One of the worst things about fitness tracking apps is that they often require users to tell them when an activity starts. This can be a pretty big inconvenience, especially for people that keep their phones stowed in closed pockets or an arm band without easy access to the screen. The latest update to Fit might save many people from having to reach for their phone at all. Wear users can now start and stop activity trackers directly from the mini-app.
The main phone app doesn't seem to have any notable changes, so this update is all about Wear. Read More
Yesterday, I was starting work on some sketches for Android TV. When it was time to move into Sketch (my current mockup tool of choice, mostly because of its Zeplin integration), I realized I hadn't really seen any good ready-made sheets, frames, or stickers for Android TV UI. So I decided to just go ahead and build a few screens, and then maybe - if they came out decent - upload them for other designers who might want to do a quick TV mockup or two.
The Sketch file you'll find below has 7 artboards, covering the Android TV home page, a basic leanback UI, a video player, a list, settings, and keyboard/text input. Read More
Local music players (as opposed to online radio and cloud storage players) sometimes seem like dinosaurs now that everyone and their dog is offering a connected music option, but there are still plenty of users who prefer high-quality playback of local files. For them, the years-old PowerAmp remains a popular choice thanks to its excellent codec support, extensive equalizer, and a long list of musical creature comforts. Developer Max MP has now made version 3.0 of the app available as a public alpha; you can download the APK directly from the app's user forum. Read More
Google added Drawing Mode to Keep at the end of October and the couple of updates since then seem to focus on fixing bugs. The recent 501 update did make a small but useful addition: there is now an overflow menu in Drawing Mode with links to Delete and Send (i.e. share) your doodles to other apps. Read More
Android TV is getting some serious attention this week with updates to just about all of the Google apps, including a few that most of us never hear about. An update to YouTube's set-top variant just came out with a few subtle changes. The latest release fills out the interface a bit to make channel subscriptions slightly easier. There are also some new shortcuts and reorganization for Settings, including a toggle to enable Stats for Nerds mode. And YouTube Red subscribers will finally see a visual change when their subscription status is recognized.
Home screen – Left: old version. Right: new version. Read More
Out with the old and in with the new. That's just about the best way to describe the latest update to the Google app for Android TV. Version 2.0 doesn't seem to bring much in the way of features, but what it lacks in functional changes is more than made up for with visuals. Basically everything having to do with a search interface looks at least a little different, if not completely. If you're eager to try it out for yourself, there's an APK Mirror link at the bottom. Otherwise, take a gander at a few screenshots below.
New microphone – Left: old version, Right: new version. Read More
Inbox by Gmail likes to group mail together. That's much of what makes the app special. Instead of weaving through an endless sea of messages, you just dive into various groups called bundles.
Trip bundles take all of the mail from a single trip and sort them together. Google also mines the contents of these messages to show you an agenda card that consolidates key information into a single place.
Now Google is introducing the option to share these trip bundles. Read More
Wednesday was packed with an onslaught of app updates, many of which came with at least a few notable features. While a bit on the quiet side, the Play Movies & TV app came with some worthwhile new features of its own. Most of the new features are hidden under the Settings screen, including a toggle to finally shut off binge-watching on phones and tablets and a pair of options to enable notifications for new TV shows and when things on your Wishlist become available or drop in price. There are also a few other subtle differences behind the scenes.
Here's the official changelog for Play Movies & TV v3.10:
- Wishlist any movie that's not yet available for purchase and receive notifications when it's available to buy or rent
- More reliable playback
- Settings improvements
- Play Movies & TV channel in Android TV Live Channels app
An update back in early October brought binge-watching, which filled in a popular feature for serious TV watchers. Read More
Version 1.40 of YouTube Kids, Google's way of getting your children hooked on video clips from a young age, doesn't want any youngster missing out on what's going on outdoors. Encouraging them to look away from the screen would be too risky, so instead YouTube Kids now has a winter-themed homescreen. Look at the snow, and imagine the cold. Read More