It's been a busy month in the Android app world, particularly if you want useful tools or visual tweaks. There's one big app that we're not featuring in this roundup: the Google Now Launcher, AKA the Google Experience Launcher. We're omitting it from the main list because it's only compatible with Nexus and GPE devices - even the few standard Android devices that have been upgraded to KitKat can't play with it unmodified.
February is the shortest month of the year, and it also happens to contain the biggest Android-related tech conference, Mobile World Congress. Between the two of them, you might think we'd be short of good games this month. On the contrary - February has given us one of the better crops of high-quality and diverse Android games we've seen in quite a while. Here's our pick for the top seven, in no particular order, with some honorable mentions thrown in for good measure.
Just because a company files a patent for something, it doesn't mean that idea will eventually see the light of day. In this case, the patent filing in question doesn't just concern an unannounced but rumored product, it deals with a particular aspect. As it turns out, Samsung may one day want us to walk around interacting with our not-yet-confirmed-but-totally-expected Galaxy Glasses while typing on our palms.
The glasses presumably use a camera to project an augmented reality keyboard onto your fingers.
Malware is a problem for Android, but that problem almost exclusively exists outside the confines of the safety of the Play Store. Like any platform where the sharing of pirated, cracked software occurs, if you're downloading something you didn't rightly pay for, there's a risk it might be carrying a little something "extra" you hadn't counted on being included. For the most part, this is how Android malware spreads - but what do malware distributors do once they've got a device infected?
I love Update Wednesdays, and today we've already seen pretty decent updates to several Google apps. As you've already seen, Google Play Games was updated to v1.5, but the one I'm excited about the most is, without a doubt, Google TTS v3.0, which made a jump today from v2.4.
So, what's so cool about TTS 3.0?
First and foremost, Text-to-Speech 3.0 adds support for high quality voices.
Today the Google Play Games app has made the big jump from version 1.1 to 1.5, and there are quite a few new features tucked away inside that may cause you to hit its icon in your app tray a little bit more often. Let's dive in.
The previous version allowed you to join multiplayer games from within the app, but the latest update introduces the ability to view invitations as well.
The official Motorola Migrate app received a notable update today, adding a few new features to Moto's smartphone transfer tool that should ease the pain of getting a new handset.
In particular, the new version allows more granular control over which content you want to transfer to the new handset, instead of just sending everything over wholesale, at least for Android-to-Android migration. You can toggle contacts, messages, photos, videos, music, and call logs as part of the new version's migration process.
Samsung just took a load of code and dumped it on the company's open source repository this afternoon, a la the Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 in both Wi-Fi and LTE trims. There are a total of 5 kernel source files here, 2 for North American Wi-Fi variants (SM-T320_NA), 2 for global Wi-Fi variants (SM-T320), and one for the global LTE variant (SM-T325).
This follows the release of kernel source code for both the Tab Pro 10.1 and Note Pro 12.2 a month ago.
360-degree video. Next to the holodeck, it really is the holy grail of next-generation viewing. The possibilities are seemingly endless - can you imagine a 360-degree video drone copter buzzing around a basketball arena or providing live coverage of a protest in a foreign land? A submarine wading through the depths, giving you the complete ability to pan around the undersea world? And unlike 3D or other crazy video tech, you don't even need a special TV - just a way to control the current area of focus in the video.
The PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One all allow gamers to record and broadcast gameplay online via Twitch, turning even single-player games into social experiences. Now the technology is coming to Android. Today Twitch has announced the release of its mobile SDK, which game developers can use to provide players with functionality similar to that found on consoles. Mobile gamers will soon be able to share their mobile gaming experience with the rest of the Twitch community.