The fine engineers at Google have been hard at work with some cool new features to both the WebView package and Chrome for Android. Recent updates to the Chromium project have extended Contextual Search to tablets, and there is now partial support for the new text selection features introduced with Android M. Even the T-Rex easter egg game got a little bit better.
Contextual Search for tablets
If you've tried selecting text in Chrome on a phone recently, you've probably noticed a cool little popup at the bottom of the screen that acts as a shortcut to search for the selected term.
Music will generally sound better coming through the Sonos speaker system in your home than your phone or computer, so it's a no brainer that Spotify subscribers want to stream albums this way. Fortunately new features have found their way into the beta version of the Android app that make this a better experience.
A number of these additions help you find new content. Spotify Premium subscribers can now start radio stations from any artist or track and get recommendations based on the time of day. The app will also do its part to help you discover newly released albums, and access to charts lets you see what music is trending in various parts of the world.
Simple is a bank from the future (or the past, I guess), one that lacks physical branches and expects you to handle all of your transactions over the web from a PC or mobile device. After quite a wait, the Portland-based company has pushed out an update to its Android app that comes with enough visual tweaks to make the experience look Lollipop-friendly.
The previous version—which was already clean and, dare I say, simple—looked like a KitKat holdover.
Just like Facebook, LinkedIn has been trying to dissect its social network into several parts that it builds dedicated apps for. Luckily, these apps are usually non-essential, so you can skip them if you want to or use them if you find their features handy. Pulse is one such example. Think of it as Flipboard for LinkedIn, ie a news reader that focuses on your industry and your interests, and lets you discover relevant articles and people.
Android Wear 5.1 is a substantial update. It has rolled out to pretty much all of the current smartwatches, except for the Moto 360. Motorola's smartwatch has been hampered by issues and delays. Fortunately, it looks like that is about to change. Googler Wayne Piekarski announced via Google+ that an over-the-air update will start hitting devices today.
An app called File Expert is probably going to be an expert at managing files. One would hope, anyway, and in this case, one probably wouldn't be disappointed. File Expert can move your files around, measure your storage space, organize content automatically, and keep track of apps. Now it can do all of these things while looking up-to-date. That's right, in version 7, File Expert goes material.
The user interface is now turquoise and white all over the place.
Veteran Android users, particularly those who stick to Nexus devices, are well aware of the fact that you can usually flash OTA updates manually once someone pulls a link to the actual update file. This normally provides a much better option than waiting for your device to get the update sent to it, which could take weeks. Android Wear has this functionality as well, but each watch is a little different in terms of proper procedures for doing so.
You can swap out pretty much all of the default apps on your phone for something else, including the one that manages your contacts. Addappt (yes, that's with one too many d's and p's) is an alternative that saves you the hassle of messaging all of your friends whenever your number changes or accidentally sending an email to an address that has been deleted. With this app, users automatically update one another whenever they make changes, so everyone is always current.
SoundCloud version 15.06.09 is now rolling out to devices, but its visual changes aren't immediately apparent. Here's where you need to look. When you go to record audio, you're in for a much whiter experience. And no, I'm not talking about anyone's lyrics.
Left: Old, Right: New
Rather than changing everything all at once, SoundCloud has introduced material elements bit by bit. The most pressing ones came at the beginning of this year, but the recording interface went untouched.