This Week in Android: Aug 12th – 18th

Google Glass and Moto X fans, this is your week once again. Stories this week include updates to everyone’s favourite Google-made wearable computer, new accessories for the Moto X flagship smartphone from Motorola and some Nexus 7 defects thrown into the mix. Let’s take a look!

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Google Glass Gets Updates

Google Glass, the company’s upcoming widely available wearable computer, has received a new update for the month of August, bringing new voice commands and a number of new Google Now cards.

The update to voice commands introduces new phrases that can be utilised by third-party apps rather than just Google’s own, bringing support for unique, proprietary phrases which should allow you to use Google Glass with the services you use on your other devices. Google says this is just the start though, with more third-party voice support on the way in the future.

Another month, another update.

Another month, another update.

The update also introduced new Google Now cards for local emergency alert, reminders of upcoming reservations and times for cinema showings. Updates on the existing traffic, weather and sports cards bring new information too.

Google’s also rounded the month off with improvements to the video player, allowing users to pause, play and navigate through video using the touch controls on the Glass hardware.

Nexus 7 Complaints

Google and Asus’s 2013 Nexus 7 is not entirely defect-free, if recent claims are to be believed. Users of the newly-released tablet have complained of lag, malfunctioning GPS, and non-user-actioned multitouch inputs seemingly from nowhere. On the GPS issues, Google says it’s investigating.

The 2013 model of Nexus 7 was launched in June to much anticipation and is due to roll out to the UK on August 28th.

Moto X Accessory Lets Users Bypass Lock Screen

Motorola unveiled this week a new accessory for the Moto X. The Skip is a $20 accessory that uses NFC to allow Moto X owners to swipe their phone to unlock, bypassing the need for entering a passcode or pattern to unlock the device.

The Moto X's Skip accessory will be available in a variety of colours later in the year.

The Moto X’s Skip accessory will be available in a variety of colours later in the year.

For your $20, Motorola will give you a wearable clip-on tag that can be attached to your clothing for easy unlocking on the go. You’ll also get three “dots” that can be fixed to a permanent location such as your desk. Currently, the accessories are only available with compatibility for the Moto X, not Motorola and Verizon’s new lineup of Droids.

The Skip is available for $20 from Motorola or, for “a limited time”, free to those who customise their device through the Moto Maker customisation software. You’ll have to settle with gray for now, but additional colours are due in the coming months.

Other Updates

  • Yahoo! released its redesigned weather app for Android this week. It’s available for free through Google Play.
  • An update to Google+ for Android was released this week, bringing access to Google Drive and improved location sharing options, amongst other changes. The update is available for free on Google Play, where a full changelog is available.

Check in next week for an up-to-date look at the week in Android.