Developer Klinker Apps, the folks behind the Talon Twitter client and the EvolveSMS messaging app, have just released Blur, a free launcher replacement that takes the approach introduced by the Google Now Launcher and opens it up to other apps. With Blur, any app that adds on support for the launcher can have its own dedicated page that rests right on a person's homescreen. In practice, this means users can swipe to the left to access their Twitter feed, text messages, a basic calculator, or a dedicated Google Now page that the Klinker brothers MacGyvered to imitate the GNL.
Update: The update is now live in the Store – find it by hitting the widget at the end of the post.
Last month, Google announced they'd be killing off Google Reader this July. Yes, in just a couple of short months, one of the most beloved RSS resources in existence would be kaput. Google says it decided to pull the plug because of dwindling use numbers. While there were plenty of discussions about Google's real motivation (everything from well-reasoned examinations of the situation to cries of "EVIL!"), there was something more important happening behind the outcry – there were people stepping up to fill the gap in as seamless and timely a fashion as possible.
Google Voice is a great service burdened by a lack of support, integration, and easy way to sign up (unless you're on Sprint, of course). Those who do decide to jump the hurdles and either get a brand new number—or port their existing one to Google—will find themselves in an uncomfortable paradise. On the one hand, you can text from your desktop, tablet, or phone completely for free which is awesome.
There are no shortage of keyboard replacements on the market. Between SwiftKey, Swype, and the various manufacturer-skinned versions, you can't help but have three or four options on your phone. Today's latest entrant, iKnowU, still manages to stand out with the ability to predict entire phrases and highlighting of the next letters it thinks you're going to type. Pretty impressive.
Swiftkey 3 recently arrived on the Play Store, and not too long afterwards, the company has posted a statement on its blog letting us know that the app is currently the best-selling paid app on the Play Store. Not too bad, SwiftKey! Of course, the biggest challenge is ahead, as Google announced yesterday that, from Jelly Bean onwards, the default Android keyboard will attempt to predict your next word. Which smacks just a little of SwiftKey's pitch.
If you have an EVO 4G LTE from Sprint, you may want to take a closer look at your unit before your initial 3014 days are up if you're still within that timeframe. Some users over at XDA are reporting that their devices are experiencing light bleed around the home button when the button is lit up and the display is darkened. If you want to test out your unit, the app Dead Pixel Test can help.
Paper Camera, one of the most successful camera apps on the Android Market, got an update to version 2.0 today. You may remember our preview of version 2.0 earlier this month, 2.0 being the update which promised to add video capability to the already awesome app. Well, JFDP Labs LTD has made good on that promise, and thrown in a few other tweaks as well.
At the moment, only the Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy SII, Galaxy Note, Droid 3, and Transformer Prime have official video support, but JFDP advises that other devices "might have some degree of support."
Besides added video capabilities, Paper Camera has also received support for Android Beam, allowing users to transfer images seamlessly between devices powered by Ice Cream Sandwich.
There is no shortage of launcher replacements for Android, but once in a while a new one comes along and takes the launcher experience to a new level. Such is the case with TSF Shell Pro, a new launcher currently in development by a team of developers who call themselves C3D. TSF, their brand, stands for The Special Forces, and special they are - just take a look at what the team cooked up.
Offering a simple, no-nonsense entry into the replacement dialer game, ShSh Software gives us TAKEphONE - a plain, unassuming alternative to Android's stock Phone app.
At A Glance
TAKEphONE is by all accounts a simple dialer replacement. When I say simple I mean it has three main screens, each with subtle variations in their settings menus. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it keeps the app lightweight and easy. I will say, however, that the app could use some polish.
Tonight, TouchType Ltd. released a much-anticipated update to SwiftKey X, the text prediction authority among replacement keyboards. The update brings a ton of improvements, from UI tweaks to performance and language changes, and even prediction enhancements. Perhaps more important than all of that, however, is the fact that SwiftKey X 2.2 has full Ice Cream Sandwich support, and an enhanced multi-touch framework, keeping the keyboard replacement ahead of the curve.
Specifically, the update brings the following changes:
Full language localization for major European languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Portugese)
Intelligent typing support extended to 35 languages, including Arabic and Hebrew
Enhanced multi-touch framework for faster typing
Prediction and correction enhancements thanks to a more efficient Fluency engine
Graphic enhancements, including a better settings menu, alternative character selection and sharing features
Enhancements to the keyboard to change the height in both portrait and landscape modes
New Dvorak and Colemak layouts for those who wish to depart from QWERTY
Reduced memory use
Full Support for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
If you aren't already a fan of SwiftKey X, these enhancement should go a long way in convincing you.