At the start of this review, I was simultaneously excited and frustrated. Now I'm just plain excited. For a bit of context, I have been bouncing between cloud music services since Lala was still a thing. I had one simple desire: I wanted to pay a monthly fee for unfettered access to a large library of content, but still wanted to be able to bring my own. I know that $10/month is not going to get me every song in existence, but if I can pay for most music, and then supply the rest, I'll be happy. Today, Google finally gave me what I wanted and, make no mistake, this is the model that other apps are going to follow for a long time to come.
Popular cloud syncing and sharing app SugarSync, which promises to give you "all of your data at your fingertips," got a major update today – its first since July 20th, 2012.
Probably the most obvious change is to the app's interface. In the 4.0 update, SugarSync has been totally redesigned to bring it closer to its desktop and web counterparts, adding – among other things – a new gallery with larger thumbnails, thumbnail support for common video formats, and some holo-esque elements.
Besides its visual overhaul, the app has several handy new features. Among them are cloud search (which lets users search across all their computers), the ability to sync folders from your SD card, and some under-the-hood performance/battery life enhancements.
January, like most months, had plenty in the way of new apps and games. We've already published our list of the top five games from last month, so it only seems right that we follow up with the month's best apps.
From backup utilities to social/RPG/motivational fitness apps, January 2013 had something for everyone. In the interest of saving our readers time, energy, and perhaps some money, we've rounded up the six very best apps every Android user should know about from the past month.
If you've spent any time gaming on Android, you probably remember OpenFeint. Nearly every major game integrated it in some way, usually allowing players to log in with a single username, collect achievements, and post scores to a global leaderboard. It was handy for what it did, but if you didn't care about competing, it felt a lot like obnoxious spamware. Unsurprisingly, it closed down in December of last year. Today, however, it's being sort of reborn as OpenKit, a project headed by one of the co-founders of the original service. Only this time, the idea is much cooler.
For starters, OpenKit will provide one of the most desperately needed features in mobile gaming: cloud backup of game state and save data.
Dropbox is the clear king when it comes to consumer cloud storage solutions. The app has gone through a number of significant overhauls during its life on the Android platform, and it's a solid experience these days. However, there's always more work to be done, and today's update brings several welcome improvements to how photos are handled, as well as various fixes and UI tweaks.
The full change log for version 2.3 lists the following additions:
- Easily share several photos at once
- Organize your favorite photos into albums
- Delete multiple photos at once
- UI improvements and updates throughout
- Lots of other little tweaks and bug fixes
Dropbox added photo sync last year, and it's a fairly nice service if you don't need a lot of configuration.
Amazon's AWS (Amazon Web Services) is a hugely important web service that is responsible for much of Amazon's functionality, and plenty of content you look at every day (remember that time Reddit, Flipboard, Netflix, and others simultaneously stuttered in part of the US?). Looking to keep AWS account holders connected to their services and abreast of service health while on the go, Amazon released its official AWS Console app to the Play Store today.
Amazon calls the console a "good companion" to the web interface, and it brings much of the key functionality AWS users will be looking for, from seeing a general overview of your EC2 (Elastic Cloud Computing) instances and CloudWatch alarms to the ability to stop or reboot EC2 instances, to viewing AWS service health statuses.
If you've ever needed to jot down a quick note on the go, I hope you used Evernote to do it. The Evernote service, and the accompanying app, make it easy to keep all your notes in the cloud. This app has long had great features like audio notes, notebook categorization, and tagging. Now Evernote is getting a little more awesome for anyone running Jelly Bean.
Android 4.1 supports expanded notifications so you can trigger actions right from the drop down. In the case of Evernote, you can share or edit a note by tapping the corresponding buttons.
I make no bones of the fact that Amazon's MP3 service is my favored music playback option on Android, and the service just got a big update to compete with its primary rival - Google Music. The general changelog is here, but it's a little difficult to parse, so I'll give you the gist.
When we first heard about Ouya, we were excited. We were also hesitant. While a dedicated console for $99 with its own controller, a Tegra 3 processor, and Android games optimized for the big screen (not to mention free versions or demos of all available games) sounded brilliant, there was the question of longevity. How could this thing continue to hold up once Tegra 3 processors weren't the norm? Well, here's one answer to that question: OnLive support is now going to be built in. If I could whistle via text, I would do so presently.
What this means for gaming is that, even when that Tegra 3 processor gets old and dusty, you'll still be able to use your Ouya console to stream HD games from OnLive's cloud servers directly to your console.
Google's much-anticipated cloud storage service, dubbed "Drive," finally dropped on Tuesday. Based on our tests, we think the service could still use some work - and we think it has the potential to gain some serious popularity as the kinks are worked out and the gaps are filled. But we're curious: have you switched already, despite the shortcomings? Or are you sticking with your tried-and-true service for the time being?