Apple has released an update to the Apple Music app for Android today, bringing with it support for those subscribers with Family Plans as well as support for playing music videos within the app. The update brings it more inline with Google Play Music for Android as the streaming music and video content battle (not really a war – yet) continues to heat up between the two tech giants. Google has had Google Play Music for iOS for some time.
Google’s commitment to security on Android is taking on a new angle. They are making huge strides making the platform and apps running on them more secure. To that end, Google has announced a new Google Play App Security Improvement Program which will not only point out security issues with apps that are published to the Google Play Store. Not only will they point out security issues with an app being uploaded into the store by a developer, they have a whole set of security tips for developers to implement in their apps.
The gulf of quality between the low end Chromebook devices and the high end Google Pixel is huge. Most Chromebooks are under $350 but if you want a metal body device with a high end specs, you are going to have to shell out a thousand dollars for a Pixel. That gulf has been bridged a bit today with the announcement from Google and HP for the new HP Chromebook 13 G1. This mid-market device starts at $499 and while you can go up to $1000 for the top end, the entry level device is nicely spec’d for the price.
The Chromium team has released a security update for Google Chrome for Windows, Mac and Linux that users of the browser will want to get installed quickly. The new build is version 50.0.2661.94 and it is already rolling out to those who use the browser. If you have the browser installed, you can go to chrome://help and your browser will automatically start the download for you.
Microsoft has quietly rolled out updates to the Office suite apps Excel, PowerPoint and Word for Android today, bringing a few product enhancements and tweaks to each app. For those of you who use and have the apps on your phone or tablet, the OTA updates are in the Google Play Store now and should be hitting your devices over the course of the next few days. With these update, each app has gotten a bit of attention when it comes to new features or improvements to existing features.
There is a new update that is rolling out to OnHub devices today that brings the first step in IoT and automation support. The update is a firmware update on the device itself (although there is an update to the Android app too) that brings support for IFTTT. IFTTT stands for If This, Then That and there is now a dedicated OnHub channel on the site so you can automate and control devices and events in your house. It’s the first step for Google’s smart home functionality that the OnHub is built for and it is probably the first step of many in this process.
Google Photos for Android has an update rolling out in the Google Play Store right now that brings with it a lot of small but important design tweaks to improve the overall user experience. The update you are looking for is build 1.19 for those keeping score at home and when you get it, you will notice the biggest change immediately. Gone is the blue Search button at the bottom of the screen while a search bar, much like that in Google Play Music, is at the top of the page.
AT&T is joining T-Mobile in shutting down their 2G network over the course of 2016. The announcement came from AT&T CFO John Stevens in an article in Wireless Weekly. According to the report, AT&T has already started the process of re-purposing their 2G spectrum for faster LTE service in areas where 2G usage has dropped off. The plan is to have this complete by the end of the year.
After being available only from Nextbit directly, the Nextbit Robin has finally come to Amazon. The phone is available for the same price of $399 and it is available in both colors, Midnight Blue and Mint and has the full US warranty as well. Basically this will give you the option to buy it on Amazon if you do a lot of shopping with the online retailer and want to get it fast thanks to it being Prime eligible.
After teasing the update last month, Nextbit has released the big update to the Nextbit Robin that brings a slew of improvements and updates. The update is rolling out now as an OTA update and should hit all devices out there over the course of the next few days. The banner part of the update is, of course, Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 and the update includes the April security update as well so you are getting the latest-and-greatest version of Android on the device.
Google Calendar has an update rolling out today that will make finding common meeting times with your co-workers much easier and faster. The update brings a new feature, Find a time, that will look at your calendar and the calendar of others you are inviting to a meeting to find an open time that works for everyone. The feature will only be available for those who use Google Apps for Work and Education which makes sense given that everyone would be in the same domain and calendars would be readable by the app.
Readers will know that I don’t post a lot about rumors because they are, well, rumors. But this one was just too good not share. It looks like we are going to see not one but two new Nexus devices coming from HTC, possibly as soon as next month at I/O. The rumor and support for it comes from Android Police and that team has a great track record for getting these types of rumors right. They did it 2014 and 2015 with the Nexus 6, 6P and 5X.