At one time in history, building an app that gave a consistent experience across all (or most) versions of Android was nearly impossible without dedicating a lot of time and effort. Thanks to the Android Support Library (a.k.a. AppCompat), it's easy to use some of the most important and commonplace user interface elements on versions of Android going as far back as Donut and Éclair. A fresh update for AppCompat was just released, bringing it to v22.1, and it introduces some really big changes.
While Microsoft's wide release of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint for tablet users was more than welcome, there were more than a few strings attached. Most notably, it was incompatible with Android 5.0+, making the newest devices unable to use them. The other major hangup was the lack of support for x86 processors, which basically means all Intel SoCs, a popular choice in the midrange tablet market. Microsoft is now working on a semi-private beta that adds support for both of those groups.
Target's Cartwheel app serves as a way for the company to offer discounts and get you into its stores. Today you can get the LG G Watch for 50% off. Since the retailer is selling the smartwatch for $160, that brings the price down to $80.
The music of my parents generation didn't rely on digital bass tracks or Auto-Tuning to craft a hit song. Instead, the artists of the seventies and eighties rocked out using the tools they had – electric guitars, drum sets, sweet vocals, and a whole lot of hair. Two great creators of music from that haira... I mean era, were Meat Loaf and Toto. Today, the very best of albums from both artists are available free on Google Play with each featuring more than a dozen songs. The albums normally would ring up to about twelve bucks apiece, so it's a pretty nice gift from Google.
There are dozens of Reddit clients in the Play Store, which is important seeing as the Reddit website sucks so hard on mobile devices. It doesn't really have a mobile UI at the main URL, it just scales things (awkwardly) to fit the screen width. There's also a little used "compact" site that's terrible in every way. Thankfully, Reddit is testing a beta mobile version of the site, and you can check it out now.
I've seen many Android games that offer gorgeous screenshots in the Play Store that hardly reflect the visuals I encounter after downloading the title to my Nexus 7. That's not the case with EA Sports' newly-released UFC game. The press images were spot on. The fighters in this game are impressive, and fans are in for a visual treat.
When a new version of Android hits, we want to know what's inside of its candy-coated shell. One of the best ways to discover all of the new treats is to read through the developer comments located in the Android Open Source Project. We've downloaded the code and generated a changelog of every single modification made between v5.1.0_r5 (LMY47O) and the newly released v5.1.1_r1 (LMY47V).
There are a total of 34 commits, with the majority falling into either core OS functions, media decoding and handling, or telephony.
One thing is for sure, if you ask developer Chris Lacy for something enough times, he's going to do it. Well, maybe. Case in point, the new version of Action Launcher includes a number of highly requested features. You can grab v3.4 from the Play Store right now to check it out for yourself.
If you're a ROM developer, or just in the mood to poke around the latest Android source code, you'll be excited to know that 5.1.1 has just been uploaded to AOSP. The tag for this release is 5.1.1_r1, and it carries the build number LMY47V. A factory image is already available for the Nexus Player, and the rest of the Nexus family will probably stabilize on this version over the coming weeks.