The design of Google's Play apps is like a neverending story, although not a very interesting one. Play Games has seen less flux than the Play Store, at least, but Google still tweaks its interface more often that is probably necessary. The latest change to be tested moves some of the core navigation around.
Earlier this month, Cody discovered evidence for a loyalty program in a teardown of the Google Play app, and now we're seeing the first official word about it. The rewards scheme is called Play Points and has gone live in Japan, according to a support page for the app.
On the list of manufacturers with fun and quirky commercial spots, LG doesn't usually come near the top. As far as I can recall, it has always served functional videos, but that strategy wouldn't fly with the "Play" theme of the G5. So it was that Jason Statham, the badass actor who can make your heart drop to your knees with a frown, was cast as the face of the G5 and a sort of psychedelic commercial was born with Jason's face plastered across all the main characters and background actors.
Over the last few weeks, we've heard of a feature popping up for Google Play Music All Access users here and there (thanks for the tips!), whereby the app or web interface would link users to relevant music videos inside the app. When listening to or browsing music, the app would show a YouTube icon, sometimes in the center of the screen, sometimes weirdly positioned in the "now playing" bar. It was clear Google was still testing the feature but it looks like now, with the publication of an official change log for Play Music's latest update, Google may be flipping the switch on a wider basis.
When we first wrote about Quantum Paper (the internal name for the material in Material Design), we noted that Google was anticipating a series of updates to its own apps between the introduction and completion of the new design direction - updates which would bring the apps a bit closer to the new design style in a progressive fashion, so that the apps wouldn't undergo fundamental transformations overnight.
Looking back, it is now obvious that Google+ was our first taste of material design, followed by Google's editing apps like docs and sheets.
In the same vein, we've received information indicating that Google's makeover of the Play Store is well under way.
Update Wednesday held at least one more treat this week - a bump to Google Play Movies & TV, bringing the app up to version 3.2.25. Google hasn't published an official change log yet, but so far the only user-facing change we've found is the presence of applicable wishlist content (from your Play Store wishlist) inside the app, both on the "Watch Now" screen, and in the slide-out navigation bar.
Kiwanuka is a Lemmings-inspired physics puzzler that we've been looking out for on Android since we heard about it on iOS. Thanks to a partnership between original devs CMA MegaCorp and the developers at Jakyl, the game has finally made its way to our favorite platform, and it's awesome.
Basically, you play the guy or gal in charge of saving a crowd of Kiwanuka, using a magical staff that whips the humanoid critters into shape, arranging them in tall, swaying towers you can use to climb through low-poly geometric terrain. When you reach the goal in each level, you'll free another Kiwanuka.
A few days ago, it was confirmed that Google had started asking manufacturers to brand boot animations with a specific "Powered by Android" lockup as part of Google's Mobile Services license. Samsung's Galaxy S5 and HTC's new One M8 both carry the branding, and today Motorola's Moto X and Moto G have joined the party, but Motorola has something else in store as well - a new boot animation just in time for April Fools Day. The animation features a UFO, bigfoot, and the Loch Ness Monster, all exposed by Motorola's spotlight. Check out the full sequence below.
The updated animation sequence comes in an update to Moto's Boot Services app on the Play Store.