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
Fingerprint reader support is one of the big pushes of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but it's not just limited to the lock screen. Google has an option in the Play Store to authorize app purchases with a fingerprint, which we first spotted in a teardown of the v5.9 client. Now it's live for 6.0 devices that have fingerprint readers like the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X. Read More
YouTube Red is a damn good idea, and I'm not even going to qualify that statement. You know why it's a damn good idea? Because YouTube needs to grow up, and step one is getting rid of those garbage advertisements we all love to hate so much. Step two is convincing average, rational human beings that maybe, possibly, they could see themselves in a world in which they might actually pay to more conveniently watch the things and people they really, really, really like to watch.
At the moment, and probably for a while yet, basically all of YouTube's revenue comes from advertisements. Read More
Until now, the best way to know if an app had support for Android Wear was to install it and see if it showed up on the watch. There's a much better way now—just look for the watch icon. Google is rolling out a small tweak to the Play Store on Android that displays a small watch icon and notice in the details when an app supports Wear.
Spotify finally capitulated and added support for Chromecast streaming recently, but there were a number of caveats. Streaming to the Chromecast Audio required a premium subscription and the first-gen Chromecast wasn't supported. That second issue won't be a problem anymore. Reboot your first-gen Chromecast, and Spotify should work just fine. Read More