Netflix made several appearances at today's Google event, but the most notable is perhaps the announcement that content delivered to Android devices may soon look a whole lot better. Hugo Barra demoed the new Nexus 7, showing off the 1080p content the device will be able to stream from Netflix when it launches in the US on July 30th. Prior to now, Android devices streamed content in standard definition, regardless of their resolution.
Google laid out a few important announcements today, which included both Android 4.3 and a new streaming device called Chromecast among others. As a result, the Play Music app was updated with support for Chromecast streaming last night, and Play Movies & TV received a very similar update today.
- Send what you’re watching to your TV screen (when used with Chromecast).
- Support for virtual surround sound on the new (2013) Nexus 7, and on the Nexus 10 running Android 4.3.
Get excited, students - textbooks are coming to the Play Store next month, so you can get gouged digitally rather than in your university book store. This morning at an event which also featured the new Nexus 7 and Chromkey, Google announced that you'll soon be able to get some of those gigantic hardback tomes in eBook form on the Play Store, and they will presumably be viewable through the existing Play Books app.
Update: We have the official Google Play Games APK here - just pick a mirror:
Google's brand-new Android gaming hub has its own app, and you can get it in the Play Store right now, just see the widget below and start downloading! Check out the announcement post to learn more.
Basically, Google Play Games will serve as a hub for your gaming achievements, friends you play with, and the games you play.
If Android's stock lockscreen has become mundane and boring to you, then WidgetLocker – which comes from TeslaCoil Software, the creator of Nova Launcher – is one of the best replacement options on the Play Store. It recently received a somewhat significant update that brings a handful of new and useful features, like the ability to swipe left or right to access apps or the camera, respectively. That's not all TeslaCoil packed into this update, however:
July 23 2013 - v2.4
- Bezel Swipe left for apps
- Bezel Swipe right for camera
- Redesigned settings page
- New Unread Count badge options
- Fixes for Jellybean (4.1 through 4.3)
The update is available now in the Play Store – hit the widget below to grab it.
SwiftKey users spend an ample amount of time customizing their experience, adding new words and phrases to the dictionary, and the like. However, switching devices can pose a problem: the process starts all over. Being a company that is always looking for a way to improve life for its user base, SwiftKey decided to do something about that. Enter SwiftKey Cloud Beta, a new backup and sync tool that will keep your user-defined dictionary in sync across all your devices.
Since the dawn of time, owners of Tegra devices have wanted a way to natively capture video of what's happening on their screen. Unfortunately, none of the existing apps (including Screencast) were able to accomplish this goal – until now.
Say hello to the [somewhat] recently-released SCR Screen Recorder, an app that not only promises to capture screencasts of Tegra devices, but delivers on that promise beautifully. To put the app to the test, I not only gave it a run on my Nexus 7, but broke the Galaxy Tab 10.1 out of the vault to ensure Tegra 2 compatibility.
You can make almost anything in Minecraft, even people. If you want to design a new block-based being while on the go, there's the new Minecraft Skin Studio for Android. This app allows you to build a person pixel by pixel and upload it to your Minecraft game.
Minecraft Skin Studio isn't made by Mojang, the company behind Minecraft, However, it has talked up this app quite a bit, and it seems to be the premiere way to design Minecraft skins.
Bitcasa has had a hard time of it since launching on Android seven months ago. Thanks to a buggy app for its unlimited storage service, it's currently sitting at a 3.5-star rating in the Google Play Store - not good when you're up against juggernauts like Dropbox and Google Drive. Hopefully the completely revamped 2.0 update will fix that. In addition to the seemingly ubiquitous UI overhaul, stability and performance improvements are mentioned in the changelog.