This Week In Android: Nov 18th – 24th

Do you feel “Scroogled” and want to show it with a range of trendy-as-ever Microsoft-branded clothing? Or are you more of a quiet type who simply wants all their subscriptions to be tied together in a single app that bears an identical name to the iOS service that does a similar job? This week’s for you so let’s dive in and take a look at what’s been going on in Mountain View!


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Android’s New Camera API

Reports from Josh Brown (via Ars Technica) suggest that Google is working on a new API for Android cameras. The new API was discovered within Google’s public Android code but was removed about a month before the release of KitKat with the tag “Not yet ready.” suggesting it could be destined for a future release instead.

The Nexus 5 didn't bring any blockbuster camera features.

The Nexus 5 didn’t bring any blockbuster camera features.

Documentation of the API details the changes, which is said to include support for RAW camera sensor image formats rather than the common use of compressed JPEGs. The API also mentions face detection at the core OS level (rather than added on later by OEM skins), burst mode shooting and support for removable cameras.

Glass Development Kit Preview

Google this week offered a sneak peek at the Glass Development Kit, or GDK, for producing apps on Google Glass.

Differing from the Glass Mirror API, the GDK allows apps to run offline, get a “real-time user response” independent of communicating with the cloud and direct access to the Glass hardware, such as access to the GPS.

A golfing Glass app running on Google's new GDK.

A golfing Glass app running on Google’s new GDK.

Google announced five new Glassware apps that are powered by the GDK too, including World Lens, an app that translates text you can see, and Strava for Glass which tracks runs or bike rides.

Google Wallet Card

Google have launched the long-anticipated physical Google Wallet Card, a tangible debit card that offers an alternative to the Google Wallet app. Users who have the card will be able to make payments wherever MasterCard is accepted, both online and in physical retail.

The Google Wallet debit card.

The Google Wallet debit card.

The card is free and can be ordered from an updated version of the Google Wallet app for Android that has begun rolling out this week. Unfortunately, however, the card is only available in the United States.

Other Updates

  • Samsung has revealed they have shipped 800,000 units of their Android-powered Galaxy Gear smartwatch to retailers in two months.
  • Motorola has begun rolling out an update to Android 4.4 KitKat for owners of the Verizon Moto X, three weeks after its initial launch with the Nexus 5. The 4.4 update has also begun rolling out for devices running on T-Mobile and AT&T.
  • Google’s Nexus-branded wireless charging pad for the Nexus 4, Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 is now available in the US and Canada for $49.99.
  • In a further push of their anti-Google “Scroogled” campaign, Microsoft has opened a new section of their store offering mugs and various items of clothing baring their parody logo or an anti-Chrome rhetoric.

Stay subscribed to Android.AppStorm for another installment of This Week in Android next Sunday!