Okay, consider this the start of a weekly post related to Android. There are a few other pretty knowledgeable people here on the Odeck that are just as big enthusiasts of the OS as myself, so they're also welcome to the weekly post on the same subject. Let's keep it for Wednesdays guys and gals. (Reason why to be given here shortly.)
Wednesdays are the day that Google updates any and/or all of their apps. Usually around this time of the day and today there are two updates (at the moment).
First and foremost Google Wallet has been updated. The latest update brings tracking and notification support for all online orders. If you're not sure what that means or want some clarification here goes: Anything you order that you get an email for to your given Gmail account, which is the same one you use for Wallet, will officially be tracked and you'll be notified about from within the Google Wallet app itself.
As you can see, it is working already. (I order a ton of stuff. Pretty much place at least one order every day, for personal use or for work. So this is seriously going to help me out and keep me updated on the status of everything.) Like all Google app related updates, this is being rolled out in stages. Of course, you might want to start using this right away. If so, you can download the Google signed .apk file here. Once you've downloaded the file (preferably on your phone, so you don't have to transfer it to it), just click on it and it will ask if you want to update the existing app. You're welcome to click Cancel if you'd like for whatever reason, otherwise click Install and it'll update and you'll be good to go.
The other update for today has come to Google Translate and it's a pretty significant one. The app has been updated with handwriting support for over a dozen new languages. (The exact list consist of: Arabic, Bosnian, Cebuano, Gujarati, Hmong, Kannada, Maltese, Mongolian, Persian, Punjabi, Somali, Tamil, and Telugu.) Beyond that it's just bug fixes. You can get the .apk file here and install it at your convenience.
Onward and upward as the kids say though.
Consider this the first official recommendation/post from me for this new weekly thing.
Light Flow Lite and Light Flow. You may or may not have ever heard of this app, if you have you know what it does and you're likely using it already. If you haven't you're in for a treat. First off, the former is the free and completely functional version of the app. The latter is going to cost you $2.49, but it is worth every penny and covers way more apps.
What does Light Flow do? Let me start off by asking you a question, how do you check things on your phone? You usually have to wake it up and check your status/notification bar and see what if anything has come in, right? That will no longer be the case once you install this app. What Light Flow does is give you full control over the LED built in to your smartphone (and even tablet). It goes without saying though that not all phones/tablets have built in LED lights/notifications, but the majority do and definitely anything released in the past year/year and a half.
Once installed this app lets you fine tune the settings associated with the LED notification light on your phone. That may sound like complete gibberish to some of you, so let me explain it a bit better.
If your phone is on silent or even if it's not, one notification sound is the same as another. Assuming you stick with defaults. By which I mean, you know you got a text message but you have no clue who it's from. You'll have to wake your phone up to check. With this app that will no longer be the case. You can associate a given color to know if that's a text from your significant other or your parents/kids or a friend or just a random person. You can then do the same thing with multimedia messages (picture messages for you hip kids).
Now take that same idea and apply it to phone calls, emails, application notifications and so on. You'll be able to distinguish one from the other all by looking at the blinking light on your phone.
It doesn't sound like such a big deal, but trust me if it saves you from turning on your phone and checking every little thing as it comes in eventually you'll be noticing your battery life has increased a bit or even significantly. You no longer turn it on as often to know what can wait or not and that is always a plus.
The other minor update for today is just a heads up. Anomaly 2 is currently on sale for $1.99, down from its usual $4.99 price. It is a great game, if you've played the original or Anomaly Korea then you already know what you're in for, except this time around the graphics are better and the game last longer. Also, keep in mind it will be a sizable download, talking 1.4 gigs here. So if you are going to get this you'll definitely want to be on WiFi for the actual download. A great review from the fine folks over at Android Police can be found here. The long and short of it though is that this is basically a tower defense game, except you're vehicles can move and you're fighting back. If you're even mildly curious, just buy the game. You won't be disappointed. I played the original and first sequel and I had a blast, I snagged this up the second I saw it in my Play Store Wishlist at its lower than normal price (which was about an hour ago).
That's it for today because I have things to do and don't want to overload the post or some of your brains with all the stuff I could go off about. I'll save that for next time.
If there are any questions, comments or topics you would like covered (such as how to root or additional app recommendations or even ROMs to try out and what have you) just say so below. I'm open to ideas and sometimes I overlook things because to me they're just a given, but I've been tinkering with Android devices for years now and I sometimes forget that not everyone else does that
Also if someone wants to suggest a name for this weekly post, I'm all ears.