If I were to pick my top app to receive Chromecast support as soon as possible, it would have been MX Player. Despite a seemingly simple UI that lacks a lot of bells and whistles, MX Player can handle multiple file formats and sizes thanks to hardware or software decoding and supports gesture controls during playback and pinch-to-zoom.

However, Google seems to have a different opinion, and the first media player that got welcomed on the Chromecast was the relatively obscure Avia. I decided to take it for a spin, as it’s the only option that is available worldwide — Real Player Cloud doesn’t work in my region — and sends local files directly from my devices to the Chromecast without having to host them on another device like Plex‘ requirement. Read on for my assessment of the app.

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There’s no question that smartphones and tablets have become by far the biggest gaming platform in the world, surpassing dedicated gaming devices with the sheer size of their user base and gaming software on offer. However, it is worth considering that the Google Play store is an environment which creates only a few gaming mega-hits per year, with many hopeful, worthy titles quickly fading into obscurity.

For an independent game developer, these struggles for exposure are often insurmountable. Google’s openness and transparency regarding app download figures provides a sobering — and often depressing — insight into these difficulties, with many games boasting a shocking lack of players. Here, we have collated 7 very worthwhile gaming experiences on Android that have most definitely flown under your — and almost everyone else’s — radar, but are well worth playing.

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As we approach the last week before the last week before Christmas, Google has dropped an early gift in the form a bunch of new and updated Google Play edition products ensuring this festive season is a robotic one. Let’s take a look at This Week in Android! (more…)

I’m usually a sloppy Christmas shopper. I wait until the last few days to get any presents, mostly because I never know what to gift anyone. This year however marked a huge improvement as I had my Christmas shopping done by the 5th of December.

If you’re not as lucky and you still have some gift shopping left for your friends, family members, partners, and you know them to be Android fans, I have compiled this list of great last-minute gift ideas. As a big Android fan, I guarantee I’d be happy with any item mentioned below.

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In terms of photo styling, I’ve always been a purist. I have a passionate dislike of HDR (other than when it is a necessity of commercial photography), and I think Instagram‘s filters ruin every image they are applied to. In photographic terms, I believe that a great image is taken with a lens, not constructed with an app.

But that’s not to say that all styling is bad. The subtler effects of Vignette can bring out the natural tones in a beautiful landscape, and many folks add nicely designed overlays to their images to create a kind of photo-based artwork. I’m averse to neither technique.

So PicLab looks — from its Play Store description, at least – like my type of photo app. With a focus on text and image overlays, rather than filtering, it’s clear that this image styler is aimed at classy presentation. Does it have the quality to be a worthwhile download, though?

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The Christmas spirit kicks in at different time for different people, but one surefire way to make it kick in is to “deck the halls” of your Android device, which will be a breeze to do with these apps, wallpapers and ringtones!

In this roundup, I have collected the finest HD wallpapers, apps and ringtones that the web has to offer so you can easily have your pick of the best for your Android device. All of the below wallpapers are 1080P, and so should look stunning on devices with HD displays!

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If there’s one app category that seems more inventive than any other to me, it’s the camera app. I know what you’re all thinking: this can’t be the case. After all, mobile photography is pretty simple — take a picture, throw on a filter, and then move on with your life. For me, it’s not that simple. I love trying out new apps and seeing what they’re capable of, and if they line up with my personal philosophy for photography.

So what is my personal philosophy? I like to take slightly over-exposed photographs that are warmer in colour temperature. I prefer shooting in digital, but work hard in post to make sure my pictures look like film artefacts. For my DSLR, I’m always trying out new workflows but don’t move too far from my time-proven Aperture workhorse on my Mac. On my iPhone and Nexus 4, I dig Instagram for its social features. VSCO has some great filters for both desktop photo editors and mobile apps too. Is there space in my life for Camera Awesome, the latest mobile photography app to take the Android ecosystem by storm? Read on to find out.

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The recent release of the Nexus 5 marked an important landmark in Android phoneography. The physical camera hardware in Google’s latest flagship phone is not a great improvement on the Nexus’ predecessor, but the overall photographic quality of the new handset, particularly after the 4.4.1 software update, shows that Google is taking mobile photography seriously. At last.

Developers are playing their part, too. Both Android-specific apps, such as Vignette, and iOS imports, such as PicLab, provide good quality, classy editing options on an OS that only had Instagram to play with, not so long ago.

But now, things have gone up another level. VSCO Cam, the self-proclaimed “standard of mobile photography” has exited private beta, and it is now ready to bring its comprehensive adjustments and subtle retro cool to our side of the mobile divide. But can this legend of iPhoneography successfully make the transition to Android?

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As we get closer and closer to the Annual Android Handset Giving Period commonly known by many as Christmas, another week of Android news grows to a close. This week has brought a number of new stories, including reports that YouTube are delaying their streaming music service, the news that Chrome apps could be coming to Android as early as January and more information about Google’s mysterious barges that first hit our headlines last month. Let’s take a look!

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It’s the last month of the year and the time when companies refrain from pushing new products or ideas to avoid being neglected in the midst of the holiday rush. But over on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, entrepreneurs are fearless and confident, launching new projects and hoping to get your attention with their innovative products.

In the following post, I will take a look at the most original projects that you can pledge for this month, then list others that are also worth looking at. Read on to discover them all, and keep in mind that, as with any crowd-funded project, you have to exercise your better judgement and no outcome is really guaranteed.

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