Little things can add a lot of otherwise unnoticed polish to the apps we use and the games we play on a daily basis. Thanks to animations, sound effects, music, and custom graphics, our software tends to feel more responsive and engaging. But sometimes a bug comes along and breaks a part of that experience. Today, we're going to take a look at one of the more user-facing bugs to sneak out with Android 4.3: automatically looping sounds are broken in numerous apps.
Google released an update to the news reader it hasn't abandoned today, adding a bunch of support for audio-centric features. Playlists are now available for editions that contain audio content, and users will be able to play, pause, and jump forward or backward in the playlist. There are even status bar controls added for when audio is playing, so you don't have to sit staring at a blank playback page while listening.
Sometimes using your eyes is just so darn tedious. It can be preferable at times like that to just get information directly through your ear-holes. Radio? Sure. Audiobooks? Alright. News? Surprisingly, yes. Umano is an app that lets you find news stories on the internet and hear them read to you by real people – not some robotic monstrosity that can't even pronounce names correctly.
The selection in Umano is fairly broad, but not that deep.
The Google Play Store, as always, was abuzz with new apps last month. More than just new apps, though, the Play Store gained plenty of well-crafted, quality apps. The kind that have spurred the market's recent growth spurt, and which allow users to discover functionalities they never knew they needed. As always, we've sifted through all last month's new apps and selected our top five picks – a kind of short list for those looking to get the most out of their device with awesome apps.
SoundCloud may not be the most famous app around, but when it comes to sharing a simple audio clip or a song, it's hard to beat. Now, the company's mobile app is getting an overhaul and with it comes a shiny new interface that doesn't suck. The UI upgrade makes use of the action bar, side navigation panel, notification controls and all the other fancy new features that we've grown used to since Ice Cream Sandwich and beyond.
It seems like the Android world is getting a ton of extra tablet love in the past few months. Today, Skype joined the party by finally introducing an optimized UI for those of you with a little more screen to love. While the new look is nice, it bizarrely forces your slate into landscape mode. Even on the Nexus 7, you have no choice but to use the wider layout. This probably isn't a bad thing, since it looks great in this mode, and might seem cramped otherwise.
Android 4.2 is out now and it brings a bunch of new goodies. Multiple users on a tablet, photospheres, and gesture typing are all pretty neat. What about this Miracast thing, though? If you're part of the majority of Android users out there, you know that it involves screen sharing and something vaguely to do with WiFi. Well, here. Let's clear some of that up for you.
So, Uh... What Is Miracast?
Generally speaking, I'm not a fan of live wallpapers. I love the idea, but in practice I've never found one that suits my taste and is compelling enough to stay on my device for more than a few minutes. That changed today with Cypher Cove's release of Audio Glow to the Play Store.
Audio Glow is actually a stand-alone app with a similarly named LWP companion which also launched today. The app is a music visualizer, which in itself is not so exciting.
Flipboard was one of the most hotly anticipated app launches on Android this last year. This super-pretty news reader first debuted on the iPad, where it turned a lot of heads before arriving on Android. This most recent update adds audio streams to Flipboard's magazine-like UI.
For those that aren't aware, Flipboard is a news reader that plugs into your various social accounts to find content. This part isn't terribly special, but by combining the news stories it finds in your social feeds with categories you subscribe to, the app builds a kind of digital magazine out of your news.