Besides a bevy of new features, Android's update to 4.4 brought forth a ton of tweaks to the interface through GEL launcher and a fresh round of updated stock apps. There's little doubt Android's user experience and overall design paradigms are continuing to evolve, becoming more refined, usable, and useful. We covered most of the changes to the interface in Getting to Know Android but, as with any major update, new changes come with new opportunities for error.
At this point in my life, a solid 70% of everything I've ever said resides on Google's servers somewhere. If the company were to ever close its doors, those words would be lost to history. But that's about to change. Google's rolling out the ability to easily download a copy of your Gmail and Calendar data, so you can migrate it to another service when the unthinkable - or the inevitable - happens.
If you've ever looked at your Android keyboard and though, "Man, that thing is just too opaque," then this is a big day for you. Fleksy keyboard has left beta and is available for download in Google Play. This alternative input method uses aggressive autocorrect and gestures to do away with much of the keyboard UI – even making it completely transparent.
Fleksy seems to be one of those things that either works for you, or doesn't – Not a lot of middle ground.
Traditionally word processors have tasked themselves with producing nice, printable documents. Mobile versions have followed up with the unenviable task of replicating this functionality on much smaller screens. Quip throws this entire concept out of the window, instead creating a writing experience built for the ground up for mobile devices. The team released an alpha version over the summer, but it was little more than a demo of the iOS version of the app.
The PlayStation Network has become a surprisingly rich source of ports for the Google Play Store. Take Dokuro: it's a beautiful 2D platformer that turned more than a few heads when it premiered as a downloadable title for the PS Vita last year. Now it's available on Android for a single buck, and if you're a fan of platformers with both creative gameplay and gorgeous visuals, you should definitely check it out.
Google's rolling out an AdSense update for its Android app that should provide a better experience for monitoring your revenue stream on the go. Version 2.0 introduces an enhanced interface, one that presents new information in a more visual manner. And don't worry, the widget introduced in the last release is still intact.
One of the problems with the pricing structure of American carriers is that people who buy their phones outright don't get any kind of break on the service plans themselves, giving people fewer incentives to get away from subsidies. T-Mobile has addressed this (by essentially throwing out subsidies all together), but today AT&T fires back with the new Mobile Share Value Plan. Basically it's a $15 discount if you buy a phone unsubsidized, including the new AT&T Next plans, or if you've already paid off your on-contract device.
Android 4.4.1 is scheduled to roll out to the Nexus 5 over the next couple of days, and when it arrives, expect an improved picture-taking experience. In an interview with The Verge, David Burke, Google's Director of Engineering for Android, confirmed what we already knew, that the Nexus 5 takes longer to focus than it should. In an effort to produce a higher-quality image, the team opted to "make the shutter time longer, reduce the gain even longer, and get better shots." This resulted in slower-than-expected shooting speeds, a drawback the next version of Android is aimed at fixing.
Yarr, matey. Are ye ready to set sail for adventure and plunder on the waves? Assassin's Creed Pirates has arrived on Android as promised, and it's brimming with high seas adventure and impressive visuals.
You play a pirate captain searching for fame and fortune in the hulls of defeated enemies. The first vessel under your command is a modest one, but being a successful pirate will let you move up in the world.
Clash of Puppets may sound like it has a lot in common with Clash of Clans, but that's not the case at all. In fact, this game comes from a completely different developer. Clash of Puppets isn't a strategy game, nor does it have multiplayer options. Instead, Crescent Moon Games' latest title is a 3D platformer filled with plenty of hacking, loads of slashing, and even some blasting.
This isn't a 2D platformer with 3D visuals, but a top-down brawler with perhaps more combat than jumping.