It really is staggering how much customization you can do with the flexible Xposed Framework, even on a stock phone or tablet. The latest interesting Xposed module adds some much-needed options to Chrome for Android, at least if you're a root user who knows your way around the tool. ChromePIE is not a delicious browser-flavored snack cake, it's a module that adds swiping controls to Chrome, modeled after the popular LMT-PIE navigation bar replacement.
If you thought (like me) that Update Wednesday had concluded, you thought wrong. It appears Google's also started pushing an update to Google Play Games, bringing the app up to version 2.0 with Level-up notification controls, XP rankings, and a few UI changes.
Readers may remember Quests and Level-up notifications from one of our exclusives last month. The functionality, along with Snapshots, was confirmed in the official announcement of Google Play Services 5.0.
Newsflash: touchscreen controls are almost universally bad. They're so bad that companies like Sony, Archos, and NVIDIA have created entirely new devices just for the novelty of shoving console-style physical controls onto Android hardware. There's got to be a way to make make non-tactile control schemes suck less. This Kickstarter project... isn't it.
They're stickers. Stickers for your screen, shaped like controller buttons. How bad is this? Oh, let me count the ways.
Whether due to neglect or a topsy-turvy set of priorities, Android developers sometimes leave out basic features like lock screen or notification (I'm looking at you, Spotify) controls. Well, Pandora is fixing at least some of its problems with an update that brings the ability to pause or skip tracks from the lock screen. Unfortunately, notification controls still aren't available but, hey. One step at a time.
Here's the full change log:
What's in this version:
- Lock screen controls for devices running Ice Cream Sandwich and later
- Added elapsed and remaining timestamps to the track progress indicator
- Reduced startup time
- Bug fixes and enhancements
Aside from the lock screen controls, it's not a huge update, but it's always encouraging to see a prominent developer truly take advantage of what Android can do.
Yesterday, Google added support for audio playlists and media controls to Google Currents. We thought this sounded like a pretty neat feature, and, hey! We're on Google Currents! So why not put two and two together? Today we updated our Currents edition to include a feed of our audio podcast and it's actually kind of beautiful. Take a look:
It was possible to add audio before, but it wasn't quite this nice.
Google released an update to the news reader it hasn't abandoned today, adding a bunch of support for audio-centric features. Playlists are now available for editions that contain audio content, and users will be able to play, pause, and jump forward or backward in the playlist. There are even status bar controls added for when audio is playing, so you don't have to sit staring at a blank playback page while listening.
Popular (and well-established) music manager/player Winamp got an update today, bringing the app to version 1.4.6 and introducing (among other things) long-awaited notification player controls. The controls match the look and feel of the app they belong to, using a design language that (unfortunately) doesn't look like it's been revisited in a while. That said, they work like a charm, and add much-needed functionality.
Besides that, users will enjoy several bug fixes (primarily involving SHOUTcast and AAC playback), and some streamlined code on the Now Playing screen.
Back at the end of August, Archos announced an innovative new tablet called the GamePad. As its namesake suggests, it's built with gaming in mind - complete with on-board controls. In the announcement, Archos claimed the 7" device had "automatic gaming recognition and mapping tools" - the big question was, however, how's that going to work?
We now have a better idea of what to expect from the GamePad, as ArmDevices.net has gotten some hands-on time with the device.
Bringing a new entry to the successful NBA 2KX franchise, 2K Games recently released NBA 2K13 to Google's Play Store. Like its predecessors, NBA 2K13 is built on the NBA 2K engine, with improved graphics and a new one-finger control option to give players "the ultimate NBA experience while on the go."
Besides the option to use 2K13's new one-finger control system, players can revel in some nostalgia while reliving some of the best performances "in NBA history, including Kobe Bryant's 81-point performance in 2006."
Players can also play through multiple NBA seasons with the same team in order to establish them as "a new dynasty," while enjoying a television-style presentation including full commentary.