A number of our readers have witnessed a change after opening up the Facebook app. The social network is apparently testing out an updated version of the user interface that sports a flatter look and more colorful, circular icons. We wouldn't call it a big Material redesign, but it does show signs of trying to better fit in.
Microsoft has acquired HockeyApp, a service that helps developers test their apps and get feedback from users. The company plans to use the platform, akin to Apple's TestFlight (purchased early this year), to attract app creators to its development tools. The folks at Redmond intend to integrate HockeyApp with the Application Insights service in Visual Studio Online to improve support for Android and iOS.
HockeyApp offers developers integrated crash reporting, information on beta distribution, and a built-in user feedback system.
Getting OTA updates out the door is no easy task, especially with carriers standing between the OEM and users. That's why Motorola has long used soak tests with small groups of users to hammer out bugs before the final certification. HTC has just posted details of its own "HTC Preview" program that does essentially the same thing.
People talk on Twitter, they crack jokes, they share pictures, and they even try to sell things. Just as users used to have to link out to images before the service started offering that service natively, users will soon be able to make purchases without having to hop out to another site. Twitter is currently testing a feature that will embed a buy button directly into tweets.
When a user decides they want to buy something, Twitter will prompt them for their shipping and payment information.
Starbucks is looking to provide customers with the option to order their beverage in-app, saving them the effort of waiting in line to get in and get out with something to drink. Re/code reports that the company will start testing the feature in an undisclosed market later this year.
The concept of placing an order using a mobile app in order to skip the wait later on is not groundbreaking. After all, Chipotle expanded this feature to all of its locations late last year.
Several weeks ago, we caught wind of Android 4.4.3 and some of the changes it could bring, consisting mostly of bug fixes, both big and small. At this point, according to several sources familiar with the matter, Android 4.4.3 has entered internal testing outside of the core Android team - a process otherwise known as dogfooding. The final release isn't expected to hit public devices for a number of weeks, so those of you expecting it any day now will have to wait just a bit longer.
Intel's progress into the Android ecosystem hasn't exactly been earth-shattering. The number of high-end and mid-range smartphones equipped with an ATOM CPU still number in the single digits, making the x86 architecture a fairly low priority for app developers. In addition, Intel's emulator images have always lacked support for the Google APIs, leaving developers without the ability to test common staples like Google Maps or push messaging. Fortunately, that issue was recently rectified with KitKat as Google and Intel have finally shipped an x86 system image with Google API support.
T-Mobile began its soak test of the Moto X running Android 4.4.2 earlier this month, a version of Kitkat that has already gone out to devices in Canada. It seems, though, that American carriers are largely taking their time with the release. Sprint placed its own soak test on hold just a half-hour after announcing it. Now, after roughly a week's wait, the process is back on. The issue has been addressed, and Android 4.4.2 is rolling out to those taking part in the testing process.
It's fun to joke about Samsung's phones feeling cheap because they're made of slippery plastic, but that doesn't mean they're actually cheap. Samsung just posted a video tour of the lab where the Galaxy S4 is tested for reliability, but let's call it what it is – this is Samsung's smartphone torture chamber. The video is in Korean, but you can turn on English closed captioning.
The Galaxy S4 takes everything from drops to impacts and comes out fully functional.