There's been a quiet trend among user interface augmentations as of late: the swipe-out app and menu bar. SwipePad is probably the progenitor (and still my go-to app), and we've featured a handful of interesting alternatives, but Edge: Quick Actions deserves special attention. This little app has managed to outdo Google itself by making the Recents function (the right-most button on the default navigation configuration) obsolete.
How so? Instead of tapping a button and then tapping the app you want to switch to, Edge embeds the last five open apps into a quick-firing mini-launcher that comes across the screen as a ribbon.
Spending too much on your phone service? You could maybe cut that bill down a bit, if you're willing to make a few sacrifices. How does free sound? FreedomPop, which previously started offering free mobile and home internet access, is expanding into phone service. For $0 per month, you can get 200 voice minutes, 500 texts, and 500MB of 3G/4G data.
This is obviously not a plan for heavy data users, but 500 MB might be workable if you're on WiFi most of the day.
Lets get this disclaimer out of the way right from the beginning - video game adaptations of toys are rarely as much fun as the products that inspire them. The long-running LEGO series of movie titles may be the exception to the rule, but don't expect Pullback Racers to follow in their footsteps. The premise here revolves around crafting a game that matches the functionality of the plastic wind-up cars themselves, and like the inspiration it pulls from, the game is rather limited.
There's an almost obsessive quality to equipping and upgrading your character that makes the RPG genre so addictive for some players. OrangePixel's long-awaited Heroes Of Loot understands that and strips out all the unnecessary fluff like story, character development, and whiz-bang 3D graphics... to make room for more loot. The game is available now on the Play Store in a $2 paid version or a free ad-supported version.
Heroes Of Loot technically fits into the "roguelike" sub-genre thanks to semi-permanent player death and procedurally-generated dungeons.
Speak softly and carry a big user base. It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but that might as well be the unofficial motto of WhatsApp. The cross-platform messaging service has been quietly spreading over the last couple of years, coming to every major mobile platform and gaining over 300 million active monthly users, according to AllThingsD. What's next for the quiet revolution? Voice communication.
Well, sort of - it's more like a short voicemail message, not a live two-way conversation.
At this very moment in time, the new Nexus 7 is probably the hottest tablet on the planet. There's a good reason for that, too: Google built on what it started last year with the first gen N7, improving it in almost every way. The new generation has a faster processor, double the RAM, and a higher-resolution display, just to name some of the most obvious changes. Early reviews of the device (worry not, ours is on the way) have praised it almost endlessly, proving that Google really hit the mark with its newest small tablet.
I love freebies. Picking one up is liking buying something nice, only without the cost. For a limited time, you can download a free copy of Android Photography by Colby Brown. It's a simple primer for learning how to take photos using a, preferably stock, Android phone or tablet.
The basics, and I do mean basics, are covered here. The book opens with a description of the best way to hold a phone for both horizontal and vertical pictures, and while this may seem obvious to some users, there's no shame in admitting if your picture-taking form could use some work.
Kairosoft is one of the most dependably solid Android game developers out there. While their titles tend to have a lot in common, those who appreciate the city builder/RPG formula love it to death. The company's latest title is Pocket League Story 2, which builds on the eponymous original with a handful of new features, most notably the ability to play soccer games (well, sort of) against real-world opponents.
Here's the gist: you're the owner of a brand-new soccer team, represented by tiny pixelated players and managers.
Things just got a little better for any game developer who uses the Unity3D Engine – the formerly $400-a-piece mobile add-on packs for Android iOS are now free for life. This is a massive bonus for game devs, as it allows them to easily brings their games to the mobile scene with very little effort.
Of course, there are limitations within these now-free add-ons that will require the Pro version of Unity ($1500) to circumvent, but this will at the very least give you a good idea of what's in store if you wish to port a game.
Field Trip is a somewhat experimental project out of Google's Niantic Labs, an internal start-up that is also responsible for the game Ingress. Field Trip is a location-aware experience just like Ingress, but its purpose is to alert you to notable stuff in your general vicinity. Showing you mildly interesting landmarks is one thing, but Field Trip can now get you free admission to 13 museums in addition to telling you where they are.