Lighter Play appearance, streamlined payments
Google has updated its app store with a new visual style, and is rolling it out to Android tablets and smartphones from today. Previously leaked by a YouTube employee, the fourth generation of the Google Play Store uses cards reminiscent of Google Now's own, as well as a clearer layout for easier navigation, with products being displayed with much larger images than before.
Google+ now allows direct Android app installations
Google has added the ability to post direct links to Android apps in timelines on its Google+ social layer, allowing users to share favorite apps and games. Users can take advantage of the feature by pasting the URL of the app they wish to share. From there, Google+ will automatically embed the app and give viewers the option to install or buy the app.
Play Store also gets Wish List feature
Google is taking steps to address the malware problem in its Play Store, building in a feature that will scan apps for connections to known malware and viruses. This according to an Android fan site that has performed an APK teardown on a new version of the Play Store app. In addition to the malware scanner, the search company is also thought to be integrating a Wish List feature, which would work alongside a developing Play Store gift card feature.
Google posts advice for tablet app developers
Google is looking to improve the app ecosystem for tablets running its Android operating system, and the company has posted a checklist to help developers make tablet-optimized apps. In a post today on the Android Developers Blog, Google linked to a checklist laying out best practices for developing Android tablet apps. Google will also continue to highlight notable tablet apps in an effort to increase downloads and revenues for developers making those apps.
Recommendations based on downloaded content
Google's Play Store app market received an update recently, adding a feature that recommends apps, movies, music, and magazines based on what a user has already downloaded. Exactly when the feature debuted isn't certain, as Google rolled out the new feature without fanfare, but reports have the feature showing up and disappearing several times over the last few weeks. It now appears, at least in the United States, to be a permanent feature of Google's app and media repository though.
600 percent jump in downloads since Nexus 7
Popular app Instapaper has seen an increase in downloads since the release of Google's Nexus 7 tablet two weeks ago. The new tablet from Google and Asus has become the most popular device for the program, according to Instapaper's internal numbers.
BlackBerry PlayBook to drop sideloading in update
RIM is dropping app sideloading support from the BlackBerry PlayBook in a bid to prevent the problems that have plagued Android, the company's Developer Relations VP Alec Saunders stated earlier in the week. The company would have a "solution" for developers to do it in testing, but the end user would have to go through BlackBerry App World, much like Apple does with the App Store. He believed Android had a rampant problem with piracy, where about a quarter of material was pirated.
Instagram queues up first Android users
Instagram chose Saturday to post a sign-up page for its long-awaited Android port. While it's not clear if the page is to register for early access or just for a notification, visitors are encouraged to give an e-mail address to be "first in line." No clues were given as to when the app itself would show or its features.
Helicopter piloted by mobile devices
Griffin today shipped the latest generation of its Android- and iOS-guided remote control helicopter. The Helo TC Assault craft is maneuvered using an app running on a smartphone, tablet or even an iPod touch (free, App Store, Google Play Store). The new version earns its name from firing toy missiles from two spring-loaded launchers.
Dev explains why paid Android apps ruled out
Indie game developer Retro Dreamer in a post Tuesday highlighted a wider-reaching problem with Android app sales. The company declined having any paid app on Android as the way the Google Play Store (Android Market) was inherently much more complex than it was on Apple's App Store. Google's Wallet system (replacing Checkout) treated each sale as though it were a sale direct to the customer; the process made it difficult for a small developer to even consider supporting other countries, since they had to account for every country's individual rules, such as European or even US state taxes.
Android media and YouTube divisions at odds
Google's difficulty competing with Apple in media may be a virtue of problems with its own internal culture based on investigations brought to light on Tuesday. CNET understood that executives behind Google's VP of global content, Robert Kyncl, complained that the content strategy was "fragmented" and working in separate directions. Content partners have complained both that Google's actual content lagged Apple's and that the Android and YouTube teams didn't appear to be coordinating with each other.
Instagram on Android briefly shown at SXSW
Instagram's co-creator Kevin Systrom used a presentation at South by Southwest's technology conference to show the Android version of the company's app. Currently in a closed beta, it will support multiple screen resolutions and should run very quickly. Although shy on what it meant, he hinted that there would be some features that the iOS edition was so far lacking, if not permanently going without.
Google Play Store sees exec shuffle
Google's transition to the Google Play store has also seen a management shakeup that could be a sign of taking its Android app market more seriously. The store's lead, Eric Chu, was said by TechCrunch to have stepped down. Jamie Rosenberg, Android's digital content lead and key Google Music persona, would take his place.
Google douses fire surrounding in-app purchases
Google hoped to quell controversy on Friday over its decision to steer developers to Google Wallet for Android Market (Google Play Store) title's in-app purchases if. It noted to TechCrunch that the policy had been in effect since March 2011. There wasn't any change of heart, it said, implying that any activity was just enforcing an existing policy.
Google may pull apps not using Wallet payments
Google is reportedly taking an Apple-like approach and pushing Android developers to use only its own payment system, multiple sources contended Thursday. Developers have told Reuters they were warned that, to stay on the Google Play Store (Android Market), they had no choice but to use Google Wallet for paid apps. Their titles would be pulled if they kept using PayPal or alternatives.
Google brings back Play and Wallet for some
Google has sorted out a pair of significant glitches with Android content on Thursday. A new version of the Google Play Store is being pushed out over the air to fix an issue that broke links for Motorola users. While the store had always remained in place, it forced users both to contend with broken links and hunt for the app separately.
Archos G9 first to get sweeping Android 4 patches
Archos used Thursday to roll out Android 4.0 upgrades to its G9 tablets (PDF). All 80 G9 and 101 G9 models should start getting the new firmware over-the-air. Archos' implementation adds unique touches besides what Google brings to the platform, such as 1080p video and automatic subtitle downloads for many formats, 3D MKV videos, file manager and remote control apps, and USB Ethernet adapter support.