I honestly have nothing today (that's organized like my last few have been). I think I'm still in Thanksgiving mode, aka Extreme Laziness mode. So rather than ramble on about this or that I'm just gonna point you all to some pretty neat apps today, if there's any Google app updates I'll add them to the post later whenever they drop. If they do at all.
This one is one of those types of apps that's been around for some time now, but there was always a catch most people weren't aware of, assuming they knew about the app at all, it required root. That is no longer the case! Lollipop introduced more than a few new APIs and one in particular is practically a godsend, the ability to record your screen without needing root to do so.
You might read that and think how is this useful? To which I'd reply, how is it not? Everyone who has friends or relatives who cannot have anything explained to them even in simple terms and grasp what you're saying please raise your hand. [raises hand] So rather than get that urge to murder said friends and relatives and/or smash your head into a desk while explaining things you can now just record your screen and they can see firsthand how to do something once you hook them up with said recording. If someone can't see something done firsthand and figure out how to do it then they're beyond hope in my book and "figure it out yourself" is an acceptable response. At least for simple things, like changing app settings or even installing an app (fuck me, the number of people I've had in the past few weeks tell me they didn't know how to install an app has all but blown my mind).
This one I discovered thanks to reddit, it's a live wallpaper app. (It's also available in a paid Pro version for $1.99.) It's Material Design inspired and honestly looks amazing just based on the screenshots in the Play Store.
Normally I'd try and include as many screenshots as possible into the post, but because of the formatting issues it'd be hell on adding anything else to the post, so I'm just including the one. Check the Play Store link so you can see the rest, but I was sold with just the one you see here. I'll be picking up the Pro version of the app later today when I am not having crappy signal on my phone. [shakes fist at the walls of this forsaken former government building]
This may or may not be your cup of tea, but I for one love changing things up on my phone regularly as far as looks and homescreen and wallpapers go. I've never noticed any kind of significant battery life hit/drain when using live wallpapers (or even using something like Muzei in conjunction with another app to change my wallpaper hourly) so for me battery life will be a non-issue regardless. Well, that and the whole Turbo Charger for my Moto X. I can have a full charge in almost no time flat.
This is another customization app, more specifically for wallpapers. It too is also available in a paid version for $0.99.
From screenshots on the Play Store listing, there are over 20 categories of wallpapers to choose from with that number growing and more wallpapers being added daily (without requiring an update to the app itself).
Examples of categories are the kind you're familiar with being stock (Google/AOSP, LG, Motorola, etc.), custom (from various ROMs like CarbonROM, LiquidSmooth, MIUI) and miscellaneous and then some.
As with all such apps, you can either apply wallpapers from directly within the app itself or download and save them to your device for application at a later date or just for the heck of having them on your device to marvel over. No judging here, I do it myself far more often than I should with nowPaper.
Since I'm discussing apps, I don't know if everyone saw Spaced99's "tablet gaming superlist for the holidays", which was a seriously great list.
I personally vouch for The Wolf Among Us from said list for damn sure and umataro42 did a write-up on it shortly after its debut. (On a related note TellTale, the company who produced and released The Wolf Among Us, along with the semi-related The Walking Dead Season One and Season Two games, is going to be releasing a Game of Thrones version of said games this week, featuring similar game play. Here's hoping it comes to ANdroid relatively soon!)
On a related note, although it didn't make Spaced99's list I highly recommend Monument Valley.
This is one of those games that is simply well done in every single regard. It looks fantastic and the soundtrack is absolute perfection. The game itself isn't very long, you can beat it in under a day if you start and stop here and there. If you just play through you'll probably knock it out in under 2 hours. It is worth every penny though and for the record goes for $3.99.
It's worth noting that an expansion, purchasable in-game, was released over the holiday weekend and adds additional game play for the low price of $1.99.
Naturally some people will complain about that, but in my opinion they have no reason to. There are very few games available at a full set price in the Play Store that look as great as this one and are worth the price. We shouldn't complain about games or even apps like this, the moment we do so is the moment developers stop wanting to develop full length games and apps for set prices and the moment we end up getting nickel and dime'd to death (looking at you Gameloft!).
As far as apps worth checking out when you have a chance, that's all I got for you today.
Onward and upward though, news time!
Android 5.0.1 is dropping
Android 5.0.1 is officially live (sorta) to address all kinds of things. Factory images the Nexus 7 (2013 - WiFi), Nexus 9 (WiFi) and Nexus 10 can be found here. You'll need to find the ones for your respective device(s) and flash them manually. If you're even looking at that page I think it's safe to assume you know how to do that, so I won't cover it. I will, however, cover it in a Tinkering Thursday post for people not already familiar with how to do that. I'm doing a rough outline of tomorrow's post already in my head, may or may not cover that, as well as a rough outline of the ones I have planned going forward for after tomorrow's.
Android Wear 2.0 possibly dropping soon
I didn't write about this when it was being rumored and teased awhile back, but I guess I can do so now.
Android Wear is poised to get a very serious and big update relatively soon.
As to what the update will bring to the table, well, highlights include: Watch Battery and Storage (or a way to keep track of both on your devices), Watch Face Improvements (being able to change faces within the companion app on your phone itself, along with new APIs for additional watch face customizations), recovering dismissed cards (this is huge!), screen brightness toggles and a number of other items.
Additional info can be read about in the original Phandroid posts that brought all of this to light last month, which can be found here and here. (That second link is the one you really want to check out.)
Speaking of updates, OG Moto X and Moto G owners get ready...
For some Lollipop love here soon!
Motorola has updated the Motorola Update Services app in preparation for "a future Lollipop update".
Keep in mind that doesn't mean if you own those devices and received that update already that you're getting Lollipop just yet, it just means your device can receive the Lollipop update eventually. Something is better than nothing in my book though and that's a big first step down the road to getting in on some of that Lollipop goodness myself and a few others have already partaken of.
That's all, folks!
And like that bold stuff says, that's everything worth mentioning in today's post (short of anything that drop throughout the day which will be added on to the end of this).
In related news, for those who are unaware, Thursdays will now get a Tinkering Thursday post and I've already done the first one of those last week. If it's tinkering related it'll be found in these posts, like that we can keep normal Android news and app updates separate from the fun stuff.
Semi-related, if there's anything on the tinkering side of things you're curious about or want to know about feel free to let me know in this or Thursday's post (assuming one goes up tomorrow) and I'll get to it as soon as possible. The more people asking about any given tinkering related thing the more likely I am to remember to write about it due to the clear interest on the part of you all.
That applies to Wednesday's post as well, if there's something you want to know about just say so and if it's something that deserves more than a comment or two I'll get to it within a week or so with a lengthier post on it.
Oh yeah, before I forget, those of you with "OK Google" voice capabilities on your device should really ask it "Did you see that ludicrous display last night?"
It is sad how amused I was by that when I discovered it.
You can also say "What was Wenger thinking, sending Walcott on that early?". I'll let you see the results of that for yourself.
Oh snap! I just realized it's my cake day on reddit! Something that means literally nothing, much like the karma I'll receive for it when whatever people realize it notice that much like I just did. (The relevance of that is that I discovered The IT Crowd "OK Google" thing via reddit yesterday and just got around to checking my messages and noticed the cake next to my name.)
And that is now officially everything I have for you all today.
Any updates or what have you will be put up down here after this if anything worth sharing pops up throughout the day. Just wanted to restate that.
Google Play Games has received an update, minor changes and nothing worth writing home about. An update is an update though, you can grab the apk from here.
Google Play Music has received an update as well, no apk for it just yet. (I got the update, so I know it's not but I can't give you the apk cause I am not setup for that right now. Crash on work computer, too lazy to set things up just so. Yes, I could do it easily. But please see remark about "too lazy".)
Google Text-to-speech has received an update, you can grab it here.
Google+ has also received an update, grab it from here.
Gmail has received an update as well, grab the apk from here.
Google Maps also received an update, grab the apk from here.
Google has also released a new app (U.S. only for now, but that's why I share apk files) called "Device Assist". If you own a Nexus, Android One or Google Play Experience device you can install this app and it might be able to tell you what's wrong. Think of it like a general advice type of app for issues you might be facing. Oh yeah, Lollipop only. You can grab the apk from here
And those are all the updated apps I'm seeing right now.