Forget Update Wednesday! Monday is the new big day. Not only were we treated to the latest M preview release and the official Marshmallow name, but a stream of app updates came rushing out after the sun had set on Mountain View. For many of these apps, little changed aside from a few tweaks and touch-ups to support the next major version of Android. Still, there were improvements to be seen on a couple of updates. YouTube received a couple of mostly unimportant modifications to the interface, but it also contains clues about some things we may see in the future. Read More
A good eBook reading experience isn't defined solely by what you're reading, the device you're reading it on, or a couple of settings – it's defined by all of those things; and as one of those things changes, the others may have to change along with it. If you're popping open a copy of Hitchhikers Guide for the third time, you might have to tinker with the background color and font so a full page of text is comfortable to read. On the other hand, those options don't make sense when you're looking at graphic panels from the latest issue of The Walking Dead. Read More
Webmaker is Mozilla's effort to make it easy for new smartphone users to make content for the web. Instead of creating something using WordPress or Blogger, people can throw materials together using a more simplistic interface. Webmaker has been available on the web since 2012, but now you can download an Android version directly from Google Play. Read More
Hangouts version 4.0 has been released, to both relief and derision among the Android faithful. We're still finding some of the cool stuff that it can do, but at least one member of the /r/Android subreddit beat us to the punch. "Tutsumi" noticed that if you should happen to change between mobile and Wi-Fi networks while you're in an active video call, the connection won't drop out like it used to.
I gave this a shot on both Hangouts 3.0 and 4.0. On the previous version, switching from Wi-Fi to Verizon's local LTE network or vice versa caused the call between my PC and Nexus 6 to drop out, as you would expect. Read More
Music creation on Android has been given a major boost as of Lollipop 5.0 thanks to latency reduction, and IK Multimedia (best known as the manufacturer of the popular iRig series of professional musical adapters for phones and tablets) has decided to take advantage of it. The company has released two new Android apps, iGrand Piano and iLectric Piano, meant to give players a portable and highly technical way to create the sound of famous brand-name pianos.
That experience won't come cheap: each app is a whopping $20, and they don't even include the full range of simulated pianos and keyboards (20 are included with each app, and you'll have to use in-app purchases to buy the rest). Read More
The saga of WhatsApp's Google Drive backup option is only rivaled by the app's epic voice calls invite feature that we all had to endure for months. It's there, then not there, then it's back, only to disappear again, then wait it's hiding and only shows when it's time for a backup... but Rita, it's not working for me, and now it's gone for everyone, oh-oh look I got it with root and a few commands, and now it's on for everyone finally. We swear. Read More
In their latest testing releases, Mozilla has launched two ambitious efforts to improve upon two areas where Firefox seeks to set itself apart: privacy and security.
To address privacy, they have changed the way their "private browsing mode," which is akin to incognito on Chrome, protects users. Rather than keep your info away from other people using your computer, which is more or less the intent of the feature, new versions of Firefox will also try to keep you more anonymous to web-based trackers.
In addition to not saving history, the previously-hidden Tracking Protection feature is enabled by default when private browsing. Read More
Buried in the flags of the latest release of Chrome Dev, v46, is a toggle that allows you to tweak the progress bar animation that you see when loading webpages. The default setting is equivalent to "disabled," but you can try it out and see how it looks.
There are now 4 different options: disabled (which is default), linear, smooth, and fast start. Disabled just leaves things the way they have been for a while. Fast start is like smoother but is set to work faster in the first portion of the page load and slower as it completes.
Smooth, as you might expect, is basically the default animation but at a higher framerate that will look more appealing. Read More