Opera for Android used to offer an Off-Road mode that compressed websites to help consume less data. But users sometimes ran into issues with compatibility. Now the company is fixing things by bringing Opera Turbo to its main Android app, with the hope of letting you save data without sacrificing speed or formatting.
Opera Turbo has been available on desktops for the better part of a decade. It runs on different servers than the Android version's old Off-Road mode (which used the servers behind Opera Mini).
Last fall, Microsoft released an activity tracker of its own, creatively named the Microsoft Band, and hit the Play Store with the requisite companion app. Now the company has updated its little piece of Android software to track steps and calories without needing the Band itself. The app does this using your phone's motion sensors instead, as long as it's running KitKat or Lollipop.
But you already bought Microsoft's fitness tracker?
Frequent travelers know Google Maps all too well. It's one of the most widely used apps on Android for a reason. A brand new update to version 9.8 just turned up, and there are a few notable changes to take a look at. This release appears to be dedicated to fine-tuning different parts of the interface, so there aren't any big changes here.
Google Keep was one of the first apps to add support for the Android Wear platform, giving users a quick, simple, and mostly effortless way to record short notes without reaching for a smartphone. Since then, the main application has seen several updates, but the Wear-specific companion app has gone mostly unchanged. With the latest update, the tables have been turned, and it's time for the Wear app to go through a moderately sizeable refresh.
Now that Project Fi has come out into the open, we can expect to see integration for the new service popping up in a handful of Google's apps over the coming weeks. The first app to received custom support is Hangouts, which began rolling out just hours after the Project Fi website went live. This update doesn't make any changes to parts of the app we care about, but just adds some elements that come alive when a device is hooked to Google's new service.
SwiftKey has announced beta version 5.3 of its third-party keyboard, and this time the highlight feature concerns a new menu for accessing content and settings. It's called the SwiftKey Hub.
This little menu appears to the left of the prediction bar. It serves as a quick way to access the app's most popular settings. This is a change from having to activate a separate key's secondary function, as SwiftKey (using the 123 key) and many other alternative keyboards have done.
Ready is a third-party dialer that, from the beginning, has prided itself on being prettier than the one you're currently using. And for people where looks aren't enough, it consolidates various aspects of mobile communication into one place in order to improve the experience of actually making calls. You can know when you last talked, what was said in your last text, and when the next meeting is scheduled for all as you dial a person's number.
Most Android apps from large corporations don't really consider the design guidelines worth following - hell, a lot of them are carbon copies of the counterpart iPhone app. (From three years ago.) The app from movie theater chain Regal Cinemas is refreshingly different: even before the latest update it followed Holo guidelines pretty well throughout the interface. The latest update, published in the Play Store yesterday, brings it up to Material Design.
Google Maps offers some stellar features, but that doesn't mean that it can't be improved upon, particularly in the area of public transit. Moovit is a navigation app that specializes in bus and train routes, and the latest version completely overhauls the interface. In particular it's much easier to assign a destination location from the main screen: instead of manually entering an address via text, just slide the map around until the indicator is where you want to go.
Plex is one of the easiest ways to view local video on your mobile devices, and its developers have been gradually cranking out updates as of late that improve the Android experience. Version 4.2 doesn't overhaul the experience, but it does introduce a number of tweaks to the user interface.
One addition is the new Discover mode to help you browse the content in your library. A panel at the bottom allows you to easily switch between it and standard navigation.