Using your phone while on the road is extremely dangerous. A safer way to stay connected is to use a hands-free kit. This is great if you want to make calls, but less helpful if you're dependent on the myriad of messaging services currently in use.
Enter Drivemode, which has been kicking around the Google Play Store for some time now. At a very fundamental level, it provides a gesture interface for a number of apps and system functions, essentially allowing you to safely use your phone without even looking at the screen. It also supports the composition and sending of SMS messages through voice recognition. Read More
Bots. They're coming. They're not after world domination. They don't want to entrap mankind in order to guarantee our safety. They simply want to talk.
And they're talking, alright. They're talking on Telegram. They're coming to Skype. Google apparently has another messaging service in the works, and they're making plans to talk all over that.
Now they're ready to host conversations in Facebook Messenger. Read More
The Play Store is getting a new email client. Big deal, right? It's not as if we're suffering for lack of options. Well, MailTime, which debuted on iOS in late 2014, is anything but just another entry in a crowded category. For MailTime, emails are just messages, nothing special. You didn't ask for a bunch of metadata, you just got it. The app parses your emails to separate the actual messages from the rest of the clutter.
The primary interface is, at first glance, much like any other email client. You have a list of threads to choose from. But when you open them up, you see an SMS-esque UI that makes it loud and clear that this is not your father's mail app. Read More
It's time for text messaging to improve. Sending brief bursts of texts is fine, but appending an image turns a largely reliable form of communication into a coin toss. MMS, despite being available on traditional flip phones, is still a headache for many smartphone owners.
There's an effort to adopt a more modern standard known as Rich Communciation Services. Several months ago Google acquired Jibe, a company that prioritized implementing this technology on modern phones, and now the tech giant along with a bunch of carriers around the globe are announcing an initiative to accelerate adoption. Read More
Telecom operators in Brazil have been working for months to undermine the legality of WhatsApp, and now a judge in Sao Paulo has apparently agreed with the arguments. Starting at 9PM ET this evening, WhatsApp was blocked in Brazil, and will continue to be blocked for 48 hours. Mobile operators have said they will enforce the block (probably while high fiving each other). What will happen in 48 hours is unclear, but you can bet Facebook has multiple planeloads of lawyers on their way to Brazil. WhatsApp founder Jan Koum is certainly not amused. Read More
Your phone probably comes with two options for SMS—Hangouts and whatever app the OEM designed. Neither of these are necessarily great options, but there are alternatives. And there's one more alternative today with AwSMS reaching the public beta phase.
Secure messaging client Telegram gets updated frequently with new features, but it's still 100% free and has no ads. The latest batch of awesome and inexplicably free stuff includes the option to have more than 200 members in a group, and should that larger group (or any group) need official admins, you can do that too. Read More
Version 1.4 of the Android Wear app started rolling out late Friday. The theme of this update, at least for what's currently live, is a set of changes to the Settings screen. There are a couple of new options, but they come at the expense of the battery stats screen. A look under the hood also shows that a few other features are either live or in the works for the next Wear OS update. Read More