29
Jan
SwiftKey-Thumb

The newest version of SwiftKey opens the third-party keyboard up to millions upon millions of people. How? By officially bringing Chinese language support out of beta. There are seven new input methods total, with ways to type in Simplified, Taiwan Traditional, and Hong Kong Traditional Chinese.

SwiftKey

Simplified Chinese

  • QWERTY Pinyin input method
  • 12-Key Pinyin input method
  • Stroke input method

Taiwan Traditional Chinese

  • Full Key Zhuyin (Bopomofo) input method
  • 12-Key Zhuyin (Bopomofo) input method
  • Stroke input method

Hong Kong Traditional Chinese

  • Cangjie input method
  • Quick Cangjie input method
  • Stroke input method

This update, version 5.2, also adds support for the languages of Khmer and Lao.

28
Jan
Runtastic-Thumb

I'm not much of a runner, but I've occasionally made use of the Runtastic Running and Fitness app to keep track of my time and distance while jogging around the neighborhood. Given that it's the middle of winter in the US, I won't be firing up the app anytime soon. But the more dedicated among you may be happy to know that the latest update (version 5.4) has made the few visual adjustments needed to better fit in on Lollipop devices.

23
Jan
AmazonMusic-Thumb

Those of you with an Amazon Prime account also have a stockpile of music open to you through the company's half-a-year-old streaming service, and with version 4.3 of the Android app, the retailer is making those tracks easier to access.

Instead of browsing through the company's virtual store shelves and adding albums to your library as though you were buying them, you can just browse through a separate Prime Music section.

20
Jan
unnamed (7)

Field Trip is one of Google's less-known official apps (from the same people who work on Ingress), and appropriately, one of the most unique. The urban exploration app gets its 2.0 update today, bringing the user interface in line with Material Design standards introduced with Android 5.0. As nice as it is to see Google keeping its apps fresh, I have to say that the redesign takes something away in this case.

19
Jan
Youtube-Teardown_2
Last Updated: January 21st, 2015

YouTube has always been one of Google's less conventional properties, but the sudden leap from version 6.0 to 10.0 gave everybody a surprise. Even stranger is that with such a substantial jump in versions, there are virtually zero meaningful changes to the user-facing features. While there's relatively little for us to enjoy right now, a full teardown reveals that there are at least a few additions that might be worthy of a major version bump.

17
Jan
unnamed (12)

Say Google, is there something big you're hiding in the latest version of the YouTube Android app that justifies a massive jump in the version number? Because if you are, we can't find it. The YouTube app currently propagating across the Play Store is version 10.02.3, a huge jump from the previous (and not altogether different) 6.0.3. The newer version adds a grid-based share menu and a few changed icons and brings back the voice search option, plus a few changes under the hood, but it's a very strange jump for a comparatively small update.

15
Jan
unnamed

Accessing and controlling a full-sized desktop on a handheld machine is no task for the timid, and making a tool to do it isn't easy, either. But virtualization software vendor Parallels knows a trick or two, and they've added one or two more into the Android version of Access. The latest update includes new tools to access remote computer files, better compatibility for the S-Pen stylus on Samsung Galaxy Note phones and tablets, and better audio options. 

2015-01-15 14.50.57 2015-01-15 14.51.07 2015-01-15 14.51.28

The biggest addition to version 2.5 is the built-in file browser, which makes opening files remotely on a mobile screen much, much easier.

07
Jan
WordPress-Thumb

Folks editing their WordPress blogs from an Android device running Lollipop are in for a treat. The latest version of the app applies a fresh taste of material design. At the end of the day, the experience doesn't look fundamentally different, but you get a full hamburger menu, a floating action button, and a sidebar that slides out on top of everything else.

Screenshot_2015-01-07-14-21-42 Screenshot_2015-01-07-14-22-34

05
Jan
SoundCloud-Thumb

The SoundCloud Android app has received a slight visual touch-up in the latest update, version 14.12.18-43. Users will now see a slightly more spacious action bar, rounded menus, and Lollipop notifications. These tweaks sit on top of previous user interface changes that still look bright, colorful, and clean.

Screenshot_2015-01-05-15-54-56 Screenshot_2015-01-05-16-00-05 Screenshot_2015-01-05-15-59-29

Another change takes effect only when you pause music. The changelog says that the background album art gets blurred, but on my Nexus 7, I only noticed dimming.

31
Dec
AT&T

AT&T U-Verse customers can use the Android companion app to watch live channels on a phone or tablet, turn their handset into a TV remote, and manage DVR. The user interface hasn't looked particularly holo over the last several years, but after the latest updates, it now looks kind of ready for KitKat just in time for everything else to go material. Hey, at least it's something.

ATT1 ATT2 ATT3

If you've used U-Verse on a tablet before, then this interface probably won't look particularly new.

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