We've received an early look at an upcoming version of Facebook that introduces a brand new, flat UI. This is a change that competing social networks like Twitter and Pinterest made a long time ago, and given the direction Android, iOS, and Windows Phone have all moved in, it only makes sense. When considering Facebook Messenger's recent redesign, it's even less surprising. Yet this is pre-release software, so there's a decent chance none of these changes will make it into the stable version.
Asus has been in the business of making Android tablets for as long as it has been a viable business. The company has certainly won praise for its efforts on Google's Nexus tablets, but Asus still makes its own separate tablets in the Transformer line. The newest entrant in that group is the Transformer Pad TF701T. It's not the catchiest name ever slapped on a wedge of metal and glass, but it's not the name that we're interested in – it's the experience.
When it comes to cable, there's a lot not to like. The monthly bill continues to go up, and no matter how many channels you add, there's still never anything good on to watch. This somehow manages to be the case even while many shows are still exclusively available on cable. Yet as frustrating as the major providers may be, there is one trend that I can readily get behind, and that's the addition of Android apps meant to supplement their traditional service.
Quick reminder: the modular smartphone is a real thing that's really happening. Motorola blew our minds with the announcement of a plan to create modular phones not totally unlike the Phonebloks concept, and now the manufacturer is one step closer to making some real hardware. 3D Systems, makers of the Cube 3D printer and similar equipment, is Motorola's first partner on the Project Ara.
So what does that mean? Motorola needs some way of adding flexibility to a traditionally rigid manufacturing process, and 3D printing would seem to be a natural solution.
Why ESPN didn't call its sports update app "SportsCenter" in the first place is beyond me. They seem to have rectified this with version 4.0 of the app, now named after the ubiquitous sports show. (Da-na-na, da-na-na.) The app was also updated with a new all-white interface and a standard slide-out menu.
Oh, and ads. Lots of ads. While the previous version had in-network advertising at the bottom of the screen like a lot of free apps, this new one gets interstitial ads that pop up two or three times while scrolling through scores or updates, plus random pop-up ads.
Today Minecraft developer Mojang is launching a beta program for the Pocket Edition of its absurdly popular sandbox game. Anyone who purchased Minecraft on an Android device via Google Play is eligible to join. This will give you early access to new, experimental features before anyone else and allow you to provide feedback that could impact future versions of the title.
To enter the beta program, interested players simply need to request to join the Minecraft Pocket Edition Test Group on Google+.
Two days ago, Google officially launched Newsstand, an app that combines Play Magazines and Currents to offer an all-in-one-place news source. To celebrate the launch of this new product, the company is now offering several magazines for free or at a discounted rate, presumably so potential customers can get their feet wet and see what the mag experience is all about.
There's a pretty wide variety of titles available for free and/or cheap right now, including MaximumPC, Men's Health, People, PC Gamer, Maxim, Wired, Women's Health, Entertainment Weekly, Runners, In Style, Sports Illustrated, BeerAdvocate, Vanity Fair, Bicycling, Linux Format, Redbook, and a lot more.
Not to be left behind by the larger carriers, US Cellular is also distributing the Android 4.3 update to the Galaxy S IIIs running on its network. In addition to the goodies that come with the latest version of Jelly Bean, this release gives Samsung's 2012 flagship the ability to pair with Galaxy Gear smartwatches, a privilege that until recently was exclusively provided to the Galaxy Note 3.
Galaxy S III users who do not own a Galaxy Gear may be more interested in the new Samsung KNOX compatibility or the improved pre-installed apps.
They've done it with the camera. They've done it with Touchless Control and Migrate. They've even done it with the FM Radio from the brand new Moto G. Now Motorola is moving even more of its proprietary phone apps into Google Play Land, presumably to allow for more frequent and reliable updates. Today Motorola Assist and Motorola Connect, both exclusive to the Moto X and Verizon's new Motorola DROID phones, are available on the Play Store.
An Android 4.3 OTA update has already rolled out to Galaxy S IIIs on T-Mobile and AT&T. Now the update is coming to Sprint devices. This release not only gives Galaxy S IIIs the latest version of Jelly Bean, it introduces the ability to pair the devices with Galaxy Gear smartwatches and brings in Samsung KONX compatibility. Many of those pre-installed apps will also see improvements as well.
This OTA is the first in seven months and jumps the Sprint Galaxy SIII up from Android 4.1.