It's going to take time for all the apps we know and love to transition to material design, but Koush is off and running with a pair of updates today. His Helium and AllCast apps have been tweaked with more material elements and a few bug fixes.
MX Player is now ready for Android Lollipop. No, it's not any prettier than it was before. There's no Material Design to drool over, no bright colors, nor a floating action button to make us feel like we're living at the end of 2014. This video player is largely the same app as before. Its developer has just removed the restriction that prevented it from running on 5.0 devices. Now people who rely on MX Player don't have to do without when upgrading to Lollipop.
Google Play Services version 6.5 began rolling out to users a few days ago, and as we work on an APK teardown to see what's under the hood, it looks like there's at least one more user-facing change in the update. Specifically, Android's system update screen is prettier.
The screen which, until now, consisted of the same drab title, horizontal break, "last checked" text, and "check now" button, has been granted a better design treatment.
It's not Google's job to account for all the quirks of custom ROMs, but there's been one pervasive bug that has driven some users up a wall in recent weeks. Chrome would render in a bizarre little floating window on ROMs like Paranoid Android. The latest Chrome Beta release fixes that, and you can grab it below.
Left: broken, Right: not broken
Motorola isn't wasting its time pushing out Android Lollipop to a number of its devices, and it needs to keep its apps current as well if it wants to deliver a cohesive experience to users. So the company has pushed out updates to a handful of its apps, primarily Camera and Gallery.
The camera has been flattened and given an extra dose of color. Functionality-wise, Motorola has added a new timer mode and a twist gesture to switch between the front and rear shooter, with the latter only available for the Moto X, Droid Ultra, and Droid Turbo.
Back when I was using CyanogenMod on my Galaxy S3 and when Google didn't have a decent Gallery alternative, QuickPic was my go-to replacement photo browser. It was fast at combing through thousands of images and had a clean and clear interface that made it easy to get to the photos you wanted to view. Even though I personally have less reasons to use QuickPic now, many users are still hooked on its lightness, speed, and simplicity.
The Pebble folks have announced a big update to the smartwatch that many wearers have been waiting a long time for. With version 2.1 of the Android companion app, users can receive notifications from any app they have on their device, rather than a few preset options, without having to turn to a third-party solution. People will have the ability to receive all notifications or select specific apps.
The update is only available to 10% of users today, but it will gradually roll out to more people running Android 4.3 or higher.
While we weren't able to find anything else particularly interesting (note: Music Key is not linked to this update, previous versions had it, too), YouTube 5.18 does include some interesting strings referring to upload trimming. Specifically, these strings:
<string name="upload_edit_video_tutorial_title">Trim your video</string>
<string name="upload_edit_video_tutorial_description">Drag the handles to trim.</string>
<string name="upload_edit_video_tutorial_zoom_description">Touch and hold to get a closer view.</string>
<string name="upload_edit_video_tutorial_got_it">Got it</string>
It looks like a new upload interface is on the way for YouTube's Android app, and it's probably about time - the current UI is pretty dated.
Over the last few weeks, we've heard of a feature popping up for Google Play Music All Access users here and there (thanks for the tips!), whereby the app or web interface would link users to relevant music videos inside the app. When listening to or browsing music, the app would show a YouTube icon, sometimes in the center of the screen, sometimes weirdly positioned in the "now playing" bar. It was clear Google was still testing the feature but it looks like now, with the publication of an official change log for Play Music's latest update, Google may be flipping the switch on a wider basis.