Android's lock screen hasn't really changed since 4.2, but app developers keep coming up with new ways to wow us. Case in point: Cover. This alternative lockscreen replaces the default screen with a selection of quick-launch app icons, not unlike some of the manufacturer skins out there. But unlike TouchWiz or Sense, Cover automatically learns which apps you use at what times, and it comes with a ton of impressive UI features.
The Android lockscreen has been slowly evolving over the years, and it's got a respectable feature set these days. But sometimes rethinking a feature can provide a better overall experience. Cover is a new beta lockscreen alternative that tries to learn where you are and what you're most likely to need access to, then put it right there on the lockscreen. It's a compelling approach, but how is it?
It took an annoyingly long time for ASUS' official case for the original Nexus 7 to become available, and even when it did, it wasn't all that great. For the 2013 version ASUS has created two cases: a travel case, which is made of a soft plastic material like the older "official" case, and a premium case, with a hard plastic outer shell, foldable cover/stand, and microfiber interior. This more functional case is now shipping from at least two Amazon vendors.
In the interest of time, I'll spare you, dear readers, my usual spiel and say simply this: I like official accessories. In theory, anyway. I like the idea of accessories specifically made for specific devices by the device's original manufacturer. I've been delighted by the Nexus 7 pogo dock, and love the Nexus 10 pogo charger (though it isn't actually official yet).
Then there's the official book cover for the Nexus 10.
Just last week, we saw the launch of the elusive book cover for the Nexus 10 – the only official accessory of its kind to come out of the Play Store for the 10" slab. Since we spied it at the Nexus 10's original launch, all had been quiet. Presumably, the covers simply weren't ready to be sold.
It's been about five months since the Nexus 10 came out. In what is frustratingly becoming true Play Store fashion, accessories did not come out alongside the device. Now, however, the covers have finally landed in two colors: grey and "scarlet" (here being defined as "safety vest orange," at least as it appears in pictures).
For those unfamiliar with how this case works, on the back of the Nexus 10 there is an ovoid plastic plate that snaps in place.
Action Launcher is something special. The home screen replacement made its debut a short three months ago in December, and found its way into our hearts as one of (if not the) best app of the month. What makes Action Launcher a great replacement is that it's unique – AL is totally different from any Launcher we've yet seen, and it earns that distinction with a couple of signature features: first, all your apps are a quick slide away.
In what seems to be a fairly arbitrary move, Google has trimmed the fat from the Play Store's Nexus 7 cover selection. The lineup, which formerly included pink, light blue, and gray, has been cut down to just the light blue color in the US, with the pink cover variant appearing outside the US. The gray cover has been axed completely.
It looks like those of us who are getting amped up for the release of ASUS' Eee Pad Transformer Prime have one more thing to look forward to – an awesome magnetic folding cover which will attach to the Prime's aluminum frame and fold up to hold the tablet in portrait or landscape orientation, at a variety of angles.
This cover is, no doubt, inspired by the popular cover Apple introduced with the iPad 2, but puts an interesting twist on the concept, adding a few folds, and giving the case the overall appearance of an origami sculpture.