Amazon introduced calling and messaging to its Echo speakers back in May then implemented the same feature inside the Alexa app so you could start a call or receive one from your phone, without having to be near your Echo. However, the feature had one main limitation: the person you were calling had to have an Echo or at least Alexa calling set up. Calls to phone numbers weren't possible, but now they are.
Amazon secretly enabled the option a couple of days ago and has now officially added it to the Alexa app changelog. After setting up Alexa calling and messaging in the app's Conversations tab, you can say something like, "Call dad's phone," or, "Call dad's mobile phone number," and it will perform a call to the phone number. Read More
We've seen a few apps and services offer virtual phone numbers before - numbers that aren't tied to a specific SIM card and can be used with an account connection rather than dedicated hardware. It's especially handy for bring-your-own-device situations at work. But T-Mobile seems to be the first major American carrier to embrace the idea with its new DIGITS system. The service allows customers to use any number of, um, numbers tied to their wireless accounts, including disposable numbers that can be added and abandoned with ease. Read More
... and a lot like Telegram. And Facebook Messenger. And plenty of other messaging apps too. But enumerating those would make for a very long title so I had to restrict it to the most popular messenger out there.
Google Allo, unlike its sister app, Duo, has its work cut out for it. While Duo doesn't have a clear competitor in the simple one-on-one mobile messaging field, especially on Android, Allo faces a roadblock of established opponents that have had years to develop their featureset, userbase, and public image. On the one hand, this gives Allo the opportunity to start fresh without any unnecessary remnants that other apps and services carry because of their older origins and the room to learn from what has and hasn't worked for them, but on the other hand, it also puts Allo at the very bottom of a very steep hill. Read More
When Allo and Duo were announced at Google I/O, one of their pillar features was their requirement for a phone number to activate. And as most of you have noticed, this has been very controversial among users: some like the simplicity of the approach, others loathe its limitations: no multi-device support, no web/desktop clients, and a requirement for workarounds to install on tablets, especially WiFi-only ones.
With Duo's release this week, these limitations were put under the spotlight, and while some users like me were convinced by the no-fuss approach of a phone number as a means of identification, others are still moaning the lack of a tie to a Google account. Read More
The LG G Pad X 10.1 isn't the most notable tablet in the world. Its specs are middling at best, its styling is inoffensive, and it isn't any particular bargain. But it does have one claim to fame, at least if you have the AT&T LTE version: it's the first tablet to support NumberSync, the service that allows users to seamlessly use one number across multiple devices for phone calls and texts. Previously the service was limited to Apple devices (piggybacking off of Apple ID) and the Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch. Read More
Shhhh. I'm trying to set up an anonymous phone number, and this is a very delicate process.
Oh, what's that? It's not? Hushed? You hush! Oh... I should check out Hushed. Read More
Attention: the following roundup contains absolutely no mention of the new release of Google Reader... because that happened in April. But it does have some great picks for new apps from March, including our top seven and a handful of honorable mentions. News readers, social tools, and root-only apps are covered, plus some diagnostic tools for tech heads. And if customization is your thing, check out the honorable mentions section for cool icons and live wallpapers.
Corgi for Feedly
Android Police coverage: Corgi For Feedly Puts RSS Feeds On Your Android Lock Screen
Corgi is a replacement lockscreen that lets you know about all the items in your Feedly feed. Read More
YouTube has always been one of Google's less conventional properties, but the sudden leap from version 6.0 to 10.0 gave everybody a surprise. Even stranger is that with such a substantial jump in versions, there are virtually zero meaningful changes to the user-facing features. While there's relatively little for us to enjoy right now, a full teardown reveals that there are at least a few additions that might be worthy of a major version bump.
It's no secret that YouTube is set to gain some basic editing features. Reports have been coming in that the trimming feature discovered back in November has finally started going live. Read More
"Burner" cellphones, pre-paid phones that are used and discarded, have become a handy way to protect your identity if you find yourself dealing with people you might not otherwise want to meet. Just lately it has become possible to get "disposable" phones without the phone, thanks to apps like Hushed, which provides a limited-use virtual number that can be easily substituted for your real one. Burner is a new competitor in the same vein, happily landing on Android after considerable success on iOS.
While the operation is similar, Burner is much more interested in the "use and lose" nature of its virtual phone numbers. Read More