The Spotify app on Android has gone through several iterations on its way to being not ugly, but the one rolling out now might be the most significant. A new dark UI is hitting devices with new fonts, icons, and a few tweaked features. Some elements of this interface have been appearing on devices over the last few weeks, but today is the official announcement.
Who doesn't like pretty pictures? That's right, no one. 500 Firepaper is a great way to get some lovely images from 500px on your home screen in the form of a constantly changing live wallpaper. Version 2.0 of the app is out with a number of excellent improvements, including unique functionality courtesy of 500px itself.
Even after years on the market and innumerable would-be competitors, GoPro remains the standard for "action cameras." A big part of that is the excellent smartphone integration that GoPro's devices have maintained, and today the official Android app gets a little better in a lot of small ways. The most obvious is the new user interface, which is visible on Android 4.0 and above. The all-black UI keeps its focus on minimalism and utility, but gets rid of some of the gradients of the former interface.
CheapCast has disappeared from the Play Store, taking with it a convenient way to turn any old Android device into a makeshift Chromecast. To make matters worse, there's a good chance the app will never return.
Since CheapCast's release, Google has added several cryptographic checks to make sure the Chromecast ecosystem only works with approved devices such as Google's $35 dongle, Google TVs, and the like. The feature now checks for a Google signed certificate, which comes preloaded on such products.
An IFTTT user has helpfully posted a recipe that takes advantage of the push notifications in the new IFTTT Android app. This particular concoction will ping you each time we post an APK file for download, which we do pretty often. The recipe is currently trending at #4 on IFTTT, about which we are extremely pleased.
The changes that Google made to the way that Android uses external storage (read: MicroSD cards) in KitKat have been contentious to say the least. A few of the more widely-used file explorer apps have utilized a loophole in the Media Scanner service to restore at least some of the more widely-used functions for accessing and modifying files, and now the popular Solid Explorer has done the same.
According to the changelog for version 1.6, the work-around should function for Samsung devices that have been updated to Android 4.4, though the new Galaxy S5 is a notable exception.
The first notable update for the new Android version of Mailbox adds a spiffy, time-saving feature: action buttons in the app's email notifications. Users should now see a "Reply" button on the expanded Mailbox notification, as well as "Archive" and "Snooze" buttons, which are activated via swipes while in the app itself. These should help achieve the app's stated goal of making email organization faster and easier for time-strapped mobile users.
If you've got a late-model Samsung "smart" camera, you should check out this nifty function. Samsung Home Monitor lets owners of the upcoming NX3000 camera (and presumably other models in the NX line) view video from the camera's lens remotely on their phones. It's a neat application of the hardware available.
Using the simple app, you can treat your camera like a security camera or baby/pet monitor. Users can stream live video from the camera at any time, as long as there's Wi-Fi in the house and your smartphone has a data connect (Wi-Fi or mobile).
A lot of smartphone apps are just mobile translations of a standard computer program or website - useful, but they don't really take advantage of the strengths of mobile platforms beyond the interface. Here's an app that "gets" the way people use their phones, and tricks you into expanding your vocabulary. In a good way.
GRE Vocab Lock will give your phone a secondary unlock screen, which consists of a vocabulary word and two possible synonyms.
Streambels really doesn't care which way you want to get media off your Android device and onto something with speakers or a screen that will better do it justice. Before now it has handled DLNA and AirPlay just fine. After the latest update, the little piece of software knows what to do with Chromecast as well.