September was a solid month for new Android releases. The new phone call functionality in Hangouts is easily the biggest news, but in our top picks below you'll find new media app options, new customization tools, ways to improve your videography, and all manner of interesting stuff to do on your phone or tablet. The honorable mentions section has even more goodies for you to check out. Your Android device won't be wanting for new things to do.
So, a tiny little screen thing that's kind of like a phone but not a phone and is also strapped to your arm screams for a few very specific uses, and one of them is a remote control for your phone's camera. We've already seen at least one Android Wear camera remote, but that one was more of a proof of concept than a full-fledged tool. PixtoCam takes the basic idea that's been around for longer than mobile phones and adds some notable improvements.
Google updated its official Camera app with Wear support recently, but that just makes the watch into a shutter button with image review. Wear Camera Remote is a proof-of-concept app that streams the viewfinder to Android wear and works as a shutter.
Even after years on the market and innumerable would-be competitors, GoPro remains the standard for "action cameras." A big part of that is the excellent smartphone integration that GoPro's devices have maintained, and today the official Android app gets a little better in a lot of small ways. The most obvious is the new user interface, which is visible on Android 4.0 and above. The all-black UI keeps its focus on minimalism and utility, but gets rid of some of the gradients of the former interface.
Taking the background in an image and blurring it is currently the big thing in mobile photography. HTC touted the feature when raving about the M8's duo camera. Google added a similar lens blur effect in the camera app it recently uploaded to the Play Store. Samsung, too, unsurprisingly packed this feature in alongside the plethora of others it crams into the Galaxy S5. Now Sony has uploaded its pre-existing effort to the Play Store, where it can more easily roll out future updates.
Google has been posting versions of most of its first-party apps to the Play Store in an effort to update key features of Android (or at least Google's branded additions to the platform) without having to wait for carriers to push out software apps. According to a report from Engadget, the standard camera app will soon get an upgrade, presumably following the same path. At this point we'll consider this a rumor, since Engadget only cites "sources aware of Google's plans."
The report says that the updated camera app will include many of the bells and whistles that newer devices are getting, like the fake depth of field effect shown off on the HTC One M8.
Consider this new app that item that someone placed on store shelves before it was time to begin selling the product. You can look at it all you want, but until that launch date comes, forget about it. In this case, HTC has released a Zoe app into the Play Store, but it doesn't plan to activate it until this summer.
Motorola has a reputation of late for making relatively few changes to the stock Android experience, but taking photos is one of the areas where the company has applied some of its own tender loving care. The app, which can activate with just a flick of the wrist, encourages users to take pictures by touching anywhere on the screen. Now those who would prefer a more tactile approach have that option as well.
Motorola has been making a name for itself by uploading many of its pre-installed apps (both the exciting and the utterly mundane) into the Play Store where it can serve out updates more quickly, but the Google-owned company isn't the only one to make use of this approach. Today Sony has uploaded the Xperia ZI's Timeshift Burst functionality into the Play Store.
Update: According to comments, the app is also compatible with a handful of other Sony devices, including the Xperia Z, ZL, ZQ, and the Tablet Z.
Do you find that Instagram, Hipstamatic, and all the other me-too photography apps out there just aren't doing it for you? Then why not try VSCO Cam, the most anticipated iOS camera app port among Pabst Blue Ribbon drinkers and fedora enthusiasts! Here, let's check out this promotional video so we can get a quick look at all the impressive features offered in this exciting new app.