While December was a huge month for Android games, you can't say the same for more standard apps - despite a large number of new apps that came out, only a handful were all that interesting or innovative. (Heck, one of our apps below is specifically meant to record video games!) For what it's worth, here are the seven most interesting and/or innovative apps that came out this month, and some others thrown in for good measure.
Developer Iwo Banaś is not having a good week. The free version of his SCR Screen Recorder app, which we featured on Android Police last month, was unceremoniously kicked off of the Play Store for "Violation of the System Interference provision of the Content Policy." Exactly what that means is outlined in a Google Support document: basically it says that ads can't impersonate portions of the Android interface or imply that they're something that they're not, like a fake virus warning or Facebook message. Example screenshots are below:
OK, that makes sense. But Banaś didn't understand what portion of SCR Screen Recorder 5+ Free could have violated this policy.
One of the nicest little surprises lurking in Android 5.0 is the support for native on-device screen recording. The ADB screen recorder was added in KitKat, but now we can finally do it without a cable. Apps are still being updated with support, but AZ Screen Recorder is a new listing that seems to hit all the high points, and it's free.
Perhaps you have used Koush's Mirror app in the past. Well, you haven't used this one—it's a completely new app with a new listing in the Play Store. Mirror still lets you beam your phone or tablet display to other devices, but it can also record the screen. The difference, now it can work without root on Lollipop.
One of the new features introduced in Android Lollipop is an android.media.projection API that allows apps to capture the device's screen. Unlike KitKat 4.4, where you could achieve this through ADB and a USB cable (or on your phone directly with some root privileges), this new API works out of the box and opens the screen recording feature to non-root devices.
When we first reported on this option, only a couple of apps had made use of it. Now, one of the most established screen recorders has joined them — SCR Screen Recorder's developer released an Android 5.0+ version of his app that doesn't require root.
You might recall that Android 4.4 added support for native screen recording, but it was a very developer-oriented tool that required you to plug the device into a computer and use ADB to control the capture. Some root-only apps came about that made use of that system sans USB cable, but Android 5.0 adds an API for screen recording that doesn't require root. We're still in the early days, but it looks like there's one less reason to root now.
Google added native screen recording functionality in Android 4.4, but it only works over ADB and there's no audio output. Third-party developers have been working on ways to expand the usability of the native functionality, but the root only app SCR might be the closest to implementing sound and video perfectly after the most recent update.
In the new version, SCR gains support for experimental recording of internal audio with the video. Of course, this requires root access, and it's still a bit buggy. I had a few errors testing on the 2013 Nexus 7, but a little fiddling got everything working.
Android 4.4 has a new screen recording function for developers, but as the CyanogenMod team has already demonstrated, it can be adapted for more general use. Well-known developer Koushik "Koush" Dutta has taken advantage of this for Mirror, a new screencasting app for KitKat that allows any rooted user to either record video directly on a device, or stream to an Apple Airplay-compatible receiver like Apple TV. No custom ROM required.
4.4 includes a screen recorder utility available for all users, something that most desktop operating systems are still lacking. Video can be recorded at any resolution (landscape or portrait) supported by your smartphone or tablet and saved in an MP4 file with the screen recording utility.