Microsoft makes a ton of apps for Android, to a point where we have trouble keeping up with all of them. It seems that the company shares that feeling and it decided that simply pointing you toward its page on the Play Store to find and download them wasn't that efficient. So it built Microsoft Apps... which just houses organized links to all of Microsoft's apps.
Yes. I know. It's not the brightest idea ever, especially since the app doesn't do anything beside provide a sentence of description, a rating, and a link to the Play Store. It looks good though, there's that.
Android TV is getting some serious attention this week with updates to just about all of the Google apps, including a few that most of us never hear about. An update to YouTube's set-top variant just came out with a few subtle changes. The latest release fills out the interface a bit to make channel subscriptions slightly easier. There are also some new shortcuts and reorganization for Settings, including a toggle to enable Stats for Nerds mode. And YouTube Red subscribers will finally see a visual change when their subscription status is recognized.
Home screen – Left: old version. Right: new version.
The holiday season is upon us, and for many that means Christmas trees, candy canes, and other related whatnots. This year, why not spruce up your wrist with a nice holiday-themed watch face? Don't look at me like that, just because you're that nerd with a smart watch doesn't mean you can't be festive. Here are five Christmas watch faces that are worth checking out.
One of a smartphone's core functions is to contact your contacts, so you probably have a bunch of them. Some, maybe even most, folks would consider the default contacts app on their phone sufficient, but Microsoft is working on a piece of software for people who would say otherwise.
Behance's website is a way for creative professionals (photographers, artists, designers) to showcase their work online in a neat and accessible portfolio that also brings them together with a community of similar folks. For an app that's focused on showcasing design, Behance was slacking, but not a lot. It looked good, but there were a few refinements and different approaches in Material Design that weren't yet implemented in it. Today, those little improvements have gone live in the latest version 3.0.
Don't expect the ground to shift below your feet when you open the app for the first time after the update.
When Microsoft Translator was released a few months ago, I went through an extensive comparison between it and Google Translate and came out impressed by Microsoft's efforts, but not completely swayed. At the time, Translator had a major advantage in its Android Wear support (a gap that Google has since closed) but lacked many other features like offline functionality, camera view, and most importantly the live conversation mode. Well, Translator has now jumped that last hurdle and added natural conversation support in its app.
The mode works for a few select languages already: Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), English, French, German, Italian and Spanish, with more promised to be added in the future.
Telecom operators in Brazil have been working for months to undermine the legality of WhatsApp, and now a judge in Sao Paulo has apparently agreed with the arguments. Starting at 9PM ET this evening, WhatsApp was blocked in Brazil, and will continue to be blocked for 48 hours. Mobile operators have said they will enforce the block (probably while high fiving each other). What will happen in 48 hours is unclear, but you can bet Facebook has multiple planeloads of lawyers on their way to Brazil. WhatsApp founder Jan Koum is certainly not amused.
The ugly Christmas sweater phenomenon seems to be yet another case of public trends where the fundamentally undesirable is somehow turned into a nouveau fashion statement, like Uggs or Hummers. While an intense examination of the psychology behind their resurgence would be an interesting application of our time, I'm not paid to write about wooly jumpers. If all you want for Christmas is an Android avatar with a tasteless sweater, then check your Androidify app for the latest update.
Out with the old and in with the new. That's just about the best way to describe the latest update to the Google app for Android TV. Version 2.0 doesn't seem to bring much in the way of features, but what it lacks in functional changes is more than made up for with visuals. Basically everything having to do with a search interface looks at least a little different, if not completely. If you're eager to try it out for yourself, there's an APK Mirror link at the bottom. Otherwise, take a gander at a few screenshots below.
New microphone – Left: old version, Right: new version.