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New navigation drawer, YouTube API and forum search highlight this major update!

OK, folks. It's time to take the wraps off the latest and greatest version of the Android Central App! We've been testing this internally for a little while now, and for a little bit with a few close friends. Now it's time to unleash it on the public.

So what's new in v1.3? Quite a lot, actually, which is what took us a little longer to get the update pushed out. But we think it's worth it.

Keep on readin' on, and we'll walk you through the changes.

The tl;dr version

Look, we're excited about this update. So we're going to explain everything below. For those of you who just have to have the bullet points, and only the bullet points, here you go:

  • Added forum search
  • Added forum thread view options (go to first unread page vs. first post)
  • Integrated the new Google navigation drawer — we'll implement some performance improvements to it in the next version.
  • Integrated YouTube Android Player API
  • Support for Talk Mobile articles
  • Added support for Quantcast and Flurry analytics — this required the addition of the "Access Network State" permission.
  • Miscellaneous bug fixes
  • Previous changelogs at http://phon.es/achange

We've added the new Android navigation drawer

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This is one of the newer and more important design cues Google has rolled out this year, and it's now in our app. It's got the telltale "hamburger" button there in the top left. You can still tap it (and Lloyd) to open the drawer, or just swipe from the left edge of your phone.

It's worth noting that we're still doing some fine-tuning here, but we wanted to go ahead and get it pushed out. On some phones it's great. On a few, we see some things we'd like to work on. Look for performance improvements in a future update to the app. 

You can now search the forums, and return to where you (mostly) left off

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Long requested, finally added. You can easily switch the results from full threads to individual posts, and your search history is available as well, so you don't have to type the same thing over and over again. (Note the "Clear history" button at the top right of that screen.)

We've also added the ability to return to the first unread post of a thread instead of just the first page. The downside is that because we had to hack in a workaround, it doesn't quite sync right. Here's how our developer puts it:

Initially I wanted to be able to sync with the server (on the server side, they use Tapatalk to power the forums), however I found that for last unread post the Tapatalk API can at best only give you page resolution of last read post. That is, it will tell me that the last read post was on page X, but not which post. So when I implemented this what would happen is you would open a thread for the first time, be on page 1 at the top, close the thread, open it again, then you're on page 2 at the top, close it, open it you're on page 3 at the top, etc.

I didn't really think this was a very good experience, and wanted the app to have the ability to jump to the true last unread post when opened. So that's actually what I ended up implementing entirely in the app. But the downside to this approach is that it's not in sync with the server.

So, yeah. Better than nothing. We'll keep working on that as much as we can, and hopefully Tapatalk will help out on its end.

You can now watch YouTube videos within the app itself

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Love this feature! Now, instead of getting dumped into the YouTube app whenever you want to watch a video — either in a blog post or in our video section — you can view it directly in the app. It's quick. It's easy. It works in portrait and landscape. And, if you look in the settings, you can tell the app to always play videos full-screen in landscape, if you prefer.

Plus, this means you can watch us live on Friday afternoons as we record the Greatest Android Podcast in the World, all from the app!

Talk Mobile articles now ... work!

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Look, the irony of this not working before was not lost on us. But the fact is that you can now read — and comment on — our Talk Mobile series from the Android Central app. And it looks pretty sweet, if I do say so myself.

Added Quantcast and Flurry analytics

We want to make this app as good as we possibly can. And one of the best ways to do that is through anonymous analytics. Google Play has its own, and they're super-handy. In v1.3, we've added two more as well: Quantcast and Flurry.

We've used Quantcast on the traditional web side of things forever (http://www.quantcast.com/androidcentral.com) as sort of a transparent look at traffic. Like Google Play's own analytics, Flurry gives us an anonymous look at how and where our app is being used, and it'll help us make the app better. More than 300,000 apps use Flurry analytics. You can find out more at http://www.flurry.com/flurry-analytics.html.

One thing to note here is that adding these analytics required us to add the "Access Network State" permission — and that means you'll have to manually update the app in Google Play. (If you have any questions about this or the analytics, hit us up in the comments of this post and we'll explain things further.)

Finally, a word (or two) about our beta program

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I mentioned that we tested the app for a little bit with some "close friends." By that, we mean 1,000 or so beta testers. We've since closed the beta program to new testers. If you previously had joined the beta group but had issues downloading the beta version of the app, I've written up a few thoughts on the process here.

The long and the short of it is you need to remember to be signed in with the proper Google account — the same account you used to join the Google Group has to be used when you opt-in to the beta track.

For everyone who got in, thanks! And double that for the folks who actively helped test the update. As you can see, we're a little excited for it. And for future updates to come. (And if you want a look back at previous updates, check out our full changelog here.)

 
There are 81 comments

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Introducing Version 1.3 of the Android Central App!

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Same here. No biggy I'm guessing as I found it in my app drawer. Ill just move it back to a home screen. Been needing to clean up my home screens anyways so this will actually make me do that. As someone else mentioned, mobile nations talk or whatever its called are always great reads! I thought I was the only one not able to post or read comments. Lol... great fix there. Thanks for all your great articles and hard work on the app to everyone involved. Your hard work is not lost on us, your readers.

Posted via Android Central App

Re: talk mobile.

Read that you fixed the comments section. Before checking it out, as others have noted, this was a great fix.

Well, I just checked it out and I see how it opens a window with comments on specific questions asked in the article.

One word for this: GENIUS! !!!!!

Posted via Android Central App

Lost my app icon in my folder and also missing in my app drawer. I uninstalled and re-installed. All is right with the world again.

Had the same issue on HTC one as others have stated. Perhaps one of those little glitches, not a huge issue in the long run I suppose.

Posted via Android Central App

That's not unusual. It happens with some apps - usually when they are completely reinstalled. Just go and find it and put it back!

Posted via Android Central App

Happened to me too, i.e. it disappeared from my home screen, just had to re-add it, simple fix.

Posted via Android Central App

The Talk Mobile integration was ESSENTIAL. Great update solely because of that. I imagine there'll be a lot more participation in these that there already were.

The YouTube thing was also great. Those 2 features alone make this a great update.

Posted via Android Central App

Agreed, actually expected to see this. The dingy green is not so bad I suppose but I like the blue in the app store.

Posted From my HTC One running PlayBook 3.0 via Android Central App

I would be nice if you could click on a pic when someone posts one to enlarge it. As of right now you would have to open up your browser to zoom in.

Posted via Android Central App

Quick update on the disappearing app icon: We're aware that this could happen. (In fact, it happened on the most recent update to Google Maps.)

If your Android Central app icon has disappeared, please undergo the following steps:

1. Add the app icon back onto your home screen.

Thanks! :)

App drawer : Probably a month or two before Facebook.
YouTube API : Probably a year before Facebook.

You guys should make the Facebook app.

:)

I must say I really like how smooth this app runs. I would like to see some more dynamic transitions thou... Some eye candy :) like what's is the Google play music app and umano

O_MC Posted via AC App

I can't swipe from the left edge of my screen to bring up the navigation bar. I have to tap the icon. I am using a Note 2.

Posted via Android Central App on my Note 2!

Start with your finger on the bezel or on the side of your phone and then swipe into the screen from the left. It's hard at first but you get used to it really fast.

Disappeared from my home screen AND app drawer.

But a reboot fixed the problem.

App looks great!

Posted via Android Central App

Excellent. I just commented about having no search in the app. I redownloaded the old AC forum app just so I could search the pages. Now I can remove it and go back to the new AC app again. Nice.

Getting better and better slowly.. Would love the ability to go to comments directly by tapping the bubble icon in the news stream.. Also what about pull to refresh or update on app launch.

Posted via Android Central App

Comments need a big overhaul at some point. (Hint: Look at what we're doing with Talk Mobile.)

And the viewpager is being worked on as we speak. :)

Does the analytics run additional services in the background, or does the app run in the background after being backed out of for this?

Are forum reply notifications everrrr going to happen? Every other site notifies people through email.

Posted via Android Central App

Well how bout some form of notification? Only way I know if someone replied to my post is if I go back to the thread and look. The forums would be a whole lot more interactive with notifications.

Posted via Android Central App

Well your web site is a bl*dy disaster with so much crap on the front page it takes forever to load. I have LOVED the app as it is exactly the opposite. Lean and fast. I am praying it is not going the same way . . .

I had to uninstall and reinstall. The app icon was not in my app drawer. All good now, and it looks great!

Posted via Android Central App

Love the app. Only site besides theverge, that has a nice app.

Posted via Droid RAZR M on the Android Central App

Sweet additions. Doing some great work here guys. Only got the beta yesterday and was about to post some thoughts (all +ve BTW)

Keep it up and look forward to some more great updates.

Posted via Android Central App

Thank you for this update! In the future I would like to see private message support. Keep up the good work!

Posted via Android Central App

Great job with the new version. Just started using the AC app yesterday (usually use the web or news aggregator app) & was glad to see the update this morning.

Btw, I can't seem to change my avatar using the app.

Posted via Android Central App

Is there any way to collapse comments in a news post? I would love to click a comment and have the option to reply or collapse. Am I missing something, or is this not possible yet?

Posted via Android Central App

I just downloaded the new 1.3 app. I opened it up to read about the new 1.3 app. The program promptly crashed.

Speaking as a fisherman. The update worked fine on my nexus 4. Thanks chaps. The app is awesome! :-)

Posted via Android Central App

So weird question. How come I have no pictures? Just installed the app, and no pictures on the home screen or in the articles.

Posted via Android Central App

Not trolling, so don't flame, but as a bit of a minimalist, I never understood why people want to clutter up their app drawers with a different app for every forum site they use when they could just use Tapatalk.

To each his own I guess. Congrats on the new app.

Because you have to pay for Tapatalk ... site specific implementation are usually free.

But this app is SO much more than just the forums. It's all of AC: the blog, the forums, the podcasts, the videos, the shop...

I'm glad that you guys practice what you preach when it comes to designing beautiful apps. I'm liking the changes so far. Keep up the good work!

Posted via Android Central App

Have you fixed the bug of the podcast not appearing when downloaded? I would check myself but don't want to waste my data. ;)

Posted via Android Central App

First I've heard of it. Or do you mean that it's not recognized by other music apps after being downloaded? (If that's the case, we're gonna work on that in a future update.)

I mean where you download the podcast through the AC app, but it doesn't appear in the Download, Music, or Podcast folder.

Posted via Android Central App

I love the android central app! You guys are my first resource on all things android. I would like to see, if possible, a search feature in the wallpaper section and a way to save the image to the sd card would be awesome since I'm always changing my wallpaper. Once again, you guys ROCK!!!

Posted via Android Central App. Galaxy Note II

I've always been envious of CrackBerry's fancy native BB10 app. Nice that we have one too, now.

Posted via Android Central App

Now I'm
just envious of CB's fancy mobile site. Sure, the app reduces the new for the site, but I like using Chrome, especially with the draggable menu button.

Posted via Android Central App

Love the app. A way to 'favorite' wallpaper or be able to download it to the phone would be great. Found some great sports Lloyd wallpaper but it's out of season so don't want to wear it now...

Posted via Android Central App

I had to un install then reinstall to get my note 2 to recognize that the app was installed on my phone. Other than that and may not be related to the update great job as usual.

Posted via Android Central App

Absolutely love all of the spectacular app updates we've gotten recently. Since the update to JB 4.2.2 it's amazing how much better my android experience has gotten :-)

Posted via Android Central App

Hey, it's working! This is the first time I post a comment here from the AC app. With previous version, it would say I wasn't logged in, even if I was logged in.

Posted via Android Central App