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.
You're probably more aware of WebView after the recent dust-up over security issues in older versions of Android. WebView is a tool developers can use to display web content in an app without implementing a whole browser, and today Google is opening a beta test for WebView on Android 5.0 and higher. Simply head over to the Google+ page to join and get the latest tweaks and fixes.