Thursday, December 14, 2017

Firefox Focus 4.01 for Android lets you create custom search engines and adds sites to an autocomplete list.


A new version of Firefox Focus for Android is out, bringing some useful features. Before we dive into the changes, I want to point out the fact that Firefox Focus presents itself like no other browser on the market. The mobile browser is developed by Mozilla, which claims that Firefox Focus lets you “browse like no one’s watching. The new Firefox Focus automatically blocks a wide range of online trackers – from the moment you launch it to the second you leave.” In other words, Mozilla takes your privacy very seriously and erases your history after use. If you’re a privacy-minded user, Firefox Focus is the browser you should set as the default on your Android device. It also features a minimalistic design with few configurations options.  So much so that it does not even support tabs. Firefox Focus also supports most of the popular search engine that you can set in the browser’s settings.

Version 4 of the browser improves on the search engine features by letting users add their own search engines or remove the ones they don’t want. Mozilla added a new “Add another search engine” button in settings. To add a search engine of your own, tap Settings – the three-vertical bar at the top right of the app. Under Search, tap Add another search engine. Give your search a name and in the search string to use field, enter the link to your query.

Here are some popular search queries you can use:


When done, tap save.

Should you want to remove unwanted search engine, follow the same process and tap remove and put a check mark next to the search engine you want remove and tap the trash icon. Tap the back arrow to save your changes.

Mozilla also added an autocomplete feature to Firefox Focus so users can get to websites with less typing. Autocomplete can be enabled in Settings > URL Autocomplete. Then tap the switch next to the option you want two turn on. These two options are:

Default URL List: Enables autocomplete in the address bar for the most popular websites.

Custom URL: Enables autocomplete for web addresses that you enter yourself.

After you’re done, tap the back arrow to save your changes.

Firefox Focus is a robust browser for Android I strongly recommend you add to your app list. And it is available free for download in Google Play Store.

VLC for Android update brings back 'lost' Artists/Albums in media library.


More than a week ago I blogged about VLC for Android getting a major update, and this week, the popular media player is getting a few fixes. According to the developer, some users have reported they were unable to see some of their artists/albums in the media library. This update will fix that issue and will also “try” to recover playlists from the old database to the new one.

Here’s the rest of the fixes in this update that raises the version to 2.5.13:

·       Fix videos not disappearing after deletion.

·       Restore WhatsApp videos for those who didn’t had it anymore.

·       Add WhatsApp videos to quick access shortcuts.

·       Fix ‘seen’ check on RTL devices.

·       Fix some Chromebooks showing TV interface.

Again, VLC for Android is a powerful media player you should try. It supports just about any format imaginable and it’s cross-platform. Better yet, it is completely free in Google Play Store.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Instagram makes it easier to follow users and accounts with hashtags.


Instagram just made it easier to follow whatever you like on Android, Apple devices and the web. As usual there’s nothing for Windows 10 PCs. What’s a PC anyway? But I digress. As of today, Instagram users on the aforementioned platform will be able to follow whatever they like thanks to hashtags.

According to Instagram, millions of users share photos, videos and tag them every day. With the update rolling out today, users will be able to tap on a hashtag to follow other Instagram users, similar to following a friend. Users can search for a topic of interest or tap a hashtag in a post and they will see related posts. Users will then see a follow button on their screens that they can tap to follow the topic or the account with the ability to unfollow later.

Instagram is also making it easier to find hashtags from other users’ account and Instagram says that “hashtags you follow respect your privacy settings.” Setting the hashtags to private will only be visible to your followers.

Instagram said that the update has started rolling out today. It may not be available to you today, but do check out on Google PlayStore as from now on.

Pocket Casts for Android now lets you switch themes without a restart.


Pocket Casts, my favorite podcast app on Android, got updated with a minor update today, raising the version number to 6.4.6.  Before I list the change log, the developer announced some major changes in version 7.4.7, which is a big jump from today’s update. I can’t wait to see what they have in store.

In today’s update, Pocket Casts brings a new “Extra Dark OLED theme.” Dark themes make it easy on the eyes should you choose to watch a video podcast…in the dark. This is great especially if you have a partner sharing the same room or bed. While this might sound like a minor addition, it won’t necessitate a restart of the app. Currently, changing the theme is already available in the app. But doing so requires closing and re-opening the app. With this update, this is not required. The change will happen on the fly. You would think that the most popular mobile platform on earth would handle such a change easily. But no.

This update also fixes some issue with “download URLs not changing properly when the author updates them.” Picture in Picture features also gets fixed as well as chromecasting. I assume that the former is available only on Android devices that runs Android Oreo or 8.0.

The update is available for download in Google Play Store for your podcast needs.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Google Contacts brings faster bulk merging of duplicate contacts.

Today Google has updated its Contacts app for Android. Yes, Google has a contact management app of its own which has been downloaded over 10 million times in the store. That’s not a lot for a Google app and the reason for this is simple. Contact is not built into Android and must be downloaded in the store. Most Android users do not do this because their phone manufacturers already provide their own apps as default that connects to users’ Google account on Google servers. I like Google Contacts over Samsung’s on my S7 Edge. While Samsung went to great length to make its app simple, I still prefer Google’s version.

In today’s update, users will be able to initiate Google Duo video calls directly from Contacts. With this integration, no need to go looking for Duo on one of your screens or through the app list to make a video call. The change log specifically says “setup and make Google Duo video calls directly from Contacts.” I cannot go deeper into this because nobody I know uses Duo.

This update also brings “faster bulk merging of duplicate contacts.” And for Japanese users, this update will “automatically fill in the phonetic name (furigana) for kanji characters.

If you want to take advantage of the features in this update, head in Google Play Store to download.




Saturday, December 9, 2017

Dailymotion for Android lets you view vertical videos in full-screen mode.


Last week VidMe closed down citing inability to compete against Google and Facebook. That news made the headlines last week and that leaves users with one less option to choose from. No doubt YouTube remains the most dominant video platform on the market. Then, there’s Dailymotion, a French owned video platform that’s still available should you want to join a less crowded video platform.

Dailymotion was updated today, offering Android users the ability to display vertical videos in full-screen mode. The update also brings some small improvements to account management and an improved playlist management that lets you “re-order the videos.

If you’re a user of Dailymotion on Android, make sure you download the update in Google Play Store. If, on the other hand, you want to experience something other than YouTube, Dailymotion is the way to go.

Telegram for Android updated to version 4.6 will now show multiple photos from Instagram and Tweets as an album.


Telegram for Android has been updated to version 4.6 with a bunch of new features. The cross-platform messaging app offers fast and secure instant messaging and the developer claims the app “is the fastest messaging app on the market, connecting people via a unique, distributed network of data centers around the globe.

Telegram is indeed quite popular with Android users with over 100 million active users in its two and a half years of existence. Not as popular as WhatsApp which has a billion download. But WhatsApp is owned by Facebook and benefits from the billions of users of the world largest social network. Nonetheless, Telegram has a lot more features than WhatsApp with the same simplicity in terms of use.

As I’ve said above, version 4.6 introduces some new features. Here’s what’s new:

·       New granular settings for auto-downloading media.

·       Link previews for Instagram posts and tweets with multiple photos will now show all the media as an album.

·       Embeddable HTML-widget for messages in public channels and groups (available when viewing t.me links to messages in web browsers).

·       Added support for albums to Secret Chats.

·       Added full support to MTProto 2.0.

Telegram has a reputation for taking privacy seriously and if I’m not mistaken, was the first messaging app to offer end-to-end encryption. The app uses a combination of 256-bit symmetric AES encryption, 2048-bit RSA encryption, and Diffie-Hellman secure key exchange. If none of these stuffs make sense to you, just know that Telegram offers the best in terms of protection.

The update is immediately available worldwide for download in Google Play Store.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

TuneIn 19.0 for Android gets a new icon, a sneak peak into things to come.


TuneIn Radio brings the world's largest collection of radio stations to your Android device, that's over 100,000 stations for your listening pleasure with categories including songs, podcasts, shows and more. The app is also cross-platform, therefore available on Windows Phone, iOS and Windows. TuneIn also has a social touch in that you can share whatever you're listening with your followers and vice-versa. The Android version of the app is also Android Wear friendly and works with Chromecast too.

Today TuneIn has been updated with a new icon which is “inspired by the ON AIR radio signage, it’s a sneak peak into things to come.” Obviously, TuneIn refrains from revealing what is to come, but we can safely assume it’s going to be good. So, this update is more like a placeholder for upcoming new features. As of this writing, Google Play Store still doesn't display the new icon, but you'll see it on your Android device after updating.

The change log does mention an upgrade to Google Play Services 11.4.0. Google Play Services “is an extension of the Google Play ecosystem and Google automatically updates Google Play services on all supported devices via the Google Play Store to ensure API consistency across devices and versions, and to deliver fixes and new features in a timely fashion…

This update also includes the usual bug fixes, crash fixes and improvements.

Check out TuneIn in Google Play Store.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Instagram releases two new tools: Stories Highlights and Stories Archive for Android.


Instagram has been on an update roll lately and today they are introducing two new tools for their users. The first is Stories Highlights. If you’re a serious Instagram user, you know that Instagram Stories are available for 24 hours only. That changes with today’s update. “Now you can more fully express your identity by grouping stories you’ve shared into highlights and featuring them on your profile.” These highlights will appear in a new section on your profile.

To create new Highlights, tap the “New” circle on the left and you will be able to choose stories from your archive. You will even be able to choose a cover and give it a name. Instagram says that your “highlight will appear as a circle on your profile that plays as a stand-alone story when someone taps it.” As I said above, Instagram has removed the 24 hours limit your highlights appear in your profile. However, you have the option to edit or remove them simply by tapping and holding on them.


Instagram will now also let you automatically save stories to your archive. “From there, you can easily switch between your Posts Archive and your new Stories Archive.” The most recent stories will appear at the bottom and tap on any of them to watch and share as a post or “add it to a highlight on your profile.” Before you worry, only you can see your archived stories and you can turn that off at any time in your profile settings.

Instagram is releasing this update to Android and iOS. Sorry for Windows users, as usual there’s nothing for you. Download and update Instagram for Android in Google Play Store.
Source: Instagram

Monday, December 4, 2017

AirDroid lets you reply to messages directly in notification on Android devices running 7.0 & above.


Chances are that, like me, you use multiple screens at home – like your PC attached to a secondary screen. This comes in handy when multi-tasking. Today, thanks to apps like AirDroid, it is now possible to similarly use your Windows PC or Mac to interact with your Android phone or tablet. When paired with your Android device, AirDroid will mirror your calls, SMS and emails on the bigger screen so you won’t have to reach out for your phone. A great productivity feature as you’ll be able to use the full keyboard and mouse to interact with your Android device. And wirelessly transferring files between your PC and device is faster. Additionally, you can do this without spending a dim.

AirDroid has a whole lot of features. Besides notifications mirroring for replying to messages, AirDroid lets you backup photos and videos from the phone to the computer; manage phone contacts from the desktop; record screenshot; locate your phone when it’s lost and remotely access the phone cameras. The latter feature is available via AirDroid web client only. The latest update adds some more features.

Version v4.1.6.0 improves the reliability and smoothness of AirMirror. Users will also be able to reply to messages directly from the notification area on the phone provided you have Android 7.0 and above.

Here’s the rest of the change log:

·       Show touches in screen recording.

·       Improved device connection reliability.

·       Other bug fixes and improvements.

Like I said above, AirDroid is a free powerful tool I strongly recommend to access and manage your phone from your PC. Check it out in Google Play Store.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

VLC for Android gets a major update with a plethora of new features.


VLC for Android is a very popular multimedia player and in addition to that, it is cross-platform that will work on your phone, tablet and desktop. VLC can play almost about every type of multimedia file formats as well as network streaming protocols and it is also a feature-packed audio player.

Today, VLC has been updated with a major update that contains a plethora of new features.

Here’s the full change log:

·       360o videos support.

·       Android Auto implementation.

·       More dynamic and material-compliant UI.

·       Enable Picture-In-Picture mode on Android O.

·       Refactored MediaLibrary.

·       DayNight mode integration.

·       New Search activity and integration with Google Now.

·       Resume position for audio media tagged as audiobook or podcast.

·       Double tap on screen edges in video player to seek by 10s.

·       Audio boost in video player.

·       Custom equalizer presets.

·       Improve RTL support.

·       Improve app & video player start speed.

As the developer puts it in the app description in the Play Store, “VLC is intended for everyone, is totally free, has no ads, no in-app-purchases, no spying and is developed by passionate volunteers. All the source code is available for free.

VLC for Android is a must-have app for your multimedia needs on your devices. You won’t find a better offer in the store. Seriously, nothing beats a full-featured free app.

Get it in Google Play Store.

Amazon Kindle update for Android lets you long tap to hide items from your Home view again & saves your books searches.


Amazon Kindle for Android does not get updated often. Sure, there are the usual bug fixes and performance enhancements, but we rarely get an update that actually introduces new features like the one Amazon published today. And I was surprised to read that Amazon actually listens to user feedbacks.

By popular request, Amazon has indeed reinstated a feature that allows users to remove items from the Home screen with a long tap. In the change log, Amazon says the long tap will “hide it from your Home.

The second feature in this update is about searches you do in your book. Amazon Kindle will now save those so you can quickly look them up again. This comes in handy should you need to remind yourself the definition of a word for example.

Amazon Kindle also gets new dictionaries for five new languages: Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati and Malayalam.

Whether you’re an avid reader or not, check this update in Google Play Store. Amazon Kindle and the update are free to download.

Adobe Photoshop Express supports 9 new languages, image cropping in the original image's aspect ratio.


If you pull up the Play Store on your device and make a search for photo editing apps, the search will bring up thousands and thousands of matching apps. So much that you end up scrolling endlessly through the results, making choosing one difficult, especially since the store search engine does not necessarily sort the list with the most popular app at the top. So, if you’re a developer and unless your app has a well-known brand name, good luck with making your app visible to the billions of Android users. Adobe Photoshop Express does not have this recognition problem if 50 million downloads are any indication.

Adobe Photoshop Express is a brand that inspires trust. The app supports the basics like photo cropping, straightening, rotating, etc. It also allows for quick and easy editing of photos on the go. But it also includes features like blemish removal, corrections, filters, image rendering engine, noise reduction among a lot more. And the app is regularly updated.

In the latest update, Adobe added support for 9 new languages: Filipino, Greek, Hindi, Indonesian, Malay, Romanian, Thai, Ukrainian and Vietnamese. The update also lets you “crop your images in the original image’s aspect ratio.

Check out the ret of the change log below and head into the Play Store to update/download Adobe Photoshop Express.

·       Enhancements in image picker gallery for a smoother experience.

·       Bug fixes and feature enhancements.



Thursday, November 30, 2017

Yammer for Android will now display two recipients' name when composing messages before showing "+1".


Microsoft acquired Yammer in order to bring a Facebook-like network to businesses. I don’t how this is faring out, but I do know that Microsoft uses it a lot internally. I’m just not sure for how long tough, but Microsoft seems committed to the app.

In the update that was published today, Microsoft is bringing some small changes when composing messages. Yammer used to show the first recipient’s name followed by a “+1” to save space. With today’s update, Yammer will now display the second name as well because Microsoft believes you do not need to save that much space. Now, should you add more than two recipients, then Yammer will revert back to the “+digit” to save space. This new feature also applies to groups.

If you’re a Yammer user, let us know how this feature works for you. The update is available now in Google Play Store for you to download.

Waze for Android goes hands free.


I’ve given up using Waze a long time ago on my devices for two reasons. First, the app is a resource hog, and second, I live on an island, so I have no use for it. Google Maps and Windows Maps do the job perfectly. And the latter offers offline maps. That is why I still keep my Lumia 1520 close. Even though I don’t use Waze anymore, I still have it installed on my phone because you never know. Plus it’s another post to this blog when it gets updated. Like today.

I assume you all know about the now famous “Ok Google” key words. In today’s update, you now have “Ok Waze”. That’s a long-awaited feature for Waze users. Finally, they’ll be able to talk to Waze and not use their hands while driving, which is not safe and even illegal to use your phone while driving in about every country. Today’s update finally fixes that. Just say “Ok Waze” where’s the closest gas station and it will take you there. Or you can use the key words to tell Waze that you’re stuck in a jam so you’re followers will know to avoid the area. Isn’t that cool?

The other feature in this update is support for motorcycles routing. Riders will know which routes are good for them.

Check out the full change log for details about this update, then use the link below to update.

- Say “OK Waze” and use your voice to navigate, report traffic jams, and more - all hands-free.

- New routing option - HOV! Just add your pass or update your vehicle type (US & Canada only).

- It’s here! Waze now supports routing for motorcycles. Update your vehicle type and hit the road 🏍

- Minor bug fixes and improvements.

Waze is a free download in Google Play Store.

Google releases Datally for Android to help users save and do more with data.


Google released a simple app for Android today called Datally so users can easily keep track of data usage, both cellular and Wi-Fi, on their phones. Now, this feature is baked into Android phones already, but users have to go through some menus to access and enable the feature, not to mention having to navigate back to check data usage. Datally makes this data readily available at the fingertips and helps makes sense of it all. And, better yet, help you save these precious bits and bytes. As Caesar Sengupta, VP of the Next Billion Users Team at Google puts it, “With Datally, you can save more and do more with your data.

Here are the three things you can do with Datally:

Understand your data. See your usage on a hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis and get personalized recommendations for how you can save more.

Control your data. Turn on the Data Saver bubble to block background data usage and track real-time data usage while using each of your apps—it’s like a speedometer for your data. You can also block data with one tap if an app’s data usage gets out of control.

Save your data. Sometimes you just need a little more than what you’ve got on your data plan. Datally will tell you if you’re near public Wi-Fi and help you connect. Once you’re done, don’t forget to rate the network quality to help other users.

Money is meant to be spent, I like to say. So, I do not bother to check my data status anymore and always do a refill once it reaches 90% of my data package. While Datally is filled with good intentions, it will be relegated to the just-another-app category on my devices at some point. But that’s me. It might be another story in countries with limited mobile connections. According to Caesar Sengupta, Google has been "...testing Datally in the Philippines for the past few months, and people are saving up to 30 percent on their data." Will you use Datally? Or do you use another data saver app already?



Check out Datally in Google Play Store. The app will work on Android devices with Lollipop and higher.

Source: Google

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Formula 1 official app for Android gets a new logo.



The Official F1 app for Android is a definite source that brings exclusive content such as team radio transmissions, DRS usage indicator, live tire information and more. The app also provides the latest news, features and videos, post-race highlights, live leaderboard during every race, qualifying and practice session.

Today, the app was updated with general improvements and updates. The change log does not provide any details about the improvements and which features were updated. The onl.y visible change I spotted is the new logo. I posted the old and new logo above. In case you're not a fan, the old logo is on the left

The season 2017 just ended last Sunday with Lewis Hamilton winning his forth Grand Prix, and Sebastian Vettel finishing second. The next season will start next year on the 25th of March in Australia and promises to be exciting with Hamilton and Vettel now being even on championships won.

Who will be the 2018 champion? We’ll find out next year. Until then, download the update in Google Play Store. Note that this update is also available on Windows 10.

  

SofaScore now supports Beach volleyball and Table tennis; Automatic forum sign in.


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 22 sports, a kind of a one-stop shop for your favorite sports.

SofaScore was updated today with support for two additional sports: Beach volleyball and Table tennis. Fans of these two sports will get live scores and other data about their favorite sports and players.

This update also includes other new features like automatic sign in to forums, provided you are already signed in to the app. Check out the full change log below:

·        Link to “Dropping odds” page in app navigation drawer.

·        Option to filter players with minimum number of appearances in “Top Players” tab (50% in Football and 30% in Basketball).

·        Improved suggestions for venue/stadium changes.

·        In Android 8.0, new set of adaptive launcher icons

SofaScore is an app that is regularly updated with new features and one that I strongly recommend if you’re a sports fan. Oh, you can also get live score on your home screen thanks to widgets for all supported leagues.

If you want more features, SofaScore includes in-app purchases to unlock them. Before you can achieve that, download the free app in Google Play Store.

Instagram update lets you remix photos and control photos & videos replays.



Today Instagram is releasing an update that will let you ‘remix’ pictures you received via direct message from your friends. In simple terms, you will be able to edit, resize, move, draw and add stickers to the picture. And there is more to it.

Once you receive the picture via direct message, tap and hold the camera in the message to snap a picture to add to your reply. The original picture will also be included in the reply, thus giving you the ability to edit both using the methods mentioned above.

In addition to ‘Remix’, Instagram also now lets you control replays. You decide whether your friends can view your messages once with “One View” or several times with “Allow Replay”. Instagram says that “photos and videos sent with “Allow Replay” loop automatically and your friends can tap and hold to pause.


Both features are available starting today in Instagram version 24 which is available for download in Google Play Store.

Source: Instagram

Microsoft Edge for Android now supports password syncing and dark theme.

Microsoft is steadily adding features to its Edge browser on Android and in the latest update, they added two features. The first and most noteworthy is password sync. After you sign in with your Microsoft Account, Edge will now sync your registered passwords to your Android device or any device where you have Edge installed.
The second feature is the addition of a dark theme. Initially, Edge supported a light and default theme. To use the dark theme, tap the 3 horizontal buttons in the bottom right corner of Edge and tap Settings > Appearance > Theme. Select ‘Dark” among the three available options and the app will immediately apply the new theme to settings menu, the home page, navigation and address bar. While the dark theme does make it easier on the eyes, it is quite the opposite when visiting sites with white background.
The preview is open to everyone to download in Google Play Store.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Mozilla temporarily disables newly added pull-to-refresh feature in Firefox Focus for Android following users complaints.


Exactly a week ago, Mozilla published an update that added swipe/pull-to-refresh feature to Firefox Focus, its privacy focused browser for Android. Today, they released another update to remove the refresh feature after users started reporting issues with it.

…since it has the pull to refresh tab, I can’t scroll back to old messages for example in LinkedIn because it keeps refreshing the page…”, wrote a user in the reviews on Google Play Store. Most of the reports are along the same line. Another user wrote that ”…the refresh gesture triggers far too easily and I find myself constantly and unintentionally refreshing pages.

Some users were happy to see the new feature go, while others suggested that Mozilla adds the option to disable it. “Glad to see pull to refresh gone. Now to fix tabs and double scroll because of the toolbar’s movement.” “Please make the swipe to refresh optional.”, wrote another.

The good thing is that Mozilla reacted quickly to disable the swipe/pull-to-refresh feature with today’s update which actually reverts the app to the state it was prior to last week’s update. The company did not say when a real fix will be issued, instead encouraging users to update the app through Google Play Store.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Microsoft Launcher for Android updated with support for 12x12 grid layout; migration from other launchers & more.


 
Microsoft Launcher, formerly known as Arrow Launcher, has been updated today with new options, like support for 12x12 grid layout and the ability to add more than five icons to the dock. In addition, Microsoft is making it possible to adjust app title font display and edit folder icon and shape. This beta version also let users perform migration from other launchers or backup/restore settings during setup.

Check out the full change log of Microsoft Launcher version 4.3 below. The launcher can be downloaded free in Google Play Store.

-          Apps grid option: support max 12x12 grid layout and half grid granularity.

-          New user experience: Migration from other launchers and backup/restore on welcome page.

-          Drag /drop apps do not enter edit mode.

-          Some UI adjustment: app title font display & folder icon/shape edit, dock support more than 5 apps, search bar default on bottom; theme support for settings page, settings page restructure.

-          Crash fix, bug fix & performance tuning.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Sphero Mini update lets you talk or sing to move robot faster and use your hands and feet in Desktoy modes.


I recently bought the Sphero Mini for my 7 years old daughter and this has been undoubtedly the best toy purchase I’ve ever made. The app-enabled robotic ball is fun to play with in that you can control it via Bluetooth on Android or Apple-made devices. The Mini itself can transform into a controller to play games right in the app. The latter has been updated today with two new features: Scream Drive and Desktoy modes.

Sphero Mini lets you use your facial expression to move the ball around. While it is not perfect, it is fun to play and get ready for a good laugh with the funny faces as players try to drive the Mini around. Things are about to get even more interesting or annoying with today’s update. With Scream Drive, players will use their voice to make the little robot move faster. You see where this going, right? The louder you talk or sing, the faster the robot accelerates. The app doesn’t offer a built-in karaoke, so you’ll have to either improvise or come up with your own playlist. So, get ready to make some NOISE.

The second feature is equally fun, albeit less noisy or annoying and it’s called Desktoy modes. In most case scenarios, the smartphone is the robot’s controller. You use it to change its color, to roll around. Sure, you use the Mini as a game controller, but you’ll still be holding your phone or maybe it will be sitting on desk, but not far away.

Desktoy modes introduce a new way to interact and play with your Sphero Mini without the phone or tablet. The new games let you put the Mini on a flat surface, say a table, and you have to use your hands to prevent the robot from falling off or escaping. The longer you manage to keep the Mini on the table, you guess it, the faster the robot will move around. You can use your feet too – not on the table though. Sphero Mini will turn green when you win or red if you lose.

Desktoy modes is definitely less noisy than Scream Drive, but be careful with letting that little robot falling off a table, it may not handle that very well in the long run.

If you own a Sphero Mini, download the update in Google Play Store and have fun with these two new features.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Join a friend's live video on Instagram with the new 'Request' button.


Instagram for Android has been updated today with a new feature that lets users join live videos of their friends. Instagram added a new ‘Request’ button in the comments section. So, when watching a friend’s video, simply tap the request button. The broadcaster will see the request and choose to accept or reject it. The broadcaster will see a ‘View’ button to accept or reject a friend’s request. Should the broadcaster accept the request, the screen will split in half “so you can hang out live with your friend.” The video host can also “remove a guest and add someone else at any time.

This update is rolling out starting today in Google PlayStore. Just be patient if you do not see it yet.
Source: Instagram

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Capture and save PDFs with Office Lens while offline and without having to log in.


Office Lens is a powerful scanner on your Android device. The app was designed for easy scanning of documents, images and whiteboards. For the latter Office Lens will remove the glare and other imperfections to make it readable. No matter what you’ve scanned, you can use Office Lens built-in tools to, say, convert a document to PDF. Same can be done with an image and with the integration of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote, Office Lens will smoothly convert to these file format as well and save them to OneDrive or your local device. In order to take advantage of all these features, a Microsoft Account is needed. But not always.

Today’s update introduces the ability to save PDF files when your device is offline without having to log in. A feature that is handy when on the go and there’s no internet access. Microsoft says that this update will let you “quickly save PDF captures to your device without having to log in and without a watermark.

Office Lens new offline feature makes the app even more useful and powerful. So make sure you check it out in Google Play Store for free.

Periscope introduces 'Do Not Disturb' and tap-to-focus in camera.


Periscope for Android has been updated to give users the ability to control when to get notified of any activity going on in Periscope. Dubbed “Do Not Disturb”, it’s a very welcome feature that, in my opinion, should be made mandatory in every app using notifications.

‘Do Not Disturb’ is simple to set up. It can be found in Notification Settings. Navigate to your profile within the app and tap Notification Settings and you’ll find it right there, at the very top. Obviously, it’s disable by default. Use the toggle to enable it and set the Start and End time you do not want to be disturbed. Easy.

There is also a little something for Broadcasters in this update. They will be able to tap to focus “on a specific part in the camera”. I think that is quite self-explanatory.

This update brings the version number to 1.18 and can be downloaded in Google Play for free.


Private browser Firefox Focus updated with swipe-to-refresh and Google as default search engine.


Recently, Firefox introduced a new browser for Android called Firefox Focus which, by default blocks ad trackers and lets you easily erase your history, passwords and cookies. The browser also features a minimalistic design with few configurations options - it does not even support tabs. I use it mostly when doing quick searches or to check some news. Another point that may not make Firefox Focus popular with users is having Yahoo as its default search engine. That is until today.

Version 2.4 of Firefox Focus changes the default search engine for the US, UK and Taiwan to Google. The app still list other engines should you want to change. Currently on the list are: Amazon.com, DuckDuckGo, Twitter and Wikipedia.

In addition to the above, Mozilla also added a swipe-to-refresh feature. Users will be able to refresh a webpage by swiping or pulling down.

If you’re a privacy-minded user, Firefox Focus is definitely the browser you should set as default on your Android device. It will even remind you to erase your history when running in the background by pushing a notification to your device. Simply tap the notification and your history is gone.

Make sure you check out Firefox Focus in Google Play Store. It’s free.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Pocket Casts update fixes Stats sharing, improve Chrome Cast support and more.


I listen to a lot of podcast every day of the week, with two podcasts each day covering technology exclusively. Pocket Casts for Android is my favorite pod catcher app and is also reliable in that I don’t have to remember downloading my podcasts when they become available, Pocket Casts handles that for me. The app is so good that it won the Google Play Top Developer award, a Google Play Editors Choice and Google Material Design award. This is to say that if you’re not happy with your current podcast app, Pocket Casts is one you should consider. It is not free, but it’s well worth the $3.99.

Today, Pocket Casts was updated to version 6.4.2 with a few fixes, no new features this time. The developer has fixed an issue with stats sharing. I did not know until today that Pocket Casts had this feature in its settings. I went to check on seeing this update and indeed, it’s right there under Settings > Stats.

According to the screenshot above, I’ve been listening for 18 days 20 hours of podcast. I’m pretty sure I’ve listened more than that, but it seems the collected stats are exclusive to the Android device I use. Sure enough, I checked Pocket Casts on my Lumia 1520 and it does not even have this feature. I have been switching between both at some point, but I now exclusively use Pocket Casts on Android since the developer stopped updating the Windows Mobile version. No surprises there. There’s more to the Stats screen than just numbers.

Right under the Stats, Pocket Casts displays random data related to the numbers of hours spent consuming podcasts. For example, the app says that 2,714,300,000,000 emails were sent during the time I spent to listening to podcasts or “during which time you released 320 oz of air biscuits. Gross!”. Funny, right? 😊

Besides the stats feature, the developer also fixed other issues. Check the rest of the change log below:

·       Fixed some issues with auto download and manual downloads when leaving/entering WIFI networks.

·       Improved Chrome Cast support.

·       Some other small tweaks and improvements.



Pocket Casts users can update the app in Google Play Store for free.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Google Maps updated with new color scheme and icons.

Google is pushing out an update to Google Maps for Android. With this update, Google wants to make it easier for Google Maps users to easily identify places like a church, gas station or hospital with a new color scheme and icons. For example, Google has assigned the color orange for food and drinks. Restaurants icons in Google Maps will therefore appear in Orange to help users quickly and easily find one closer to their location. The icons will also be different for each place.
While this feature is being gradually rolled out, Google also said that it will make its way to apps that incorporate Google Maps information too, like Assistant, Earth, websites and products that have been built using the Google Maps API.
Check out Google Maps in Google Play Store.
Source: Google