Instagram has a reputation. It's true. Whether it's the users who constantly snap pictures of their food or the ubiquitous use of filters, something immediately comes to mind when someone mentions the social network. One major aspect of its identity, for better or worse, is about to disappear. Instagram will no longer exclusively support square imagery.
That's right, ladies and gentlemen, Instagram is finally acknowledging that cameras don't take pictures in squares.
Version 2.6 makes BBM ready for Android 5.0, but don't get too excited. There's no big redesign here. The app still looks as Gingerbread as ever, it just now explicitly supports devices running the latest version of Google's mobile operating system.
That's not to say that the update is without visual changes. If you turn your phone sideways, the interface will now rotate to landscape mode in order to accommodate you.
The first major update to the Beats Music app since Apple bought the company two weeks ago is now rolling out to Android devices. This release, version 1.1, addresses some areas that previously revealed just how young a piece of software this is. For starters, the app now supports landscape mode. Go ahead, turn your phone sideways and see what happens. Better yet, fire Beats up on a tablet.
In addition to that, people listening in offline mode can now save music to an SD card.
The Nest Learning Thermostat gets a major update to its Android app today, mostly to add support for the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector. The Protect now ties into the Android app (assuming you have one, of course) with status checks for both sensors and multiple units in your connected home. You can add new thermostats or smoke detectors right from the app.
Beyond that, the app has been given a full visual makeover.
It seems like the Android world is getting a ton of extra tablet love in the past few months. Today, Skype joined the party by finally introducing an optimized UI for those of you with a little more screen to love. While the new look is nice, it bizarrely forces your slate into landscape mode. Even on the Nexus 7, you have no choice but to use the wider layout. This probably isn't a bad thing, since it looks great in this mode, and might seem cramped otherwise.
In my review of the Galaxy Tab 8.9, I found that performance didn't seem to be quite up to snuff. A commenter noted that that was reportedly because the Tab 8.9 was designed to be used portrait mode, so the system has to rotate what's on the screen by 90°. And surprisingly enough, when I took another look at the tablet I noticed that it seemed to be true - things were smooth as can be when using it in portrait mode - it's simply that, unless an app requires it, I always use tablets in landscape.