Remember way back in the golden days of earlier this month when we posted about possible upcoming desktop clients for the super-popular WhatsApp SMS alternative? Well the time has finally arrived, a whole nine days later. The company has announced on its official blog that the desktop versions are now available for Windows and Mac OS X. Sorry Linux users, you're stuck using the web client... but if it's any consolation, they look more or less identical.
WhatsApp has conquered the world of low-cost SMS alternatives, at least in the international market. The company's practically free system, which uses standard phone numbers and a text message-style interface, gained hundreds of millions of users before being acquired by Facebook for an amazing $19 billion. WhatsApp already offers a web interface for sending and receiving messages away from your phone, but it looks like something a bit more complex may be in the works.
For a while, desktop Google Drive's selective sync functionality has been rather, well, selective. You could only select top-level folders. This meant you could select all of your music, or all of your photos, but not a specific set of albums.
João Dias, also known as joaomgcdon the Play Store, is one of those developers who are never, ever, content with the current capabilities of modern smartphones. He wants them to be more powerful, respond to more commands, allow more interactions, all from more interfaces. His AutoVoice app has been available for a while, allowing you to harness the OK Google interaction scheme to automate plenty of new actions and issue commands that Google's default algorithms don't yet understand.
Now AutoVoice is getting a lil' sister app, an AutoVoice Chrome extension for your Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. Thanks to it, you can perform the same actions on your phone, but while sitting at your computer (or from another phone too), like taking screenshots, sending messages, hanging up on calls, and more. João has made a demo video to show you the possibilities.
The Pushbullet team has long impressed us with the creation of a solid product that works as advertised across multiple platforms, pushing files and syncing notifications with ease. Now you can add more names to the list: Mac OS X and the Safari web browser, which join the existing iOS app to flesh out Pushbullet's support for Apple's ecosystem.
Let's be real here, there are no shortage of Mac users who carry around an Android phone (some of them even write for us). The Mac app comes with the same features found in the Windows app and Chrome/Firefox extension. For example, you can view notifications whenever you wish, filtering them by channel, friend, or device.
Google has officially made it possible to run Android apps on Chrome OS devices, though the current implementation of this feature is a little underwhelming. First of all, it's limited to only a handful of apps, and second of all, it requires a Chrome OS laptop or desktop, and can't be run in more widely-used operating systems. Now an ambitious developer has managed to overcome both of those limitations, enabling (in theory) any Android app to run anywhere that Chrome does.
Developer Vladikoff made ArChon, a customized version of the Android Runtime for Chrome, which loads up as a standard manual Chrome extension.
Privacy and technology maintain a tenuous relationship, and the balance between convenient features and personal security is always one worth keeping in mind as users make the most of their devices' capabilities. To that end, Chainfire has released a new proof of concept app that aims to give users at least some peace of mind when it comes to the - for lack of a better term - trackability of their devices, specifically related to Wi-Fi.
As Chainfire explains in a post to Google+, our phones (and other devices) broadcast information about our location, movement, and habits that can be picked up on not just by well-intentioned business owners looking to offer a promotion, but by "crooks, the government, and other shady individuals" who may pair location or network information with other personal info for tracking purposes.
The Chromecast add-ons just keep coming, don't they? The latest tool to take advantage of Google's dirt-cheap media streamer is called Fling, from Plano, Texas developer Leon Nicholls. Unlike most of the tools from Koushik Dutta and others, this one expands Chromecast's desktop streaming powers. The Fling Java tool streams local video and audio files directly to Chromecast, and uses the popular VLC media player to transcode the ones that Chromecast doesn't support.
Chromecast can only stream a Chrome tab from a desktop out of the box, but Fling uses the Java Runtime Environment for quick and dirty direct streaming.
Splashtop is one of the leading pieces of remote desktop software, not to mention app of choice for NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang when he wants to play Skyrim on his tablet. Now, Splashtop 2 HD has hit the Play Store, bringing pinch-to-zoom support, a new interface, and a very attractive price tag of free, for the time being.
As of right now, the app is free on the Play Store, however Splashtop says that this deal will only be available "for a limited time." Now, according the Play Store rules, a developer cannot convert a free app into a paid app, so it's unclear just how this will work once the developer ends the free period.
There are few things that are more of a drag, in the mobile device world, than having to find where you left your micro USB cord to plug in your device just to copy a couple of files over to your computer. Most of the time wireless services like Dropbox help alleviate this need. For the times that those aren't enough, Droid NAS can turn your device into wireless storage. Provided you use a Mac or another Android device to access it. Once connected, your Android phone or tablet will show up as a Bonjour device.
The app uses the SMB protocol which, unfortunately, Windows cannot connect to via a non-standard port.