BBC iPlayer is Internet streaming's gift to the UK. The service is packed to the brim with British TV shows and documentaries, and the Android app offers a nice way to consume as much as you can.
And while you're at it, now you can get a taste of upcoming features as well. The BBC has launched an official beta testing program in the Play Store. It's open to anyone with a Google account and an Android device, as long as they live in the UK.
Until now, the Play Store beta testing system was tied to Google+ communities or Google Groups, but that's changing now. Google is rolling out two new options for developers to run beta tests that don't rely on Google+.
When the time comes to take control over someone's machine (with their consent, of course) you're going to want an app that can get the job done reliably. TeamViewer is one such option. With it, you can control a massive Windows, Mac, or Linux machine from an itty-bitty Android device.
Today TeamViewer has announced that version 10 is available as a public beta, and the team has updated its Android app to play along nicely with the new features.
The beta gives IT admins more control through the ability to enforce setting policies from the TeamViewer Management Console. On a different note, users can use the new Computers & Contacts API to integrate their, erm, computers and contacts with other applications.
The SwiftKey folks have released a new version of the popular third-party keyboard that comes with support for thirteen new Indian languages bundled in, but it's all still tucked away in beta form. Users who download the 5.1 beta will get access to Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Nepali, and Sinhala (Nepali and Sinhala are not Indian languages but SwiftKey opted to lump them in because they belong to the same Indo-Aryan language family). These languages join Hindi and Hinglish, which are already included in the app.
Developers have certainly made great use of the Alpha and Beta distribution channels in the Play Store since they became available last summer. There was one glaring oversight: developers could only write a single block of text for the "What's New" section. This often led to changelogs that left beta testers in the dark about changes or confusing regular users with promises of new features and fixes that hadn't yet materialized in the stable channel. Well, this problem ends today. Google has finally opened up support for distinct changelog text for each channel!
We've seen Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat all turn to the Play Store to manage their beta programs, and while this is a great mechanism for handling unpolished software releases, most of us use our phones for more than making status updates, tweeting, and sending private pictures. There are other apps out there that it would be fun to have early access to, and web browsers rank high among them. For us Android users, the Dolphin browser is perhaps second to no one in terms of rolling out new features, and now developer Mobotap has introduced a means to test out the beta version of the app through Google Play.
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. Those who opt in will be greeted by a notification when the next build is ready. As this is a beta release, some features may never appear in the stable version, and some instability may appear that could eat your cat or infect your bed with bed bugs.
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. New features that can currently be found in the beta include Swype keyboard support and a new size-sensitive drawing canvas.