With so many things happening this week surrounding Google's new hardware, it's easy to overlook some of the software updates rolling out. The latest version bump to YouTube Music doesn't include much in the way of visible changes, but a teardown of the apk also reveals some worthwhile additions in the works for the future. As always, the apk is ready and waiting at the APK Mirror link below if the Play Store isn't already serving the latest version to you.
For quite a while, Twitter has been trying to make Direct Messages a thing, and today the latest improvement has arrived: a direct message button in tweets. Whether this will make anyone actually share a specific tweet in a private message, who knows, but it's there anyway. Keep in mind this button is only being added to Twitter's mobile apps; no word if it'll be added to the web app, or anywhere else for that matter.
Left: previously. Right: latest version.
For a while, Twitter has had 'share in Direct Message' as an option under the share menu in the Android app, but this move prominently displays the icon on the far right of a tweet, next to the 'Like' button that was added (replacing the favorite star) late last year.
Sharing works pretty well in Android - the standard "share" command and its collection of APIs allows for easily getting content from one app to another. But if you're anything like most Android users, you have dozens of apps installed that include Share functions, and you're only used to actually using Share in a few of them. Android N has a little feature that makes that interaction much more user-friendly: Share apps can now be pinned to the top of the cross-app menu.
When I'm browsing a comments section on Reddit on the Android version of Chrome, I prefer to open links in a new tab, because opening them directly will make the current page "forget" which threads I've already minimized. But when the links are to a YouTube video, they open in a tab with the mobile version of YouTube, instead of in the dedicated Android app. This little app fixes that: Open Link With allows you to open a web page with any compatible app. It's perfect for quickly switching over to YouTube for that link I opened wrong, or for opening a page in an alternate browser that isn't set to the Android default.
Skype for Android has just been updated to version 6.11 with a handful of nifty features and improvements. The upgrade lets users delete, mark as read, or mute notifications via a long tap on a contact or conversation, and search results will now become populated with conversation content, in addition to contact and group names. It also allows users to save sent and received videos to the photo gallery, which wasn't offered in the previous version for some reason (and which Skype added because of user feedback).
Just because there's a big announcement tomorrow, it doesn't mean the app updates have to take a break. Version 1.5 of Google's Messenger app popped up today, bringing with it a cool treat for users on the Android M Developer Preview 3. This update brings an implementation of the new Direct Share API in Android 6.0, allowing Messenger to add multiple contacts right to the share menu and saving us all a few taps when we want to send a link to our favorite friends.
Left: share menu before without targets. Center: new conversation pop-up. Right: Share menu with group and single targets.
Since arriving on Android the HERE app has been a solid alternative to Google Maps. Each update brings something new, and as usual, beta users get the goods first. Today's new feature is the ability to share your route with other people.
There are no shortage of ways to get links from one device to another, but this often involves signing up for a service and leaving behind a record of what you're sharing. CaastMe is a new Android app that has an innovative way of getting around this, account-free.
The software relies on QR codes, but it uses them in the opposite of the way you would expect. Instead of prompting your device to open a URL, CaastMe tells the computer displaying the code where to go.
All you have to do is open the caast.me website on your computer, then click the share menu on your Android device, select CaastMe, and scan the QR code.
Remember Karma? It's OK if you don't - this data-only MVNO with a focus on sharing has been relying on Sprint's outdated WiMax network since 2012, and isn't actually all that useful in its present form. But Karma is getting upgraded to some sweet, sweet LTE data in just a couple of months. The upgraded Karma Go LTE WiFi hotspot is going on sale in December, but if you act quickly and pre-order you can score $50 off, for a cost of $99 plus whatever data you buy.
Karma uses a unique business model. The company's rechargeable Wi-Fi hotspot is its only hardware, and data is its only service.
Autodesk's mobile offerings for Android are almost always impressive or useful, often both. From SketchBook to Pixlr Express, the company has consistently provided Android users with great apps. Today, there's a new entry in Autodesk's catalog that lives up to that reputation - 123D Catch. In a nutshell, the app lets users create 3D models of real objects using just their smartphone camera.
To get started, the app suggests capturing 20-40 photos all around your chosen object, most at even level with the object, plus some from a top angle. The capture interface gives a handy ring guide to let you know how completely you've captured the object, and once you hit the check mark, the app will ask you to sign in in order to put together and share the finished model.