Friday, December 18, 2015

Google adds templates to its productivity suite: Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.


Google has finally made templates available for its productivity apps. Google Docs, Slides and Sheets now let you start your creations using built-in templates that are accessible by tapping the "New" button. For Docs and Sheets, you get to select diverse templates including themes like Resumes, Letters, Education and Work. Simply choose the template you need and you're presented with one with the layout, picture placement, paragraphs, proper headings, fonts already set for you. Remove the template text - which by the way is not Latin and does not mean anything at all, so your translator is not broken - and get started adding your own text.

Check out the updates in the Play store:

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Microsoft Translator updated, lets you have natural conversations in Chinese, English, French, German, Italian and Spanish with smart watch support.

Have you ever dreamed of holding a conversation in a foreign language without speaking a single word of that language? Nothing new here you might say and you are right. This feature exists in Skype for example, but only works during Skype calls. Microsoft Translator bring this to another level in that you have it in your pocket or smart watch ready at any time to break the language barrier.

Microsoft Translator has been updated to allow for natural conversations in Chinese, both Traditional and Simplified, English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. Microsoft announced in the change log that more languages will be added. As I said above, having natural conversations is also handled by a smart watch, giving each participant a device to use, making it even easier to hold a conversation without having to pass your device around.

I can assume that Microsoft Translator is also a kind of language learning tool as all conversations history are tagged by location and can be reviewed later in the participating language.

I don't have a Android Wear watch yet - It's on the way, but while the change log does say Microsoft Translator supports "smart watch", nowhere is Android Wear mentioned, nor does the app page in the store has the small watch icon to indicate that it works with Google's watch platform. However, Apple watch is mentioned in the feature list. 

Microsoft Translator is free to download in Google Play store.

Microsoft updates Skype for Business for Android with simplified dashboard and more.

Formerly Lync 2013, Skype for Business for Android has been updated today to version This update brings some new features and improvements that should appeal to Android pro users.

See the full change log below:

  • Intuitive and familiar Skype UI: simplified dashboard and enhanced In-Call and In-Meeting experiences.
  • Full-screen video and larger buttons for meeting controls.
  • Search your contacts by name, email or phone number.
  • Support for Active Directory Authentication Library based multi-factor authentication.
  • Bug fixes.
Do you use Skype for Business? Download the update in the Play store.

CNN for Android lets you save and share stories directly from the breaking news alert.

Today, the CNN app for Android picked up an update that improves on the notifications experience making it possible to save and share your stories directly from the breaking news alerts. This new feature is also supported on smart watches too, should you be in a situation where you can't pull out your phone to read the breaking news, save it for later from your wrist. 

This update also brings support for full hyperlink in articles, though I'm not sure what that is. CNN also included some maintenance update and bug fixes, "just in time for the holidays".

Download the CNN app from the Play store.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Pushbullet now lets you send group messages from your Windows computer and Android tablet.

Pushbullet made it easy to send text messages from our Windows computer and Android tablets. Today, the amazing team behind Pushbullet published another update that brings group texting support to the app. Users of Windows and android on tablets will thus be able to reply to groups on their devices without reaching out to their phones. All that is needed to start using this new feature is to download this update in the link at the end of this post. 

Group texting is supported in Chrome via the extension, the Windows desktop app and the Android app. The update will be available soon for Safari, Firefox and Opera extensions. Sending group text will be without limits until January 1st. Pass that date, the same individual text message limit will apply to free users of Pushbullet.

Last week, Pushbullet added Remote Files which lets users browse and request files from their other devices. This feature has been improved based on users' feedback requesting the ability to switch drives. Pushbullet is making this possible with this update. 

Whether you're a free or paid user of Pushbullet, download the update from Google Play and enjoy sending group text from your Windows computer and Android tablet and browse to any other drives than the default C:\.

Microsoft reduces install size of its Office products on Android by 40% & makes them compliant with Android for Work.

Microsoft has updated its Office suite of products for Android today and made it compliant with Android in the enterprise. This update is inline with Satya Nadella's vision to bring Microsoft technologies across all platforms. The products affected by this update are Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Microsoft's most popular productivity apps. Microsoft has also made these apps lighter by reducing the app install size by 40% and making it possible for users to download their favorite fonts off the cloud. Isn't that awesome? Check out the change log below for all three Microsoft products:

Microsoft Word:
• Reduced app size:40-percent reduction in app size so the Word app is lighter and faster to install.
• Compliance in the enterprise: Word complies with Android for Work and supports Android M for Enterprise.
• Sign-in simplification: Selecting your sign-in details is easier than ever before.
• Cloud font support: Download your favorite font from the cloud so you can write with the fonts you like.

• Reduced app size: 40-percent reduction in app size so the Excel app is lighter and faster to install.
• Improved file compatibility: Now you can open files with Read-only recommended and Formula view.
• Compliance in the enterprise: Excel complies with Android for Work and supports Android M for Enterprise.
• Sign-in simplification: Selecting your sign-in details is easier than ever before.
• Cloud font support: Download your favorite font from cloud so you can write with the fonts you like.

• Presenter view (Office 365 subscription required): Present like a professional! Check speaker notes on your phone/tablet, but control what the audience sees when you project to a large screen
• Compliance in the enterprise: PowerPoint complies with Android for Work and supports Android M for Enterprise
• Sign-in simplification: Selecting your sign-in details is easier than ever before
• Cloud font support: Download your favorite font from the cloud so you can write with the fonts you like.

All three products update are available for download free in Google Play store for end and enterprise users.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Flipboard to lure new users via sharing to Facebook Messenger.

Flipboard just made it easier to share articles to Facebook Messenger on Android and iOS. According to them, "readers love sharing articles to Facebook Messenger" and it was possible to do that before this update, but Flipboard decided to enhance the experience between Flipboard itself and Facebook Messenger.

The current version of the popular flipping news reader does let you share articles to Facebook Messenger, but your friend only receives a link. This update improves on that by bringing some visuals to it and lure non Flipboard users to download and use the app. 

Once you share an article and your friend opens it in Messenger, they will be taken straight to the article in Flipboard. If Flipboard is not installed, they will be prompted to download it and then share the article. A great way to attract new customers. Flipboard also says that "opening an article from Messenger also unlocks a small new share icon in Flipboard to make it easier to continue the conversation with your friend and quickly share stories back."

Now you can proceed to Google Play Store to update Flipboard on your device and help them get more users by sharing your articles.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Pushbullet lets you browse files on any Android or Windows device anywhere.

Pushbullet got a big update today that brings remote file sharing to the popular app. Remote file sharing lets users grab files on any Android device or Windows devices or vice-versa. So it works both ways as long as both devices are online. According to a blog post, Pushbullet states that "Remote Files requires a native app to work. Right now it's supported in the latest versions of our Android and Windows desktop apps."

Remote Files is disabled by default on Android and Windows. Follow the steps below to enable Remote Files:
  • Slide out the app drawer.
  • Tap Settings.
  • Enable Remote File Access.
  • Open Pushbullet Settings.
  • Check Remote Files Access.
Remember, Pushbullet started their pro offering since the beginning of the month. The company announced that Remote Files will be available to both free and Pro Pushbullet users with the exception of a limit on the number of files per month.

If the updates notifications haven't appeared on your devices yet, you can download them on Pushbullet site.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Viber lets you delete messages you never meant to send.

I'm a long time WhatsApp user, even before it was acquired by Facebook and it has become my default messaging app, followed closely by Facebook Messenger, traditional SMS and Skype. That's right, Viber is not in the list despite having a huge install base on Android, I know very few who use it.  But with 500 million users, Viber is very popular, not just around me.

Viber published an update today that brings a list of nice features that fans will love and make users of other platforms look over with envy. The first new feature is the ability to delete sent messages. Microsoft Outlook lets users recall sent messages and now Viber lets users delete messages sent during a 1-1 or group conversation. Messages can also be deleted on the senders phone only or for everyone.

This update also includes file sharing. Sending one file or multiple ones is now a common thing and Viber added this feature so users can attach files to 1-on-1 conversations, groups and public chats. The company said most popular file types are supported and a there's a limit 200MB on the file size Viber will let you send through.

Download Viber in Google Play store for free.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Pushbullet lets you send texts from your Android tablet.

Pushbullet has posted another update today that makes it possible to send and reply to SMSs on Android tablets. For this to work, SMS Sync must be enabled in Pushbullet on the phone. Launch Pushbullet on the tablet and tap SMS and your SMS threads will be displayed. Tap a SMS to open the conversation history and start typing and send your messages. Recipients won't know you're sending the SMS from a tablet. The app will sync your SMSs to your phone and the latter will then send the SMS. Pushbullet supports multiple phones. Simply select the phone you want to send from a selector within the app. 

This new feature is currently free, but, starting December 1st, unlimited texting will be available to Pro users only, while free accounts will be limited to 100 SMSs per month. Download the update Google Play and enjoy sending/receiving SMS on your tablet.

Contacts + saves typed numbers in dialer when switching apps.

Managing contacts can be tedious and apps like Contacts + makes it easier for us. Contacts + is more than just a phonebook, it also combines a dialer app along with caller ID, spam block and contacts backup - all in one place. If the default contacts app is not up to the task for you, I recommend you give Contacts + a try. The app just got updated today with the following new features:

  • You can now choose the color of the conversation SMS bubble.
  • Saving typed numbers in the dialer when switching apps.
  • Bug fixes & performance improvements.
Check it out on Google Play.

Nokia Here Maps wants to help you find your way back home with a tap.

There is no place like home and Nokia wants you to get there safe should you forget your way back with a little house icon that they added to their offline navigation app, Here Maps. This little house icon will let users save their home address with just a simple tap and another tap to see how to get back. Of course it doesn't necessarily have to be home, it can be any place like a hotel for example. This little house icon is a very useful addition to quickly find your way back to your point of origin.

Download Here Maps: Offline Navigation free on Google Play.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Skype for Android gets new toolbar to delete, mute, mark conversations as read and more.

There's one thing that Skype was not particularly good at and that was saving videos shared with us by family members or friends. Those videos would remain in the conversation thread until deleted. The good news is that Skype has solved this problem with an update that was released earlier today. A simple tap is all that is needed to save the video to the phone's photo gallery and this works for videos that you've received and videos that you recorded. Microsoft did not stop there and now lets users share photos from the gallery to a Skype group conversation, finally.

Another interesting feature in this update is the ability to mute, delete and mark conversations as read. Nothing really new here except that this can now be done by doing a long tap on contacts or chat under the Recent tab that will pull a new toolbar with these tools for quick access.

Search is also made better allowing users to search conversations by content in addition to contacts and group names.

This update is available now in Google Play store.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Amazon rolls out Bookerly font and Word Runner for Kindle to Android.

I occasionally enjoy a good book when there is one out there, which amounts to about two to four books per year. Amazon Kindle being a cross-platform, it is my ereader of choice and today the Android version of the app got updated with two features that avid readers will appreciate.

Amazon added a new font in this update called Bookerly. This new spacious font initially debuted on Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite before being deployed to the kindle family of devices. Bookerly is now available for Kindle apps, on Android and iOS.

Another feature that Amazon is porting to its Android app is Word Runner, "a fun new way to read faster." Enabling Word Runner will display the text in the middle of the page to keep "your eyes focused on the center of the page and brings each word right to where your eyes already are." This sounds cool and I will definitely give it a try and post my feedback later. Will you use Word Runner?

Download the free update on Google Play Store to try Word Runner and Bookerly.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pushbullet goes premium: $4.99/mo - $39.99 per year, with some features remaining free or limited.

Pushbullet announced in a blog post that some features of the popular sharing app will go premium and therefore hoping loyal users will shell out money to benefit from the pro features. The latter are existing features that were available since Pushbullet launched two years ago or added through regular updates. Now, Pushbullet wants you to get a pro account in order to support itself, because even free stuff has a cost.

The company wants you to sign up for a Pro account because, primarily, it needs to support itself. It seems they did consider other options like ads, but the team did not "want to hurt the Pushbullet experience with ads or betraying your trust by selling your data. Since Pushbullet must support itself, we want to do that by having you as our customer."

Interested customers can sign up for Pro account right now. However accounts won't be charged until December 1st. At that date features like priority support, Universal Copy & Paste, mirrored notification, unlimited SMS won't be available for free accounts anymore. In order to access those features, users will have to pay either $4.99/mo or $39.99 per year. Otherwise, sending files size limit will remain at 25MB for free users while Pro accounts will see this limit boosted to 1GB. Storage space for current users is 2GB. Pro users will see this number jump to 100GB.

As I said in previous blog post, Pushbullet is my favorite file sharing app and it's cross platform. Unfortunately, I do not have any professional use for it, so it is very unlikely that I'll sign up for a Pro account. But I encourage heavy users or corporate customers to sign up for it.

Check out Pushbullet blog post to learn more about the Pro account benefits.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Pushbullet: Share multiple files & reply to Kik and Skype notifications on your computer.

It's only last week that Pushbullet pushed out an important update that made it play well with Android 6.0, along with some nice additions that made the app take advantage of Android features like Direct Share. Fast forward to today and Play Store notified me of another update, and this one is awesome.

While Pushbullet is excellent at sharing files between my devices, it also has its limitations. Fortunately, the brilliant guys behind this brilliant app still find ways to improve users' experience. One of those limitations is the fact that Pushbullet was only able to share single file, but that was yesterday.  Today's update let's users share multiple files provided they don't exceed the default 25MB per file. This is just amazing and there's more.

Besides file sharing, Pushbullet is also capable of handling message notifications and replies. Before this update, Pushbullet handled the following messaging platform only: WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Hangouts, Line, Telegram, GroupMe, BBM, and Viber. Today, Pushbullet added support for Kik and Skype, giving us users the ability to reply to messages from these platforms right in Pushbullet. 

This update contains even  more features. Just head over to Google Play Store to download the update. You may want to check out the blog post on Pushbullet for details.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Microsoft made its Arrow launcher for Android 30% faster.

Android is all about customization. Users know that and developers too. That is why there is such a large choice of customization in the Play Store, each striving to make your Android experience unique. Microsoft has joined the fray recently by releasing its own launcher which the company says is "fast, simple and personal."

In version 1.0.1, released yesterday, Microsoft has made the launcher faster and added support for Spanish and Portuguese languages. Check out the full change log below:

  • PERFORMANCE: Improved performance by 30% for swiping between pages, expanding the dock, and entering /exiting apps.
  • ENHANCEMENT: Improved text readability on light-colored wallpapers.
  • BUG FIX: Fixed issue that would cause widgets to show on Apps/Reminders pages.
  • LOCALIZATION: Spanish/Portuguese support.
Microsoft states at the end of the log that they are working to make Arrow Launcher even faster. Until then, download the launcher in Google Play Store.

Air France updates its Android app to make it compatible with OnePlus Oxygen OS.

Air France has updated its app to make it compatible with Oxygen OS and at this point you should be wondering what Oxygen OS is. If you know, you can only be a geek or just following the Android world very closely. Oxygen OS is a variant of Android. Variant may not be the appropriate word to describe it. In other words, it is a fork of Android 5 Lollipop made for the OnePlus One phone. The latter phone was initially running Cyanogen, but the two split up and OnePlus had no choice but to come up with an Android version of its own. 

Of course, the OS comes with features if its own. For example, you can draw on the screen to launch apps or you can toggle between software and hardware navigation buttons. I assume Air France has updated their app to take advantage of these features in Oxygen OS. Let us know how the app works if you own a OnePlus One.

The change log also invites you to "discover the virtual Flying Blue card in the new app! You can now easily access your card whenever you need it." Finally the update brings along the usual bug fixes and performance improvement.

If you're a customer of Air France, head over to Google Play Store to update the app.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Google introduces Smart Reply in Inbox by Gmail.

There are times where I find myself with a new email on my phone that requires an immediate answer, not necessarily a long reply, but a short one and these situation very often arises when I'm moving around in a crowded environment and makes typing very difficult. Enter Smart Reply in Inbox by Gmail.

In an update that will be made available later this week, users of Inbox by Gmail will be able to easily reply to messages on the go. Smart Reply will suggest three short responses based on the email you get. "And for those emails that require a bit more thought, it gives you a jump start so you can respond right away." How does it know which responses to propose? 

Here's what the blog post says about the background work that makes Smart Reply possible: "There's actually a lot going on behind the scenes to make Smart Reply work. Inbox uses machine learning to recognize emails that need responses and to generate the natural language responses on the fly. If you're interested in how Smart Reply works, including how researchers got machine learning to work on a data set that they never saw, you can read more about it on the Google Research Blog." 

Again, Smart Reply will be rolling out later this week to Android and iOS in English only for the time being.The blog post does not say anything about availability in other languages. If you haven't tried Inbox by Gmail yet, check it out in Google Play Store.

Source: Gmail blog

Opera Mini for Android gets new icon, Facebook profile pic in notification.

Opera Mini is the champ for saving data when surfing your favorite news site and it does that while minimizing the impact on performance and quality and giving a fast and full web experience. These features come in very handy when you are on a slow connection or limited data plan. In its latest version, Opera Mini got a new icon. It kept the familiar red circle and added the word 'mini' in green to differentiate from its bigger brother.

If you prefer using Facebook via the browser rather than the app, Opera has improved upon the notifications by including profile pictures. An addition that makes it visually easier to identify who's interacting with you on Facebook.

Opera also improved the downloading experience by moving the download complete notification to the bottom of the screen for easy access and allow users to open the file directly. The browser will also remember your preference in the 'Wait-fo-WiFi' dialog box. Finally, this update makes the context menu "look more like other Android apps."

Download Opera Mini web browser free in Google Play Store.

Pushbullet optimized for Android 6.0 with Runtime permission and Direct Share.

Pushbullet is my favorite app when it comes to sharing files between my devices. Sure I could use popular cloud storage to move my files around, but Pushbullet adds a different flavor to file sharing that makes it more efficient. You share a file by picking Pushbullet in the contextual sharing menu and the file pops up on the device you selected. You use as little as two clicks to do this, no matter which mobile platform or desktop you use. This ease of use has contributed into making Pushbullet a very popular app and it just got better today.

Regularly updating an app also helps engage with the users and retaining their loyalty and today, the folks behind Pushbullet optimized the app for Android 6.0 Marshmallow. What that means for users? Two new great features.

Runtime permissions is the first new feature, which, in fact was introduced in Android 6. So you won't see that one on your device if it's running an older version of Android. In Marshmallow, Google introduced a layer of security that requires apps to ask for your permission before accessing your device functions such as SMS, Phone, Contacts, etc. Hence the name 'Runtime permission'. Pushbullet is playing by the rules by implementing this for Android 6.0 powered devices, even if the latter is not mainstream yet. My Nexus 7 is still craving for Marshmallow.

Second in the list is support for Direct Share. This is one is not that big of a deal, since it's the core of Pushbullet. But the team added a nice little feature by putting the most recent devices right in the share menu, reducing or eliminating the scrolling and clicking. Again, this is another feature that requires a device running Android 6.0.

Check out the full change and download Pushbullet in Google Play. And yes, the update is available for Android 6- too.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

TuneIn Radio for Android gets Ducking/Pausing playback & Sign In/Sign Up design.

TuneIn just got better today with an update that raises the version number to 14.1. With other 100,000 online radio for your listening pleasure it's a lot that your ear can listen to. In today's update, TuneIn added the following new features:

  • Ducking/Pausing playback when using other apps.
  • A fix that makes the song name in playlists readable.
  • new design for Sign In/Sign Up.
Download TuneIn in Google Play Store

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Microsoft Translator now supports Android 6 & gets transliteration for Chinese Simplified.

The Microsoft Translator app for Android now supports over 50 languages and is the first app of its kind to have added support for Android Wear, letting owners of Google's watch to get translation in 50 languages on their wrist.

Microsoft has today published an update that adds support for the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Those few devices, mainly Nexus, that received the update will get a better experience with Microsoft Translator. As a side note, my Nexus 7 (2013) is still in the waiting line for the update.

In addition to Marshmallow support, Microsoft also added "transliteration support for Chinese (Simplified)". I went to check what "transliteration" is and according to my favorite search engine, it is the conversion of a text from one script to another. 

Last in the list are the usual minor bug fixes. Head over in Google Play Store to download Microsoft Translator version 1.0.2.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Microsoft updates Office Lens for Android to help you get rid of that pile of business cards.

I haven't seen a business card in ages and with Microsoft updating it's Office Lens app today to support scanning those same business cards not only reminded me that they are still out there, but that some humans are still contributing in bringing down trees so they can exchange business cards. But Microsoft wants that to change with its Office Lens app now capable of scanning that pile of business card in your Rolodex and have them in your pocket wherever you go, as the app adds them to OneNote or your address book. 

Microsoft also added the ability the open Word and PowerPoint from within Office Lens. The update is available for download in Google Play Store. The same features have been added to the iOS version of the app. Check it out in the App store if you own an iOS device. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

WeChat introduces group voice and video call, group notices and group ownership transfer.

There are so many ways to stay connected with family and friends these days that it has become a debate on which platform to use. It was not easy agree on a common platform that works for everyone, but we eventually made it and the family are all on the same messaging platform. Some platforms, like WeChat, are very popular and the app has garnered more users in Asian countries. I was using it when brother lived in Hong Kong, he himself was using it because all his customers were using it. He shifted to WhatsApp after he moved to Europe. 

In today's update, WeChat introduces voice and video group chats, allowing users to invite up to 9 members to join in. It also makes it easy to switch between video and voice should your connection have trouble handling the group video calls.

The update also brings along Group Notices which as its name implies let the group creator send out notices or alerts to members. WeChat is also introducing the ability for the group creator to transfer ownership to other members.

If you use WeChat, this is an update you really want to download from Google Play Store.

Instagram adds private post sharing as messages.

Depending on your geographic location, some of you may have received this update already. But for those who, like me, are in the same timezone, you may want to check the latest update to the popular Instagram which adds a nice feature to Instagram Direct. The latter lets you send photos privately to your friends and delete the photos a la Snapchat. Let's see what is new in Instagram version 7.9.2.

As I said above, the new feature that will pique your interest, is the ability to share posts from your timeline as messages, which makes it very convenient to say establish a discussion with your friends on particular topics. Instagram added an arrow under each post and a simple tap will pull up the messaging interface for you to add the recipients. In case some of you maybe wondering, this does not replace a regram. The latter lets you share a post for all to see on your timeline whereas sharing post as messages is private.

This update also include the following features:
  • Send photos, videos and text messages back and forth to keep conversations going.
  • Name group conversations so they're easy to find.
Head over to Google Play Sore to download the update.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Avast Mobile Security provides protection against Stagefright exploit that may be stored in files on your device.

Avast has updated its Mobile security software for Android providing protection against Stagefright exploit that may be stored in malicious files on your device. Remember this exploit was discovered back in July by a company called Zimperium. Google and most OEMs provided  a patch, but it was not completely patched as another company said that at least one exploit remained unpatched. So make sure you apply this update as a layer of protection until a patch is released.

This update also includes some fixes listed below:

  • AppLocking fixed on newer versions of Android.
  • Fixed webShield Sitecorrect feature.
Download/Update Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus in Google Play Store.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Microsoft brings Skype to Android Wear.

If you own an Android Wear watch and use Skype on your phone, check out Microsoft's latest update for Skype. The Redmond-based software giant has indeed added support for Android Wear in its latest iteration of Skype for Android which will let you perform some basic tasks on your wrist without having to fetch for your phone inn your pocket, assuming that's where you keep your phone.

The first item in the change log is the reception of message notifications and view the message on the watch. Of course, Microsoft lets you reply to messages by speaking to your wrist and if you're not comfortable with that, you can choose a pre-written response or simply respond with emojis.

The third item in the change log is about calls. Here again, Microsoft brings the basic with the ability to accept and reject calls, mute ongoing conversations and hang up on your Android Wear device.

The final item is about Skype Mojis to send "short clips fro your favorite movies and TV shows in a Skype chat. This new feature seems to be an update for the Skype Android app itself.

This Skype update is available in Google Play Store.

Evernote updated with three new widgets: Actions Widgets, Action Bar and List widget.

Evernote is a great productivity tool and it just got better on Android, offering new ways to create notes on the home screen using 3 three new widgets. The previous widget was a separate app, while this update, which raises the version to 7.2, integrates the widgets.

Below are the three new widgets that come with the new Evernote:
  • Actions widget (1×1) – Need quick access to a note, the camera, or search? Pull your favorite feature out of the app into a single, dedicated icon to just start doing whatever it is you need to do.
  • Action bar (4×1) – Select from 11 different actions to create your personal best-of-Evernote functions.
  • List widget (4×2) – Shortcuts to key actions of your choosing as well as a list of notes. The source of the notes is up to you. Designate a specific notebook, use recent notes to hop into what you were just editing, or populate it with your reminders to stay on top of to-do’s.
Head over to Google Play Store to update Evernote.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Google's Clock gets support for Android wear and more.

Who doesn't use its phone as an alarm clock nowadays? Every mobile platform have a clock of their own which offer the basics. Then you have clocks from third party developers with unique features of their own. I use Timely Alarm Clock, a beautiful alarm clock for Android developed by Bitspin. The company was then acquired by Google. I was expecting the app to become the default alarm clock on Android or the design ported to Google's default alarm clock, but that never happened and the app got its last update in February. But I digress.

Google has today updated its clock app with some features that still won't make it your alarm of choice, but they're still of some interest, especially if you own a android Wear watch. Check out the change log below before heading over to Google Play Store to download the update:

  • Gradually increasing volume for alarms and timers.
  • Choose your favorite timer ringtone.
  • Preemptively dismiss alarms within the Clock app.
  • Control timers from a notification.
  • Easier alarm and timer management on Android Wear.
  • Interactive alarm notifications on Android Wear.

Gmail for Android lets you easily unsubscribe from email lists; blocking specific email addresses coming soon.

Google has made it easier for Gmail users to unsubscribe from email lists in a few taps. This feature was already available in the web version of Gmail and today Google is porting it to Gmail for Android. Gmail users will be able to unsubscribe to "eligible bulk mailing lists" in the settings of the email. 

In a blog post on the official Gmail blog, Google also announced a new email blocking feature which will roll out to Android in the coming weeks. This feature has for now been made available for Gmail on the web and will let Gmail users block specific emails. Of course, this can be reversed in Gmail settings. 

Check out the full blog post on Gmail official blog and download the update on Google Play Store

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Nokia Here Maps now compatible with Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch.

I am currently on a business trip in Washington D.C., a city I've never visited before. Thanks to Here Maps, it is very easy for me to move around that fascinating city without eating all my phone's data. I bought a prepaid data plan from AT&T and thanks to Here Maps offline maps feature, I found my way around without asking anyone and saving on my plan.

Today, Nokia has updated Here Maps and made it compatible with Samsung's latest smartwatch, the Samsung Gear S2. The change log does not say how's that supposed to work. Guess we'll have to wait to learn more. In the meantime, download the update in Google PlayStore.

Citrix Receiver gets support for Android 6 Developer Preview 3 (Marshmallow).

If your business or the company you work for is virtualized, you should be familiar with Citrix Receiver, an Android app that lets you access your work desktop on any supported phone or tablet on the go and check your corporate email and applications.

Citrix Receiver has been updated today. This update does not contain anything new, but the developers have added support for Android 6 Developer Preview 3, a.k.a Marshmallow. Head over to Google Play Store to update Citrix. While this update does add the bits to make Citric Receiver Marshmallow-friendly, it also includes a number of unspecified fixes and minor enhancements. So don't skip this update even if you're device is not running Marshmallow.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Google updates its productivity suite.

Your Android device is a great productivity tool and Google knows that. The company is regularly updating its productivity suite adding new features to make our lives easier. This week, Google Docs, Sheets and Slide were updated. The first two received some welcome additions while Slides got some bug fixes and unknown improvements.

Who doesn't use documents. Everyone does. With that in mind, Google updated Docs with search. Users will be able to do search right within Docs, no need to leave the app to start Google Search and switch back to Docs. Multitasking within Docs is certainly going to enhance your productivity. And google did not stop there as it made the formatting tools available right when you need them. Last in the change log is the customary bug fixes and performance improvements. Up next is Google Sheets.

Data crunchers or eaters will love this update to Google Sheets which will let them "visualize trends and understand data with automatically created charts and insights." Remember those frustrating moments when you tried to make an individual word bold in a cell and the formatting tool would stubbornly apply it to the entire text? That's behind us now. Sheets will let you apply formatting to individual word in cells easily. 

One of the most tedious task in Sheets is data entry, very often typing the same data. Sure copy/paste helps, but it is not a perfect solution. Enter drop downs which lets you choose cell contents based on data you already entered in above cells. Microsoft Excel users have been using this for years, as well as suggested formulas that can be inserted with a tab.

Head over to Google Play Store to update Docs, Sheets and Slides:

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Microsoft Translator localized in 11 languages & auto detects text based languages.

Microsoft was first to bring a translator app to Android Wear and Google quickly followed suit. Today, Microsoft posted an update that kinds of plays catch up with Google Translate in that Microsoft added support for text based language auto detection.

Microsoft  also localized its translator app for Android with 11 languages: Arabic, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional). And finally, there is the usual bug fixes and minor user interface improvements.

Download Microsoft Translator in Google Play Store. It's free.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Besides new Maps logo, Google lets you easily compare ETAs in new update.

After announcing the logo redesign yesterday, Google did not waste time to update it's app icons as well and the search giant did not limit the updates to aesthetics either.

Google updated its popular map app with the ability to easily compare ETAs across driving, transit, walking and biking. The update also contains the customary bug fixes. And, of course, there is the new Google Maps logo.

Download the update in Google Play Store.

Microsoft optimizes Bing Search to use less battery and work faster on Android.

Microsoft's app invasion of Android seem to have slowed down a bit these days, but that does not mean the company is just content with having it's software on the world most used mobile platform.

After having recently ported Bing Search to Android, Microsoft has published an update today to improve battery usage. The update, according to Microsoft, should use less battery and work faster.

Do you use Bing Search on your Android device? Download or upgrade Bing Seaarch for Android in Google Play Store.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Nokia Here Maps adds public transportation info for Switzerland, Ottawa, Brest, Charleston and Sioux Falls.

According to the developer information in Google Play Store, Nokia still owns Here maps and they updated it today, letting users see public transport information for Switzerland, Ottawa, Brest (France), Charleston and Sioux Falls in the U.S. Here Maps is very useful for travelers and locals and one of its selling points is the offline map. A feature that even Google Maps does not offer.

Besides the new public transportation, Nokia also added the following features:

  • Long tap anywhere on the map to start drive guidance, get directions or share a location.
  • See all stops along your route when taking public transport.

Head over to Google Play Store to download/update Here Maps.

Feedly update adds Chrome Custom Tabs and Shared Collections.

Back in May, during Google I/O, Google introduced Chrome Custom Tab. Before the release of Chrome Tab, most apps used their own in-app browser or offered users the choice of browsers they had installed on their Android devices. But Google has other plans with its own browser, Chrome. With the custom tab, Google wants to make Chrome the default browser. Basically, developers can integrate Chrome Custom Tabs in their app and the latter will open when a link is clicked and will even adopt the apps theme color.  And Feedly is among those apps that uses Chrome Custom Tabs.

Feedly, the popular Android news reader picked an update today and integrates Chrome Custom Tab for a more integrated experience.

Feedly also introduces shared collections, a new way to share  your favorite sites with other Feedly users. With shared collections, you actually build your own community. There's more about shared collections which you can read about on  Feedly blog.

Download the update or try Feedly in Google Play Store

Monday, August 31, 2015

Pocket Casts gets support for Subscribe on Android.

My favorite podcast app for Android got updated today and instead of writing an introductory note, I'll just post the change log as is. You will remember that Shifty Jelly has that the funniest change log in the Play Store. Check it out for yourself.

What's new in Pocket Casts 5.2.2:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the road less traveled by. It turns out that was a bad idea, that road was full of savage Koalas. Sprinting home gave me the adrenlin required to:

  • add support for Subscribe on Android.
  • fix a lot of small bugs.
Afterwards, I wandered lonely as a cloud and fixed an issue with Nearby and bluetooth. A note for those confused: this feature is only enabled while you have that page open. It doesn't run in the background, or beside you in a marathon.

Pocket Casts is on sale for about $4 in the Play Store and is well worth it.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Pushbullet for Android receives bug fixes and other improvements.

A new app called Vysor was leaked this week that lets users easily control their Android devices from their computers and this seems to be a trend lately. It is a kind of paradox, given that all indicators show that people spend more time on their phones or tablets than the good old PCs and yet we see more tools like Vysor and Pushbullet that make you use your PC to interact with your phone. Go figure.

Pushbullet was updated yesterday to version 16.6 with mostly fixes and improvements. See the full change log below:
  • Fixed bug where you couldn't copy links or share pushes.
  • Added explanation and way to turn off persistent notification.
  • Better setup experience for new users.
  • Fix for those not receiving notifications for pushes.
  • Disa Fix
  • Updated translations.
Head over to Google Play Store to download and update Pushbullet for Android.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

WhatsApp for Android updated with custom notifications, emojis, urdu, Bengali and more.

WhatsApp, the messaging app with a billion downloads in the Play Store, picked up an important update today. Version 2.12.250 adds a few features that will please both heavy and casual users. 

First in the list is the ability to set custom notifications per chat. That makes a lot of custom notifications that users can apply to individual conversations. Add to that the option to mark messages as read or unread should you want to easily locate a particular message later.

WhatsApp also made some work on emojis. Not only were new emojis added, but a tap and hold on the chosen emoji will allow users to change its color. 

In terms of improvements, the most notable is how you can change the call quality in Whatsapp. A switch was added to lower call quality and relieve the pressure on our precious data plan.

The last three items in the change log are:

  • When receiving a contact card, you can now quickly message or save the contact if they're on WhatsApp.
  • Language support for Urdu and Bengali.
Download WhatsApp in Google Play Store.