Right now there are three Android phones and four Android tablets within arm's reach of my desk, and another half dozen or so in my closet. (It's OK, I don't have a problem. This is my job.) If you're in a similar situation, you can put some of those gadgets to use: they work great as remotes for set-top boxes like Android TV or Roku, or you can cobble them together into a sort of poor man's Sonos multi-room speaker system. Here's one more option: turn it into a home security camera. Read More
Starting on October 28th, YouTube Red will let folks in the US start watching all the movie trailers, phone reviews, music videos, epic fails, adorable babies, cat clips, and rants they've been consuming for years, sans ads. In exchange, viewers hand over $9.99 a month instead, or $15 if they have a Play Music family plan.
Unless, it turns out, you're one of the early Play Music subscribers. Google is sending out emails to folks who hopped on board in the early summer of 2013 to inform them that when they are transferred to YouTube Red, they will get to keep their discounted $7.99 rate. Read More
One tool that I personally have always wanted on Android but have never actually seen is a live color picker. A floating tool that could grab pixel-specific color values from your screen without the need for screenshots or any other complication. Today it looks like my wish has been granted by embermitre with the release of Pixolor to the Play Store.
Pixolor is basically a floating eyedropper controlled by a persistent notification. You can hide or show the picker, zoom with it, and drag it around to get the hex value for the exact color you see on screen. It will also provide the nearest color from the material design palette and - inside the app - an entire palette based on that color. Read More
As you should already know, paying for things usually guarantees better things than you can get for free. That doesn't mean you have to pay a lot, though. There are some great deals on apps and games in the Play Store, so get your wallet ready. Read More
Browsers are a core part of the mobile phone experience, but I don't find them particularly exciting. I do with my browser largely what I did ten years ago: open it up, go to a URL, and scroll through the page that appears. I don't really use bookmarks or search predictions, though combining the search and location bars together was pretty nice. Custom search engines are fun too.
I say this to convey my general apathy towards covering the updates that come to web browsers. But the latest beta version of Chrome comes with changes that even folks like me will have a hard time ignoring—things we've already highlighted before when they appeared in Chrome Dev, such as a snackbar that now appears at the bottom of the screen when you complete a download. Read More
GIFs are nothing new, but these days, they're mainstream and everywhere. That has driven big tech companies to come up with their own approaches for awkwardly animating pictures. Google automatically strings together several similar images and lets you export them as GIFs. Apple doesn't call them GIFs―they're Live Photos. Now Instagram is introducing Boomerangs, which you create using its new app called Boomerang. Read More
Getting bought by Microsoft hasn't hindered the productive folks over at Wunderlist. They're now ready to roll out an update to their Android app with a revamped interface that finally looks good enough to deserve a Material Design adjective. Its previous update had claimed that, but it was actually the bastard child of some iOS and Android design elements. This one, on the contrary, does away with the clunky design, reduces a few shadows, flattens a couple of boxes, cleans some icons, and generally looks shiny, in a faded pastel kind of way.
The update isn't just superficial though. It adds a shortcut to create new tasks from the notification bar and a Quick-Add function to send tasks to their lists and assign dates to them (type "tomorrow at 9am" and Wunderlist will schedule your task for that time). Read More
Strange as it sounds, using the physical home button on Samsung phones can be a lot of work. Tapping a capacitive or on-screen button is faster and doesn't break up the experience as much. Well, no more. There's a new app for most 2014 and 2015 Samsung devices that turns the physical button into a capacitive one, and it works surprisingly well. Read More
It doesn't matter how many times I try other keyboards, I can never seem to find anything better than SwiftKey. I've been using it for a few years now, so I've seen nearly every evolution of the keyboard, and I dig using the beta since it gets me in on the action just a little bit earlier than the "stable" version.
Let's take today's update for example: SwiftKey is launching version 6.0 of its keyboard into the beta channel, and it's a big one. The company has not only revamped the emoji panel (which I will readily admit is the least exciting thing going on here in my opinion), but it has also completely resigned the settings menu to be more intuitive and prettier — if you're a longtime SK user, it's actually a bit of a shock at first. Read More