Microsoft's commitment to Android keeps on impressing us with new app releases, frequent improvements to its existing portfolio, and decent overall adoption of Google's design guidelines. Case in point, Remote Desktop. This handy app that lets you remotely connect to any Windows computer has been available for a while on Android, but its design was outdated and its features were slightly limited. Well that's no more.
Remote Desktop is finally getting the updated design and multiple account support that have been in testing through the app's Beta channel for a few months now. As you can see from the screenshots, the interface is more in line with Lollipop and although the nit-picky amongst us can point out a few missteps here and there, it's still a significant improvement over the old UI (pictured at the end of the post).
Alarm.com, despite its security-oriented URL, has become a thriving platform for home management hardware and software both defensive and benign. The latest update to the app, version 3.2, adds a handful of small but important features and adjustments that should make it much easier for users of compatible automated home hardware to get stuff done. The updated version appears to be rolling out in the Play Store with no delays, so no need to track down the APK.
If you haven't heard, there's an Android version of the popular desktop file manager Total Commander. It has been around for years, and through all of that time, it hasn't been a particularly pretty piece of software. Okay, it started out somewhat fine by Gingerbread standards, but successive versions of Android have not been nice to it. If you go to the Play Store right now, here's one of the screenshots you will see.
You could say that using a custom ROM is akin to testing a beta product indefinitely, and in that case, using the beta version of CM Downloader previously available wasn't much of an issue. But for the more cautious ROMers among you, version 2.0 of CyanogenMod's automatic update-downloading and flashing app has gone stable.
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.