It's been a good week for real-time strategy fans on Android. Yesterday a new game from the Anomaly developers was released, SPACECOM, and today gamers without access to NVIDIA-branded hardware can play Z: Steel Soldiers. If you don't recall, this Android port came out back in August of last year - about thirteen years after the original was released on the PC. It's a conventional real-time strategy game about robots killin' robots.
Z: Steel Soldiers can now be installed on any Android device running 2.3.3 or higher (or at least any of them that I've owned), so long as you've got $7 to put in the developers' jar. Read More
Xbox Music is now Groove. This is news that Microsoft detailed weeks ago, but it's only now—coinciding with the release of Windows 10—that we're seeing the name change on Android.
In the latest version, the rebranding has taken place. Microsoft highlights the ability to upload your music to OneDrive, stream music with a Music Pass subscription ($9.99 a month or $99 a year), and save files for offline use.
Not wasting any time, Sonos has already announced that it supports Groove. The integration is still in beta, but you're free to try it out right away. Look for it under Add Music Services. Read More
Android tablet users know what it's like to get stuck with a phone app stretched out to a large display. It's less of an issue today than it used to be, now that smartphones come with 1080p displays and apps sport visual elements that would look crisp on a television screen. But sometimes you're still left with an excess of white space or an interface that you can't spin horizontally, even though that's how you want to hold your tablet.
Well, Yahoo has updated its News Digest app to play along more nicely with Android tablets. The interface still looks similar to the highly stylized experience users have grown accustomed to on their phones, but now it's wider, and you get to swipe left and right. Read More
When Google unveiled its material design vision for Android 5.0, the changes included a new button that hovers in the bottom right-hand corner of apps. The Floating Action Button, or FAB, has become commonplace in the time since.
But in the latest version of Keep, Google wants you to forget all about it. The FAB is gone. In its place there's now a white bar across the bottom of the screen. This is now where you will go to create a new note, jot down a list, start a voice recording, or take a picture.
Left: Old, Right: New
Is this a step forward? Read More
Google Photos version 1.1 didn't come with much in the way of changes, and the tradition looks like it's holding true for 1.2 as well. But hey, sometimes we like minor tweaks just as much. So let's go over them, and then you can rush to grab the APK.
For starters, there's the ability to easily add individual photos to albums from the drop-down menu. Here's a before and after shot.
Left: Old, Right: New
And when you're inside of an album, you also have the option to set an image as the album cover.
There's no logic to this untitled album. Read More
Do you skype with Hangouts or with Skype? If you skype with Skype, here's a bit of good news—version 5.6 is now available on the Play Store.
This release should make life easier for skypers who keep multiple chats going at all times. The Recent tab now shows more conversations on screen at once. Skype has also made tweaks that better show when your friends are online regardless of your location within the app.
While we're talking about looks, those round avatars that have been around for a while in chat screens and the contact list will appear more consistently elsewhere in the app, such as on the Favorites tab. Read More
Kodi, also known as the app formerly known as XBMC, has made it to version 15. This evolution comes a little over half a year since the last major release. We're graced with a number of new features, a big one being 4K support on Android devices with capable hardware and a version of Lollipop. Refreshrate switching and HEVC playback are also available on such gadgets.
The changes don't stop there, and since we're talking about a media player, the additions get increasingly specific. For instance, take the new chapter selector window that lets you select chapters in video formats that support them. Read More
Pixate is a tool that helps designers prototype native mobile applications without pulling their hair out. Now it's a part of Google.
The first immediate impact of this acquisition is that Pixate Studio is now free to use. You can go download the software to a Windows PC or Mac right away to create interfaces for your Android or iOS device. Then, if you want to share your prototypes with teammates online, Pixate's new cloud plan goes for $5 a month or $50 a year. The desktop software integrates seamlessly with cloud accounts.
Pixate has set up a FAQ page dedicated entirely to explaining how becoming a part of Google will affect things. Read More