Google+ got a somewhat unexpected bump to version 4.6 today, an update that brought with it plenty of Material touches. Since we first reported on Material Design (at the time known as Quantum Paper), we've expected that Google's own apps would be undergoing their own gradual transformations in updates leading up to the launch of Android L. The Google+ app got its first round of material changes earlier this summer, but today's update starts its journey through the last mile.
— @evleaks (@evleaks) February 20, 2014
If you thought that the golden HTC M8 seen yesterday was a bit ostentatious, then you'll be glad to hear that it probably isn't the only color option for "The New One." Evleaks (who posted the original gold press render) posted a second shot this morning, showing the new flagship phone in a much more typical dark gray color.
Google's default Android keyboard has typically emphasized simplicity over anything else, but it has picked up quite a few new nice features over the years. It now offers Swype-style gesture support out of the box, and after the latest update, you can choose what color your swipe trail and accent colors should be.
Following the Android 4.4 redesign, the Google Keyboard defaults to a subdued black and white color palette.
Kickstarter backers have pushed the Nix Color Sensor past its $35,000 (Canadian) goal in hopes of finally figuring out what color stuff is. Well, it's more complicated than that. Nix tells you more than red or blue – it finds the exact RGB value for any surface you press it to, then sends the data to your phone over Bluetooth. Sound cool? Apparently you are not alone.
The Nix is a small gem-shaped device with its own calibrated light source.
As previously leaked, Verizon has a new mahogany hue for its Samsung Galaxy S4, and it's also showing up on Best Buy's site. The 16GB brown version is now available online only, at the same $199 on-contract and $649 off-contract prices as the black and white versions. But wait, those preview shots on the Verizon home page look a little... off.
Compare the brown in the screenshot above to the much more subtle brown in the Evleaks press shot, to say nothing of the fact that only the front of the device is actually brown.
As with some previous Verizon flagship devices, employees are being given a customized version of the new Motorola DROID Ultra. Well, "given" may be too strong a word - they get a reduced $99 price ($100 off) with a two-year contract. Verizon will also throw in some DROID-branded accessories, namely a free case and some SOL Republic JAX earbuds. Droid-Life spotted the Employee Edition, presumably on an internal store, set to ship on August 20th with the other DROIDs.
Love 'em or hate 'em, you've got to admit that Samsung has made a habit out of offering its flagship devices in as many hues as they possibly can. Leakster extraordinaire EVleaks posted a press shot of a new Galaxy S4 last night, sporting an Autumn Brown color and Verizon branding. There's no indication of when it will show up on store shelves.
The leak says the phone is brown, but that's only half true: the back of the phone looks like the same diamond-pattern black as the older Galaxy S4, while the "brushed" pattern on the front bezel and home button gets a chocolate-colored makeover.
Blue makes a lot of things better - berries, rhapsodies, alternative percussion groups. Whether or not Motorola's RAZRs look better with an azure paint job is something we'll leave up to you. Verizon is now selling blue versions of both the mid-range DROID RAZR M and the flagship DROID RAZR HD, though the latter is more of a trim than a full paint job. Both versions were spotted by notable tipster @evleaks about three week ago.
Autodesk has a fantastic record of powerful, well-built apps. Continuing the pattern, the Pixlr Express makers today released SketchBook Ink, a (you guessed it) sketching and line work app specifically built for tablets 7" and above.
While SketchBook Ink is perhaps not up to handling a professional illustrator's full time workflow, it's a versatile tool with functionality that's suprisingly sophisticated for a mobile app. Ink's got a full screen workspace built on a "new resolution independent engine," with seven preset ink styles, a wonderful color picker (with RGB sliders, a color wheel, and a block for shade selection), layering options, and plenty of options to explore.
It wouldn't be a new month without a roundup of the previous month's best Play Store offerings. Of course, we've already taken a look at the best new apps from February 2013, but games – as usual – were also well-represented by new entries last month.
Typically, we try to narrow down our list of the top new apps and games to five entries each month. This month, however, saw the debut of plenty of new games that are definitely worth taking a look at, and have included seven of the very best games no Android gamer should miss.