This is why it's great that Google unbundles core apps from the OS. While it might take a considerable amount of time before the newest version of Jelly Bean rolls out to your device, current Android 4.1 users can upgrade Google Search right now and get access to the latest improvements to Google Now. The list of fun new features includes additional cards (like Stocks, News, Concerts, and Packages), as well as voice actions, including the glorious ability to add events to your calendar with via speech.
We know a lot of our international readers have been eager to get their hands on the Play Store's content ecosystem. It turns out Google is just as eager for that as you are. In addition to movie rentals, users in Canada, the UK, France, Spain, and Australia will be able to purchase movies outright and watch them forever.
Said Google on the matter:
One of the things that makes Fraps so popular among PC gamers is its ability to capture frames per second info in the corner of just about any game, allowing users to monitor and benchmark performance.
Bringing similar functionality to your Android device, FPS Meter shows just how many frames per second any app is running at, and by extension allows you to capture video of that performance with the recording app of your choice.
Orbitz.com, one of the top online travel/booking resources around, has just released a new app – Hotels by Orbitz, meant to help users find, book, and enjoy hotels in thousands of destinations world-wide, whether you need a room tonight, or want to book a future stay.
The app, which has a somewhat slick – though not strictly holo – interface, not only lets users search for and book hotels, but also provides access to Orbitz Mobile Steals – "exclusive mobile-only discounts of up to 50%." The app also allows you to find hotels based on your current location, and sort search results, like with Orbitz's online interface, by best value, lowest price, or by distance.
The American Red Cross has been releasing a series of apps to help people deal with disasters. We've already seen apps dedicated to hurricanes and earthquakes, as well as one for first aid. The fourth app in the series just hit he Play Store, and this one's designed to keep people safe during a wildfire.
Much like the Hurricane and Earthquake apps, Wildfires can alert users of nearby fires and offer quick ways to stay safe:
You'd be forgiven for not knowing exactly what Color is or does. The sordid history of this app, and its parent company Color Labs, is a complicated one. Headed by Bill Nguyen, famous for founding Lala, the incredible music streaming service that was purchased by Apple and promptly closed down, Color Labs received $41 million in funding for its initial app Color for Facebook. Several fundamental changes and a year and a half later, the company is reportedly going to close the books on itself.
One of the biggest drawbacks to buying apps on things like the Play Store is wondering if it does what you need it to do before you put your money on the line. AppSurfer, an India-based startup, is building a platform to alleviate this concern and give developers a web-based tool to let users test drive their apps before they buy. If this sounds familiar, it's because Amazon allows customers to do this very thing on its Appstore.
It seems like you can't go a day anymore without something new being added to Google+. Today, the mobile app is seeing an update that brings some much-requested features, including the ability to manage Pages from mobile. The method is a little wonky. Unlike on the web version, you can't just hop over to a page you're managing. You have to manually log out then log back in, at which point you will be asked what profile or page you want to control.
According to a Czech press release unearthed by The Verge, Microsoft may be readying native Office apps for Android. As of right now, the only programs that have mobile versions on the Play Store are OneNote and Lync. Otherwise known as "the ones very few people care about." If this report is to be believed, though, we may see native versions of the entire Office suite.
According to the Verge's translations, Microsoft said this:
"In addition to Windows, Office will be also available on other operating systems, Windows Phone, Windows RT, Mac OS, Android, iOS and Symbian"
Redmond, by way of the Czech Republic, also pointed out that there would be new versions of its Office Web Apps.