For anyone looking for another means of streaming music to their Android device without having to use an app with a UI that would make a Nexus cry, 8tracks is worth a look. The interface keeps things simple, which these days means it's pretty white. Existing users will be pleased to know that following the latest update, 8tracks now comes with Chromecast support. As long as your connected TV or monitor is on, you will see the familiar icon in the action bar at launch.
Amazon has pushed out an update to its Kindle app for Android that might pique your interest if you're into audiobooks, speak Dutch, or like to highlight things. Yes, that's an admittedly eclectic mix of traits and interests, but that's the way these updates work. Developers aren't particularly invested in making sure we bloggers have a theme to categorize each new version under.
- Start playing narration before audiobook download is complete
- Localized support for Dutch
- Tap on highlight to edit
- Several bug fixes
So let's just tackle this list of changes in order.
Tasker is quite possibly the most exciting, boring-looking app in existence. A new user stumbling across its Play Store page is sure to walk away scratching their heads, but it only takes reading a few blog posts to realize that there's more to this piece of software than the screenshots would suggest. Out of the box, it's capable of giving users more control over their Android devices than any single other app, but there are no shortage of plugins out there that still manage to crank things up to the next level.
The WordPress Android app isn't the most feature-rich means of editing a blog, but it's arguably the quickest. The latest version of the software brings about a number of improvements that round out the experience. The list of a site's posts now refreshes automatically, but there's still the option to refresh manually either through the menu or by pulling down on the screen. This update also brings in the ability to infinitely swipe through posts.
Netflix version 3.8 for Android is now available, and it has some considerable improvements over the previous edition. The one you'll probably notice first is that the search function has been revamped: instead of a standard vertical list of movies, television shows, and actors/directors/what have you, you'll now see a grid of results. This mirrors Netflix on the web, though it might be a little slower, since the preview images tend to be a little pokey when they're loading up.
Most of Google's apps offer ways for us to enhance the quality of our own lives, whether it's through improved communication, managing documents, or just browsing the web through Chrome. One Today, an Android app the company launched over a year ago, turns this around by empowering us to actively help others instead. The core idea here is to donate a dollar a day to a different charity (today's is an adopt an afternoon lesson program through Develop Africa), but there's no reason to stop there.
The TripIt travel itinerary app has received an update that makes it significantly more useful during bouts of intermittent Internet connectivity. Version 3.6 brings in the ability to make edits while offline. The app will then sync changes automatically once you reconnect.
This feature tops the change log, but it's not what TripIt highlighted when I fired up the app. No, that was the new Enhanced Point Tracker feature that will notify you whenever your rewards points are about to expire.
HTC has updated its Sense TV app more than a few times since dropping the app into the Play Store, really highlighting the benefits of separating app updates from new firmware releases. On the other side of the coin, the changes in each of these updates aren't particularly drastic. They're not going to win you over if you're not a regular Sense TV user, but they're nice to see if you are.
TiVo customers are accustomed to convenience. That's the fundamental premise behind recording TV shows for later, after all. Sure, it sucks to miss a show because it came on during a time when you were busy, but that's more of an annoyance than a problem. The latest version of the Android app addresses a similar annoyance--being restricted to whichever room the big screen is in. After quite a wait, customers are now free to stream TiVo content and live TV directly to their mobile devices.