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.
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.
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.
Roughly a year has gone by since XBMC 12 hit metaphorical store shelves, and the time has apparently been well-spent. The upcoming version introduces hardware decoding, so your device can actually utilize more of its power to push those pixels. The beta has has been streamlined enough to run on a Raspberry Pi, so you know you can expect a zippier experience on a more powerful gadget.
When using XBMC on a touchscreen, the app will now recognize gesture controls during video playback and swiping controls when navigating around.
When last we left
our heroes XBMC for Android, the group behind the open source multimedia manager had announced that it would be bringing support to the platform soon. Of course "soon" isn't a word that tweakers like to hear, so some enterprising fellows compiled the source code into an APK for your testing pleasure, with all the disclaimers that entails. Today, however, a more official app is being distributed by the team with a hefty 'beta' tag attached.
Earlier this week, we mentioned that the amazing folks behind the XBMC project are bringing the app to Android. Well, it's still very early, but would you like to see what it's gonna be like? Of course you do. If you've got a Nexus Q or an Android-compatible set top box, you can download the apk from our mirrors below. For the rest of you, here's what it looks like running on a lovingly hacked Nexus Q, courtesy of Cyanogenmod developer Jason Parker:
The interface is still very much centered around arrow keys/a d-pad.
If you've never heard of the Xbox Media Center (XBMC), you can turn in one of your geek cards right now. The open-source streaming media platform is legendary among tinkerers and DIY types, with its long list of features and insane customizations being its major draws. After nearly ten years of active development, the creators are preparing a full Android version complete with video/audio streaming and all the other goodies. Not to be confused with the current remote app (or any of the third-party alternatives) the upcoming XBMC for Android will have almost the full set of functions found in its desktop and stand-alone counterparts.