It simply wouldn't be a new month without a new roundup of the top apps and games from the previous month. We've already gone over last month's very best apps - so what about games? There were plenty of new games to choose from last month, but a few really stood apart. We've compiled a short list once again of the very best games sure to enhance any Android user's catalog.
|Liam Spradlin||Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.|
Another month, another great set of apps released to the Play Store. Amid the Nexus season hysteria, plenty of worthy new apps entered the fray, vying for attention from Android users looking to spice up their catalogs.
Out of that list, we've chosen seven of the very best new apps, saving you the hassle of going through every entry. Of course we've got a brief list of runners up as well, but we'll take a closer look at the top six first.
One more KitKat feature spotlight for the evening. This time, it's Wi-Fi TDLS. Added in Android 4.4, Wi-Fi TDLS, as Google describes it, is "a seamless way to stream media and other data faster between devices already on the same Wi-Fi network." TDLS, for those that don't know, stands for Tunneled Direct Link Setup.
Essentially, Wi-Fi TDLS allows two devices on the same Wi-Fi network to link directly to one another and share data without burdening the network/router/other devices in the process.
Next in the line of KitKat feature spotlights is the addition of new motion-oriented UX elements meant to give users a dynamic, fluid experience while making it easier for developers to implement high quality animations.
Android 4.4's new transitions framework allows developers to define scenes and transitions. A scene is usually a view hierarchy, while a transition defines how the scene should transform when a user enters or exits it. Developers can use predefined transition types, an auto-transition type, or create custom transitions "that animate the properties that matter most to your app."
That said, developers don't actually have to define scenes to animate UI changes - they can also animate pieces on the fly.
Enchanted by the bright yellow bumper case for the Nexus 5 earlier today (by the way, how great is it that finally a Nexus device at least had proof, on launch day, that accessories were coming?) but not planning on picking up the new phone? Don't worry - Google's expanded the lineup of sleeve cases available for the Nexus 7 (2013, though the 2012 edition will fit too) today, adding a "grey/white" version and a bright yellow version to the mix.
Yet another facet of KitKat worth pointing out today is the addition of new security enhancements to the OS. Security is one area that's frequently sensationalized with Android - it seems that every few days a scare story about Android malware creeps onto my Google News page. Google's eliminating security arguments (and possible arguments) one at a time, though, and has made a few key enhancements this time around.
First among them is a change to SELinux.
Until now, using emoji in parts of Android besides Hangouts could be a little tricky. Officially, the emoji keyboard was included as part of the iWnn IME, and required users to manually switch using the persistent keyboard notification which appeared any time a user tapped a text field. Even then, users couldn't enjoy the full-color emoji found in Hangouts. This was certainly less than ideal.
Thankfully, Google has spread "Emoji everywhere" with Android 4.4 KitKat, integrating the set of awesome emoji with Google Keyboard for easier access.
This afternoon, Motorola's Punit Soni shared a post on Google+ to follow up on the company's earlier "more to share soon..." post. Soni's post pointed users toward Motorola Mobility's online upgrade checking interface, which tells users whether or not their Motorola device will be receiving any planned updates.
The tool now confirms that Android 4.4 KitKat will be coming to the Moto X along with the DROID Mini, Ultra, and Maxx.
If you've got (a lot of) spare time on your hands this evening and a burning desire to know literally everything new in AOSP with Android 4.4 KitKat, Funky Android has done the work for you, providing a complete, comprehensive log of all commits made from 4.3_r2.1 (JSS15J) all the way up to 4.4_r1 (KRT16M).
The list is extremely lengthy, but includes handy links to Google's Android Source site where you can find more info about each commit.
Hot on the heels of its release, the Nexus 5's factory image and drivers (including those from Qualcomm) have already been posted. As usual, the Nexus 5's newly uploaded assets are right in line with the rest of the Nexus family, though no other members of the family have gotten a 4.4 update just yet. Those developers or enthusiasts who want something to play with can hit the appropriate link below to grab the image and/or drivers.