You may have read our article yesterday about the upcoming changes to version 4.4 of the Google Play Store app. It seems Google couldn't wait for their ''evening with Google Play'' event on October 24th and have released the updated app already. Android Police has shared the APK and I've got it up and running. So follow me friends, as I walk you through how to get it on your Android and what you'll find once you do. If you already know how to sideload an APK or want to wait for it to release via normal channels, you can jump to the bottom to see the changes and bugs I found.
Install Play Store v4.4 APK
1. First go into your device's Settings menu, enter your Security settings and tick the box for ''Allow Unknown Sources''.
3. Open the downloaded APK (run a scan on it first if you wish). If you saved the APK on your phone, open it from there, if you saved it onto your computer, transfer the APK to your phone via a USB cable and then open it.
4. The update requires no new permissions, so just hit ''Install'' and wait for the app to do its thing. Once it's finished, open it up and check out the changes to the Play Store. Don't forget to go back into your device Security settings and uncheck ''Unknown Sources''.
What's new in Play Store v4.4?
Not much. The Play Store app has been brought in line with the other Google apps and now features the same navigation drawer as the rest of the Google suite. The confusing questions we had about navigation and category switching have now been answered. The existing tabs you'd be familiar with in the different categories (Top New, Top Free, Top Grossing, Trending etc) remain, despite the screenshots we saw of a previous version of the Play Store app which had them missing in action.
You can continue to switch between tabs by swiping left and right, but to access the navigation drawer you need to swipe from the far left hand side of the screen. You might accidentally do this a few times when just trying to swtich between tabs, but you'll figure it out soon enough. Alternatively, you can bring out the navigation drawer by tapping the three lines at the top left corner of the page. Options previously accessed via the Action Overflow menu (three dots, top right) appear in the navigation drawer. And that's about it for changes.
Glitches and Bugs
I found a few glitches in the app. When I first started using it, I hit the back arrow to return to the Play Store main page and found a blank screen with status bar, software keys and Play Store banner but nothing in between. After exiting and re-entering the app the problem disappeared though. I also got nothing else on the navigation drawer other than my email account for the first run through. Again, this bug disappeared after I exited and rentered the app. Now it shows all the options I'd expect.
One other weird thing that persists is consistency of navigation in categories. Generally speaking, if you tap the colored banner at the top of a category, say, Apps for example, it will simply toggle the navigation drawer open and closed. The same is true if you are already in the navigation drawer. But in the Games category, if I hit the colored banner, from the Games page or in the navigation drawer, it returns me to the Play Store home page. It's only a bug in the Games category for me at this point. Also, the three-line navigation drawer icon in the top left corner is only visible in the other categories, not in Games, so the Games category still has the back arrow, hence taking you back to the main page. Apparently someone forgot that part (it also explains some of the conusion in the previous screenshots we shared). Once you're back on the main screen the banner will still say ''Games'' though. Teehee.
There's no sign of Google Play Newstand yet either, but it will appear in a purple color according to Android Police and as such means it will most likely combine with the current Magazines category. I don't have access to Magazines in Germany, but it shouldn't be too long beofre that purple box says Newstand instead of Magazines.
Have you installed the new Play Store app? Found any other changes or bugs??