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. Read More
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. Read More
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.
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. Read More
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.
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.
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. Read More
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.
If you've used U-Verse on a tablet before, then this interface probably won't look particularly new. Read More
SoundSeeder takes a bunch of Android devices lying around and turns them into a poor man's sound system by syncing audio playback across all of the phones and tablets so that they pump out tunes in unison. The app hit the Play Store in two parts last year, but now everything's bundled up into a single package. Not only that, it's now ready to shed its beta tag.
As you can see in the screenshots above, this release gets the app ready for Android Lollipop. Read More
Some people download a million apps to their Android phone, one for each and every activity. Coincidentally, these are also the people who ask their brother why their phone, which was lightning fast when they got it, is suddenly struggling to open the homescreen under the load of three different QR code readers. (Not that I'm pointing fingers. Bekie.) For those who prefer to keep fewer apps installed, the latest PayPal update adds the ability to scan and retrieve gift cards. Read More