Saturday, September 10, 2016

Udacity app gets offline learning on Android.

Udacity is my favorite online learning platform. I started a Google Nanodegree course with them and I'm currently working on my first app for Android, but more on this later. The Udacity Android app contains a full listing of courses and lets you learn wherever you are, provided you have a decent internet connection. That can be an issue if, like me, you do not have an unlimited data plan. Sure free Wi-Fi is available almost everywhere these days, but the low speed makes the experience frustrating. All that is to change now.

Udacity has been listening to users feedback and added a offline feature in its app that will let users download courses to their devices and learn offline on the go. In case you're wondering, there is no time limit on how long you can keep the videos. Delete the videos after you're done to make space for new ones.

Checkout the updated Udacity app for Android in Google Play Store.

Microsoft brings Collage template to Sprightly for Android.

I blogged about Sprightly getting updated at the beginning of the week and today, Microsoft issued another one that brings Collage template to the apps. Microsoft says "they're designed to make your pictures stand out and look gorgeous." Sprightly will let you add filters to personalize your images and then convert them to collages and videos. 

In each of my blog post about Sprightly, I stress how this Microsoft app makes easy the creation of catalogs, flyers, marketing materials on the go. Get it for free in Google Play Store.

Amazon app for Android gets a redesigned icon and bug fixes.

New icon
Old icon
It's not often that Amazon issues an update for its shopping app on Android. While this one does not contain anything major, the new icon is still newsworthy. The iconic Amazon logo with the arrow underneath are still there, but the basket is not in full view anymore as can be seen in the images above. I don't know what message this change is supposed to convey, but it certainly isn't going to change my shopping habits on the site. And of course there's more in this update. Amazon says they made the app better through bug fixes and performance improvements.

Grab the update in Google Play Store and happy shopping.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Sprightly for Android updated with support for video magazine creation and sharing.

If like me you lack artistic talents, Sprightly might be the app you need to create catalogs, flyers, e-cards on the go. Sprightly is one of a couple of projects from Microsoft Garage which was created to make people like me creative. The app was designed to help folks with no design skills create professional looking designs thanks to the templates provided by graphic experts working on the Sprightly team. Of course the app lets share your creation to social networks or send print ready PDF files to your friend or customers.

The Sprightly team has published an update today. The change logs states that "an exciting new Video intent is shipping with Sprightly. Create a video magazine and share in seconds". The update also brings pinch and rotate for images and adds image filters.

If you are a designer, a marketing person or just want to unleash your creativity, checkout Sprightly for Android in the Google Play Store. It's free.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Microsoft adds instant messenger preview support in Arrow Launcher for Android.

Today Microsoft has updated its Arrow Launcher for Android, an app the Redmond folks want you use in place of Google Now launcher. I joined the beta recently to try new features before they get released to the public. I can't tell if today's update is public or a beta release, but the new features are quite nice and focus on Instant messaging. 

Microsoft made it easier to access our conversations in one place in the Recent page without having to launch the app itself. This feature is not enabled by default, so users will have to tap the three vertical dots at the top right of the Recent page to enable the IM preview. Once that is done, conversations will be listed for easy and quick access.

Microsoft also lets users improve performance if they wish to by turning off background animations and blur settings. A feature that owners of low end Android devices will find useful. Still in the performance chapter, Arrow launcher is now faster in terms of page swipes, app launches, memory usage and more. Microsoft doesn't specify what more tweaks they made though.   

Check out the new update in Google Play Store.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Vine for Android lets you share channels and profiles with followers on different social networks.

The last time I blogged about Vine was on its release and now that video apps/functions are seeing a rise in popularity these days, it's an opportunity to write about Vine's latest update. As a quick note, most social networks now let their users use videos to broadcast themselves live for the world to see. Facebook, Instagram and even Snapchat have recently added videos to their service. But if memory serves me well, Twitter was the first to bring a standalone app in the form of Vine. I have no statistics to share about its popularity, but given Twitter's trouble with attracting new users, I doubt Vine is the ultimate video app out there.

Today, Twitter updated the app so users can share their favorite profiles and channels with their followers on Vine itself and added support for sharing to Facebook, Tumblr and, of course, Twitter. If you are a Vine user, head over to Google Play Store and get the update. If you happen to be an absolute fan of Vine, they have a beta channel to which you can signup to test new features before they get released to the official app. You can signup here and help make the app better.