Android-Apps

Android Community App of the Week: Nova Launcher Beta

There's a lot of options out there when it comes to third-party Android launchers, AKA homescreens. But when making the jump to Ice Cream Sandwich (whether through a new device or an updated ROM) all of them seem to leave something to be desired. I've tried out all my favorites on my Galaxy Nexus over the last two months, and the one I keep coming back to is Nova Launcher. It's not that other launcher's don't work - it's that Nova Launcher works better. This modified version of the open-source stock launcher comes from a familiar face: TeslaCoil Software, maker of the popular lock screen replacement Widget Locker.

DropBox opens Android Beta program, gives away up to 5GB of extra storage

DropBox has been moving up in the world in the last few months, due in no small part to excellent support of mobile platforms like Android. Today the cloud storage service announced a beta program for users of its Android app. Testers will get access to a newer, faster and more feature-rich version of the DropBox app - but that's not all. If you need a carrot even without the stick, beta testers will receive up to 5 gigabytes of extra cloud storage connected to your account, for use on any operating system, including DropBox's more robust desktop programs.

iOS apps crash more than Android, says recent data

"Oh, I'd never use an Android phone - those things crash too much!" This mantra is often heard from those cradling their iDevices, basking in the self-satisfied glow of the latest incrementally updated iPhone Designed by Apple in California (and Made by Foxconn in China). But is it true? Recent research from mobile analytics firm Crittercism says no. Based on data collected in November and December of last year, iOS apps crashed at a significantly higher rate than Android apps - more than three times as much for top selling apps. Don't panic, Apple faithful, just keep repeating this soothing chant to yourself: "It just works."

New “Dark Google Apps” mod saves battery on OLED phones

Screens that use organic light-emitting diodes, better known as OLED and AMOLED, have a unique method of image production. When instructed to display a "black" color, the individual pixel cells are physically turned off, providing the stunning blacks seen on OLED-equipped devices like the Galaxy S II, DROID RAZR and the original Nexus One. Interestingly, this also means that displaying a mostly black image on an OLED screen also draws less power than a white or full-color image. To take advantage of this technological quirk, an intrepid modder on XDA has set about modifying all of Google's core Android apps to save the maximum amount of battery on OLED phones, via the simple expediency of reversing the color scheme.

BlackBerry Playbook gets Android apps after February 6th

Got a BlackBerry Playbook? If the ales figures are anything to go by, probably not - but hey, maybe you've got a friend or a boss who was brought low by a Staples salesman. If that's the case, be sure and tell him or her that the handful of apps huddling together for warmth in RIM's app store will soon have some welcome company. The company's Developer Relations team posted today that the long, long-awaited OS 2.0 update will hit in February, with the BlackBerry Runtime for Android included in the package. It's almost as welcome as a real email client. The service has been in closed beta for some time now.

Waze traffic app updates with Foursquare and Yelp integration

There are three universal forces that can never be resisted: death, taxes, and the 5:30 weekday traffic in Atlanta. Waze has been resisting the latter with its community-powered traffic system, which gathers data from thousands of active users to create a live map of the worst traffic in any given city - and how to avoid it. The popular app updates today with version 3.0, bringing in an overhauled interface and new integration with social services. The app is still free, and you can download Waze in the Android Market.

Official Steam app in closed beta, available now

While we saw at least one impressive attempt at an unofficial Steam app, big daddy Valve has now stepped up and offered an official Steam client for Android. The ubiquitous PC game store-cloud client is incredibly popular among gamers, who have had to settle for access to the desktop web version before now. The Steam app is in beta and available as a free download on the Android Market, but unfortunately, your Steam account needs to be part of the batch of beta users in order to log in.

Stick it! lets you watch videos in other apps

Desktop media fiends will no doubt be aware of most full-sized OS' ability to display video and other windows at the same time, making multi-tasking and entertainment possible. While this isn't exactly ideal on a mobile screen, it's  now possible, thanks to "Stick It! Free your Player !" [sic] from ambitious developer MBFG. The app pops out video into its own small window on your smartphone or tablet, and the window stays above new apps, allowing you to work or browse while still enjoying a local video file.
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