One of the first applications I installed on my LG G Watch is Wear Mini Launcher. I know it is not the Google-approved way of launching apps on Android Wear, but I don't see myself talking to my watch in public or scrolling through a long list of commands to get to the Start menu. This third-party app offers a quick way to launch Wear apps and is being updated regularly to add more features.
File browsers are a dime a dozen on Android. Ever since the dawn of the platform, they have been a staple necessity, mostly for power and root users. Despite some manufacturers, like Samsung, shipping their devices with a barebones file manager, third-party clients have always offered more features, sometimes even earning more than 50 million downloads along the way to become some of the most popular apps on the Play Store.
Android L has brought a new version of the Google Keyboard with Material Design and an optional white KitKat theme, but if you're an avid fan of Swiftkey, its predictions, and themes, or any other third-party alternative, you will notice that the option to select your keyboard is now down in the right corner of the navigation bar, instead of the notification drop-down.
The new placement makes a lot more sense, because keyboard selection isn't a notification, is it?
Lucky developers and Google I/O attendees who received an Android Wear watch and tried to use navigation commands must have noticed that this aspect of the experience wasn't working at all. Commands simply wouldn't carry through to the phone. This will all be fixed with the update to Google Maps version 8.1.1.
The update, which should be pushed to your device or coming shortly, squashes the regular bugs and adds support for Android Wear devices.
Amazon's Gold Box deals always tend to gravitate back to flash memory storage every few weeks. Today is another iteration with discounts on many Sony SD cards, USB drives, and more interestingly for mobile users, microSD cards and microUSB OTG flash drives.
If your phone has a microSD slot and you want to add extra storage for your media files, you may want to pick up the 64GB microSD Class 10 card for $33 instead of $115.
Part of the 5000 new APIs and many small enhancements to be introduced with Android L that were revealed in a heavily packed slide at Google I/O is rotation lock on phones. That nifty Quick Setting toggle is currently only available on tablets in KitKat. On our stock Android phones, we have had to suffer the annoyance of delving into settings or using some third-party widget to lock the screen's orientation.
If you own a Parrot Flower Power smart plant sensor, or you're thinking about buying one, you will be happy to know that the device isn't limited to syncing with an iOS app anymore. The Android app is out in open beta now on the Play Store, letting you monitor all your garden and plant needs from your phone.
Data is retrieved via Bluetooth Low Energy from the plant sensor and sent via the app to the Parrot Cloud for analysis.
The hunt is on. Or it will be right after the main Google I/O keynote is over. If you're a registered attendee of the conference and you have some free time between sessions, the yearly location-based I/O treasure hunt will provide you with enough trivia and challenges to keep you entertained.
This year, you will be looking for Alex, the Android dog, who left a trail of NFC tags all over Moscone Center, starting with a booth on Floor 3.
Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications, games, and live wallpapers that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous 2 weeks or so.
Persist + Volume Control
Today's roundup is presented by Persist+ Volume Control.