Android's navigation soft keys have proven to be a hit with many users, despite the fact that some manufacturers refuse to utilize them. As nifty as they may be, however, they get kind of boring to look at after a while. And, of course, most Android users love to tinker with things to make them look however they want. Up until now, though, there hasn't been an easy way to add a little flare to them.
Say hello to SoftKeyZ – an app that makes swapping out the nav bar keys super simple.
Basically, so long as you have root and busybox is installed, all your bases are covered – just install the app and fire it up.
Today, Facebook announced the Facebook Home suite that we've been hearing so much about. Well, to be more accurate, we've been hearing that Facebook is going to build its own phone and fork Android and create its own special social OS and that it would be the end of Google and that civilization will crash around us and we'll all wear monkey pelts and "Like" statuses by hurling spears through our enemies. Or something. Well, as it turns out, the world didn't end, Android is still whole, and Zuckerberg even thinks the idea of forking an entire OS to make an app is silly.
We don't get to talk much about 3D printing here at Android Police because it's not a technology that's terribly mobile-focused (nor is it even that commonplace yet), but suffice to say, it's amazing. While this may not be about making prosthetic body parts, vehicles, or bikinis, MakerBot and OUYA are partnering to allow users to print their own enclosures for the hackable console. This may be the coolest way to customize a game system yet.
Console customization isn't anything new to hardcore gamers. There have been kits, accessories, and tools to make your hardware your own for ages.
Whether you use Windows Phone or not, chances are at some point you're going to have to get used to the concept of tiles. Microsoft's putting them everywhere. On your Xbox, PC, tablet... They're unavoidable. If you like the idea of tiles over icons, though, here's an app you might want to try out: Tile Launcher Beta. While it's not quite a clone of the MS-borne smartphone interface (for example, you can still have a custom background), it does place brightly colored squares on a continuous scrolling homescreen.
You know...it kinda grows on you. While I've never been a huge fan of the Windows Phone interface as is, the tiles here are pretty slick and, as in the left-hand screenshot above, with some custom icon tweaking they can be made to look gorgeous.
Encouraging players to "go for the big win," Hothead Games recently released Big Win Football to the Play Store. The makers of the artistic masterpiece that is Machinarium and the similarly sports-minded Big Win Soccer have added another entry to their catalogue of "Big Win" sports games, bringing the same customizable, competitive and unique gameplay dynamic to football fans, allowing them to create their own customized dream team, play against opponents online, and enhance player skills with game-changing boosts.
One of the things that makes Big Win Football different from other football games, besides its Mii-like character style, is the ability to play big impact cards.
If you've ever cruised through r/AndroidThemes, then you've probably seen some pretty impressive homescreens floating around. Some are ultra-minimal. Others are highly functional while still retaining an appealing look. Then, there are those that just stand out from the crowd because of a well thought-out layout.
The Sci-Fi Interface Theme by Reddit user Futant55 is a shining example of the latter. It has the look of something very difficult to create, but is actually just a few widgets precisely placed to fit in perfectly with the custom wallpaper. Have a look:
Left: Homescreen; Right: Lock screen
Fortunately, Futant55 provided all the necessary files to recreate this look for yourself.
When we first took a look at Apex launcher, we loved it. One of the better ICS launchers is about to get even better, as the app gets bumped to version 1.2. The update brings, among other things, support for themes and a ludicrously high 10x10 grid of icons on phones. For those of you that like have touch screen phones, but hate how easy it is to tap on things without machine-like precision.
Here's a full list of the new features:
What's in this version:
Support for Apex Launcher themes
Support for selecting icons from LauncherPro and Go Launcher icon packs
New gestures and Apex actions: toggle dock and recent apps
Added CM9 settings integration
Up to 10x10 grid on phones
Support for ADW, LauncherPro, and GO Launcher themes (pro)
Unread count notifications for icons in folders (pro)
Improved desktop gestures
Fixed a wallpaper position issue
Fixed a icon scaling bug
Various bug fixes and improvements
A couple of the new features are for the pro-version only, which costs $4, but the rest of the update is free on the Play Store right now, including support for using Launcher Pro and Go Launcher icon packs, just in case you want the best of all worlds.
To our friends overseas: no spoilers! Depending on where you live in the world, you're either coming down from an Avengers high, or eagerly anticipating the end of your four-year wait for this movie. Either way, you could probably use a little more of Marvel's most famous superheroes of late in your life. So, here. Have an official live wallpaper.
The live wallpaper costs $0.99. We say this because, although you can download it for free here, the wallpaper requires an in-app purchase of 99 cents to unlock the heroes. So, unless you've been waiting for years to see that sweet Avengers logo and a burning car, this app just costs a buck.
Some of the most impressive features unveiled at tonight's Ice Cream Sandwich Announcement surrounded the home screen and multitasking. This time around, Google has packed an absurd amount of awesomeness into Android, and while the home screen is just the beginning, there's a lot going on that's worth discussing.
First up, we have resizable widgets - a feature many users adore from Honeycomb. Finally, users can resize widgets using Android's default launcher, making the possibilities for well-designed home screens endless.
Next we've got folders, a feature many users have been asking for since before Gingerbread. Users can now make custom folders of apps or contact shortcuts, and even re-order the items within each folder.
It's now been exactly a year (minus one day) since I published my very first editorial for Android Police, Let Android Be Android. A lot has changed since - dual-core CPUs are now table stakes for a high-end smartphone; Android has evolved from an exclusively mobile OS to a software powerhouse for phones and tablets alike; and we've been given several seminars on stretching the truth about the speed of a wireless network (yep, that would be the "4G" drama).
Sadly, one thing has remained almost entirely stagnant: the diminutive amount of vanilla Android devices on the market. In fact, it would be more than accurate to say that the skin situation has been exacerbated since my article on it last year.