Google seems to really love tinkering with its Clock app. The latest version of the app, 4.2, should be rolling out in the Play Store now. This one is available to everyone running Android 4.4 or higher (we didn't grab it from one of the Android M preview builds). It has exactly one new notable feature: the ability to gradually increase alarm volume, which is a fairly typical feature of alarm apps (and even real, physical clocks). The rest is a bunch of visual tweaking. Read More
Just like with paper mail, some senders can't help but screw with a good thing. Alongside letters from sweethearts and loved ones, you have unsolicited offers from who knows what. And you seemingly run the risk of getting added to a mailing list every time you sign up for a new site.
To keep users from giving up and walking away from their webmail for good, Gmail has made a strong effort to filter out spam and help users keep only the mail they want to see in their inbox. Now Gmail is going to provide even more control. Users will soon have the option to block users they never want to receive messages from again. Read More
BBC iPlayer is Internet streaming's gift to the UK. The service is packed to the brim with British TV shows and documentaries, and the Android app offers a nice way to consume as much as you can.
And while you're at it, now you can get a taste of upcoming features as well. The BBC has launched an official beta testing program in the Play Store. It's open to anyone with a Google account and an Android device, as long as they live in the UK. Read More
Smart home technology is great. The Nest Learning Thermostat, Phillips Hue, and Sonos sound systems are wonderful products that make life more convenient, automated, and beautiful. These technologies are great, but many components in a smart home are controlled by applications from a smart phone or tablet. Having to pull your phone out of your pocket and unlock it every time you want to turn off the lights while watching a movie can be a little annoying.
Fortunately, the Logitech Harmony Home Control makes running a smart home a little easier. The remote works great for controlling your media center, but it also can be programmed to control many different home automation devices. Read More
Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications, games, and live wallpapers that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous 2 weeks or so.
Please wait for this page to load in full in order to see the widgets, which include ratings and pricing info.
Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.
Currency FX - Exchange Rates
This week's roundup is brought to you by Currency FX - Exchange Rates from HandyApps. This currency converter includes everything you could ever need to convert monetary values between different national and regional currencies. Read More
Dropbox doesn't just make syncing and backing up files easier done than said, it serves as a great way to collaborate on projects too. But managing shared folders and permissions isn't as simple as dragging files into a folder and watching them fly off into the sky (that's how the cloud metaphor works, right?). To address this, Dropbox has unveiled a new feature to simplify life for teams.
A new Teams folder lets everyone store files in a single place. The content here is automatically accessible to every member, making it easier to exchange files.
Dropbox has included the option to divide teams into groups, speeding up the process of sharing files with specific people. Read More
If you've been following the Google Now On Tap saga in recent days, you'll be happy to know we've come full circle. A new version of the Google app last week enabled On Tap for the third dev preview, but it stopped working soon after. Now it's back to displaying a cheerful "coming soon" message. Why do you taunt us, Google? Read More
Google Photos may have started as a part of Google+, but since splitting into a standalone product, it has to move quickly to introduce new features and improvements to keep users engaged. The latest update to v1.5 didn't bring any visible changes to the app, but it does include evidence of some interesting changes we can look forward to in upcoming releases. Read More
One of our readers spotted this neat trick in the latest update to the Google Now Launcher (which is part of the primary Google app). A single tap on the app drawer icon will open the app drawer as usual, but a long-press will open it and immediately highlight the app search field. It will also automatically open your default virtual keyboard, quickly and easily allowing you to type and search for apps.
This is especially handy for those users who keep dozens (or hundreds) of apps on their phones. Check out the animation below to see it in action:
The long-press function is only available in the latest versions of the Google App. Read More
After the launch of YouTube Gaming at the end of August, we posted a teardown of the new app that revealed plans to officially support screen recording and live streaming in the future. A recent announcement at the 2015 Tokyo Game Show Keynote (embedded below) confirmed Google's plans to enable Android devices to stream gaming footage to YouTube without the use of any additional software. The latest update to Play Games contains the evidence that Google is moving forward with this, and probably pretty soon.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong.