There's a new version of the Play Store rolling out, and that means you're probably obsessively hunting for the APK. Well, we've got that. More importantly we've taken a look inside the APK to see if there's anything of note. There are some minor layout alterations, but also some interesting clues inside.
Left: older layout, Right: newer layout - ignore the Nexus S
Opera Max debuted on Android way back in December of 2013. Today it gets a major update - major enough, at least, that Opera thinks it's worth putting into a completely new app listing. Here's the original Opera Max, and here's the new "global" version (from the file name). The biggest visual change is a spiffy new interface with a bunch of Material Design elements. And that's nice, but what's really interesting is the ability to select specific settings for Wi-Fi or mobile (3G and LTE) connections.
Microsoft said today in a blog post that they have added 20 new partners to their roster of those who will ship their software on Android tablets. This comes on the heels of the relatively recent stable release of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint for tablets running KitKat or newer. Just earlier this year, Microsoft reached a similar agreement with Samsung, Dell, and several other less-known OEMs. Today's headliners are Sony and LG, but many more are included.
If you pay attention to the Twitter-verse at all, you've probably heard of Periscope. It's an app made by Twitter that broadcasts live video streams from your phone. It was previously only available on iOS, but now you can download it on your Android phone (or tablet, if you hate clear videos).
You've already got Google voice commands, but what about something with a little more personality? Microsoft has got you covered, or rather, it will in a few weeks. Redmond is working on a version of its Cortana virtual assistant app for Android.
Google's current Photos app uses some image processing smarts to piece together auto-awesome compilations and Stories, but the new Photos experience pushes the limits of computer vision. Not only does it pick out and identify faces, it recognizes objects like cars and food. It's not perfect, but it's sometimes creepily accurate.
Roman Nurik works for Google, but he also develops really cool (and free) Android apps from time to time. He's the man behind Dash Clock, Muzei, and now the FORM Watch Face for Android Wear. You can grab it right now and enjoy it all on its own, or you can take advantage of the sweet Muzei functionality.
We gave you an overview of the new Google Photos app earlier today, but there's a lot more to see than can be covered in a single post. We're breaking some of the new features out so we can go over them in detail. First up, the new link sharing component of Google Photos. Not only can you share photos or videos in a snap, you can preserve some of your privacy while doing it.
Apps with tens of millions of users tend to either spend a lot of time and effort conforming to Android's visual standards... or spend none at all, considering their own cross-platform UI more important. Dropbox has tended to fall into the former category, but it's taken them a while to get on board with the Material Design standards introduced with Android 5.0. That changes today: version 220.127.116.11 adds a new UI that follows the Material Design playbook.