Netflix made several appearances at today's Google event, but the most notable is perhaps the announcement that content delivered to Android devices may soon look a whole lot better. Hugo Barra demoed the new Nexus 7, showing off the 1080p content the device will be able to stream from Netflix when it launches in the US on July 30th. Prior to now, Android devices streamed content in standard definition, regardless of their resolution. Following the release of the Nexus 7, the company will roll out 1080p support to additional smartphones and tablets sometime this year.
Google laid out a few important announcements today, which included both Android 4.3 and a new streaming device called Chromecast among others. As a result, the Play Music app was updated with support for Chromecast streaming last night, and Play Movies & TV received a very similar update today.
Send what you’re watching to your TV screen (when used with Chromecast).
Support for virtual surround sound on the new (2013) Nexus 7, and on the Nexus 10 running Android 4.3.
Watch Now sync enabled across devices.
Several bug fixes.
The Movies update also brings support for virtual surround sound – a feature found natively on the new Nexus 7, but also comes to the Nexus 10 by way of the Android 4.3 update.
Get excited, students - textbooks are coming to the Play Store next month, so you can get gouged digitally rather than in your university book store. This morning at an event which also featured the new Nexus 7 and Chromkey, Google announced that you'll soon be able to get some of those gigantic hardback tomes in eBook form on the Play Store, and they will presumably be viewable through the existing Play Books app.
Purchases and rentals alike will be supported, and the "Big 5" publishers - or as I like to call them, The One True Axis Of Evil - are all on board: Cengage Learning, McGraw Hill, Macmillan, Pearson, and Wiley.
Google's brand-new Android gaming hub has its own app, and you can get it in the Play Store right now, just see the widget below and start downloading! Check out the announcement post to learn more.
Basically, Google Play Games will serve as a hub for your gaming achievements, friends you play with, and the games you play. It will also serve as an extension to the Play Store as a way to discover new games, which is something I think we've all wanted for a while.
Galaxy on Fire 2 THD is a popular free-to-play title on Tegra devices, but it's only for Tegra. That's a bummer for the overwhelming majority of Android users. But what's this? At long last, Galaxy on Fire HD is in Google Play and it works on almost all Android devices.
Galaxy on Fire 2 is a 3D space adventure game with over 50 customizable ships and hundreds of different weapons. The developers tout 10 hours of included gameplay content, with additional missions unlockable in the game. The in-game world is big too – there are 30 star systems and over 100 planets to explore and do battle around.
If Android's stock lockscreen has become mundane and boring to you, then WidgetLocker – which comes from TeslaCoil Software, the creator of Nova Launcher – is one of the best replacement options on the Play Store. It recently received a somewhat significant update that brings a handful of new and useful features, like the ability to swipe left or right to access apps or the camera, respectively. That's not all TeslaCoil packed into this update, however:
July 23 2013 - v2.4
Bezel Swipe left for apps
Bezel Swipe right for camera
Redesigned settings page
New Unread Count badge options
Fixes for Jellybean (4.1 through 4.3)
The update is available now in the Play Store – hit the widget below to grab it.
Doom & Destiny is a highly-rated JRPG ported to Android from the PC, Xbox, and Windows Phone. It's currently available as part of the IndieGala, a pay-what-you-want bundle of games not all that unlike the immensely well-known Humble Indie Bundle. If you're familiar with one, then you know how the other works. Consumers get to set their own price for a good selection of games, but the full bundle is only available to those who pay higher than the average. Right now you can get a full fourteen games for under $7. Just note that only Doom & Destiny is the only Android game offered in the current bundle.
There's supposed to be some kind of Google thing happening today. On the off chance a new device is announced – I don't know, maybe a tablet, or something – you might want to beef up your list of apps and games. Well, we've got some sales to help out with that.
No one can keep the Prince of Persia down. The franchise has been around for over two decades, and the original entry was one of gaming's most influential releases. Now the Prince is back on Android in Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame, and this title picks up right where Prince of Persia Classic left off.
This is a full-blown 2.5D platformer with fourteen fully-rendered levels set around five different environments. Like any Prince of Persia game worth its salt, the Shadow and the Flame introduces a new combat system that guides our nimble hero as he faces off with multiple enemies at once.
SwiftKey users spend an ample amount of time customizing their experience, adding new words and phrases to the dictionary, and the like. However, switching devices can pose a problem: the process starts all over. Being a company that is always looking for a way to improve life for its user base, SwiftKey decided to do something about that. Enter SwiftKey Cloud Beta, a new backup and sync tool that will keep your user-defined dictionary in sync across all your devices.
The idea behind Cloud Beta is simple: keep users' data backed up in the cloud, and make it available across all of their devices.