New: 92% Off Android O App-Building Masterclass

Last week we brought you a great deal on a web developer tutorial by the formidable Rob Percival. Well we’re excited to see that another of the renowned coder’s top courses is on offer this week – The Complete Android O Developer Course.

You probably use Android apps all the time, especially if you’re visiting us here at Android Authority. We all know how handy these apps are; what Rob will demonstrate is that they’re actually easy to make. Even better, he’ll show you how to monetize them.

Next stop, that money-spinning idea

Over the course of 37 hours of premium instruction Rob will take you through a host of app-building technologies, including the likes of Firebase, MySQL, and Bluetooth. Even beginners will have no problem following the former teacher’s accessible style.

By the end of The Android O Developer Course you’ll have built 23 diverse apps in the latest generation of Android operating system. If you’re worried these won’t necessarily be real-world, here’s some examples of apps you’ll clone:


We told you it was easy. Next stop, that money-spinning idea you’ve been discussing with your buddies down the bar (‘Find my Drone’ anyone?).

Right now there’s a staggering 92% off this masterclass, so while the offer lasts, you can get lifetime access for just $15. For the price of a pizza, it’s gotta be worth a look.

At the time of writing the deadline isn’t far off, so to take advantage while you can hit the button below.

The AAPicks team writes about things we think you’ll like, and we may see a share of revenue from any purchases made through affiliate links. To see all our hottest deals, head over to the AAPICKS HUB.


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Pull to refresh can now be enabled in Google Chrome for Chromebooks and 2-in-1 Windows Laptops

Pull to refresh, a downward swipe gesture that refreshes in-app content, has made its way to a number of Android applications over the years. but it isn’t something we’ve seen on Chrome. That changed this week: the Chrome Browser on Chrome OS devices and Windows on 2-in-1 laptops gained a pull to refresh gesture.

We first heard that pull to refresh would be making its way to Chrome back in July 2017, thanks to an article from Chrome Unboxed. It was discovered in a merged commit in the Chromium Gerrit code review.

Back in July, the feature hadn’t been implemented yet, but it looks like that’s changed. Reddit user lucasban uploaded a short video to the /r/ChromeOS subreddit to demonstrate pull to refresh on the Google Pixelbook.

It’s available in the developer channel of Chrome OS and Chrome for Windows, but isn’t enabled by default. To get it working, you’ll need to toggle it via the hidden flag here: chrome://flags/#pull-to-refresh.

chrome os

There are reports of pull to refresh feature showing up in Chrome OS version 63 on the stable channel, but some have had a bit of trouble getting it to work. At least one user with a Samsung Chromebook Pro had luck by setting overscroll history (chrome://flags/#overscroll-history-navigation) to Simple with the pull to refresh flag enabled.

When it comes to multitouch gestures on Chrome OS, pull to refresh isn’t the only recent development. In January, Google added support for Direct Manipulation in Chrome, which lays the groundwork for smoother multitouch gestures on Windows laptops with Precision Touchpads. And this week, we discovered a commit suggesting that all new and existing Chromebooks will soon gain touchpad pinch-to-zoom support.

For a full list of multitouch gestures that Chrome currently supports, check out Google’s support page. It’s filled with tips that’ll help get you started.


Source: Reddit user lucasban

Here’s why Google should launch a game streaming service

Google has one of the biggest gaming platforms around, but historically it hasn’t really made games a real priority. That could all be changing soon. A few weeks ago, Google hired former Playstation and Xbox executive Phil Harrison as a vice president and general manager for its hardware division. Now The Information is claiming Google is working on a game streaming service, code named “Yeti.”

 

Phil Harrison

Editor's Pick

Many are speculating Google will enter the video game industry in a big way, though much of that is based on unconfirmed reports (The Information included). Thus far, Google’s taken a pretty hands-off approach to gaming on Android, but there are some good reasons why it might want to take a more active role in the game industry — here are a few.

It can finally expand Android to a wider audience in the living room

Android may be on the most smartphones and tablets, and Android apps are expanding more and more to Chromebooks as well, but the OS has still yet to make a huge push in the living room. Sure, there is Android TV and NVIDIA’s Shield TV set-top box, but there’s tons of competition for smart TVs, boxes and sticks.

If Google decides to launch a dedicated game streaming service, with exclusive high-end games rivalling or exceeding what you could play on game consoles or the PC, it could be the big push into the living room Android needs.

Google wouldn’t need to spend a lot of money to make this happen

Google already has most of the hard parts of this kind of console or service already covered. Android runs well on both Intel and ARM processors. It can work on nearly all types of hardware, including what powers high-end PCs and consoles. The Google Play Games API already offers developers plenty of support. Google’s hardware division is growing, adding more smart home products like its Google Home speakers, and it recently brought in the Nest team as well.

Launching a gaming-oriented streaming set-top box would certainly be in line with what Google is already doing to add in smart devices in the home. In a way, Google is trying what Microsoft failed to do. The folks in Redmond tried to get Windows on every device. It succeeded with the Xbox and PC, but failed in the smartphone and tablet spaces. Google has the mobile industry locked up with Android. Google Home is making inroads for its Google Assistant-based speakers. Even Chromebooks are taking away market share from Windows PCs (at least in the education market). The living room and the TV is really the only area lacking a meaningful Android presence, and a game console or service could bring it there.

Google already has the cloud server and streaming infrastructure

If Google is indeed working on a game streaming service, as The Information claims, the company’s already well positioned to do it. It is one of the biggest cloud server companies in the world, helping tons of businesses and industries with their cloud computing needs. In terms of streaming, look at the massive success of YouTube. The video streaming site has been hit in recent months over its content, but that has nothing to do with its impressive efforts at offering billions of video streams at once, 24/7.

If Google can take the lessons and technology gained from running YouTube, as well as the most recent launch of the YouTube TV live television service, and create a streaming service for games, it could truly enter the living room space Microsoft already has with the Xbox, and Apple wants to claim with the Apple TV.

Challenges for a possible Google game streaming service

There are plenty of good reasons for Google to get more involved in the video game industry, but that doesn’t mean it would be easy. There are some real obstacles to cross before launching a game-streaming service.

Previous Android game consoles have failed

Remember the Ouya? Or the Razer Forge TV? Android and Android TV-based game consoles have come and gone, and none of them gained much traction. Even the NVIDIA Shield TV, which is still available, is more of a video streaming device than a gaming console now. NVIDIA spent a lot of money porting PC games to the Shield TV, including the rebooted Tomb Raider game and more, and it still didn’t work. In fact, the company recently started selling the set-top box without its gamepad.

Attempts to bring Android-based game consoles to market haven’t had much success. This was in part due to weak marketing, but also because consoles made by Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo simply offered more of just about everything to both hardcore and casual gamers. If Google decides to bring out a game streaming service, it will not only have to compete with the Big Three consoles, but also overcome a history of failed Android products.

Current Game streaming services have also been mixed

You can stream video on set-top boxes like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and others, so why not with games? It’s a good idea that’s been very difficult to execute well. The biggest such player in this space is Sony, whose PlayStation Now service streams PS4 and PS3 games to its consoles, Windows PCs, some Blu-Ray players, and its Bravia smart TVs. Gamers can rent individual games to stream on PlayStation Now, or subscribe to the service to gain access to all of the 600 available games.

It only launched in 2015, but Sony revealed in 2017 its already shutting down Playstation Now support on every device but the PS4 and PC. Sony has not released any hard numbers on how many people have accessed PlayStation Now, but if it was a huge success, we’d probably hear about it more.

The other major game streaming service is NVIDIA GeForce Now, which streams a number of PC games to its Shield TV and Shield tablets. It currently is running betas of the same service for Mac PCs, and more recently for Windows PC. Once again, NVIDIA has not revealed just how many users have access this streaming service.

The success of these services depends mostly on the internet connection of the user, which may be why we have yet to see any achieve the kind of mass success as Netflix. Streaming games takes a lot more bandwidth. If Google is really working on such a service, it needs to understand how much of the experience is out of its control and figure out a way to account for that. As it exists now, game streaming still needs a better broadband infrastructure to really work, and we are just not there yet.

Conclusion

The bulk of this article is pure speculation. It’s very possible Google has some kind of skunk works project that will take the gaming industry by storm, as Microsoft did with its Xbox console (the first prototype was created inside Microsoft 20 years ago, if you can believe it), but we can’t know for sure. Hopefully we will learn what’s real and what’s just a rumor soon. Perhaps at the Game Developers Conference in March or the company’s own Google I/O conference in May.

One thing is certain, however: Google really, really wants to be wherever there are smart devices. Google Assistant is making a lot of inroads, but a game console or streaming service could be another way, especially if the company wants to keep attracting a young audience.

In the meantime we want to hear from you. What do you think about Google possibly entering the video game business in a bigger way?

Let us know in the comment’s below!

HTC lays off a large portion of its US team

HTC was once the darling child of Android, but it has been a long time since they had a financially successful phone launch. Despite making some of the best Android phones, they have been on a steady decline for at least a couple of years. Google recently acquired a large chunk of HTC employees from the hardware division. Unfortunately, HTC is still laying off a large portion of its US team.

According to sources at Digital Trends, HTC has laid off a majority of the US team. These are people that work exclusively in the US market. The only employees remaining in the US office are those that work for HTC Global. HTC released the following statement:

We have recently brought our smartphone and VR businesses under common leadership in each region. Today, we announced a restructure in North America for the HTC smartphone business that will centralize the reporting structure within the region. In doing so, there have been some employee reductions to align the businesses and empower the teams to share more resources.

This is bad news for HTC fans in the US and even worse news for all those who lost their jobs. It’s tough going in the smartphone industry right now if you’re not Samsung or Apple. Even LG announced plans to scale back their smartphone launches. Google is able to compete because they have cash coming in from many different areas. HTC is not so lucky.