It seems like no time at all since the last update, but once again a new version of Showr brings the features that users have asked for, as well as being more sensitive to your phone’s needs and more responsive to you, the user. If you don’t already have Showr, download it now from Google Play.
RSS and Atom feeds
The biggest addition really expands what you can do with Showr. You can now use Showr to stay up to date with a webcomic, a Tumblelog on Tumblr, any photostream on Flickr, or a photo blog. Best of all, because Showr runs on your phone, not someone else’s “cloud”, nobody’s going to go all “Google Reader” and turn it off.
Now, when you create a Showr widget with a Get image from Internet source, instead of entering the address of an image, enter the address of an RSS or Atom feed. Showr will download the feed and display the first image it can find from the feed. This is the point where I’d normally put a screenshot of the new user interface, but there’s no new screen to shoot! Just enter the address the same way you do in previous versions, and how often you want to update, and Showr does the rest.
If you’re moving away from Google Reader but your new feed reader isn’t very good with images, Showr can complement it by putting your favourite webcomic right on your home screen where you can see it. Showr’s smart updating works with RSS and Atom feeds too. Even if you set it to update more often than the feed is updated, Showr will only download the feed if it has changed, and will only download an image if it has changed.
In more detail: if any item from the feed has an image enclosure, or an HTML summary or description that uses an
<img> tag, Showr will download and display the most recent item’s linked image.
Showr will also set the widget’s “website” to the item’s link from the feed, so the Visit website option on the widget popup menu takes you straight to that photo or blog post. Don’t forget you can use the Widget settings page to tell Showr what to do When you click the widget, so you can set your comic to go full-screen with one click, or share an interesting image.
Kinder to your battery
Showr 1.3 is more sensitive to your phone’s needs. When your phone’s battery is running on fumes, the last thing you need is home screen widgets burning those last electrons, so Showr 1.3 stops updating when your battery is low. At other times, Showr 1.3 is more aware of your phone’s Internet connection, and can use this to schedule updates better to use less energy.
Meeting your expectations
We know that exciting features aren’t all there is to a product, so Showr 1.3 incorporates some of the latest User Experience research, so even in unusual situations it fulfils your expectations of how it should behave.
When you update a Showr manually (using the action mode in the widget list, or the Update Now item in a widget’s Source settings), Showr will update the widget right away, even if you’re connected to a network you don’t usually want Showr to use. If the update fails, Showr will try again at the next opportunity (e.g. when you next connect to Internet). Previously, Showr would not let you override the network settings in this way, and if a manual update failed, it would only retry at the next scheduled update time. This change makes it possible to use the manual update feature for control over when widgets update.
Showr 1.2 made it easier to enter image addresses using an NFC tag or QR code. Unfortunately, this change introduced a problem that could cause Showr to close unexpectedly after scanning a QR code. This problem was found with improved internal testing and is fixed in Showr 1.3.
Showr 1.3 declares itself in a User-Agent header when talking to web servers. This probably makes no difference to most users, and is provided for users who are using Showr with their own web or intranet site.
Paying the bills
The new RSS and Atom support in Showr 1.3 means you’ll all be filling your home screens with widgets. Showr 1.3 helps the users who get the most value of Showr to contribute to its development. When you try to create your fourth widget, Showr will first remind you about the benefits of upgrading to Showr Pro. Income from Showr Pro sales pays for the development of Showr, and if you already have three widgets, you’re using it enough that you should contribute.
If you already have four or more widgets from Showr 1.2 or earlier, they will keep working after the update. If you have inactive widgets restored from a backup, Showr gives you an extra two slots so that you can activate them. And if you’re already supporting Shadowburst as a Showr Pro user, you won’t see any difference from this change (unless you notice that the Image source menu is a little smoother than before).