Download: Google Play 4.9.13 Rolls Out, Features New Design in Listings

A new version of Google Play began to rollout this afternoon as build 4.9.13. The update doesn’t initially look like that big of a deal upon first launch, but once you jump into an individual app, book, album, or movie listing, you will immediately know that this is pretty major. The individual listings all appear to be designed with Material Design in mind. There are beautiful sliding animations, big imagery, and an overall cleaner layout.

We will have an overview video of the changes coming in a minute, but for now, get to downloading.   (more…)

Amazon Wallet App Hits Google Play, Stores Gift and Reward Cards

Within the last week, Amazon snuck their new Amazon Wallet application onto Google Play and the Amazon Appstore. The app, which will be featured on the Fire Phone, stores gift, reward, and loyalty cards, so that you can access them at any time without actually holding the card. Once scanned into the app, you can bring cards up as barcodes or QR codes for using at merchants. With “supported” merchants, you can even check  gift cards balances, similar to what the latest Google Wallet update offers.

This is not a mobile payment app.  (more…)

Twitch for Android Updated to Version 3.0, Adds Enhanced UI and Expanded Search

An update has been pushed to Google Play for Twitch users, one which brings an enhanced UI, more features for finding your favorite broadcasters, and a new chat section which keeps you in touch with streamers.

Upon opening the app, users are met with almost every game they could ever want to watch livestreamed, led off by the most popular. Once on a channel, you can subscribe to the broadcaster, as well as join the chat channel, allowing you to chat with fellow Twitch users and the broadcaster themselves.  (more…)

Samsung Reminds iPhone Users That They Have Been Waiting Years for a Bigger Screen

Samsung, in its latest ad targeted directly at iPhone owners getting excited about the larger display that has been rumored to finally arrive in the next phone from Apple, took the chance to remind those users that it has been at least two years now without that display, and yet a bigger, better display was right in front of them this whole time. Of course, Samsung is talking about the display in the Galaxy S5 or a number of other Galaxy products.

I think we will all laugh when Apple revolutionizes the big display. As Samsung points out, it will likely be “awesome” and “blow your mind.”

What Hummers?  (more…)

Google Talks Android L Preview Features, Can’t Promise Updates Though

On Friday, the Android team’s Rich Hyndman took to the Google Developer YouTube channel to run through some of the new features introduced in the Android L developer preview. Most of this stuff we covered in a series of Android L feature posts, but for developers, the clip was a good refresher for the new goodies that can be taken advantage of. Rich talks everything from notifications to the new camera API to Material Design to the devices that the L preview is available on(more…)

Google Maps 8.2.0 Adds Bicycle Elevation, Voice Actions in Navigation

A Google Maps update to version 8.2.0 showed up last night and actually includes new goodies for you to look forward to. Once updated, you will find that bicycle directions now include elevation and a comparison of elevation between multiple routes to get you to a destination with less strain. You will notice that the profile button in the search bar has been replaced by a voice actions button, with the profile information moving into the slideout menu under a “Your places” section. (more…)

Android Wear Watch Face API Coming Soon

Perhaps Android Wear’s most important point of customization is the watch face. It’s a little surprising, then, that Wear doesn’t yet have an API for watch faces, meaning developers who have so far released custom watch faces have had to work around limitations of Wear’s most recent iteration.

That’s changing, though, perhaps not nearly fast enough. Google’s own Wayne Piekarski announced on Google+ that an official API is in the works, due out “soon.”  (more…)