Most of the app updates this week were relatively quiet, with the notable exception of Play Music with its new ad-supported radio feature. That doesn't have to mean some of the updates don't have something new to offer. The Google app (formerly "Search") was bumped up to v4.8 yesterday, but it doesn't seem to have any noticeable changes right now. However, a look under the hood reveals some pretty interesting features on the horizon. Read More
The updates came rolling in quickly this morning. Among them was a fresh bump to Google's Inbox app – the email app for people without time for email. This release was a little light on truly new features as far as the main interface is concerned, but it finally brought a feature to light we've been expecting for a few months: home screen shortcuts to jump straight into writing a new email or scheduling reminders. Read More
There's a lot to love about Android Wear 5.0.1. The new custom watch face support was just the tip of the iceberg, as we have recently discovered that you can disable Tilt to wake, image searches are more functional, and screenshot support is available but finicky. Another new feature that made it onto Wear 5.0.1 is the new mode switcher for Theatre and Sunlight, both of which are accessible by swiping down on the watch face and scrolling beyond the Mute screen. Read More
The new Play Store is certainly snazzy, but a lot of the functionality of the older site has been missing ever since it got a fresh coat of digital paint. One of the most bemoaned omissions was contextual keyboard shortcuts, especially handy for touch typists whose fingers never leave the keys. (ThinkPad users, I'm looking at you.) Good news, everyone: as of late yesterday, they're back.
On any single app listing, press the left or right arrow keys to navigate between the posted screenshots. Read More
Widgets are an indispensible part of Android for many users, including yours truly. It's just too bad that they're so ugly - who wants to use a 1080p screen for looking at Twitter feeds or checking emails when you could stare at some fantastic wallpaper instead? All joking aside, Popup Widget is a pretty fantastic solution for those who prefer their homescreens without clutter.
It's a simple idea: instead of having a big, space-consuming widget sit there all the time, hide it in a shortcut. Read More
I'm a huge fan of text expanders. Seriously, they are necessary to me. As a regular user of both Mac and Windows, I have sought out solutions on both platforms and rely on them daily. That's why I've always felt horrified that there weren't any great options on Android. After all, mobile devices are already input-impaired, it only makes sense that we need quality shortcuts. As it turns out, such a shortcut has been under our noses for quite some time, tucked away where few would look and only available with the stock Android 4.1 (or higher) keyboard. Read More
Looking to give users the "fastest, smartest launcher for Android," Jesse Andersen brought Conjure to the Play Store recently. The app, which is actually more of a launcher companion, can perform an incredible range of actions, from finding and launching apps to calling contacts, adjusting device settings (like volume, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.), and searching the web.
What's great about this app is not that it can do a lot, but that it actually adapts to your usage, storing a history of actions and listing content results by frequency of use. Read More
You may remember the recent Facebook update that added two rather controversial app shortcuts on users' devices, with icons that had to be revised because they looked a little too similar to a couple of Android's stock icons.
If you found the added shortcuts to be redundant, confusing, or just plain useless, you're in luck - with the app's latest update, the shortcuts have been totally removed.
It's not exactly clear why Facebook so quickly yanked the shortcuts from the app, but rumblings from the user community about the – in many cases – unwanted installation of extra apps may have something to do with the decision. Read More