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Enjoy your first taste of the new version of Android with this Android M wallpaper

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In case you didn’t know, Google I/O 2015 has kicked off today and there have been a whole number of announcements, not least of which has been the announcement of Android M, the next version of Android to be made available later this year. As part of their plan to give their loyal followers a taste of what’s to come, the Android M Developer Preview has been made available to a select number of Nexus devices (Nexus 5, 6 and 9 in particular). If you don’t currently own one of these devices, and still want to have your taste of Android M, you’re in luck because the very first Android M wallpaper has been dug up from the Developer Preview – you can check it out below (don’t forget to click through to the full resolution image):

Android M wallpaper

As you can probably tell, it’s a spruced up satellite photo that Google has no doubt captured while gathering Google Maps data, and we have to say it looks breathtaking. The resolution of the image is 2334×1920, which is kind of weird, but should still make it perfect for 1080p devices. Hopefully the rest of the Android M wallpapers are more of the same – we’ll let you know if and when more are made available.

What do you think about the first Android M wallpaper? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Droid-life

The post Enjoy your first taste of the new version of Android with this Android M wallpaper appeared first on AndroidSPIN.


Google’s Now on Tap makes Android M smartphones so much smarter

In no particular order, Google’s invading our living rooms, our extremities, our skies, and – curiously – our Android phones. No, really! By announcing Google Now on Tap during today’s I/O keynote, the company’s going all-in on the idea that a Google smartphone isn’t complete without the full power of the Knowledge Graph baked into it. And you know what? I think they’re right. Even after just a few moments messing around with it, I don’t ever want to use an Android device that can’t do what Now on Tap can.

Before we go any further, know this: You’re not going to be able to use this feature just yet. Holding down the home button on a device running the Android M preview yields a sad little pop-up proclaiming these go-anywhere Now information cards aren’t in this software build. At first I thought it was because there weren’t any updated apps that knew to pass along data to Now when I asked for it, but Google product manager Paige Dunn-Rankin kindly set me straight. App developers don’t have to do anything at all; Now parses the information on-screen and tries to surface relevant information like locations, reviews and definitions all on its lonesome. And you know what the crazy part is? Even now, in its nascent, not-even-closed to finish state, it’s amazing.

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Yes, you can the bet the demos on stage — asking what Skrillex’s real name was without actually saying his nom de gibberish — were rehearsed like crazy. Dunn-Rankin’s examples were a little more off the cuff, though. While looking up a Miles Davis record on Ebay, she invoked Now with a long press to reveal biographical information and links to his jaunty tunes on Spotify. Pressing and holding the home button while looking at an Instagram photo brought up its Yelp and Foursquare listings, not to mention a read on how far away we were from it. It works great with voice inputs, too, and the ability to infer the context of a situation is seriously impressive — you can finally speak naturally to Now, and it’ll respond naturally with (almost) exactly what you were looking for. Google’s been blurring the line between regular Android phones and ones that sort of double as helpful assistants since the days of the 2014 Moto X, which would rouse itself from slumber when you called for it, so today’s news is a step we all probably could’ve foretold.

Naturally, not everyone’s as thrilled as I am. Earlier in the day, my colleague Nicole Lee mentioned that the feature would “creep you out even more than before.” I completely disagree. Fine, there might be something initially unnerving about a system that tries to anticipate what you want, but mechanically, it’s not even close to weird. Google Now just looks at the context of a given situation faster than you can, and provides some very logical jumping off points. It’s not scary, it’s just scary efficient… though some would agree only a fine line divides the two.trydocument.getElementById(“fivemin-widget-blogsmith-image-238943″).style.display=”none”;catch(e)

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Filed under: Mobile



Google Photos cuts out Plus to make the app we really wanted

The most striking part of the just released (on the web, iOS and Android) Google Photos is how familiar it feels if you’ve already been using Photos in Google+, or before that, Picasa. The biggest change I noticed early on is that by separating Photos from its attempt to launch yet another social network, Google is starting focus on stuff that both benefits its users, and that it does well: cloud storage and using information to narrow down searches. Now, it’s a perfect fit for how most people use cameras everyday, from the ones in their phones to point-and-shoots (but maybe not your DSLR). With unlimited storage and machine learning that can link photos by the people in them or where they were taken it’s ready to make sense of your massive image library.

The tagline is “organized by what matters” and it refers to Photos ability to pull together geotagging information (if available) or just look at your pictures and figure out where they were taken by the landmarks in them. Most importantly, this information is private — Photos is a private library where you can curate and edit your pictures, and then share as needed. That said, it is creepily good at identifying people (you can turn that off in the settings), even if it doesn’t know who they really are. With my photos, it tracked pictures of my nieces as they grew over several years and still identified them accurately. According to the FAQ, it uses “face models” to group similar photos together. Its ability to ID objects wasn’t quite as good — apparently many of my shoes register as cars or buildings, but it was mostly on point.

One element I liked was its ability to create a sharable link to a picture, which you can then go back and kill later without deleting the photo, or just track which links have been created. Of course, it’s also ready to share pictures directly to services like Twitter and Facebook (or Google+) without a problem. A Google Now-like “Assistant” feature tips you off when the app is ready to build out a new collection or collage, and even has the familiar cards setup.

Many of the features that were introduced on Google+ are here too, like Auto Awesome that quickly tweaks images to look their best and highlight faces, create animations from a series of successive shots or automatically create Stories from a place or event. By pulling these features out of Google+, it makes them more logical to use even if the friends you’ll be sharing them to are on a different service. The usual light photo editing tools are also included, like cropping or adjusting levels.

Upon loading the new Photos app, users have an option to stick with using their Google Drive storage, or moving over to the new service and its promise of unlimited backups. By choosing the bottomless option, you’ll be limited to pictures at a maximum size of 16MP, and videos at 1080p, but that should be fine for most. It also implements some compression on your stored pictures, and while I didn’t notice any differences, it’s worth considering for those more serious about their pictures. If you want full-res backups that stay as RAW or TIFF files, you can use the Google Drive options for more space, like a 1TB service that costs $10 per month. On the other hand, if you’re just running out of space on your phone, the app can identify which photos you have backed up to the cloud and offer to delete them locally.

This is hardly the only way to back up your pictures. Apple has its revamped iCloud Photos setup for iOS and Mac, and Flickr recently added machine recognition to its unlimited storage picture service. Others like VSCO Cam are also options for photo editing and organizing. From what I’ve seen so far, Google has a better mix of tools that’s easy to use even for people who are casual about their pictures and works cross platform — I tried the app on an iPad and it was almost identical to the version on my Android phone. That’s not much help if your platform of choice is something else like Windows Phone, but hopefully Google fixes that — this gets better if it’s available in more places.

Bradley Horowitz, Google’s VP of Streams, Photos and Sharing says the point is to make its abilities so transparent they sink into the background, and on that front it has succeeded. The new Google Photos isn’t just easy to use, it’s unobtrusive and most importantly private by default. In our (overly) public, complicated and multifaceted digital lives, that’s refreshing.

Filed under: Internet, Mobile, Google


Source: Google Blog, Google Photos


Google show’s off Android Pay in new Pay Your Way video

Android Pay Your WayGoogle is very keen on showing off just how versatile Android Pay is, so they’ve released a new video demonstrating just a handful of things you can use to pay for with your phone. Everything from tuxedos to sodas out of a vending machine to general items at a convenience store are covered, and while we’re still going to have to wait to see retailers bake in support for Android Pay, the video makes it look pretty awesome.

Google announced Android Pay as a replacement for Google Wallet, and the service should be available at hundreds of thousands of stores. They service is paired with Visa, MasterCard, and American Express for easily adding in bank cards and credit cards. It should also make paying for things within applications a tiny bit easier, too.

For everything else that’s happened at Google I/O, be sure to check out our full coverage. You can check out the Pay Your Way video below.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Come comment on this article: Google show’s off Android Pay in new Pay Your Way video


Check out the Android Choir from Google I/O

Android_Chorus_Google_Japan_01Back in February, Google linked together 300 different smartphones and tablets to create an “Android Choir.” Each device had its own specific Androidify character singing a certain note, and when everything was played together it formed a song. It was a pretty cool display that really highlighted the variety of different hardware in Google’s mobile ecosystem.

At Google I/O, Google recreated the scene with 220 smartphones and 80 tablets, so anyone that missed the event in Japan originally had a chance to see it again. We’ve caught demonstration on video, so if you’re interested in seeing 300 Android devices make belt out some harmonies, check out the video below.

For everything else that’s happened at I/O 2015, check out our full coverage.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Come comment on this article: Check out the Android Choir from Google I/O


Google wants more Chromecast multiplayer games and autoplaying apps

Google has sold 17 million Chromecasts thus far, but it obviously wants to sell more and make the media player more valuable to current users at the same time. The company is releasing a bunch of new APIs that will allow developers to create even better apps, games and experiences. To start with, Mountain View is making it easier for them to tailor second-screen experiences for both iOS and Android. That could lead to more games that use phones as controllers (see above), as well as other types of apps like photo editors that place editing tools on smartphone displays.

Add that to the fact that the company’s also simplifying the process of creating multiplayer games, and you can expect more titles that can be navigated using iPhones and Android devices. Finally, Google is providing devs with the API to allow users to queue videos, the same feature already available for YouTube and Netflix on Chromecast. Even better, the second video in line will begin buffering even before the first ends for nonstop, no-downtime video binges.

Don’t miss out on all the latest news and updates from Google I/O 2015. Follow along at our events page.

Filed under: Home Entertainment, Google


Source: Google Developers


Android Pay will arrive with Android M, handle payments via NFC

Google Wallet has been a mainstay for quite awhile on the Android operating system, but today, Google announced its replacement. Android Pay will be the successor to Google wallet, which is “the simple and secure way to pay with your Android phone.” Android Pay brings together a unified ecosystem, bringing together mobile carriers, payment networks, banks, and retailers.

Android Pay will be available to pay in stores (listing below) by placing your Android device near the merchants contactless terminal.There is no need to open an app, it’s as easy as tap and go. Once a payment goes through, a notification will pop up and will give you a payment confirmation and all the transaction details.

One neat feature of Android Pay, is the ability to connect to loyalty programs effortlessly through your smartphone. For select retailers, Android Pay will keep track of your rewards. For example, when you use tap and go at a Coke machine, it will automatically be applied to your MyCokeRewards.

Lastly, not only can you purchase in brick in mortar stores, you can use Android Pay within applications as well. Once in checkout, just select “Buy with Android Pay” and Google handles the rest. This is an excellent way to make sure your in-app purchases are secure and safe.

Speaking of safety, Google has partnered with American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa, and many others to keep your personal and financial details under wraps. They are setting the industry standard for tokenization and it will be ready when Android Pay launches later this year with Android M.

The full Android Pay compatiblitiy includes over 700,000 store locations and over 1,000 Android apps, and they will continually be adding more every day. Here are a list of the major ones.


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The post Android Pay will arrive with Android M, handle payments via NFC appeared first on AndroidGuys.


Google Play is booming: 1 billion active users and counting


The digital storefront that Google uses to sell applications, games, television shows, movies, and music from is showing no signs of slowing down. Today, at the company’s I/O 2015 keynote, it seemed like Google wanted to focus on statistics. Chromecast reached 17 million units sold and Android Wear hit 4,000 apps. For Google Play, the milestone is 1 billion active users. Within the last twelve months, users of the Play Store have performed around 50 billion installations.

There are a lot of people installing a lot of content from Google Play.

Check out our complete Google I/O 2015 coverage

Come comment on this article: Google Play is booming: 1 billion active users and counting


Hands on with Project Tango at Google I/O 2015


One of the projects Google has been working on long term is Project Tango, a technology designed to replicate the way we sense the three dimensional world on a computer device. Google has been using a tablet to pack in sensors and cameras that feed the Project Tango software. The end result is an ability to create a digital map of the world on three dimensions.

Google notes that this technology could be used for mapping buildings for use by others who cannot be present in the building or for something a little less serious, like gaming. Given the virtually “live streaming” speed that the software can map a space, Google could also use it for applications that need the ability to sense the world in real-time – think driverless cars or maintenance bots in space.

TalkAndroid got to spend some hands on time with the latest version of Project Tango at Google I/O 2015. Check out the video below and then look back at Google I/O 2014 to compare where the technology was a year ago.

Be sure to continue to watch TalkAndroid for more coverage from Google I/O 2015.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Come comment on this article: Hands on with Project Tango at Google I/O 2015


Burned out retinas rejoice as Android M has dark theme


If you are one of the Android fans who is irked by the extensive white screen real estate used by the operating system, Google has a little treat in store for you when Android M is finally released. Developers already poking into the new operating system have discovered Google has added a new dark theme.

Currently the setting for a theme is buried in the Developer Settings and appears to only work on the settings screens. However, we have seen how Google’s Material Design is able to change colors for several screen elements in Android L already, so it is not a stretch to see themes extend to the whole operating system.

For now, in addition to the new dark theme, Google also included an Automatic setting that will switch the theme based on the device’s clock.

Stay with us for more Google I/O 2015 coverage.


source: ArsTechnica

Come comment on this article: Burned out retinas rejoice as Android M has dark theme


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