New prompts to automatically adjust brightness, rotate images, and archive screenshots and pictures of things like labels, menus, and receipts are popping up in the Google Photos app and web interface. We saw this coming in a Photos teardown earlier this month.
You know the routine - you're browsing Android Police, scrolling through our amazing content when you lie down in bed, only to have your phone go crazy. The narrow content you were scrolling through has switched from portrait to landscape view, even though the phone is still facing the same direction relative to your head as it was before. At best, you stand your phone back up, pull down your notification shade, and press the toggle. At worst, you navigate away from the app into system settings and dig around for the display options. Rotate on Shake is faster than both of these options.
It looks like the new Google Play Services rolling out today held one more surprise besides hints of Android Device Manager. With the latest update, Android's Photo Sphere viewer can make use of the on-board compass, allowing you to navigate a sphere just by moving your device, much like Streetview's "Compass Mode."
To enter compass mode, users need only press the arrow icon in the lower left corner of the screen. The icon automatically disappears when you aren't touching the screen, allowing you to look at the sphere uninterrupted.
This is a small enhancement, but one that makes Photo Spheres just that much more awesome.
Does the fact that your smartphone or tablet's orientation control conform to its orientation rather than yours constantly enrage you? Well, you could go buy a late-model Samsung device for its Smart Rotate feature, which uses the front-facing camera to see which way your face is pointing and adjusts the screen accordingly. Or you could download GMD Smart Rotate, which does the exact same thing.
GMD replaces the accelerometer function with facial recognition, meaning that if you hold your phone in portrait mode even when you yourself are horizontal, it will know not to rotate the screen. I can think of exactly one amazingly good use-case scenario: when you're lying on your side and want to read or watch something, and don't have five precious seconds to toggle the auto-rotate function in stock Android.
Inspired by the popular Flash-based puzzler Coign of Vantageby Bobblebrook (which has also been available as an iOS game for some time), Noodlecake has released their latest creation to the Play Store – Pixel Twist.
The game's listing describes it as "a unique little 'zen exercise'," and it undoubtedly lives up to that billing. The goal of the game is simple – rotate a cloud of pixels until it matches a specified image. Each image is a pixelated version of some object like a tree, or an apple, or the moon. At the beginning of each stage, the player is greeted by an ethereal cluster of floating cubes which can then be rotated in any direction to match the image.
Ever since the Android web Market was launched, one of my main gripes with its UI (let's not talk about content discovery here) was screenshot navigation. There were 2 basic problems - you could not click Next or Previous as those buttons did not exist, and the only way to close a screenshot close-up was by finding and clicking a tiny X button.
Most modern "lightbox"-style galleries already solved the aforementioned problems by adding easy navigation buttons and allowing you to click anywhere on the screen to dismiss the close-up. Today, Google quietly did just that, and then some.
Here are the 5 new features I just spotted that weren't there this morning:
the Next and Previous buttons finally allow easy navigation
clicking on the close-up of a screenshot is equivalent to pressing Next
left and right keyboard arrow keys are equivalent to Previous and Next (hooray!)
the X button is gone - you can now close any image close-up by clicking anywhere on the screen
in-line rotation buttons which let you turn those occasional sideways images the right way
Here, have a look:
Visit your favorite app in the Market and check it out for yourself.
Launcher Pro, my favorite launcher replacement, got updated today with a much requested feature - homescreen transition animations, available to all LP users, not just Plus. In addition to the usual and very smooth slide effect, we now have 4 more: Scale, Rotate, Flip, and Cube. All are smooth, except for the Cube transition, so I would advise against using it until Fede makes it a bit more snappy. Out of 5 transitions (including the regular slide), my favorite is definitely Flip. What's yours?
Excuse the poor frame rate in the screencast - unfortunately, that's ShootMe's max for the time being