Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got a beautifully designed board game, a deep turn-based tactical RPG, an interesting swipe-based action game, an offshoot turn-based RPG from a popular MMORPG franchise, a cute voxel-based endless runner, a flight simulation space opera, and a deeply detailed construction simulator.
Drupe would like you to think that contacts on Android, and on mobile in general, are broken. They're not - phone makers and developers have been doing this for a while, after all - but that doesn't mean that they can't be improved upon. Drupe is a "floating" app that puts contacts, and the means to do all sorts of interesting things with them, in a unique overlay accessible from any other app. Check it out in action in the video below.
To activate Drupe, just tap the translucent triple-dot activation point in any app. A list of your favorite contacts (or groups of contacts) will appear along the left side of your phone's screen, with a list of communication apps on the right.
Think of smartwatches now like smartphones were around 2008 - despite the fact that the idea has been around for a long time, everyone is still trying to figure out the best way to go about it. In Android Wear, Google is trying to make a super-simple interface based on short swipes, taps, and voice commands... which leaves a lot of users craving more conventional tools. So we've got a launcher, a web browser, a file explorer (ugh) and now a substitute for the Recent Apps menu in Android OS.
Swipify allows you to swipe in from the right side of the screen to see a radial list of your recently-used apps, along with a readout of your available RAM.
There's been a quiet trend among user interface augmentations as of late: the swipe-out app and menu bar. SwipePad is probably the progenitor (and still my go-to app), and we've featured a handful of interesting alternatives, but Edge: Quick Actions deserves special attention. This little app has managed to outdo Google itself by making the Recents function (the right-most button on the default navigation configuration) obsolete.
How so? Instead of tapping a button and then tapping the app you want to switch to, Edge embeds the last five open apps into a quick-firing mini-launcher that comes across the screen as a ribbon.
The latest trend in Android user interface modifications is the gesture-based meta-launcher, a way of quickly launching and switching between huge numbers of apps. My personal favorite is still SwipePad, but the current fashion is for Holo-style, scrollable sidebars. Appsi is the latest among these, but differentiates itself with a ton of customization and plugins.
First of all, the setup process is a lot simpler than similar apps, allowing the user to easily move the activation areas with a more graphical UI, instead of adjusting numbers or sliders. Each hotspot can be expanded with gestures, or more precisely, modified launch gestures - turn the launch movement up or down to bring up a shorter list of favorites, for example.
SwipePad is a favorite among power users, since its always-on gestures make a handful of apps available at any time via a side-swipe. That said, the setup process is surprisingly clunky, since you have to swipe, long press, and open a pop-up any time you want to add or move a shortcut. Yesterday's update changes this, adding an edit function in the primary settings. Users can now drag and drop app shortcuts as well as assign them inside the app, making the process much faster.
In addition, the MoreSpace plugin app has been updated to allow for larger Pads, with grids of up to 42 apps or shortcuts (7x6).
Launcher Pro, one of the greatest Android homescreen replacements (Sense who?), received an update today with 2 excellent new features: virtual homescreen looping and a Recent Apps dock popup.
The virtual looping feature enables scrolling past the leftmost or rightmost homescreens with a quick bounce-to-the-opposite-end effect. While Fede implemented it this way instead of an endless scroll for technical reasons, I think it's visually a lot better and clearer, as you will still know when you've reached the end and won't feel lost in your own homescreen forest.
Joining SMS, missed calls, and bookmarks, the 2nd feature is a new swipe gesture dock popup called Recent Apps.