The latest app to take the bold step into a Material Design world is the popular Reddit client Reddit News, but only in the Play Store beta so far. Unlike some apps that claim to be implementing Material Design, Reddit News is doing more than slapping a floating action button (FAB) in the same old app.
The latest Beats Music update continues to flesh out its overall music streaming experience. This particular release, version 1.2, focuses on areas that distinguish Beats somewhat from the competition - its song discovery and basic social networking elements.
The service claims to connect users to the music that's right for them, and a new Tune Your Taste feature provides listeners with the option to change their favorite genres and artists. Instead of new, it's actually more of a comeback.
If you use Google Gesture Search, an app that we have largely ignored over the years because, well, Google doesn't exactly do much with it, good news - it's been updated! For the first time in over a year.
Google Gesture Search 2.1.4 adds a new widget that allows you to quickly launch recently used things, and the app now displays as a popup on tablets. There are also the requisite "bug fixes and UI improvements." The widget seems, frankly, pretty damn useless aside from being a widget that displays things you sometimes are prone to doing on your phone, with no apparent logic behind said displayed items.
aCar is a one-stop shop of an app when it comes to keeping track of car-related details. The app can record servicing, parking fees, and, yes, fuel. The last thing on this list attracted the eye of Fuelly, a company whose website helps users calculate their vehicle's fuel economy. It purchased aCar back in May, and now the Android app is receiving its first update since the acquisition.
Version 4.8 doesn't shake things up too much, but it does take some steps towards integration.
Earlier this year, UPS Mobile received a big bump in functionality, which was a nice change for an Android app that really didn't have to do all that much. The app puts tracking information front and center, as it should. Why else does anyone even check UPS online?
Now the app has received a 4.1 update that lets users track packages without having to manually juggle all of those tracking numbers. This is a feature exclusively available to My Choice members, which is free depending on what perks are desired. Customers can see the benefits of signing up all within the app.
When Sony debuted the Live on YouTube app last month, we wondered if compatibility would extend backwards to some other high-end Sony phones. The time is now, Sony smartphone owners... at least if you own one of three very specific models. Last year's flagship the Xperia Z1, its slightly smaller brother the Xperia Z1 Compact, and the high-powered Xperia ZL2 (which is only available in some Asian markets at the moment), all have access to the app as of now.
National Public Radio has had an official Android app for years now, but it wasn't particularly pretty then, and it doesn't look any better now. Fortunately the organization has now released a separate piece of software that doesn't look like it's put together by donations and held together by aging strings of code. NPR One is a new radio streaming app that puts out stories from the national organization and its many local affiliates to provide a personalized, easy-listening experience.
The LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live both lack a light sensor to adjust screen brightness, which is kind of a pain. The Moto 360 is supposed to have have an ambient light sensor, but Display Brightness for Wear lets you fake the same functionality on the G Watch and Gear Live. It uses the time and your phone's location to determine how bright the watch should be, which is pretty clever.
Microsoft recently launched a beta program for its OneNote Android app, and a couple weeks later we are now seeing the first update hit devices. It happens to include a number of noteworthy enhancements. Primarily, the debut beta update introduces the ability to take handwritten notes with either a fingertip or stylus, a natural progression for a note-taking app geared at touchscreen devices.
Joining this change are a number of formatting options letting users tweak fonts, text size, and word alignment.
App installation on Android Wear is completely transparent when it works correctly, but that can be an issue when things aren't going smoothly. Wear Apps Tracker makes the watch act a bit more like your phone with regard to app changes. Basically, it adds notifications.