Consider this post proof of me delivering!
So first and foremost let's get some old news out of the way.
Some time back Google bought Songza.
For those unaware, Songza was a great app/site where you could listen to music for almost any given situation (waking up, working out, driving, etc.) that was hand picked by actual people and it was actually really good! Surprisingly so.
What came of that purchase? Nothing. Literally nothing changed about Songza or Google Play Music.
Yesterday, and I think you know where I'm going with this, a new apk was released and it was one some of us have been wanting for some time now. Can you guess what it is? You can't? Damn! Okay, I'll tell you. Google Play Music is now live with its official Material Design!
I'll do explanations where needed with some very lovely screenshots.
What you see right off the bat now is what the Songza purchase has brought to the table in Google Play Music. A few different choices to go with a given situation or mood.
Clicking on any given one then gives you a number of options to select from and then a handful of options from there for a given "station".
Overall it's very neat and I certainly had a pleasant time yesterday driving to run errands, despite the rain and three accidents that happened as I was passing through an area where once traffic goes to hell the "urge to kill rising" part of my brain just flips out. A very pleasant time. For once the idiots on the road did not grate on my nerves and Songza and Google Play Music are to thank for that.
Moving on from the new Songza inspired changes, you'll note numerous changes once you scroll down. Mostly in the presentation of what you were recently listening to or added and how "stations" now appear, as well as recommendations based on artists you have in your library or have listened to recently.
Overall the changes are actually surprisingly good and I'm in love with the update! It's not often an update drops out of nowhere and blows my mind, but all these little tweaks to now have done exactly that.
Onward and upward though.
What you see above is a screenshot of a station that was created per the Songza integration. Doesn't look bad, does it? Material Design strikes again and it is a doozy!
And what you see here is what I was listening to on the drive in to work this morning, something I uploaded to Google Play Music when it was online only, still in beta and required an invite from Google to join up. (Yes, naturally I signed up for beta access on day one and had my invite within no time. Google owns my soul and knows it and I'm okay with that.)
Last but not least is the way the Menu looks. Nothing has really changed here but watching that Slide Out button turn into that Arrow is still awesome. Freaking Material Design animations. They are lovely!
So I've shown and told and I'm sure by now some of you are thinking, "I want it. I want it now." Well, here you go. Click on "Download" (which is the option on the right) and you'll have the apk in no time flat, install it on your devices and enjoy the updated app!
I did say treats, right? Well, check this out!
You know what that means, I got something else Material Design updated for you!
That my pretties is the Lollipop keyboard pulled from the latest Lollipop Developer Preview. It is glorious!
And it is now available for download for root and non-root users. One apk to rule them all. Go to that link, download it and install it as you would any other.
Once you've done all that go into Settings then Language and Input and check it, so you'll be able to use it, then fire up your texting app or what have you and long press on the space bar, make your choice there and Bob's your uncle.
Keeping in mind there are options as to its appearance and you can mess with those from the Settings for the keyboard by click on the right there (which can be seen in the screenshots).
You don't have to say it, I kick ass. Last game of the season and all.
But the day would not be complete without one last goodie for you all, even if your dentists might hate me later.
I bring you the look of Lolli...
Via an app that will get an intro first and pictures second.
This past week a developer whose work I've been a fan of for quite some time now had their Google Developer Account suspended. The reasons were stated and he appealed it and Google said "nope, sorry" and it was a sad day for both the developer and fans of his work.
Sometimes though we can't help but want to fly, even if we learn a lesson in the process.
This is sort of one of those times.
BrionicThemes will not be returning. [puts on hat and removes it memory of the fallen]
But the torch has clearly been passed and another developer has risen to take the place of one hell of a great and easily approachable developer, ICONIC Development.
I won't share a link for you to peruse on your own, at least not yet. Let me show you instead what has made me a fan since this guy came on the scene literally only days ago.
Random aside, you'll note the new Google Play Music icon at the top of my status barin the pic. That change came with the updated Google Play Music apk. : )
What you see in those screenshots are but a small sampling of this icon pack. It should also be noted that maybe half a dozen or so of my icons were unthemed, but I already sent in the request to theme them whenever the developer has a chance and pushes out the update that'll take care of those icons.
Looks nice, right? The moment I saw it I knew I had to have this icon pack.
What you have above is the app itself, from which you can see screenshots, apply the theme, change wallpapers (and icons, for those that have multiple versions) and request icons. Everything is all together in one package and easy to understand and mess with.
As for the icon pack itself, it is Lollicon Launcher Theme and goes for $1.99 in the Play Store. For those who know me as something other than bangishotyou, you'll be able to spot my review there too.
I will say this, there is only one negative review so far and I am very disappointed by it. If it was from anyone else I'd let it slide, but seeing it come from another Icon Pack developer (and a known one at that) it's a bit harsh and almost kind of dick. The listing is anything but misleading and if you think the icon pack consist of solely stock icons you either are blind, retarded or lying. There I said it. I for one vouch for this icon pack and the developer behind it, so take from that what you will. (I also say that as someone who used to buy icon packs from that other guy. I won't do so going forward. Knocking someone else's work is not a cool move in my book and I won't support someone who does that.)
It's a great icon pack though! Especially if you want to get the look of Lollipop on your device early (as far as the icons go, it doesn't theme your phone completely!). Toss in the Muzei support (so the wallpapers can change randomly between the different ones in the pack) and you've got a kickass bonus basically.
There is one more thing of course. : )
Android Wear 4.4W2 is slowly rolling out to devices. What is it or what does it do? It brings that offline music and GPS support!
EDIT: Before anyone wonders or has to ask, the watch seen in those pictures is not the Moto 360. It is the LG G Watch R. You'll note the fully round screen, as opposed to the "flat tire" look that a number of people have complained about with the Moto 360. Yeah, it's a fully round screen, but it comes with a price. Two actually. One the watch is not as sleek or as "thin" as the Moto 360, getting a fully round screen requires compromises mostly in the form of a larger bezel to hide the display drivers and it also drives up the price. Rumor has it that this device will be going for around $350 - $400. I don't have a response to that beyond "forget you" as far as even considering the G Watch R for myself or others. And yes, I had to link to that. I don't know why but I like that damn song and can be randomly caught singing it in the car. Judge away! But it's catchy and you know it!
I have digressed I know. Back to it though, basically you need the new Google Play Music apk and the update to hit your watch. Once you've got both you'll be able to download music you "pinned" (aka downloaded to your phone from Google Play Music) to your smartwatch. You can then listen to it via a Bluetooth headset. Nothing more, nothing less.
If you can afford them I highly recommend the JayBird BlueBuds X, they'll set you back a pretty penny but I have absolutely loved mine since I got them last Christmas. I can get through a full 8-hour work day on a full charge and they are noise isolating, not cancelling, which basically means I alone hear my music, loudly at that, and can just do my things as I work without forgetting I'm wearing headphones and having the computer rip them from my ears when I stand up. Goddamn do I love those headphones. (If anyone has some that are good and that they recommend feel free to say so in the comments. The more options for everyone the better I say.)
Android Police did a review on them too and came to pretty much the same conclusion as I did independently (how I'd missed that review the first time around I haven't a clue), buy these if you can.
And that, everyone, is all I have for you today. I may or may not update the post if any "holy hell, you all have to know this" news drops or any additional apks are released today. It being Google's day to update any apps of theirs (if they do at all that is).
EDIT: Snap, I totally forgot to mention that I lowered the price on my old Moto X over on Swappa. You can see it here.
Like I said before, I'll lower the price if anyone from the Odeck wants to buy it. Preferably outside of Swappa. Still have the receipt for it and everything, so the warranty is covered and good until February of next year. And since I hate PayPal with a passion, if anyone wants to buy it I'll take $200 from you guys/gals for it but it'll have to be through Google Wallet. (Cause fuck PayPal!) Leave a comment if you're genuinely interested and we'll figure out how to take things from there.
UPDATE! Google sent out a note to app developers (along with the Android 5.0 SDK)!
Translation: Lollipop is dropping on November 3rd, so those of you who have pre-ordered the new Nexus devices should have them in your hands by then and be partaking in that sweet Lollipop goodness!
Roll outs for the over-the-air (OTA) update for the Nexus 7 (2013) and Nexus 10 should start on that date as well.
I think the GIF you see here best sums up how we should all feel about this news.