Last month YouTube announced that they were going to introduce an offline viewing option to their mobile apps sometime in November. They've since rolled out details about how it's going to work. If you add videos to your device and then disconnect it from the Internet, you will be able to watch the content for up to 48 hours. After those two days have passed, you will have to reconnect in order to watch the videos again, but the 48 hour window will refresh, and the content will remain on your device.
One strength of iOS is that everything works seamlessly together. If you have iTunes installed on your computer, it doesn't take much effort to get music over to your iPhone. With Play Music, Google has taken a different approach for Android users looking at an out of the box experience, and if you don't have the internet connection to rely on the cloud for music listening, it's less than ideal. doubleTwist takes the iTunes approach, and with the reinvented doubleTwist Sync app that's now available for Windows, it looks more promising than ever.
Do you like Minecraft, but feel that its pixelated style isn't retro enough? Then publisher Noodlecake is happy to oblige by turning the open-world, construction-oriented first-person action game into an open-world, construction-oriented platforming game. The Blockheads just landed in the Google Play Store after earning more than a few fans on iOS over the last ten months.
There's really no getting around it: Blockheads is a pretty shameless copy of Minecraft, with adjustments to perspective and gameplay to make it easier on mobile players.
Where's My Water? was a surprise hit when it came out on mobile devices a few years ago, and now there is a sequel with a lot of the same great gameplay mechanics and a ton more content. Where's My Water 2 was released on iOS a few weeks ago, but it has finally washed up in Google Play. It's still a fun physics puzzler, but Disney is going with a free-to-play model and in-app purchases.
Mercury Browser has been one of the top alternatives to Apple's Safari browser on iOS for a while, and now the developers have finally ported it to Android. It might not be sewn into the fabric of your Google account like Chrome is, but Mercury Browser has a slick interface and plenty of advanced features.
Earlier today, Google started a staged rollout of a new point release of Google Maps. We've been poring over all the UI differences between the new version 7.3 and the previous version 7.2 from last month for the last couple of hours and managed to catch a few interesting changes. Since the official changelog isn't out yet, these will have to do for now.
Here's what we've spotted.
Duration, distance, and estimated arrival time in the expanded notification
The expanded notification now carries a lot more information than before.
Google left many of us scratching our heads when they relaunched Quickoffice last month as a free app, one that probably should have shipped as a Google Drive update instead. Nonetheless, a new version has rolled out that nudges things in the right direction. Now opening a Google document inside Quickoffice will launch the file using the Google Drive app. Previously the document was merely displayed as a PDF instead.
Fans of dystopian stories in the vein of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 will want to take note of a new arrival in Google Play. Blackbar is a word puzzle that has you decipher letters sent to you by a friend after they've been filtered through the insidious Department of Communication. Things start to go wrong for your friend, but you'll only be able to figure out what's happening if you fill in the blanks and make it to the next page.
There are plenty of alternative Android keyboards, but SwiftKey is perhaps the most well-known and capable of the lot. Even this paragon of customization is not perfect, though. The newest update to SwiftKey includes a lot of bug fixes and responds to some specific user complaints.
Flashier Twitter apps have come and gone, but I'm still pretty enamored with Plume. One reason is that the developer (LevelUp, of Beautiful Widgets fame) is constantly rolling out new features, and today's update adds a doozie: push notifications. You should get notifications for new tweets, replies, mentions, and messages more or less instantly, and the widget and main feed can now use a "Live Stream" mode.
The service experimented with push background notifications before, but the developer wasn't satisfied with the battery-hungry feature.