It's time for us to come clean. We've been collectively living a lie, Android fans. Hiding our deepest desires and hoping they go away. Praying that maybe, Duarte willing, that we'll get something that's close enough that we'll be satisfied. But no more! Today, we shed the façade and embrace the truth: all we really want is a clean, simple UI that's not cluttered by drawers, widgets, or icons in shapes other than rounded squares.
If you've ever wanted to learn a language but don't want to be tethered to a PC or stuck in some classroom, this might be your lucky day. Rosetta Course has just launched on Android, and you can try it out for free. You are welcome to choose from more than a dozen languages to explore, but only the first few lessons are available without paying up.
Rosetta Course uses a combination of text, images, and speech to help you learn the ins and outs of a new language.
Update: The update is now live in the Store – find it by hitting the widget at the end of the post.
Last month, Google announced they'd be killing off Google Reader this July. Yes, in just a couple of short months, one of the most beloved RSS resources in existence would be kaput. Google says it decided to pull the plug because of dwindling use numbers. While there were plenty of discussions about Google's real motivation (everything from well-reasoned examinations of the situation to cries of "EVIL!"), there was something more important happening behind the outcry – there were people stepping up to fill the gap in as seamless and timely a fashion as possible.
When Jawbone's UP wristband was released in late 2011, I was excited. Then I was disappointed. The motion-tracking band seemed like a perfect step into wearable tech at the time, but its companion app wasn't available for Android. Whether and why Jawbone didn't see fit to invest resources in developing for Android was a mystery, but now – thankfully – it's immaterial. Just over a week ago, Jawbone released an official UP app to the Google Play Store, and I wanted to be first in line to try it out with Jawbone's updated 2012 wristband.
Whether Easter to you involves bunnies, crosses, or just heralds super cheap chocolate at the store on Monday, the one thing we can all agree on is that inexpensive apps are cool. A wide array of developers share this belief and, to celebrate your preferred reason to consume candy, have offered steep discounts to their Play Store submissions. Continuing our lengthy tradition of rounding up stuff for you to buy, we've assembled a big list of things to save money on.
Back in December of 2011, Microsoft released the first version of Lync for Android, which brought real-time Exchange collaboration to mobile. Considering that version came before ICS and the Android Design Guidelines, it looks a little (read: very) outdated on modern smartphones. Thankfully, Microsoft just released Lync 2013, which brings a nice looking Holo-meets-Windows-Phone sort of UI along for the ride.
The app essentially retains all the functionality of the previous version, allowing you to IM, collaborate, and video chat with other colleagues using Lync.
Getting your Android display output shared to a larger screen is usually a pain in the butt. You can fiddle with HDMI cables on some devices, rely on sluggish apps, or just wash your hands of the whole thing. But wait, recognized XDA developer and CyanogenMod associate XpLoDWilD and recognized XDA developer nebkat have released BBQScreen. This is a root app that blasts your live Android interface up to a computer over WiFi, Bluetooth, or USB.
If you're reading every word of this post and running it through an internal translator to output a language your brain understands, DISH has something for you. The DishWorld app has launched on Android, bringing over 90 channels in 12 (non-english) languages to your device over the internet. It requires a subscription, but no hardware on the roof.
DishWorld programming is currently offered in Arabic, Bangla, Brazilian (Portuguese, presumably), Cantonese, Filipino, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and Vietnamese (Mandarin and Taiwanese are coming soon).
Nothing brings a smile to my face like the words "Tablet Optimized," and thanks to SoundHound, I'll be walking around with a little grin all day long. The music recognition service has updated its Android app to include a fully realized tablet UI and a few other performance enhancements. Here are a few screenshots for comparison (taken on my Nexus 7):
The new tablet UI replaces the boring stretched out rows with drag-able lines of large cover art, making much better use of space on the main screen, discovery, and song pages.
Hot on the heels of Tasker's official 4.0 release which brings a Holo-styled UI for users on Android 4.0+, Crafty Apps has just dropped the price to $1.99. Normally priced at $6.49, this is the first time any of us can recall the popular automation app having ever been on sale.
If you haven't heard of Tasker, it has long stood as the most popular automation app for Android. While not the easiest to learn or the most user friendly, its power and flexibility remain mostly unrivaled, even becoming the platform to build a game.