Google's remote application for controlling Android TV with your smartphone is... OK. It's adequate. It beats inputting passwords letter-by-letter with a physical remote, and that's about all you can say in praise of the app. While it lets you perform a voice search, it won't launch TV apps without going back to the home screen, and its trackpad isn't a cursor (as some apps might benefit from), it's just a gesture pad.
For mobile photographers, collage apps are second only to filters in their ability to take low-res images and make them look somewhat interesting. Rather than continue to cede this area to competing apps, Instagram has decided to create its own dedicated piece of software. It's called Layout.
Layout can pull photos from your gallery or instantly arrange images as you snap them. Then you drag, resize, flip, or rotate different parts of the collage by tapping, pinching, pulling, and twisting your fingertips against the screen.
Search, as the foundational product Google is known for, is obviously something the company is very thoughtful of when it comes to design. Even small changes can cause a big impact on user experience and engagements, so Google is careful about how design tweaks are implemented.
One common method of testing and easing into (or out of) design tweaks is A/B testing (something we recently saw Google experimenting with in the Google+ app). Today, it looks like Google has begun an experiment on its search engine results page when users search from Chrome on mobile devices. Rather than show results in a lineup, separated by gray lines, Google is playing with a layout that puts each result on its own card, underscored by a line colored to match one of Google's four primary brand colors - blue, green, yellow, and red.
If you've noticed a few changes around the Play Store on a desktop browser, you're not alone. Some Chrome users spotted a new layout for app pages on Google Play starting this yesterday evening. It isn't universal, and it seems to be a minority for the moment - only one Android Police staff member saw the updated layout, and even then, only in the latest beta for Chrome (40.0.2214.45).
The change modifies the full-width view that we've grown used to into a more narrow, three-column view. The "Similar" and "More from developer" sections of the Play Store now occupy the right-most column in a vertical layout.
Swype may have just gained new split and mini keyboard options, but the SwiftKey folks have been sitting on something even more visionary for quite a while now. Their "Layouts for Living" program adds many layout options - split keyboards, movable pop-up keyboards, etc. - to what is already one of the most popular Android keyboards out there.
The video above highlights thumb, compact, and full layout options. Since all three options are movable, they each make it easier to type one-handed, with two thumbs, or with the device resting in your lap. The idea is that the keyboard not only molds to your device, it molds to your position.
Forget skeuomorphism. Why do we need things that look like objects if we can just use actual objects? That's what reddit user and notable George Bruns ballad davy_crockett thought. Using a combination of Apex launcher's ability to resize the icon grid and MultiPicture Live Wallpaper to use multiple photos for different homescreens, he created a layout that's made up entirely of real-world things. Want to play music? Tap the headphones. Need the clock? Hit the watch! It's that simple.
The neat thing about this concept, though, is that if you want to do it yourself, there are virtually no limits to how much your homescreens can differ from this one.
The release of the Nexus 7 brought a new phone/tablet hybrid UI to Android tablets. And today, most people agree that it works well - on the 7-inch form factor, anyway. The latest leaks from the upcoming Nexus 10 suggest that Google will keep using that same hybrid UI, despite having a display that's a few inches bigger in each direction.
As David correctly pointed out, the result is that the phone and tablet UIs are now virtually identical.
Movies by Flixster has a very interesting design history. The developers behind this app are usually among the first to adopt new Android design guidelines—they had a Honeycomb-style action bar back when the Xoom was the only Android tablet around—and today it got another new refresh. The good news is that now it looks better on the Nexus 7, as opposed to the broken mess it was before. Now, for the bad news.
It doesn't look very good. Not that it looks bad, mind you. But if you were worried that you'd just be using a bunch of giant phone apps with your shiny new Nexus, Flixster isn't going to do much to put you at ease.
As an Android developer, I like to keep tabs on the tools I use every day, especially ones as important as ADT for Eclipse and SDK Tools. As was the case several times before, the Android team in charge of both of them posted previews of upcoming releases of ADT 20 and SDK Tools r20, available for manual download ahead of the final releases.
Yup, you heard me correctly - 20, not 18 or 19. Even though the previous major release was 17, 18 followed up shortly after with some minor changes, and 19, even more minor, wasn't even posted to the downloads page (see here for the reason).
Adding an entry to the long list of novelty photo apps in the Android Market, SilkenMermaid has introduced TurboCollage - an aptly named app that allows users to make "picture pile" collages in just a few moments, with a surprising amount of control options.
Once you selects images to be included in the collage, the photos can be rotated, resized, scaled, and layered, to create a collage that perfectly matches your vision. If you're looking for a more dynamic, random aesthetic, TurboCollage also has a "shuffle" option, which will randomly reorder your photos for a totally new layout.
When you're done creating your collage, you can add customizable text, choose a border, and save the collage, either for later editing, or for instantly sharing with your friends on Facebook.