The Play Store has been off to a great start in 2013 – January saw the introduction of some brilliant apps like Carbon Backup and Pushbullet, and February followed up with some great entries of its own. From widgets to root apps to content creation tools, February had something for just about everyone. As always, we'll take a quick look at five of the very best apps we saw in the past month.
It's no secret that Handy Apps puts out some useful and, well... handy, apps. Need a way to keep your passwords locked up tight? Look no further than PassWallet. Or maybe a powerful, yet functional to-do list is what you're after – check out Tasks N Todos. Maybe there's some pictures or videos you want to keep away from prying eyes. No worries – Photo Locker or Video Locker should do the trick.
NASA is kind of awesome. In case you live under some red rocks, the organization sent this crazy robot to Mars that sends us back high-resolution photos. The future is amazing. Of course, there's nothing the space administration loves more than curiosity (which is why they named the Mars rover after it), and it's aiming to fuel yours with this 3D model explorer.
In a somewhat odd move, instead of simply providing the 3D models themselves, the app requires you to print out some markers.
I don't know about you, but it's my dream that one day I can completely ditch my cable company for an a la carte solution where I only get the channels I actually want. I feel like we're edging that way at a snail's pace, even though most streaming channels still require cable service before they'll offer up shows on mobile.
The latest to join this trend is FOX, with its FOX NOW app.
I readily admit that I'm not exactly on board with the notion that every Android app should conform to 'holo' aesthetics, or Android's 'design guidelines.' I think that such a view is inherently limiting to the creativity of developers, and ignores the fact that while there are many objectively bad ways to do software UI/UX, there are nearly as many good ways, too. And lest we forget: even Google doesn't always get these things right.
In a post to its official blog today, the team behind Chameleon Launcher announced version 2.0, which simultaneously hit the Play Store. The update, which is – for now – only available to Kickstarter backers and pre-order customers, brings a handful of popularly requested features. Perhaps the biggest of these is optimization for the small screen. Yes, Chameleon is now specifically optimized to work on your smartphone as well as it does on your tablet.
Hey, are you a DIRECTV customer? Do you own an Android tablet? Then I might have some good news for you: DIRECTV just released an app for tablets, and it does all sorts of awesome stuff. You can watch live TV (only some channels!) on your home network, and some (read: fewer) channels from anywhere with an internet connection. You can browse listings, set and control your DVR, and even change the channel on your set top box - this really is an app absolutely busting at the seams with great features.
If you have a Facebook page for a group, business, or the like, then you should have Facebook Pages Manager installed. Otherwise, it's pretty difficult to do anything with that page while on-the-go. If you've already been using FBPM for a while, then you're probably familiar with its quirks, as well as its missing features. Facebook is looking to alleviate at least a bit of your frustration, as the company pushed a small update today that actually brings some fixes and adds new functionality to the app:
What's in this version:
• Turn push notifications on or off for each Page
• Upload a photo to a specific album
• Attach a photo to a status update
• Change profile and cover photos
• Save a shortcut to a Page on your phone's home screen
• Share links from other apps to Pages Manager
And in one fell swoop, Pages Manager becomes more useful.
Update 3/6/13: Chrome Beta was just updated once again with fixes to short flings that used to decelerate too quickly, password sync, and last but not least - broken Nexus 7 compatibility:
Chrome Beta for Android has been updated to 26.0.1410.28. This release contains a few new fixes including:
If you're using the beta channel of Chrome for Android, you're in for a treat today: Chrome for Android now supports password sync and autofill, two awesome features that should make your mobile browsing life a lot easier.
Update: Twitter has removed the new detailed conversation view from the list of changes. We're not sure if that's because it's not there, or some other reason.
Twitter for Android was updated this afternoon with a few tweaks, bringing the app to version 3.8. Among the most notable changes is an enhanced conversation view, which now shows all replies (and related interactions) to a Tweet, whether going forward or backward in time.