Kodi version 17 is bringing a new look to the app that turns your Android device into a media center. Some of you may still recall the open source project by its old name, XBMC. Either way, the upcoming release has reached beta status. That makes now a good time to dive in if you can't wait to get what's coming next.
Bugs happen. As a result, bugfix updates also happen. Kodi 15.2 is the second such release since version 15.0 of the app formerly known as XBMC went stable, and it tackles quite a list of issues. Head's up—all of them are very specific.
On several Android devices that used an Amlogic chipset, Kodi 15 only showed a zoomed in display or only used part of the screen. 15.2 addresses this.
Some users lost video after fast-forwarding. This, too, has been squared away.
15.2 also fixes refresh-rate switching on Android devices like the Nexus Player and NVIDIA SHIELD TV.
Other fixes address non-DVB and MicroDVD subtitles, incompatible MySQL queries, PulseAudo on Linux, default sorting for songs over UPnP, volume adjustment for Xbox controllers, and the time format when setting regions.
Kodi, formerly XBMC, has been available on Android in its revamped form since early April. But if you wanted to get your hands on it, you had to join either the alpha or beta groups on Google+, then register on the Play Store as a tester. Not so today: it looks like the developers have opened up the beta Play Store listing for one and all, and you can download it directly to your phone, tablet, or Android TV set-top box.
This build is based on the version 15 beta 2 code, the same "Isengard" open source release available on Windows, OS X, and iOS.
Once upon a time, Kodi was known as XBMC, and it was developed for hacked Xboxes. This open source media hub went on to run on PCs and mobile devices, but it hasn't been deployed in the Play Store until now. There are some not-so-secret Google+ communities for beta and alpha versions of Kodi, and you can join them right now.
Perhaps you're wondering what this Kodi thing is... well, it's XBMC. They just don't call it XBMC anymore. The latest version of this all-in-wonder media player and content organizer has been released, and you can get it on your Android device right now for zero dollars.
Kodi (formerly the Xbox Media Center) isn't the only piece of software attempting to find a new image. One of the most popular Android remote control apps for the media manager, Yatse, is getting a major visual overhaul. Version 5.0, now available in a Google+ beta, is showing off a shiny new interface that takes more than a few pages out of the Material Design playbook. Check out some comparison shots below.
New above, old below.
In addition to the new dark grey color scheme with mint accents, the various menus, action bars, and sliding elements have been Materialized.
Writing about the XBMC media center software almost always takes a little explanation. The open-source XBMC was formerly known as the "Xbox Media Center," because its first release way back in 2003 was based on the "Xbox Media Player" and intended to run on modified Xbox game consoles. Because the software no longer officially runs on the Xbox, and has never run on newer consoles like the Xbox 360, and in fact runs on a heck of a lot of hardware that bears no X at all, the creators have renamed the software "Kodi."
In addition to general confusion around the name and nomenclature for the project, the XBMC Foundation had a hard time with trademark and quality control.
XBMC started life as a hack for the original Xbox game console, but it has since evolved into a much-beloved open source home theater system on a number of platforms. After months of release candidates and betas, XBMC 13.0 (codename Gotham) is ready to download on Android (and other stuff).
The new version brings a number of improvements, only some of which pertain directly to Android. The most relevant to our interests is the inclusion of hardware media decoding on ARM and x86 Android devices. That means you won't need to burn through your battery decoding media via software methods. The XBMC team also says performance has been improved on Android (and Raspberry Pi).
If Yatse is your go-to XBMC remote on Android, this weekend's update should be a nice surprise. If you're still looking for a good remote solution, now may be the time to check this one out.
In short, Yatse got bumped to version 4.0, which brings a handful of new features to the already-powerful application, like Chromecast support, Muzei integration, a newly designed interface, improved speed and stability, an internal audio player, and offline media support.
Yatse is free to try, but the full version will set you back $4.49. Hit the widget to give it a shot.