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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got an impressive Castlevania-style sidescroller, a destruction physics game, and a Rube Goldberg puzzler.
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.
The popular invite-only contextual launcher Aviate upgraded today from Alpha to Beta. It's still invite-only, but it's definitely worth looking at, as one of the most powerful alpha products I've ever used just got even better. (Did I mention we have an invite code good for 500 invites later in the post?)
The team behind Aviate promises that, besides new features, the beta launch means that the full wait list of users will be brought on board, with all users getting five invite codes to dole out to friends.
For a very long time, the Facebook app on Android was atrocious, and it's still not great. The folks at Facebook are trying, though. After starting a Play Store beta program not long ago, the social network is now setting up an alpha channel to test the newest (and potentially most unstable) features. Want in?
The alpha program will be run in a very similar way to the beta program. You'll have to sign up for the Play Store testing program and the app will update as new builds are released.