The Nexus 5 is a ground-breaking device. For Android fans, this is the first high-end handset that customers can buy unsubsidized and activate on all but one of the major American carriers. This isn't a big deal with AT&T and T-Mobile, as Nexus 4 buyers could already use their networks last year, but the addition of Sprint is reason to take notice. If they can do it, it stands to reason that so could Verizon.
You might just be seeing a new version of Google Maps in your Play Store downloads today - Google has updated the app from version 7.3 to 7.4. There's not a whole lot of new stuff going on inside, certainly not compared to the cavalcade of UI changes that happened earlier this year. A few tuned gestures, a few refreshed UI elements, and that's about it. APK downloads below.
If you're a regular Maps user, you'll notice that the one-finger zoom gestures have been reversed.
The newest title out of Gameloft is pretty self-explanatory. Tank Battles is about, you guessed it, tank battles. This game invites you to design and control your own custom war machine and fight your way through 80 top-down missions of increasing difficulty. Fighting computers not doing it for you? There's multiplayer too.
Tank Battles doesn't take a photo-realistic approach to the whole military warfare thing – it's a bit wacky and over-the-top.
An updated version of Google Keyboard has made its way into the Play Store, taking most of the previously Nexus 5-exclusive features and expanding them out to other devices. We've covered the improvements in-depth before (and provided an APK), but in short, the swiping trail is now white, emoji are built-in, and users can swipe multiple words without having to lift up their finger. Unfortunately, some features still require KitKat, such as full-color emoji.
The SwiftKey team just rolled out a massive update to their popular Android keyboard, introducing various layouts suitable for a wide range of screen sizes. Now they're moving on to tackle other long-awaited, user-requested features. Two responses on the app's idea suggestion page show that the developers are currently working on adding support for emojis and the ability to enable a dedicated number row.
Neither of these features are particularly groundbreaking in the grand scheme of things, but that is precisely what makes the demand for them so strong.
Bulkypix's last game was a first-person shooter featuring zombies running amok on a spaceship. It wasn't the most original premise out there, but at least it was somewhat of a visual treat. Yet if that offering was just too mindless for your tastes, the team is at it again with Meltdown, a top-down shooter with a tad more creativity, much more charm, and even a semblance of depth.
In Meltdown, players assume the role of a red headband-wearing blondie clad in bulky blue armor.
We've been eagerly awaiting the new version of Google Hangouts since it was announced at the Google+ event in October, and while a version pulled from the Nexus 5 is mostly working on most devices, its had its fair share of issues with crashing and video chat.
Now the update has finally landed on the Play Store, and with a slightly newer version number. Hangouts v2.0.122 (as opposed to 2.0.012 on the N5) is presumably beginning its slow and steady staged rollout, but you can get it right now.
The original Rayman Jungle Run was one of our favorite games of last year, and easily in the top tier of running and platforming games available on Android. That title was a mobile tie-in to the Rayman Origins console game, and now that Rayman Legends is out, Ubisoft is back for another mobile installment. Rayman Fiesta Run builds on the original with new levels, new powers, and new gameplay elements.
Remember the kinder, gentler YouTube comments powered by Google+? Well, they're finally rolling out across the internet, and the Android app is no exception. Like it or not, Google+ is all up in your YouTube.