The procession of apps reaching 100 million downloads on the Play Store continues, and the latest to join the club is the famous Speedtest by Ookla. If you've never heard of it before, then you probably never had to test the speed of your data or WiFi connection to brag in front of friends or to complain to your ISP.
Speedtest does its job and does it well. I don't keep it installed on my devices, but I always rush to grab it when something feels iffy about my connection, whether it's uncharacteristically fast (yeah, that dream happened once or twice) or much much slower than usual. Read More
Xiaomi is following in the footsteps of many OEMs and releasing its apps onto the Play Store for faster updates, which avoids the long waits of firmware upgrades. However, Xiaomi is doing something differently: it's allowing users of other brands' devices to use its apps. After the capable Mi Calculator, now we have Mi FileExplorer on the Play Store. The app is still marked as "Unreleased" so it's still in beta, but from my tests it seems to work quite well.
Mi FileExplorer reminds me of the built-in file browser I've seen on my Samsung and LG devices: there's a regular directory browser, but also a per-type categorization that lets you view all your stored images or videos or APKs or documents (and other types) regardless of which folder they're in. Read More
The ever-impressive Google Earth saw a sizeable update earlier this year that included new features like guided tours, knowledge cards, and 3D views. Allowing us to see the world from the comfort of our own home is the goal of the Google Earth team, and to that end, it's added another viewpoint with beautiful images crowdsourced from users around the globe. Read More
Smartphones have become a critical component for many of the things we do in our lives. There are still plenty of bugs and weird little things that don't quite work right on our phones, but it's when they have to connect to other devices that many of the strangest behaviors start to crop up. For years, one particular issue has been plaguing users as they connect a phone to their car stereos, headphones, or other audio output devices. Moments after a connection is made, the phone will suddenly and unexpectedly begin playing music – and anecdotally, they're always quite loud. Google Play Music is often blamed for this behavior because it's the app most likely to respond, but there's now a toggle to prevent that from happening. Read More
This flew under our radar for a while, but Google Maps was updated a while back to add some extra support for Android's multi-window. Now when you've got Maps open together with another application, it will continue to work, updating your location and orientation even when it isn't the application in focus. Read More
As we close in on Google's October 4th launch event, a new beta release of the Google app itself is rolling out with hints about some of the things we may hear about during the presentation. In this update, we find further confirmation that one or both of the new Pixels will include pressure-sensitive sides that wake up Google Assistant. There are also clues about customizable search bars and interchangeable voices for the Google Assistant. And we can look forward to routines, which are basically shortcuts capable of taking multiple actions. Read More
Most Google apps are constantly getting small updates, but Snapseed tends to get fewer updates with more stuff in each one. Today, Google is rolling out Snapseed v2.18. It's a strange version number to choose for such a major update (the last one was 2.17). You get a new, lighter interface with a bottom bar to access all the app's editing tools. There are still a lot of sliders, though. Read More