For an app people use so heavily, the official Instagram app for Android has been a bit of a UI disaster since it launched back in 2012. It's about to bet much better today with the release of version 5.1. The design is cleaner and flatter with a bit of an Android vibe. It's not super-holo, but it's a start.
Certainly, the addition of NFC functionality into Android has been behind a plethora of useful features in recent years, from mobile payments to beaming files between devices. Unfortunately, for some users who updated their Nexus devices to KitKat, the NFC service which powers all these cool features dies repeatedly, and renders any functions tied to it useless. The good news is, Google has apparently found the root cause of the problem and has marked it to be fixed in a future release.
Sony, LG, and Razer all announced fitness bands at this year's CES, but we shouldn't let this distract us from the options already on the market. The Jawbone Up app has been available on Google Play for quite some time, and now the company is bringing support for its newer Up24 band to Android via an app update.
We've got more choices than ever when it comes to launchers, including Google's own search-infused option. The top third-party launchers have been mostly the same for the last year or two, but Inspire Launcher is a head-turning new option. It's based on the stock Android 4.4 launcher, but it has a GNL vibe with bright colors and some neat features.
We've been wondering what that second camera on the back of the HTC M8 (a.k.a. "The All New HTC One") was all about since the first leaks arrived. If an Australian Telstra ad for the new device is to be believed, it is indeed intended to bolder the phone's low-light shooting performance. The advertisement spotted by GSMArena reveals a few things that we didn't already know, and it does indicate that the "Duo Camera" can "create vivid images even in low light."
Low light photography is always tricky, and it's particularly difficult on mobile cameras thanks to their generally small sensors and lenses.
Attention, parents: if you've used your Google account to buy apps, books, videos, or music on Google Play, your credit card information is stored. If you give your phone or tablet to your kids, they might be able to buy stuff that you don't necessarily want. That's a lesson that Ilana Imber-Gluck learned after her 5-year-old son spent $65.95 on Marvel Run Jump Smash. Unsurprisingly, she chafed at the experience, suing Google in a northern California court on behalf of herself and "all others similarly situated."
The central issue seems to be a 30-minute window after downloading an app, during which the user - whoever that might be - can rack up in-app purchases without supplying a password.
WhatsApp, the incredibly popular messaging service recently acquired by Facebook for 19 Instagrams dropped an update for Android users today, bringing the app up to version 2.11.186. The update brings to the Play Store features beta users have enjoyed since version 2.11.181 earlier this month.
Users who grab the update will enjoy new privacy settings for "last seen," profile photo, and status (allowing users to limit who can see each), a camera shortcut (a 1x1 widget for quick photo capture), and several other UI improvements.
Typically, AP refrains from covering crowd-funding projects that have not yet reached their funding goal. Sometimes, though, there comes a campaign that is just too good to pass up. These campaigns usually fall into one of two categories - either the yet-unfunded campaign is unbelievably awesome, or it's really weird and kind of ridiculous. We'll let you decide which bucket the HeadWatch falls into.
On the surface, the HeadWatch looks pretty much like any current smartwatch - it receives notifications, can manage phone calls, and has a big square display and unfashionable wrist strap.
Readers may remember Archos' suite of connected home "objects" announced last December and officially detailed at CES. The suite includes a motion-sensitive camera, lights, a weather station, and a Smart Tracker.
The objects aren't actually available for sale just yet, but the manufacturer has added a couple of new apps to the Play Store to eventually assist in managing the network of smart objects - one that will allow you to connect to the devices from any Android device, and one specifically meant for the 7" Smart Home Tablet.