As an Android-specific site, you might say we're a bit biased when it comes to some of the non-essential services built into apps. Seeing an app that allows a universal Facebook sign-in option, but not a Google alternative, really gets on our thungas. Case in point: popular magazine-style news reader Flipboard. Before the latest update, you could only access the service by signing into a new account the old-fashioned way or using Facebook.
Pandora hasn't added any dramatic features to the music streaming app since the big interface change and Chromecast support, but they have been putting in small but noticeable changes on a pretty regular basis. Today's update to version 5.2 focuses on expanding some of the latest functionality to tablets and expanding the sleep timer and alarm clock.
First of all, both are now available on the tablet interface, which is handy for anyone who uses their tablet as a bedside companion.
If you're entrenched in Adobe's creative ecosystem, or just want to try a new photo editing and storage solution for your mobile devices, you may be interested to learn that the company has brought an official Revel app to the Play Store.
Before discussing the app, it would be prudent to remind readers that Adobe Revel works on a plan system with free and paid options - for free, you get unlimited photo and video imports for 30 days.
Motorola's Spotlight Player, available only for the Moto X, serves you interactive films stuck somewhere between being as involving as a game and as passive as a movie. Motorola's first "Spotlight Story" came out late last year with the name Windy Day. The film, created by Ratatouille director Jan Pinkava, tasked players with moving their Moto Xs around to find items and trigger parts of the experience. Now another story is available by the name of Buggy Night (this time directed by animator Mark Oftedal), and it works much the same way.
Too many files? No problem – RAR them. You can do that now that there's an official RAR app on Android. This is a fabulously useful app on Windows, where it costs cash money. On Android, it appears to be completely free.
The RAR app for Android lets you create ZIP and RAR archives, but you can unpack RAR, ZIP, TAR, GZ, BZ2, XZ, 7z, ISO, ARJ archives. There are also options to repair damaged archives and it supports encryption for creating and unpacking archives.
Roughly a year has gone by since XBMC 12 hit metaphorical store shelves, and the time has apparently been well-spent. The upcoming version introduces hardware decoding, so your device can actually utilize more of its power to push those pixels. The beta has has been streamlined enough to run on a Raspberry Pi, so you know you can expect a zippier experience on a more powerful gadget.
When using XBMC on a touchscreen, the app will now recognize gesture controls during video playback and swiping controls when navigating around.
Saving power while using your phone then bragging about it on the internet is all the rage these days – it's like hypermiling for smartphones. If you're not into flashing custom kernels to get the job done, there's now Per-App Modes from the developer behind Franco's Kernel.
Per-App Modes lets you automatically set a CPU frequency, temperature threshold, GPU clock, and more that will be activated when you're using specific apps.
When the name of that song playing in the background escapes you, Shazam is the most common way to figure it out. This app has a few hundred million installs on Google Play – no big deal, or anything. A recent update has brought the updated experience that was teased at MWC to the Android app, so get your updates started.