OK, European readers. We know Google doesn't always put a rush on features and products outside of the United States. America got lane guidance (which tells you which lane to get into before you approach a turn or exit) way back in May. It looks like US roads were the only ones on which this feature was available, at least until yesterday, when Google announced lane guidance for some European countries on the official Google Europe blog.
Voracious readers and Word-A-Day calendar fans, this one is for you. While the latest update to Google Play Books isn't anywhere near as dramatic as the Material Design refresh six weeks ago, it nonetheless adds a couple of features that regular readers will find useful. First of all, version 3.3 adds a downloadable dictionary option to augment Play Books' instant lookup feature. To apply it, just highlight a word in any book and then tap the contextual "download" button.
One of the things I love about Android is the way it allows fantastic customization of its user interface, even without root or other major modifications. Take App Swap for example: this handy little app drawer replacement can launch either from a standard shortcut on your launcher (or alternative methods like SwipePad) or it can replace the default Google Now swipe-up-from-the-home-button gesture.
The latest update to this tool adds an even more useful feature: Quick Swipe.
Halfbrick Studios, creator of popular titles like Fruit Ninja, has published Monster Dash in the Amazon Appstore. Monster Dash is a highly popular classic on iOS that recently received its first significant update in years for iPhones and iPads. The revitalization on its original platform apparently inspired Halfbrick to finally bring the game to Android. For now, it looks like it may be an exclusive to Amazon.
For a long time, Google's My Tracks app was basically a niche app, if not just a novelty. However, the recent addition of Android Wear support started to get things to make more sense. Location tracking on a smart watch is more convenient and may render obsolete the GPS watches of yesteryear. With the new 2.0.9 update, My Tracks has Google Fit support, giving My Tracks some credibility as a fitness app.
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 impressive BMX game, a tricky top-down driver, and a collaborative 3D platformer.
Version 2.6 makes BBM ready for Android 5.0, but don't get too excited. There's no big redesign here. The app still looks as Gingerbread as ever, it just now explicitly supports devices running the latest version of Google's mobile operating system.
That's not to say that the update is without visual changes. If you turn your phone sideways, the interface will now rotate to landscape mode in order to accommodate you.
Amazon Game Studios has released a free preview of The Unmaking, an impressive looking game where the hordes of enemies you see on-screen are powered by Amazon servers. Your job is to defend your castle by blasting and burning wave after wave of bloodthirsty foes using siege weapons and magic spells alike. The catch is that you need to have a Fire HD 6, Fire HD 7, or Fire HDX 8.9 to enter the battle.
Android Lollipop has started rolling out to people in the months since version 3.3 of Fleksy hit the Play Store, and the third-party keyboard's developers aren't just settling for giving the next release a material theme. The beta contains a new interface, plenty of new themes, and keyboard extensions. This last category is the one we're most excited to see.
The Material keyboard themes look less like Google's and more like simple recolored versions of Fleksy, and while they're not particularly exciting, at least they're not indicative of the effort the developers have taken to make the app look at home on Android 5.0.
Who better to learn encryption from than the people who have actively tried to build vulnerabilities into encryption? Nobody, says the GCHQ, the British NSA equivalent that has released a free Android app called Cryptoy to teach children the basics of encryption. The app, designed for tablets, focuses on four basic techniques and allows users to create encrypted messages for sharing to friends to decode.