For the longest time, my only involvement with smartphones was limited to Nokia's Symbian devices, then I bought an HTC Desire Z in February 2011 and the rest, as they say, is history. I was immediately ecstatic about most of the Android experience save for two aspects where my heart strings kept tugging back to my Nokia N8: photography and mapping. Android cameras have improved a lot over the past three years — I am amazed by the Lumia 1020's scary-good 41MP sensor, but my LG G3 does an excellent job 99% of the time — and so did Google Maps, but at no point has Google's mapping service completely levelled up with parts of the experience that I used to get through Nokia Maps, even in 2010 on an N8.
Like a lot of manufacturers that hope to sell phones in developing territories, Motorola adds FM radio functionality to its budget models, currently including the Moto E and the first and second generation of the Moto G. And as is the vogue for manufacturer customizations, the developers at the company have published their custom apps on the Play Store for easier updating. Today the built-in version of the FM radio app gets an update adding some much-needed features.
Despite having some serious (and apparently isolated) issues with his unit's battery, our fearless leader Artem is thoroughly enjoying his Moto 360 smartwatch. He described the Stealth360 watch face from developer Flying Rhino as, and I quote, "sweet as hell."
Stealth360 shies away from some of the more conventional Braun-style designs included with the Moto 360 itself, in favor of something closer to a Razer or Alienware look. (Think Tron, but with a little more restraint.) Despite hands and markers that are designed to look sleek, it's pretty functional as a standard watch, thanks to easy-to-read layout.
About four months ago, Google added Auto Awesome Stories to the Google+ Android app. This feature groups photos taken at roughly the same place and time when you're traveling away from your home area into a nifty slideshow or "travelogue." It looks like someone at Facebook really digs the idea, because we've been alerted by multiple users who say they've seen pretty much the same thing in the Facebook app over the last few days.
Considering the competitive nature of the mobile market, it's actually pretty surprising that Microsoft supports Android as well as it does, at least for its own services. The company has released over 30 apps for Android, including a free and official version of Microsoft Remote Desktop, the official RDP client for Windows. Today's update brings support for KitKat's handy immersive mode, which makes a lot of sense for a remote computer viewer...
Vine, the video equivalent of Twitter, has received an app update that brings in a number of tools that should make getting content onto the site a better experience. The update drops a new icon at the bottom left that lets users pull up videos from their gallery (referred to annoyingly in the app as a camera roll), preview videos of any length, and trim footage down into a 6-second version that probably doesn't do the original any justice (ahem, I mean, make them Vine-ready).
Unified Remote is one of those apps that lets you control everything. Everything? Everything. This app lets you control everything... that's on your PC. You can use it to toggle volume, handle videos, pause music, move the mouse, and jam on the keyboard. It's a universal remote for your computer that runs on your phone, and with the beta, it now runs on your wrist as well. Developer Unified Intents has managed to move much of the functionality over onto Android Wear.