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. Read More
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. Read More
Ubisoft's Trials series has been hitting the track for years now, challenging players to perform fantastical tricks atop their motorbikes while hurtling through the air. The franchise has typically stuck to PCs as Java and flash games, but later versions have made the jump to consoles. Now the first mobile release has exited limited geo beta and is now available for all.
The game's challenge derives from its off the wall physics-based tracks, as navigating them alone can be difficult enough without the pressure of building up high scores. Read More
The SwiftKey developers are getting ready to introduce a version of their popular third-party keyboard with Japanese input support. Prominent features should transition over just fine, with the keyboard still able to make personalized predictions and suggest emoji that it thinks may be appropriate. It will be able to switch back and forth between Japanese and English, making it useful for native Japanese speakers and friends of Japanese speakers alike.
The app is currently in beta, but it's open for anyone to download and try. Read More
It's a great big world out there, and sometimes you need wheels to see it. Uber offers rides from friendly folks through its mobile app, and all it costs you is a bit of cash money. The Android app isn't bad, but it could use some work. Luckily, Uber is opening up an Android beta program with a completely revamped version of the app.
The digital magazine known far and wide as Flipboard has just pushed an update on its official Google Play Beta channel, and it's a big one. The Cover Stories UI is getting a makeover, and the way you access and find content is getting crammed in some drawers somewhere.
Fans of Nova Launcher and WidgetLocker have long had support for bubble-style unread counts on some app icons thanks to TeslaUnread. The newest beta version of this app includes preliminary support for a ton of new apps, but you'll have to opt into the beta.
Take note, video app developers: your Android app should have Chromecast support by now. It just makes things so much better for everybody. Video site Dailymotion knows where it's at, because the latest version of the beta app in the Play Store can now stream to the Chromecast. Better late than never, huh?
Other than Chromecast support and the usual bugfixes and performance tweaks, there doesn't appear to be any other significant changes to version 4.1. Read More
CCleaner has knocked the filth and grime out of many a Windows machine, along with a few Mac ones, over the years. Now the program's coming to Android. A stable release isn't yet out, but developer Piriform has introduced a beta and is calling on eager testers to help it work out the kinks. How? By joining the company's new Google+ beta testing community. Afterwards, you should be able to download the app from the Play Store. Read More
Microsoft and Google are ostensibly competitors, but Redmond seems to be setting aside its mobile aspirations in the name of supporting its new game console... and considering all the money in gaming, it's easy to understand why. So in addition to both Xbox 360 and Xbox One versions of the official SmartGlass app, there's now a separate beta build of the Xbox One app.
The beta version was introduced to help test a series of incoming features, which are outlined in this post on Microsoft's official Xbox portal. Read More