Google likes to tinker with the UI of the mobile version of Chrome's user interface in the Dev and Beta versions of the app. Not every change we spot in these versions makes it into the standard, stable version of Chrome, but the changes to the New Tab page that we saw back in August seem to have made their way to the front. We're getting tips and reports from dozens of Chrome users that the UI change, which swaps out six website thumbnails for eight site icons instead, is now live.
Reddit may or may not have its official Android app ready any time soon, but third-party developers are still more than willing to pick up the slack. BaconReader, one of the most popular Reddit client apps, has just been given a major update. The 5.0 release includes a much-belated Material Design user interface adjustment and no small amount of other changes, both user-facing and behind the scenes. Here's a quick comparison of the older version to the spiffy new Material Design layout:
Google seems to really love tinkering with its Clock app. The latest version of the app, 4.2, should be rolling out in the Play Store now. This one is available to everyone running Android 4.4 or higher (we didn't grab it from one of the Android M preview builds). It has exactly one new notable feature: the ability to gradually increase alarm volume, which is a fairly typical feature of alarm apps (and even real, physical clocks). The rest is a bunch of visual tweaking.
Google often experiments with small interface changes without mentioning them in blog posts or update notes, and that seems to be the case with the latest aesthetic change in the Play Store. Multiple Google+ users and Android Police readers have noticed a new and more compact display of the five-star rating system for app and game listings on the home page and in searches, replacing the full five-star graphic with a single icon and a numerical value. Observe the difference below, standard on the left, updated on the right:
A few weeks ago we told you about an upcoming update to the official app for discount retailer and occasional auction service eBay. It looks like the company is ready to roll out version 4.0, for both Android and iOS. Well, almost - though the company has officially announced the update, it seems they're dragging their heels in actually getting it to the Play Store. Our reliable readers have yet to upload an updated version to APK Mirror, so we're assuming that it simply isn't available at the moment.
Hey, remember those many moons ago when ES File Explorer, one of the more popular file managers on Android, released a Material Design user interface update? You should, because it was exactly one moon ago, back at the beginning of August. After a relatively quick closed beta session (which Android Police apparently spoiled by writing a story about a pre-release version uploaded to APK Mirror - sorry), the update is now live in the Play Store as app version 4.0.2. Go download it.
Floatify has been around for a little over a year now. It's an app that presents an alternate way to display notifications, specifically the Heads Up (AKA Peeking) notifications that were hidden in Android 4.4 and fleshed out in 5.0. The app has been continuously updated even as Lollipop has become public, and now it's a full-fledged alternative to most of Android's built-in notification systems. The latest update is something really special - we kind of wish Google would steal some of developer Jawomo's ideas.
Google continues to tweak Android 6.0's visual interface with the latest Developer Preview, in ways both big and small. The default Google launcher has been seeing subtle changes since the M Preview was introduced, and the latest one is... interesting. The Preview 3 version of the app drawer includes a little "pop" effect when scrolling, highlighting the first app that begins with each successive letter in the alphabet. It's a little hard to describe verbally - check out the video below from YouTube user Zaid Salem.
If you'll recall, Developer Preview 1 separated apps by beginning a new drawer row for each new letter of the alphabet.