Don't let anyone ever tell you that your opinion isn't worth anything. In fact, your thoughts are so valuable that Google is willing to pay you for them. Well, there are two caveats - you must live in the US, and you have to be fine with being paid in Google Play credit. But hey, when it comes to Android, that stuff is as good as cash.
Users can spend Google Play credit on digital content in the Play Store, including apps, games, music, books, magazines, and videos. The app comes from Google Consumer Surveys, so expect questions to center around product usage and shopping habits.
The Chameleon Launcher turned some heads when it more than doubled its goal on Kickstarter last year. The final product wasn't quite as amazing as we hoped it would be, but Teknision did at least deliver the app to Google Play. It appears that Teknision is moving on now – it has been acquired by a company called Synacor. Never heard of it? Don't feel bad – you are not alone.
Synacor builds cloud-based technologies that are licensed to various businesses to deliver streaming content and other services. As near as I can tell, the company also manufactures tech industry buzzwords.
Swype may have just gained new split and mini keyboard options, but the SwiftKey folks have been sitting on something even more visionary for quite a while now. Their "Layouts for Living" program adds many layout options - split keyboards, movable pop-up keyboards, etc. - to what is already one of the most popular Android keyboards out there.
The video above highlights thumb, compact, and full layout options. Since all three options are movable, they each make it easier to type one-handed, with two thumbs, or with the device resting in your lap. The idea is that the keyboard not only molds to your device, it molds to your position.
It's often the case that one piece of software will introduce a groundbreaking feature, but others will expand on it, eventually replacing the original. When it comes to Android, Swype and SwiftKey come to mind. But the latter has yet to vanquish the former, nor has the addition of gesture-based typing to the stock keyboard, and Swype has now been updated with a host of new features that show just how much of a heavyweight this contender remains.
For starters, there are new keyboard options for people with large phones. Split and mini keyboards aren't unheard of, but they're nice to see here.
The Android lockscreen has been slowly evolving over the years, and it's got a respectable feature set these days. But sometimes rethinking a feature can provide a better overall experience. Cover is a new beta lockscreen alternative that tries to learn where you are and what you're most likely to need access to, then put it right there on the lockscreen. It's a compelling approach, but how is it?
It's a simple fix: just check the version number of your Google Play Services app (it seems to be affecting both 4.0.30 and the slightly newer 4.0.31), then check the Device Administrators section of your Security settings page.
We're not the first to observe this: plug an Android tablet into a charge (or even better, a wireless charger or dock) and it becomes a pretty splendid digital photo frame, like the one you gave your Grandma three Christmases ago that's still in the box. Cloud.TV, the developer behind the excellent HD Widgets, would like to offer you a more powerful alternative. Meet Dayframe, a connected and continuously-updating photo frame app.
The idea behind Dayframe is admirably simple: it gathers photos from some well-liked public streams on Flickr, Instagram, 500px, and others, plus your own social media and local photos, and displays them in a simple and pleasing slideshow.
One of the more drool-worthy aspects of the software from the Nexus 5 (and not necessarily Android 4.4) is the homescreen and launcher, which includes a ton of new features tied directly into Google Now and Google Search. But you might want to curb your enthusiasm: according to a report from The Verge, Google isn't interested in expanding that launcher to other devices at the moment.
Google tells us that the new Launcher on the Nexus 5 is exclusive to the phone — though the company may change its mind and offer it for the Nexus 4 and perhaps even put it on the Play store someday.
The PushBullet team has been cranking out new features for their file-synching app as of late, making it that much easier to get files from an Android device onto a PC (and back again) without having to deal with any bothersome cables or heavy cloud services. Now the team has crossed yet another milestone - they've made PushBullet more of a social experience. In the past, users could pair directly with their friends' individual devices. Now, friends are organized as contacts, and all you need is an email address to push files to anyone you wish.
In case you haven't seen Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, the local news, or the latest rabble-rousing speech from your ineffectual Congressman, today is the yearly release of Activision's Call of Duty franchise. Kudos to the publisher: they've managed to get the Android companion app published on day one, so half the male college students in the country can spend today's lecture time customizing their multiplayer loadout.
If you've played a multiplayer shooter in the last few years, you know how this goes. The CoD: Ghosts companion app allows you to adjust your weapons and equipment outside of multiplayer matches and communicate with your clan members in a limited social network, as well as see each other's stats.