February saw some considerable new apps, both in terms of new services like YouTube Kids and Sling TV, and in expanded tools like PhotoMath and Microsoft's first custom keyboard for Android. If you find it hard to see the tiny type on your new ultra-high-res phone, check out BIG Notifications. Below are our top seven picks from last month, along with some honorable mentions.
Dear readers: I have a confession to make. I completely forgot about our monthly best-of games series, because when the event came up on the calendar I was busy drooling over the new SHIELD set-top box and other Game Developers Conference-related stuff in San Francisco. Here, belated but hopefully still appreciated, are my picks for the top seven Android games of last month and a few honorable mentions.
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got a unique sound-based puzzle game, a nostalgic sliding block puzzler, and Kairosoft's latest business manager.
Google still doesn't have a Play Music API for third-party apps, so I'm essentially forced to use the official app for streaming my music. If I had the option of using any music app and still getting my cloud tunes, I'd use Shuttle—we've even recommended it a few times. This app is feature-rich and has a slick design, but it's getting even better today with a big update to v1.5. This is the second phase of the developer's material redesign, and it's looking great.
Hangouts video chats are pretty good in terms of handling multiple up and down streams, but the invitation and verification system leaves a lot to be desired - there's something of a traffic jam when we start the Android Police podcast video, for example. Today Google is making that a little easier by allowing mobile users to join a Hangouts video session with a simple invitation link, instead of needing an explicit, personal invitation via the Hangouts/Google+ system.
Cerberus is a solid little app that makes it easy (or at least easier) to find/lock your phone or tablet if it's lost or stolen. The app has accumulated over a million downloads on the Play Store, so clearly it has earned some loyal users. The update to version 3.1 adds a couple of crucial features: full support for both Android Wear and Android 5.0. If you have either one, you'll appreciate the added functionality.
In an update that we can call minor by Mint's standards, the app's interface and navigation have been refined in addition to receiving a new bill reminder option. This feature is actually quite helpful, since it can be hard to keep a multitude of due dates straight in your head.
Of course, this won't help reduce any confusion between Mint and the recently-rebranded Mint Bills service. To be clear, you will not be paying your bills on Mint; you will just be reminded about them.
Adoption of material design appears to be on an upward trend. It seems that everyfew days we hear news about another app refreshing its design with some inspiration from Google's new aesthetic, with some apps using the design language at launch. This is great for users who have been hungry for a more unified, cohesive design language on Android.
Continuing the trend, Groupon has introduced its update to version 15.2, heavily inspired by material design.
There are plenty of feed readers on Android, but how many of them slap some news on your lock screen? Not many, I'd imagine. Corgi is an app that plugs into Feedly to pull in news and display it on the lock screen. Android lock screen replacements are never ideal, but Corgi seems to do a rather good job.
A couple of days ago, Google Drive made news with an update that introduced a new, intuitive Drag & Drop implementation for easier file management. While that appeared to be the only significant change, a look under the hood revealed not only that the Drive team is about to fulfill one of the most often requested features, but it also answered one of the many questions about the fate of Google+ Photos after the split.