QKSMS, an SMS replacement app that boasts material design, customizable colors, and Android Wear support, has made all its paid features free. And no, that doesn't mean that the developer has just added some new features and made them pay-only instead. The app is simply 100% free from now on, according to its creator. Among the features that once required an in-app purchase of QKSMS+ are:
Respond from Android Wear
150+ additional color combinations
Automatic night mode
Per-contact notification settings
The app's developer, Moez Bhatti, said in a Google+ post that he didn't make the app with the intent to earn money and felt that there wasn't any way to commercialize an SMS app without making for poor user experience.
Oh, Opera. You've been around for a long time (considerably longer than Android or Google, in fact) but aside from a great showing back in the J2ME days, you've never managed to break into those competitive browser markets. The latest financial figures and projections, as reported by Reuters, don't look particularly good for the Norwegian software company. Though Opera Software's revenues grew in the second quarter, they didn't meet analyst expectations, and adjusted earnings missed the target by a factor of $1.6 million. The projection for total 2015 revenue has been cut from $630-650 million down to $600-618 million.
If all those numbers make your head spin, just know that they're not good.
A good portion of you have probably been playing with a spiffy new Windows 10 upgrade this week. If you're a fan of Microsoft's HALO-branded digital voice assistant, Cortana, you can check it out on your Android phone, too - it's more or less a remade version of the implementation that debuted on Windows Phone devices. The Android beta app has been available for a few weeks, and Android developers are already having fun with the new tool.
If you're so enamored with Cortana that you'd like to make it the default voice assistant on your Android phone... well, you're probably going to make Microsoft very happy.
Microsoft's Translator isn't the first service to attempt to confront Google in the translation game, but it may be one of the first to pose a real challenge to Google Translate. Out of the gate, the app has an Android Wear component, a sorely missed feature in its competitor, and even though Translator does seem quite simplistic and limited, it has most of the basic features covered to warrant a more thorough comparison against Translate.
A different approach
While many of Microsoft's recent apps have adopted Material Design in their interface, Translator is more subtle about it. Both the welcome and the translation screens' blurry background and iconography are modern but not exactly Material.
Google's Deep Dream program is a method for computers to analyze and recognize images with an artificial neural network. When visualized, its effects range from strangely appealing to completely terrifying (at least to our boring human eyes). Google showed off a visual version of some of its processing tools last month, then opened up the source code for developers. At least one or two of them probably got really excited and incorporated the code into new and interesting projects. The rest proceeded to use Deep Dream to turn Gawker and Buzzfeed into an extended LSD trip for about a week.
Yesterday, we took a look at the YouTube Gaming app (at least the creator preview). Navigating through the app, users will see several elements obviously informed by YouTube's existing design - the video player can be minimized and dismissed, the navigation model relies entirely on tabs, and getting users to discover more content is the name of the game. But the app branches off from YouTube's design and UX - and the design of all of Google's Android apps - in some really remarkable and unique ways.
For that reason, I thought it may be fun to take a closer look at the design of YouTube Gaming (Creator Preview).
Ah, the 90s, when computers were only good for Word Perfect, Minesweeper, and whatever "edutainment" software the school had budgeted for this year. One of the standouts among some pretty decent educational games was Logical Journey of the Zoombinis, a series of puzzles centering around the titular tiny Smurf-like critters. If you have fond memories of that game, or later entries in the series, mosey on over to the Play Store. A new and updated version is now available for download.
Right now we're hearing about off-season trades and commitments for pro sports like the NFL, NBA, and NHL. A similar phenomenon has happened in the somewhat smaller world of Twitter clients for Android. Joaquim Vergès, the well-known developer of the Falcon Pro Twitter client, has been hired by Twitter itself. According to a series of tweets posted Friday afternoon, Vergès says that he's been hired specifically to work with the "Android core UI team."
Guys, big news. It’s finally official. I'm joining the @Twitter Android core UI team!
Falcon Pro has won fans for being a full-featured Android client that outshines the first-party app in basically every respect, from interface to performance, even to supporting the built-in features of the Twitter platform itself.
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 super-realistic flight simulator, a super-unrealistic duck simulator, another Q*bert-style climber, an Adventure Time rhythm game, and an action-RPG from Ubisoft. Without further ado:
Avion Flight Simulator ™ 2015
You wouldn't think that many developers would be champing at the bit to do a realistic flight simulator on a mobile platform, but it's slowly becoming an established niche on Android.
If you use Plex, you already know it's an amazing tool for managing your completely legitimate media library. It really is great - and today, it just got a little better, especially if you've been hankering to play back 4K videos on your Android or Android TV device.
Plex v4.8 for Android adds three things, but they're all pretty significant. First on the list is 4K HEVC (aka the H.265 codec) playback support. Now, the main reason that's really useful is, essentially, for playback on Android TV devices connected to a 4K display. While it'd be fine to downscale to 1080p on smartphones, if you've got a 4K television, you want 4K content.