Nova And Apex Launchers Get Major Updates; Google Play Books Updated As Well

Last night, three popular apps in the Play Store got major updates. First, Nova Launcher got a major update that brings some Jelly Bean related launcher features to Ice Cream Sandwich users, along with an reduction in APK size, performance improvements, more Butter, lower RAM usage and overall smoother operation.

The whole change-log of the update is below -:

Since 1.3.0
Fix preview screen
Misc minor fixes
Since 1.2.2
Jellybean launcher features (Works with ICS)
-Desktop automatically rearranges to fit
-Long-press then fling to delete items
-Project butter related enhancements
Import from other launchers
Custom drawer grid size
Uninstall on quick menu
Performance improvements
– Smoother scrolling
– Faster load
– Reduction of memory usage
– Reduction of APK size

Apex Launcher, another popular launcher and a great alternative to Nova Launcher, also got a similar update. The update adds similar features as the Nova update, including some JB goodies for ICS users.

Rebuilt based on JB launcher (works on ICS too)
* Desktop items automatically re-arrange to fit
* Long press and fling to remove items
* Performance boost for homescreen and drawer
New features
* Option to switch to tablet UI
* Custom drawer grid settings
* Activity animation options
Other improvements and bugfixes
* Improved vertical drawers
* Custom widget picker (requires JB or root)
* Unlimited drawer tabs (pro)
* Fixed paid themes under JB
* Many misc. bugfixes
* Updated translations

Lastly, Google released a major new update to Play Books bringing lots of new features, and stability improvements for certain devices.

Added highlighting, notes, dictionary, “Places” info cards, translation, sepia mode, and sliding page-turn. Fixed crashes on launch on certain devices including HTC Wildfire.

Details:

In “Flowing Text” books, you can tap & hold to select some text and then
– Highlight
Add notes
– Translate
– See definition in dictionary info cards
– See a map and Wikipedia snippet in “Places” info cards, if the selected text is a place.

The update should definitely make the reading experience of Nexus 7 users a lot better and enjoyable.

Android App Updates – Chrome, Twitter and Pocket Get Bug-Fixing Feature Filled Updates

Over the last one week or so, quite a lot of Android apps have got some major updates. Last week, Google released a major update for Chrome for Android. The latest version of Chrome for Android (v18) packs some major security and stability improvements, including a major sandboxing feature rewrite for better protection against malicious websites.

Below is the full change-log of the M18.1 update -:

This version update includes a number of security and stability improvements. Additional highlights
-Location preference now integrated to system level Google apps location setting.
-Youtube videos controls now work in full screen mode; videos continue playing after a screen lock/unlock
-Fixes to make third-party IMEs work better with Chrome

Last night, Twitter also released a major update for the official Twitter clients on all platforms. The v3.4 update for the Android version does not bring many new features or UI enhancements, except for the addition of a new cover photo like feature as in Facebook.

The full change-log is below -:

– New profiles with header photos
– Photo streams on profiles and events
– Pinch-to-zoom on photos
– Search suggestions for people, topics and hashtags
– Improved protected account management including the ability to accept or deny follower requests
– Other improvements, polish, and fixes

Lastly, Pocket (formerly Read It Later) also released an update for the Android version of their app that allows the users to listen to their articles saved in Pocket. There are tons of other bug-fixes as well.

New:
– Listen: Pocket can read your articles to you using Android’s Text-To-Speech feature
Updated:
– Manage Site Subscription feature now working on all versions of Android
– Improved full screen animation in Reader
– Disabled URL shortener when sharing to Evernote
– Minor UI updates
Fixed:
– ZTE Blade crash when opening an article
– Blank help screen on Jelly Bean
– After marking a link to “Read Later” inside an article, Archiving/Favoriting would affect the wrong link
– Minor bug fixes

The ability to listen to your saved articles in Pocket via Android’s text-to-speech system is really handy. If you have not already, it’s high time you start using Pocket to read articles in your free time.

Google Translate And Tweet Lanes For Android Get Feature-Rich Updates

Over the last couple of days, a couple of popular Android apps have received major updates. First in the list is Google Translate that now allows users to click a picture, brush the text, and watch it get translated in your desired language.

In addition to this, users will now get instant translations for their text entry instead of entering a text, pressing the ‘Translate’ button and then wait for the translated text to show up.

There are some other minor changes as well, which can be seen in the change-log below -:

  • Use camera to take a picture and brush text to translate (available on Android 2.3 and above).
  • Get instant translation results as you type.
  • Choose dialect preference for speech input.
  • Japanese handwriting now recognizes multiple characters at once.
  • Added access network state permission to check network availability when sending requests.

If you are going to a country whose language you are unfamiliar with, don’t forget to install Google Translate on your handset.

Second in the list is Tweet Lanes, a new Twitter client for Android. The app has gained quite a lot of attention and spot light over the last few weeks, thanks to an excellent developer who has been working hard on adding new features and polishing the app. The latest update to Tweet Lanes adds quite a lot of much-needed features like Direct Messages support, ability to pinch-to-zoom and double-tap on image viewer, improved layout, and some bug fixes. The whole change-log of the app can be found here, and the app can be downloaded for free from here.