To be honest, I'm still not sold on Vessel's business model, which posts original web video content a few days early to paying subscribers before it goes out to more general portals (usually YouTube). But the Android app seems more than serviceable even in its beta form, and the developers are adding features quickly. Case in point: the latest update adds Chromecast compatibility, which no video app should be without.
The feature works exactly as you'd expect it to: start a video and look for the Chromecast icon, then connect to a local Chromecast or Android TV device. You can connect on the main viewer screen as well, if you don't want to scramble to send your video as soon as it starts. Read More
Most apps for cable and satellite TV providers suck. They tend to completely ignore user interface standards, throw up artificial limitations, and have poor performance. DirecTV's app seems to be an interesting exception - while customers aren't without complaints, the primary Play Store listing gives it a 4.1-star rating. Today it gets a handful of improvements, making the app better in some notable ways. The update is also being applied to the tablet version of the app, which has admittedly poorer ratings.
According to the change log, version 4.2 adds some considerable new functionality to the DIRECTV app home screen, which doubles as a remote control for a connected receiver. Read More
I have files. You have files. Everyone has files. It kind of goes along with the whole computing thing. Occasionally you'll need to manage those files, and to do so you could do a lot worse than ES File Explorer. This reliable little app has been a popular option (over 100 million downloads!) thanks to a very long feature list and commendable stability. Today it looks a little better thanks to an upgrade to version 4.0. Read More
AirDroid offers one of the more Android-themed ways to get files from your computer to your smartphone or tablet. It's green, there's a bugdroid in the logo, and, well—this isn't the point. Besides, file sharing is just scratching the surface. AirDroid lets you control your device remotely, accessing texts and turning on the camera. Now the developers have rolled out a number of intriguing features in the latest updates to its Windows and Mac desktop clients.
On the Windows side of things, there's a new desktop widget. It lets you access much of the functionality the main client offers without having to load up the full window. Read More
VLC For Android has been steadily improving over the past months, but today's beta update is a big step forward to the app that even the developers acknowledge as a "major release."
VLC went through a hardcore bootcamp between versions 1.3.2 and 1.5.0, emerging with enhancements all across the board. Internally, the app's code has been rewritten to be faster and to require fewer permissions especially on KitKat devices and above. Externally, the app's design has been given a small facelift to better fit Material's clean and elegant look. And functionally, VLC can now handle video playlists, auto-detect external USB devices, switch between audio and video, and more. Read More
Readers, we have a confession to make. This update to the Amazon shopping app actually came out on June 30th, over two weeks ago. Sorry about that. We spotted it, both on the Play Store and on APK Mirror, but didn't notice anything particularly new about it because Amazon neglected to upload a change log. They've done so today, and the new version (126.96.36.199 on my Nexus 6) actually adds some important new features to the app.
First of all, you can now use the official Amazon shopping app in Mexico thanks to the Amazon.mx expansion announced last month. If you've received an Amazon gift card (paradoxically available at many retailers which Amazon actively competes with), you can now scan it with your smartphone's camera to add the credit instead of laboriously punching in numbers. Read More
In the latest version, Dropbox adds a much-needed favor for collaborative teams and users who rely on effective communication across updated files. But who gives a crap about that, because the app has also added GIF support.
Version 3.0.1 lets you view animated GIFs right in Dropbox without popping out to an external app. That should be useful for... OK, it's not particularly useful for anything, except that one time that you need to instantly distinguish between the original and reverse of that one dog image when you attend a GIF party via your tablet. But now you can totally do that! Read More
Baseball fans, are you ready for the All-Star Game?!? Probably. I mean, it comes every year, and unless it happens to come to your city, it all pretty much plays out the same. But if you're the kind of fan who subscribes to MLB.com At Bat so that you never miss a single game of your beloved Braves, it's probably a big deal - big enough that you're excited for the yearly update to the Android app in order to watch it. The latest incremental bump brings support for the 2015 All-Star Game and Home Run Derby.
What's more interesting on a technical level is that the app also adds support for Android Auto. Read More
Microsoft has a music app. No, really, they do! It may have escaped your notice with the launch of a new service from a certain other company and the continuing dominance of Spotify, but the Xbox Music service is still going strong. Sort of - apparently Microsoft didn't think that brand name was strong enough, so they changed it to Groove. That name hasn't made it to the official Android app, for some reason.
But some other much-needed changes have been implemented in version 3.0, specifically the ability to access your Microsoft account and stream music stored on your OneDrive cloud. Read More