Let's be clear about this: developers don't have any kind of obligation to update their apps for the Android L preview release. It's a preview - by definition, it's not ready for prime time, and developers shouldn't have to immediately treat it like consumer software. That said, it's nice to see that some have already begun to prepare for the full Android L release later this year. Even relatively large players like Twitter are getting in on the action.
BeyondPod has long been one of the top Android podcast managers, but it was definitely not tops in the looks department. The current version is okay, but it could use a fresh coat of paint. The new 4.0 beta is getting more than that, though. BeyondPod 4.0 has been rebuilt from the ground up with a completely new UI and a new name to go with it. BeyondPod is BeyondPod EVO now.
Pebble fans have been faithfully following each step of the breakout smartwatch since it set almost every Kickstarter record ever. While most of the big news has died down, that doesn't mean the development team is on a break. To speed up the process of getting new features and bug fixes out to eager users, Pebble is opening up an official beta channel through the Play Store. These betas are technically for the Pebble companion app, but since the app also installs firmware updates on the watch, it's likely that you'll be able to get in on all of the new features.
Ready wants to reinvigorate the part of your phone that, in ye olden days, was all that mattered. That's right, it wants to improve how you make phone calls. Rather than gutting out your home screen and replacing it with something quirky, it tackles your dialer instead.
The Ready developers have tasked themselves with making contacts easier to see and communicate with. The app does so by not only tweaking how contacts are presented, but by creating useful shortcuts as well.
The upcoming 0.9.0 update for Minecraft Pocket Edition is set to be the game's biggest thus far. There is no shortage of changes, including unlimited worlds, a new culling algorithm, and different falling mechanics for gravel and sand. The game contains over two dozen new blocks, with cocoa and emerald ore being two examples. There are five additional mobs, updated biomes, and so much more. Hit up Mojang's latest blog post to see the full list of changes.
Each smartphone comes with a gallery app, but considering how diverse the Android smartphone landscape is, the one you end up with varies from device to device. If you want an identical experience across devices, the best approach may be to turn to a third-party app, and while you're at it, you might as well choose one that's spiffy and straightforward. QuickPic is one of our top picks in this area, and now the app's developer has opened up a beta community for testers and dropped a new beta release for them to get their hands on.
Action Launcher developer Chris Lacy has rolled into the latest beta a feature that just appeared in Nova Launcher two days ago. After signing up for the beta and getting everything good to go, just hop over into the app's settings to toggle the feature on. From then on, you can say "OK Google" from the homescreen to have it pull up a Google search a la the Google Now Launcher.
Good things come to those who wait. Android users didn't get an official Wikipedia app until January 2012, and it was a relatively bare bones release at that. Over two years later, it's really starting to show its age, as those Gingerbread screenshots sitting on its Play Store page aren't impressing anyone. But now we see a new version of the Wikipedia Beta app that finally seems poised to give us the native experience we've been waiting for.
One of the nicest things about CyanogenMod (from a cosmetic perspective, anyway) is support for hundreds and hundreds of community-baked themes on the Play Store and elsewhere. As opposed to a launcher theme or icon set, these themes are system-wide, and they can completely change the look of your phone or tablet in a few seconds. Custom ROMs often bake in a compatible theme system (see AOKP), and now the popular Paranoid Android family has done so as well.
For my money, Nova Launcher is the best of the AOSP-style launchers available in Android. Developer TeslaCoil Software has consistently updated the launcher for the better part of three years, and one of the biggest updates is coming soon. Nova 3.0 won't add any earth-shattering changes, but there are a bunch of little changes that will thrill the customization-obsessed in small ways.
On the homescreen, you can now customize the text below shortcuts to a greater degree with color and shadow options, and widgets can now have individual padding settings.