full immersion.
Google's Helpouts service is shutting down on April 20. The move comes nearly a year-and-a-half after Helpouts launched, aiming to bring together experts and people needing, well, help via Google Hangouts.
Google has been busy marketing Android with a series of TV ads, including some very entertaining ones with cute animals doing naturally cute things with each other. The latest Android commercial takes a different tack, with lots of handshakes, high-fives, fist bumps and more between two or more people
What do we want to see from the next HTC flagship?
We're reaching the time of year when new phones start to become available, and the first wave of 2015 flagships looks set to arrive at Mobile World Congress in just a few weeks time. Among the many announcements in Barcelona will be the next flagship phone from HTC, which we're assuming will be the HTC One M9.
This will be the third year of the HTC One series (or the fourth, if you include the One Xanditscontemporaries). Sure, the latest in HTC's line of flagship phones will be faster and more feature-filled than before, that goes without saying. But moving beyond the basic specs, there are a few things we'd like to see from the HTC One M9, based on our time with last year's M8.
Facebook has decided to have its app make all sorts of exciting sounds like "bleep" and "bloop" and "blop" when you do things. Like when you like a post. Or when you refresh the feed. Or when you leave a comment. It's annoying at best. (And heaven help you — and especially those around you — if you're on an already-bleep-bloop-blop-happy phone.)
The good news is it's easy to turn off — and you don't have to mute your entire phone to do it.
For developers that have utilized the in-app WebView component to display HTML content in their Android apps, we have good news: Google just launched a beta channel for said WebView. This means developers can now try out upcoming versions of the WebView and make adjustments to their apps and offer feedback to Google before it goes public — a welcome change from the olden days of having a new WebView behavior dumped on you with a new public release.
AT&T's added another tier to their Mobile Share Value data plans: 7GB for $75. Of course, that's just for the data, but if you're thinking about grabbing a new smartphone at the same time and go with AT&T's Next payment plan option for a new smartphone, they'll cut the $40 smartphone access charge down to just $15/month.
Google and Mattel are teaming up to relaunch the classic View-Master toy this fall as a virtual reality accessory for smartphones. It's based on the Google Cardboard design but still uses a version of the View-Master reels.
Samsung started its teaser campaign for "The Next Galaxy" today with a Twitter post and video that shows, well, very little. The teaser's setting everyone up for the official announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S6 that should come in just a few weeks at MWC 2015.
Sharing app links is easy — especially via Google+
Apps in Google Play are plentiful, and when you get right down to it, finding good apps can sometimes be a bit like finding a needle in a haystack, or a diamond in the rough. And diamonds are awesome, so you should share them with your friends when you find them. Sharing them on Google's own social platform Google+ is a little easier than most other platforms, but sharing your apps with the world certainly isn't hard, especially when you're doing it on your Android device.
The Fleksy Keyboard team has released an update on Android for the official app, bumping it to version 5.2. This latest release of Fleksy introduces numerous new features, including two extensions. Hotkeys are the ideal solution for things you find yourself typing often (hello, emoji!) and a new color pops wheel lets you really personalise your pops.
Instant for Android is an all-in-one tracking app that monitors your daily device usage, as well as fitness data and device unlock count. Want to know how many minutes you've spent on Facebook? Instant's app usage tab gives you an overview of time spent on each app.
Xiaomi has a lot of work to do before a U.S. launch, and it isn't in any rush
Xiaomi sold more than 50 million phones in 2014, has dozens of engineers and design staff and is followed by a gigantic diehard fan base. But unless you live in China or India, you probably don't know that much about it. Of course the more hardcore Android fans among us may have heard of that hard-to-pronounce smartphone maker, but many still haven't had a chance to see or use one of its phones.
With an invite-only press event Thursday in San Francisco, Xiaomi set out to introduce itself to the U.S. in hopes that it can create some Western interest in the company. After a two hour presentation bringing us up to speed with how Xiaomi operates and its lofty ambitions, the big takeaway for me was that it just isn't ready to break into this market ... yet.
Google Maps for Android has picked up support for lane guidance, a feature that tells you which lane you should be in before your next turn, in a whole slew of new European countries today, including Denmark, Portugal, Austria, Greece, and many more.
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