09
Oct
maps

Earlier today, Google started a staged rollout of a new point release of Google Maps. We've been poring over all the UI differences between the new version 7.3 and the previous version 7.2 from last month for the last couple of hours and managed to catch a few interesting changes. Since the official changelog isn't out yet, these will have to do for now.

Here's what we've spotted.

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What's New?

Duration, distance, and estimated arrival time in the expanded notification

The expanded notification now carries a lot more information than before.

09
Oct
Quickoffice-Thumb

Google left many of us scratching our heads when they relaunched Quickoffice last month as a free app, one that probably should have shipped as a Google Drive update instead. Nonetheless, a new version has rolled out that nudges things in the right direction. Now opening a Google document inside Quickoffice will launch the file using the Google Drive app. Previously the document was merely displayed as a PDF instead.

09
Oct
bn

Fans of dystopian stories in the vein of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 will want to take note of a new arrival in Google Play. Blackbar is a word puzzle that has you decipher letters sent to you by a friend after they've been filtered through the insidious Department of Communication. Things start to go wrong for your friend, but you'll only be able to figure out what's happening if you fill in the blanks and make it to the next page.

09
Oct
55

There are plenty of alternative Android keyboards, but SwiftKey is perhaps the most well-known and capable of the lot. Even this paragon of customization is not perfect, though. The newest update to SwiftKey includes a lot of bug fixes and responds to some specific user complaints.

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09
Oct
unnamed (10)

Flashier Twitter apps have come and gone, but I'm still pretty enamored with Plume. One reason is that the developer (LevelUp, of Beautiful Widgets fame) is constantly rolling out new features, and today's update adds a doozie: push notifications. You should get notifications for new tweets, replies, mentions, and messages more or less instantly, and the widget and main feed can now use a "Live Stream" mode.

2013-10-09 06.55.49 2013-10-09 07.08.04

The service experimented with push background notifications before, but the developer wasn't satisfied with the battery-hungry feature.

09
Oct
unnamed (21)

This is what I like to see in an Android monetization model: options. The BitTorrent company released a full-function version of µTorrent (AKA uTorrent or MicroTorrent) a little more than a year ago. The beta app was free, but now there's a paid version that drops the beta tag in favor of a "Pro" label. The new app is $2.99 and includes all of the improvements made to the original app, with a little extra.

08
Oct
nexusae0_bonusicon_thumb

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 an interesting top-down shooter, a couple of Disney adventure games, a unique maze puzzler, and a free release from Rovio.

08
Oct
Xfinity-Thumb

Comcast provides an Android app for people with active cable subscriptions, but it's a supplementary product, and sometimes it really feels like one. Today I'm reporting on the arrival of a feature that you could reasonably have assumed was included from the beginning. The latest version of the Xfinity TV Player adds HD support for devices with resolutions high enough to handle it, and if you've bought a smartphone or tablet in the last two years, there's a good chance yours is one of them.

08
Oct
a

Is your relationship with family and friends a little too good? PinWars can take care of that by taking a nice game of pinball and turning it into a super-competitive button-mashing frenzy. It does look neat, though.

The headlining game mode in PinWar is the two-player setup where each person grabs onto one end of the device – probably a tablet – and taps away to control their flippers. It's kind of like Air Hockey, but with pinball rules.

08
Oct
Stitcher-Thumb

Popular radio and podcast streaming app Stitcher has made the leap to version 3.1 today, and while it hasn't picked up many new features along the way, the few it has are doozies: a new navigation menu makes it easier to get around the app, and you can now designate entire playlists for offline listening. This means you can start streaming at the comfort of your office desk and walk out for lunch without your listening session coming to an abrupt and jarring end.

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