For better or worse, manufacturer apps tend to be exclusive to their own phones or tablets in the Android world. Not so with Windows programs, or at least, not usually. Samsung's SideSync program, an automated backup, remote desktop, and file transfer system, was previously limited to Samsung's own ATIV line of Windows laptops and tablets. But with the update to version 3.0, the company has removed that restriction - you should now be able to use SideSync with a Samsung Android device and any Windows machine.
There comes a point in a person's life when he or she may be looking for a new device of some sort, and trying to fulfill multiple roles at once could be important. For example, a tablet/laptop hybrid may be sought after by someone who doesn't have the disposable income to justify having one of each. These types of devices – like recently-announced ASUS Transformer Book Duet – are, in my opinion, a great option in that situation.
The guys behind Pushbullet always seem to be working on something new. This time it's a beta Windows app that you can take for a spin right now. This program is similar to the browser extension, but it includes some useful extra features.
Each computer you install Pushbullet on is now its own device, so you can push content from Android directly to a specific PC. The app already has support for pushing and receiving all the content the website can, but it also integrates with the Windows shell.
Google keeps a running list of previously downloaded apps available in the Play Store, but if you want to genuinely backup and own the apps you buy, you need to extract the APKs to a safe location. Not a problem. Rooted users just need to navigate to the correct location and save those files. Even if you're not rooted, finding an app that will get those APKs for you isn't all that difficult.
Asus likes to explore unusual designs for its Android devices, as one look at the Padfone X will tell you. Another fresh take on mobile devices announced at CES comes in the form of the Asus Transformer Book Duet. This is a convertible laptop/tablet hybrid that dual-boots Windows 8.1 and Android 4.2.2. It also packs some serious laptop-grade hardware.
Spend a little time in the technology industry and you'll begin to dread December. It's the time when everyone and their grandmother's PR agent invites you to go to an off-floor presentation in Las Vegas to talk about the latest advances in iPhone accessories. ASUS isn't quite that bad, but their CES teaser is a little strange nonetheless. I'm going to assume that the Statue of Liberty in the following promotional video is the one from the New York, New York casino.
Microsoft's Remote Desktop app for connecting to and controlling Windows machines is just a couple of months old, and so far it's been pretty well-received. It had two updates already - not bad for a major company developing on a competing platform - and today's 8.0.3 adds perhaps the most important new feature: NetBIOS name resolution.
"Hooray! NetBIOS name resolution! That's my favorite remote desktop feature ever!" I hear you cry.
Remember the BlueStacks App Player? It's been around for a pretty long time now. How long? Until just recently, the software that allowed users to run Android inside of Windows was powered by Gingerbread. Now the emulation software is making the leap to Ice Cream Sandwich, and while it's still two years behind the times, at least it looks somewhat modern. Well, until more devices make the transition to KitKat, that is.
One strength of iOS is that everything works seamlessly together. If you have iTunes installed on your computer, it doesn't take much effort to get music over to your iPhone. With Play Music, Google has taken a different approach for Android users looking at an out of the box experience, and if you don't have the internet connection to rely on the cloud for music listening, it's less than ideal. doubleTwist takes the iTunes approach, and with the reinvented doubleTwist Sync app that's now available for Windows, it looks more promising than ever.
The Chromecast add-ons just keep coming, don't they? The latest tool to take advantage of Google's dirt-cheap media streamer is called Fling, from Plano, Texas developer Leon Nicholls. Unlike most of the tools from Koushik Dutta and others, this one expands Chromecast's desktop streaming powers. The Fling Java tool streams local video and audio files directly to Chromecast, and uses the popular VLC media player to transcode the ones that Chromecast doesn't support.