To be frank, October was a bit bare of notable game releases, unless you count ports and adaptations of older titles. Our monthly top seven contains three ports, one adaptation of a card game, and one modified version of a casual PlayStation title. Only Botanicula and Rovio's surprisingly engaging Retry stand on their own. Still, there's plenty to choose from if all you need is a diversion, and our Honorable Mention section includes some choice entries for RPG and horror fans.
During October we've been positively innundated with new versions of apps, mostly from Google as the company plasters Material Design over nearly its entire catalog. But there have been some notable launches as well, dominated by Google's own Inbox (and the scramble that comes from an invitation system). For some other highlighted picks from October and a few honorable mentions, read on.
Inbox by Gmail
Android Police coverage: Google's 'Inbox By Gmail' Email Replacement System Is Live, But Invite-Only For The Moment
Inbox is kind of a big deal as far as Google is concerned - it appears to be the new status quo for the company's email system going forward.
The 2014 releases of the Moto X and Moto G have been available for a few weeks, but for some reason Motorola has been a bit slow to release the usual mandatory kernel source code. Today you can find them both on Motorola's development GitHub, confirmed by a Motorola employee in the comment section of the wider MSM kernel. Get after it, ROM cookers.
If you've never read one of these posts before, the kernel is the Linux-based baseline software that runs underneath Android and allows it to interact with phone or tablet hardware.
The original Moto G is getting Android 4.4.4! Well, at least one of them is. The Moto G actually had at least eight different variants designed for various global markets in 3G and LTE flavors. If you happen to have the XT1032 model, which is the most common international 3G-only version, you might be getting an over-the-air update to Android 4.4.4 right now. Why are you still reading this? Open your Settings menu already.
Over the last week there have been a rash of reports that folder with labels mentioning the Chinese search engine Baidu have been appearing on phones. The most obvious and prominent examples have been Sony's new Xperia Z3 series of phones and others running KitKat. Many users (and media outlets) jumped to the conclusion that these files were evidence of spyware, perhaps bolstered by recent and more credible reports of digital spying and hacking linked to the Chinese government.
If you're as frustrated at Google's somewhat inconsistent implementation of the new Material Design user interface as our own Liam Spradlin, you'll be happy to see the latest small change to the Google Play Newsstand app. Newsstand got its major Material re-design early last month, but version 3.3.1 adds a few more tweaks to the UI. This demonstrates that Google intends to keep working on Material Design in general and its look in individual apps in particular.
The Nexus 6 came in for a landing on my doorstep yesterday, and I've been happily exploring Google's new phablet ever since. Because I've had it for just one day, there's no way I could write anything resembling a review, so instead I thought it may be fun to do a very basic "initial impressions" post. There are a few things that immediately strike me about the device, so I'll discuss those here, with more details to come in the full review.
The day is finally upon us - the Gmail 5.0 APK has landed, and we have it for your (production-signed) downloading pleasure.
As we've expected since we first saw the app more than a week ago, the new Gmail is very... "material." It's got a FAB, the beautiful thread interface we've come to know and love from Inbox, and a drawer that complies with guidelines.
But Gmail's beauty isn't only skin deep - the app holds some new features, too.
The Galaxy S5. The One M8. The LG G3. All very good phones - all phones that I like, for various reasons, and dislike in certain respects for others! HTC, Samsung, and LG have generally been the de facto leaders of the high-end Android smartphone market here in the US. But what about Sony? I'll freely admit that I've never been much of a Sony smartphone fan. I didn't like the Xperia ZL as well as its competitors.
Update 10/31/14: Play Store 5.0.37, a bump over 5.0.32, is now available for download. It comes with at least one new change - a new permission bucket called Wearable sensors/activity data to help explain permissions for apps that can grab data from wearables, such as heart rate monitors.
Of course, as I have to pick up my son from daycare, breaking news had to hit, and Google had to start pushing out the Play Store 5.0 update (5.0.31, to be exact).