It's no secret that Google advocates developing apps with multiple form factors in mind. While not all the apps in Google's own portfolio are quite up to speed on this front, apps like the ones in Google's Play suite have done a nice job so far in supporting phones and tablets alike.
But since I/O 2014, Google's been working on more than just phones and tablets. Last year saw the introduction of Android for TVs, watches, and even cars, so now is the time for developers to start thinking about how their experiences will look and feel on those new form factors.
To that end, Google has announced a new reference sample app - a music player - that's available for developers to play with.
Dropbox is one of those essential apps that goes on any new Android device I buy or test almost immediately. Today it's getting an update adding a couple of features that will make it considerably more useful for reading and searching documents. First of all, the Dropbox app for Android can now view Adobe PDF files natively. Since it seems like we're doomed to use this proprietary format until the heat death of the universe (or at least until Adobe starts charging by the page), it's a handy extra.
PDF files can be shared directly from the viewer, so there's no need to download a file or go back to the main Dropbox interface to send it on.
March Madness will soon be upon us. The 2015 NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament is set to start next week. If you've made the appropriate arrangements with your TV provider, you can watch every game on your Android phone or tablet (whichever one you feel most comfortable yelling at in public).
The NCAA March Madness app provides live access to 67 games spread across CBS, TBS, TNT, and truTV. CBS doesn't require a cable or satellite subscription, but the others do.
While you're contemplating making the commitment, know that this year's update includes more than just a refreshed schedule. You're treated to a complete material redesign.
Google has made Android 5.1 official and that means Nexus updates. Factory images are starting to pop up on the developer page, so you can easily get your device back to stock no matter what unspeakable things you've done to it. All the images we have so far are linked below.
VAIO used to be a brand within Sony's electronics empire, but it was sold off last year. Now the new VAIO is going up against its former parent company in the smartphone space. The VAIO Phone is now official and is coming to Japanese carrier b-mobile on March 20th. North America? Probably not.
After its debut in December, Google's Device Assist app is getting its first update. The app offers tips and troubleshooting advice for Nexus, Android One, and Google Play Edition devices running Lollipop. You can also use Device Assist as a gateway to live support when it doesn't solve your problems. The v1.1 update adds a greater variety of help cards, small refinements to the interface and user experience, and is available in additional countries.
Device Assist is still clearly an app targeted to casual users and people that are new to Android or smartphones, so don't expect it to debug your device for you.
The fifth installment in Gameloft's action RPG Dungeon Hunter franchise has arrived on Android, and it has a lot going for it. There are over 150 weapons, dozens of armor sets, hordes of undead monsters to slay, and more. Dungeon Hunter 5 is basically Diablo, but they don't call it Diablo. Also, this is Gameloft, so Dungeon Hunter 5 is free-to-play.
The official ESPN app (formerly known as SportsCenter, or was that Score Center?) looks largely the same following the update to version 4.2 as it did in 4.1, unless you're running it on an Android tablet. There the experience has expanded to present you with more information on-screen. Want to see the latest sports gossipnews? You got it. Want to see scores at the same time? Sure. Information on your favorite teams is tucked away along the top-right corner of the action bar.
This update also includes ESPN Now, the ability to swipe right from the news section to access photos, videos, and other content from social networks.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Universe in Peril, a game that found its way to consoles in 2013 and other mobile platforms in 2014, has now fought its way into the Play Store. This port has managed to come in before LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, an older title that briefly appeared on the Amazon Appstore and never found its way onto Google Play.
Unlike that relatively faithful port, Universe in Peril is not a copy of the version that originally graced consoles. Instead, it's a more portable take that's better suited for short breaks throughout the day and even shorter attention spans.