Sunday, December 14, 2014

The kingdom of Arendelle gets 45 new levels of holiday cheer.

The kingdom of Arendelle might sound like one of those fortified castles in middle earth, but it's not. This kingdom has nothing to do with Tolkien fantastic world. It's a world of magic and princesses. Maybe "Frozen" would make more sense. If you have kids, avoid saying it loud or you'll end up with an overdose of songs out of the Disney movie. The franchise is also very popular on Android in the form of a game that is often updated with new levels matching the season. 

With Christmas only 10 days away, Disney is bringing 45 new levels to the games to keep the kids not get too excited. See the detailed change log below and get a spare device to give to your kids so they can enjoy the game with their favorite princesses.

What's new:
  • Introducing: Starter and Pro Packs! Stuck, for the first time in forever?
  • New Power up: PRESENTS! It’s a surprise each time!
  • 10 NEW Gingerbread Cookie Collectibles
  • 2 game modes:
    1. Christmas Lights! Make matches next to them to light up the board!
    2. Christmas Ornaments! Match them with gems! How shiny! 
Source: Google Play

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Skype Qik now lets you send message to another conversation; resend Qik SMS invite.

I have never been a fan of Snapchat, so it's no surprise that Skype Qik is there on my devices and has never been used if not for a few tests when it was released. If, unlike me, you're a user or fan of Skype Qik, then head over to the store as there is an update waiting for you. Maybe the changes listed below will make sense to you and improve your Qik, say "Quick", experience.

As mentioned in the title, the Qik team included a special holiday surprise in this update. It consists of falling snow flakes  upon launching the app. Don't worry, the flakes go away after a few seconds.

Here's what is new in this version of Skype Qik:

  • New menu lets you delete, save, or send your message to another conversation.
  • Friend didn't open the SMS invitation to Qik you sent? Now you can it again.
  • PLUS, a special holiday surprise!
Source: Google Play

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Skype brings floating window to Android phones.

Skype has finally brought the floating window feature to its app for Android. Users of Skype for PCs and Macs will know what I'm talking about. It is this very useful feature where you can minimize Skype on your desktop and continue doing something else while still having the person you are talking to in a small window floating over that Word document you were working on before the call.

In the description on Google Play, Skype calls this feature "picture in picture view". As can be seen in the screenshot below, the floating window is quite small. I tested it on a Motorola G. Similar to a desktop or tablet, you can move the window out of the way, around your screen. Just make you touch and drag. Applying too much pressure will result in Skype coming back into focus and maximizing.
Besides the floating, the update also includes some performance improvement like it now loads chats faster from the notification center. See the full change log below:
  • Chats load faster, especially when opened from a notification.
  • Picture in picture view lets you keep a video call going - for phones now too!
  • Receive photos from Skype for iPhone and other new clients.
  • Supports formatted text: bold, italic, strikethrough.
  • Native support for Hindi -SAH!
Source: Google Play

 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pushbullet releases universal copy & paste across devices and PCs.

You thought that copy & paste could not be improved upon and Pushbullet is here to prove you wrong. Copy & paste is a basic function of any OS, one that we take for granted. It allows us to copy stuff from between files, between different file formats, keep or adopt the format of the source or destination document. Again, we thought that was all to it.

Windows users already experienced the ability to copy & paste between devices. The universal copy & paste is now supported by Chrome and Firefox. Of course, it comes as a browser extension. Install the app on your device and universal copy & paste will work automatically. See it in action in the video:



Firefox users can download the extension here. The extension will update itself automatically for Chrome.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Google Keep is now Android wearables friendly.

No doubt Google wearables are more than just watches. They have become powerful wrist-worn computers with all these capabilities that the search giant is adding continuously to Android Wear. Whether you like or want your watch to be loaded with so many software is up for debate. Google wants your phone to stay in your pocket by adding the most software possible to it; Microsoft has its band barded with sensors to capture the most possible data about your health. When it comes to wearables, you have choices. But I do not want a watch to be my phone substitute. Plus it can get quite overwhelming to manage your tech life on such a tiny screen.

Google has made its note-taking app, Google Keep, wearable friendly. The update published today, finally lets Android wearables owners take note, see reminders, view and check off lists right on their wrist. Google is a bit late to this as other note-taking app, Microsoft OneNote notably, offered support for Android Wear back in September.

The update also includes the usual bug fixes and performance improvements.

Source: Google
 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Tutorial: How to send & receive SMS on your PC.

What a better day than Sunday to write a tutorial and I have the feeling that you are going to like it. It is about sending & receiving text messages, the oldest modern means of communicating with friends and family since the first mobile phone came to market.

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to send/receive SMS right on your desktop so you can put that phone aside while doing your work and still interact with the outside world. Consider yourself lucky to be living in a world where there's an app for everything. For this tutorial, we will need Pushbullet app for Android and Pushbullet extension for Chrome on your computer. Both are available free in the Play store and Chrome store. Once you have these setup on your phone and computer, you're pretty much done.



Pushbullet will actually send/receive SMS via your Android phone and will display your phone number. You recipients won't even know you're actually using a computer to chat with them. As you can see in the snapshot above, click the Pushbullet extension, then the SMS tab. The latter will automatically list your Android phone(s) in the first field.



The second field is where you type a phone number or select a name from your address book. Pushbullet is a smart app and includes a auto-complete feature. If you're concerned about privacy, you can disable the auto-complete feature in the settings of Pushbullet on your phone. Start typing and it will filter your contact list. A very convenient feature. Finally, type your message and click send. One thing to remember though, you are still limited to the 160 characters, exceeding that "historical" limit will split your messages.

When you receive a SMS, it will pop up like any Pushbullet notification in the bottom right corner of your computer. You will get to read, dismiss or reply to the message. Click Reply and the window in the screen shot below will pop up. 



It is that easy to send and receive SMS on your computer, thanks to Pushbullet. The extension works on Windows, Mac, Linux and Chromebooks. If you have suggestions, comments, join the Pushbullet subreddit. Hope you enjoyed this tutorial :-)


Saturday, November 8, 2014

CNN app for Android gets custom breaking news alerts for the Samsung Note 4 Edge.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Edge

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Edge - for simplicity, we'll call it Edge - is the latest in the line of the Galaxy Note series of devices from Samsung. It is quite unique and the "Edge" in the name is not just a name, it is a functionality. As can be seen in the picture above, the device has a curved edge that serves as a customizable notification screen of its own. Among its many uses, you can use it to reject calls, keep tabs of your messages, app notifications and social networks without leaving whatever window you have open on the main screen. It's pretty cool if you have to deal with a lot of those all day long.
CNN
It did not take long to see apps take advantage of this feature and CNN app for Android has released an update that brings custom breaking news alerts for the Samsung Note 4 Edge. The small update also contains the usual bug fixes.

Download the update from Google Play Store.
 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Create shipping labels & pay postage fees in eBay app for Android.

This is an update that will certainly please my American friends and readers. eBay today published an update to the store that lets its American customers create shipping labels and pay for postage within the app. While new to eBay, this type of service is common and well established in the United States - perhaps in other countries as well. Americans can easily buy U.S. stamps on the web and print them on labels designed for that purpose. It only make sense to have this service integrated in apps.

The update contains other features as listed below:
  • Reminders list is available from the home page
  • New checkout features in Germany and Australia
  • Improved performance and speed
  • Bug fixes.
Download the eBay app free in Google Play store.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Skype 5.0 for Android now uses your phone number to connect to and find friends.

In an update published to the Play store, Skype announces the option to connect Skype to your phone's address book in the coming weeks. I guess the update lays out the foundation for the deployment of the new feature.

Initially announced back in July, Skype admitted it can be a challenge to find your friends among the 300 million people who use Skype. The solution is for Skype to tap directly into your contacts on your phone. You will be prompted to verify your phone number after installing the update. When done, Skype will match contacts in your address book to your existing Skype contacts. The contacts will then show up in your list and will eventually grow as more people installs the update and register their phone numbers. Worried about privacy issues?

Skype says you do not have to worry about privacy, they will not spam you or your friends. In fact you are in control and can choose whether you want to be found by your phone number or not. It's all there in the settings for you to activate or deactivate. Plus your phone number is never made public. If you logon to Skype with a Microsoft account, the new feature will automatically connect to your Outlook.com and Windows 8 address list.

As written above, this new feature will be deployed to Android in the coming weeks. Skype is working to deliver the same feature to other mobile platforms.

Look into the Play store for the update or click here to download Skype 5.0.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Full offline Mauritius map now available in Nokia Here Maps for Android.

Google Maps is a great navigation tool on Android and so far competition has either been lame or inexistent. But that has changed with Nokia making its popular Here Maps available for Samsung devices first, and for other Android devices recently. Don't go look in the Play store, you won't find it there. Here Maps for Android is still in beta and can be downloaded on Nokia's official Here site.

Since you will be downloading a file outside the Play store, make sure "Unknown sources" is enabled in your phone settings. If it is not activated, your phone will offer to take you there after you tap the download link. Once the download is complete, go ahead and install the app.

Tap the Hamburger inside the app (that's the three horizontal lines stacked upon each other) and tap "Download maps". In order to download, you must sign in with a Facebook or Here account; A sign up link is also available. After you authenticate, the app will get a list of maps. Tap "Download new". Select Africa > Mauritius. The file is 126.4MB in size, double the size of the Windows Phone version.

I will compare how Here Maps work on Android and Windows Phone in another post.

Enjoy offline maps of Mauritius.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Searching and sharing gets easier on LinkedIn for Android.

The professional network, LinkedIn, has been updated today that makes it easier for its members to search and share in full screen mode. Users will thus be able to see more results. The change log also mentions a new location-based jobs search. Finally, it is now possible to share articles directly from the home screen.

An update that feels like LinkedIn is playing catchup. I have an account there but hardly use the app I have installed on my Android and Windows Phone. Do you use LinkedIn?

Download LinkedIn free on Google Play.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Amazon Kindle: Start playing narration before audiobook download completes.

The app that brings over a million books at your finger tips has been updated today with the ability to start playing narration before the audiobook download is complete. No need to wait for the book download to complete before you can enjoy your audiobooks.

Amazon also updated Kindle app with localized support for Dutch and the ability to tap on highlight to edit, plus the usual bug fixes. The app is available free in the Play store.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Google Play Newsstand gets material design and more.

Yesterday, Google blessed the Play Newsstand app with its material design which basically makes images bigger and transitions smoother. Make no mistake, material design is not just making Android and apps look flat. It is a completely different experience. In a blog post, Mussie Shore, group product manager for Google Play Newsstand, writes: "You can swipe left and right between topics, and swipe up and down to dive more deeply into a particular topic. Play Newsstand puts the news you care about front and center with big images that jump off the screen."

This update also adds topic cards in the Explore section that lets you easily subscribe to topics that are of interest to you. "Topics deliver a personalized and up to date reading experience on your passions and interests. And our new Android app is faster than ever."

Google Play Newsstand is available free on Google Play.

Source: Android Blog

Monday, September 29, 2014

Waze for Android introduces Waze Places.

Version 3.9 of Waze was published today and it introduces a new feature called Places. The largest community-based traffic and navigation app now gets even more social with the ability to make information about local places available for everyone. Members of the community can now share such info as the availability of parking lot or drive-thru. The addition of photos is also supported to add more details to the place being shared. 

Who hasn't ever been in the situation of not remembering where the car was parked? That changes with Waze which will automatically save the location where you parked your car. And there's more. Waze will even learn where to find parking and how much time to account. 

The update also includes the usual bug fixes and the search auto complete is now a worldwide feature. Waze is a multiple platform app available on Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows Phone. Google has recently announced that they are stopping development of the app for Windows Phone.

Waze is available free in Google Play store.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

TuneIn Radio updated with multiple bug fixes and improvements.

TuneIn Radio has around 50 million downloads in the Play store, so if you do not have it in your app list then head over to the store now as TuneIn Radio brings the world's largest collection of radio stations to your Android device, that's over 100,000 stations from around the world . Note that the app is multi-platform, therefore available on Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, Windows etc. and also has a social touch in that you can share what you're listening with your followers.

TuneIn Radio has been updated with bugs fixes and improvements as listed below:
  • Fixes a bug with Intel devices.
  • Multiple bug fixes and improvements across the app to improve user experience.
  • Improvements to social push notifications. See what friends are saying when they echo content.
  • We are removing the explore feature from the menu and integrating that functionality elsewhere in the app.
TuneIn Radio is available free in Google Play Store.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Official F1 App updated with race-by-race purchase of premium features and more.

You will very likely have this app installed on your Android device if you're a big fan of Formula 1, especially now that the competition excitement is at its peak with Hamilton having finally claimed the lead last week over team mate Nico Rosberg in Singapore.
 
The Official F1 app for Android is a definite source that brings exclusive content such as team radio transmissions, DRS usage indicator, live tyre information and more. Besides live data, you also have access to before and after race stories and session commentary from Formula1.com.
 
To make the experience even more exciting, the app has been updated today with the following features:
  • Event Store update to allow you to purchase Premium features race-by-race.
  • App translated to Russian and Japanese.
  • New permissions that allow 'at event' notifications for those attending a race.
The Official F1 App is available free for download in Google Play and includes in-app purchase.

See you in Japan.
 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Google Maps Navigation Beta available for most of Africa and Mauritius.

It's been a while since my last post. I had an exciting time working on and completing some projects that I cannot write about here. Now that those are behind me, I'm glad to be back and share with you the readers some great news about Android. The latest is about a new offering from Google.

Yesterday, Google announced the availability of their Navigation service in many African countries including Mauritius. The service is still in beta and offers turn-by-turn navigation. Google is not the first to offer similar service in Mauritius, the first being Waze, a community based traffic and navigation app, which has since been acquired by Google. I spent a few minutes with the app today and I recommend you treat it as a beta. However, for visitors, if you plan on using it, be careful as I found that some directions were inaccurate. I hope Google fixes that with the loads of information gathered by Waze.

How do I get Navigation Beta?
There is no app to download. Google Maps app is already installed on your Android phone. Activate your data connection and launch Maps and accept the use-with-caution note and you are good to go. It is that simple. Bear in mind though that Google Maps Navigation is a beta and all precautions should be taken while driving.

Source: Google

Saturday, August 16, 2014

YouTube Gets autocorrection of search mispellings.

In an update posted today in Google Play store, YouTube received two new features and the same amount of fixes. The first new feature as listed in the store is the ability for YouTube to autocorrect search misspellings. The second feature  is a video quality selector to choose between different resolutions; very useful when you have a slow connection.

On the fixes front, the voice search issue is now resolved. Finally, YouTube gets the "many other bug fixes and improvements" treatment.

Source: Google Play

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Outlook.com for Android gets full server search and offline access.

Microsoft has updated its Outlook.com email service for Android that lets users make server side search on their devices when connected. Before the update, searching emails was limited to what was synced to the phone or tablet. However, if you worry about such a feature taking its toll on your data plan, Microsoft also added unlimited sync of emails for full offline access. Another useful feature is the ability to use Outlook.com aliases to send your emails. An excellent addition for those who use more than one Outlook.com email address.

The other features include the addition of eight colors for the customization of the app interface; the ability to set and manage vacation replies. Finally, Outlook.com gets support for traditional Chinese language.

Microsoft's Outlook.com app and service for Android is available free in Google Play Store.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Skype 5.0 now connects to your Android address book.

Skype

Unsurprisingly, the Skype looks more and more like a Windows Phone app and this is in line with Microsoft strategy in regards to its other apps that the software giant has ported to Android. Just take a look at OneDrive and Outlook apps to see what I mean.

Today, Microsoft published an update to Skype for Android that allow users to connect Skype to their address book. The result of this integration is once you verify your phone number when prompted by the app, friends in your address book will show up in your Skype contacts making it so much easier to find friends with Skype accounts. This is not limited to phone numbers as Skype will also check your friends with Microsoft accounts, these are Hotmail/Outlook.com/Live account, and suggest you connect to them.

On the privacy side of things, phone numbers are not made public. If you still worry about, say your phone number being accidentally made public, it is possible to deactivate this feature so you cannot be found by your phone number. Unless you're paranoid, I don't see any reason to disable this feature.

This update brings Skype for Android to version 5.0. However, the change log states that the connect to address book feature will be deployed "in the coming weeks". Until then, download or upgrade Skype in Google Play store.
 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

TripAdvisor for Android gets offline support for maps and reviews.

In the digital age, reading travelers' reviews before scheduling your vacation is made possible by such apps like TripAdvisor. This helps not only potential customers choose the best travel and hotel experience, but also let hotels or any hospitality business to easily reach out to the billions of people on the get set to go on vacation. TripAdvisor can also make these businesses freak out when someone's vacation goes awry. This is understandable when you consider that the app has more than 50 millions downloads on the Play store alone. TripAdvisor is a multi-platform app, so you can find it on Apple's iOS and Microsoft Windows Phone. The app has been updated today.

Travelers will be happy with this update that brings offline support. They will be able to download maps before they leave home, thus save on data charges and not having to wait until they get home to share their vacation experience with the world. There's more though. The update also allows users to download reviews for free; Handy while you travel. Make sure you update the TripAdvisor app before you leave home as this update also lets you make restaurants tables reservations worldwide.

Check out the change log:
  • Offline support
  • Download maps, reviews, and your saves for over 300 cities worldwide and take them with you while you travel. All for free!
  • Redesigned flights experience with a clean and intuitive presentation, leg by leg shopping and improved filtering.
  • Now you can find and reserve tables at thousands of restaurants worldwide.
Source: Google Play Store

Saturday, July 12, 2014

LokLok - You're going to love this Android app.

The Play store is home to millions of apps, but there are some apps which are so cute you just want to share with the Android community. It would be useless to keep it to yourself anyway since we live in a connected world. LokLok is one of these apps. LokLok just let you connect with your friends via your lock screen. Imagine you want to remind your friend to bring a bottle of red wine to a party you're both attending. There are a couple of scenarii that applies in this situation.

You can send a sms or email to your friend or create a reminder in your calendar and add your friend. Basically there are quite a few solutions that are available to you on your Android device. The usual stuff. How about changing that.

LokLok has been design to offer you an new way to leave a note, a drawing and photos on your friends lock screen. All that is requires is that you both install LokLok which is currently in beta and therefore is free for tablets and phones. It is for the time being an Android exclusive. After you've both installed the app, you start by drawing something on your lock screen. You double tap the screen to do that. Once done, whatever you've drawn or written will appear your fiends lock screen like magic. Chances are that your friend checks his phone several times a day. So once he unlocks his Android device, he/she will see your reminder. How about that?

Check out the two videos below to see how it works and how to connect your lock screens.





After watching these videos, head over to Google Play store to download LokLok. Enjoy!
 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Yammer speaks 11 additional languages and does on-the-fly translation.

Yammer, the enterprise social network, was acquired two years ago by Microsoft for $1.2 billion when Steve Ballmer was then the Software giant CEO. "The acquisition of Yammer underscores our commitment to deliver technology that businesses need and people love," said Steve Ballmer. Today Yammer is integrated into SharePoint and Office 365. It is also a multi-platform app.

The Android version of Yammer received an update today that adds 11 languages to it. The available languages are: Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Dutch, French (France), German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian and Spanish. In addition, Yammer also gets the ability to do on-the-fly translation.

Finally, there is the usual bug fixes. I like the wording used to describe the bug fixes which is very unlike the traditional "Bug fixes" we see in every app update. It reads: "Bugs have been terminated. They will not be back." Like :-)

Source: Google Play Store

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Google Keep now works with Android Wear.

With the current wearable trend, it sounds like we are heading in a future where our beloved devices are destined to remain in our pockets as smart watches take over and fetches the data we consume from our pockets to our wrist. While wearable is still in its infancy, it is nonetheless an exciting technology. Before you ask, I do not have a smart watch and yes I would love to get my hands on one.

Shortly after Google and its partners, LG and Samsung, announced their wearable devices, it was a matter of time before updated apps would take advantage of the new Android Wear OS. Google is gradually updating its own app and today, Google Keep is being blessed with Android Wear support.

Google Keep is a note taking app made by Google that available free in the Play store. Here, I must admit that I have never used it, being very happy with Evernote which has the definite advantage of being a multi-platform app.

With Android Wear support, lucky owners of LG or Samsung's smart watch will be able to create notes and see reminders; view and check off lists right on the watch without taking their phones out of their pocket. I don't feel particularly excited about this. Anyway, the update also includes the usual bug fixes and performance improvements.

Source: Play Store

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Feedly gets another update, fixes duplicate image and crashes.


Yesterday I blogged about Feedly 21.1 which received an update that contained fixes and optimizations. 24 hours later, the developer behind the popular news reader for Android has released another update with two fixes. The first is to fix duplicate image issue and the second one fixes crashes for Android 2.x and Android 4.x. I did notice the duplicate image issue on a Motorola G and my Nexus 7 running Android L. Fortunately, no crashes. Anyway, I'm proceeding with the update and I invite you to do the same. This update brings Feedly to version 22.0.

Go to Google Play Store to update/install Feedly on your device.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Feedly update brings fixes and optimization.

Shortly after Google killed Google Reader last year, Feedly quickly stepped in to fill in and provide a better news source. Since then the app has got over a million download and is regularly updated with new features and fixes. The latter is what the latest update is all about. The update brings Feedly to version 21.1 and is mostly about fixes and optimization as listed in the change log below:

  • Fixes long press to save issue with Android 4.3+
  • Fixes custom font size issues with Android 4.3+
  • Fixes pull to refresh issues
  • Fixes left to right swipe lag issues
  • Better support for Samsung 10" tablets
  • Smoother image processing and rendering
  • Optimized start up experience.
Feedly is available free in the Google Play Store.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Amazon Kindle for Android lets you switch between reading and listening.

Amazon published an update today to the Play store for it's Kindle app that reminded me that it has been a while since I last read a book. I am very busy these days and reading activity has been relegated under the if-time-permit category, unfortunately. I'll have to sort this out.

In this update, which bring Kindle for Android to version 4.5.0.123, Amazon added a nice feature that makes it possible to switch between reading and listening when the audio version of a book is added to Kindle. A feature that book listeners will very likely appreciate.

The other added features are:
- Jump directly to previous locations from the progress bar.
- Copy a word or phrase, paste into another program.
- Multi-color highlights
- Improved notifications

The update is available free in the Google Play store.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Evernote for Android updated.

Evernote, The leading and multi platform note taking app has been updated last week with features that will make users happy, especially those who like jotting down notes using their own handwriting. The latter does make taking notes faster than typing or swiping the traditional onscreen keyboards on phones and tablets. Evernote is always pushing out updates to improve my favorite note taking app. See the log below for the new additions and improvements, then follow the link to download the update.

What's new:

Handwriting
- Write and sketch inside your notes!
- Keep handwriting, text, photos, and files in the same note
- Choose from several colors and line thicknesses

Editor improvements
- New: Text highlighter
- Better support for notes made on other platforms
- Edit content in tables created on other platforms

Note improvements
- Create a note link to quickly jump between notes
- Duplicate a note

Evernote is available free on Google Play Store.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Facebook Messenger 5.0 makes it easier to send photos and videos (slowly killing Whatsapp in the process?).

This year Facebook spent $19 billion to acquire Whatsapp, a competing messaging app. The reason behind this insane price is still a matter of debate and the one idea that seems to make everyone agree is that Facebook strategy for acquiring Whatsapp was to take it off the market, thus beyond Google's or any other competitor's reach. Google was reportedly also eyeing the messaging platform and made a bid far inferior to Facebook offer. Now Whatsapp is operating as an independent entity within Facebook. The latter has been working hard to improve it's own messaging platform since the acquisition. Today Facebook released version 5.0 of Facebook Messenger.

The new version carries a lot of improvement. It is now easier to send photos and videos within the app. A new row has been added  that makes it a breeze to do such things as adding a sticker, upload photos etc. It is also possible to upload videos and watch them directly within Messenger. One might argue that these features are already present on competing messaging platform and that's true. Even if this upgrade is nothing new, it does make it easier, more user friendly.

I believe Facebook is positioning its messaging platform as a strong contender in countries where Facebook is the number one social network. I personally use Facebook Messenger more than Whatsapp. It is not a matter of I-like-it-more than Whatsapp or other messaging app. The reason is I do not have much choice. There is no arguing with the fact that most of the people I know use Facebook Messenger. So I'm not as active as I used to be on Whatsapp anymore. What about you? Do you think Facebook Messenger is killing off Whatsapp?

Checkout the Facebook Messenger 5.0 change log:
More ways to message: Now it's easier to send photos, voice messages and more
Video: Send videos from your gallery and play them right in the app. (Works on Android 4.3 and up. We'll continue to improve video and bring it to more phones.)
Instant photo sharing: Take a photo and send it in just one tap.
Stickers shortcuts: When someone sends you a sticker, press and hold down on it to get the pack.
Faster search: Just enter the names of people and groups
 
 
 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Castaway update fixes picture swiping issues.

Castaway is my favorite app to use with my Chromecast. It's simple to use and the developer is constantly adding new features and fixing bugs. In the latest round of update published yesterday, the developer fixes an issue where casting local pictures would fail when swiping through them rapidly. 

The update also contains the usual bug fixes and the app icon has been updated. Check it out on Google Play.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The All New HTC One launches next week and you're invited.

Next week, March 25th, HTC will unveil the highly anticipated All New HTC One (ANHO), the successor to the HTC One. Unlike any previous launches, HTC is making this one all public. While those who are lucky enough to attend the events in New York and London will be the first to have a hands-on with the device, the rest of us will at least watch as HTC unveils the ANHO and confirms or deny the rumors. Until then, HTC has posted the site where the live streaming will take place with the countdown ticking inexorably towards next Tuesday. Bookmark the link below and mark your calendars.

Watch the All New HTC One launch here.

Google makes Gmail more secure with encrypted HTTPS connection.

Google today announced that it is reinforcing Gmail security in response to events that involved the NSA last year. The post on Google official blog does not mention Snowden and the NSA, but does refer to "last summer's revelations". So what exactly did Google do to make Gmail more secure?

First, it is important to note that Gmail always was secure since its launch with HTTPS implemented and made it the default in 2010 with a switch to turn it off. Today's change means that no eavesdropping is, according to Google, possible on your emails between your device and Google's servers. This protection is even applied when users are connected to public WiFi. And there's more.

Google made it a point to protect user's emails as they move between Google's own servers worldwide. A wise move considering the global uproar caused by Mr. Snowden's revelation last year. We may now rest assured that our emails are safe from prying eyes. Until the NSA finds a way to snoop in again ;-)

Source: Google official blog.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Chromecast app available in over 50 languages.

Over 50 languages is a lot. Google has added that much languages to the Chromecast app for Android. That can only that the Mountain View company is planning the release of it cool Chromecast device in more countries. The addition of languages is obviously part of an update to the app that was published today in the Play Store. Unfortunately, there is no info about the added languages. See the full change log below:

- App available in over 50 languages.
- Improved support for Samsung devices.
- Additional Chromecast settings and bug fixes.

Download: Play Store

Facebook app for Android gets new photo features.

Let it not be said that Facebook is not working hard to bring more features to its mobile app. In an update released today, Facebook added some features for users to manipulate photos in the mobile app; features that would have otherwise required users to switch to the desktop version of the site. As from now on, Facebook users will be able to add photos into comments, delete and edit photo albums, untag themselves in photos and upload multiple photos at a time in groups. 

Users who manage Facebook groups have not been forgotten as they will be able to pin and unpin posts, and review pending and reported posts. 

The update can be downloaded from Google Play Store.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Instagram for Android gets major face lift and performance boost.

Instagram, the recently-acquired-by-Facebook popular photo sharing platform, got an important update today. The app design finally does away with the iOS look-alike design and gets modern and more holo like. While the icons alignment do not change, the redesign and font changes make it cleaner, faster and more responsive. The latter improvement is a treat for low end or budget devices. 

The update is up for grab on the Play Store.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Easily cast local media to Chromecast with Castaway.

If ChromeCast was my favorite gadget for year 2013, Castaway is, so far, my favorite Android app for the current year. Castaway has been developed to do something simple: Send locally stored pictures and videos on your Android device to your ChromeCast devices. The app is available for download free in Play Store. A premium version is also there if you want to support the developer - the latter is a member of XDA developers. 

I have used Castaway since for a week now and it just works. Connect to your Chromecast, run the app on your device. Castaway will display your locally stored photos and videos. Tap an album or video and select your Chromecast device and your done. Of course, you can use your device to do other stuff while watching the stream.

I strongly recommend Castaway if you already own a ChromeCast or are planing to get one.

Download: Castaway Premium - Castaway Free

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Google Now Launcher for Nexus and GPE devices released.

The most anticipated launcher for Android has finally made its way to Google Store and is available as a free download for Nexus devices and Google Play Edition devices. Up until now, the Launcher was officially only available for the Nexus 5. I say officially because the apk was quickly made available for download by the Android community. The Launcher was also baked into the CyanogenMod ROM. I was running it on my Galaxy Nexus.

The Google Now Launcher is free for download on the store with these key features:

• Google Now on your home screen - it's easier than ever to get just the right information at just the right time.
• Just say "Ok Google" - when you're on your home screen, just say "Ok Google" to trigger voice input. Then say your search query. Or tell your phone what to do, like send a text message, get directions, or play a song (available in the US, UK, and Canada).
• Faster search - tap the search box and you can enter your query immediately.
• Easy access to your favorite Google products and services, like Gmail, YouTube, and Maps.
• Larger viewing area - the status and navigation bars are now translucent, so your wallpaper pops from every pixel, and is even visible when you expand your apps drawer (when supported by device).
• Intuitive wallpaper picker - select any image that's stored on your device, or in the cloud. Position and preview your wallpaper before you set it.


Source: Google play Store

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Microsoft renames SkyDrive to OneDrive and adds new features.

Today Microsoft has released the re-branded SkyDrive app which is now known as OneDrive. The change in name was driven by the loss in court of a trademark claim by a British company. Microsoft did not appeal the verdict and decided instead to rename its cloud storage service.

There is more than just a change of name though. See the change log for the new features Microsoft added to OneDrive.

What's new on Android 4.0+:
• Automatically upload photos and videos to OneDrive using Camera backup
• Improved support for working with Office Mobile for Android and OneNote, including editing Office documents
• Larger thumbnails and nicer photo views
• Bug fixes and performance improvements

Update SkyDrive to OneDrive in Google Store.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Skype WiFi finally lets you sign in with your Microsoft account.

Before this update, Skype WiFi did not support signing in with a Microsoft account. Unlike Skype itself which got this feature almost immediately after the company got acquired by Microsoft. I found this annoying since I switched to using my Microsoft account with Skype and after some time of use, I forgot what my Skype account ID and password was. So I couldn't get into Skype WiFi last year during a trip to Europe. You can imagine the frustration. All this will change now that Skype has added support for Microsoft accounts to Skype WiFi.

What is Skype WiFi? It's a free software that works with Android and iOS that lets you connect to Skype WiFi enabled hotspot around the world and use your Skype credit to call your loved ones. Skype has over 1 million hotspot.

Reduce your data roaming costs when you’re abroad: 
• Use Skype WiFi to connect to WiFi hotspots at hotels, airports, train stations, bars and restaurants – available at over 1 million hotspots worldwide. 
• Just one tap to connect – then browse the internet, check email, use Skype, check Facebook, update Twitter, upload photos, download music or ebooks. 
• Only pay for the time you’re connected - there are no limits on the amount of data you can upload or download.


Download Skype WiFi free in Google Play Store.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Android Device Manager gets password protected.

Our Android devices are priceless not because of their purchase price, it's more about the content stored on them: contacts, emails, bank details, resumes etc. For that reason it is of paramount importance that we take appropriate and necessary steps to protect our data in case our phones are lost or stolen and none is immune to that and there's nothing scarier than having our personal data in the hands of strangers. Enter Android Device Manager.

Android Device Manager is an app that lets you locate lost devices on the web and lock, erase or even make them ring remotely. A must have app if you own a Android device. Once installed, a network connection is required to locate your other Android device, provided the latter is connected to the internet. The app had a security flaw until today's update. It was open and easily accessible by a thief  or anyone who picks up your phone and thus could wipe your other devices.

Google has added a security layer to the app that requires a password when opening the app or switching between accounts. This feature is enabled by default after updating the app and can be disabled on the login screen by checking "Never ask me again" after or before entering your Google account password. To re-enable it, tap "Require Sign in" in the settings of Device Manager.

The Android Device Manager update also include the usual bug fixes and performance improvements.

Source: Google Play