Android TV, and by association Nexus Player, are the evolution of Chromecast. It essentially eliminates the need to use a middleman device like a phone or tablet if the user chooses, and allows them to interface directly with the device and TV in many cases. While it still retains all the functionality of Chromecast, a dedicated box allows for a much more robust and feature-rich system, as well as more room for future enhancements.
Today was an extremely exciting day for Android fans. Besides brand new Lollipop preview images coming out, along with a new SDK and final APIs, some new hardware went up for pre-order. Specifically, the Nexus 9 and Nexus Player went up for sale ahead of launch, and the Nexus 6 listing was put up, but it's still not available to order just yet.
But a few hours ago, something curious happened.
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.
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?
Forget all those people streaming their movies from the likes of Netflix and Hulu. You like to have a proper collection of video files. You want to own them and watch them wherever you want. RockPlayer, the all-purpose media player app for Android, has been a crowd favorite for just this purpose for a while, even if it's been lacking a bit of luster. Well, today that changes with a huge update to the interface that makes it both prettier and far more functional.
In ancient Greece, Apollo was—among other things—the god of music. In ancient 2012, Apollo became the official music app for CyanogenMod. It was gorgeous, functional, and completely customizable, as you might expect from the world's most popular ROM. At the time, we were told that this lovely bit of software would be coming to the Market "in the coming weeks." That was back when we still called it the Market.
RealPlayer, one of the most well-known media playing solutions available for desktops, has received its own Android app, which came out of beta and hit version 1.0 (officially 0.0.1.0) today. In a press release, Scott Uomoto (SVP Consumer and Helix Divisions, RealNetworks) boldly stated that "this is the media player that people want."
Despite any preconceived notions you may have about RealPlayer, the official Android app already has overwhelmingly high ratings and a somewhat decent feature list – first off, RealPlayer can be used to centralize not just your music, but videos and photos as well.
Leave it to Comcast to be ahead of the curve on keeping up to date with new technology*. The Comcast subsidiary Xfinity has just updated its TV Player app to be compatible with Android 4.1, with special emphasis on supporting the Nexus 7. The app is technically compatible, though the release notes say that the next version of the app will include a UI designed specifically for the 7" form factor.
VLC is one of those tools that's in every geek's toolbox. The video player that supports every video format known to man still doesn't have an official, finished Android version, though. In the meantime, however, developer cvpcs, has done us all the courtesy of setting up an hourly build server for the alpha of VLC for Android.
The builds come in both NEON and non-NEON flavors. So, folks with older phones, or devices with the Tegra 2, for example, should probably download the non-NEON version.