Besides a bevy of new features, Android's update to 4.4 brought forth a ton of tweaks to the interface through GEL launcher and a fresh round of updated stock apps. There's little doubt Android's user experience and overall design paradigms are continuing to evolve, becoming more refined, usable, and useful. We covered most of the changes to the interface in Getting to Know Android but, as with any major update, new changes come with new opportunities for error.
We've received an early look at an upcoming version of Facebook that introduces a brand new, flat UI. This is a change that competing social networks like Twitter and Pinterest made a long time ago, and given the direction Android, iOS, and Windows Phone have all moved in, it only makes sense. When considering Facebook Messenger's recent redesign, it's even less surprising. Yet this is pre-release software, so there's a decent chance none of these changes will make it into the stable version.
If you're a Chrome Beta user who was getting bored with their weekend web browsing, we've got a tip for you - Chrome Beta for Android has an experimental "Accessibility Tab Switcher" flag that'll allow you to switch tabs in a compact, pleasing interface, also enabling you to bring back closed tabs with a handy "undo" button. That should take a little pressure out of your tab management experience.
To turn the Accessibility Tab Switcher on, just open up Chrome Beta and head to chrome://flags.
The new Play Store is certainly snazzy, but a lot of the functionality of the older site has been missing ever since it got a fresh coat of digital paint. One of the most bemoaned omissions was contextual keyboard shortcuts, especially handy for touch typists whose fingers never leave the keys. (ThinkPad users, I'm looking at you.) Good news, everyone: as of late yesterday, they're back.
On any single app listing, press the left or right arrow keys to navigate between the posted screenshots.
Seeking to make presenting rich media on Android devices a little easier, Adobe has released Presenter Mobile. As the name implies, Presenter Mobile works with Adobe Presenter which, for those who don't know, is a tool that can take your media-packed Powerpoint deck and turn it into easy-to-manage, interactive eLearning or presentation material. Presenter's desktop software can also create videos "capturing both yourself and your screen" for demonstrations or instructional sessions.
Announced at CES this year, the ASUS Cube has managed to get a decent amount of attention for a Google TV Box. Formerly known as the Qube, this angular, textured device came to market toward the end of last month, and I've been living with it ever since, trying to get a feel for the product and decide whether ASUS has something special on their hands.
In reviewing the Cube I wanted to answer two main questions that I think underlie every GTV device: Is the user experience a good one, and does the product successfully make Google TV something I actually want to use on a daily basis?
Google Maps has been performing solid, mostly thankless service for more than eight years now, and last week its most significant update yet was leaked. It's that time of year, so we naturally assumed that we'd be hearing more about it at today's Google I/O keynote, but someone in Mountain View must have been a little quick on the trigger. Droid Life spotted a signup page for the revamped web interface and managed to grab a few screenshots before it was hastily shoved back in the digital closet.
If you've been paying attention to TV Guide's official app, you know that it's needed some attention for a while. Its UI through version 2.x was an outdated pastiche of Gingerbread tabs and gradated iconography desperately in need of a redesign (and support for 4.0+). Today, TV Guide has fulfilled that need (for the most part), bringing to the Play Store TV Guide Mobile version 3.0. The update also brought "many cool new features" to the app, which we'll discuss momentarily.