One of the strangest changes with regard to Android 4.4 was the apparent removal of the hidden App Ops menu. You remember this one – it was the interface that allowed you to restrict permissions on a per-app basis. Well, apparently it's still in there – Google just made it harder to find. Color Tiger, developer of Smart IR Remote has just released its new App Ops 4.3/4.4 app that pulls up the standard App Ops and can add new features with root access.
Minecraft-themed shooter? Yeah, we've done that. Minecraft-themed platformer? Yup. Minecraft-themed dungeon crawlers, RPGs, and (of course) zombie games? You bet. Now developer DogByte, of 8-bit Ninja fame, is bringing Minecraft to the racing genre with the cleverly-titled Blocky Roads. For the moment this 2.5D driving game is exclusive to the Amazon Appstore, where you can pick it up for two bucks.
How do you combine the blocky sensibilities of Minecraft with a super-simple racer a la Excite Bike?
Fans of classic Squaresoft RPGs have had a smorgasbord on the Google Play Store as of late, but it's all been remakes and re-releases. The first "new" Final Fantasy game to come to the platform (unless you count some of the simple stuff like Final Fantasy All The Bravest, which you shouldn't) is Final Fantast IV: The After Years. It's a sequel to the old FFIV (from 1991) released for Japanese mobile market in 2008 before making it to the Wii in 2011.
If you simply can't wait for the next Humble bundle to roll around, there's now an Android-specific alternative available. iKoid is a new service that just released its first indie game bundle, this time at a fixed but very reasonable price of $2.49. It includes five games: They Need To Be Fed, Bridge Constructor Playground, Hero Of Many, Don't Run With A Plasma Sword, And Streetfood Tycoon Extreme, which would cost about $9 together on the Google Play Store.
The Xposed framework is a major boon to those of us who use an Android device that doesn't have a lot of support from the custom ROM community. It allows a lot of the things you want in custom ROMs - visual tweaks, interface changes, behavioral and button functions, fixes for annoying bugs, and a host of other things - via independent modules, with only root privileges. The latest beta release from developer "Rovo89" includes support for Android 4.4 and a bevy of performance improvements.
We've received an early look at an upcoming version of Facebook that introduces a brand new, flat UI. This is a change that competing social networks like Twitter and Pinterest made a long time ago, and given the direction Android, iOS, and Windows Phone have all moved in, it only makes sense. When considering Facebook Messenger's recent redesign, it's even less surprising. Yet this is pre-release software, so there's a decent chance none of these changes will make it into the stable version.
When it comes to cable, there's a lot not to like. The monthly bill continues to go up, and no matter how many channels you add, there's still never anything good on to watch. This somehow manages to be the case even while many shows are still exclusively available on cable. Yet as frustrating as the major providers may be, there is one trend that I can readily get behind, and that's the addition of Android apps meant to supplement their traditional service.
Why ESPN didn't call its sports update app "SportsCenter" in the first place is beyond me. They seem to have rectified this with version 4.0 of the app, now named after the ubiquitous sports show. (Da-na-na, da-na-na.) The app was also updated with a new all-white interface and a standard slide-out menu.
Oh, and ads. Lots of ads. While the previous version had in-network advertising at the bottom of the screen like a lot of free apps, this new one gets interstitial ads that pop up two or three times while scrolling through scores or updates, plus random pop-up ads.
Today Minecraft developer Mojang is launching a beta program for the Pocket Edition of its absurdly popular sandbox game. Anyone who purchased Minecraft on an Android device via Google Play is eligible to join. This will give you early access to new, experimental features before anyone else and allow you to provide feedback that could impact future versions of the title.
To enter the beta program, interested players simply need to request to join the Minecraft Pocket Edition Test Group on Google+.