Weather apps aren't exactly hard to find on Android. I don't think I've ever seen a phone or tablet that didn't include one by default from at least one provider, and dozens of freebies are available on the Play Store in varying degrees of quality and technicality. So why should users care about the latest one? Two reasons: first, it comes from Forecast.io, the company responsible for providing the weather data to a bunch of other weather apps. And second, it's one of those "hyperlocal" services that can give accurate forecasts "down to the minute" for very specific locations. Read More
Android TV may not have caught like wildfire, but it's still an affordable and interesting set-top box offering. If you've already bought a Nexus Player or SHIELD TV unit for example and you've been met by glares from a couple of your family members who own iPhones and iPads and can't control the darn thing with their devices, then you're in for a small surprise today.
Almost two years after it first unveiled Android TV, Google is now releasing the corresponding remote control application to the iTunes App Store. The app looks exactly like the Android app we all know and works in the same way. Read More
Apple copying somebody to make something successful then everybody else copying Apple's success is a well-worn narrative path (independent of that narrative's truth in reality). As such, with the unveiling of the surprisingly-powerful iPhone SE today at $399, it's very reasonable to wonder: has Apple started a small-phone renaissance? Are we going to see a flood of small (less than 4.5" display) but powerful and premium Android phones enter the market?
Let's start with some phone size history. The new Apple iPhone SE is the same size as the outgoing 5S - roughly 124mm tall, 59mm wide, and 7.6mm thick. That is a very, very small phone. Read More
You've hoped, you've asked, you've prayed, you've waited, you've stomped your feet, you've revolted against the institution, you've given up, you've rekindled your faith, only to be let down again. But the wait is over. Hangouts is finally fiiiiiiiiiinally adding the option to record and send 1-minute videos*.
*on iOS. Hah! What, did you honestly think the Hangouts Android development team woke up all of a sudden from its slumber and decided to add every feature you've been begging for?! Far be it from that. It still has its priorities straight — like implementing rounded corners for shared images. That was huge, you guys. Read More
Remember back in December (and January) when Packt Publishing gave away a couple free ebooks focused on Android development? The one-a-day promotion has been going strong since, but the books haven't exactly been targeted at the OS on our phones. But great news: this whole week is dedicated to mobile development!
The current freebie is all about showing love to both sides of the phone war – it's Xamarin Cross-platform Application Development. But you better hurry over and claim it, this particular book will expire in just over 5 hours. (Sorry, we saw this one a little late).
While the free book is enough reason to drop by, there's something more interesting afoot in this promotion. Read More
I've used Android as my main mobile platform for almost six years now. My first smartphone was a Motorola CLIQ XT that I bought back in May, 2010. It ran Cupcake and though, in retrospect, the phone was a bargain basement toy, it paved my way into the Android world. As a fun experiment, I decided to ditch Google's OS entirely for two weeks and use Apple's products exclusively to see how crazy it would make me. I have owned iOS devices in the past, but I've never forced myself to convert. These days I generally flip between my Nexus 6P and my iPhone 6S Plus depending on my mood that day. Read More
Facebook has many apps, side-projects, and different ways to suck you into its social network and try to get you to stay on it. One day it wants to be your news source, the other it wants to be your communication hub or your work's intranet. Facebook's Mentions launched in July 2014 with an iOS app as a way for celebrities to manage their pages, then was opened to all verified profiles in September 2015. Now the app has crossed the dark forest, jumped the big void, and ventured into the unknown abyss between iOS and Android and come to the Play Store. Read More
Human's activity and fitness tracker has been available on iOS since 2013, but it has just decided to get its running shoes on and ride to the Android side. The app takes a passive approach to activity tracking, working in the background on your phone to figure out everything (walks, runs, bike rides) you've done throughout the day. If this sounds familiar, it's because it's very similar to Google Fit or to the previous "celebrity" in the category, Moves.
Where Human is slightly different is in its focus on trying to make you actively move more throughout the day. Read More
Introduced with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, Live Photos was a new iOS feature that created a more dynamic photo experience. Instead of being limited to the single shot that users see when they press the shutter button, the camera would capture several shots around that moment, allowing you to move a few seconds or milliseconds and choose a better timed picture. Another benefit was the creation of a small stop-motion or gif-like animation of the different photos, to capture the breadth of the moment instead of fixing one frame in time.
I liked the Live Photos idea and was certain that some enterprising Android developers would soon bring it to their third-party camera app. Read More
Software updates are a big deal. They deliver bug fixes, new features, refreshed interfaces, and a lot more. Sure, there might be that feature or two that gets discarded and breaks someone's workflow (relevant xkcd), but for the most part, newer means better. And if software updates are important for apps, that's especially true for operating systems.
Largely due to the proliferation of smartphones, we have come to take free and consistent OS updates for granted. Users assume that a new phone bought this year will still be running the latest OS in the next, and no one expects to have to pay for that software update. Read More