Thursday, February 15, 2018

Google Calendar for Android lets users duplicate or copy events to another calendar.

Google updated its Calendar app for Android with a couple of new features that will make life a tad easier for users. Google added the ability to copy events between calendars. The steps to achieve that is very easy. Simply open an item in the calendar and tap the three vertical dots at the top-right corner of the Calendar app and the option to 'Copy to...' will be there. Select another calendar, then hit 'Save' to copy the event. You may as well make some modifications to the event while you're at it.

Google also added a 'Duplicate' feature which lets you, well, duplicate an existing event and use it as a template for a new event(s). The 'Duplicate' function can be found in the same location as 'Copy to...'.

This update also lets the event organizer choose whether to inform guests of any changes made to events in the calendar. This comes in handy when making minor changes to events that do not necessitate informing participants or, as Google puts it, 'guests'.

Google started rolling out the update to Google Calendar yesterday. Head over to Google Play Store to get it.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

VLC multimedia player is out of beta and includes plenty of new features.

VLC for Android is a very popular multimedia player and is a cross-platform app that works on phones, tablets, and desktops. VLC can play almost about every type of multimedia file formats as well as network streaming protocols and it is also a feature-packed audio player.
Today, VLC received a major update that contains a plethora of new features raising the version to 3.0.
As the developer puts it in the app description in the Play Store, “VLC is intended for everyone, is totally free, has no ads, no in-app-purchases, no spying and is developed by passionate volunteers. All the source code is available for free.”
VLC for Android is a must-have app for your multimedia needs on your devices. You won’t find a better offer in the store. Seriously, nothing beats a full-featured free app. Download it in Google Store. Click the link below to see what's new in VLC 3.0.

Source: VideoLan

OnePlus Switch app update lets you backup data locally and fixes crashing on non-OnePlus phones.

Most phones manufacturers, if not all, offer a way to quickly and easily migrate your current phone data to a new one and OnePlus is one of them with the recently released OnePlus Switch app.

OnePlus Switch app was designed to flawlessly migrate your contacts, text messages, photos from your old phone to a OnePlus phone. Unfortunately, this app was not available when I bought my OnePlus 5T last year, so the migration from my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge was tedious. But that does not mean that the app is useless to me, now that I have a OnePlus device. OnePlus has updated the OnePlus Switch app that adds a local backup feature to it.

Let's dive in to see how the new backup and restore feature works. OnePlus added a new 'Backup and Restore' button at the bottom of the app main screen.

The 'New Backup' will back up the following: Contacts, Call Logs, Messages, Pictures, Audio, Video, System info, and Applications. Users have to make sure they have enough storage left on their device before hitting the 'Backup Now' button. OnePlus Switch quickly did the backup on my phone, but the Applications backup took longer. Duration will vary depending on the number of apps you have installed. I have 162 apps installed and the backup took less than 3 minutes to complete. I did not test the 'Restore' feature, but once you have a backup, it will be listed on the 'Restore' screen and will show the date the backup was done along with the size of the file. Tapping on it will display the list of restorable data, giving you the choice to restore the piece data you want.

Having a backup is important and safe. Backing up the backup is safer. OnePlus Switch saves your backup to the phone's internal storage, meaning you lose it if an unexpected crash strikes or you have to perform a factory reset. So, I strongly recommend saving the backup file somewhere else. I moved mine to my cloud storage. The backup files are stored in the internal storage > Backup folder by default and there’s no way to change that.

So much for the new local backup/restore feature. This update also includes some fixes and improvements:

·       Fixed the issue of crashing on some non-OnePlus phones.

·       Improved the speed of QR code scanning when connecting two devices.

The OnePlus Switch app is not restricted to OnePlus devices only. It works on other Android phones too, albeit not as flawlessly as on the OnePlus. If you're giving it a try on a non-OnePlus device and run into issues, give your feedback on OnePlus forums. OnePlus Switch can be downloaded in Google Play Store.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Skype for Android gets improved audio control.

Since the complete redesign of Skype last year, Microsoft has been gradually adding back missing features. I'm sure Skype users will remember when a simple feature like chat presence was missing. Thankfully, Microsoft has been listening to users' feedback and working on improving Skype.

Today Microsoft has published another update in the Play store that improves Skype's audio control.

Here's what's new:

- Improved audio control - easily switch between your earpiece, speaker, wired or Bluetooth device during a call.

Get the update in Google Play Store.

Telegram 4.8 introduces video streaming, automatic night mode and a login widget.

A week into February and Telegram has published another update in the Store bringing some useful features to the messaging app as it pursues its goal to become the one messaging app for all.

The first item in the list of changes is video streaming. Users will be able to view videos right away upon receiving them without having to download them first. A feature that was introduced in WhatsApp in January last year. It's good to see Telegram introducing it too as it is neat. Video streaming works with Telegram 4.8 and on.

The second feature is Night mode. The latter is already available in the app and I have it enabled by default. In case you are not comfortable with having night mode on at all times, Telegram now lets you schedule the switch to the dark version "after nightfall or in low-light conditions". To setup night mode, go to Settings > Theme > Auto-Night mode. Three options are available: Disabled, Scheduled and Automatic. Telegram also added three "preferred night theme" to choose from: Default, Blue and Dark.

The last item is a Telegram Login Widget to log in to websites that support signing in with Telegram using your browser. "Logging in will send your Telegram name, username, and your profile picture to the website owner. Your phone number remains hidden. The website can also request permission to send you messages from their bot."

That's it for the new features in Telegram 4.8. The update is already available for download in Google Play Store.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Microsoft Outlook for Android lets you resize large images attached to messages to use less data.

Our beloved devices are great, but like all things, have their pros and cons. But what matters most to us is data consumption. A phone without a data connection is a dumb phone and unfortunately, data costs money and we have to find the right balance to save as much data as possible. Sure, our devices are getting smarter at that with most of them having a data saver feature of some sort. And better yet, we now have apps with their own built-in data saver, mostly browsers. But there’s more.

Today Microsoft updated Outlook for Android with a feature that gives users the choice between resizing images or keeping the original size when sending them as attachments in emails. The changelog says the new feature will “resize large images attached to your message to use less data.” The screenshot above will appear when sending images to let users choose whether they want to resize and save data or not. This comes in handy, especially now that our phones' cameras are getting better and better at capturing high-resolution images.

To take advantage of this data-saving feature in Microsoft Outlook, get the update in Google Play Store and start saving.

Dropbox now supports Acrobat XD and gets a revamped homescreen in latest update for Android.

Dropbox is not the most popular cloud storage service on the market, but it does offer a full-fledged cloud service with file-syncing service and online collaboration. Dropbox proposes two types of services: Personal, which works pretty much like other similar services; The Pro version has Enhanced collaboration for teamwork in the enterprise. Users receive 3GB of storage free on signing up, which pales in comparison to Microsoft and Google offerings. Anyway, Dropbox is here to stay and keep on improving its services and today’s update is just another example of their intention to remain competitive.
The app home screen has been redesigned not only to just show recent files, it will also show files pending uploads, notifications and starred items. The update also lets users hide the recent items from the home screen. This can be done in the app settings.
The last item in the changelog is support for Adobe XD document. Dropbox will now be able to preview XD documents on the go. This feature is also available from Dropbox website. “XD lets you wireframe, create low or high fidelity visual designs, define navigation flows and transitions between artboards, preview and share interactive prototypes, gather feedback from stakeholders, and export assets for production use.”, says Adobe.
Dropbox users can upgrade the app in Google Play Store. If you’re considering subscribing to Dropbox, you’ll get 3GB of free storage to start. You can earn more through referrals and other actions like enabling camera uploads, for example. Again, other cloud storage services give you more than 3GB on sign up.

Friday, February 2, 2018

CNN for Android now supports Picture-in-Picture video playback.

With Android 8.0 Oreo comes Picture-in-Picture (PIP) mode. Never heard about PIP before? The latest iteration of Android introduces a feature that is kind of a multi-window used for video playback. PIP lets users watch a video on their device while using other apps or browsing the web. The video will pin itself to a corner of the screen, letting users do other stuff on their devices.

PIP is really a nice feature, but unfortunately, not many apps support it right now and that is a bummer considering that Oreo was released a little less than 6 months ago. As of now, only Google Maps and Duo have PIP support baked in. You read that well, only two Google apps support PIP and YouTube is not one of them. Third party’s apps like WhatsApp Beta, VLC and Facebook do integrate PIP when watching videos or making video calls. CNN is the last to join the small club of apps showing PIP love.

The latest update of CNN app for Android does indeed add PIP support when watching videos. As I said above this feature works on devices running Android 8.0 Oreo only and is not enabled by default. To enjoy PIP, it must first be activated in the app settings. Tap the gear icon in the top-right hand corner of the CNN app and tap the toggle next to ‘Enable Picture-in-Picture’. After you’re done, go back to the app and start a video, then press the ‘Home’ button and see the video pin itself to the bottom-right corner of the screen. It’s basically a floating window and should you want to move it to another area of your screen, tap and hold and drag to the location you want.

PIP is a very useful feature, especially to those who like to multitask. Check out the latest update to CNN app for Android in Google Play Store to try PIP.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Microsoft Launcher beta gets Cortana integration, remote data-wiping, support for Arabic & more.

Today Microsoft has released a new version of its Launcher for Android and those among you who are in the beta program will see the update in Google Play Store, ready for you to download. The most noteworthy feature in version 4.6 is the integration of Cortana, Microsoft’s personal digital assistant. I was curious to see if Cortana would work for me and, indeed, the assistant does work. Strangely, the standalone Cortana app for Android is not even available for my region. Well, I’m not going to complain now that I finally have Cortana working on my Android devices.

Now with Cortana built-in, users will be able to use it to make calls, schedule meetings, change wallpaper, Continue on PC or read the latest headlines.

Share Launcher via NFC & QR code – Now it’s easy to share the app with your family and friends. Simply go in the Launcher Settings and tap ‘Share Microsoft Launcher’. The options to share via NFC and QR code will be listed first and second. The other sharing options are still there should you want more traditional ways to do so via social networks, SMS, etc.

Support for Arabic/RTL languages.

Intune integration supports remote data-wiping – This feature is available to devices connected to enterprise networks and will allow administrators to send a wipe command to devices that are either lost or stolen.

The other features in this update are:

·       Choose what contacts to display on your People card.

·       Place widgets into the dock.

·       Pin searched app/contact to home screen.

The Microsoft Launcher beta is pretty stable. So, if you like to test new features, join the beta program here. If not, this update shouldn’t take long to reach everyone. Beta testers can download the update in Google Play Store.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Pocket Casts for Android gets some layout issues and auto cleanup bug fixed.

My daily commutes to and from work would be stressful without my daily intake of podcasts and that is not because of the bad traffic or that the bus experience is awful. Neither of that. The issue is that they broadcast local radio to make the travelers experience comfy. That’s not the case for me as local radios are probably the worst listening experience on this island. Podcasts help me keep my sanity by blocking these stressful radio waves from reaching my brain. Enter Pocket Casts, my all-time favorite podcast app for Android. 

Pocket Casts is a cross-platform podcast app that is very popular on Android. I’m not saying that the app is perfect to the point of being bug free. Today’s update does not introduce anything new, but some fixes instead and raises the app version to 6.4.7.

Here’s what are the fixes in this release:

·       Fixed some layout issues for Chrome OS and Android when using split screen. Our app should now look more graceful (if that’s even possible) when resized to your weird and wonderful tastes.

·       Fixed a bug with auto cleanup where in some cases it wouldn’t delete played files. Cheeky little bugger.

·       Chromecast updates which should fix some issues people have reported.

I’ve said time and again in each of my posts about Pocket Casts that it offers the best podcast experience on mobile devices. I currently use it on Android and Windows Mobile (Yeah, I know what you’re thinking about the latter). Pocket Casts is not free and costs $3.99, but is well worth the money. Check it out in Google Play Store.