It's Friday, at least here in the western hemisphere, and a bunch developers seem to have decided to discount their apps. Everything from triple-A games to handy tools are on sale up to 80%. Some have even gone free. Without any further ado, let's get to the deals - if you can't see the widgets right away, wait for the page to load them all. Keep in mind that the widgets below may not reflect current prices.
We just saw updates to Facebook and Messenger that were preparing for Facebook Home to arrive on Android. Now, the app is rolling out to the Play Store, albeit slowly. As of right now, links to the app here are pulling up the entry on some devices. We've been trying it out here at AP and some of us can get the app to come up, some can't, but it's clearly on its way.
Today, both of Facebook's current apps have been updated to prepare for the arrival of Facebook Home. The main app merely added an extra permission that Home will eventually use. However, the real fun came to Messenger, which now has the ability to pop out Chat Heads, regardless of if you're using the replacement launcher.
As you may recall from the Facebook Home launch event, chat heads are little bubbles that float over whatever you're doing and allow you to jump straight into a conversation no matter where you are in the OS.
Stock Android has had built-in tethering since version 2.2 way back in 2010, but most carrier-branded devices in the US have the option disabled. Sure, there are root apps and various workarounds, but they can be a mess. If you don't need web access, but want your devices on a local network, you're often out of luck. A new app from well-known developer Chainfire gives you back some control (on some devices), and it doesn't require root.
The founders of Do@ (often spelled DoAT) believe your smartphone is boring and stale, and they want to make it "dynamic" with Everything.me Launcher. I always love new and innovative launchers, or, just about anything that could dramatically change how I interact with my smartphone. When I saw the video, which promises your smartphone will adapt to whatever you are interested in, I was more than a little intrigued. The idea is for people to declare what they want to see at the moment, and then immerse them with imagery and apps.
Since the introduction of expandable notifications in Jelly Bean, the shade has increasingly become the home for widgets and easy-access controls. StatusAgenda brings this concept to your calendar, creating a persistent list of upcoming events accessible from anywhere in the operating system.
At the moment, the app is pretty barebones, but it doesn't need too much fluff. You can choose from either a larger or more compact layout, and the list of events can be collapsed with the regular gestures you use to open and close expandable notifications.
A few months ago, Microsoft announced the SmartGlass app for Xbox, a companion application that allows you to navigate and control your console from your phone or, up until recently, 7" tablets. Now, version 1.5 has rolled out that adds support for larger slates. Including 10" devices like the Nexus 10, which is kind of great.
On a larger tablet, the UI actually doesn't look much different from the interface on the TV itself, so it's extremely intuitive.
If you're like us, you have an obsession with new apps. When you try every new app you come across though, you're bound for disappointment. After all, not every app can be a paragon of functionality, style, and convenience. With that in mind, we go through the long list of new apps submitted to the Play Store every couple of weeks and bring you the best. Even that, though, can be a little too much to digest for some users.
If you don't keep an obsessive eye on video game development, you might not be aware of Unity. It's a 3D game engine that makes it easy to develop games for multiple platforms and multiple rendering engines, including Direct3D, OpenGL, and (on Android and iOS) OpenGL ES. It's not the most powerful or flexible thing around, but a lot of developers rely on the tool. Now they've got an easy way to estimate game performance on different Android hardware, via the Basemark X benchmark from Rightware.