The reviews for apps on the Play Store are important, not just for potential users, but for developers and publishers as well: scores during the first few weeks of availability can make or break a new service or game. This being the case, it's disheartening to see a new trend among Play Store reviews: attention-seeking reviewers that give an app one star just so that their review will show up higher on the app's page.
12Hours isn't the most complex, resource-intensive, mind-blowing app out there, and that's just because those characteristics would only hold it back. This analog clock widget doesn't just tell you the time - it goes a step further by displaying your scheduled events for the next twelve hours. This way, you can see how long you have until your next meeting (or how long until the miserable thing is over) without cluttering up your screen with lists of times and dates.
Motorola first released the Droid Zap app back in August, and while it consisted largely of blacks and reds, it still provided a relatively integrated experience. But already, things were changing, and they haven't slowed since - Android apps these days are filled with image-heavy cards and convenient sidebars. Now the latest version of Droid Zap has both of these elements.
This app allows DROID users to share files with people within 300 feet of them.
Pushbullet has received its first update of 2014, and it's one centered around improving the notification mirroring experience. The app, which makes it easy to exchange files and notifications between multiple devices, already allows Google Chrome and Firefox users to have each notification they receive show up on their PC as well. Now notifications that do so can be dismissed from either device. This saves people from reading messages on their desktops but having to reach for the phone to actually clear them.
Uber has bothered some users by price surging during times of the year when people may be most in need of a ride, but now it's doing its part to roll numbers in the opposite direction. The company has just lowered the rates for its uberX rides by up to 34%. The percentage depends on which city you're in, with 16 of the 24 serviced cities seeing a price drop of at least around 10%.
Your Facebook feed is about to get slightly less infuriating. No, your friends aren't going to spontaneously start believing the same things you do. Facebook has decided to end sponsored stories. Those are the posts that float to the top of your feed informing you that one of your friends has interacted with a brand or product on Facebook. Well, no more.
Google said it would do it, and now it has. The latest update to Android's Gmail app has enabled images automatically, now made safe because Google is serving up the images after hosting them on its own proxy servers. Users will no longer need to tap the "show pictures" message above the email content.
Left: old style. Right: 4.7.2.
We're looking through the application now to see if there are any more changes - this thing is so fresh that Google hasn't even updated the Play Store description.
We're slap bang in the middle of CES at the moment, but if you're full up on wearables and Android-powered ovens, take a break and check out the best apps of 2013's final month. Below in no particular order you'll find our favorite new apps that debuted during the holiday season. There were a ton of significant app updates, of course, but these are the best new entries from December, along with a few honorable mentions.