Apple may have dominated the headlines yesterday thanks to the launch of the Apple Watch, the new MacBook, HBO NOW for Apple products, and refreshed MacBook Air and Macbook Pro models. But today belongs to Google Android.
Folks are discovering new features in Android 5.1, releasing new apps for Android, and expanding sales of Android phones.
There’s also a report suggesting some big new features are coming to Android Wear smartwatches.
- Report: Next Android Wear update will bring WiFi support
You’ll reportedly be able to get notifications and use other features even when your device isn’t paired with a smartphone. Other new features may include support for gestures such as wrist flicks, and user interface tweaks. [The Verge]
- Latest beta of Nova Launcher for Android includes material design
The home screen app is still basically just a desktop and app drawer… but now all the settings, pop-ups, and other elements use material design. [+Kevin Barry]
- Popular Android podcast app Pocket Casts updated to include Material Design
Personally I’m a BeyondPod user, but I know a lot of folks love Pocket Casts… partly because it’s historically had one of the best user interfaces. Now it’s been updated to make use of the latest Android design language. [Google Play]
- I’d feel better about this Ubuntu tablet that’s supposed to ship in April if I’d ever seen a real-life picture of it
On paper a tablet with a full HD display, an Intel Atom processor, Android or Ubuntu software, an SSD and hard drive, and a starting price of $379 sounds great. But after a failed Indiegogo campaign last year I’d be wary of giving money to a company that is only showing renderings of the tablet instead of actual products. [UbuTab]
- Chrome OS dev channel adds support for opening password-protected ZIP files
OK, this one’s not about Android… it’s about Google’s other operating system. [+François Beaufort]
- OnePlus One is now available in all European Union countries
The good news is that you can now pick up this buzz-worthy phone with high-class specs and a mid-range price in Europe. The bad news is you’ll still need to place an order on the one day each week when the phone is actually on sale unless you have an invitation. [OnePlus]
- Looks like Google is working on some sort of multi-window features for Android
The feature may not have made it into Android 5.1, but it looks like someone at Google is working on bringing support for multiple windows to Android. Samsung and other companies already have their own multi-window features for Android devices, but it’s not yet built into the core operating system. [/r/Android]
- Android 5.1 SDK and emulator now available
Hot on the heels of the Android 5.1 source code, there are new APIs for developers and an updated software developer kit and emulator image. [Android Developers Blog]
- This is how I updated my Nexus 5 to Android 5.1 and re-rooted it without waiting for an OTA update
Don’t feel like waiting for an OTA update and don’t want to perform a factory reset? These steps will walk you through the update process. Proceed with caution: there’s plenty of room for something to go wrong. [xda-developers]
Oh, and in case you missed it earlier, here’s a video showing some of the new features of Android 5.1: