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 an interestingly ancient racing game, a tug-of-war tower defense title, and a game that I wouldn't play in front of my grandma.
Physics puzzlers aren't just about flinging birds across the screen – sometimes you need to build something. In fact, sometimes you need to build something really complicated and awesome. That's the trail blazed by Apparatus, and Principia is following its path. This game invites you to design bridges, towers, cars, rocket ships and more using over 150 different objects.
The trailer has some amazing stuff in it, but it also makes me feel slightly intimidated.
Text-to-speech engines read text aloud, saving users from having to read it themselves. Google's TTS offering comes pre-installed on numerous Android devices, and like much of the software previously shipped as part of Android, it's now ready to spread its wings in the Play Store. Here it's available to far more users, as it can now be installed on devices that don't come with the software pre-installed (pictured below -left). In contrast, on the Nexus 5, Google TTS is apparently already installed and unremovable (pictured below - right).
Don't let anyone ever tell you that your opinion isn't worth anything. In fact, your thoughts are so valuable that Google is willing to pay you for them. Well, there are two caveats - you must live in the US, and you have to be fine with being paid in Google Play credit. But hey, when it comes to Android, that stuff is as good as cash.
Users can spend Google Play credit on digital content in the Play Store, including apps, games, music, books, magazines, and videos.
The Chameleon Launcher turned some heads when it more than doubled its goal on Kickstarter last year. The final product wasn't quite as amazing as we hoped it would be, but Teknision did at least deliver the app to Google Play. It appears that Teknision is moving on now – it has been acquired by a company called Synacor. Never heard of it? Don't feel bad – you are not alone.
Swype may have just gained new split and mini keyboard options, but the SwiftKey folks have been sitting on something even more visionary for quite a while now. Their "Layouts for Living" program adds many layout options - split keyboards, movable pop-up keyboards, etc. - to what is already one of the most popular Android keyboards out there.
The video above highlights thumb, compact, and full layout options.
It's often the case that one piece of software will introduce a groundbreaking feature, but others will expand on it, eventually replacing the original. When it comes to Android, Swype and SwiftKey come to mind. But the latter has yet to vanquish the former, nor has the addition of gesture-based typing to the stock keyboard, and Swype has now been updated with a host of new features that show just how much of a heavyweight this contender remains.
The Android lockscreen has been slowly evolving over the years, and it's got a respectable feature set these days. But sometimes rethinking a feature can provide a better overall experience. Cover is a new beta lockscreen alternative that tries to learn where you are and what you're most likely to need access to, then put it right there on the lockscreen. It's a compelling approach, but how is it?
We're not the first to observe this: plug an Android tablet into a charge (or even better, a wireless charger or dock) and it becomes a pretty splendid digital photo frame, like the one you gave your Grandma three Christmases ago that's still in the box. Cloud.TV, the developer behind the excellent HD Widgets, would like to offer you a more powerful alternative. Meet Dayframe, a connected and continuously-updating photo frame app.