For a while now Microsoft developers have been working on adding handwriting support to the Android app. The feature, which appeared in the newly released beta app last month, lets users add notes in a way that is sometimes more convenient or useful than typing. Writers can use their fingertips or a stylus and then tweak their notes with a number of options. The feature is particularly useful for scribbling thoughts in the margins of a scanned document.
The latest Beats Music update continues to flesh out its overall music streaming experience. This particular release, version 1.2, focuses on areas that distinguish Beats somewhat from the competition - its song discovery and basic social networking elements.
The service claims to connect users to the music that's right for them, and a new Tune Your Taste feature provides listeners with the option to change their favorite genres and artists. Instead of new, it's actually more of a comeback.
There are many browsers available for Android, several of which serving as mobile counterparts to their desktop alternatives. Opera comes to mind here, as does Firefox. The latter browser has received an update to version 31 and received a number of new features in the process. The top item on the ol' changelog is the ability to reorder homescreen panels (or pages, as I think of them). If you happen to view your reading list more often than bookmarks, for example, then you can now re-arrange the two so that your preferred page comes first.
There comes a point in time when an app steps out of the awkward, prepubescent 2.0 years and hits the big 3.0. For Twitch, that time is now. The game broadcast viewing app has transitioned to a whole new version number, and in the process it has matured into something more becoming. The flat, simplistic UI looks like something that should blend right in on modern KitKat devices.
For the sake of comparison, here's how Twitch used to look.
A month ago Facebook Pages Manager hit the big 2.0 and brought in a white, new UI to celebrate. It looks like the app had so much fun growing old that it's changing its number again. But what good is skipping up one number when it can do three? So the app has now hit 5.0. Say hello.
Late last year, Gmail started showing images by default in a way that Google says doesn't compromise general security. Now Yahoo has released an update for its Android mail app that does precisely the opposite. Now those pesky images are blocked by default (or is the story here... that they weren't already?).
The option to toggle this is tucked away in the app settings, so there's nothing stopping users from going back to living wild and free.
The Lyft community consists of people in need of rides and people ready to provide them, with all of this interaction going through a mobile app. Okay, not all of it. Before now, users have not been able to enter their desired destinations while requesting a ride, but the latest update addresses this by tucking the functionality in. This lets users tell the driver where they want to go before they arrive, getting the ride started faster and saving everyone time.
SoundCloud has made the jump to version 2.8, bringing along a few new enhancements in the process. Many of them are visual, though the changes are small. Tabs are white now. The explore section introduced in version 2.7 has had the position of artist names and song titles moved around, as have the search results. Speaking of searching, the app has new support for hashtags and recommends a page filled with them when clicking on the search icon.
Yelp has come to Japan, which means residents can now create accounts at yelp.co.jp and begin the tedious but necessary work of leaving nasty reviews for perceived slights from waiters and waitresses everywhere. Japan is the second Asian country to gain access to Yelp, with Singapore being the first back in 2012. Following this announcement, it only makes sense that the Yelp team added the ability to search using emoji when they did.