Friday, April 28, 2017

Facebook releases Messenger Lite in over 130 countries.

Today Facebook is making Messenger lite app available to more that 130 countries. Facebook Messenger, along with the Facebook app, have long been criticized for being resource hogs on Android devices. In response, Facebook has made Facebook Lite and Messenger Lite available for devices with limited processing power.

The new Facebook Messenger Lite does not all the bells and whistles of the original Messenger app. For example, phone and video calls are missing. In addition, the app will keep you connected should you be in an area where data coverage is poor. Facebook Messenger Lite is pretty much a simple messenger app that's been designed to quickly send a message to your families and friends on any Android phone you have without the frustration you can sometimes experience with its full featured bigger brother.

Facebook did not post a list of countries where they made Messenger Lite available, so just go to Google Play Store and you should see it if it is. Otherwise, you can still search the web for the APK. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

SoundCloud for Android now supports saving songs to a storage card for offline listening.

SoundCloud is available on Android in three packages with the first one being free and giving access to 120 millions songs "from emerging and established artists." If you subscribed to the free offering, you will not be able to listen to your music offline as opposed to SoundCloud Go and SoundCloud Go+ packages. If you subscribed to the latter two packages worth $4.99 and $9.99 per month, you will be able to download your songs to the storage card if your device supports it.  

Check out the complete SoundCloud offers below before heading to Google Play Store to download or update the app:


- Over 120 million tracks from emerging and established artists
- Get suggested tracks based on your likes and listening habits
- Discover incredible music in each genre with SoundCloud charts, from all-time greats to the newest and hottest tracks
- Connect with friends and interact with your favorite artists directly
- Create playlists for parties, workouts, on the way to work, or whatever mood you're in


- Discover, stream, and share a constantly expanding mix of music – anytime, anywhere
- Over 120 million tracks from emerging and established artists
- Take your collection offline, everywhere you go
- No ads, for an uninterrupted listening experience
- Support artists – a percentage of all revenue from SoundCloud Go is paid to creators on the platform
- All for just $4.99/month*


- Upgrade to Go+ for a fully expanded catalog of over 150 million tracks, including superstars from major labels and indies
- Take your collection offline, everywhere you go
- No more 30 second previews — all music on SoundCloud, including premium Go+ tracks, is fully accessible to stream and save offline
- No ads
- Support artists – a percentage of all revenue from SoundCloud Go+ is paid to creators on the platform
- 30 days free, then $9.99/month**

Unfortunately, the 30 days free offer is limited to users in the United States.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Nova Launcher beta makes it easier to disable dynamic badges.

If you're part of the Nova Launcher beta, there's a new update for you to try. Nova Launcher recently added dynamic badges to the launcher and this update expands this feature a little bit with the ability to disable dynamic badges per-app and while that might sounds like no big deal, and it is the case, except that users won't have to navigate through several layers of menu in the app settings to do so. A simple long press on an app icon followed by Edit-Show badges is enough to disable dynamic badges. This update will also "respect system level themes on Samsung and Huawei devices."

This update will take a few days to make it to the official version which is available in the Google Play Store. If you want to get your hands dirty, join the beta program on Google+.

Friday, April 21, 2017

SofaScore provides details about the type of surface in Tennis match.

You're a sports fan and away from a TV set while your favorite sport is live, SofaScore is the app you need on your Android device to follow the games and should the name be any indication, SofaScore will bring live scores to your device as well as short videos of the actions. Since SofaScore covers pretty much of any sports, I strongly recommend you download it.

SofaScore pushed a minor update for tennis fans today. Besides the usual games statistics, Tennis fans will get information on the type of surface in the match details. Hard core fans won't necessarily need that, but it might make sense for casual fans. Not everyone knows that Monte Carlo's surface is clay - That's where the ATP tour is at right now. In addition, users will be able to filter Tennis games by surface and will find a link to qualifications tournaments from the details of the main tournament.

Check out SofaScore 5.37.5 in Google Play Store and enjoy the games.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Google Earth lets you orbit the world in 3D right on your Android device.

Google Earth is making the headlines again these days and the last time I blogged about it was way back in 2011 when Google made the app available on Android tablets. There has been updates since then, but nothing noteworthy. This week Google released a major update of the app and its something.

I haven't used it yet, but based on the change log, all I can say for now is that it's definitely worth a look. As Google pointed out, Google Earth is a "major upgrade with brand new features." See the change log below and travel the world without leaving your home couch.

* Choose your own adventure with Voyager
Experience interactive stories from around the world.
* Discover new places with Knowledge Cards
Flip through cards and learn about local landmarks.
* Orbit the world in 3D
Use the new 3D button or tilt the map with two fingers.
* Snap and share a Postcard
Capture snapshots of locations and share them with your friends.
* Feeling Lucky?
Roll the dice and see where the world takes you.

Head over to Google Play Store and download Google Earth.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Instagram on Android to get offline mode soon.

Instagram will be launching a new feature soon that will allow its users to access their content without an internet connection. Currently, Instagram requires an active data connection to work properly. Without one, the app is just useless. That will change soon as Instagram is set to introduce offline mode for its Android app.

Users will be able to view previously downloaded content in their feeds, leave comments, unfollow people and like friends' post. Instagram will sync any offline activity back to its servers once the user connects to the Internet again. 

Surely such a feature should attract more users in developing countries where data connection can be unreliable in some areas or help users with limited data to access Instagram at any time. Instagram did not announce a release date, but according to a Techcrunch report, "more will come in the following months."

Source: techcrunch

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Apple makes it easier to enter verification code when Two Factor Authentication is turned on.

Apple has issued an update for its Android Music app today that "makes it easier to enter a verification code when your Apple ID has Two Factor Authentication turned on." I use Apple Music on my Android and iPad, but I never activated two factor authentication, which is a bad idea. I do not recommend you follow me on this, especially now that Apple is making two factor easy for its subscribers. The change log also mentions another fix that "resolves an issue where text may display incorrectly for certain languages you choose in Android Settings."

Get Apple Music in Google Play Store.

Viber for Android now lets you watch YouTube videos in-chat.

Users of Viber for Android are in for a treat in the last update as they will be able preview and view YouTube videos in a chat message. While this update is nothing major, it's more like Viber catching up with competition from WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. So when Viber users will receive a link to a YouTube video, Viber will show a preview of the video and users will get all the options to play, pause, forward or rewind the video within the app.

Another addition to Viber is the ability to know whenViber "contacts were last seen online." Of course, like any updates, Viber also gets some bug fixes and improvements.

Viber Messenger is free for download free on Google Play Store.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Anyone can draw with Google AutoDraw, even me.

My Spider...
...converted by AutoDraw

I can draw!!! In school I never managed to score anything above zero in arts class, so much so that my teacher, recognizing a desperate cause, just let sit in a corner of the class and do my own thing. Years later, I still suffer from this severe lack of artistic skills. But that is all about to change thanks to Google's AutoDraw, which turns your scribbles into something meaningful and pretty.

AutoDraw is a web-based tool that works in about any browser on a PC or phone "that pairs machine learning with drawings created by talented artists to help you draw." If you're reluctant, I strongly encourage you to go ahead and give a try. I did and look at the drawings above I made with AutoDraw. There are builtin tools you can use to make your drawings prettier, such as adding text, fill you drawing with colors and finally save it to your computer or device.

Make sure you watch this nice video from Google about AutoDraw.

To try AutoDraw, point your browser to It's free.

Source: Google

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Netflix replaces 5-stars ratings with thumbs to improve personalized suggestions.

In an update rolling out today, Netflix is retiring the familiar five-star rating system and replacing it with the much simpler thumbs-up and thumbs-down mechanism. In other words, you will either like or dislike a movie, with nothing in between. The five-star rating had the advantage of letting users moderately like something. However it was more of an indication of what customers in general liked or disliked, not really helpful to improve your personal experience. With the new thumbs rating mechanism, Netflix will use your ratings "to help you get better suggestions" and push those suggestions to your homepage within the app.

The new rating system will, according to Netflix, tell them "that you like something and want to see similar suggestions. A thumbs-down lets us know you aren't interested in watching that title and we should stop suggesting it to you." Furthermore, "using thumbs helps us learn more about your unique tastes so we can do a better job suggesting stories we think you'll love.", Netflix said in a blog post. The streaming company also claims they saw a 200% increase in ratings activity when testing thumbs rating.

I never rated anything in Netflix. Will the thumbs mechanism get me started? We'll see with time. 

You can download Netflix in Google Play Store.

Source: Netflix

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Apple Music for Android gets new design and provides lyrics for you to sing along as you listen.

Having to Pay Apple to stream music on my Android device is kind of a bummer to me and I have Google to blame for not opening up their Music service to my region. The funny thing is that I've never used Apple Music app on the iPad I once owned, but with Google still denying me access, I had no choice but to subscribe to Apple's service to listen to music and I like it. Should Google finally open up their music service in the region, I'm just going to ignore it. That aside, lets look at the update Apple published to the store today.

This is a major update which raises the version number to 2.0 and the most striking change is the app design which is similar to Apple's Music app for iOS. Apple just does not give a damn to Google Material design. Anyway the latter is not a requirement to get apps published in Google Play Store, but are guidelines for developers, should they choose to use the material design. 

In addition to the design change, Apple Music will now also show the lyrics for the songs we listen to and which be be helpful as we sing along.

The Hamburger menu has also been revisited. It now shows less categories. In fact, the entire app looks less cluttered, making navigating titles fast and easier.

Here's the complete change log:
An all-new design brings greater clarity and simplicity to Apple Music:
Now Playing. Read lyrics for songs as you listen.
Library. Navigate your music easily and see the Downloaded Music you can play offline.
For You. Get recommendations for playlists, albums, and more—based on music you love.
Browse. Listen to new music first, plus playlists for any mood or activity.
Radio. Tune in to Beats 1 shows or listen to stations for any genre.

Download or update Apple Music in Google Play Store and get an individual membership for $4.99.