You can't do as much with a smartwatch as you can with a phone, but these little wrist computers are surprisingly capable. You just need the right apps. Well, and watch faces too. Google highlights a few Wear apps from time to time, but we're always watching in order to spot the best things for your watch, and here they are.
Google Maps offers some stellar features, but that doesn't mean that it can't be improved upon, particularly in the area of public transit. Moovit is a navigation app that specializes in bus and train routes, and the latest version completely overhauls the interface. In particular it's much easier to assign a destination location from the main screen: instead of manually entering an address via text, just slide the map around until the indicator is where you want to go.
Plex is one of the easiest ways to view local video on your mobile devices, and its developers have been gradually cranking out updates as of late that improve the Android experience. Version 4.2 doesn't overhaul the experience, but it does introduce a number of tweaks to the user interface.
One addition is the new Discover mode to help you browse the content in your library. A panel at the bottom allows you to easily switch between it and standard navigation.
Adobe released Lightroom Mobile on Android a few months back, but at the time there were some baffling gaps in the feature set. Today's update fills in a few of the missing pieces, but you'll still need a Creative Cloud subscription to use it. Don't expect that to change any time soon.
At this point, there is no real shortage of "smart" launchers in the Android ecosystem. Of course, we have to put "smart" in quotation marks, because there still is a void in terms of truly good products trying to do that. So when I tell you that Bento is a new entrant in this bustling market of context-aware launchers, you shouldn't ask, "do we need another one?" You should ask, "is this the one that will really do a great job?"
Bento is a venture capital-backed project that is in a semi-private beta at the moment.
Twitter is a public service by default, but when you need to take things private, there's always direct messages. They have traditionally been very limited, though. Twitter is rolling a change out to all devices starting today that makes them a little more useful. It's not clear if you'll need an app update or if this is all server side.
Roman Nurik, a Design Advocate at Google, launched the DashClock Widget back in early 2013. It's an extremely versatile, modular widget that - by default - supports things like time, weather, unread Gmail messages, and alarms. But its modular nature is the real selling point. Users can add extensions for apps they're already using, allowing a lot of information from disparate and unrelated apps to be displayed in one handy widget.
New smartphones are rolling off the line pretty regularly, and that means the tools we use to work with them have to update, too. Last month, Sunshine v3.0 emerged with support for an extensive collection of HTC and Motorola handsets, and now an update to v3.1 is about to build on that list. With the latest release, Justin Case and Beaups have added support for almost every variant of the HTC One M9, except Verizon's.