Cerberus is a solid little app that makes it easy (or at least easier) to find/lock your phone or tablet if it's lost or stolen. The app has accumulated over a million downloads on the Play Store, so clearly it has earned some loyal users. The update to version 3.1 adds a couple of crucial features: full support for both Android Wear and Android 5.0. If you have either one, you'll appreciate the added functionality.
Google's material design, which I've written about a number of times, has generally been received well by designers, developers, and press alike. We've seen numerous apps adopt it, developers explain and evangelize it, and users react positively to it.
Still, there have been nagging questions about the new design philosophy. A big one, and one that could potentially be a stumbling block for adoption, is the question of branding. Some voice concerns that material design may overshadow existing brands if implemented to Google's spec, or that it's too difficult to brand a "material design app."
Someone recently asked me what I thought about the relationship between branding opportunities and material design, and while I was able to come up with a short version of the answer, there are a few different things packed into this issue that are worth exploring.
There isn't a shortage of Tron-inspired watch faces for Android Wear with bright neon blue colors, but finding one that is customizable to different styles and watch shapes can be a bit difficult. Enter NAVI, from Tha PHLASH (lots of capslocking there), a cool watch design that hits all the right notes.
Available for both round and square watches, with a setting that lets you remove the redundant digits on the G Watch R (finally someone thought of that!), NAVI comes in both a day and a night mode. It has several colors and settings for the clock hands, with weather, date, and battery placeholders, and a very battery-friendly ambient mode.
A fresh update to the Play Store just started rolling out to devices and it has a few pleasant improvements. The most notable of the changes land squarely in the realm of visual refinements, but there are a couple of functional tweaks, as well. If you can't wait to get your hands on the new version, the download link is at the bottom.
Let's start with some visual changes.
Landscape Layout For Content
Left: old version, Right: new version
Googler Kirill Grouchnikov called out one of the top changes earlier this morning. Now, when holding a phone in landscape orientation, the content for Play Store entries no longer reaches edge-to-edge and allows a bit of the featured background image to show through on the sides.
NVIDIA has just taken the stage at GDC for its big "Made to Game" announcement, and guess what... it's another SHIELD. This one is just called SHIELD, though, and it's an Android TV box. NVIDIA has added its own twist on Android TV, just like it does with regular Android. The new NVIDIA SHIELD has support for native 4K 60Hz video signals and NVIDIA GRID game streaming technology.
I don't know that I've ever needed a pizza urgently enough that I couldn't spare the time to reach a phone or computer, but should you ever encounter this sort of red alert pizza emergency, Domino's has you covered. The Domino's app now supports ordering and tracking orders from Android Wear and Pebble.
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was a sweet frozen treat when it came out in 2011, but now something else is freezing—Chrome for ICS. Google has announced that Chrome v42 will be the final build available on Android 4.0. It's a sad day for any remaining ICS users... well, more sad than a regular day of being stuck on ICS already is.
Google just announced all of the great new APIs developers would be able to play with from the Google Play services, and now we've got some apks to check out. As usual, there aren't a lot of user-facing features in the GMS package, so don't expect to see any huge changes immediately after installation. However, there are at least a couple of interesting bits and pieces that stand out in a side-by-side comparison.
The only immediately obvious difference (that actually does something) is a relocation of the security code generator. This is a simple little tool Google occasionally uses for creating verification codes for emergency authorizations.