The SMS app that comes with new phones tends to suck in one way or another. Why is the interface so ugly? Bah, switching between conversations is so awkward. Samsung, what are you doing? Motorola, the old Messaging app no longer feels stock―it just feels old.
When you ask a friend for good alternatives, don't be surprised if you hear them mention EvolveSMS. Not only is the app pretty, the combination of using the side panel to list conversations and swiping left or right to switch between them is just plain convenient.
Now version 4.0 is here. Unfortunately, you're not going to get to enjoy most new features just yet without the right hardware. Read More
We're just two weeks away from the anticipated launch date for Android 6.0, up to two Nexus phones, and possibly many other surprises. As we all know, secrets are rarely well-kept as the clock counts down on big new products, and that means bits and pieces occasionally escape. We've got an early look at the resources belonging to Google Camera v3.0, which we expect to see included with the upcoming Nexus handsets and rolling out to the Play Store.
Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong.
In case you aren't getting enough Google Now inside the normal interface, it looks like the Google app is bumping out into some users' notification trays with new, richer, higher priority notifications.
While it's hard to say when the rollout began, some users on version 188.8.131.52 of the Google app (myself included) have begun noticing new notification settings in the Google app, toggling notifications for "substantial changes in weather condition," sports, places, and "stories and videos." Other users' settings lists still stop at "priority notifications."
So far we've only seen weather notifications - which offer temperature changes or other condition changes expected for the next day - and sports notifications in person. Read More
Android Pay is finally here and it's pretty much everything we expected it to be. While there are plenty of questions about where we can use it, which credit cards can be set up, and why it's so aggressive with brightness even when barcodes aren't on screen, the actual act of spending money is about as straight-forward as it could be. As it turns out, there's one feature Google hasn't really discussed yet, but it could become the best thing about using a phone to buy things. Android Pay can automatically redeem special offers, submit account details for loyalty programs, and make a payment in just one tap to a payment terminal. Read More
Periscrope is Twitter's app for broadcasting live streams. Something's happening. You pull out your phone, you turn on the camera, and you show the world what's going on. Or at least the people who come across your account.
Since launch, the app has only supported vertical videos. But enough people have scoffed at this idea that the team is now introducing the option to turn your phone sideways. Landscape recording is making its way into the latest Android and iOS versions of the app.
Other additions include showing a list of mutual followers to pick from when you start a private video stream. Read More
There aren't many apps where the name is also a sentence, but Google My Business tells you precisely what users want their customers to do. The app gives you control over some of the information that appears when people go searching for your fine establishment, and the latest release impacts the interface that appears when you go about updating that information.
Google's new editor borrows from Search and Maps, where details pop up on a card from the bottom of the screen. You now have the ability to not just designate specific hours of operation, but to show if you're open 24 hours. Read More
It seems like all hands are on deck to get Google's apps to conform on the new workmark. In all of the rush, a minor snafu occurred yesterday. A dogfood version (generally intended for internal testing) of the News & Weather app was uploaded to the Play Store, adorned with the cute little paw print badge. Well, the accident has been cleaned up and the proper version has been uploaded to the Play Store today. Let's just hope nobody had their noses rubbed anywhere.
Left: Old launcher icon. Center: Dogfood icon. Right: New launcher icon.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence.
YouTube Kids is like YouTube... but for kids. Okay, it's not the most difficult concept in the world. Neither is the urge to take a video streaming to your tablet and make it bigger. With the latest version of YouTube Kids, your little one now has that option. Chromecast support has arrived. Read More
A late afternoon update to the Play Store just hit the scene. While we've only witnessed a single new dialog box in the live app, there are plenty of things standing out from a teardown. Preparation for Android 6.0 is clearly a big part of this release as signs pop up for support of the new optional permission model and fingerprint readers. There is also an uninstall manager in the works for those times when you've run out of space. We can also look forward to a new interface for requesting refunds and an option to get very precise recommendations based on location. Read More
YouTube updates have been rolling out at a pretty speedy rate lately, averaging about 3-4 each month. The latest bump is relatively minor, but it includes a useful new feature to quickly wipe any offline content from your device. A teardown also reveals that there may be a new auto-syncing feature that will download content for offline viewing without the need to manually pick out videos. As usual, we've also got a download link at the bottom if you'd like to grab the apk. Read More