Developer Klinker Apps, the folks behind the Talon Twitter client and the EvolveSMS messaging app, have just released Blur, a free launcher replacement that takes the approach introduced by the Google Now Launcher and opens it up to other apps. With Blur, any app that adds on support for the launcher can have its own dedicated page that rests right on a person's homescreen. In practice, this means users can swipe to the left to access their Twitter feed, text messages, a basic calculator, or a dedicated Google Now page that the Klinker brothers MacGyvered to imitate the GNL.
In a world where Facebook has become so ubiquitous that even hating on Facebook has in and of itself become a tired cultural phenomena, talking about Facebook at all anymore is sort of like lamenting the quality of food at McDonalds - it's there whether you like it or not, so it's probably best to just not say anything at all.
Still, Facebook, like McDonalds, is a part of the daily lives of a great many tens of millions of people (McDonalds claims nearly 70 million), and has seemingly become a requisite cog in the increasingly connected machine that is human existence.
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.
Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.
King of Dragon Pass
Strategy games can be quite repetitive—once you've played one, you know the drill.
We've already drawn attention to Terraria on the Play Store, where it's still on sale for $1.99 after nearly a month. For people who enjoy good sandbox games with 8-bit inspired graphics, and have grown tired of that other one, then this is an easy recommendation. In addition to Google Play, it's also available in the Amazon Appstore for the same $1.99, a sizable discount from the regular price of $4.99.
Sony's been on a slow roll lately, steadily pushing KitKat to various Xperia devices. Today marks the release of the 4.4.4 update for the Xperia M2 and M2 Dual, which also brings some additional functionality by way of Sony-specific tweaks.
- We’ve added our tweaked Status Bar and Quick Settings… now more intuitive and customisable (and pretty easy on the eye)… cleaned up to ensure you only get the notifications you really need
- If you’ve got a Sony PlayStation 4, you might recognize our new user interface – we’ve added the same sleek launch animation and live wallpaper across the lock and home screens
- Better storage choice – you now have the option to easily move applications from internal memory to SD card – we recognised the need to have more control over your content… as something particularly useful for devices with slightly less space
- We’re also uplifting Sony’s entire native app portfolio to the latest versions – bringing tweaked / improved / current experiences for (to name but a few): Messaging, Smart Connect, TrackID, What’s New, and Battery STAMINA Mode, Sony’s Media apps: WALKMAN, Album and Movies
- And proving pretty popular, now totalling over 2 million downloads (!) – our unique custom interface experience: “Xperia Themes”, with downloadable UI packs from Sony Select – skin up to 280 assets across your Xperia smartphone with a variety of styles…
- Compatibility with our SmartWear Experience; SmartBand SWR10 and Lifelog app – enabling you to record social, physical and entertainment activities and have them all visualised in a beautiful interface… reminisce at that past, make the best of the present and plan for the future
Far be it from me to tell you what to do with your hard-earned money, assuming of course that you worked hard to earn it. If not, please disregard and just do what I say. For everyone else, consider this—you can spend your money on nothing and just have money, or you can exchange it for goods and services at a lower than usual cost. In this case, you get apps.
Many game developers these days are going free-to-play, permitting people to download their creations for free only to nickel and dime them for additional lives, time, characters, levels, coins, or anything else that may be required to make the experience actually enjoyable. In an interview with Pocket Gamer, Double Stallion, the team behind Big Action Mega Fight, explained how it decided to buck this trend by turning their freemium game into a premium one - and how they ultimately ended up making more money in the process.
Google, like many companies, engages in a practice known as dogfooding. That's when a company has employees internally test new features and products before rolling them out to the public. While poking around in the recent YouTube APK, we found a little surprise. There's a GIF presumably shown in dogfood versions of the app to remind people to keep their big fat mouths shut.
Amazon's first smartphone isn't that great, but the company is already moving to improve the experience with the device's first OTA update. This bumps the FireOS version up to 3.5.1, and includes a slew of new features and improvements:
A lot of phones have a method of opening the camera quickly when the device is asleep, but not all of them are reliable or all that easy. Snapshot aims to make camera access quicker by starting it up as soon as the phone wakes up, provided the device is in landscape orientation (i.e. the way you're supposed to be taking pictures). It doesn't matter how your phone wakes up—it just so long as it does.