As we get closer and closer to Google I/O, speculation inevitably ramps up about what Mountain View will be unveiling this year to set the Android world on fire. The most likely plans involve boosting Play Store features and availability, given the recent push not only to expand into new countries, but to frame the Nexus line as a great content consumption platform. If Fortune is right, then Google may have a huge axe to swing in that battle with not one, but two different subscription music services coming soon.
From the moment it was released, Poweramp has been one of the most beloved music players on Android. While it doesn't have that Google cloud magic, the developer has done a great job of keeping the app fresh with updates. This most recent update really piles on the goodies, too.
The developer has added some neat features for users of a few select devices. If you're on Android 4.2, Poweramp now has a proper lockscreen widget.
Bringing to market a simplistic, clean take on the puzzler genre, Appxplore released Sporos today. The concept behind Sporos is simple: place sporos (which, by the way, is some sort of "special seed") on the board, watch the adjacent rows or columns light up, and repeat until every cell on the board is illuminated.
Seems easy, right? It would be, except that the levels get progressively harder, with more complex cell patterns, and you've only got a certain number of sporos to work with, each able to light up a certain set of directions.
To call this game "Tetris on a sphere" would be a bit disingenuous. It's far, far more complicated than that. Tetris merely requires you to place falling pieces such that they create solid, dissolving rows and thus abate, if temporarily, the peril of becoming overwhelmed by the steady stream of burdens in what I can only assume is a clever metaphor for adulthood. Globulous, on the other hand, has a clear goal: clear out layers of the sphere and reach the prize inside.
I like comics. They're wonderful. While the modern world makes it difficult for local shops to maintain the footprint they once did, online distribution has made it insanely easy (and cheap!) for major and minor artists to gain a following and make money doing it. However, is digitally reproducing static artwork on a powerful, portable computer really the best we can do? Narr8 doesn't think so.
The app functions similarly to most digital comic stores now: you can download individual "episodes" and keep track of all entries in a series.
Back in December, Media Monkey released a beta of the Android version of the media player app that received a level of success on the desktop. It still packs the same ability to tag and run scripts that the original possessed. Now it's arrived on the Play Store, which should make rolling out bug fixes much easier.
Speaking of bug fixes, the most recent set includes ensuring that playback position will be remembered, improving memory utilization and preventing duplicate tracks.
As if there weren't enough contenders out there for music subscription service, Slacker Radio has updated its business model. You can still get the standard ad-supported radio station features that were always available. However the company has added a Spotify-like buffet option for $10/month. Pony up the dough and you can remove all ads and listen to as many tracks as you want.
The combination is pretty powerful, as one of the biggest complaints over Spotify is its discovery problems.
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.
Popular (and well-established) music manager/player Winamp got an update today, bringing the app to version 1.4.6 and introducing (among other things) long-awaited notification player controls. The controls match the look and feel of the app they belong to, using a design language that (unfortunately) doesn't look like it's been revisited in a while. That said, they work like a charm, and add much-needed functionality.
Besides that, users will enjoy several bug fixes (primarily involving SHOUTcast and AAC playback), and some streamlined code on the Now Playing screen.
Of all the things I use my smartphones and tablets for, streaming music is high on the list. Of course, the experience of listening to music from a smartphone or tablet basically sucks without a good set of earbuds. If you happen to need one such set, continue reading, because we have some awesome ones to give away.
This contest is now over.
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