One year on, Google's material design philosophy is still picking up steam. As popular as it's become in the community though, there are still some holes left to fill in terms of implementation.
Until now, developers have had to rely on third-party libraries (in conjunction with Google's own support library) to create elements like floating action buttons, but Google is looking to fix that, releasing a new design support library today that fills in some of the holes. Read More
Writing great, high-quality software is hard work. No matter how well we know a platform or how long we spend on code, there are bound to be bugs. Memory leaks are among the most common problems, and they can be particularly disruptive on mobile devices. Square set out to make memory leaks easier to track down and fix with a new library called LeakCanary. It makes leak detection almost automatic and presents results in both logcat and an easy-to-read interface.
LeakCanary is designed to be as easy to use as possible. For most applications, it should only require a few additional lines in the app's build.gradle file, and one more line of code in your Application class. Read More
Along with a handful of new tablets, Amazon has officially announced Fire OS 4 (codenamed Sangria), which it says adds hundreds of new features to the "content-forward" operating system.
First and foremost, Amazon says the user interface in Fire OS has gotten a facelift. Amazon hasn't gone into detail in describing its UI changes, but visual tweaks are certainly welcome to an interface that can at times seem scattered.
Besides that, Amazon is touting new features like ASAP, Smart Suspend, and the addition of individual user profiles to make for easier sharing among families.
ASAP stands for "Advanced Streaming And Protection," a feature from Amazon's Fire TV that attempts to predict what you want to watch next and queue it up automatically for playback as soon as you get done with the current content. Read More
Every few months, Google experiments with a new design, widget, or pattern by injecting it into one of its most important apps. Preceding I/O 2013, we were treated to a steady stream of updates including the new Navigation Drawer. As we have seen, the latest GMail app joined the herd, but also gained a tweaked version of the now common pull-to-refresh gesture. While Google was kind enough to supply us with a library for the Navigation Drawer, anybody hoping to add the newly-stylized refresh is left to fend for themselves. Fortunately, the developer community is filled with people who can't wait for El Goog to get caught up. Read More
Amazon's Kindle app has just received a significant update, bringing the reader up to version 4 and introducing a refreshed UI, among other things.
Just when I'd decided to try switching to Play Books (despite giving up things like quick two-finger brightness adjustment), Amazon has introduced a redesigned library that's much more lively than a simple grid of book covers. The new library interface has your books plus a nice "carousel" up top for recent items. The navigation panel has also been expanded for quick access to documents and Newsstand items, along with items that used to hide under the overflow button. Read More
Can we be honest with ourselves? Plex kinda sucks. Hard to blame it, most third-party media centers on Android do at the moment. As a lengthy blog post by the developer points out, part of that has been due to Android's inflexibility and lack of a coherent UI in its history. That's changed over the last couple years and now Plex has been rebuilt from the ground up to be a lot more beautiful and a lot more functional.
The new version has followed the Android Design Guidelines very closely and it shows. While most of us here at Android Police are of the opinion that Holo alone does not make a good UI, the addition is most welcome, given the way the old version looks. Read More
You know, if I'm honest, I feel a little sympathy for Archos. While they don't usually stand out as a manufacturer of the best tablets, they've gotten a decent reputation as being good for the low-end. Then the Nexus 7 came out and redefined what "budget tablet" means. Still, the company has to make money somehow, and putting its custom video player on the Play Store is as good a way as any, right?
The player is decent enough as a video player. Cover art and meta data is aggregated to create a pretty nifty-looking library with slick animations. Read More
While Google's been working feverishly to build out its Play Store, bringing it to other countries and expanding its offerings, the company's music store has been lacking one crucial feature that its competitors have: library matching. Where Amazon and iTunes can scan your current collection and add the songs to your online storage, Google has, until recently, required users to upload every individual track manually. A long and tedious process. In mid-November, the scan and match feature came out for Europe, and today it arrives for US residents.
Where Google differs from Amazon and iTunes, however, is that this scanning and matching service will be entirely free. Read More
Earlier this week, we mentioned that the amazing folks behind the XBMC project are bringing the app to Android. Well, it's still very early, but would you like to see what it's gonna be like? Of course you do. If you've got a Nexus Q or an Android-compatible set top box, you can download the apk from our mirrors below. For the rest of you, here's what it looks like running on a lovingly hacked Nexus Q, courtesy of Cyanogenmod developer Jason Parker:
The interface is still very much centered around arrow keys/a d-pad. Touch input does work, but text is very small on a phone and not much better on a tablet. Read More