KitKat introduces a lot of much-needed features into Android, like better support for low-memory devices, a new storage framework, SMS integration with BLAH BLAH BLAH. We all know what the people want: transparent user interface elements! Following Nova Launcher's update to better visually match the KitKat launcher on the Nexus 5, popular alternative Apex Launcher now has a beta version that does much the same thing.
We figured that Motorola would be among the first to roll out Android 4.4 updates to their phones, considering the company's relationship with Google. But I don't think anyone suspected that the company would begin rolling out software updates within the month. According to an anonymous tipster, Verizon is beginning the soak test process for the Android 4.4 update to the Moto X, a strong indicator that it could be sent to all the Moto X units on Verizon within a few weeks.
The Android lockscreen has been slowly evolving over the years, and it's got a respectable feature set these days. But sometimes rethinking a feature can provide a better overall experience. Cover is a new beta lockscreen alternative that tries to learn where you are and what you're most likely to need access to, then put it right there on the lockscreen. It's a compelling approach, but how is it?
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.
So it looks like a lot of you were excited by Themer, MyColorScreen's custom launcher which promises no-hassle installations of some of the fantastic homescreens featured on the site. After a month in closed beta the service is now open, so you no longer need a code to get access to those sweet, sweet themes. The free app is available on smartphones (and only smartphones) running Android 4.1 or later.
MyColorScreen was eager to share two key statistics with us after four weeks in full operation.
If you're a Chrome Beta user who was getting bored with their weekend web browsing, we've got a tip for you - Chrome Beta for Android has an experimental "Accessibility Tab Switcher" flag that'll allow you to switch tabs in a compact, pleasing interface, also enabling you to bring back closed tabs with a handy "undo" button. That should take a little pressure out of your tab management experience.
To turn the Accessibility Tab Switcher on, just open up Chrome Beta and head to chrome://flags.
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.
Any-do has been one of the premiere to-do managers on Android since its debut, and now the same developers are building an alternative to Google Calendar for Android. Google has done a lot to make Calendar a better app as Android has evolved, but maybe there is room for some innovation in this space. Cal plugs into your existing calendar accounts seamlessly and presents your appointments in really slick interface with easy-to-access options.
The popular invite-only contextual launcher Aviate upgraded today from Alpha to Beta. It's still invite-only, but it's definitely worth looking at, as one of the most powerful alpha products I've ever used just got even better. (Did I mention we have an invite code good for 500 invites later in the post?)
The team behind Aviate promises that, besides new features, the beta launch means that the full wait list of users will be brought on board, with all users getting five invite codes to dole out to friends.
Themer Beta, a launcher replacement initiative by the team at MyColorScreen.com, has received a lot of attention in the last few weeks. And I mean a lot, as it currently has a waitlist of 280,000+ people strong. That's right, two hundred and eighty thousand.
The invites have so far been released in relatively small batches of a few thousand at a time, leaving the majority of those on the list waiting impatiently and scrambling to find a code or two to satisfy that Themer craving.