Sony has been surprisingly quiet on the smartwatch front since launching its SmartWatch 2. But now that the Galaxy Gear is gaining steam (or at the very least, getting a hell of a lot of advertising airtime) they've set out to put a little extra oomph in their Xperia-styled digital watch. A quick update to the Android app on the Google Play Store has given the device a few expanded capabilities.
Have a KitKat device? If so, you've made the leap to the latest version of Android faster than most other people. That's the fun part. You've also jumped to Android 4.4 before most apps. That's the not so fun part. While older apps are generally stable and compatible, sometimes an update is in order to iron out the kinks. Thus a new version of Light Flow is now available that makes the app more compatible with Android 4.4 and the Nexus 5.
Every once in a while we come across an app with such a practical, obvious application that we're forced to wonder why we didn't think of it first. Case in point: Botifier, which sends status updates from any app to a paired and compatible Bluetooth display using version 1.3 or later of the A/V Remote Control Profile. Translation: it sends notifications to your car's Bluetooth-enabled stereo.
The AVRCP standard is usually intended for song information, but developer Grimpy has adapted it to show the notification as the "song title," the application it comes from as the "artist," and the summary as the "album.
In a post to Google+, CyanogenMod has announced "the death of Power Widgets," offering up an explanation of CM's new solution: a Quick Access Ribbon.
Power Widgets, as the post explains, have been a hit since their birth in CyanogenMod 7, but have languished both in terms of maintenance and usefulness ever since. Their redundancy took another hike with the introduction of Google's Quick Settings shade in stock Android.
"Soon," the post goes on "we will say goodbye to the notification power widgets, discarding their 3000+ lines of code for a sleeker (only 370 new lines), newer, and more efficient method of toggling your settings."
The new implementation will offer a sleek, slim ribbon of quick settings tiles determined by the configuration of the actual Quick Settings shade, and will allow the CM team to offer functionality similar to the old power widgets without maintaining a separate stream of code.
It took us a little longer than usual this time, but we're finally back with a short selection of last month's best new apps. It wasn't easy to narrow them down, but those readers who don't have time, spare cash, or patience enough for our longer semi-weekly roundups can't go wrong with the five apps we've chosen. If, by some chance, none of the apps below suit your fancy, we've got plenty of runners up too.
Light Flow is the kind of app that best showcases Android's sensibilities: esoteric, amazingly customizable, and downright impossible on other platforms. The popular notification manager for devices with LED indicator lights has just had a big update to version 3.8, most notably bringing support for the popular NinjaSMS texting app. NinjaSMS users, make sure you're running the latest version of both apps, and enable Light Flow in the settings menu.
Following up on our roundup of May's absolute best games, we're back with the month's greatest apps. As with (almost) every month, May offered plenty in the way of great new apps to try out. If you feel like the supercomputer in your pocket just isn't doing enough, any of these apps are great starting points for added functionality, productivity, or just entertainment.
As with our last roundup, we'll also include a list of honorable mentions – those are the apps that didn't quite make the short list but that you should still take a look at if you find your selection wanting.
If a speaker, vibration motor, and an on-device notification light aren't enough to grab your attention when a new message comes to your phone, you need a more extreme option. The developer of HueNotifier Beta has provided one: an impressive sync between any Android 4.0+ device and Philips' range of Hue connected LED lightbulbs. After installing the app and setting it up, new notifications from any app can be assigned to pulsate the light bulb or bulbs in any available color.
After some teasing, Paranoid Android has unveiled (in a lovely promo image) their plan for multi-window functionality on Android, which they promise to "get right," – Halo.
The premise is simple, yet extremely ambitious in scope – allow apps to give you notifications right on top of your screen, which allow you to pop into that app without leaving the one you're in (no matter what it is), take care of business, and resume your experience uninterrupted.