While December was a huge month for Android games, you can't say the same for more standard apps - despite a large number of new apps that came out, only a handful were all that interesting or innovative. (Heck, one of our apps below is specifically meant to record video games!) For what it's worth, here are the seven most interesting and/or innovative apps that came out this month, and some others thrown in for good measure.
AZ Screen Recorder - No Root
Android Police coverage: AZ Screen Recorder Is A Non-Root Lollipop Screen Capture App With Plenty Of Options
We had a handful of apps in the last roundup that took advantage of Lollipop's root-free screen recording, but this one is a clear standout. Read More
The holidays are a time for warm family gatherings and quiet reflection... and apparently for releasing a metric ton of Android games. Seriously, in December I couldn't even get our bi-weekly roundups out before a new highly-anticipated AAA game, port, or remake would fall into my inbox. Here are our seven top picks from the final and heaviest gaming month of 2014, along with some notable honorable mentions... and even that doesn't cover all the good stuff.
Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft
Android Police coverage: [Update: Global Rollout] Blizzard's Hearthstone Is On The Play Store Right Now... For Players In Australia, Canada, And New Zealand
This is the one I've been waiting for. Read More
It's really hard for hardware manufacturers to stand out once CES starts, especially if they're promoting budget devices that don't grab headlines. So those without eye-popping gadgets are starting to announce them earlier and earlier - for example, if Archos hadn't exercised a bit more restraint with this new budget phone and a trio of tablets, it would have technically been a year before its Las Vegas debut. Meet the new Archos 50 Diamond smartphone and three Archos Helium 4G tablets.
Like most of Archos' hardware as of late, all four devices fit squarely in the budget category, at least in terms of specifications. Read More
It's here, or, well, it will be here shortly: the day you can start your car with only a watch and your voice. Hyundai is announcing that its official Blue Link app (which, to be fair, reviews pretty badly) will be gaining Android Wear support in "early 2015." The company will be demoing the new app at CES, though, along with its Android Auto-powered 2015 Sonata concept.
Hyundai has been a rapid adopter of 3rd-party smart tech in its vehicles, and will likely be among the very first automakers to sell an Android Auto-ready car (any Hyundai with Android Auto will also have Apple's Car Play). Read More
This year's Consumer Electronics Show will kick off next week, and many tech companies are ready to show off their gadgets. Alcatel OneTouch plans to attract attention on the show floor with its line of affordable phones and watches. But this time the price isn't the biggest draw.
The Alcatel OneTouch PIXI 3 series of handsets offer screens ranging from 3.5 to 5 inches. The smallest will only support 3G, while the 4", 4.5", and 5" options should handle 4G LTE as well. All will apparently be able to run Android, Firefox OS, or Windows. Alcatel describes the devices as OS agnostic but doesn't specify if the same hardware will run each platform or if there will be different models to choose from. Read More
Much of the innovation in Android right now is happening on the budget side of things. At a time when high-end phones are making largely incremental improvements over previous models, low-end handsets have gone from being barely functional iPhone sales pieces to compelling devices that make for great starter phones.
The original ZTE Imperial was certainly not top-of-the-line, but the phone was affordable and its specs weren't particularly embarrassing at the time. Now a successor is available from US Cellular that delivers more phone for even less money.
The ZTE Imperial II comes with a larger, 5-inch qHD display that replaces the previous 4-inch, 800 by 480 offering. Read More
Udemy is one of the numerous ways you can learn something new from your computer without having to physically get to class. The site has thousands of courses available that cover a wide range of topics, with many focusing on Android development. Currently over 9,000 courses are priced at just $10 each for New Year's. This is a savings of up to several hundred dollars per course.
You can find courses that help you get started developing apps for the first time, adjust to Lollipop, create multilingual apps, or get your software ready for Android Wear. Even if you already have experience or are picking up these skills in another way, this is a cheap way to supplement your education. Read More
Update: The game appears to have disappeared. Hopefully it comes back soon.
When gamers first met LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game in 2005, it was a multi-platform title available for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, Gamecube, and PC (along with an isometric 2D version for the Game Boy Advance). It applied the virtual toy block treatment to worlds and events from the three Star Wars prequels, and sprinkled on some of the humor we've since come to expect from LEGO over the years. The game was a hit, and a sequel followed the next year that did the same thing, only with the series' better movies and on more platforms. Read More
The folks behind QuickPic have released a beta that expands on the stable version's Material-inspired looks with a heaping dose of color, lets you automatically save local folders to the cloud, and adds in a number of other enhancements. We've made the download available at the bottom of this page. But first, here's what has changed.
Let's start with the themes. In addition to the default black and white look, users can turn the third-party gallery app's action bar anything from blue or green to red, purple, or yellow.
You can find automatic cloud backup on QuickPic's settings page. Read More
In a move that is both troubling and confusing, India’s Department of Telecom has compelled ISPs to block a group of popular websites at the DNS level. While the initial reasoning was unknown, it has since been reported that this ban is due to the websites allegedly playing host to content favorable to the terrorist group ISIS. The banned list includes many popular and largely non-political sites like Github and Vimeo.
Banned sites include Github, Vimeo, DailyMotion, Archive.org, and Pastebin. The entire purported list of blocked URLs is below from Pranesh Prakash.
Tweets from a senior official of India’s ruling party read,