Google has been smoothing Android's rougher edges over the last few revisions, but there's one thing you interact with constantly that still needs some work: text. Until now, developers had to specify a text size, and that's all the text would be without third-party workarounds—even if that meant it was super-tiny or so big it overflowed. Now, they can create "autosizing TextViews" with Google's tools.
Between this job and school, I write a lot, so any tool that makes that task easier is great in my book. On that note, the G Suite team has rolled out a small, but great, change to Docs: you can now change the capitalization of a specific portion of text, and you get to choose between lowercase, all caps, and title case.
A couple of weeks ago, Gmail v6.11 began its rollout with a relatively small but divisive change to the way quotes are handled in replies. It turns out that there was a much bigger and more important change that went completely unnoticed. Google just posted a changelog on the Play Store to point out that you can now paste content into Gmail and all of the formatting and images will remain intact. Version 6.11 is still current, but there have been a couple of minor bug fix releases since then, so there's also a download link at the bottom if you don't already have the absolute latest update.
Snapseed started as a simple image editor, but it's been learning some impressive new tricks recently. It can even edit your RAW files these days. In the new v2.8 update, you can add text to your images with a ton of fonts and styles, and there is an auto-resize option for exports. The update is still rolling out, but we've got the APK ready for download if you don't want to wait.
Compared to the early days of Android and iOS, it's amazing how good virtual keyboards have become... but that doesn't mean there's no room for improvement. Long email and street addresses in particular are a pain to type in, especially outside of the browser where saved user information isn't available. If you're tired of typing out your thirty-character company email address, Texpand can help: it allows you to create customized shortcodes for longer strings of text and use them in any text field.
Copying and pasting is better than it used to be on Android, but it still isn't ideal - just like Windows, you can only keep one bit of text at a time saved in the "copy" cache. Also just like Windows, several apps have sprung up to improve this functionality, most notably Clipper. Native Clipboard handles most of the same functions - primarily keeping a saved history of all copied text - but adds some impressive UI tweaks to make using it even easier.
First of all, Native Clipboard lets you open its floating window my double-tapping any text field.
A single SMS message is generally limited to 160 characters, which gives it the potential to be a very concise means of communication. If, however, you feel that the point of your message will be hard to convey in such small snippets, Hangouts has a feature for you.
Hangouts allows users to specify a subject for SMS messages. Simply hold the send button for a moment, and a subject box will appear as shown below. Hangouts will then automatically convert the message to MMS, and indicate the message's subject in a pair of angle brackets once sent.
It's a small feature, but one that may be useful to someone, somewhere, who prefers to communicate hard-to-nail-down subjects via SMS.
Sometimes the secret to success is to pick one thing and do it well. You could easily make the presumption that "image editing" may count as a thing, but in this case, think even more specific. Over is an app that specializes in letting users place text or basic artwork on top of their photos.
Seriously, that's all it does. And it's done it well enough to attract millions of users on iOS and, according to TechCrunch, a million in funding (which the developer reportedly turned down). There's money and fame to be found in keeping it simple.
The easier the promise, the easier it is to deliver.
Update: It looks like FreedomPop ran out of stock on its refurbished tablets almost immediately, and at the moment the links below default to various hotspot gadgets. Given the limitations of Sprint service, it's not a surprise that the company's secondhand hardware stockpile wouldn't be huge.
Also, several prospective customers have told us that they've been given the run-around when trying to sign up for the free plan, instead being placed on the free trial for paid service and almost immediately charged. Tread carefully if you're trying to score some free wireless service.
FreedomPop is already a solid choice for adding a small amount of service to an unused phone, but now the FreedomPop online store also includes LTE versions of both the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 and the iPad mini.
Update: Well that didn't take long. Here's what T-Mobile had to say in response.
We have seen the complaint filed today by the FTC and find it to be unfounded and without merit. In fact T-Mobile stopped billing for these Premium SMS services last year and launched a proactive program to provide full refunds for any customer that feels that they were charged for something they did not want. T-Mobile is fighting harder than any of the carriers to change the way the wireless industry operates and we are disappointed that the FTC has chosen to file this action against the most pro-consumer company in the industry rather than the real bad actors.