When Jawbone's UP wristband was released in late 2011, I was excited. Then I was disappointed. The motion-tracking band seemed like a perfect step into wearable tech at the time, but its companion app wasn't available for Android. Whether and why Jawbone didn't see fit to invest resources in developing for Android was a mystery, but now – thankfully – it's immaterial. Just over a week ago, Jawbone released an official UP app to the Google Play Store, and I wanted to be first in line to try it out with Jawbone's updated 2012 wristband.
|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.|
Yesterday, we finally decided to get to the bottom of Google Keep's new font, Roboto Slab. Shortly before that, however, we had an internal discussion about Keep's strange UI/UX. The app is beautiful – there's no denying that – but weird when considered alongside Google's other in-house apps. What's more, I'm of the opinion that the app isn't just a one-off in terms of design – I think that Keep, along with a few other hints, could give us some insight into what we'll see in the next version of Android (which we might see in May at Google I/O).
Google Keep, the app that Goog sprung as (almost) a surprise recently, is interesting. Its functionality is undoubtedly handy, and – if Google chooses to pursue the service in earnest – it could actually be a decent competitor to other note taking apps like Evernote.
Something else has had us interested though, and that's Keep's UI and UX. There are a few weird things going on, but one stuck out: what is that serif font?
Action Launcher is something special. The home screen replacement made its debut a short three months ago in December, and found its way into our hearts as one of (if not the) best app of the month. What makes Action Launcher a great replacement is that it's unique – AL is totally different from any Launcher we've yet seen, and it earns that distinction with a couple of signature features: first, all your apps are a quick slide away.
Though you may not know it from looking at the version number, Todoist - the self-proclaimed "ultimate todo list," - got a sizeable upgrade today to 1.0.4. The update brings with it a bevy of new features, a handful of enhancements, and the promise of a new feature called Karma that's already implemented on seven out of the nine platforms Todoist supports.
Among the new features that did make the cut for Android, however, are widgets, a persistent "quick-add notification," new settings, the ability to complete a task by swiping left, a redesigned task list, and initial support for tablets.
As with any exciting new flagship device, it was only a matter of time before Samsung's recently-unveiled Galaxy S4 got the system dump treatment. Sharing the goodies this time (having already leaked S Voice, wallpapers, and ringtones) is SamMobile.com, who claims to have an "insider" that provided the leaked dump. According to SamMobile, the system dump is based on the S4's latest test firmware, affectionately called I9500XXUAMCH, built just a few days ago on March 23rd and based on Android 4.2.2 JDQ39.
Released last fall, Samsung's Galaxy Express is a plucky mid-range handset with – for those who don't know – a 4.5" Super AMOLED display (constrained by an underwhelming 480x800 resolution), a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, and a gig of RAM.
If you happen to be carrying around a Galaxy Express, listen up – AT&T, in a post to its Consumer Blog, announced today that an Android 4.1 update has begun rolling out to users, bringing with it everything you'd expect, from Google Now and rich notifications to Samsung-specific enhancements like Easy Mode, Blocking Mode (to keep unwanted calls and texts at bay), and a lock screen news ticker.
There's no denying that wearable tech seems to be where it's at among industry analysts. Indeed, the concept of wearable devices separate from smartphones and tablets has piqued the interest of many would-be users. Pebble's smartwatch drew some pretty significant attention, and rumors of more advanced watches from both Samsung and Apple have fueled buzz for several weeks.
If you've still not tried one of the best ambient "chill-out" games out there, Osmos HD, and you don't use the Amazon App Store, now's your chance. The game's developers at Hemisphere Games have put Osmos HD on sale for just $0.99 (that's two dollars less than its normal $2.99 price) in celebration of the vernal equinox today. The sale will last for an un-quantified "few days."
For those who haven't heard of Osmos, it's an ambient game that could almost be considered a classic for the Android platform.
The creators of Sporos (which found a place in our top seven games list from February) today released their latest creation – Alien Hive. The game is based on the familiar "match three" dynamic, but don't be fooled – Alien Hive isn't just another Bejeweled clone. Hive adds several interesting gameplay elements that put a new twist on the genre, keeping it challenging and entertaining. Best of all, the game can be played at your own pace – there's no pressure to be super speedy about swapping tiles.