Friday, April 29, 2016

Microsoft updates Word, Excel & PowerPoint for Android with new contextual menus and support for CSV file in Excel.

It's Friday and I'm posting this between two beers. Microsoft has updated its Office suite of apps for Android adding some new useful features to Word, Excel and PowerPoint. I'm posting the change log as is below because I have not tested them all. I did however test the new updated Excel app that now lets users open CSV files on Android devices. Comma Separated Values are currently not supported, but the new version 16.0.6828.1014 changes that. If you ever receive a Excel CSV file, the updated Excel will open it without complaining. That's it for Excel. 

Word on the other hand makes it easier to work with tables with new touch controls to let you insert and resize rows and columns. The update also introduces new contextual menus to give users quick access to commands. 

PowerPoint now supports Superscript and subscript along with the same contextual menu similar as word. There's also the ability to create columns of text which lets users "split a block of text into easy-to-read columns".

All in all these are great features that will enhance users' productivity. One thing Microsoft is really good at. Use the links below to upgrades the app on your Android devices.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Google brings on-the-go-scheduling to Calendar for Android.

Microsoft introduced the Free/Busy information in Outlook 2007 which, in combination with Exchange 2007 allowed users to see their colleagues availability when organizing meetings. Google today introduced a similar feature for its Google Apps for Work or Edu called "Find a Time" in Google Calendar for Android.

"Find a Time" will help users find the meeting time that is suitable for everyone even if they're in different time zones. Google says that if "there are no times that work, Calendar, will look which conflicting meetings can most easily be rescheduled." "Find a Time" also works in the case where you manage someone else's calendar and will let you schedule meetings on their behalf. 

Download Google Calendar for Android in Google Play store and enjoy on-the-go scheduling.

Source: Google

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Microsoft sprightly for Android is now faster & easier to use.

Microsoft today updated Sprightly, an Android app that enables users to create E-Cards, Price lists, Flyers and Catalogs for both business and personal needs right on a Android device. Sprightly is one of several Microsoft Garage project that is exclusive to Android and it picked up a major update raising the version number to 1.0.

Microsoft claims the app is now faster and easier to use with the addition of beautiful new templates which also gives you a preview "even before you get started." See the full change log below for more:

* Beautiful templates to start with: Click on Create New & get a preview of all templates even before you get started
*Gorgeous new creation experience: Tap on text to edit it, easy reposition & zoom, get instant previews when you import images
*Simpler “Collections” experience to manage your digital assets & quickly create collages.

Download your free copy of Microsoft Sprightly in Google Play Store.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Flipboard adds contextual help buttons in its Settings for better support to users.

Every news app strives to bring a personal experience to its users and few are successful in my opinion. My favorite is Flipboard, a multi-platform news reader that offers that unique flipping gesture mimicking the real world gesture when reading a magazine and offering contents like articles, videos, podcasts, and, of course, social media. 

Flipboard was recently updated with some minor but helpful features. Those improvements are in the settings menu where contextual buttons were added to provide details and support to users should they need it without leaving the app. Flipboard did not add anything else.

Flipboard is available free in Google Play store.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Keep track of events, newsletters and links right in Inbox by Gmail.

Inbox by Gmail is my default email client on my Nexus and it's an app that keeps getting better with time. Today Google added some nice features to the app to better manage events, newsletters and links. You might be wondering how an email client lets you manage events in your Inbox. It does that simply by grouping together every emails related to particular events or meetings and if there's a change, you will see a comprehensive overview in your Inbox, in one place. It's as simple as that.

The second feature is the ability to preview newsletters you're subscribed to. Click on an article and a separate window opens for you to read it and the newsletter will minimize to save space in your Inbox.

The third addition is a lot like a 'read it later' feature. I often email articles to myself to be read later.In this update, Google added 'Save to Inbox'. Instead of emailing a link, simply use the 'Save to Inbox' to save links for later. Obviously, all saved links will be grouped together in one place in your Inbox. This feature is available on Android or iOS and on the web with the new Inbox by Gmail Chrome extension.

The update is not available in every region yet (mine included), but it sure is coming to your Google Play store.

Source: Google

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Shifty Jelly lays "groundwork for some cool things" for future releases of Pocket Casts and Android N.

Shifty Jelly, the developer behind popular podcast app Pocket Casts for Android, seems totally unfazed by the release today of Google's own podcast app, an app that is currently available in the U.S. and Canada only. Instead Shifty Jelly has plans to make its app even cooler and this release does include some stuffs to lay the groundwork for future releases. Other than that, this update contains the following features:

  • Added skip back to now playing notification.
  • Reworked a lot of underlying code to prepare for a tastier future.
  • New sleep timer animation.

Shifty Jelly has picked Nougat or Nutella as the possible names for the future release of Android and the team is already salivating no matter which name is picked by Google. Nougat, Nutella or an Indian dessert, the developers behind my favorite podcast app are all fired up and ready for it. That's what makes Pocket Casts a cool podcast app that can be purchased on Google Play store. Pocket Casts costs about $3 and is well worth the purchase.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Microsoft adds Android Wear watch support to its Outlook app.

Thanks to my Zenwatch, I can quickly read my Gmail messages on my wrist without having to reach for my phone and today Microsoft is introducing the same feature to Outlook for Android and users will be able to read their Outlook emails on their wrist and reply with pre-set messages or voice dictation.

A vibration will alert me when a new email arrives. Swiping up will show me the content, while swiping to the left gives me the option to delete, schedule the email to be read later, and as I wrote above, to reply with either voice or pre-set messages. The one feature that I found missing is "open on phone" icon, which opens the app for you on the phone after you get it out of your pocket.

Making Outlook Android Wear friendly is a great addition for me because Outlook is my main email client. That's where most of my important emails go to. Prior to this update, I had to fish my phone out of my pocket to read and take action on my emails because my watch would only show a new email with little information about its content.

If you own an Android Wear watch and use Microsoft Outlook for Android, head over to Google Play store and update the app. The change log does not mention anything else, so the update is there for all to download and maybe even have you consider getting a smartwatch.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

SofaScore app for Android updated with a news center, detailed scores for tennis, volleyball & badminton.

SofaScore is my favorite sports app on my mobile phones and Android Wear watch - I currently use a Zenwatch 2. It's my go to app for live scores, sports news for all leagues and competitions in 17 sports, a kind of a one-stop shop for your favorite sports. SofaScore was updated today with some improvements.

Besides the live scores, SofaScore also features the latest sports news which were accessible in the media section of each league. That layout made it difficult to keep track of the news in the app. This update tries to fix that by bringing all the news in a section of its own that has been labeled 'SofaScore News' in the app that is accessible by tapping the Hamburger menu in the top left.

Another feature is the Matches tab now shows the newest match at the top, which makes sense.

Fans of tennis, volleyball and badminton should like the "more detailed scores on top of "Comments".  I do occasionally watch tennis, namely Wimbledon and Roland Garros, but never so far watched a volleyball and badminton game.

Check out SofaScore for Android in Google Play store. It's free.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Opera Max for Android gets tablet layout and support for 4 new languages.

Unless you have an offshore account, you are probably like me doing whatever it takes to save as much money as possible on your limited data plan, helped in this by apps like Opera Max, an app that describes itself as a data saving app. Available free in Play store, Opera Max is developed by Opera, the same company behind popular Opera browsers for Android and Windows. Besides helping users save megabytes of data, the app also helps boost speeds both on Wi-Fi and cellular networks. Today, Opera Max was updated with added support for tablet layout and the addition of new languages: Arabic, Urdu, Persian and Hebrew.

Download Opera Max in Google Play store and save some money. 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

IMDB for Android gets Material design aligment and bug fixes in latest update.

Boasting the biggest info database about movies, TV shows and celebrities, IMDB issued an update today for its Android app. No new features were added, but IMDB instead aligned itself more with Android’s material design with the addition of a bell icon in its notifications. Other than that, the app “sanded some rough edges” in their application of the material design. Some bugs were also squashed along the way, notably in the image galleries and another bug that caused videos to keep on playing after closing them.

These fixes should make the IMDB experience more pleasurably and let you enjoy trailers and gossips about your favorite celebrities. Head over to Google Play store to download the app or to update it.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Opera Mini browser beta gets ads blocking and new page loading animations.

Do you hate ads? I think the majority of humankind hates them and I'm with you guys, so much that I removed them from this blog. Is it not annoying to see a website reload while you're reading an interesting story or having a video auto play with the sound set to the max. On the other hand, ads are a necessity for some bloggers, authors out there and for those I'm very willing to support them provided that the ads on their sites are not aggressive and intrusive to the reading experience - A very common thing on sites like CNN which literally broadcast their video ads out loud or French news site Le Point which reloads every 10 minutes while you're in the middle of a long story. Thankfully, in order to bring back control to users, we're seeing more and more browsers offering ads blocking technologies built in, not necessitating the download of third party apps to do the job. Opera Mini is one of those browsers.

If you're adventurous and like to try out preview software, Opera will let you download the beta version of its browser right on Google store and they expect you to provide feedback from your experience. Keeping such precious info to yourself defeats the purpose of joining a beta program after all. If you're in already or want to opt in, Opera has added new features to the browser for you to try. First in the list is ad blocking, which I'm sure you'll all like. They also added some new page loading animations. Finally, Opera Mini will let you add your favorite sites to your device home screen as shortcuts for quick and easy access. A feature that is already available on competing browsers.

That's all for now in this update. Head over to Google Play Store to download or update Opera Mini Browser beta.

Friday, April 1, 2016

CNN finally adds support for 360-degree video & Chromecast to its Android app.

You would be wrong to think that News/Press industry are the first to embrace new technologies. In fact, the one industry that is always on the avant-garde and even drives innovation in tech is porn. Don't believe me? Check out this article by Business Insider that dates back to 2013 on "How porn drives innovation in technology" and you will get my point. OK, it's a dated article that remains true today. 

Unless you have been living under a rock, you've heard about Virtual Reality or VR. It's all the buzz with Oculus Rift leading the pack, HTC having the Vive up for pre-order and Microsoft choosing to go AR instead with Hololens. With that, one of  the first company to launch a new VR channel is not CNN, Time or any other major news company, but PornHub, a market leader in the porn industry. The company has even been giving away 10,000 Google Cardboard to viewers at launch of the new channel. In the meantime...

CNN has pushed an update for its Android app that finally adds support for 360 degrees video. Users will be able to rotate their device to view 360-degree video within the app itself. CNN also finally added support for Chromecast - now Google Cast - so you can use Google first and second generation streaming device to cast videos to your TV. Casting Live TV and Android TV support is coming in another update.

Before checking out Pornhub's VR channel, head over to Google Play store to download or update CNN app for Android.