Friday, July 31, 2015

SoundCloud picks up update that fixes resource problem on Samsung phones.

The popular SoundCloud app for Android got a minor update today that raises the version number to 15.07.28. According to the change log, the update brings some "major" playlist update which let users create private playlists, shuffle and remove tracks. Owners of Samsung phones will see a resource problem fixed.

Download the update from Google Play Store and enjoy free music on your Android device.

Android camera now understands 20 additional printed text.

Thanks to apps, we can now travel around the globe without worrying about communicating with locals. Google Translate is here on Android to make translation a breeze or, at least, helpful enough so as not to get lost in translation - Sorry, just could not help it.

Google Translate has been updated with "smoother conversation in 40 languages". Additionally, the app will let you translate printed text in 20 new languages with your camera. Below is a list of supported languages that can be translated to and from English:

  • Bulgarian
  • Catalan
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • Filipino
  • Finnish
  • Hungarian
  • Indonesia
  • Lithuanian
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Romanian
  • Slovak
  • Swedish
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian
It is also now possible to translate from English to Hindi and Thai.

Download Google Translate in the Play Store.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Google fixes inline video crashing in System WebView.

Android System WebView may not make much sense to you as a end-user, but it is one of these built-in apps you absolutely want to keep updated once an update is made available by Google. Android System WebView is a component that allows Android apps to display web content. Developers use it to add browser functionality to their apps and interact with web pages.

Google has updated WebView with the following fixes:

  • Fixed inline video crash issues.
  • Added workarounds for graphics driver bugs which are causing some devices to hang.
As I mentioned above, go to Google Play Store to update the app, even if this is not a security update. The app page on the store shows it was updated on July 21, but it's only showing up on my Nexus 7 and Moto G today. 

Pushbullet syncs SMS over WiFi only, consumes less juice.

Pushbullet was updated more than ten days ago with the ability to sync full SMS conversation on the computer. Since the team behind this must-have app has been hard at work improving this feature. The latest update contains the following new features:
  • Better settings for mirroring and SMS sync!
  • Sync SMS on Wifi only.
  • SMS bug-fixes (less data, less battery :)
If you haven't downloaded Pushbullet yet, head over to Google Play store to get version 16.4.1 of the app and enjoy easy sharing of photos, songs, links etc between your devices, plus the ability to send and receive SMSs on your computer.

Pocket Casts developer starts eating healthier amid app fixes & improved performance.

The developer behind my favorite podcatcher, Pocket Casts, has posted an update today and, as usual, the changelog is hilarious. Check it for yourself below:

There comes a time in every apps life, where it has to look itself in the mirror, and make the changes needed to become the app it knows it can be. That time for Pocket Casts, is today.
  • Vastly improved performance of the Discover section.
  • Fixed audio effects causing an episode to be cut off before it was fini.
  • Started eating healthier.
  • Fixed not being able to download an episode while Chromecasting.
  • Switched to using honey based moisturizer.
  • Fixed many other small issues and annoyances.
Pocket Casts is now at version 5.1.5 and can be purchased in Google Play Store at $3.99.

Amazon for Tablets now lets you shop in Mexico.

Gone are the days where you had to rush back home to order something on Amazon. With the advent of apps like the Amazon for Tablets, purchases are made on the go, anywhere an internet connection is available. Amazon packed the same functionalities into its app that we're familiar with on its web site plus the ability to switch between stores around the world on the fly. In an update published today, Amazon has raised the version number of its app to 5.51.4310 and added Mexico to the list of available sites in the app. 

The update also contains the usual bug fixes and performance improvements. Head over to the Google Play Store to download the update and start shopping in Mexico.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Photo Editor for Android by Dev.macgyver is a simple & easy photo manipulation app you should try.

If you're in the Play Store looking for a decent photo editor, I heartily recommend Photo Editor by dev.macgyver. The app, like its name, is very simple and easy to use. Photo Editor is in my opinion the best photo app in the store as it does not try to complicate things with useless features and make the photo manipulation flow smooth. 

Photo Editor has been designed to easily adjust color, add effects, rotate, crop, resize frame, clone and draw on your photos. It also bundles a large variety of effects to help you create your masterpiece. Once installed, Photo Editor becomes available for editing photos from the gallery and camera.

Photo Editor has reached more the 10 million downloads in Google Play Store. The latest update brings the app to version 1.7.1 with the following new features and fixes:

  • Text/Image: Alignment guides.
  • Text/Image: Shape improvements.
  • Batch: Correction.
  • Bug fixes.
Download: Google Play Store

View photos by tags in latest OneDrive for Android update.

OneDrive is pretty good at handling and storing our precious photos in the cloud. Equally very important is how these photos is presented in the app to easily find the photos we're looking for. I am very bad at categorizing my photos and I let the app handle that for me, which it does well. OneDrive for Android has made a step further to help me more than it actually does by letting me view photos by tags that the app automatically added or that I added myself. The latter is very unlikely in my case, so it's convenient that OneDrive handles that for me. 

That's the only feature Microsoft added to this update that raises the app version to 3.3.0 which is available for download in Google Play Store.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Youtube for Android receives new tab design and in-app editing tool.

Youtube for Android has been redesigned with three tabs: Home, Subscription and Account. This new layout makes it easier to navigate the app and discover new content.

The Home tab will display your recommended videos. The Subscription tab will list the video channels you subscribed to and the account tab will give you access to your account, video history, playlists etc.

Finally the update also include a built-in video editing tool. Update Youtube in Google Play Store.

Google fixes large memory leak in Chrome Remote Desktop.

If the name is no indication, Chrome Remote Desktop lets you securely and remotely connect to your computer from your Android devices. In order for the device and the PC to communicate, a Chrome extension is needed on the computer and you're good to go. The extension is available as a free download from Chrome Web Store.

Google has updated Chrome Remote Desktop today and the update adds nothing new but fixes a large memory leak on disconnection from remote desktop.

Grab the fix in Google Play Store

Avast Security & Antivirus makes it easier to login to Google+ and gets new Wi-Fi Finder.

I use Avast on my Android devices as protection against viruses and malwares. While there is an ongoing debate about the necessity of such apps, I can say that we saw some freaking news recently about apps doing illegal things in the background. I'd rather be on the safe side than be sorry. Avast mobile Security and Antivirus protects 230 million people globally. I don't know if this number covers Android devices only, Avast being available for PCs also. 

Another great feature Avast offers is anti-theft which lets users control their Android devices remotely via a browser, locate a phone on a map, basic features like locking the device, activate siren, or wipe memory to protect data. And my favorite feature is the notification sent when the SIM card is changed. I recovered a phone this way and the thief spent some time in jail.

Avast also contains in-app purchases that adds unlimited app locking, Ad detector, Password check, Geo-fencing, Remote SMS, Remote Data recovery, Remote identification, backup features. These additional features can be bought for $1.99 monthly or $14.99 yearly.

Avast has been updated to version 4.0 with the following changes:

  • Login easily with Google+.
  • Added new Wi-Fi Finder explorer feature.
  • Significantly reduced battery usage.
  • More fixes and optimizations
Download: Google Play store

Flipboard for Android gets new compose icon.

Flipboard is a news app you should consider to aggregate your news if it is not already the case. You start by following some topics and Flipboard will use your preferences to create your personal magazine. News aggregator apps are aplenty in the Play store and Flipboard distinguishes itself from the pack with its distinctive flipping gesture, giving users the feel of a magazine plus the collaboration and sharing options. 

Flipboard has been updated today with the addition of a compose icon which looks like a pencil to "highlight text from stories, or posting your own text or images in your magazines". This update brings the app version to 3.3.5. 

Download Flipboard free in Google Play store.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Instagram releases a redesigned Explore tab in the US, improved search for everyone else.

Instagram is currently rolling out a major update for Android intended for its US audience. The update has two parts, with the first part about "a redesigned Explore tab in the US with major updates."
Here's what is new for our American friends:
  • Trending tags and places: Dynamically updated content gives you a real-time look at what's happening nearby - and all over the world.
  • Curated collections: Explore a rotating selection of people and places hand-picked by Instagram.
  • Places search: Search by location to explore an exotic vacation destination and more.
 The second part of the update is about an improved search for everyone else globally which will allow for search by location and the ability to "search all posts across username, name, hashtag or location.

No matter what is your location, Instagram has something for you in this update. Follow the link to Google Play store to download it.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Withings announces first swim detection trackers, photo/video challenge.

I live on an island and I do not swim. I'm dead afraid of water, salted or not. Now with that aside, Withings today announced in a blog post that their Activité and Activité Pop "are the first activity trackers on the market to offer automatic swim detection." The trackers are water resistant to 50 meters in a pool or the ocean and will automatically detect your movements as you take the plunge. 

Like any regular workout, Activité and Activité Pop will record the calories burnt and total time of your workout. However, like other workouts, I'd expect Withings' trackers to also track distance which in my opinion is more important than time. My Microsoft Band is capable of that when I'm cycling and running. Surely Withings will include distance tracking in a future update. It's in their best interest for sales to go up and wider adoption of their products.

To celebrate this announcement, Withings has decided to challenge you with surprise prizes to win in the end. There will be more than one winner and all it takes to participate is to jump into the water with your Activité and send them your photos or videos with the #SwimWithings hashtag on Instagram or Twitter. The winners will be announced on July 27.

Head over to Withings web site to enter the competition if you own a Activité tracker.

Pushbullet update makes it faster and less data-hungry.

It's only last Wednesday that Pushbullet updated their app to better handle SMS conversation on the computer. This feature was initially limited to one message and last week update enhanced this feature with the display of the entire SMS conversation on the computer, making it less likely for you to reach for your phone to keep tabs with the conversation.

Today, Pushbullet was updated again with some fixes and improvements. It brings some SMS improvement and the most interesting bit is the app app is now little bit faster and uses less of our precious data.

Here's what is new in Pushbullet 16.3.2:

  • Many SMS improvements.
  • App is now a bit faster and uses less data.
  • Fixed bug that could lead to not getting notifications.
Download the update in Google Play store.

Microsoft Outlook for Android now lets you swipe between messages.

Microsoft has updated its Outlook client for Android with the ability to swipe between messages instead of having to close them, go back to the Inbox to open the next email. A fast and more convenient way to move to the next email. It all depends on your preference. I always delete emails after reading them. Outlook then takes me back to my Inbox automatically. With this new swipe feature, it will be convenient to move to the next for the very few emails I choose to keep for follow up.

Grab the update in Google Play store.

Google Text-to-speech now supports Hindi and Indonesian.

Google Text-to-speech has been updated today with support for Hindi and Indonesian which will bring voice capability to millions of Android devices in India, Indonesia and beyond. If you don't know what Text-to-speech does, it simply reads text on your screen aloud. For example, it can be used with Google Play books to read aloud your favorite books or with Google Translation with the obvious advantage of also hearing the pronunciation of the translated word and there are even more usage on your device given the vast app trove that is Google Play. 

Besides support for Hindi and Indonesian, Google Text-to-speech also received some quality improvement. As per the change log, "our standard quality voices now surpass the quality of the high quality voices from our previous release."

This update brings Text-to-speech to version 3.5.6 and can be downloaded in Google Play store for free, of course.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Group post by topic with Google+ Collections.

Google+ is the place I go to for my daily tech news consumption and this is the place people who share my passion hangout too, away from the noisy facebookers crowd. Google+ may not enjoy the popularity Facebook enjoys, but it remains the favorite network for techies. Despite what's been said about it, Google is not pulling the plug on its social network and keeps updating the app for Android devices.

An update appeared on my Nexus 7 yesterday with a much of new features and enhancements. The most notable new feature is Collections which allows "pluses" - had to find a name for Google+ members - to group posts by topic.

The other new features are:

  • GIF images now load much faster.
  • Updtaed post designs.
  • Performance improvements and bug fixes.
Visit Google Play store to download the update or join Google+.

SoundCloud rolls out "play related track" to Android devices.

Listening to music on SoundCloud just got better today thanks to a new algorithm that lets users select a track and then select "play related tracks" from the menu overflow. This feature is meant to make "discovering your next favorite even easier", according to the company. This new feature is part of an update that raises the version number to 15.07.15, which addresses other issues as well as per the change log below:

  • Uploading of files work again.
  • We fixed sticky notifications for users an Android 4.x.
  • For our Cyanogen Mod 12.1 and 11.x users: you should have a crash-free experience now.
  • And many, many more bug fixes and stability improvements.
 Head over to Google Play store to download the update and enjoy a new listening experience.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pushbullet brings your phone's full SMS conversation on your computer.

Late last year, Pushbullet introduced a new feature which allowed users to send SMS on their Windows computer or through Chrome browser. The ability to chat is in fact handled by the phone and Pushbullet simply pushed the message to your computer in a way similar to Facebook chathead. While it was a very welcome feature, it had a limitation. The app was only capable of showing one message. Today, Pushbullet was updated to allow Android users to see the full SMS conversation, further reducing interaction with the phone while working on a computer.

The update, which raises the version number to 16.3 was published today in Google Play store and does not contain any other changes or fixes. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Microsoft fixes error 0x204 in Remote Desktop app for Android.

Microsoft has today updated its Remote desktop app bringing it to version 8.1.19. This release fixes some issues which, according to Microsoft, was brought to their attention by users of the app. The change log mentions a fix to the zoom which works better now, Microsoft having increased the zoom. 

The second item in the change log fixes a 0x204 error. We all love those cryptic Microsoft errors, don't we? This fix "now try all of the redirect addresses a broker provides, instead of just one of them." 

Head over to the Play store to download this update.

Send directions from PC to Android with Google Maps update.

Asking for directions to passers-by is something of the past thanks to Google Maps or apps like Waze. With these apps getting better and better at what they do, planning an outing is such a breeze. Remember those animated discussions about which route is the best? Google Maps helped us start the day with zen. However, there was just one irritating omission in Google Maps. While it was great at offering the directions on Google Maps desktop, the app was not good at sharing the directions with our phones. That also is now something of the past. 

Google has updated Maps with a new feature that will let users send places they search for on Google Maps desktop to their mobile devices. A zen way to start your journey. 

Download the update from the Play store. I have updated the app but have yet to see the "send to device" link to appear in Google Maps desktop. It may be that this feature is not available yet in my region. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Microsoft updates Outlook app for Android with individual email browsing and integrated UserVoice.

Many call it the new Microsoft since Satya Nadella took over the company about  year ago and it surely is doing things differently with Microsoft apps flooding the Google Play store. Among the first apps to land in Google land was obviously the Outlook email client. The latter picked up an update today.

Part of the new Microsoft is their openness. Not only with making apps for competing platforms, they are seriously listening to users' feedbacks. We saw that with the very first technical preview of Microsoft's Windows 10 OS, due for release at the end of July. They extended the experience to other products as well namely Office and Windows Mobile.

Back to today's update. Microsoft received several requests from users wanting to be able to browse email as individual messages instead of conversations. Now users can do just that by turning off the "Organize mail by thread" in the app settings.

Microsoft also bundled a UserVoice right into Outlook for users to easily send their feedbacks and suggestions to the team over at Microsoft. Finally the update also includes some improvements to mail and calendar sync and notifications.

Microsoft Outlook pp for Android is available free in Google Play store.