When Android Studio v1.1 entered the Stable channel, about 6 weeks ago, the Dev Tools team gave word that v1.2 was already well underway and that it would be based on the newly released IntelliJ 14. A couple of weeks later, the first preview build turned up, and it had already been upgraded to include IntelliJ 14.1, as well. Developers on the Canary channel have been testing and playing with the new features since early March, and now it's time to bring the goods to a larger audience.
Office Lens is an app that lets you capture notes, business cards, reciepts, and any other scrap of paper as a digital file. Microsoft released a version of Office Lens for Windows Phone last year, and now it's coming to Android as a beta. It's free, but you need to do the usual beta program song and dance.
Android Auto is finally here! Sort of. It's available in exactly one (incredibly expensive) car stereo at the moment, meaning that there are probably more active users of the Nexus Q right now. But that isn't stopping some responsible developers from adding the support for the new hardware into their apps, and today popular podcast manager BeyondPod joins them. The latest beta version, available as a direct download or via the Play Store beta system, works with Google's automotive electronics push.
When it comes to alternative launchers based on the standard Android homescreen design, I think it's safe to say at this point that Nova Launcher is the best available. But developer TeslaCoil isn't resting on its laurels: the app is constantly being updated, tweaked, and improved. Today the biggest update to Nova Launcher in years is going out on its Google Play Store beta channel... and yes, it has Material Design.
You don't need to understand the lyrics to like a song, but sometimes it helps. Musixmatch is a slick way to sing along with your tunes or have an impromptu karaoke party, and now it's about to get even better. There's an updated version of it in the Play Store beta channel with some new features and a full material redesign.
Twitter looks to be in the process of rolling out a handy feature in its official app, but you probably don't have it yet. A number of users in the Twitter beta program report they now have a built-in browser for viewing links. This appears to be a server-side change, so you can't just install an APK to enable it.
Sony's recent Xperia phones and tablets have included themable skins for the proprietary Sony UI that runs on top of Android. Now Sony wants you (yes, you!) to make themes for its devices using a custom Java desktop program. The company has released a beta version of the application for aspiring theme makers, available from the Sony Developer site.
The program allows you to apply different colors and graphical elements to the various bits and pieces of Sony's themes.
One of the problems with instant messaging since time immemorial has been juggling contacts and conversations across multiple services. It's bothersome on desktops, and it's especially unwieldy on mobile devices, where multitasking isn't as easy and similar sounding chimes can send you searching through the wrong app for the latest reply.
Disa is a new Android messaging client that attempts to tackle this problem. It has been in development for a long time, spending a healthy period in private alpha being tested by over 33,000 people before making its way to the Play Store in the form of a private beta.