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.
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.
The physical Menu button is an interesting holdout from an earlier age of Android. While Google's devices and those manufacturers that roughly follow Google's guidelines (like Motorola and LG) don't use it, Samsung and a few others do, leaving app developers in a tight spot when it comes to implementing an overflow button. Today a Reddit user found this change to the Action Bar Policy file for KitKat in Google's Git repository.
Say what you will about Microsoft, but they've never let a little thing like a platform war get in the way of profits. The Bing search app for Android has been around for years, long enough for it to accrue more than a million downloads, and today it gets an update to bring it in line with the fancy pants brand re-launch - note the swanky logo.
On Android Bing isn't really a search app, it's more like a beachhead for a handful of Microsoft web properties.
The free DuoLingo service already has an army of aspirational bilingual supporters, but that's no reason to rest on your laurels. Today the developers have updated the Android app with a few changes to the user interface. The basics of the app have only been tweaked slightly - a digital spit and polish, if you will - but extra screens added to the end of lessons and progression screens should help users get a feel for where they are in the program.
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.
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.
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.