One great thing about major updates to Android – and the developer previews leading up to them – is that a lot of the smaller, often overlooked apps tend to get some renewed attention. Google's Calculator app has seen a few builds with each developer preview since it went from v7.21 to v7.3, and each one has included something of note.
Google I/O has taken its toll. At least that's the way it looks based on the fairly quiet week we've seen for app updates thus far. The biggest update to arrive was for Snapseed, which gained some fairly useful improvements for editing. The focus on images continued with an update to the Photos app, but it didn't appear to bring any notable new features, rather just a bug fix. However, a teardown of the app reveals quite a bit more. Google is lining up some cool improvements to the app, including new sorting methods for albums, new editing controls, and a pretty amazing promo for Nexus devices.
An update to the Google Photos app just rolled out, bringing the current version number up to v1.17. This release is pretty straightforward with just one notable change: photos can now be edited in a non-destructive fashion. In other words, you can make changes to a picture and still return to the original version if you like. That feature alone is certainly enough to make this a worthy upgrade, but a teardown provides some good clues about features that are probably coming in the next couple of releases, assuming they're not already here.
With Lollipop 5.0, most of the Contacts app graduated to a slick new experience inspired by material, but for some reason the contact creation/editing screens clung to old holo paradigms.
The newly tweaked editing layout in Android 5.1 makes a decidedly more thoughtful use of horizontal lines and adheres to material design's standard keylines (at 16 and 72dp) making for a cleaner, clearer interface with helpful iconography highlighting each type of field.
It's no secret that Adobe hasn't exactly done a stellar job at keeping parity between its collection of apps for iOS and Android. iOS users, for instance, enjoy Adobe Illustrator Line and Draw, Color CC, Premiere Clip, Brush CC, and many more that have yet to see the light of day on the Play Store.
It isn't all bad news, though - today, Adobe is bringing Lightroom Mobile to Android. The app actually has a couple of cool things to offer, but before we take a look, there are a few caveats that should definitely be mentioned.
For one, the app isn't optimized for Android tablets - Adobe says that actual Android tablet support is "on the roadmap" for the future, but didn't specify any time frame.
Good things come to those who wait. Android users didn't get an official Wikipedia app until January 2012, and it was a relatively bare bones release at that. Over two years later, it's really starting to show its age, as those Gingerbread screenshots sitting on its Play Store page aren't impressing anyone. But now we see a new version of the Wikipedia Beta app that finally seems poised to give us the native experience we've been waiting for.
That's right, the app has gone native, offering a faster experience and a UI that looks much better on anything released since Ice Cream Sandwich.
If you're entrenched in Adobe's creative ecosystem, or just want to try a new photo editing and storage solution for your mobile devices, you may be interested to learn that the company has brought an official Revel app to the Play Store.
Before discussing the app, it would be prudent to remind readers that Adobe Revel works on a plan system with free and paid options - for free, you get unlimited photo and video imports for 30 days. After that you're limited to 50 total imports per month. For $5.99 per month, you unlock unlimited imports. Those interested in finding out more can check out Adobe's official Revel site.
Handy Photo is a mobile photo editor that can seemingly work magic with such features as un-cropping, the ability to remove objects from a photo, and the option to apply any number of its impressive filters. We put version 1.0 of the app through its paces last year and saw a lot of promise. Now Handy Photo is making the jump to the big 2.0, and it's bringing with it a new UI.
This is a photo editor, so most of the other changes get pretty specific. We're talking about the ability to selectively adjust tones, partially apply filters, and move or scale textures.
Today, Google announced a new update to the Google+ app that will be rolling out later today that brings a host of new features. For starters, the posts have been redesigned to look a little cleaner, provide more content up front, and are easier to interact with. For example, you can now swipe between photos in an album, and tapping content should take you directly to where you want to go. The current Google+ app has a problem with requiring the user to jump through several hoops to get to the meat of a post, so hopefully this makes things easier.
There are no shortage of image editors on Android. Even Adobe, which makes the class-leading Photoshop, has a version of its editor on the platform. Today, though, Google gets one of its very own: Snapseed. You may recall this particular piece of software when it was demoed by NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang at CES this year. At the time, it was only available on the iPad where it had won App of the Year in 2011. Shortly thereafter, Google bought the company. Now, the Android version is finally being released.
This video is a bit older and shows off the iOS version, but you get the idea.