With the holiday season now fully underway, maybe you've decided to treat yourself to a new Android Wear watch. But what do you do with it once you get it on your wrist? You can only respond to so many text messages from your wrist. That's why we've got this roundup thing we do, that way you'll have stuff on your wrist that makes the smartwatch investment worthwhile. Well, maybe kind of worthwhile. I guess that all depends on how badly you want a smartwatch.
Break Timer: Type strain free
If you spend a lot of time typing, as does the AP staff, you know it can cause discomfort down the line.
Welcome to the latest entry in our Bonus Round series, wherein we tell you all about the new Android games of the day that we couldn't get to during our regular news rounds. Consider this a quick update for the dedicated gamers who can't wait for our bi-weekly roundups, and don't want to wade through a whole day's worth of news just to get their pixelated fix. Today we've got a racing game with unique controls, a chess game for kids, and a gorgeous God of War ripoff. Without further ado:
Touch Racing 2
Racing games on mobile devices always have to wrestle with touch controls.
Play Store users can get 5 SEGA games at significant discounts for a limited time, each at $0.99. These are part of the larger set of apps, games, and media on sale in the Play Store's weekly deals collection.
Fans of online PC action games will be aware of World of Tanks, a popular free-to-play tank simulator that's frequently updated with added content. iOS has had access to a simplified version for over a year, which would normally cause some ire among Android gamers. But I'm prepared to give developer Wargaming a pass on this one, since World of Tanks Blitz is launching with cross-platform play between Android and iOS, ensuring a healthy population of online players right from the start.
World of Tanks is a soft sim: while it does include authentic tank models and battlefields inspired by WWII locations, the third-person perspective and forgiving controls put the focus squarely on the combat.
A few months ago Google purchased the developer of the impressive WordLens app, which translates text and signs from another language into your own simply by pointing your camera at it. The text appears in your language through the lens, as if you had super-powered Translate-O-Vision. As with Waze and Google Maps, it looks like Google's own Translate app will soon see the benefit of that acquisition. Check out the screenshots below, taken from an upcoming version of Google Translate.
You can see WordLens' trademark feature at work in Google Translate above, where it's live-translating an English menu into Spanish without any kind of delay or recording.
I'm so glad that grown-up strategy is coming to mobile platforms in a big way. Following in the footsteps of XCOM: Enemy Unknown and XCOM: Enemy Within, developer Hairebrained Schemes has published Shadowrun: Dragonfall on the Google Play Store. This is more of an expansion of Shadowrun Returns, which launched on Android back in September of last year, than it is a direct sequel. It's yours for $6.99, no previous purchases necessary.
The Shadowrun video games are based on the roleplaying board games of the same name - think Dungeons & Dragons meets Blade Runner. Dragonfall is a separate steampunk campaign, wherein a dystopian Cold War allegory plays out through tactical RPG progression.
If the rollout of an updated Play Store yesterday with some tweaked interface elements and an order history page was exciting, just wait until you see what else was hidden inside the latest version. I don't think there's any point in teasing, this might be the one we've all been waiting for. The Play Store is finally going to enable a method to offer discounted purchases. There are still a lot of unknowns, but it's real, and it's probably coming very soon.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are speculative and based on incomplete evidence. There is always a chance that details may change, or entire features may be cancelled.
A friend once told me that watching someone else play a game can sometimes be even more entertaining than playing it yourself and more enjoyable than a movie. I wouldn't know, but I trust his opinion. Well, his and that of the thousands of people who seem to love it as much, to a point where a game streaming platform like Twitch exists and is valued equally to Instagram. If you fall in this demography of video game lovers and if you're a fan of the multi-million dollar competitions that ensue, you should check out Strafe.
Think of Strafe as a sports scheduling and scores application, only it's geared toward eSports, ie.
Every power user has a favorite file manager. It doesn't matter how many are installed or why, there is always one that takes the lead position. Of course, as new features become popular, it's not uncommon for people to switch out their favorite app to pull up one that offers whatever they need. The new must-have among file managers is support for writing to the SD card on Android 5.0 Lollipop. One week after Root Explorer added this ability, Solid Explorer comes rolling in with its own update.
-ability to write SD card contents on Android Lollipop
-improved root handling on Android Lollipop
-fixed misaligned splashscreen on high resolution displays
The update everyone has been waiting for is finally here - YouTube has been updated with some material design goodness. The app's makeover is essentially what you'd expect - along with circular avatars (per Google's spec), it features a tall, tabbed toolbar in YouTube's signature vibrant red brand color, a full-height material nav drawer, and a clean white background.
Channels receive special attention, with Lollipop's Palette API pulling colors from the channel art to color the app's toolbar. Of course YouTube 6.0 brings a new launcher icon too, falling into line with the rest of Google's product icons.
The update also brings more advanced search filters to YouTube, a welcome addition to anyone who's struggled to find just what they were looking for in the past.