The weekend has finally come, and with it... the sales. You should take advantage of them the very instant you see this post. Things could be expiring while you're just sitting there reading this witty banter. Umm... ... okay, I've got nothing. Just go buy stuff.
It has traditionally been hard to find properly optimized tablet apps on Android. At first it was simply because there weren't any, but increasingly the problem is visibility. Google is aiming to change that with some new tablet-specific tweaks to the on-device Play Store app. Not only will tablet users see more tablet apps, but they'll be able to tell which apps are designed for larger screens.
The first of two changes affects the top lists in the Play Store app.
There have been products like the Fitbit and Nike Fuelband for a number of years, but these devices are mainly interested in how far you're walking, running, or biking. Strength training is harder to track, but the new Push band on Indiegogo promises to deliver the same quality stats direct to your phone that professional athletes get with high price laboratory equipment.
The Push contains an accelerometer and orientation sensor that follow the motion of your body with a high degree of accuracy.
Mercury Browser has been one of the top alternatives to Apple's Safari browser on iOS for a while, and now the developers have finally ported it to Android. It might not be sewn into the fabric of your Google account like Chrome is, but Mercury Browser has a slick interface and plenty of advanced features.
This is the app roundup. The game roundup from this week can be found here.
Even with Microsoft pulling Skype's strings, there are still updates coming to the Android version of the app. Skype 4.4 brings the usual collection of bug fixes and tweaks, but there's also a new tablet UI and improved video quality for all Android devices.
The updated tablet UI will emphasize conversations by displaying your most recent calls and chats with each contact entry. The look and feel has been streamlined a bit too.
Samsung was the target of extensive hate recently as it came to light that the Note 3 and other high-end devices would be sporting a new region lock designed to cut back on gray market importers. The company said the lock was only a problem the first time a phone was activated, but some users now claim to be having ongoing issues with foreign SIMs not working. Whether or not Samsung's region lock is working as intended, noted developer Chainfire has released an app that can circumvent the lockdown entirely.
When we dug into the updated Gmail app in the APK Teardown a few days ago, there was clear evidence of a system for displaying ads in the Promotions folder much like desktop Gmail. It didn't take Google long to start implementing them either – the first users are seeing ads right now.