Last month the beta version of Minecraft for Android added a ton of new features, most notably a port of the player skin feature that's become such a popular part of the original Minecraft game. Just a couple of weeks later Mojang has instituted the changes in the public version of Minecraft: Pocket Edition. Go check it out on the Play Store now if you've already purchased the game, or buy it for $7.
Fancy a bit of customization for your Android version of Minecraft? You'll soon be accommodated by developer Mojang. According to this blog post, the Pocket Edition of the game will get a significant update later this week, with player skins being the biggest addition. If you've played the PC or console version of Minecraft, you know that custom skins for player avatars have become a big part of the game's community aspect.
When it comes to device skins, dbrand is my go-to company. After going hands-on with some of the company's Nexus 6 offerings back in February, I was extremely impressed with the quality - both materials and precision cutouts. I highly recommend checking them out if you're interested in giving your gadgets a new look. (And if you missed out on the Nexus "X" symbol promotion, well, I'm sorry.)
A couple of weeks ago when dbrand offered up all its skins for 25% off, I mentioned how boring most Android phones look these days (save for a few, like the Moto X since it's customizable). As a result, we decided that going hands-on with some dbrand stuff might be pretty fun, and what better phone than the oversized-and-aesthetically-boring Nexus 6 to be the guinea pig? I threw a variety of different combos on this beasty, which includes some super sleek options and also a couple of the worst combos I could possible think of (because why not?).
Regardless of color, one thing always stayed consistent: these skins are quality.
One of the lamest things about most modern Android devices is the lack of color options. One person can only choose between "Snow White," "Black Velvet," and "Rose Gold" so many times before wanting to scream, after all.
For situations like that, there's dbrand. They make custom skins for a variety of devices, allowing users to modify their device however they see fit (and change that look on a whim with different skins). Tired of looking at that stark white Note 4? Throw some red leather on it. The blue Nexus 6 not doing it for you anymore? Spice it up with the look of bamboo.
As we've noted before, Facer is pretty cool: it's a way to make or load custom watch faces and easily apply them to your Android Wear device. While the Facer app has its own built-in gallery of submitted watch faces, FaceRepo is an impressively varied alternative that allows you to browse watch faces on the web. User-submitted designs are split into round and square watch faces for the Moto 360 and G Watch/Gear Live, respectively. They should work with future models as well.
To apply the faces, just download the ZIP file on any single entry and open it with the Facer app's built-in file browser.
The dbrand shop offers skins for a ton of tech gadgets, including a sizable selection of Android smartphones and tablets, providing a way to pimp out your device and add a small layer of protection without having to put up with the bulk of a case. Today the company is offering 50% off its entire store. If you've ever wanted to rob dbrand, today's your chance to do so.
All you have to do is head over to the site, add any number of skins to your cart, and watch as the discount is applied immediately. There's no coupon required to walk out with the goods.
If you cannot make up your mind between running TouchWiz or a stock version of Jelly Bean, thanks to MoDaCo.SWITCH, that's a decision you won't have to make. This piece of software makes switching back and forth between the two versions as simple as toggling a switch. Paul O'Brien, better known as MoDaCo, has started porting it to the Galaxy S4, and the beta is now available for those who backed his Indiegogo campaign.
The Google Play edition HTC One is a nice option for people who prefer stock Android, but it came too late for those who had already purchased the Sense 5 version of the handset.
Though there's a definite streak among power users to prefer Google's "pure" Android on their phones, some of the manufacturer skins from HTC and Samsung have charming features as well. Modder and ROM developer Paul O'Brien, better known as MoDaCo, has been testing a solution to give you the best of both worlds. MoDaCo.SWITCH is a dual-boot solution for power users that lets two ROMs (manufacturer stock and AOSP, for example) which share user data, allowing a seamless switch between interfaces.
In the demo of the beta version above, the SWITCH feature is pretty seamless: start the SWITCH app and the phone reboots into its secondary Android OS, complete with apps, settings, files, and user data.
MyColorScreen is a site where Android enthusiasts can show off the sometimes stunning UIs they design with various apps and mods. Most of what you come across on the site is fairly predictable; a different widget here and a custom wallpaper there. Although, on occasion someone creates something truly wonderful, and the new PIE UI from AdamF is definitely one of those.
The PIE UI theme is a unique UI that takes advantage of a number of apps like WidgetLocker, Nova Launcher, and Power Widget. The creator of the theme has hosted a .zip file you can download that has all the necessary files (but not the apps themselves) to recreate the interface as shown.