For a long time now, Southwest Airlines' Android app has been awful. I mean just lamentably bad. No, seriously, here are some screenshots of the app before today's update... and oddly, Southwest hasn't even updated the screenshots in the Play Store.
See? It's like someone got the only app developer from TWA to work on it. The app has been given a complete overhaul with today's update, bringing both the interface and the capability up to snuff. But as frequent US airline travelers will know, even when you get to fly first class, it's still a pretty crappy experience.
Yes, the interface has been updated to conform at least somewhat to current trends, if not Holo design guidelines. Read More
You might just be seeing a new version of Google Maps in your Play Store downloads today - Google has updated the app from version 7.3 to 7.4. There's not a whole lot of new stuff going on inside, certainly not compared to the cavalcade of UI changes that happened earlier this year. A few tuned gestures, a few refreshed UI elements, and that's about it. APK downloads below.
If you're a regular Maps user, you'll notice that the one-finger zoom gestures have been reversed. In the newly-updated app you double-tap, hold, then drag down to zoom in (the reverse was true before now). Read More
The next version of Android is bringing a lot of visual options to the table, and they're not just for Google to play with. Buried deep within the KitKat 4.4 API (level 19) is the ability for apps to request translucent system UI overlays, specifically on the top notification bar and the bottom navigation bar (if your device has one). You can see this feature in action in all the promotional photos of the Nexus 5's homescreen, where the wallpaper is visible form the top of the screen to the bottom.
There have been a few OEMs that have tried this sort of thing with their own software skins, notably Samsung (various 4.2 devices), LG (on the new G2), and Motorola (on the DROID RAZR HD and its siblings). Read More
It's about damn time. While Pandora has been slowly and steadily updating its Android app for years (the latest big update was a sleep timer), the tablet experience has been sorely lacking ever since Honeycomb. The music streaming service has redeemed itself with version 5.0 of the Android app, which now shifts the interface significantly on Android tablets.
The main play interface occupies the center of the screen, going back through your play history with album art and displaying contextual track information below it. On the right you'll find the list of your stations, with options to add variety or share them socially available as pop-up menus. Read More
Google is a strange master when it comes to user interface design. Though their apps can generally be relied upon to use Holo standards at the very least, some development teams seem to let the latest trends pass them by for months or years (I'm looking at you, Voice). In any case, the official Google Fiber app has a much-needed update waiting for those lucky few who will get to use it.
The app's interface has been spruced up just about everywhere, but the TV schedule and DVR player are where you'll see the most changes. The much-lauded "hamburger navigation menu" hides some of the more gaudy control functions on most of the app's screens. Read More
Twitter has been steadily tweaking their beta release channel for the Android app, and the latest update removes one of the most poorly-received features from the last beta version. The translucent tri-button array at the bottom of the screen (post a photo from storage, take a photo, or a simple textual tweet) has been removed, and is now replaced with a single, consolidated button.
New on the left, old on the right. Pardon the different resolutions.
That button will also become semi-hidden when you scroll through your Twitter feed, giving you that much more room to see your tweets. Nice. Read More
Feedly has replaced the much-loved Google Reader for quite a few of you, so we tend to pay attention when a new version hits the Play Store. Today the Android app has been updated to version 17 with a laundry list of improvements and tweaks. There's nothing game-changing in there (though arguably the "300% faster start time" is a big deal), but it does include "support for Android Kitkat." No, the developers are not elaborating on that.
In addition to the updated navigation menu, the biggest visual change is probably the adjusted widget. It's a little cleaner with a larger focus on the image, but it still only displays one story at a time, which is why yours truly is sticking with the Feedly API-compatible Greader. Read More
Samsung claims that it has 100 million users of its proprietary ChatON messaging service. With that many eyeballs on your software, it makes sense to give it a little spit and polish, right? To that end they've release the 3.0 version of ChatON to the Play Store, complete with a fresh Holo interface and a few more options. Those of you with Samsung devices are probably getting the update anyway, but the cross-platform chat service is available to most Android devices.
The new user interface is flat as a pancake, as opposed to the decidedly iOS-style look that was previously featured. Read More
Yahoo seems to be taking a page out of the NFL's playbook: the official Android app just jumped from version 1.1.4 all the way to 3.2. (It's probably been changed to match the iOS version.) But at least there's plenty of new content to justify the jump. In addition to a new Holo-style user interface sporting the revamped Yahoo logo (which still clings annoyingly to that vestigial "!"), the app has a ton of new options for content consumption.
First of all, Yahoo user now get treated to slideshows and videos embedded into stories, something that the original app was sorely lacking. Read More
Earlier this week Ookla teased their revised and updated Speedtest.net app for Android, and now it's live in the Play Store for anyone to download. The go-to network test for end users and reviewers alike has been completely redesigned, with a new interface, new options, and the ability to remove the advertising with a $.99 in-app purchase. That's a nice perk for frequent users.
The old interface wasn't exactly awful, but it had been going for several years without any sort of refresh. In addition to the new visuals you can also view your results on a map, which should help you get a good idea of the high and low spots for your networks. Read More