Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got a gorgeous battery-based platformer, a semi-realistic 2D fighter, a micro-platforming title, a spinning puzzler, and a horribly violent/adorably cute sequel.
Now that most of the critical issues have been worked out of Android 5.0 Lollipop, most of the releases are now going to center around cleaning up less pressing oversights and taking care of bugs. However, it seems that we're still not quite through with the device-specific fixes as an update is now rolling out to the 2012 Nexus 7 (Wi-Fi), codenamed Grouper. No official changelog has been posted, but Al Sutton has compiled a list from the AOSP commits, giving us a pretty good insight into what's new.
Apex might be the last of the major launcher replacements to get aredesign for Android 5.0's visual style, but it certainly doesn't want to be the least. Apex's 3.0 update adds new Lollipop animations and a completely revamped visual style, making it more or less homogenous with Google's own launcher, but with the range of settings and tweaking options that customization fans crave. You can download the standard Apex Launcher for free, with the $4 upgrade app available for more options.
Duolingo, perhaps the best app for language learning on the Android platform, has added yet another option for prospective students: the native tongue of PewDiePie, Swedish. With the latest update, Swedish joins recent additions Irish and Dutch along with Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and Danish as options for English speakers. For now, Swedish is in a beta stage, according to Duolingo's website. You can still use it as normal though, they just don't promise absolute stability.
Unified Remote is a remarkably powerful app for remotely controlling the functions of your PC. (Not your TV, unless you have an IR port.) The last beta release of the app, which used the frustrating Google Groups testing system, implemented remote control support via an Android Wear app. Now you can get that Wear support in the standard Play Store version, no beta opt-in necessary. You'll need the full version, a $4 add-on, to access the Wear app.
LG's G Pad 8.3 is, at least for the moment, the company's most high-end tablet available on Verizon's proprietary CDMA/LTE network. Today this carrier-specific model (VK810) gets a small software update to address one big user issue, one small carrier issue, and an outdated app. The latter is the Redbox streaming video app, formerly supported by Verizon, and now out of service. The latest update removes the RedBox app completely.
Those Google+ users who often use the service for posting videos now have some exciting new tools. The automated enhancements for photos has been available for more than a year, and now the feature is coming to videos as well. Videos uploaded to the service that are flagged by Google's automated system can be enhanced with improved stability, color correction, and lighting enhancements. Improvements to sound for better voice quality are planned for a future update.
In a major update, gReader has given itself a brand new look in addition to support for Lollipop devices. Unlike many recent app updates that have claimed to add Material Design, gReader is not exaggerating in their claim; it looks very good. And, true to form, gReader has preserved the ability to customize its look with themes, so you can still make it your own.
gReader’s 3.x versions already had a fairly modern look, so it wasn’t a great leap to conform to Material Design guidelines.
The next minor release of Android is going out just a couple of weeks after 5.0.1. But don't head to your Settings menu just yet: it looks like this one is just for the 2012 version of the Nexus 7, at least at the moment. Because the N7 2012 (Wi-Fi version) has yet to receive Android 5.0.1, this could be a rare model-specific release. Right now the new build has been published as code in the Android Open Source project and a system image is also available.
You know what would make me use Facebook Messenger more? (... Said no one ever, but let's just pretend, OK guys?) If I could send my friends photos with a bunch of stickers plastered all over them. Thinking that it's a great idea 4SHO (that's one of the stickers), some developers at Facebook's Creative Labs took it upon themselves to turn it into a reality. The result is Stickered for Messenger, an app that is as full of Kawaii as it sounds.