When Sony debuted the Live on YouTube app last month, we wondered if compatibility would extend backwards to some other high-end Sony phones. The time is now, Sony smartphone owners... at least if you own one of three very specific models. Last year's flagship the Xperia Z1, its slightly smaller brother the Xperia Z1 Compact, and the high-powered Xperia ZL2 (which is only available in some Asian markets at the moment), all have access to the app as of now.
National Public Radio has had an official Android app for years now, but it wasn't particularly pretty then, and it doesn't look any better now. Fortunately the organization has now released a separate piece of software that doesn't look like it's put together by donations and held together by aging strings of code. NPR One is a new radio streaming app that puts out stories from the national organization and its many local affiliates to provide a personalized, easy-listening experience.
Like a great many developers, Gameloft has resorted to rolling in-app purchases into most of its games. One notable exception to that de facto rule is the new installment of the Modern Combat series. These games have much more production value than any other mobile first-person shooter, but this is a genre that's notoriously hard to adapt to touchscreens. So, can a big production budget make Modern Combat 5: Blackout worth your time?
The LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live both lack a light sensor to adjust screen brightness, which is kind of a pain. The Moto 360 is supposed to have have an ambient light sensor, but Display Brightness for Wear lets you fake the same functionality on the G Watch and Gear Live. It uses the time and your phone's location to determine how bright the watch should be, which is pretty clever.
Microsoft recently launched a beta program for its OneNote Android app, and a couple weeks later we are now seeing the first update hit devices. It happens to include a number of noteworthy enhancements. Primarily, the debut beta update introduces the ability to take handwritten notes with either a fingertip or stylus, a natural progression for a note-taking app geared at touchscreen devices.
Joining this change are a number of formatting options letting users tweak fonts, text size, and word alignment.
Batman always saves the day in the nick of time. So it's a bit out of character for him to come to Android for a mobile tie-in to his latest high-profile PC and console game... a full nine months after the game came out. Which is, incidentally, nine months after the iOS version of the tie-in game was released. At this point, we're probably closer to the release of the next full Arkham game, Arkham Knight, expected early next year.
Good grief, the developer behind the Wear Mini Launcher is certainly setting a rapid pace. The app has only been available for a couple of weeks and already it's seen a major update. Today you can download the Play Store beta version (after you've joined the Google+ community, bah) to try out the 2.0 release. The 2.0 update includes options for moving the swipe-in activation gesture to other screen positions.
Here's something that you might not know about Chrome for Android: you can search for text within a web page by typing your query in the URL bar, without using the menu button to manually tap the "find in page" tool. When searching for non-URL queries, you can tap the first result with the magnifying glass icon in the corner to search the text of the current page.
(If Chrome's URL bar auto-fills an address, just press backspace.)
It's a little-known feature - in fact, an informal Google+ poll from our own Artem Russakovskii found that less than half of over 700 users even knew it was there.