[Price: Free / $2.99 per month / $29.99 per year]
This week’s Android Apps Weekly is sponsored by Rocket VPN. This VPN service is simple enough for anyone to understand but powerful enough for most VPN uses. It’s also been recently updated to include Material Design! You can choose from servers all around the world to securely connect to the Internet and protect yourself from the unknown. You can get a 7 day free trial and you’ll be given access to 500MB free each month or you can pay to get more!
Welcome back to Android Apps Weekly! Here are your headlines for this week:
- First up this week, it’s been announced that Mojang, the company behind Minecraft, will be killing off support for another one of their games called Scrolls. Reports are that you can still play the game through June 2016, but that’s one less game in the Mojang library.
- CyanogenMod has been teasing a new browser called Gello. This is based on Chromium like many others but this one includes some fun customization features like site-by-site privacy settings. There is no ETA for release yet but this looks like it could be pretty good.
- Recently, an application was taken down and the developer was sued by the FTC. The reason was because the app was designed to mine Dogecoins when not in use. This not only makes devices slow with terrible battery life, but it’s also illegal in the United States. They settled for just shy of $50,000.
- Google Photos saw some controversy this week after the app mistakenly tagged black people as gorillas. As you can imagine, this is not good news and people are understandably upset. The developers have issues apologies and have removed gorillas from the database until a permanent fix can be worked out.
- Select theaters will be having way more fun with the upcoming terminator release than others. It’s been announced that some theaters will let people play a Terminator Genisys game on the theater screen before the movie shows. This is really cool and it should happen more often.
For even more Android apps and games news, don’t forget to check out this week’s newsletter. There we’ll have the complete list of headlines, updates, and new releases that we didn’t have time for here. If you’re so inclined, you can subscribe with your email address and have this info sent directly to your inbox every Friday!
Normally we don’t include app updates here but Pushbullet has one so big that we want to talk about it. A recent update has not only cleaned up the user interface a whole bunch, but it’s also added full messaging support. Other improvements include better pushing between devices and your regular bug fixes and performance improvements. If you want a one-stop shop for connecting your computer to your Android device, Pushbullet seems to be the way to go.
Yahoo’s Aviate Launcher is another app that got a huge update this last week that’s worth talking about. The app now includes a new feature called Smart Stream. This is kind of like a competitor to Google Now. It keeps an eye on the stuff you do on your device and then tries to compile a feed of stuff that you might be interested in. This also includes weather data, directions, and it’ll even pull your music app to the front if you plug speakers in.
Geometry Wars 3 was released to the Google Play Store this last week to positive reviews. The game features a glorious display of colors and fast paced game play. It includes over 50 levels including classic arcade levels, 10 battle modes, and multiple control set ups. It’s $4.99 but there are no in-app purchases and the game currently has over 500 positive reviews versus 16 negative reviews. This one’s a no brainer for those looking for a time killer.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Vainglory is a hotly anticipated MOBA that released on Android just yesterday. It features a League of Legends-style pay scheme where you can play as much as you want for free but some of the more specialized items and characters may cost a couple of bucks. It features long game matches, customizable hero builds, and all of the awesome stuff that you’d expect in a MOBA. Do be warned, this game packs a serious punch so low end devices may not handle it well.
Half-Life 2: Episode 2 was released on Android but there is some bad news. It’s only available for the Nvidia Shield Tablet and Nvidia Shield’s Android TV device. If you’ve never played the Half-Life series before, you’ll probably need to at least play Half-Life 2 and Half-Life 2: Episode 1 to know what’s going on. This, however, is a console level game with great graphics, a good story, and plenty of things for you to shoot. It’s $7.99 with no in-app purchases.
If we missed any great Android apps and games news this week, let us know in the comments! Thanks for reading and watching. See you next week.
Google Translate is notorious for spewing out either oddly worded or overly formal results, but the company says it’s getting better thanks to people’s help. Mountain View’s online translator is now more adept at figuring out informal speech — for instance, it can tell if you want to ask “Is everything alright?” when what you’ve typed in has another more literal translation, as you can see below the fold. That’s all made possible by the volunteers who spend time translating phrases and checking the quality of other people’s submissions on the Translate community website. The company promises to incorporate more and more translations over time as its service learns each language better. Hopefully, that means locals won’t look at us funny next time we try to use it overseas.
[Image credit: shutterstock]
Source: Google Translate
Despite being the beginning of summer, the Android apps and games world was surprisingly active. We had Google I/O 2015 at the beginning of the month and E3 in the middle. The result has been noticeable as we’ve seen quite a few great new things come out this month. Let’s look at the best new Android apps and games from June of 2015.
Adobe released not one, but four new applications in the month of June. The first is the new Photoshop Mix app that acts as a photo and image editor. It’s not overly powerful but it does a good job. With that was Color CC which helps you discern the colors used in a photo or image, Brush CC that allows you to create and save various brush types, and Shape CC which turns images into vector graphics. They all plug into the Adobe Creative Cloud and they’re all free to download.
Chaos Rings III is the first of a few large Square Enix releases that we’ll talk about today. Chaos Rings III is an RPG that has you exploring a ruined world to complete missions and find hidden treasures. It features gorgeous, Kingdom Hearts-style graphics, decent music, and a long story line. You can also engage with Battle Mode if you want to take a break from the story. It’s expensive but there’s a lot to do and there are no in app purchases.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
CloudPlayer by doubleTwist is a unique music player because it allows you to play songs from your cloud storage. This is similar to how Google Play Music does things, except CloudPlayer allows you to use OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox to listen to music. The interface is pretty good and other features include a 10-band EQ, AirPlay and Chromecast support, and support for lossless codecs. It’s free to try if you’re interested.
Dragon Quest VI is a jRPG out of Square Enix and it joins Dragon Quest IV and V as the trilogy that tells the Zenithian storyline. It features first-person, turn based battles, portrait mode game play, retro graphics, and some side quests and mini-games to give you a break from the main story. In classic Square Enix fashion, the game clocks in with a fairly lofty price tag but there is a long story with dozens of hours of game play and there are no in-app purchases.
Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions was a particularly awesome release because the strategy RPG world had been begging for a Tactics game for such a long time. This is a remake of the original PlayStation game with revamped graphics and the menu system has been revamped for touch screen controls. The game play has also been tweaked for touch screens which was surprisingly nice. It’s expensive like all Square Enix titles but it’s a long game and, again, no in-app purchases.
The GameOn Project is an application that helps you find games. The way it works is you install the app, open it, take a survey, and then you’re recommended games based on how you answered the questions. Listing all the games you know may be tedious and some of the questions are a bit weird, but the results are fairly decent. It’s also totally free with no in-app purchases so it’s worth a shot if you’re looking for games.
It feels like a good long time since Google Photos came out but it was a June release. For those who don’t know, Google Photos is a cloud-based photo storage app where you can store an infinite amount of your photos and videos for free as long as you don’t mind Google processing them down a little bit. It also works as a gallery app so you can see your entire collection. It’s simply a must have application.
Moments is a new application released by Facebook that essentially does the same thing as Google Photos. With this service, you can backup your photos and share them on Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram as you so choose. Photos can be tagged, searched, and otherwise organized. You can also save photos other people share with you directly to the service. It’s not as powerful as Google Photos, but it’s worth a shot if you’re big into Facebook.
Portal by Pushbullet is a new application that helps you move files from your PC to your Android device and vice versa. The interface is done in the flavor of Material Design and it’s extremely easy to set up and use. You can move a file, multiple files, or even whole folders at your whim and you can use the app to browse and open files you’ve transferred. The only caveat is you need Android Lollipop or better to use it.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Shoot by BitTorrent is a phone-to-phone transfer app that allows you to transfer whatever you need between two Android devices. It works by generating a QR code that the other device scans. Once the connection is made, the file is downloaded. This provides a dead simple solution to those who want to share files whether they’re large or small. The free version is a trial but you can pay for the pro version as an in-app purchase and unlock the app permanently.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Seigefall is a new freemium-strategy game from Gameloft. In terms of game play, it falls somewhere between Boom Beach and Clash of Clash by Supercell but with way better graphics, more control, and more to do. It features a very long campaign mode and plenty of things to upgrade. It is a freemium title so keep that in mind but as far as freemium games go, this is probably among the best that will be released this year.
If we missed any great new Android apps and games that you thought should be on this list, let us know about them in the comments below! To stay up to date on the latest Android apps and games news, check out our newsletter using the button below!
For those who haven’t yet leaned, the Amazon Appstore has been known to be very generous. Not only do they give away a free paid app each day but it also gathers up collections every so often and gives them away. Last month, for instance, saw Amazon offering up $110 worth of apps and games for free.
The Amazon Appstore is currently offering over $50 worth of paid Android apps and games for free to all of you. Normally ranging from $0.99 to $11.99 these paid apps will be free for a limited time. Specifically, you have until July 1st to take advantage.
Among the popular ones we see AVG AntiVirus PRO, Table Top Racing, The Bard’s Tale and many more others.
To get in on this fantastic offer just visit this link to sideload the Amazon Appstore onto your android phone or tablet. Once installed you can get any or all of the titles.
Check out the complete list of apps and games offered below.
- Airport Mania 2: Wild Trips
- Alarm Clock – Alarm Clock Pro
- AVG Antivirus Pro
- Crazy Rocket
- Deep Under the Sky
- Endless Skater
- Fantastic 4 In a Row 2
- Mirroring360 – AirPlay Receiver
- Monkey Racing
- Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst (Full)
- No Gravity (Kindle Tablet Edition)
- Quell Memento
- Simply Yoga
- Source Memento
- Table Top Racing
- The Bard’s Tale
- The fantastic 4 in a Row 2
- tinyCam Monitor PRO for IP Cam
- Weather Live – Detailed forecasts and live weather conditions
Just keep in mind that all these paid apps and games will update only through the Amazon Appstore. Happy downloading!
The post Amazon Appstore offering $50 of paid apps for free appeared first on AndroidGuys.
Today, to-do list app Todoist has announced a huge update to its Android app. It’s a much larger update than you would usually expect from an app that’s getting updated to Material Design. In fact, Todoist has overhauled the entire application with the goal of making everything simpler and more colorful. That means on top of a new design, there are also some new features.
Along with adding new features, Todoist has also worked to make existing features work faster. The result is an application that feels almost entirely different from its predecessor. Here is a list of the new features:
- Quick add with natural data parsing – What this essentially means is the application will now read what you type and just know what information it needs to add. For instance, you can add labels, due dates, etc directly into the task field and the new Todoist app will automatically add the due date, labels, etc to the areas it needs to be added.
- Start and end dates – This was an existing feature in the Todoist app already but the feature has been revamped so you can be far more specific with things like recurring tasks. These operations are also easier to add to any task.
- Create sub-tasks while quickly adding tasks – One of the more complex features of Todoist is the ability to create sub-tasks inside of tasks. In the revamped version of Todoist, this is also easier as you can just swipe left or right on the drag handle and it coverts the new task into a sub-task.
- Add collaborators while adding projects – Todoist admitted that this was one of the more cumbersome features in prior versions of the app. The entire process has been simplified to a single step where you can add collaborators as you create projects.
- Complete design overhaul – The app received a lot of color in the update and it shows on every screen in the app. It should also be pointed out that all buttons now have labels and are laid out in a consistent fashion making them easier to find.
- Themes – Todoist has not only given the app a burst of color with Material Design, but you can also change the color. For now, Todoist has 10 themes available including red, tangerine, sunflower, clover, blueberry, sky, amethyst, noir, graphite, and neutral.
- Swipe gestures – There have also been some swipe gestures added to the app. Swiping right will mark the task as complete and swiping left will allow you to schedule a task. The swipe gestures are also color coordinated. Swiping to the right for complete will show green while swiping to the left to schedule will be dark yellow.
- Enhanced full-add screen – In Todoist, you can add quick tasks or you can add tasks using the full-add screen. The full-add screen has been overhauled to make it easier for you to input data about that task such as due date, labels, notes, etc.
Todoist is one of the better to-do list applications on Android already and the slew of new features and designs only helps to solidify that position. As a whole, the app will work mostly as it did before and existing users won’t have to change how they do things. The update seems to simply make doing those things a bit faster.
The update is scheduled to go live today but we imagine the roll-out will take a bit of time. If you already have Todoist, just wait for the update to come to you. If you like what you see and want to give Todoist a try, you can download it using the button below. If you want to learn more, check out the press release, also below.
Todoist’s Material design update has been highly anticipated by its millions of Android users. Considering the depth of Todoist’s Android renovation, the programming and design of the app have taken the better part of a year. “We’ve made radical changes to nearly all the screens inside the app– their design is both stunning and bold. We’ve also rewritten most of the app’s UI to bring it up-to-speed with the latest technology, to be faster and buttery smooth”, says Gonçalo Silva, Todoist’s Head of Android. It has been an extensive process that will undoubtedly prove to be worth the wait.
Today, Todoist’s Android community will truly be able to get more done, in less time, with less effort, on a much more visually inspiring platform. Regardless if you are a power user who delves into Todoist’s every robust feature, or if you simply enjoy using Todoist as a basic checklist, you will see vast improvements that will help you achieve your most important personal and professional goals.
To begin, you will now be able to personalize your Todoist experience with 10 new colorful themes that will brighten the previously grey backdrop of the app. Love the outdoors? Try the Sky-blue theme. Or enjoy an uplifting boost of color with the Tangerine theme. Todoist for Android is no longer just a powerful, utilitarian software– today, for example, you can open the left menu and see your avatar and your Karmaprogress bathed in a theme that reflects your personality and ambitions.
Beyond the cosmetics of Todoist’s Material design update, users will now enjoy new features that give more power and seamlessness to their task and project management. Though ease-of-use was paramount when Todoist’s Android team took to redesigning the app, technical prowess was never sacrificed. This harmony between technology and usability has resulted in a simplified experience for the user and can be seen in the beautifully executed Material transformations and animations.
Some of the most useful and novel features being released today include:
•Quick add with natural date parsing: Type important task information like due dates, labels, and priorities directly into the task field on your Android device. The intelligent in-line adding will automatically recognize, highlight and properly categorize all the details for you. The new date parsing– one of the most advanced in the world– is available in 14 languages and supports over 300 rules per language. This means that you can input almost any combination of details whatsoever into Todoist, and the app will know exactly what to do with it.
•Start and end dates: Date input for Android has been completely revamped to include start and end dates that will allow you to add even your most complicated recurring due dates. For example, you can now create a task to“read three chapters every Sunday starting August 1st and ending November 15th”.
•Create sub-tasks while quickly adding tasks: Now, it’s possible to organize complex projects directly from your Android device. Just swipe left or right on the drag handle during the quick-add, and you will be able to instantly convert the new task into a sub-task. This makes it incredibly easy to manipulate the hierarchy of the sub-tasks and parent tasks within a project.
•Add collaborators while adding projects: Previously, this was a cumbersome, multi-step process– you had to add a project, select it, tap the sharing option and then add collaborators. With today’s update, you can immediately add new collaborators while creating a new project.
•A brand new navigation menu: This menu has been completely redesigned and beautifully optimized for Material’s visual language. In addition, Todoist’s Manage mode is now much more straightforward and intuitive– all buttons now have labels and are consistently located at the bottom of each sublist.
•Enhanced full-add task screen: Enjoy a gorgeous, full-screen UI that makes it much easier to visualize your task’s most important details like due date, priority, and labels. Task hierarchy is also more accessible on this screen– now, you have the option to select a parent task for any given sub-task that you want to create.
•Swipe to complete and schedule: With today’s update, a swift swipe to the left will let you schedule a task, while a swipe to the right will render a task complete. This action has also been redesigned according to Google’s Material gesture guidelines– the swipe background is now color coordinated to match your intention: green to complete, and dark yellow to schedule.
•Complete redesign: No stone has been left unturned in this update– every single screen and action in Todoist for Android has been totally redesigned under Google’s Material design specifics and tenants.
•Colorful themes: Personalize your to-do list with Todoist’s first ever color themes– there are 10 to choose from including Todoist red, tangerine, sunflower, clover, blueberry, sky, amethyst, noir, graphite or neutral.
For more details about Todoist for Android’s Material design update please visit http://www.todoist.com/android.
About TodoistOne of the first task-management softwares available on the market, Todoist– launched in 2007– is a powerful to-do list app for personal and group productivity that lets users manage tasks from their email inbox, web browser, desktop, or mobile/wearable device. Todoist is available in 20 languages and on 16 different platforms and is used by over 4.5 million people (many from Fortune 100 Companies like IBM, Oracle, and HP) who have completed more than 182 million tasks in over 30 million projects. Todoist, a champion of lean startup principles, is built by a chiefly virtual team that spans 16 different countries and five continents.
The Galaxy Universal Remote app is one of the better remote apps available on the Play Store. It uses a device’s built-in IR blaster to control your TV, set top box, media streamer, and even your camera if you have a supported DSLR. It features a smooth, easy-to-use interface with a bucket load of supported devices and you can get a device supported upon request. There is also Android Wear support so you can control all of these devices using your smartwatch as well! The only caveat is you’ll need a phone with an IR blaster.
In this week’s episode we’re going to round up all the Android gaming stuff that happened at E3. Hold on to your hats, there was quite a bit!
- Zynga announced a new strategy game called Dawn of Titans and let me tell you, this game looks impressive! It features some really good graphics and some decent mechanics that should equal up to a fun time. We don’t have a release date yet and here’s hoping Zynga doesn’t wreck it with ridiculously bad in-app purchases.
- Square Enix fans in particular have a lot to be excited about because the company not only announced a Final Fantasy 7 remake for the PS4, but that Final Fantasy 7 was coming to mobile. The iOS version is due out sometime this year and Android will be along eventually.
- While we’re on the topic of Square Enix, they also announced Kingdom Hearts Unchained Key for mobile. It takes place during the same stretch of story as the more recent Kingdom Hearts games and has a lot of the same mechanics even if the graphics don’t look as good as console versions.
- Square Enix also included an announcement for Lara Croft Go, which will be an action adventure puzzle game along the same vein as Hitman Go but during the announcement, they also alluded to some Monument Valley style elements like a more calm experience. We don’t have a release date for this one either but it looks fun.
- DotEmu has announced that they’ll be porting the classic 2006 PC game Titan Quest to Android later this year. For those who don’t know, Titan Quest is a fighting game where you play historically significant figures as you battle evil mythological creatures. It should be out sometime this year.
- EA has announced that they’ll be releasing a build-harvest game called Minion’s Paradise. This will likely coincide with the release of the Minions movie that’s due out in theaters next month. If you’ve played Ice Age Village or Nemo’s Reef, you pretty much know what’s going on with this title.
- Along with that, EA announced a card collecting RPG called Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes. As with any card collecting game, you’ll be collecting cards of iconic characters, ships, etc from all of the movies and you’ll be using them to make your deck stronger. It’s slated to be released later this year.
- Bethesda had quite a year at E3 for mobile devices as well. They announced that they’ll be bringing a simulation game called Fallout Shelter where you’ll get to control people’s lives, build various places like gyms and bars, and otherwise manage the lives of some people Fallout style. It’s out on iOS now with an Android version coming eventually.
- Bethesda also announced a card collecting game called The Elder Scrolls: Legends that is also due out sometime this year. If you’ve played Hearthstone, then you pretty much know what this game is about. It’s a similar premise but it takes place in the Elder Scrolls universe instead of the Warcraft universe.
- Telltale Games, makers of the popular Walking Dead series games have announced The Walking Dead: Michonne. This covers the story of Michonne from issue 126 through 139 of the comic book series which hasn’t been covered in any of the other games. This one is coming to mobile but also to console and PC so you can play it wherever.
- Starbreeze Studios has announced that it will be bringing the Payday franchise to Android. For those who don’t know, Payday is a moderately popular first person shooter that was originally launched back in 2011 for PC and the Playstation 3. They’re working on developing a mobile friendly version of it and we have no idea when it’ll be out.
- A new Torchlight game was also announced this week called Torchlight Mobile. This is an action RPG title similar to Diablo and the Torchlight franchise has done well on PC in the past. We don’t have a release date but it is coming sometime this year.
- Gameloft had a busy E3 as they announced a few games, but most notably Siegefall. Seigefall is, for lack of a better term, a Clash of Clans clone. It has some decent graphics, heroes, and a much longer campaign mode. It uses gems to upgrade stuff faster using in-app purchases if you want to.
- Back to EA for a moment. They showed off their upcoming FIFA 2016 title which we anticipate will be as popular as the 2015 and 2014 variants. It has some decent graphics and controls. It will most likely be free with in-app purchases similar to their earlier titles. Be prepared for that this summer.
For more information, you can find links to all of these stories in our E3 master list where we round up all the videos and news from E3 this last week! Since I do make this on Thursday, there’s likely some smaller announcements that I didn’t get to in the video so it’s worth checking out.
Now let’s get to some regular headlines from the last week:
- LastPass had a security breach this last week that prompted the company to encourage everyone to change their master passwords. We understand that it wasn’t a major breach with no important information getting leaked and that the password change is a precaution.
- A new Humble Bundle was released this last week. It features eight games with more coming soon. If you pay the minimum $1, you will get four of the games and if you beat the average, you’ll get every game available in the bundle. As usual, it’s a great way to give to charity and try out some new games!
- In an effort to promote its new family friendly section, the Google Play Store is now offering a free app of the day. Unfortunately, it’s only in the family friendly selection of applications which only affects those who use that section, but it’s still a pretty fun little promotion.
- We’ve known for a while now that Cortana is coming to Android but we didn’t know when. Microsoft has announced that a beta version will be showing up this July. We’ll have more details when they become available.
- In our last headline this week, YouTube will be taking on Twitch with its YouTube Gaming platform which is set to release this summer. Some folks at Ars Technica got to take a look at it early and it seems to look pretty nice. We’ll know more when it gets released this summer.
For even more headlines, app updates, and new releases, don’t forget to check out this week’s newsletter. There we’ll have all the content we didn’t have time for here. If you want, you can sign up with your email and get all of this stuff sent straight to your email inbox every single Friday.
Check out our Android Apps Weekly newsletter!
Moments is a new application from Facebook that is kind of a direct response to Google Photos. Using the service, you can backup all of your photos to one place and then you can share them to Facebook, Instagram, or Facebook Messenger. You can sync multiple photos, use the photo search feature, and even save photos other people send to you. It doesn’t quite have the power of Google Photos, but it’s a fun option for those who primarily use Instagram or Facebook.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Shoot is an app by BitTorrent that allows you to share files between Android devices. Here’s how it works. The device with the file will create a QR code. The other device will scan it and then the connection will be made and the file will download. It’s very easy to use and to understand once you get in there and actually use the app. It’s also totally free to use but beware of those release day bugs!
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
CloudPlayer by doubleTwist is a new music player that does something quite unique. It can connect to your cloud storage accounts such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and more and play any music stored there. This essentially turns your cloud storage into your music player in a way that few apps have been able to accomplish. It also enjoys AirPlay and Chromecast support, a 10-band EQ, and Material Design.
Portal is another file transfer application but this one was developed by Pushbullet. This aims to simplify the process of transferring files from your computer to your Android device and back again. It allows you to transfer multiple files and even entire folders at once. You can include photos, videos, documents, and more. The only caveat is that you’ll need a device running Android 5.0 or later in order to use this app.
This week Adobe released not one, but four applications to the Play Store. They include Photoshop Mix, Shape CC, Brush CC, and Color CC. Photoshop Mix is a light photo editing application with a slew of editing options, Shape CC allows you to take images of things and turn them into vector graphics, Brush CC turns images into brushes for later use, and Color CC helps you determine what color things are in photos. These are all potentially useful tools that are all free to use in the Play Store right now.
If we missed any great Android apps or games news, let us know in the comments! Have a great weekend everyone.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Blood Brothers 2 is a strategy RPG game that has you recruiting commanders and using their armies to do battle against opponents. Each one has a class such as archer, cavalry, or infantry and you use those to gain the advantage. The game also includes free daily commander recruiting, a PvP arena where you can do battle against live opponents, and guilds that allow you to grow your skills, get bonuses, and play as a team. It’s free to play so there’s no harm in trying it out and you’d be showing your support for Android Apps Weekly. Who knows, you might even like it.
Welcome back to a special edition of the Android Apps Weekly show! This week we’re going to run down a bunch of app-related stuff from Google I/O 2015 and talk about some other news! Let’s get started:
- Google I/O was a huge deal in the world of apps. Let’s talk about that first. One of the first announcements was of Chrome Custom Tabs which will allow developers to add Chrome Browser directly into their apps to help get rid of those terrible built-in web browsers in apps like Twitter or Facebook.
- A new app permission system will allow you to grant access or deny application permissions when the app asks for it and you’ll be able to turn off app permissions in the Settings. Of course, this will all be in Android M.
- Starting in Android M, developers will be able to use native Android fingerprint scanner support in apps. This will allow you to do things like log in with your finger or, in conjunction with Android Pay, let you pay for stuff in apps and in the Google Play Store. Oh by the way, Android Pay is totally happening.
- Also included in Android M is a new way to backup applications that will backup everything so you’ll be able to just download the app and have your data already on your device for it.
- Inbox by Gmail no longer requires an invite. Hooray! It will also be getting new features including undo sent emails, swipe to delete, and more!
- Google Now on Tap is a new implementation of Google Now that’ll gauge what’s going on with your screen and give you suggestions on what to do with that information. It will also allow for app indexing soon to work better with other Android apps.
- Google Maps will finally be getting improved offline maps support by the end of the year.
- Google announced the Google Family Star which will show up on G-rated content in the Google Play Store to help families find content that is suitable for their children. The Play Store also has ESRB, PEGI, and other ratings for games.
- HBO Now will be hitting the Play Store this summer.
- Lastly, the Chromecast will be getting an update soon that will give it auto-play capabilities, second screen support, and multiplayer gaming. No word yet on when that’s coming.
You can read up on all of the Google I/O stuff from this master list we compiled. Here are some non-Google I/O headlines from this week:
- Microsoft purchased the popular to-do list app Wunderlist this week. We have no idea what they’ll do with it but it is the latest in a string of purchases that Microsoft has been making that has also included Sunshine Calendar and Accompli which actually turned into the new Microsoft Outlook.
- In some rare Android TV news, a few new applications will be making their way to the platform in the coming months. They include HBO Go, Vimeo, Twitch, and many, many others. This is great news for Android TV because it really needed more apps.
- In our last headline, Android is getting its first full Harvest Moon game this winter. No, friends, this is not a port of a pre-existing game, this is a brand new game. It’s very exciting and we really hope it’s not Freemium. .
For all of this week’s headlines, updates, and new releases, don’t forget to check out this week’s newsletter. It’s packed full of the latest Android apps and games news including all the stuff we didn’t have time for here. If you’re so inclined, you can sign up with your email address and have the newsletter sent straight to your inbox every single Friday.
First up this week is Imgur. No, this isn’t a new application but it did receive a huge update this last week. Included is a Material Design overhaul, better uploading capabilities, and the boilerplate bug fixes and performance improvements. It has always been one of the better online photo sharing apps out there and now it’s gotten a whole lot better. It’s also totally free.
[Price: $4.99 with in-app purchases]
Hitman: Sniper is the latest game in the Hitman series from Square Enix. In this one, you’ll play once again as Agent 47 as you complete assignments using your sniper and assassination skills. It features some beautifully rendered cut scenes and some pretty impressive graphics. You’ll also be able to replay missions to get a higher score. It’s available right now but beware of those release day bugs.
Kamcord is a new screen capturing application that is aimed at helping you secure footage of the Android games you might be playing. It’s simple to use and has already seen some success on iOS. It uses Android’s native screen capturing capabilities which means you won’t need root but you will need Android Lollipop or better to use it. It’s currently free with no in-app purchases.
Chaos Rings III is the latest member of the Chaos Rings franchise also by Square Enix. This one features really good, Kingdom Hearts-style graphics, game play that was built for mobile, and a long story line full of lore and large weapons. It clocks in at $19.99 but there are no in-app purchases and let’s face it, that’s about how much this game would cost if it came out for the Nintendo 3DS or the PS Vita. If you like jRPGs, this is worth a shot.
Google Photos was released at Google I/O 2015 and is already highly acclaimed thanks to its unlimited storage and slick interface. You can get unlimited photo backup as long as you don’t mind Google compressing it a little bit or you can use your Google Drive space to save the full photos without any modification. It’s been out a week and it’s already heralded as a must-have applications. Just go get it.
If we missed any great Android apps or games news, tell us all about it in the comments. See you next week!
We’re reaching the end of May and a lot of exciting things are about to happen, including Google I/O which usually brings about a lot of big Android things. We’re heading into the lull of summer but there were still some amazing apps and games released this month. Let’s take a look at the best Android apps and games from May of 2015.
Bleep is a free messaging service from, believe it or not, BitTorrent. The premise of the app is very simple, it stores all of the encryption keys and messages on your device instead of the cloud. This helps prevent hackers from intercepting and decoding your messages and gives you a very secure, private way of messaging other people. The interface is also pretty nice.
Broken Age is a game from Double Fine Productions that has you playing the stories of two teenagers and you can switch between their stories at will. The game includes gorgeous hand-drawn graphics and an all-star cast of voice actors including Elijah Wood, Jack Black, and many others. It’s a bit expensive at $9.99 but there are no in-app purchases and it’s a good looking game.
Chrome Dev is the developer channel release of the Google Chrome Browser. This is very popular with the tech nerd community because it gives you a glimpse of the latest features that could be coming to Google Chrome. If you like living on the bleeding edge of development, this app is for you but do beware that there will be bugs because this is essentially the Chrome Browser test bed.
GoatZ is a parody of the popular DayZ game that is based on the popular Goat Simulator game. You play as a goat as you take out zombies, get hit by cars, and cause other, goat-related mayhem. The graphics are good and the game is buggy but it’s kind of meant to be. It’s pretty funny and there’s a lot to do. There are also no in-app purchases and plenty of zombies.
This year’s Google I/O is fast approaching and those interested in keeping up will need the official Google I/O app in order to do it. The app is done completely in Material Design and features the ability to live stream sessions, see what’s going on, check events, and engage with the event. Everyone who is going will have this app but it’s still useful for everyone.
Layout from Instagram is a new photo manipulation application that allows you to turn your photos into collages. Despite its origins, you don’t actually need an Instagram account to use it and you can post the collages you make almost anywhere. It’s a fun little app for those who like collages and it even comes with a variety of effects. It’s also totally free to use.
Meerkat is one of two new streaming applications out this month that allow you to live stream footage from your smartphone camera. Meerkat allows you to stream footage to your Twitter followers straight from your camera. People can only watch it live and video doesn’t get saved afterward. It’s a fun concept that’s already seen some controversy but it’s fun to play with.
MixRadio finally released an Android app this last month. The UK-based streaming service is kind of like Pandora in that you can subscribe to stations and listen to music. It also takes the music you listen to and tries to guess what kind of music you might like. It’s good for music discovery and radio-style streaming. It’s also free to use and it has a decent interface.
Periscope is the other video streaming application that was released this month alongside Meerkat. Unlike Meerkat, Periscope allows for video replaying so people can watch your streams over and over. Otherwise, the concepts are pretty much the same. Both rely on Twitter integration and both stream live from your phone camera. Also like Meerkat, Periscope has already seen some controversy.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Seabeard is a puzzle adventure game where you walk around, solving puzzles, and beating up bad guys. The graphics and design are reminiscent of a Nintendo game and there is quite a bit of stuff to do. The main premise is to build a trading empire and most missions revolve around that idea. It’s great for kids and adults, is free to play with in-app purchases, and it looks nice.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Snake Rewind is the long awaited spiritual sequel to the hit game Snake that we used to play on the mobile phones of old. The mechanics remain largely untouched and while some may not like the controls, I didn’t think they were that bad. The graphics are decent and the game is free to download. It’s a Snake game through and through and it’s a good burst of nostalgic joy.
Saturday Night Live is one of the best sketch comedy shows of all time and they released their official application this last month. Included is the upcoming line up of hosts so you know who is doing what and when. There is also access to archival footage from years past so you can relive the hilarity over and over again. It’ll even eventually recommend sketches the app thinks you might like.
Last up this month is Sunburn, a new game out of Noodlecake Studios. This retro style game has you exploring the harshness of space as you attempt to save your crew mates after a space ship wreck. You have to find them all without dying and without running out of oxygen. In includes 50 levels and Google Play Games services. It’s a fun little game and there are no in-app purchases.
If we missed any great new Android apps and games from this last month, let us know in the comments! If you want to stay up to date on the latest and greatest Android apps and games news, don’t forget to subscribe to our app-centric newsletter using the button below!
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Transformers: Battle Tactics is an online game where you assemble a team of Transformers and duel it out online versus other players in real time. The premise is fairly simple. You build a team that can have Autobots, Decepticons, or both and then you take that team online to face other people. In battles your Transformers have their own stats and you have extra bonus powers to help you along the way. There are a whole bunch of ways to build your team and use your powers to your advantage. DeNA also throws events fairly frequently where almost every player gets a little something. It’s a good time and free to download so it won’t hurt to give it a shot.
Welcome back to Android Apps Weekly! Here are your headlines for this week:
- Last week we talked about Sega’s plans to remove games that didn’t fit their standard. This week, three apps got the chop including After Burner Climax, Jet Set Radio, and Super Monkey Ball 2. On top of that, 16 games were removed from the Apple App Store. We expect the removals to continue.
- A new Humble Bundle is out now and this time it’s all about developer Artifex Mundi. You can pay whatever you want and get three games, pay the average and get four additional games, or pay a flat $9 and get all nine. These games would cost $41 if you bought them individually and it’s a great way to give to charity.
- There is now evidence to support that Google will begin its “Designed for Families” program at Google I/O this year after developers received an email asking them to opt in by May 28th. For those who don’t know, “Designed for Families” is essentially a family friendly version of Google Play that will feature apps and games for all ages.
- According to a report from Bloomberg, Google may be launching a new photo sharing service at Google I/O this year. It would be totally separate from Google+ photos and would let you share to other social media like Twitter and Facebook. We’ll tell you more when we find out more.
- In our last bit of news this week, Spotify has announced a slew of new features. Among them is a new Now start page, Spotify Running which is music to specially picked for exercising, video clips, news clips, original content, and a lot more. If this hasn’t already rolled out, it will be soon.
For even more Android apps and games news, updates, headlines, and new releases, don’t forget to check out this week’s newsletter! There we round up everything that happened this last week and it’s the best way to stay up to date in the world of apps. If you’re so inclined, you can sign up using your email address and we’ll beam that straight to your inbox every single Friday.
Twitch released a sort-of update this last week that includes some security fixes, on-demand video, and the usual array of bug fixes and performance improvements. The interesting part is that instead of just releasing an update, Twitch has actually released a whole new application that starts at version 4.0. This is due to the security fixes that could not be implemented properly if it’d just been updated. So in order to get it, you’ll have to delete your current installation and download the new one which is linked using the button below.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Ire: Blood Memory is the first action RPG out of developers Tenbirds and this one is rather interesting. It adheres to an old-school feel which means it’s tough as nails, you will die a lot, and that’s perfectly okay with us. The game also features the ability to summon companions, and a combat system that requires actual thinking, strategy, and your environment. It’s definitely no Dark Souls, but it’s pretty fun.
Layout from Instagram has actually been around for a long time as an iOS exclusive but no longer because it has been released for Android. This application allows you to create collages from your photos and then post them to Instagram. Some other features include the ability to find pictures with faces in them, integrated Instagram filters, and more. The best part is you don’t actually need to use Instagram to use this application. In fact, you don’t need an Instagram account at all. It’s worth a shot if you like collages.
Sunburn is a new game out of Noodlecake Studios, the developers responsible for Mikey Shorts, Punch Quest, and many others. In this retro-style game, you play as a ship captain that has lost your ship and your crew. You must navigate the harshness of space using your jetpack and find your crew without being hit by a comet. You must also do so before you run out of oxygen. It’s $2.99 with no in-app purchases and it’s a pretty decent little retro game.
MixRadio has finally made its way to the Google Play Store. The UK-based streaming service is a competitor to Pandora and attempts to create playlists of music based on your tastes. The idea is that the more you listen, the better it gets at predicting what you like but you can listen to curated playlists as well if that’s your thing. It also supports offline mode, has over 35 million tracks, and a fairly modern design.
If we missed any great Android apps or games news, let us know about it in the comments!
The thought of creating our own Android apps amuses most of us. “I have an excellent idea for an app,” we tell ourselves. “I could do that so much better than this developer,” is another common one. We’re never going to be able to bring those admirable ideas to light or improve upon someone else’s work if we don’t start.
Starting can be difficult, though. It can be even more difficult if you don’t have the tools to begin your Android coding journey. We’re going to show you what those tools are, how to download them, and how to get them ready for you to start programming your own apps.
The JDK and the IDE
The JDK (Java Development Kit) and IDE (Integrated Development Environment) are crucial to begin programming Android applications. The JDK implements platforms released by Oracle Corporation, such as Java EE or Java SE, to let you begin developing on the Java platform. An IDE is essentially the interface you will be programming in.
We’re going to be downloading the Netbeans IDE with JDK 8 packaged with it. We could download them both separately, but Oracle’s Netbeans and JDK download package removes quite a few steps and streamlines the process really well. You can click here to find the package.
Next, you’re going to want to select the correct download for your computer. In my case, it’s going to be the Windows x64 download. Depending on your Internet connection, it may take awhile to download the large file size.
Once it’s finished downloading, open the .exe file. A window will appear. Start the installation process, and make sure to accept the license agreement. Beyond that, it’s just like installing any normal file. Keep in mind that the installation process will take awhile, as it’s unpacking a rather large file. Once the installation is complete, simply click “Finish.”
Next up, you need to go here to download the Android SDK (Software Development Kit). Once it’s finished downloading, go through the installation process and setup all the recommended options. Make sure you install it to C:Androidandroid-sdk.
Once that is installed, go into Netbeans > Tools > Plugins > Settings. From there, you need to add a new update center. To do that, press “Add” and use this URL: http://nbandroid.org/updates/updates.xml. Now, go back to Available Plugins, and install the one that says Android. It’s a small file and should only take a short amount of time to finish. Once finished, a window will pop-up saying that the plugin certificates are not trusted, just say OK.
Now you’re almost ready to go! Select File > New Project > Android Project > OK. It will say that an Android SDK location has to be specified first. This is an easy fix because we downloaded the Android SDK earlier in C:Androidandroid-sdk. Simply click the Manage Android SDK button. It’ll open up an Options menu, asking you for the SDK location. Give it to the location, select OK, and you should be good to go!
If you’re just getting started programming, all of those previous steps are great experience. However, there’s a more simple way to setup the Android SDK. You can simply use Google’s custom Android Studio IDE to begin development. You can download it here.
After downloading Android Studio and launching the .exe, it will take you through all the necessary steps to get you setup. They aren’t hard steps to follow either, it’s quite simple, and it downloads most of the necessary tools automatically, but with your permission.
So that’s how to get your computer ready for Android development! If you’re not sure how to start programming in Android and want to learn YouTube user The New Boston has some great beginner tutorials for you to go through. I personally used the tutorials when I was first starting, and they were wonderful.
How smoothly did the Android SDK setup go for you? If you still need some assistance, be sure to leave a comment below. We’d be glad to help you finish the process.
Come comment on this article: How to set up your computer for Android application development