Let's stick with the app picks for just a little while longer
So we gave something new a whirl last week in place of the standard "Apps of the Week" post -- we tried to expand out beyond just apps to highlight the best of Google Play. Well, we may not have planned that one out the best considering what we have coming up. As things are getting pretty heavy for the next few weeks (and lets be honest, the last few weeks too) with Google I/O and then CTIA, we think maybe we should stick with the tried and true app picks for just a little while longer until we can get a good system ready to expand.
After the break you'll find the best apps from all different genres that the Android Central staff are using on a daily basis. They may not be the flashiest or the best of their kind, but they're what works for us and often that means they'll work for someone else too. Read along and see how we did this week.
Classic pedestrian-masher now available on Google Play, and you can get it for free if you're quick
Over-the-top driving game Carmageddon has finally hit Android today, following a Kickstarter campaign to bring it to mobile devices. The Android version, featuring pedestrian-mashing, cow-crushing gameplay across 11 environments, looks every bit as ridiculously violent as the 1997 PC original.
As a "thank you" to Kickstarter backers, the Android version is available for free for the first day, so grab it while it's hot at the Google Play link above. If you want to support the developers, the full paid version is also available, priced $1.99 or £1.49.
1 week ago
Facebook quietly adds Facebook Home support (and unofficial support) for Galaxy S4, HTC One, others
The change comes as the official Facebook app received an update just hours after Facebook held a small press conference at its campus in Silicon Valley, touting some 1 million total installations, apparently without listing how many active installations it has. (And that still wouldn't account for anyone who has installed Facebook Home but isn't actually using it.) Following that event, the Facebook application itself received an update. The Facebook Home launcher has not been updated as of April 22.
That brings us to the Galaxy S4, which you see above. Without a mention in any changelog in any of the Facebook Apps, our Galaxy S4 now show the option to "Use Home Anyway." Tap it, and Facebook Home launches just fine. Same goes for the Sony Xperia ZL.
Additionally, Facebook Home is working without this "Use Home Anyway" intercept on the HTC One. It wouldn't surprise us in the least to see it working -- with or without the warning -- on other devices. Both the HTC One and Galaxy S4 were listed as "supported" devices when Facebook Home was announced, but until now they'd been unable to officially run the launcher.
Also, the Facebook app update has added a new notification -- a persistent "ongoing" notification that lives in your notification pull-down. You can turn it off in the settings menu.
If you've been waiting to try Facebook Home but your device hasn't been supported -- and let's face it, that's probably not a whole hell of a lot of you reading this -- give it a shot now.
1 week ago
OpenTable v2.5 brings new maps, calendar integration
Interface improvements that make booking and managing reservations easier
OpenTable has taken a big step forward in interface design today with an update to v2.5 of its app, which makes several much-needed changes. First up is the mapping experience, which is dramatically improved thanks to Google Maps v2, and now gives you more freedom to browse the map in different areas and have reduced pin clutter from lots of restaurants. Next are the restaurant pages, which have received a facelift as well. You can now modify your reservation -- date, time and party size -- right from the restaurant page rather than your account. OpenTable has also improved the load times of menus and reviews for restaurants.
A much-awaited feature of being able to add reservations to your calendar has also been added -- no more excuses for missing a dinner reservation. All of these new features can be accessed much easier as well thanks to general improvements to the navigation elements in the app that have been moved to the top action bar, reducing the number of times you have to jump back and forth between the settings. You can grab a download of the new OpenTable app from the Play Store link above.
Simplistic gameplay and an infinite number of levels make a winning combination
It's hard to get the right mix of gameplay difficulty, simple rules and design in a puzzle game (or any game for that matter), but luckily we've found another that has struck that balance. The game is Mosaique, and it has put all of the components in the right places to make an excellent title. It has a simple design and premise that is easy to pick up but extremely hard to master, and with a gameplay model that gives an effectively infinite number of levels you won't get bored with it.
Mosaique was just released in the Play Store this morning, so hang around with us after the break and see what makes it such an enjoyable gaming experience.
As you by no doubt have heard, there's an all-new version of the Android Central App amongst us. And now we’re going to walk through it in all its awesomeness. It's got full access to the Android Central blogs, forums, wallpaper gallery, store, podcast, and videos. Our people have worked hard on this, and there are still plenty more features on the way.
Have a question about how things work? Give us a few minutes of your time, and we'll walk you through it.
Flipboard Editor for magazines also launched on the web
Popular news magazine app Flipboard has been updated to version 2.0 today, with new features focused on allowing users to create curated magazines of their favorite content. Articles and posts on Flipboard can now be added to users' own custom magazines to create a custom-built Pinterest-like arrangement of favorite articles, social posts and other content.
Each article on Flipboard now has a "plus" icon that can be used to add it to one of your own magazines, and magazines can be shared with friends through the app. It's also possible to "flip" other content into one of your magazines using Android sharing intents.
Flipboard has also launched the Flipboard Editor on the web to allow users to manage their magazines. Found at editor.flipboard.com, it's a simple web-based tool that provides an overview of everything you've curated.
In addition, the Flipboard team has announced that Financial Times content is now available through its app. FT blog and video content is available to all users, while FT.com subscribers will get access to all of the paper's content.
To grab the new version of Flipboard for Android, hit the Google Play link above.
13,000 Marvel comic books at your disposal on your Android smartphone or tablet for $9.99 per month
Comic book fans are sure to be excited for this one, for Marvel Unlimited has finally made its way to Android. Having been available on iOS for a couple of months now, it's our turn to dive into 70 years worth of content over 13,000 back issues. For anything more recent, you'll still likely need to turn to something like Comics by Comixology, but for the classics Marvel Unlimited should more than have you covered.
Subscription rates stand at $9.99 per month, but until May 15 you can take advantage of a special discount on a yearly subscription: down to $59.88 from the regular price of $69.00. The Android app allows you to save up to six comic books to your device for offline reading, as well as being able to use your subscription to read content on your computer.
Grab the app from the Play Store link above, and we'll kind of forgive you if you go quiet for a little while. But be sure to jump into the comments and let us know what you're reading.
1 week ago
ITV Player for Android exclusive to Samsung devices until Aug. 31
Samsung announces deal to bring the UK TV streaming app exclusively to its devices
Samsung has announced that it's scored exclusive rights to the ITV Player app for Android until Aug. 31, giving users of its phones and tablets access to the British broadcaster's streaming content. The ITV Player app allows Brits to stream the past 30 days of TV content from ITV, ITV 2, ITV 3, ITV 4 and CITV, and so until September the only way to do that on Android will be on a Samsung device.
The strangest part of the deal is that the ITV Player app itself isn't new at all. The app debuted back in mid-2011 for all devices running Android 2.2 and up, though the Samsung deal seems to have put an end to that. A quick glance over its Play Store listing reveals that as of the latest update on May 7 it's "incompatible" with non-Samsung phones and tablets.
Samsung says the new app is optimized for the Galaxy S4, Galaxy Mega, Galaxy S III, Galaxy SII, Galaxy Note II, OG Note and Galaxy Note 10.1. The Google Play Store listing shows compatibility for a wide range of other Samsung devices, including the Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Tab 7 Plu,s and even the Galaxy Camera.
ITV Player for Android is available from Google Play (linked above) and Samsung Apps on supported devices.
1 week ago
Google I/O app updated for 2013, new features abound
Attendees and folks watching from home can keep track of all the happenings at this years Google developer conference
Google I/O 2013 is just six days away, and to help everyone get ready the folks at Mountain View have pushed a mighty big update to the Google I/O app. What began as a way to show off Android fragments and best UI practices has turned into quite the portal for anyone interested in Google I/O, whether you're attending or not. A quick look at the change log.
NEW! Scan attendee badges via NFC
NEW! Schedule changes are immediately synchronized between devices
NEW! Lock screen widget for viewing your agenda on the go
NEW! Vector-based maps with session info
NEW! Dedicated HDMI video output for livestreams
NEW! Automatic WiFi setup for attendees
NEW! Off-site attendee mode for livestream-only viewers
Use Google+ for login
Support for viewing Office Hours sessions
Improved support for devices with RTL locales
Upon installing the app using your Google+ account credentials, you're asked if you'll be attending. This way the app knows whether or not to set up your Wifi access and let you choose your event schedule in the agenda view.
The whole UI is now very Google Now-like, with cards and swiping taking center stage, and is optimized for phones, 7-inch tablets and 10-inch tablets. Developer Advocate Roman Nurik has a great overview of the style and design changes and improvements on his Google+ page, be sure to check that out if you're into design.
If you're attending I/O this year, be sure to look for us. If you're watching from home, we'll have all the coverage you could ask for. Six more days!