A truly useful piece of software? From Samsung? Color me surprised, too, but the company's new Game Tuner app is nothing short of incredibly handy for mobile gamers. As you may well know, playing visually-intensive games on your smartphone can demolish the battery fairly quickly. While most such games render at 1080p even on 2K displays like Samsung's, such resolutions can be big draws on both your remaining juice and your device's processor, causing throttling (and thus slowdowns) and excessive power drain. Read More
Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications, games, and live wallpapers that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous 2 weeks or so.
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Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.
Ski Safari 2
Android Police coverage: Have A Blast Sliding Until You Die – Ski Safari 2 Is Now Available On The Play Store
The original Ski Safari was well-received thanks to high production values and a laser focus on the basics of the runner genre. Read More
The most recent Humble Mobile Bundle has been live for a week, and that means two things. First, there are more games in the bundle. Second, we're giving away 10 codes that entitle you to the full selection of games. Yay. Read More
Hangouts for Android version 5.0 is rolling out to some users now, and it brings... nothing new in the way of features that we can find, actually. We do know this version is supposed to fix the broken animated GIF support that was an annoyance in Hangouts 4 (confirmed: they're fixed), but otherwise, you probably aren't going to notice much. There appear to be some very slight animation changes here and there, as well as a brief splash screen that pops up when the app opens to the main conversation view that wasn't present in the previous version (4.2).
It's possible you might spot some other subtle changes - for example, I noticed at least one checkbox toggle was a brighter shade of green, hooray - but this particular release of Hangouts seems to be mostly about under-the-hood adjustments. Read More
Reddit may or may not have its official Android app ready any time soon, but third-party developers are still more than willing to pick up the slack. BaconReader, one of the most popular Reddit client apps, has just been given a major update. The 5.0 release includes a much-belated Material Design user interface adjustment and no small amount of other changes, both user-facing and behind the scenes. Here's a quick comparison of the older version to the spiffy new Material Design layout: Read More
Check the YouTube app on your phone or tablet, user interface aficionados - you might spot something new. Like the other official Google apps have been doing for a while (quite a while), YouTube is getting a pull-to-refresh animation for relevant pages. It doesn't seem to be tied to any particular version of the app or of Android, and in fact we've only seen it active from one reader so far, so it seems like it might be a server-side switch.
The animation allows users to scroll up to the top border of the interface and beyond on the Home tab, channel pages, subscription pages, and more, with the familiar circular arrow icon indicating a refresh. Read More
These days it's rare to see a game praised for graphics alone - with incredibly powerful hardware available on consoles, PCs, and yes, mobile hardware, it's more about what you can do with what you have. A prime example is Contrast, a combination platformer and puzzle game that first debuted on PC and console download services just under two years ago. It's a perfect intersection of unique art design and compelling game mechanics. Today it's available on Android for $14.99, but only if you have NVIDIA's SHIELD Android TV box.
Contrast takes place in a sort of steampunk-burlesque universe, following a very personal story about a mother and daughter. Read More
Uh oh. Many users signing into Google Drive on the web are running into a little setback. The site loads, but that's it. Instead of a list of files, we're seeing a loading wheel that spins forever. Read More
It's easy not to think about just how much thought and computing goes into everything that Google does, but one of YouTube's latest changes reminds us of precisely that.
Every video on the site has a thumbnail that's supposed to offer you a glimpse into what you're about to watch. A bad image will discourage you from clicking. Good ones lead to more views and greater revenue. So naturally both content creators and Google would prefer to have better thumbnails.
Using deep neural networks, the YouTube team has launched an improved "thumbnailer." Every frame in a video gets evaluated by a quality model and is assigned a quality score. Read More
Looking for some cheap games? Then Electronic Arts and its mobile subsidiary Chillingo would like to offer you a selection for just a dime a piece (assuming you live in the US, Canada, Mexico, and a few other places). None of the games are particularly new with the exception of Power Ping Pong (which is pretty great) and the horror adventure game In Fear I Trust (which was just published), but most of them cost $4-5 at their regular prices. Read More