Netflix might be one of the most popular video-on-demand services on the internet, but it's by no means immune to mistakes. One of those mistakes was its now-former mobile player UI, which just wasn't very well thought-out. The company has finally redone the interface, and it's now much easier to use.
Android TV, and by association Nexus Player, are the evolution of Chromecast. It essentially eliminates the need to use a middleman device like a phone or tablet if the user chooses, and allows them to interface directly with the device and TV in many cases. While it still retains all the functionality of Chromecast, a dedicated box allows for a much more robust and feature-rich system, as well as more room for future enhancements.
The Nexus Player is Google's first real go at a set-top box, and the first Android TV box available on the consumer market. It's the most Google-centric of all the set-top boxes, offering access to essentially all services El Goog offers, like Play Movies, Play Music, Play Games, YouTube, the Play Store, and more.
Today was an extremely exciting day for Android fans. Besides brand new Lollipop preview images coming out, along with a new SDK and final APIs, some new hardware went up for pre-order. Specifically, the Nexus 9 and Nexus Player went up for sale ahead of launch, and the Nexus 6 listing was put up, but it's still not available to order just yet.
But a few hours ago, something curious happened. Google's Nexus Player got the dreaded "out of inventory" designation in the US Play Store. Many thought the device (for which Google is offering a $20 Play credit if you pre-order from the US or Canada) was simply sold out.
Popular (and well-established) music manager/player Winamp got an update today, bringing the app to version 1.4.6 and introducing (among other things) long-awaited notification player controls. The controls match the look and feel of the app they belong to, using a design language that (unfortunately) doesn't look like it's been revisited in a while. That said, they work like a charm, and add much-needed functionality.
Besides that, users will enjoy several bug fixes (primarily involving SHOUTcast and AAC playback), and some streamlined code on the Now Playing screen. In other words, behind-the-scenes stuff.
If you're already loving Winamp and want to get the notification player controls the app has so long been wanting, hit the widget to grab the update.
You know, if I'm honest, I feel a little sympathy for Archos. While they don't usually stand out as a manufacturer of the best tablets, they've gotten a decent reputation as being good for the low-end. Then the Nexus 7 came out and redefined what "budget tablet" means. Still, the company has to make money somehow, and putting its custom video player on the Play Store is as good a way as any, right?
The player is decent enough as a video player. Cover art and meta data is aggregated to create a pretty nifty-looking library with slick animations.
Forget all those people streaming their movies from the likes of Netflix and Hulu. You like to have a proper collection of video files. You want to own them and watch them wherever you want. RockPlayer, the all-purpose media player app for Android, has been a crowd favorite for just this purpose for a while, even if it's been lacking a bit of luster. Well, today that changes with a huge update to the interface that makes it both prettier and far more functional.
Have a look at the before and after:
As you can see, the old version is all Gingerbread-y and has a god awful, ugly interface for exploring videos with no indication of what you're about to play besides the name.
In ancient Greece, Apollo was—among other things—the god of music. In ancient 2012, Apollo became the official music app for CyanogenMod. It was gorgeous, functional, and completely customizable, as you might expect from the world's most popular ROM. At the time, we were told that this lovely bit of software would be coming to the Market "in the coming weeks." That was back when we still called it the Market. Today, though, Apollo is available on the Play Store.
The player comes in two flavors: regular, and +. Apollo+ removes ads and offers quicker updates for a mere $0.99.
RealPlayer, one of the most well-known media playing solutions available for desktops, has received its own Android app, which came out of beta and hit version 1.0 (officially 0.0.1.0) today. In a press release, Scott Uomoto (SVP Consumer and Helix Divisions, RealNetworks) boldly stated that "this is the media player that people want."
Despite any preconceived notions you may have about RealPlayer, the official Android app already has overwhelmingly high ratings and a somewhat decent feature list – first off, RealPlayer can be used to centralize not just your music, but videos and photos as well. The app also features optimized graphics "for high-res devices" (though the app's interface isn't great), lastFM scrobbling, voice commands for search, lockscreen functionality, video bookmarking, and more.
Leave it to Comcast to be ahead of the curve on keeping up to date with new technology*. The Comcast subsidiary Xfinity has just updated its TV Player app to be compatible with Android 4.1, with special emphasis on supporting the Nexus 7. The app is technically compatible, though the release notes say that the next version of the app will include a UI designed specifically for the 7" form factor.
While Xfinity probably isn't the first company to announce plans for or produce a 7"-specific UI for an app on the Play Store, it does highlight yet again the beginning of the trend we all knew was coming since I/O: 7" form factors are going to be a beast unto themselves.
Google's I/O conference, in usual form, kicked off with an explosive start. The day's news saw the revelation of things we've been waiting to see for months. Things we've heard rumor of, wished for, and even (quite accurately) predicted. With all the things we saw, it only seems right to round up all the day's news in one place. Grab a snack, because we've got a lot to talk about.
One of the day's I/O show stoppers was undoubtedly the announcement of Android 4.1 aka Jelly Bean. I have to be honest, with a ".1" update, I wasn't expecting too much improvement, but I was certainly wrong in that estimation.