This one's been waiting in the wings for quite a while. NVIDIA teased The Talos Principle, a puzzle game played out primarily in full first-person 3D, way back at the reveal of the SHIELD Tablet in July of 2014. After nearly a year of waiting (and the game's full release on the PC), it's now available exclusively for newer high-end Tegra-powered devices. According to the game's Play Store description, it's intended for the SHIELD Tablet, the Nexus 9 (equipped with a Tegra K1), and the upcoming SHIELD Android TV set-top box only. It uses either touchscreen controls or external controllers.
The Talos Principle is an introspective and somewhat philosophical puzzler created by Croteam, of all people - that's the developer of the over-the-top Serious Sam shooters.
Owners of Motorola's newer Android devices are probably familiar with Spotlight Stories. Those are the immersive animated shorts that are available via the built-in Spotlight Player app. Now Google has released a new Spotlight Stories app that has all three shorts from the Motorola experience, but adds a new live-action film called Help.
Google's remote application for controlling Android TV with your smartphone is... OK. It's adequate. It beats inputting passwords letter-by-letter with a physical remote, and that's about all you can say in praise of the app. While it lets you perform a voice search, it won't launch TV apps without going back to the home screen, and its trackpad isn't a cursor (as some apps might benefit from), it's just a gesture pad. But that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement, specifically on Android tablets. Here's what version 1.0 looked like on a tablet:
Ugh. Version 1.1, just released on the Play Store, fixes this rather embarrassing formatting and adds a little polish as well.
Office Lens, which was released in a semi-private beta in April, is now widely available through the Play Store. The app had been on Windows Phone for quite a while and, continuing their pattern, Microsoft decided they wanted it on Android as well. Office Lens uses your phone or tablet's built-in camera to scan documents or whiteboards and convert them to PDF or office document formats. Here's an example of how it's supposed to work from the app info:
Of course, lots of things will affect how well it works in your experience. The lighting, the quality of the camera, steadiness of your hands, and untold other factors may result in far less success than Microsoft's example images.
Are you ready to watch ALL THE PIXELS? You certainly are if you've got a fancy 4K TV - the new top-of-the-line industry standard is begging for content, and Netflix is at the front of the queue. The streaming service has been offering some of its home-grown shows like House of Cards and Daredevil in 4K resolution to subscribers of a premium $12-a-month plan. Now you can access that sweet "UltraHD" video on Android TV... if you've got compatible hardware.
At the moment, the only Android TV devices capable of outputting in 4K aren't Android TV devices at all, they're Sony's latest batch of high-end smart TVs, which use Google's latest set-top box as an embedded operating system.
As we approach a year since the introduction of the Android L preview and Material Design, more and more apps of all shapes and sizes (figuratively speaking) are getting their acts together when it comes to the user interface. The latest is Dayframe, a favorite of desktop tablet users and Chromecast aficionados, which gets its paperrific update with version 3.0 today. The standard version is available in the Play Store, and the upgraded version is accessible via a $3 in-app purchase.
Since Dayframe is so focused on its collection of photo streams and the full-screen viewing of the same, you might not even notice the Material Design elements that have been added.
We've already taken an extensive look at all the options and interfacechanges in the new and unreleased Google Photos app that should be decoupling from Google+ and hitting our devices sometime down the line, and now it's time to peek behind the scenes at the app's settings, specifically its backup options.
With the current Photos app, the first run asks you to enable or disable photo backup and asks whether you want to use cellular networks or not. The new Photos app adds another step in this process where it lets you set up high quality photo uploads (unlimited) or original full resolution ones (using whatever Google storage you have available), saving you from having to dig into settings to switch to your preferred upload size.
The popular Wear Mini Launcher began rolling out a major update today, going from v3.0.3 to v4.0.0. The changes may not be as large as you would expect for an increase in version number, but they are welcome nonetheless. The main additions are the ability to reorder the quick settings, a "flashlight" app available in the drawer, music controls in the menu, and the ability to remotely lock your phone.
With the vastly improved navigation in Android Wear 5.1, some users may not feel like they need Mini Launcher as much. Of course, this is why its developer is pushing out updates like this, as it helps keep things useful beyond what stock Wear offers.
There's a new version of the Play Store rolling out, and that means you're probably obsessively hunting for the APK. Well, we've got that. More importantly we've taken a look inside the APK to see if there's anything of note. There are some minor layout alterations, but also some interesting clues inside.
Left: older layout, Right: newer layout - ignore the Nexus S