One of the great things about Android's ecosystem is the number of indie developers who are able to enter the market successfully, providing a great product and inspiring would-be developers to join in. For many though, Android development in general is a mysterious topic. How an app or game goes from an idea to an entry in the Play Store is unknown, but (thankfully) not unknowable.
Of course, considering how major development studios bring apps to life doesn't require too much thought – major companies like EA, Disney, or Rockstar have no problem hiring designers and developers to crank out and maintain polished apps.
The games are underway in London and the whole world is watching. If you'd like to follow the course of the events without spending the next couple weeks glued to your television, Yahoo! may just have you covered. The app is decidedly slick-looking, though some users have reported some trouble with the app, however in our test runs, it's worked adequately. Your mileage may vary.
The app has sections for news, photos, and quick access to which countries have won what medals for which events.
Word Lens, the sometimes jittery but generally impressive visual language translator, is getting in the Olympic spirit. For a limited time, the language packs—which are acquired via in-app purchases to unlock full translation support—are being offered for $2.99 per pack, which is $2 off the normal price of $4.99. Huzzah!
It comes at a particularly poignant time. As the Olympic games get underway and the world remembers there's more that the nations of earth do together than wage war and make gadgets, Word Lens can be helpful in breaking down the language barrier and acting as a catalyst for that type of international camaraderie.
The Nexus Q, unveiled at this year's I/O conference to a somewhat unsure audience, is a device that looks to unify your living room's media experience, allowing the streaming of all your Play Store content to connected speakers and TVs, while also allowing for remote control from your (or your friends') Android devices.
One of the Nexus Q's main claims to fame is that it allows anyone in the room to connect and share Play Store content quickly and easily.
The Google Dashboard is a handy tool for keeping up with what information Google has stored for you in its various different products. One piece of the handy information, though, has taken a while to become available but it's there now: your Android devices. It's unclear if this feature has been around for a while, but either way, it's useful. If you'd like to see which devices are registered with Google, and more interestingly, which apps on those devices have backups stored on Google's servers, you can do so from your dashboard.
Alright, follow me on this one. Pushover is an app for Android that allows web apps, scripts, and a ton of other fancy developer things to plug in to your notification shade on your phone or tablet. Ifttt (short for 'If This, Then That') is a web app that lets you script actions that will be performed when predetermined conditions like new emails, new dropbox files, new RSS feed posts, etc., are met.
We've already seen official Olympics 2012 streaming apps for both the UK and the US, promising great mobile coverage of this year's games, but Bell Media recently introduced another solution, this time for Canadian Android users looking to stay up to date on the action in London.
CTV Olympics London 2012's main feature is, of course, live streaming video of the games, but the app also offers several other features that will keep users entertained and tuned in.
Over a year ago, I reviewed an interesting life journal app called Friday. The app aimed to record every single interaction a user had with their smartphone, including calls, texts, mails, photos, social activities, and songs played. My conclusion was that while Friday was a polished app, it was doubtful whether it would actually be useful. The developer Dexetra then spent a year running alpha and beta tests, and their latest version of Friday is a lot more polished, with an improved focus.
Leave it to Comcast to be ahead of the curve on keeping up to date with new technology*. The Comcast subsidiary Xfinity has just updated its TV Player app to be compatible with Android 4.1, with special emphasis on supporting the Nexus 7. The app is technically compatible, though the release notes say that the next version of the app will include a UI designed specifically for the 7" form factor.
We've got a treat for you today, UK readers. If you've ever gotten tired of seeing products come out for the US with nary a release date for you in sight, today's the day you get one back: NOW TV, the UK-only streaming movie and TV service, is now available on Android. As long as you have a Sky Movies Pass, of course.
The service offers quite a few big name movies and plenty of television shows to watch.