Back in January, Google announced initial support for forty third-party apps (including Runtastic, Zillow, Waze, and more) hooking into Google Now. Even if Google limited participation to hand-picked partners, the news was exciting - it marked Google's first publicly visible steps toward opening Now to users' favorite apps in ways that developers could control.
Google is still keeping details about developer participation close, but today 70 new apps have been added to the Google Now roster.
Last fall, Microsoft released an activity tracker of its own, creatively named the Microsoft Band, and hit the Play Store with the requisite companion app. Now the company has updated its little piece of Android software to track steps and calories without needing the Band itself. The app does this using your phone's motion sensors instead, as long as it's running KitKat or Lollipop.
But you already bought Microsoft's fitness tracker?
Point-and-click adventure games are experiencing a renaissance at the moment, spurred on in no small part by the ride of touch-based mobile platforms that make a natural fit with the games' simple interfaces. Surely no single adventure game has created more buzz in the last few years than Broken Age, the crowdfunded return to form for Tim Schafer and his team at Double Fine Productions. Today Act 1 of Broken Age is available on the Play Store for ten bucks.
Frequent travelers know Google Maps all too well. It's one of the most widely used apps on Android for a reason. A brand new update to version 9.8 just turned up, and there are a few notable changes to take a look at. This release appears to be dedicated to fine-tuning different parts of the interface, so there aren't any big changes here. Maps now gives users the option to upload multiple photos simultaneously, hide reservations from location cards, and more. As usual, we've got a download link at the bottom of the page if you'd rather jump straight to the apk.
If you're not familiar with Disney Infinity, it's basically the media giant's answer to digital toys like Skylanders, Angry Birds Telepods, and Nintendo Amiibo. The gist is that you buy your kids RFID-enabled collectible statues, they stick 'em on a base station, and then they can use digital versions of those characters inside the Disney Infinity game. Is there a technical reason that a completely digital character needs a $15 hunk of physical plastic to unlock? Why certainly, so long as "technical reason" includes "making Disney a boatload of money."
The Infinity games are available on all major consoles and the PC.
As our internal collaboration platform, Hipchat is special to the AP team. It's a great service for keeping track of assignments, chatting with team members, and sharing info, but until now the mobile app has been just a little behind the curve on design.
Today it looks like that's changing, as Hipchat beta received an update with material design.
The new Hipchat beta has native rendering for messages and will now honor your system's font size settings, but of course the overarching design is the real story here. Here's a look:
The "lobby" has been transformed into a "chats" screen, with people and rooms in the same view.
Facebook Messenger is adding a feature that, if you didn't use it, you would expect to already have. With today's addition of video chat capability, it has parity with the desktop chat interface that has long supported this. As a server-side switch, you should have this available so long as you are using a reasonably new version of the app.
As you see in the image above, there is a camera icon at the top of the conversation that will initiate the video chat. You might also notice that Facebook is very proud that iOS and Android devices will be able to communicate with one another from the start.
The first piece of software to sprout up in SwiftKey's new garden is the Clarity keyboard, an alternative to the company's main product that takes things back to basics. Aside from the ability to capitalize or access symbols using gestures, there's nothing in the way of fancy features here. There isn't even a prediction bar.
If we had presses, they would be stopped right now. Instagram has announced not one, not two, but three new filters. That means three new ways to mess up your photos! I kid, some people are really into Instagram, so any new stuff is a big deal, and new filters don't come along often.
Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications, games, and live wallpapers that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous 2 weeks or so.
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Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.
Expense IQ - Expense Manager
This week's roundup is brought to you by Expense IQ - Expense Manager from Handy Apps. This amazingly complete expense tracking system has a solid and colorful UI, and just about every possible checkbook, alert, and tracking feature you could want.