Watch out, Google Wallet, there's a new player in town. Actually, Google Wallet hasn't really done all that well; it's still being blocked by big carriers, and NFC point of sale systems aren't exactly ubiquitous yet. For those reasons, stopgap apps like Clutch - an e-commerce app that allows you to pay with barcodes generated by your credit, debit, loyalty or gift cards - probably have a better chance than Wallet of moving us towards frictionless mobile payments.
Directionally-challenged Greeks, Google has answered your prayers. The search giant continued its international rollout of Maps Navigation today, enabling turn-by-turn directions for Greece. That, coupled with Google's recent significant expansion of Navigation to 9 countries last month, brings the total number of supported territories to 53. Not too shabby.
We've heard from a couple of Google+ users that turn-by-turn seems to be working well so far. Of course, Navigation is still technically in beta (and has been, as is typical for Google, for more than two years), but it's good to hear that initial service is stable.
Checking in, Instagramming, Tweeting, and updating statuses are something most of us do on a regular basis. It's a way for us to share with our friends and family what's going on in our lives; where we're at physically, mentally, and/or emotionally; and an overall fun way to interact and kill time. We, as people, are more socially connected than we've ever been thanks to modern technology.
But there's a missed mark here.
The Pixel Fleet live wallpaper gives you a reason to visit your home screen besides switching between apps. There's a war being waged out there, and you get a front row seat. Lasers will be fired, lives will be lost, and explosions will brighten the sky. There's a lot of entertainment here for a download that looks like a game and smells like a game, but isn't.
Pixel Fleet pits two factions against each other.
To be perfectly honest, I'm not much of an e-mag guy. I tried Google Currents for a while, but never quite saw the utility of it, and so quickly transitioned back to my beloved Feedly and Google Reader. That's not to say I haven't realized the limitations of RSS many times, though, especially as certain websites I follow look to integrate more multimedia into articles. (Having to use Chrome to listen to audio or video in a weird custom player is really frustrating.) And concededly, apps like Currents look a thousand times better than feeds, which are traditionally text-heavy.
Back in February, TestFlight announced that it would be bringing its services to Android in the form of a private beta, having already served over 300,000 apps on iOS. Today, though, TestFlight has announced that it is ready to lift the private beta, opening beta Android compatibility to all users. TestFlight says that during its 45-day beta period, 5000 developers uploaded over 4500 apps.
The service, for those unfamiliar, is a widely popular beta testing platform, allowing developers to quickly and smoothly deploy beta apps to select users.
When it comes to Twitter clients on Android, Falcon Pro is hard to beat. It's fast, functional, and dang pretty to look at. Aside from that, though, it's also very well-supported, as the dev is constantly adding new features or fixing bugs.
Today's update is no different, as it brings a handful of new customizations to the client, including a "sexy" new font and the option to move the action bar to the bottom:
I may have just heard about focus- and relaxation-inducing music site Focus@Will, but that hasn't stopped me from already falling in love with it. For much of my stare-at-a-screen-all-day career, I've actually wanted a service like this, and even have a few stations on Pandora and Spotify that almost mimic the service. Now that I've found F@W, though, those stations are essentially defunct.
What is Focus@Will?
That's probably the biggest question on your mind right now.
As the start of Google I/O 2013 grows achingly close, Mountain View has seen fit to grace us with a pretty significant update of the official Google I/O app for this year's conference. For anyone attending the event, this app is going to be their golden ticket. The app should work on most Android form-factors (2.3 Gingerbread or higher), with a killer card-based UI that's consistent with Google's new design aesthetic.
Apex Launcher has bumped up to version 2.0, bringing in a host of new features to both the free and pro versions of the app. Free users who make the leap will find various improvements to the interface, updated translations, and the option to set the duration of vibrations. The pro version now allows users to place folders in the app drawer, but the star of the show is its integration with the new Apex Notifier.