PlayStation's redesigned phone app focuses on socializing

We just hope you didn't use the Live From PlayStation feature.

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If you've ever used the PlayStation App on your phone, you know how dodgy it has been since launch. Never mind the dated looks -- its interface was a hodgepodge that was never particularly helpful in any one area. At last, though, it's getting a makeover. Sony has released an overhauled PlayStation App for Android and iOS that not only drags the look into the modern era, but borrows more than a few cues from social networking apps. It's dominated by a Facebook-style "what's new" feed that puts your friends' PS4 activity front and center, and clearly does much more to encourage comments and sharing. Even profiles have a more social look, and you get quicker access to your friends list and notifications.

Virtually everything else is tucked into a tray that opens through the conspicuous PlayStation button, although that doesn't necessarily mean these features are harder to use. The new section includes faster access to common tasks like redeeming PlayStation Store codes or checking out PlayStation Plus offerings.

There is a big gotcha, however: Sony has stripped out two features. You can no longer access Live From PlayStation streams from within the app, so you'll have to either watch on your PS4 or search for streams on Twitch. Also, Second Screen features (including gameplay and typing) are now tucked into a separate app. Clearly, Sony thought its app was getting to be unwieldy.

It's not perfect even if you don't mind those omissions. You're still visiting a website when you tap the PlayStation Store. Sony is promising "more improvements," however. And more importantly, the revamp is evidence that Sony isn't letting the central PlayStation App languish while Messages and other narrow-purpose programs get all the attention.

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PlayStation's redesigned phone app focuses on socializing