Sometimes I wonder if Google has an official Department of Whimsy where things like the never-ending doodles, Android mascots, and Santa Tracker are studiously maintained (and the inbox still overflows from bitter Google Reader fans). If so, then the DoW's biggest yearly project has just begun with the timely update to the Google Santa Tracker app. The latest version is now available for Android phones, tablets, and Android TV devices, complete with all kinds of kid-friendly goodies. Read More
Have you ever been so excited to watch Netflix's collection of movies, shows, and original content that you simply couldn't wait to get into the app itself before you start to browse? Apparently someone on the development team thinks so, because the latest version of the Android app (posted to APK Mirror earlier this evening) includes a homescreen widget. It's similar to the Play Store widgets, in that its only real purpose is to highlight some of the content on the service.
The widget is 5x5 in its unmodified state, though it reformats its triple-pane display with surprising grace as you enlarge or shrink it with your launcher's resizing tools. Read More
Google's Handwriting Input got its independent Play Store listing back in April and has since received very few updates. That's why the latest version bump to 1.5 (and the subsequent 1.5.1 release) seemed to be significant and in fact, it added 5 new languages to the list of existing 82 languages. These are Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Hebrew, and Burmese.
You will have to download language packages if you choose any of these input methods inside the app, but once that's done and enabled, you will be able to scribble on your screen in your language of choice and Handwriting Input will convert that into text in any app. Read More
Microsoft isn't wavering in its laudable multi-platform support - at this point the company is beating out both Apple and Google in its support for customers on all mobile operating systems. The free mobile version of Outlook first came to the Play Store earlier this year. It's advanced to version 2.0 after a few months, and the developers have added... actually, not much. Certainly not that Sunrise Calendar integration that users of the abandoned app are probably looking for. But we do get a new UI. Read More
Developers can't really catch a break. If they create a service that requires its own login account and password, users will clamor for an option to sign in using Google, Facebook, Twitter, or any other number of oAuth logins. And if they create a service and decide not to bother with their own accounts but rely on existing oAuth options, then users will raise the demand for a standalone login as was the case with Feedly.
Feedly has finally fulfilled that last request and added a Feedly account option for logging in. Users can either go with the Feedly option when creating a new account or add it to their existing Feedly settings. Read More
Not all app updates are created equal and while most usually fix bugs, add features, and make things better, faster, smoother, more stable, and more enjoyable, it is not the case of the latest Android Wear app update. Google giveth and Google taketh away.
Version 1.4, which was released about 10 days ago, did some UI cleaning, but it dumped a couple of features: the battery stats (for everyone) and the disconnect toggle (for some users). Battery stats weren't the most useful feature all the time, but I liked peeking at them every now and then to check the stamina of my watch. Read More
The Sony Z5 currently reigns as the king of smartphone camera quality according to DxOMark. I've had the opportunity to use a review unit as my daily driver for the past week, and I have been pretty impressed with the image quality thus far.
One thing that I hadn't liked, at all, was that Sony was still using the same clunky camera app that debuted with the original Sony Z. Seriously, five generations of devices all using the same cumbersome UI?
That changes today. The Japanese phone manufacturer has begun the roll-out of the major camera app update that they previewed back at IFA. Read More
Maps are symbolic by their nature, but that doesn't mean that those symbols can't be user friendly. Ride-sharing company Lyft seems to have applied that principle to the custom maps in its Android application. The latest app update adds new features to the map you use when searching for a ride - now the little car markers on the map will be colored the same as the real-world car that picks you up, and the direction the car is facing as it travels is reflected on the map. Read More
Since its release in 2012, Pixlr has received several updates and tweaks, but no major changes to its interface. That left the app looking like a Gingerbread relic on my and many other users' modern smartphones with their material looks and spiffy animations. For an app that specializes in making things look prettier, Pixlr wasn't fulfilling its own end of the bargain. Take a look at what Pixlr was like before today: Read More
Due to a smaller installer base, the specialized version of the Play Store that comes on Android TV gets a lot less attention that the version on phones and tablets. Even so, we keep an eye on all the various flavors of Android - check the sign over the door - so we're happy to report that the Android TV version has received a notable update. The latest release (5.10.30-leanback) makes some big changes to the user interface, chopping off some of the less necessary corners to focus on the core experience. Read More