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.
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 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.