Motorola really happened upon a great strategy with the OG Moto X when it added core features to the Play Store. It allows Motorola to update functionality without waiting for a full OTA, and other OEMs have been following suit. It's going to be much the same with the new Moto X—four new listings have appeared in the Play Store for this device.
We Android users are accustomed to getting games months, even years, after our iOS-running peers. We've grown so used to this that it's hardly worth pointing out half the time. But every now and then a game slips in that really took its time. In a world of jets engines, daWindci has floated towards Android with the speed of a hot air balloon with a Play Store appearance that's a full three years after its 2011 Apple App Store debut.
Here's a Google app that few people would judge you for not knowing about. There's this thing formerly known as Maps Engine that lets people create custom maps and share them with others. Now it goes by the name of My Maps. And, put bluntly, it's a change that makes sense. This conveys to users what the app actually does. Map Engine? Not so much.
To go with the name change, Google has changed the app's icon as well.
In another gesture that shows Microsoft's increasing willingness to play along with its competitors, the company has launched a OneNote Android Wear app into the Play Store. However, this release oddly requires users to have this separate app installed alongside the standard Android one in order to interact with OneNote on their smartwatches. It's awkward, but hey, it's better than nothing. With this new integration, people are able to dictate words to their wrists and have them appear among their notes.
The stable of apps that support Google's Chromecast device just seems to keep growing. In addition to NPR One and Watch ABC last month, Google just announced a handful of new apps that have been enabled today. The biggest additions for our readers are probably Twitch, the online game stream broadcasting service, and iHeartRadio, the radio streaming service from
ClearChannel iHeartMedia. Both of them should be ready to stream content to your TV now.
Pandora is currently rolling out a redesigned version of its Android app that may just cause more than a few double takes. The Internet radio service has looked largely the same on Android for a few years now, but the UI introduced in 5.5 is strikingly different - at first, at least. This change is stark, but it's only surface deep.
The Pandora app has been stripped of its blue gradients.
Adobe has brought EchoSign over to Android, so now workers can use the mobile app to close deals with clients, job applicants can use it to sign contracts, and just about anyone can use it to put their John Hancock on any of the myriad of documents that require a signature. The app lets people e-sign documents using either their fingers or a stylus and/or request signatures from others. Even better, it happens to integrate with a number of cloud storage providers (Google Drive and Box make the list, but Dropbox, oddly, isn't mentioned).
Those willing to venture into chrome://flags can often enjoy experimental treats that haven't made it into default circulation yet. One flag in Chrome, brought to our attention by a tipster, enables "answers in suggest," giving users answers to simple questions right in the omnibar. So if for some reason you're wondering what the capital of Maryland is, or the population of the world, you can get the answer without actually performing a search.
Update 2: Google has updated its official list of countries with access to paid Newsstand content, and it looks like Spain is the only other country to get in today. Enjoy your magazines and newspapers, amigos - better luck next time for everyone else.
Update: At least one of our Russian readers says that paid Newsstand content is available in Russia as well. Nasdarovje, Pavel Azroyan! If anyone else sees paid content in a previously unsupported country, check out the Contact page and drop us a line.