Introduced with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, Live Photos was a new iOS feature that created a more dynamic photo experience. Instead of being limited to the single shot that users see when they press the shutter button, the camera would capture several shots around that moment, allowing you to move a few seconds or milliseconds and choose a better timed picture. Another benefit was the creation of a small stop-motion or gif-like animation of the different photos, to capture the breadth of the moment instead of fixing one frame in time.
I liked the Live Photos idea and was certain that some enterprising Android developers would soon bring it to their third-party camera app.
When I'm browsing a comments section on Reddit on the Android version of Chrome, I prefer to open links in a new tab, because opening them directly will make the current page "forget" which threads I've already minimized. But when the links are to a YouTube video, they open in a tab with the mobile version of YouTube, instead of in the dedicated Android app. This little app fixes that: Open Link With allows you to open a web page with any compatible app. It's perfect for quickly switching over to YouTube for that link I opened wrong, or for opening a page in an alternate browser that isn't set to the Android default.
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.
Blown Away: First Try
Blown Away is an interesting little platforming game. The chief mechanic is a quick teleporting move - zapping from spot to spot basically replaces the main character's jump move, and creates some interesting puzzles and progression.
AccuWeather is one of the most popular dedicated weather apps in the world - on the Play Store it's racked up somewhere between 50 and 100 million downloads, and that's just for the free version. The latest update actually started sometime around Christmas, and it's been going out in Google-style stages, so it's taken us this long to spot it. Version 4.0 significantly updates the user interface of the app to bring it more in line with Material Design standards... sort of.
The developers behind the Telegram messaging service are starting off the new year with a few additions to their app — perhaps with the hopes of keeping their 5.7 million new users hooked. Version 3.4.0 brings faster GIFs and inline bots that are accessible within chats.
Here's the full changelog:
GIF revolution: up to 20x faster downloading, autoplay, save GIFs to a dedicated tab on the sticker panel.
More about GIFs:
Inline bots: A new way to add bot content to any chat. Type a bot's username and your query in the text field to get instant results and send them to your chat partner.
Local music players (as opposed to online radio and cloud storage players) sometimes seem like dinosaurs now that everyone and their dog is offering a connected music option, but there are still plenty of users who prefer high-quality playback of local files. For them, the years-old PowerAmp remains a popular choice thanks to its excellent codec support, extensive equalizer, and a long list of musical creature comforts. Developer Max MP has now made version 3.0 of the app available as a public alpha; you can download the APK directly from the app's user forum.
If you've been experiencing some intermittent problems getting timely email alerts on your Nexus phone, you're not alone. According to lengthy threads on both Google's official Nexus Help Forum and the AOSP issue tracker, quite a few Android users running Android 6.0 and later builds on Nexus hardware are seeing similar issues. The problem seems to result in late or missing notifications for Gmail and Inbox, as well as less frequent alerts for other apps, and less definable errors with some Google services like Google Now.
The issue tracker entry has been starred by 140 people at the time of writing, indicating a fairly widespread problem, though it isn't universal.
Tinkering takes many forms on Android, and you don't need to root your device or flash a custom ROM to get your hands dirty. Installing one of developer joaomgcd's Tasker plugins will provide plenty of ways to customize your software experience in very particular ways. Want a notification with a gazillion buttons that save you from having to open up different apps? You now have that option with the latest version of AutoNotification.
The highlight feature of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus is something called "3D Touch" — a way of interacting with the phone by pressing harder on the screen than you regularly would. This is not to be confused with "Force Touch," which is exactly the same thing but on the Apple Watch instead. (One of our readers pointed out that there is a slight difference: 3D Touch has a few more levels of pressure sensitivity than Force Touch.) Shakespeare would probably have told you that a feature by any other name would be as gimmicky, but I digress.
Misfit's popular Flash activity tracker was recently released in a special Cyclist edition, which has a similar price to the original at just $50 but adds a key sensor of interest for those who ride bicycles: cadence. The only "catch" when it comes to fitness sensors like this is that you need software to interpret the data for you. Today's release of the Misfit Cycling app for Android provides just that.
Misfit Cycling is designed as a standalone app for use as a workout tracker, providing real-time GPS and cadence data. For general activity tracking, users will go to the main Misfit app that owners of the original Flash are familiar with.