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. 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
Let's be real here - some people just don't like using security on their phones. Having to put in a PIN code or pattern every single time you just want to check a notification can be quite annoying. We get that. And apparently so does Liquidum, the developers of Hexlock - App Lock Security.
The idea behind Hexlock isn't a new one: it's an app that allows the user to lock specific apps behind either a PIN or pattern screen. But it also goes several steps past that, offering a few other key features that make this app one worth checking out if you're into the idea of granular security. Read More
Sony's awkwardly named "Live on YouTube" app has one purpose, to let you broadcast your video live to YouTube. The latest update adds a few features that make life easier for users. For starters, you can now pause as you're recording. Alternatively, if you're fine with people seeing what's going on but don't want them to hear everything, you can now mute the stream as well. Read More
Using the stock market isn't free. Well, obviously. You're buying and selling stocks, after all. But on top of that, brokerage firms tend to charge fees to manage financial transactions. The Robinhood app lets you get around that fee, and now it has made its way over from iOS to Android. Read More
There's a distinct lack of new Android Wear devices on the market right now, but perhaps you can tide yourself over with some new apps and watch faces for your faithful wrist companion. We've got a ton of new stuff as always, but even more watch faces thanks to Google's recent push with various brands and designers. Strap on your watch and get ready. Read More
Amazon is pulling out all the stops to entice you to use its Appstore for Android. True, Google Play is more convenient, but rarely does Google just give away $90 in premium apps and games as Amazon is doing right now. It's a good selection too with titles like Goat Simulator and Elements of Photography.