Facebook's entry into the alternative SMS game has quickly reached its fifth release. This update doesn't contain a huge visual overhaul, but it does have some impressive new additions to the main chat window that will make it easier to send all your non-textual communications. The update should be live for everyone now - check the Play Store if you want it immediately, or just wait for the alert or auto-download.
The Paranoid Android family of custom ROMs has a history of adding interesting custom user interface elements, but since re-starting with KitKat, the developers have been trying out some new ideas. One of the first new features for the revamped PA is called Hover, and it's basically a complete rethinking of the Halo idea. Hover is a short-lived visual overlay that temporarily replaces the notification bar with a richer and more useful version, including expandable alerts and floating windows.
For anyone who likes a nice structured itinerary for their weekend Vegas bender, TripIt is a handy app that combines flight, public transit, hotel, and restaurant info in to a tight little scheduling interface. And to make said interface even more tight, TripIt has revised the UI in the latest build. Well, at least some of the UI - from what we can tell, you'll only see the spiffy new blue-tinted screens if you're using a phone.
Everyone who uses Netflix on Android will be getting the latest update to the official app, but only those who use the popular service with Google's Chromecast streaming device are likely to notice what has changed. According to the official change log, the 3.3 update adds an "enhanced second screen experience" and "playback optimizations," and nothing else. That seems to mean a few UI changes to the Netflix Chromecast streaming interface.
There's a new version of Gmail making the rounds at Google, if a couple of leaked screenshots from Geek.com can be believed. Those shots describe a radical user interface change and a handful of new features. Whether they're real and/or final or not is up for debate - even the report notes that the organizational features are mostly experimental at this point.
Aside from the new flat look to the user interface and Google+-style rounded profile pics, the biggest change comes in the form of a new inbox view, with a focus on organizing messages by content.
We're 99% certain that Samsung's Galaxy S5 will be revealed in Barcelona on Monday. And with every new iteration of the company's flagship, Samsung has also either updated or remade their company user interface, shifting elements and aesthetics to match the new hardware. If you're a regular user of the proprietary Samsung Apps (or if you just see it in your app tray and ignore it like everyone else), you might be mildly interested to know that the app portal has been updated.
If you're a big fan of Paranoid Android's Chat Heads-inspired Halo feature, I've got some unfortunate news for you. Yesterday a known member of the Paranoid Android development team, "PirateGhost," posted a reply to an XDA thread waiting on Halo in a new PA beta build.
You are going to be waiting a loooooooooooong time. Halo is dead.
The story was picked up by the folks at the Android subreddit, where reactions ranged from dismissive to inconsolable.
Note to cell phone leakers: please try and get decent video before you send your information out into the world. A YouTube video spotted by XperiaBlog does indeed seem to be Sony's latest phone, or at least a phone that looks a lot like their previous hardware and seems to be sporting a new version of the company's Android UI. Unfortunately there's little to be seen of the hardware itself.
What we can see is a short tour of some of the new interface functions on what is purported to be the D6503 "Sirius," expected to succeed the Xperia Z1 whenever it's announced.
Android's lock screen hasn't really changed since 4.2, but app developers keep coming up with new ways to wow us. Case in point: Cover. This alternative lockscreen replaces the default screen with a selection of quick-launch app icons, not unlike some of the manufacturer skins out there. But unlike TouchWiz or Sense, Cover automatically learns which apps you use at what times, and it comes with a ton of impressive UI features.