Microsoft started a closed beta for Office on Android tablets back in November, but today it's opening things up. Just mosey over to the Play Store, and you can download Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for free, no beta invite required. These are still preview apps, but they seem ready for prime time.
Hey, look at this Mad Catz Android Bluetooth controller. It looks really compact, if a little odd. But then that's Mad Catz for you.
I wonder what happens if I pull this thing and - oh, a full-sized console controller. That's kinda neat, even if the extended handles do look a little too much like scissor blades. What happens if I put this little plastic bracket on...
Not content with making a stylish Android set-top box, Razer is also planning on attacking the Android gaming market on its home turf. The Serval is a full-sized, console-style Bluetooth game controller that's compatible with both Razer's Forge TV and direct connection with Android phones and tablets. It's far from the first controller made with Android in mind, but it's the first to come from perhaps the most high-profile game peripheral company out there, and is thus worthy of examination.
We've known that Razer was working on its own branded version of an Android TV set-top box for more than half a year, but at CES 2015 the well-known gaming peripheral company has given the gadget its coming out party. The Razer Forge TV hopes to be the go-to choice for gamers, with support for up to four simultaneous players, keyboard and mouse input, and (eventually) streaming high-end games from a local gaming PC.
Gameloft has a number of "top-tier" properties like Modern Combat and Asphalt, but it's been a while since N.O.V.A. got any love. That's Gameloft's totally-not-a-ripoff-of-Crysis sci-fi shooter. Well, there's a new version of N.O.V.A., but it's mostly the same as the last one. This is N.O.V.A. 3 Freedom Edition. It's the same game, but it costs nothing to download and has no in-app purchases. The catch is that N.O.V.A. 3 Freedom Edition has ads.
Ever wanted to take handwritten notes, but didn't want to write on a digital screen? Maybe you just don't want a Samsung device, the primary Android manufacturer to offer active digitizers (better known as the "S Pen" in their marketing materials). Livescribe's smartpens have, up to now, been just a nearly perfect solution for many. You can write on real paper* and have your notes rather effortlessly synced to select digital destinations.
PasswordBox is a password manager that automatically enters your credentials into various websites and apps, not unlike LastPass. Last month the company was acquired by Intel Security, which is both absorbing the service and leaving it available in its current form for the time being. The PasswordBox team has been hard at work for its new boss, and at this year's CES, Intel Security announced True Key, built on top of the technology made available by the partnership.
The SoundCloud Android app has received a slight visual touch-up in the latest update, version 14.12.18-43. Users will now see a slightly more spacious action bar, rounded menus, and Lollipop notifications. These tweaks sit on top of previous user interface changes that still look bright, colorful, and clean.
Another change takes effect only when you pause music. The changelog says that the background album art gets blurred, but on my Nexus 7, I only noticed dimming.
When you find yourself needing to use your phone as a flashlight, you usually need it quickly. Those who do not have one of the few devices/ROMs that have support for quick access to the built-in LED for use as a light end up fumbling through their app drawer looking for the appropriate app to do so. Power Button Flashlight/Torch is an app that lets you use your power button as a trigger for this purpose, even when your screen is off.
The venerable animated GIF remains a staple of the internet even after all these years because of its unparalleled versatility. If it has a screen, it can probably play a GIF. Such is the case with Android Wear, and Little TV turns those GIFs into watch faces. This is either fun or really ridiculous. I haven't decided which yet, but it's definitely one or the other.