Right now there are three Android phones and four Android tablets within arm's reach of my desk, and another half dozen or so in my closet. (It's OK, I don't have a problem. This is my job.) If you're in a similar situation, you can put some of those gadgets to use: they work great as remotes for set-top boxes like Android TV or Roku, or you can cobble them together into a sort of poor man's Sonos multi-room speaker system. Here's one more option: turn it into a home security camera.
Starting on October 28th, YouTube Red will let folks in the US start watching all the movie trailers, phone reviews, music videos, epic fails, adorable babies, cat clips, and rants they've been consuming for years, sans ads. In exchange, viewers hand over $9.99 a month instead, or $15 if they have a Play Music family plan.
Unless, it turns out, you're one of the early Play Music subscribers. Google is sending out emails to folks who hopped on board in the early summer of 2013 to inform them that when they are transferred to YouTube Red, they will get to keep their discounted $7.99 rate.
One tool that I personally have always wanted on Android but have never actually seen is a live color picker. A floating tool that could grab pixel-specific color values from your screen without the need for screenshots or any other complication. Today it looks like my wish has been granted by embermitre with the release of Pixolor to the Play Store.
Pixolor is basically a floating eyedropper controlled by a persistent notification. You can hide or show the picker, zoom with it, and drag it around to get the hex value for the exact color you see on screen. It will also provide the nearest color from the material design palette and - inside the app - an entire palette based on that color.
Are you a fan of cartoons produced, owned, and distributed by Fox Broadcasting Company? Hey, then it's your lucky day—well, unless you don't like pinball. Zen Pinball now has tables based on Bob's Burgers, Archer, Family Guy, and American Dad.
Browsers are a core part of the mobile phone experience, but I don't find them particularly exciting. I do with my browser largely what I did ten years ago: open it up, go to a URL, and scroll through the page that appears. I don't really use bookmarks or search predictions, though combining the search and location bars together was pretty nice. Custom search engines are fun too.
Prune is a game about planting trees, and I'm sure you think that sounds super-duper boring, but it's really not. With a swipe you can plant a tree and watch it grow toward the light. Only with your careful pruning can it grow large enough to sprout flowers and unlock the next botanical challenge.
GIFs are nothing new, but these days, they're mainstream and everywhere. That has driven big tech companies to come up with their own approaches for awkwardly animating pictures. Google automatically strings together several similar images and lets you export them as GIFs. Apple doesn't call them GIFs―they're Live Photos. Now Instagram is introducing Boomerangs, which you create using its new app called Boomerang.
Twitter opinions are a dime a dozen. Actually, no, they're much cheaper than that. People give them out for free. Let something happen, online or off, and someone will take to Twitter to offer their two cents.
But that doesn't stop people from tweeting out questions. Understandably, sometimes you want to get a gauge of how your followers feel in particular. Thing is, most people will overlook that tweet, and you're mostly likely to get feedback from the folks who care the most, negatively or positively.
Now Twitter is rolling out the ability to tweet polls, increasing your likelihood of getting engagement from the more passive among us.
Getting bought by Microsoft hasn't hindered the productive folks over at Wunderlist. They're now ready to roll out an update to their Android app with a revamped interface that finally looks good enough to deserve a Material Design adjective. Its previous update had claimed that, but it was actually the bastard child of some iOS and Android design elements. This one, on the contrary, does away with the clunky design, reduces a few shadows, flattens a couple of boxes, cleans some icons, and generally looks shiny, in a faded pastel kind of way.
The update isn't just superficial though. It adds a shortcut to create new tasks from the notification bar and a Quick-Add function to send tasks to their lists and assign dates to them (type "tomorrow at 9am" and Wunderlist will schedule your task for that time).