Posts Tagged Apps
16 Pebble Steels and a $5000 grand prize are up for grabs in the next few weeks
Pebble has finally released its new Android app and accompanying 2.0 firmware for the Pebble watch, which brings a new design and features but most notably an all-encompasing appstore for the device. To help kickstart development of Pebble apps submitted to the formal appstore, Pebble is kicking off an official App Challenge with $9000 in prizes available for a handful of apps that show off their quality.
From now until March 23rd, developers can submit their new or existing apps to the challenge if they are built to interact with the latest SDK 2.0 features and are available in the appstore. From the 24th to the 27th, you can then vote on the official challenge website for your favorite apps, narrowing down the group to just 16 top-notch entries. Each of the 16 developers will be given a new Pebble Steel for their effort, and be entered into a head-to-head battle for the grand prize.
A bracket will place the apps head-to-head for voting from the public, narrowing down the options until just one app remains. The developer who comes out on top of the entire challenge will walk away with $5000 for their effort. Not a bad deal for making a Pebble app, and all Pebble users will benefit from the increased engagement around the appstore. If you’re interested in participating as a developer or a voter, hit the source link for the full details
We’ve all wondered from time to time if we’re on social media too much. Maybe we’re addicted to email, or check that sports app too frequently. If you’ve ever wondered just how you use your Android device, we’ve got one thing to say: there’s an app for that.
A new app named App Habits does some pretty cool stuff. It monitors your usage of apps, fitting them into time slots: morning, afternoon, and night. Each app you use is shown in card format, with a breakdown of what time of day you use them. If you habitually check email before bed, App Habits will know. Wake up first thing to see which player is being traded? App Habits will know that, too.
The tracking isn’t meant to shame you, though. Instead, it’s got a unique function to make your life easier. By tracking the apps you use — and when — App Habits has what is called “Launcher”, where the apps you use most often during the time of day you’re currently enjoying reside. The launcher also houses itself in your notification bar, offering a quick and easy way to get to the apps you were going to get into anyway. Check the game in the evening? Your favorite sports app may have replaced the email app you’ve been using all afternoon, making it easier for you to do what you were going to anyway. You can remove Launcher from the notification bar in settings, but we don’t see why you’d want to — it’s really neat.
The app also shows hidden apps, like the launcher or Android System UI. It even shows itself in there, so you know it’s an honest watchdog app. We’re having fun with App Habits, even though it’s all business. If you’re interested, App Habits is available in the Play Store now, free to download and without in-app purchases.
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All of the best apps that have made their way onto our devices this week
After a brief hiccup because of MWC at the end of February we’re now back to our normal pace with the second regularly-scheduled Apps of the Week column in March. That means we’re also right back on schedule offering up a handful of apps each weekend that the Android Central writers are actually using day in and day out.
They may be games, tools, weird utilities or quick one-use apps, but if they’re installed on our phones or tablets, then the apps are worth talking about. You’ll find our list of apps after the break — you may just find a few that fit your own needs as well.
Well, that didn’t take long now, did it? After debuting their much anticipated, long awaited Pebble app store on iOS devices early last month, Android users (those that never bothered installing the beta) are now finally able to join in on the goodness. Touted as “first open platform for sharing apps optimized for wearables,” it’s clear that for Pebble wearers — this is a really big deal.
The app itself doesn’t just get a complete overhaul (new UI and functionality), but it also upgrades Pebble watches to version 2.0, allowing the watch to not only install a plethora of helpful new apps, but adds a few new features to the Pebble OS like being able to view past notifications. We did encounter a few hiccups getting the app to update our Pebble and connect via Bluetooth, but nothing that we couldn’t trouble shoot (turning Bluetooth on an off).
Speaking of of those apps, bigger name apps like Evernote, Yelp, and Foursquare join the mix, as well as countless new apps and watchfaces from smaller developers. Installing them up is as simple as selecting the app/watchface and selecting the load button. Withing seconds, the app or watchface will be installed on your Pebble and your ready to roll. You can only install 8 apps or watchfaces, although if you find others you wanna try out they can be saved to your locker.
As it stands, everything seems to be working as it did on iOS (we will say, the app is a hundred times more smooth on Android, although still a bit more sluggish than your average app). We have been encountering a few issues like random disconnections, but given that the app just hit Google play, we’re hoping all these bugs will get ironed out soon.
For those of you that have just updated, how are you liking it?
Download on Google Play: Pebble 2.0
The Pebble 2.0 with Appstore app is finally live on Android today, bringing with it the promised appstore with all Pebble Watch compatible apps, a watchface store where all submitted watchfaces can be browsed, as well as new functions to help Pebble smartwatch owners manage their apps and watchfaces. It’s a pretty extensive revamp, completely redesigning the user interface as well as streamlining the whole Pebble pairing process which I think had previously been a bit messy and ugly.
I’m particularly impressed at how easy it is now to install apps and watchfaces; it’s pretty much an all-in-one solution now, making it a breeze for even casual users to install anything and everything. From the Play Store, the official list of changes to the app include:
New Features in 2.0.12 (requires Android 4.0 or newer):
- Pebble watchapp directory: browse, find and install the latest watchapps for Pebble.
- List of prior notifications now stored on your Pebble.
- Watchapp locker: keep track of your favorite apps and manage the apps on your Pebble.
- Completely revamped and improved user interface design.
The new Pebble 2.0 app can be had on the Play Store now if you haven’t already got it (links below), and the update should be available if you already have it installed. Let us know how you find the new Pebble 2.0 in the comments.
After launching Pebble 2.0 and the App Store for iOS last month, today Pebble has released both of those for Android as well. Not only that, but now there are new apps to go in conjunction with this software release.
The Pebble 2.0 software for Android has been in a (rough) beta for awhile now, but now anyone can get the update from Google Play. With it, of course, you also now can download new apps and watch faces to customize your Pebble. Some new partner apps also launched today include Evernote, Time Warner Cable, and eBay.
With the Evernote app, you can look at your notebooks, reminders, and checklists. With the Time Warner app, if you’re an Intelligent Home subscriber, you can control your thermostat, and more as well. With the eBay app, you can browse and add products to watch lists for later viewing on your smartphone.
Here are the full release notes for Pebble 2.0:
- Completely revamped and improved user interface design.
- Pebble watchapp directory: browse, find, and install the latest watchapps for Pebble.
- Watchapp locker: keep track of your favorite apps and manage the apps on your Pebble.
- The list of prior notifications is now stored on your Pebble.
- Using Pebble watchapps that connect to the internet to fetch data such as location or weather requires the Pebble Android app to be running on your phone.
- This release supports a single Pebble watch. We are aware that some users may have multiple Pebble smart watches, and will add support in a future release.
- Users of the Beta release of the Android 2.0 application will only see the old app in the Google Play Store. Delete the Beta version of the app to see the public version properly.
- Side-loading apps from the “Downloads” app or Gmail may fail. This is a known issue—users must currently use another method (e.g. Dropbox, downloading with an alternate browser, copying manually to a SD card, loading from the File Manager, etc.)
- Users may have to manually re-launch the Pebble app and reconnect to a Pebble that has been disconnected from the paired device for a long period of time.
- If a user is experiencing difficulty connecting their Pebble and phone: We suggest the user first try using (device) Home button then launching the Pebble app again via the Android launcher, then attempting to connect again. If that does not work, we suggest the user navigate to the Bluetooth settings menu, un-pair on both the android and pebble devices, and turn Bluetooth on Android off then on.
So if you have a Pebble, go ahead and download the 2.0 software update and enjoy your apps. If you don’t have a Pebble yet, you can get the original model from them or Best Buy, and you can get the Pebble Steel from Pebble themselves.
The post Pebble App Store Launches For Android, Brings New Apps As Well appeared first on The Droid Guy.
One avid reader shared to us via The Droid Guy Mailbag that around 75% of his apps are missing after his Samsung Galaxy S3 rebooted after installing the Android 4.3 firmware.
Likely Causes of the Galaxy S3 Missing Apps
One probable reason is that the app may have been disabled and the other is probably a firmware issue.
Possible Ways to Bring Back Galaxy S3 Missing Apps
If your apps have simply been disabled after updating to 4.3, you can bring them back using the steps below:
1. Open Settings.
2. Go to More.
3. Proceed to Application Manager.
4. Swipe the window until you reach the Turned Off section. This will reveal all your disabled apps.
5. Select Downloads.
6. Hit the Turned On button to activate the apps.
7. Reboot your Galaxy S3.
What if the Apps are Totally Gone?
If you fail to bring back the missing Galaxy S3 apps using the directions above, it is possible that they have been erased. So, there is no other option but to reinstall them again. However, another reader shared to us via The Droid Guy Facebook account he is experiencing some error notifications while reinstalling some apps or moving them to his external SD card.
Harold suggested that it could be a firmware issue and he recommended these steps to solve the problem:
1. Enter Safe Mode.
2. Uninstall the apps that are problematic. But to ensure a clean uninstallation, clear the cache and data of the apps too.
3. Go into Recovery Mode by shutting down your device and holding the Volume Up, Home and Power buttons simultaneously until it boots.
4. Select Wipe Cache Partition in the menu. Note that the Volume keys are used to navigate over the options.
5. After the previous step, boot your device normally.
6. Now, you can reinstall the apps.
Email Us Your Android Questions
For more Android questions, feel free to email us at email@example.com.
Source: Inside Galaxy
The post Samsung Galaxy S3 Missing Apps After Installing Android 4.3 appeared first on The Droid Guy.
The Jolla smartphone has long been announced, but the project was revealed so early that the team didn’t even have any prototypes ready to show the world. All these months later, though, we’ve finally gotten a chance to see the thing in person. We caught up with Jolla at Mobile World Congress to take a look at what they hope will shake the smartphone world up a bit and attract people to try something new.
What is Jolla?
It’s a smartphone. That’s the easy answer. But Jolla’s team created the device with a set of values and ideals that they feel are important to the overall package. Jolla was built as a community “movement,” of sorts.
They contend that the phone wouldn’t exist without real demand from the people who want to buy it. The developers who create apps for it are a major component. Designers who want to create unique Jolla cases will help the phone fit any user’s personality. Basically, Jolla is for you and by you.
But what makes this phone special? Well, it isn’t quite the specs, as they read out like your average smartphone in this day and age:
- 1.4GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor
- 1GB of RAM
- 16GB of internal storage
- 4.5-inch 960 x 540 display
- 8MP rear camera; 2MP front camera
- 2,100 mAh battery
The design and build quality are great, but even that doesn’t quite set it apart. It’s the sum of all of Jolla’s other unique parts. SailFish UI, a gesture-based system that does away with the need for navigation buttons. The “other half,” which can change your wallpaper, color scheme and other parts of your appearance depending on what back cover is attached. And did we mention it runs Android apps?
SailFish UI and Android Apps
SailFish UI is a Meego-based operating system that emphasizes beauty and gestures above all else. In fact, some might say that the beauty is in the gestures themselves. One of the first things you’ll notice about the phone is that there is no back button. There is no home button. There is no menu button. None of that is even on-screen, because you don’t perform these actions in typical fashion.
Flipping between applications is as simple as swiping from the left or right edge of your display. Going between settings, recent apps and your home-screen is all done by scrolling vertically. You can even access quick functions for each application in the switcher. For instance, swiping right on the switcher icon for Messaging might open up a new message box.
Accessing menu items within applications is done by holding down on the item and pulling down on it. For instance, to edit a contact you’d just place your finger on their name and start pulling down. A set of options will appear at the top highlighting each of the actions you can perform — simply let go to select it.
Having trouble visualizing all that? You can see it being demoed in the video above. It’s smooth, it works well, and it looks like a fresh take on the smartphone experience (because, quite frankly, the lines are beginning to blur).
Meego encourages developers to build native SailFish apps, but they know it’ll be tough to attract a sizable crowd. That’s why they’re making it easy for developers to port their Android applications over using an Android runtime. It’s the same sort of setup you’ll find in Blackberry 10, and we certainly don’t mind it here. We’re not yet sure how the process for porting apps will be, but if it’s anything like other runtimes out there we imagine Jolla will take the time to make sure it’s pain-free, quick and easy.
The Other Half
And then there’s this. What’s “the other half,” you ask? Well, it could mean a couple of different things here. One side of it is metaphorical — for most people, a smartphone is their other half. As sad as that may sound, it really is one of the most important devices in your life, as it keeps you connected to your world and the people you love. There’s another half to the other half, though, and that’s the unique ability for your backplate to change your device’s look and feel.
So what is it, and how does it work? It’s a back plate — not unlike the ones you see on most smartphones — that serves as a cover to protect your battery, microSD card slots and SIM card ports. These doors have two sets of pins on them, though, that allow them to transmit data from tiny pieces of flash memory embedded inside the backplates.
One set of pins is for data transfer, which could facilitate things like changing your wallpaper or possibly installing apps. Install an Angry Birds case, for instance, and you’ll get a nice Angry Birds wallpaper to match. Installing a Phandroid case could have our winking mascot show up on your desktop. The phone’s user interface colors can also dynamically change based on the wallpaper, so your phone truly becomes yours and “your other half.” The other set of pins can facilitate cases for wireless charging.
Jolla even gave us an example of a case that could come with a camera lens attachment and enhance your photos, though we couldn’t tell if that was just ambitious dreaming or something that could become reality. Either way, Jolla’s unique extensibility features will give consumers something to think about when they’re deciding if they should ditch the likes of Android or iOS for a journey into the unknown. Check out the video and photos from our hands-on time with the device above.
Quixey, the search engine for applications, has announced the next step for its application. Rather than just locating apps that fit a search, Quixey will now go within an application and take you directly to where you need to be. Functional Search aims to list all of the information possible as to where the user would like to go. So as you can see in the image above, a Linkin Park search will bring up Spotify will suggest tracks or albums and other information that may be useful. The private beta for this feature will open next month and a launch is slated for June.
Come comment on this article: Quixey expands Functional Search to provide info from within apps
Along with the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+, Lenovo also introduced a suite of apps. This is the DOit suite of apps, and there will be five in total. While the apps were unveiled along with the tablet, they will also be appearing on other Lenovo devices, including those currently available. Furthermore, they will also work with other devices. To that last point, our hands-on time with the apps included a Moto X.
SNAPit and SEEit
The suite includes; SNAPit, SEEit, SHAREit, SYNCit, and SECUREit. The first two deal with the camera, both capturing and sharing images. More than just that, the SNAPit aspect involves a complete array of filters. And nicely, these are live filters — meaning you capture the image as the filter option you choose, as opposed to snapping the picture and then filtering afterward. The SEEit portion allows for editing and image management. The video sitting below offers a bit of a walkthrough for SEEit and SHAREit.
Next up is SHAREit. This, as the name would suggest — allows you to share things. This includes images, but also goes to numerous other file types including audio, video and documents. This portion will work not only with other smartphones or tablets running the SHAREit app, but also with a computer. Lenovo even mentioned support for iOS, which means you’ll be able to easily share with your non-Android friends.
SYNCit and SECUREit
The last two here are SYNCit and SECUREit. Again, the names offer a good suggestion as to what these will both offer. The former allows the user to backup and restore contacts, as well as SMS messages and also call logs. The former is aimed at helping to speed up your device, and also scan them for viruses and other malware. Just like the previously mentioned DOit apps — these last two are shown in the video sitting below.
- Lenovo A3500 and A3300 tablets spotted in Bluetooth SIG filing
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- The hilarious story of how Lenovo came to own Motorola
- Google said to have purchased about 6% of Lenovo after Motorola deal, but they didn’t
- Lenovo CEO says they can turn Motorola around ‘in a few quarters’
As Android has evolved, Google’s worked increasingly hard to keep users locked into its ecosystem. The search giant creates new apps, retains users by giving them a thoroughly decent out-of-the-box experience and then charges device makers for a license to embed them on their phones and tablets. Its constant iteration has helped it stay ahead of the pack for some of its services, but many fall short, leaving users to find something better. The official Gmail app: it’s fine, really it is, but if you want unified inbox support, productivity features or the ability to pull emails from more than one place, you’re left wanting. This sort of limitation can be found across Google’s stable of apps, from messaging to the calendar and camera interface. We’ve trawled Google Play to find software alternatives that — dare we say it — do a better job, at least with certain tasks. So please, whip out your phone and give them a go.
Check out the apps we've been using on our devices this week
It's been another big week of news, so now it's time to sit down and talk about some apps. Each Saturday we take up a spot on the site to highlight an app that each of the writers here at Android Central have been using lately. Whether it's a popular (or not so popular) game, new utility or just something random that's been on our phones and tablets, we'll talk about it here.
Read along with us after the breaks and see another solid collection of apps from the team — you may just find a few apps to install for yourself.
Mozilla already has a presence in the Android ecosystem via its Firefox browser however the company wants to expand this further by offering a home screen launcher. During the InContext Conference held at Terra, San Francisco, Mozilla and EverythingMe revealed an early version of an Android launcher which is called the Firefox Launcher.
The launcher which is still in beta version is a contextual app launcher which means that unlike regular launchers which show you the same apps every time you access the device it instead shows different views depending on the time of day or other factors.
It basically tries to provide a more personalized experience. If a consumer for instance regularly checks the weather, updates social media, and check on calendar schedules early in the morning then these are the apps that will appear in the Homescreen just before breakfast. Later in the day other apps may replace these such as music, email, or even game apps.
One interesting feature of the Firefox Launcher is that it has a search bar on top where a query can be typed and the relevant app will be displayed including the apps that are already installed in the device. It is also able to provide a download link of the app in case you might be interested to download it. Links to websites that it provides which you click will open using the Firefox browser.
From what is initially shown the early build of the launcher allows apps to be grouped into categories and contacts can be pinned on the screen for easy access. EverythingMe revealed that the app will become available for download in the coming weeks.
In a blog post of Mozilla the company announced that
“We’re working together to deliver the best mobile Web experience to people everywhere – regardless of location, platform or device. We are happy to expand our work together with this new product to give people more smart, easy and innovative ways to personalize their Web experience and meet their needs in any context.”
“Firefox Launcher for Android makes it easy to discover the content you want in any moment and is optimized for the way you use your phone. The app integrates the contextual adaptive app search from EverythingMe with the Firefox for Android Web browser to offer users a personalized and customizable Web experience that is fun and intuitive”
With larger devices like the LG G Flex, multi-window utility is an option many take advantage of. By splitting the screen in two (figuratively, we’re not cutting things in half, here), we can get a snippet of multiple things without having to navigate between apps. Fun and functional, some are still in the dark about how this all works, and why it’s one of the coolest features on the G Flex.
The G Flex makes this functionality incredibly easy to use. By long-pressing the back button on the bottom right, we’re met with a menu of available apps to use in mulit-window mode. We’ll first say that not every app you download can use this functionality, as it requires an API from the OEM — in this case, LG. Even in being limited in the apps you can use, we still have use of a browser like Chrome, so there is little stopping us in regard to productivity.
Once the menu pops up, simply drag one app to the bottom or top, and another to the opposing side. The multi-window feature splits the screen evenly, but that’s easy to fix. By long-pressing the middle bar, you can drag it up or down to adjust your view, minimizing or maximizing apps as you go. On the left of the middle bar is a swap icon, which takes the two apps and flips them on the screen. If it’s easier to look at a map on the bottom and browser on top, but you did it the opposite, just click that little icon.
On the right is a menu button that gives three options when pushed. You can choose to maximize an app, close it, or switch one (or both) out. For maximizing an app, it depends on which app you have “selected”, which is pretty intuitive. Tap on an app, and the middle bar (the one you drag to change the view) points to which app is active. That will be the one that maximizes or shuts down.
If you do maximize a window, that middle bar then rests at the bottom of the window, and “maximize” turns to “minimize”, bringing you back to multi-window paradise. The start menu even has a “recent” icon, which brings up your most recent dual-app selection. That’s great should you always pick email and a particular website, or something like messaging and maps.
All tolled, the G Flex’s multi-window utility is one that makes this device pretty uniquely handy. Though not exclusive to the G Flex, or even LG, the ability to have two apps open at the same time is definitely cool. Add in LG’s QSlide, which opens apps in slightly transparent windows above any other apps, and you have a true multitasking powerhouse.
Just go with the flow – let your launcher give you the best apps and information automatically
Following a beta program with the pre-release version of its software, EverythingMe Launcher is now available for everyone in the U.S., U.K., Spain and Germany. Building on the recent trend of homescreen replacements that dynamically change based on a multitude of factors, EverythingMe Launcher aims to personalize your phone.
The main interface is similar to that of a standard Android homescreen, with folders, a search box and a dock for your most commonly-used apps. The difference with EverythingMe Launcher is that the folders and app positions will change based on your usage, time of day, location and more. Your apps will all be managed into smart folders based on their tasks, and the bottom row of icons (above the dock) dynamically shows four apps that are most-used for the time of day it currently is.
EverythingMe Launcher is also offering universal search that covers your device, contacts, apps and the web all from one search box — type "news" for example and you'll be shown the Android Central app, an RSS news reader app and then further links to places like CNN, The guardian or Forbes on the web.
This technology is certainly popular right now on mobile devices, and for good reason — many people are looking for a new way to have their phones do the hard work for them. EverythingMe as a company has gained some major recognition for this tech, and is even partnered with Mozilla for features on its Firefox OS and upcoming Firefox launcher.
Android might have the lion’s share of the mobile device market but it is not without its fair share of warts. While Google has released design guidelines to help developers create beautiful apps, Google Play Store is plagued with inconsistent, unusable, and sometimes downright ugly apps. This is a situation that the Holofication Nation aims to rectify.
The two-man team that currently make up this rather interesting campaign describes their work as doing what no big company can do, and that is create apps with a decent user interface. Unsurprisingly, their primary targets are the most popular apps that take up a large chunk of our vision when using Android devices. Their jumping board is Android’s design rules and theme, currently nicknamed as Halo.
The team has already modded several popular apps, with Instagram being one of the worst offenders. Other include Steam‘s official app, Grooveshark, and the controversial Snapchat. These apps have been modified to follow Halo guidelines, eschewing custom buttons and design for a more standard and refined look. The team hasn’t disclosed what processes they used to modify these apps, which might not sit well with the apps’ official developers. Those who want to try out these Holofied versions need to uninstall the official apps first. Interestingly, Holofication Nation notes that the Facebook app couldn’t be changed since its user interface is actually controlled on the server-side. The developer team was kind enough to provide their thoughts about each app on the Holofication Nation web page, which deserves a quick browse, too.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say, and some might not find the Holo theme pleasing to look at. There might even be some who disagree that there is a need for a unified or uniform look, which admittedly can become boring after some time. Nonetheless, Holofication Nation presents a very interesting experiment in showing how apps can remain unique and functional without going overboard with customization.
VIA: Droid Life
Android has come a long way over the years, but unfortunately for users, just because an application is released on Android at the same time as iOS, doesn’t mean that it will use all that the open platform has to offer. Google has published an Android Design Guideline as a start for developers who want to make their apps look good and handle well, but a few major developers choose to not follow the guides. The XDA group Holofication Nation is looking to change that.
Big name apps like Instagram, Snapchat, GrooveShark and Steam are all in the sights of Holo Nation. Their mission is a simple one: “Our goal is simple, to do what those big companies can’t do, make a decent UI.” The team currently consists of two developers that are re-tooling these applications to look more like they belong on Android. The list of features they would like to bring to the apps contains adding action bars across the top and bottom, hamburger menus when necessary, and cleaning up color schemes.
To install these modded apps, you have to uninstall the official ones, but early reports of the developer’s work are promising.
Facebook is not on the list of apps to be worked on due to server-side control over the user interface. In the future, Holo Nation hopes to have an central hub-like application that keeps all of their other modded apps updated.
For now, head over to their XDA thread and check out these re-styled apps.
Chromecast support has been somewhat limited since the initial release. Granted, some of the bigger apps have had support from day one. Not to mention, other apps, such as Plex, have been gaining support. But as of today Google has opened the doors for all developers as they have released the Chromecast SDK.
Simply put, this means developers will now be able to update their apps and add support for Chromecast streaming. And on the flip side, this means Chromecast users should soon have additional options when it comes to streaming content. Users should keep an eye on the Play Store for app updates, and also in the apps themselves — looking for the Chromecast button.
While we are keeping an eye out for announcements from individual developers, Google did offer a reminder about the list of Chromecast apps. The page can be found by surfing to www.chromecast.com/apps and for now, still lists the same 14 apps that have had support. Along with support for individual apps, Google also has a Chromecast extension available for the Chrome browser.
Shifting from end user to developer, and it seems as if Google has stepped up with some further details. The Google Developers blog offers a bit more in terms of what type of content can be streamed and some sample apps. Lastly, for those worried about timing and having to re-write your apps — worry not as it was said the SDK is “simple to integrate because there’s no need to write a new app.”
SOURCE: Google Chrome Blog
- Chromecast-compatible apps now earmarked in Google Play Store
- Google Chromecast ranks highest in TIME’s top ten gadgets of 2013
- Chromecast update adds support for ten new apps, including Plex
- Chromecast now supports Play Movies and Music content from the web
- Chromecast planned to truly take off in 2014
For many of us, the best part of smartphones and tablets is gaming on the go. And almost as fun as playing games is seeing them in action before they come out. That’s why Android Central and the Mobile Nations team heads to gaming events like E3 and GDC. So we can tell you guys about upcoming games and apps.
This week we’ll be attending a new mobile industry event for the first time: Apps World. This one takes place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California on February 5th and 6th. Android Central won’t just be covering Apps World, though. I’ll be representing us as a judge at a contest for developers called the Big Indie Pitch during the event. Read on to learn more about what to expect from our coverage of the Big Indie Pitch and Apps World!
Ever since its incarnation, one of Android’s crowning achievements is its ability to multitask or have multiple apps truly running at the same time. While Android does have a built-in way to switch between those apps, OmniROM believes it can do even better and has thus started work on OmniSwitch.
While OmniSwitch does everything that the built-in recent apps switcher can, it adds a few conveniences to the process. For one it can popup by simply swiping from either left or right side of the display. It can also, of course optionally, serve as an overlay dock that gives access to a list of favorite applications. And aside from simply closing all recent apps, OmniSwitch also has Action Buttons for closing all other apps except the currently running one and switching back and forth to the most recent app used.
Naturally, a feature as powerful as this comes with its own boatload of configuration options, down to the opacity of the overlay as well as the choice to animate its appearance or not. Users will also be able to choose which side of the device serves as the trigger and the actual length of the trigger area. There is also an auto-hide feature to prevent accidentally triggering OmniSwitch. However, this turns the trigger into a two-step gesture, with the first swipe showing the drag handle and a second swipe to actually show the overlay.
In line with the project’s overall goals and philosophy, the feature is being developed in the open as an open source application. The OmniROM team is planning to make it possible to use OmniSwitch as a replacement for the stock recent apps view as well as introducing folder support for the favorites list.
LG’s QSlide mini-apps are handy for quickly checking your calendar or playing a video, but they’ve been limited to just a handful of first-party offerings so far. You may get a healthier selection of bite-sized software in the near future, though, as LG has just published a QSlide developer kit. The framework lets third-party Android apps pull off the same QSlide tricks as official programs, including floating windows and transparency. While it will take some time before any of these augmented apps reach a device near you, coders who want to try the SDK can get started at the source link.
Source: LG Developer
We’ve known for a few weeks now that Google was hard at work on building an upcoming developer tool — based on Apache Cordova — that would allow developers to port their Chrome apps into native Android/iOS ones, quickly and easily.
Today, Google has officially launched the toolset in an early developer preview which means developers now officially have what they need to begin submitting their Chrome apps directly into the Google Play Store, or Apple’s App Store.
It was in September that Google announced Chrome apps for the desktop that were are able to work offline, and only last month that they finally launched on Mac OSX. While there aren’t a vast number off Chrome apps currently available, we’re sure the ability to write up apps for Chrome and wrap them in an Android shell will bring an influx of new apps. What this means for Android is anyone’s guess at this point.
Need to multitask on the Samsung Galaxy S4? Here's how to quit apps, switch apps, and reset default apps.
Quitting applications on the Samsung Galaxy S4 is a straightforward affair. Hold down the home button at the bottom of the device for a moment. This will bring up the multitasking screen. Here, you can tap between applications as you see fit, but more importantly, you can close apps by swiping them from left to right. Swipe up and down on the screen to see all apps that are open. Don’t worry about swiping each app individually to close it; the icon in the bottom-right can close all apps that are currently open.
You can also tap the pie chart icon in the bottom left to see which apps are using the most system resources and quickly close or uninstall them. This section will also let you clear certain apps as being the defaults for certain tasks.
Easy peasy. Questions? Leave 'em in the comments.
A great list of games, tools and themes to get you through the weekend
Saturday afternoon often brings many great things — one of which is our Apps of the Week column on Android Central. We carve out a slot on the site each week to give the writers here a chance to show off an app they've been using on their phone or tablet in the last week. We see games of all kinds, launchers, themes, alarm clock apps and beyond here, and there's a good chance at least one will be completely new to you.
Hit the break to see our list this week, where you may just find an app or two to install on your own device.
Don't want those apps on your phone? You should be able to delete them!
If you've ever seen a Korean phone up close, you'll know that those things come absolutely stacked to the rafters with pre-installed, bloatware apps. Be they from carriers or OEM's, the result leaves a brand new phone coming out of the box filled with apps. But, while the pre-installing can continue, new guidelines there say that those apps must be user deletable.
"The move aims to rectify an abnormal practice that causes inconvenience to smartphone users and causes unfair competition among industry players,"
Filling up a phone with non-removable apps just hurts a big portion of the folks who buy it. Less storage space is available for one. A positive move for our Korean friends then, and the new guidelines will come into effect from April. I'm guessing there are more than a few folks out there who'd like to see a similar practice over in Europe and North America?
In a move that we can only hope inspires other mobile regulators, the South Korean government has struck a major blow against Android bloatware. Yonhap News reports that Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MISP) is bringing the hammer down on preinstalled Android apps, introducing new guidelines that will enable users to delete them. Carriers won’t be forced to make apps related to Wi-Fi, user settings, NFC or app store removable, but even with core services excluded, it puts almost 60 apps installed by the country’s three biggest providers at risk. Samsung and LG won’t escape the judgement either, with more than half of their 40 default apps facing a less than certain future.
The ministry said preinstalled apps are an “inconvenience” to users and cause “unfair competition” between operators and carriers, so it asked them to offer detailed information to users on how much storage their preinstalled apps take up. It also intends to apply the same rules to Google’s suite of apps and services, which includes Gmail and Hangouts, although the regulator is still in talks with the search giant. Samsung, LG, SK Telecom and others have until April before the rules come into effect, which could mean Korean users will be able to tweak apps installed on their new Galaxy S5, should the device launch in the coming months.
A set of commits have recently been pushed to the Android Open Source Project that seeks to harden the platform against malicious attacks. But while the intention is definitely good, this new feature could very well spell disaster for the dozens of root apps out there.
These code changes were pointed out to Chainfire, developer of one of the most popular root access management apps available, SuperSU. After realizing the far-reaching implications of this new feature, he took to Google+ to call attention to it in the hopes of alerting other root app developers and hopefully even Google’s developers as well.
The security feature uses SELinux, which was introduced in Android 4.3, to prohibit files under the /data partition with the unconfirmed domain tag from being executed. This block was put in place to prevent rogue apps from getting unauthorized access. Unfortunately, that security hole, if one can call it that, is the very same mechanism used by root apps to work. Thus, if that new feature makes its way to the next Android version unchanged, a good number of, but not all, root apps will no longer work out of the box.
The situation isn’t totally hopeless but definitely needs to be addressed as soon as possible. There are possible workarounds possible, but there isn’t any solution that would work for all root apps. It is also possible for Android developers to find a better way of protecting the platform without removing the possibility of running root apps on Android in the future.
Every company wants to keep its upcoming products under wraps until the time it’s ready to make a formal announcement, but it’s something that’s becoming rather impossible these days, as almost every device gets leaked before it’s made official. Sony’s devices have suffered from this evil for as long as anyone remembers, but the Japanese manufacturer might have found a clever way to prevent its devices from being leaked: by blocking the installation of benchmark apps on prototype devices.
An image posted by XperiaBlog shows how a prototype Sony device showed off a warning when someone tried to install AnTuTu benchmark and simply gave no option to proceed with the installation. Considering the fact that benchmark apps are one of the biggest offenders when it comes to leaks, it’s a good move from Sony, though it’s unknown if the blocking of such apps can be worked around, perhaps by changing the package name of the installation file of a particular benchmark app. Even if it is, it’s still a good way to indicate to the tester that these apps can be detrimental to the company’s efforts to keep things a secret, and could go a long way towards reducing the amount of leaked details we’re able to get on any upcoming Samsung smartphone.
The post Sony blocks installation of benchmark apps on prototype devices to reduce leaks appeared first on The Droid Guy.
Just a quick PSA for those of you who either develop or use apps that require root. Chainfire, the man behind some of the most helpful and useful root apps out there, has alerted the community about possible changes to Android’s file system that would effectively break root access for many apps.
According to him, new code commits to the Android Open Source Project master tree prevents SuperUser from executing files located in /data. Chainfire explains what’s happening in a quick couple of lines:
A lot of root apps (though by no means all of them) include binaries or scripts that they extract to their app-specific files or lib directory (located on the /data partition) and execute from there as root. This will no longer work out-of-the-box, and generate an access denied error.
Though there are certainly several ways around the issue for the affected apps, there doesn’t seem to be a single generic solution that would work for all cases and can be implemented in the su command itself (though of course if you can come up with one, I’m all ears).
He says it’s likely we’ll be seeing this in the next major version of Android (be it 4.4.3, 4.5, 5.0 or whatever Google decides on). So what does that mean? It’ll mean tons of app developers will likely have to update their apps to circumvent this unfortunate issue looming over the community.
While there’s no known solution just yet, Chainfire says it’s important for the community to be aware of the issue early on. This would allow developers to pool the power of their overly smart brains together and work together to make sure this doesn’t become an issue by the time the next version of Android is out.
How can you, the user, help? Simple: contact all of the developers of your favorite apps and pass them the source link you see below. Make sure they’re aware of the impending issues so that they can be on the edge of development and make sure this doesn’t affect their apps’ usage. Otherwise, we’re going to have a lot of sad folks dropping a lot of 1-star reviews in the Google Play Store in the near future.