Google is always making little tweaks to its apps, and now you can get an early look at some of those tweaks by beta testing the Google app. That's the one that powers the Now Launcher, Google Now cards, Now On Tap, and more. Just a few clicks and you're in the exclusive beta testing club. There's not much to see yet, but who knows what the future holds? Read More
Following VLC on Android over the last couple of months has felt a little bit like a shell game. It all started in December when VideoLAN declared VLC was finally leaving behind its Beta status. The app retained the same package name, org.videolan.vlc.betav7neon, but was to be considered stable. Earlier this month, a brand new version 1.0 VLC app appeared in the Play Store with a package name and title devoid of the word 'beta.' This new app was to become the channel for stable releases, while the original listing was again repurposed for beta releases. This only lasted a few days before the new version vanished from the Play Store on devices and ceased to be installable from the web, at least for many of us. Read More
Beta tests for new software releases aren't anything new for Android phones or tablets - they're often referred to as "soak tests," especially when manufacturers and carriers are involved. According to an anonymous tipster, Motorola is instituting a new confidential test program, giving at least some users access to much earlier updated builds for Android phones. Our source says that he or she was invited to test out a KitKat 4.4.2 build for the DROID RAZR M.
What follows is (allegedly) a forum post outlining the new Test Drive program, giving users instructions on preparation and flashing and delineating the difference between the new program and the more typical soak tests. Read More
Despite the excitement of the newly-announced sequels, Star Wars remains one of the most stale and stubbornly unchanging franchises in science fiction. So clearly what Star Wars needs to get people excited again is... a mobile trading card game.
The new game comes from LucasArts and... hey, wait a minute, don't we already have a Star Wars card game on Android? Indeed, Konami released Star Wars Force Collection, a shameless rip-off of other free-to-play card games, back in September. The new Assault Team doesn't appear to have anything to do with the previous game, aside from the standard turn-based combat and collection elements found in all of these games. Read More
Ever since Google launched the ability for developers to offer public beta testing directly through the Play Store, we've seen quite a few devs take this route and offer the hottest thing off the press for users to try out. The latest high-profiler to take advantage of this system is IMDb, which recently launched its first beta app through its Google+ Community.
It doesn't appear that there's a lot of new features packed under the hood of the first beta release, likely because the company is still working towards getting the community set up before launching anything game-changing. To get in on the action now, the normal steps are required: you must first join the Google+ community here, then opt-in to beta test the application here, and then you're free to grab the latest download. Read More
We're not the first to observe this: plug an Android tablet into a charge (or even better, a wireless charger or dock) and it becomes a pretty splendid digital photo frame, like the one you gave your Grandma three Christmases ago that's still in the box. Cloud.TV, the developer behind the excellent HD Widgets, would like to offer you a more powerful alternative. Meet Dayframe, a connected and continuously-updating photo frame app.
The idea behind Dayframe is admirably simple: it gathers photos from some well-liked public streams on Flickr, Instagram, 500px, and others, plus your own social media and local photos, and displays them in a simple and pleasing slideshow. Read More
Twitter has been steadily tweaking their beta release channel for the Android app, and the latest update removes one of the most poorly-received features from the last beta version. The translucent tri-button array at the bottom of the screen (post a photo from storage, take a photo, or a simple textual tweet) has been removed, and is now replaced with a single, consolidated button.
New on the left, old on the right. Pardon the different resolutions.
That button will also become semi-hidden when you scroll through your Twitter feed, giving you that much more room to see your tweets. Nice. Read More
A number of social apps have turned to the Play Store to manage their betas. We've already seen Facebook and Snapchat launch official beta versions to anyone who signs up for the privilege, and now Twitter is doing the same. If you've signed up for either of the other programs, the routine should feel pretty familiar. The experimental build will replace the current Twitter app on your phone, unlike the Chrome beta that can exist side-by-side with the stable release. Those who opt in will be greeted by a notification when the next build is ready. As this is a beta release, some features may never appear in the stable version, and some instability may appear that could eat your cat or infect your bed with bed bugs. Read More
Snapchat is now the latest prominent app to start using the Play Store beta testing mechanism to get new features in front of users sooner, something we've also seen from Facebook. If you haven't already heard of Snapchat, think of it as a service that could have saved Anthony Weiner a great deal of headache. Users use it to send photos, videos, and text messages that automatically delete from the recipient's device and the server after a set amount of time. New features that can currently be found in the beta include Swype keyboard support and a new size-sensitive drawing canvas. Read More