The experimenting with the layout of the Google Play Store continues as Google trots out yet another new look & feel for the app. The latest update brings a new top level sliding navigation to reach different parts of the Play Store as well as a slightly condensed menu.
The top navigation, in my opinion, is quite nice. All of the major areas of the store are now in a sliding navigation bar at the top of the screen, which makes finding specific areas of the store much easier. This new navigation bar can be slid left to right and then you tap on the area you want to see. Those areas include For You, Top Charts, Categories, Editors’ Choice, Early Access, and Family.
Previously, to get to these areas, you either had to find it on the menu (depending on which flavor of the store you had on your phone or tablet) or you had to scroll down to that section on the main page. Neither was a great user experience and this new navigation bar greatly simplifies the process.
Over the course of the past few weeks, Google has been doing a lot of tinkering with various apps and services for Android. One of these tweaks, in the Google Play Store app, is the ability to sort your installed apps.
In the Google Play Store app, you have always been able to see your installed apps on your phone or tablet by going to My apps & games then to the Installed tab. There you would see the number of apps you have installed on your device and they would be presented to you in the order of last updated. Now you can change that sorting. Next to your app’s total app count, there is a new pull down that allows you to sort your apps four ways: Alphabetical, Last Updated, Last Used and Size.
The mobile analytics firm App Annie has pegged, for the first time, that the combined Android app stores in the market will out earn Apple’s App Store this year. According to their report, they project that Android based stores will earn about $41 billion in 2017 compared to the $40 billion that Apple will earn with their app store. The report is quick to point out that the Android numbers are a combination of the various app stores for Android that exist, such as Amazon’s Underground and Samsung’s app store.
If you strip down the report to just the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, Apple still leads the way. The Google branded store will account for $20 billion of the projected $41 billion this year but the Apple store alone churns $40 billion in earnings.
Over the weekend, Google pushed a behind-the-scenes update to the Google Play Store. Now, once the update hits your account, you will see a new Free App of the Week section in the store. Now you will be able to download a normally pay-to-play app at no charge. It is certainly not a new concept but it is great to see Google getting on board with such programs. Apple has had this for some time now while Amazon likely has the most aggressive free app model with their Amazon Underground. There you can not only get apps for free that you normally have to pay for but also get free in-app purchases. The Google offer does not give you free in-app purchases. Those are still on you.
This week’s free app is Card Wars from Cartoon Network. Normally it is $2.99 but for the rest of this week, it is free.
There has been a minor behind-the-scenes update to the Google Play Store that some users are seeing. If you go to the Top Charts in the Store, some users are now seeing a “Show installed apps” toggle at the top of each page. Enabling this allows you to either display or hide the apps from that chart that you already have installed. The idea is to speed things up a bit by not having to wade through apps you already have installed. You can simply hide them and see the other top apps you don’t have installed.
There is nothing that you need to do necessarily to get the update. It will just appear for you once it hits your account.
Having already posted some $700 million in ticket sales world wide, one of the big movie hits of 2016 has been Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The movie is set between the much maligned prequels and A New Hope, the original Star Wars movie, focusing on a band of Rebels who are trying to steal the plans to the Death Star. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor and see it. It’s quite good.
Now you can get ready to own Rogue One when it is hits the Google Movies & TV store in the Play Store. The movie is now available in the store as an item that you can wishlist. This is the first step before you can pre-order it.
Harry Potter fans, there is a great deal for you this week in the Google Play Store. Right now you can pick up the entire 8-movie collection of Potter movies for $49.99. That is a huge savings of 48% off the regular price of $103.92. All of the movies are in HD and because you are getting them through Google Play, you can Cast them to your TV via Chromecast or Roku and can download them to devices to watch offline. It is a great deal for sure.
The collection comes with all of the movies in the series:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
That’s a lot of watching but if you love the series like me & my family do, it is a great deal. To put how good this deal is in perspective, each of the individual movies in HD are $12.99 each. In this deal, they are $6.25 each. Head over to the Play Store to buy the bundle