Twitter is struggling to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up. Life can be tough when you're a social network that almost everyone has heard about but no one knows how to use when they're just joining for the first time.
But despite these tumultuous times at Twitter's headquarters, the Android app has seen some of its best days in the past few months: an overhauled Material Design inspired interface, a test for a night mode, Android N Direct Reply, and more.
Local music players (as opposed to online radio and cloud storage players) sometimes seem like dinosaurs now that everyone and their dog is offering a connected music option, but there are still plenty of users who prefer high-quality playback of local files. For them, the years-old PowerAmp remains a popular choice thanks to its excellent codec support, extensive equalizer, and a long list of musical creature comforts. Developer Max MP has now made version 3.0 of the app available as a public alpha; you can download the APK directly from the app's user forum.
It's been a while since we last heard anything about Project Soli - Google's radical post-touch experiment unveiled at I/O - but it looks like the project is still rolling right along. According to a tipster, Google has begun notifying interested parties of an impending "Soli Alpha DevKit," asking that those notified fill out an application for the chance to receive one.
Google says it's looking for pretty much everything when it comes to possible applications - health, art, interactive installations, robotics, HCI, VR, and more are all specifically called out as fair game in Google's email.
The email says that those selected to receive a DevKit will get a development board and SDK, along with the opportunity to participate in a Soli Alpha developer workshop at some point in the future.
There are a lot of Android users out there, and many of them probably use the same apps you do. AppChat is a clever app that lets you talk to them in a series of live chat rooms. This app was just released as an alpha on XDA, but it has tons of potential.
The nice thing about owning a Nexus device is that it's the first thing to get all the fancy new custom ROMs. Various indie developers have been tweaking AOSP for Nexus phones and tablets (and other devices) since Lollipop launched, and CyanogenMod started publishing nightlies just a few weeks ago. Now there's another option among the high-profile Android ROM teams: Paranoid Android. Alpha builds of the Lollipop version were just published to the download site.
If you're new to the ROM scene, Paranoid Android is probably a distant second to CyanogenMod in terms of total current installs. Its developers are known for pushing the envelope a little more in terms of building out from Android's open-source code, especially when it comes to a user-customizable interface.
Solid Explorer has long been one of the most popular file managers on Android because of its slick dual-pane UI and extensive feature list. However, the UI isn't what you'd call intuitive. A big material redesign is in the works, and you can test it right now by joining the Google+ community.
Crescent Moon is a solid publisher of Android games, offering titles from a variety of developers across nearly every genre. Today it's the latest company to partner with Humble, offering an impressive collection of Android games in a DRM-free format with a "pay what you want" structure. Four of the games included in today's bundle can't be had on the Play Store, at least at the moment. Right now you can pay $8 to get all ten titles, and more are on the way.
The new Android games in this bundle are Space Chicks, 2-Bit Cowboy, The Deer God, and Exiles: Far Colony.
Microsoft. Google. OnePlus. HTC. Fitbit. Ubuntu. The BBC. NPR. Jet Li. There are too many things called One. Add one (sorry) more thing to the list: the new official forum app for XDA-Developers. An alpha build of XDA One, the site's first in-house app, is available in APK form on this forum thread. The previous apps, XDA-Developers and XDA-Premium, will continue to be supported on the Play Store for the foreseeable future.
XDA is the biggest spot on the web for user discussion about phone modifications of all sorts, and it's a central hub for all things root and ROM on Android.
At this point, Android's notification system is pretty elegant. But there's no way to avoid confusion (and for some users, frustration) when a ton of notifications come in all at once. Echo Lockscreen attempts to fix that with a lockscreen replacement that puts your current notifications front and center, then organizes them by app or urgency. Currently Echo is in alpha testing, and it's a free download in the Play Store.
The primary display has a date, time, and battery widget above the notification area. Incoming notifications will automatically be tossed underneath the appropriate header by app: missed calls, texts, and emails are under "Priority," Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media apps go in "Social," Dropbox and finance apps go in "Work," and so on.
Developers have certainly made great use of the Alpha and Beta distribution channels in the Play Store since they became available last summer. There was one glaring oversight: developers could only write a single block of text for the "What's New" section. This often led to changelogs that left beta testers in the dark about changes or confusing regular users with promises of new features and fixes that hadn't yet materialized in the stable channel. Well, this problem ends today. Google has finally opened up support for distinct changelog text for each channel!