Beta tests for new software releases aren't anything new for Android phones or tablets - they're often referred to as "soak tests," especially when manufacturers and carriers are involved. According to an anonymous tipster, Motorola is instituting a new confidential test program, giving at least some users access to much earlier updated builds for Android phones. Our source says that he or she was invited to test out a KitKat 4.4.2 build for the DROID RAZR M.
Despite the excitement of the newly-announced sequels, Star Wars remains one of the most stale and stubbornly unchanging franchises in science fiction. So clearly what Star Wars needs to get people excited again is... a mobile trading card game.
The new game comes from LucasArts and... hey, wait a minute, don't we already have a Star Wars card game on Android? Indeed, Konami released Star Wars Force Collection, a shameless rip-off of other free-to-play card games, back in September.
Ever since Google launched the ability for developers to offer public beta testing directly through the Play Store, we've seen quite a few devs take this route and offer the hottest thing off the press for users to try out. The latest high-profiler to take advantage of this system is IMDb, which recently launched its first beta app through its Google+ Community.
It doesn't appear that there's a lot of new features packed under the hood of the first beta release, likely because the company is still working towards getting the community set up before launching anything game-changing.
We're not the first to observe this: plug an Android tablet into a charge (or even better, a wireless charger or dock) and it becomes a pretty splendid digital photo frame, like the one you gave your Grandma three Christmases ago that's still in the box. Cloud.TV, the developer behind the excellent HD Widgets, would like to offer you a more powerful alternative. Meet Dayframe, a connected and continuously-updating photo frame app.
Twitter has been steadily tweaking their beta release channel for the Android app, and the latest update removes one of the most poorly-received features from the last beta version. The translucent tri-button array at the bottom of the screen (post a photo from storage, take a photo, or a simple textual tweet) has been removed, and is now replaced with a single, consolidated button.
New on the left, old on the right.
A number of social apps have turned to the Play Store to manage their betas. We've already seen Facebook and Snapchat launch official beta versions to anyone who signs up for the privilege, and now Twitter is doing the same. If you've signed up for either of the other programs, the routine should feel pretty familiar. The experimental build will replace the current Twitter app on your phone, unlike the Chrome beta that can exist side-by-side with the stable release.
Snapchat is now the latest prominent app to start using the Play Store beta testing mechanism to get new features in front of users sooner, something we've also seen from Facebook. If you haven't already heard of Snapchat, think of it as a service that could have saved Anthony Weiner a great deal of headache. Users use it to send photos, videos, and text messages that automatically delete from the recipient's device and the server after a set amount of time.
When it comes to mobile security, we readily recommend Avast's option. Not only does it offer fantastic malware protection, but the built-in Anti-Theft is one of the best tools you can have installed should your device ever get lost or stolen. Today, the company is taking advantage of Google+ Community beta testing with Mobile Security, Anti-Theft, and a new product called Backup.
The beta testing period will only last for a week, during which time the company is inviting advanced users to give this new trio a shot and provide feedback before they become available to everyone.
Ever since Chameleon Launcher was released, users have been wanting to see a version designed for phones. Looks like that time is finally coming, as the Chameleon dev team has posted a call for 25 alpha/beta testers for the new project, requesting that they have specific phone models to test on:
HTC One X+
HTC One X
Samsung Galaxy Note® II
Samsung Galaxy Note™
Samsung Galaxy S3
MOTOROLA RAZR HD LTE
LG OPTIMUS G
DROID DNA By HTC
MOTOROLA RAZR MAXX HD
It's pretty clear that they want to get this thing running on the current top dogs as quickly as possible - if you think you can provide valuable, well thought-out feedback, head to the source link to find out how to get in on the action.