The end of the year doesn’t tend to be a peak season for software releases, at least not beyond the commercial gaming market’s Christmas campaign. Even still, the end of 2014 has been studded with projects in beta phase finally coming out in their stable versions, as in the case of Android Studio or VLC for Android, as well as the release of other hits sure to have a long run, like Hearthstone for Android.

Android Studio (Windows/Mac)

Although the first public beta was launched in May 2013, it was only just this month that the first stable version of Android Studio was officially released. Google aims for this Android app programming suite to become the standard in the process of app design and implementation. A much more cohesive and intuitive set of tools that brings together creativity and programming forms the base of the project, whose version 1.0 is now available for Windows and Mac.

Hearthstone (Android)

Possibly the biggest blockbuster of the year has now arrived from Blizzard with this trading card game set in the Warcraft universe. While it used to be only available for play on desktops, it’s now also available entirely for free on Android tablets.

AirDroid 3 (Android/Windows)

Interaction with Android devices from computers and vice versa has yet to receive a standardized manufacturer solution in December, thus prompting the development of lots of independent alternatives with varying degrees of success. AirDroid was already one of the best options out there, capable of interacting in both directions with photos, videos, apps, contacts, messages, and other content as well as your device’s settings. The new 3.0 version has increased its possibilities even further, allowing you to mirror the screen of your phone on your PC monitor and even interact with the device using your mouse.

Scrolls (Android/Windows)

The biggest problem with Scrolls isn’t that it was released with the responsibility of becoming the Next Big Thing from Mojang (creators of the much-loved Minecraft), but that it was released at the same time as the aforementioned Hearthstone. Its first stable version has recently moved out of the beta phase to offer an interesting combination of turn-based strategic battles and grid positioning with the development and background of a trading card game.

MAPS.ME (Android)

This, more than a release, marks something like a change of philosophy. The appeal of MAPS.ME over other popular apps like Google Maps or HERE Maps is the option to locally download full map packs for a country to access even without an Internet connection, with no stored cache or any other type of pre-loading. Till now it was a paid app, but as of a few days ago it’s possible to download the Pro version completely free.

mapsme-en-1

VLC (Android)

Alongside XBMC and Media Player Classic, VLC is one of the most complete and versatile media players you can find. After lots of coming and goings, the final version of the app is now available for Android with most of the same goodies as the desktop version as well as many exclusive features.

vlc video

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