[New App] News+

We’re coming up on the 6-month anniversary of the shutdown of Google Reader; and while some people might still be a little jaded about losing the beloved service, most have moved on to one of the many alternatives that popped up to replace it. Several great feed aggregators exist, many offering innovative improvements over Reader, but their mobile apps may not fit your needs. The developer of gReader, noinnion, intends to solve that with the release of News+, a feature-rich and very customizable news reader app with support for several services.

Development on News+ started over 6 months ago, around the same time gReader added support for Feedly. Users of gReader should feel right at home with the new app since many of its features can be found in both. News+ includes podcast support, text-to-speech, notifications, multiple viewing modes, offline reading, 2-way sync, and even a Tasker plugin.
The interface is both phone and tablet optimized, and it shares Night Mode and many of the same themes with its predecessor. Widgets aren’t currently available, but they will be coming with a future update.

News+ was designed to enable reading content from all of your news aggregators and Read Later services. The only service included out-of-the-box is Google News, but additional extensions can be installed from the Play Store or sideloaded to gain access to many other sources. There is also an API on Github for building extensions, so we’ll surely see more options in the future. Aside from the mysterious absence of Feedly, the list of extensions is already pretty good:

  • Google News (included)
  • InoReader (Play Store)
  • BazQux Reader (Play Store)
  • Tiny Tiny RSS (Play Store)
  • FeedBin (Play Store)
  • NewsBlur (Play Store)
  • Pocket (Play Store)
  • SubReader (sideload)
  • Reedah (sideload)
  • CommaFeed (sideload via Github)
  • Google Reader API Clones (sideload via Github)

You can pick up News+ free on the Play Store, and it’s even open-source on Github, but an unlock key is required to remove the ads and enable all of the features. Without the premium key you’ll be limited to a single extension (in addition to Google News) and you won’t have podcast support or the Voice Reading mode. Of course, paying for the unlock key will also help to fund future development.
If you like gReader but want to try out one of the other services out there, you should definitely give News+ a try!

 

 

Download: News+

Download: News+ Premium

[New App] LEGO® Building Instructions

LEGO licenses out a new video game every other week these days, but let us not forget that this brand still consists of more than adorable animated characters acting out our favorite movie scenes. These are building blocks, and if you still want to spend hours meticulously crafting a plastic masterpiece at home, LEGO is just as eager as ever to make that happen. The company has now provided instructions for building the LEGO TECHNIC Hot Rod or Rally Racer in a convenient, and free, app format.

The app lets you pick which of the two cars you wish to build, pan around, zoom in as needed, and view animations to confirm if you’re doing things correctly. But – and this is a big ‘but’ – you will need a tablet to make use of this visual aid, and not just any tablet, you need an older one.

LEGO® Building Instructions is in continuous development to ensure its availability on a wide range of devices. Currently the app is optimized for the following devices:
● Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1
● Nexus 7 first generation

 

That’s right, LEGO says you need either an original Nexus 7 or a Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 tablet in order to use the app. Though, on the other hand, we’ve found that there may be some wiggle room here, as one of us has an aging Galaxy Tab 8.9 that’s also supported. Yay?

 

Download: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lego.buildinginstructions

[New App] Belt.io

There are a lot of ways to get text from your computer to your Android device, but perhaps none of them are quite so simple as the new Belt.io app and service. Simply install the app on your phone and you can send text and links from the web service after signing up. Naturally Belt.io also offers browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, so you don’t even have to go to the website to use the service.

The browser extensions also tie in with the Android app, sending any selected link or text directly to your Android phone and giving it an optional notification as well. In an excellent example of a developer using the UI tools available, the app uses Android’s expanded notifications to allow users to open a link directly, copy text immediately to the clipboard, or share it via the standard share menu. The Belt.io website includes a basic invite function that lets you share with friends, but it’s only using email addresses at the time being – a tie-in with Google+ and Facebook would make it a lot more useful.
Text clipped to your Belt.io account is visible across all devices and browsers, and there’s an app available on iOS as well. (We have analytics, folks – we know that a considerable number of you are reading this on an iPad.) One final note: I don’t see any mention of security or encryption on the Belt.io site or app description, so your password might be the only thing protecting the text you send. It’s probably a good idea not to send sensitive information on Belt.io, at least for the time being.

 

 

Download: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=io.belt.android

[New App] Android Device Manager

Google rolled out the Android Device Manager a few months ago, but for whatever reason, there was no matching Android app. That changes today as Google has finally gotten around to releasing one. The app contains all the functionality from the website in a mobile-friendly package and it is, of course, free.

The Android Device Manager lets you track, lock, ring, and wipe any of the Android devices on your account. The web version works fine on Android devices through the browser, but a native app is still a preferable experience. The UI scales to both tablets and phones, and there is a handy drop down menu for switching accounts. It’s also much faster than the mobile web.

The Android app is obviously only of use if you have more than one Android device, like a phone and a tablet. But if you ever misplace one of them, you’ll be happy to have the ADM app at the ready. In yet another sign that Google has a sense of humor, if you locate the device you are running the app on, it says “in your hand.” Oh, Google.

 

Download: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.adm

[New App] Quip

Traditionally word processors have tasked themselves with producing nice, printable documents. Mobile versions have followed up with the unenviable task of replicating this functionality on much smaller screens. Quip throws this entire concept out of the window, instead creating a writing experience built for the ground up for mobile devices. The team released an alpha version over the summer, but it was little more than a demo of the iOS version of the app. Now the full version is available, and it looks right at home on Android devices.

If Google Docs could be thought of as a word processor with collaborative features added on, Quip feels like the opposite. Rather than emphasizing documents, the app focuses on people by putting conversation threads front and center. Once a thread is open, users can swipe over to the shared document. The text and images within adapt to the size of the screen they’re being viewed on, both reducing how much control you have over them and how much time you have to waste setting them up.

But since Quip claims to be a word processor, not a social platform, its shortcomings are difficult to ignore. It lacks the functionality that can be found in Google Drive, Quickoffice, or OfficeSuite. It’s also arguably less functional than note-taking apps like Evernote and Springpad. Yet it’s attractive, and if you collaborate with others often on largely simplistic documents, it may just be worth a go.

Key Features:


• Real-time, collaborative editing
• Messaging – Every document has a chat thread
• Offline – Edit anywhere, even on an airplane
• Folders – Share with your family or team
• Checklists – Interactive, shared lists
• Diffs – Every edit is in a document news feed
• Presence – See who’s online, what they’re up to
• @mentions – Link to people and documents
• Notifications – Know when a doc is opened
• Read receipts – Check who’s read your edits
• Inbox – See what you haven’t read

 

 

Download: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.quip.quip

[New App] FIFA

There’s a new way to keep up on the goings on in the world of soccer (or football, to most people in the world). The official FIFA app has hit Google Play with all the news and stats you could ever want.

The app includes coverage of 197 leagues from all over the world with match results, player info, and schedules. You can also personalize the app with your favorite teams to make the relevant data easier to access. The app itself seems to have a good handle on the Android design guidelines – there’s an action bar, some cards, and a hamburger menu. It also scales to tablets and phones correctly.

Perhaps the app will give you better insight into the mysteries of the game. I mean, you see that ludicrous display last night? Thing about Arsenal is, they always try and walk it in. The app is free, so check it out.

 

Download: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fifa.fifaapp.android

Themer Beta BETA v1.16

 

Current Version: BETA 1.16
Requires Android: 4.1 and up
Category: Personalization
vBETA 1.16 update:
*Beta 1.16 [v116]
– Crash Fix for non-english users when opening theme preview.
*Beta 1.15 [v115]
– Theme Preview page will let you see number of downloads and upvote a theme
– New sharing features
– Fixed wallpaper bug (when changing from multi to static it works now)
– Fixed other crash bugs

Overview:
Themer is more than an app. It will transform your homescreen to something that is beautiful, functional, and designed to fit the way you use your phone. Just choose one of our many free themes from the in-app browser and press apply. We have sports, sci-fi, nature, minimalism, movies, music, and games. Dozens of themes to choose from and more added daily. Based on the Android theming website, MyColorScreen.com, Themer does all the hard work for you, setting up wallpaper, widgets, and icons in one click.

Features:
– The app is free and themes are free.
– Easily go back to your old homescreen setup (though we doubt you’ll want to!).
– All themes are customizable, or you can use them as-is.
– New “Favorites” tab in the app drawer lets you quickly access your most-used apps.
– Themer Actions technology learns your app preferences. It doesn’t matter if you’re using Pandora or Spotify for music, WeatherBug or AccuWeather for weather, or TweetCaster or HootSuite for Twitter. Themer will get it right.

Basic Instructions:
– After install, Themer will apply a “welcome” theme to your device that explains how to find themes.
– Once you’ve applied your first theme, long press the homescreen and choose “Browse Themes” (or click the Themer icon in the app drawer) to return to the Themer menu.
– To make Themer your default homescreen, go to the Themer menu and choose “Set Home.” Click “Themer” and “Always.”
– To get back to your old homescreen, go to the Themer menu, choose “Settings,” “Themer,” and “Restore Old Homescreen.”
– After applying a theme, swipe down anywhere on your screen to see your notification bar. Swipe up to hide it.

Please check out our video tutorial (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqfkumDYD2E) and blog (http://www.themerapp.com/blog) for more info.

Please note that Themer supports most but not all devices running Android 4.1+. We are working hard to bring it to more devices and older versions of Android. If you are using a custom ROM that affects DPI or alters screen dimensions (such as the removal of soft keys), you will not be able to see any themes. Please restore to original configuration for Themer to function properly.

Below is a list of screen resolutions that we support:

1920×1080
1776×1080
1280×720
1184×768
1184×720
960×540
888×540
800×480

 

 

Download: Themer Bete BETA v1.16