Sunday is app day here at AC. We look back at the apps we found ourselves using this week, and each of us pick out one that we want to recommend. Sometimes, the apps are boring utilities that work really well, sometimes they are games that keep you occupied and on the edge of your seat, but they are always applications that we think are done well and worth a look.
Have a gander at what we're recommending, then be sure to holler in the comments to tell everyone about any great apps you've found.
New details have surfaced of what Android 5.0 Lollipop and Sense 6.0 will look like together. Screenshots revealed by persistent HTC leaker LlabTooFeR have revealed Android 5.0.1 and HTC Sense 6.0 running on the HTC One M8. The software still looks like HTC Sense, but with new animations and effects from Lollipop, including revamped notifications and a few new features.
Phil is spending some much-deserved holiday time away from his desk this weekend, so you're stuck with me. He'll be back with more weekly punditry next Sunday.
In the meantime ...
I had a very interesting day this past week. Some last minute holiday gifts needed bought, and since I live in a sleepy little town, that meant a road trip. My wife and I ended up spending the day (and the money) at the Crystal City shopping mall in Arlington, Virginia where both the selection and the crowds were much bigger. We had a great day and picked up everything we needed, but I also noticed something else.
When a new Android tablet like the Nexus 9 arrives, third-party cases soon follow. The folks at our store are working out exactly what we're going to carry for the Nexus 9, but we know two things about early adopters who already have their Nexus 9 in their hands — nobody likes to wait, and we all want something to cover and protect our new (and expensive) tablet.
Both the official Magic Case and Keyboard Folio are really nice cases, but we know they won't be perfect for everyone. I spent the last week or so digging through Amazon and trying out a slew of third-party cases. We've put together a list of the "best of the best" for you to have a look through while you are waiting. The list of available accessories keeps growing every day, so I'm not done here. But this is a great start and chances are you'll see something that would work well for you.
The Dictionary.com free and premium apps for Android have both been updated to version 5.0 in the Google Play Store. Both versions include a visual redesign and a new Word of the Day quiz widget, but the ad-free premium version includes a bunch of other new additions.
A new report claims that Xiaomi is raising over $1 billion in a new funding round that could be finalized as early as Monday. The latest influx is supposedly led by All-Stars Investment, run by former Morgan Stanley analyst Richard Ji.
Amazon has started shipping the Magic Cover for the Nexus 9, but only in a single color. Should you be looking out for a new cover through the online retailer, you'll have to make do with Coral Amethyst (pictured above), though at least it's something, right?
The Six Days of Santa Phil are coming to a close, and we're going out right. Up for grabs today are two 32GB Nexus 9 tablets. You've got the opportunity to win one, and someone else has the opportunity to win the second. (You're not winning both, in other words.) And with each tablet we'll throw in a keyboard folio for good measure.
To enter: Leave your best holiday haiku here in this contest thread. (Not in the comments below. If you leave your haiku in the comments here, we can't be held responsible for the amount of ridicule you may endure.) That's it. We'll accept entries through 5 p.m. PDT Monday, Dec. 22. Good luck!
Got two minutes? Here are the broad strokes of the ASUS ZenWatch, the first Android Wear from the Taiwanese manufacturer. And two minutes really is all it takes to convey that this is arguably the best-looking Android smartwatch thus far, from the stainless steel body to the hefty leather strap. And should you want to use something else, that strap is plenty easy to swap out.
On the negative side? Well, there's not a lot. ASUS doubles up on some of the software, and it tends to nag you about installing other apps more than anyone else we've seen so far. But otherwise you get the same Android Wear experience as on other smartwatches — only in a design that definitely turns heads.
Both the free and the ad-free versions of gReader have been updated recently. The apps, both in version 4.0, brings a lot of visual changes to give your news a fresh look. With the update, gReader gains support for Lollipop, brings Material Design to its look, and adds a new card view for item lists.
Google just brought over its Auto Enhance feature that debuted with photos to videos. The feature isn't enabled automatically for all videos, but with a single click, you can allow Google to use its algorithms to fine-tune your videos. The feature will work on the Google+ Photos app on Android as well as on Google+ for Mac, Windows and Chrome OS.
Verizon is running a holiday promotion for those who are willing to sign a two-year contract with the carrier. Through the deal, Android smartphones priced at $199 or higher with a contract will be discounted by 50 percent, meaning the new, expensive Android flagship you've been eyeing could start as low as $99.
Ending the year, Google announced that it has sent out the last batch of Inbox invitations for 2014. Those who requested an invitation by emailing Google directly were given one, and Google says that it won't be sending out new invitations for the Gmail-based email service until 2015.
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