Fixes for certain devices experiencing app crashing also included
Xbox Music from Microsoft was a long time coming to Android, and its launch was a mixed bag. Random crashes on certain devices, issues with being able to play tracks and device support all marred the launch. But, at least some of those issues have been fixed, and further device support has been added with the latest update.
Xbox Music will now for the first time work on Intel powered Android devices, such as the Motorola RAZRi and the ASUS Fonepad. Along with this, those random crashes on certain devices, such as the LG Optimus G, should now be gone. If either of these things affects you, grab the latest version of Xbox Music from the Play Store link up top.
Find as many words as possible in the puzzle and see how you rank
Microsoft has just released one of its casual gaming titles, Wordament, into the Play Store so folks on Android can now challenge those on Windows Phone and iOS. Wordament is a word search game similar to other titles like Scramble With Friends or the tabletop game "Boggle," but with a large community leaderboard aspect. Rather than taking on individual players, everyone around the world playing the game plays the same puzzles and competes for the high scores on a single leaderboard.
The game looks and plays the same on Android as it does on the other platforms, and is pretty easy to pick up and get started with. In order to get into the leaderboards you'll need to sign in to Wordament with either your Facebook or Xbox Live account (sorry, no Google+ here at the moment) but you can play as a guest if you don't care about where you rank amongst the crowd.
A weekly grouping of the apps that find their way onto our devices
There's a new month on the calendar, but we're sticking to our schedule of bringing you the Apps of the Week column every Saturday. Once a week we round up a selection of apps from the writers here at Android Central and highlight them in a grouping for everyone to check out. This isn't a list of "the best app for x" or "the top selling apps in category y," but they're ones that we've found to fit our needs.
And if they work for us, maybe some of them can work for you as well. Stick around after the break and see how this week's picks stack up against the rest.
New flat design and a few social-friendly features
Samsung has just pushed out an update to its ChatON messenger app, which has streamlined the interface and added a few new features. While it may have been popular, ChatON was far from a beautiful app before today — the new interface changes that considerably with a notably flatter design that keeps the white, grey and orange color scheme but adds in some "holo" design elements.
The "My page" feature has been improved as well, letting you change the background image for your page to give it a more personal feel. You and your friends can now share media to each other's pages as well — from your own uploaded media to content from Samsung's LIVEpartners.
If you happen to be one of the 100 million ChatON users out there, be sure to go grab an update to the latest version. It's a big update that is worth taking a look at.
Dead on Arrival sequel played on the Nvidia SHIELD
Recently released, Dead on Arrival 2 is downloadable from the Google Play Store (see the link above). Controller and Tegra optimized, DOA2 pairs seamlessly with the Nvidia SHIELD. The game is free to download and play with in app purchases to advance, although our Kevin O'Quinn says
[those] aren't required. You can unlock seemingly everything through gameplay, with the purchases speeding up the process.
The game seems to run fantastically on this device; the integrated controller allows for precise hand-eye movement, the audio is nice and crisp, and the gameplay leaves nothing to want. You can learn more about the game by viewing the video after the break, or jumping on over to the forums for a first hand view of this perfect match in action. If you've got a SHIELD at home and enjoy shooter games, feel free to take on the undead and let us know how you survive.
A simpler design with less clutter and access to options with fewer taps and swipes
Those of you in the Twitter beta testing group will notice an update tonight that brings yet another drastic interface change to the app. In the second such change in the last few weeks, Twitter is changing the basic interface paradigm of the app. Gone is the left edge slide-in drawer and the pile of scrolling tabs at the top of the page, replaced by a simple three tab design — Home, Discover and Activity.
Notifications and messages have moved up to distinct buttons in the top action bar, with number badges indicating unread counts, that take you to a familiar full page display of the content when tapping them. Composing tweets now moves down to the bottom of the app, with buttons to add a picture, launch straight into the camera or go right to typing. The overflow menu button has an option to jump directly into your account with one tap, or go into a settings menu that is largely unchanged.
New multitasking system that is fully customizable, just like a home screen
Action Launcher is receiving an update, at least in the beta channel for now, that adds a new swiping gesture called Quickpage, as well as a feature to access your drawers from anywhere in the phone. Users of Action Launcher are familiar with a swipe in from the left side of the home screen to reveal an app list, but in the latest beta you can now swipe in from the right edge to reveal Quickpage.
This drawer can contain anything that you would normally put on an Action Launcher home screen — shutters, covers, folders, shortcuts and widgets are all available. Pairing Quickpage with another new feature, 1-Swipe, and you have a brand new interface paradigm. 1-Swipe lets you access both left and right edge swipe-in drawers from anywhere on the phone, not just from the home screen. You can now use Quickpage, if you desire, instead of the standard Android multitasking menu.
Multiple content sources can now populate your home or lock screens
Facebook is rolling out a new feature to its Android beta testing group that enables the ability to add other media content sources to Facebook Home or your lock screen. The ability to set Facebook Home as just your lock screen and not primary launcher isn't new, but being able to customize what media sources populate it is. Now when setting up Home, you can choose to sign in and add Flickr, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram accounts to the service.
After setting up your accounts, you will now see a mixture of photos from all of the services you've selected on your lock or home screens, rather than just content from your Facebook friends. You'll be able to "like" or comment on the pictures and simply hit the "view on" button to open the media in your browser as well.
New free listening option will hopefully build a user base that can convert to paying subscribers
Streaming music service Rdio is opening up its "Stations" radio service to everyone starting today, meaning that you'll no longer need to pay a subscription to use the base level service. Much like Pandora and Spotify, Rdio is now lowering the entry point for its service to everyone, giving unlimited listening of randomized stations — based on artists, albums, genres or tracks — for free. Stations are now free in the US, Canada and Australia, and at the moment are ad-free as well.
To coincide with Stations going free, the Rdio app has also received a few new features that help tweak your listening experience. In the new Stations, you can now "tune" the station to be more adventurous with its selections or more strictly stick to one artist. There are also new playlist views if you're a paying subscriber.
New interactive map and 'Hotel Price Comparison' makes it easier to research
Travel planning and research app TripAdvisor has refreshed its app with a new interface, features and drastically improved performance this week. Along with a simultaneous launch on iOS, the new TripAdvisor Android app is completely rebuilt natively to offer a better experience and integrate everything the service has to offer. You'll notice a new and simple UI for quickly researching or booking travel plans, focusing on a search box and a few quick buttons for hotels, restaurants, attractions and flights.
With the redesign you also have access to TripAdvisor's new "Hotel Price Comparison" feature, which compares booking options at a glance. You'll also be able to look at hotels easier on an interactive map, which displays results alongside nearby attractions and restaurants you may want to visit.