Avid readers on Android have some exciting new toys to look forward to in the latest version of Amazon Kindle. Update 4.8 adds some significant features to an already-packed app, specifically linked to in-book search. "X-Ray" is a proprietary system that downloads a pre-configured, collated file that includes information about the book itself, the characters, the setting, and the context of basically everything. For complex fiction, non-fiction, or textbooks, it's an amazing system previously reserved for the Kindle e-readers and tablets.
There's an elite club among Android apps: those chosen few that have been consumed by enough people to surpass the 1 billion installs mark. Most of the names found on this list come from Mountain View. Gmail was the first to cross the threshold (discounting Google Play services, which comes pre-installed on every Android device with access to the Play Store), followed by Maps and YouTube. Facebook has also passed the milestone, though I'm not sure how many of our readers are particularly happy about that one.
Among tech-savvy media fans, Video LAN Client (VLC for short) is easily one of the most popular video and audio players in the world. It's available for every major desktop platform, and for almost two years, it's been in beta for Android. Today the app has officially graduated to a 1.0 build, marking its formal exit from beta and a day of celebration for fans of flexible media playback on mobile devices.
Titanium Backup is well-known among rooted users for its ability to back up just about every aspect of a phone. It actually has the same prestige among non-rooted users too, they just can't get in on the fun.
The latest version of the app adds Bluetooth pairings to the list of things Android users can rarely ever have to set up again. As long as you're running Android 4.2 or higher (including Lollipop, which the app supports following a recent update), Titanium Backup should let you back up and restore your current Bluetooth connections.
With the holiday season now fully underway, maybe you've decided to treat yourself to a new Android Wear watch. But what do you do with it once you get it on your wrist? You can only respond to so many text messages from your wrist. That's why we've got this roundup thing we do, that way you'll have stuff on your wrist that makes the smartwatch investment worthwhile. Well, maybe kind of worthwhile.
A few months ago Google purchased the developer of the impressive WordLens app, which translates text and signs from another language into your own simply by pointing your camera at it. The text appears in your language through the lens, as if you had super-powered Translate-O-Vision. As with Waze and Google Maps, it looks like Google's own Translate app will soon see the benefit of that acquisition. Check out the screenshots below, taken from an upcoming version of Google Translate.
If the rollout of an updated Play Store yesterday with some tweaked interface elements and an order history page was exciting, just wait until you see what else was hidden inside the latest version. I don't think there's any point in teasing, this might be the one we've all been waiting for. The Play Store is finally going to enable a method to offer discounted purchases. There are still a lot of unknowns, but it's real, and it's probably coming very soon.
A friend once told me that watching someone else play a game can sometimes be even more entertaining than playing it yourself and more enjoyable than a movie. I wouldn't know, but I trust his opinion. Well, his and that of the thousands of people who seem to love it as much, to a point where a game streaming platform like Twitch exists and is valued equally to Instagram. If you fall in this demography of video game lovers and if you're a fan of the multi-million dollar competitions that ensue, you should check out Strafe.
Every power user has a favorite file manager. It doesn't matter how many are installed or why, there is always one that takes the lead position. Of course, as new features become popular, it's not uncommon for people to switch out their favorite app to pull up one that offers whatever they need. The new must-have among file managers is support for writing to the SD card on Android 5.0 Lollipop.