Android's notification system has always been a strong selling point for the platform, and Google has added a multitude of great notification features in recent years. However, not all developers take advantage of them. Nevolution (from the developer of Greenify) seeks to make app notifications on Android more configurable and powerful independent of the original developers. There's even a plug-in framework so users can add more features over time. Read More
Google made a lot of changes to the Android UI in Lollipop, many of them successful. Chrome merged tabs was not one of those features. After first making the old style tab management the default again several weeks back, the latest Chrome Dev build removes the merged tabs option entirely. Read More
If you're not using Google Maps as your navigation assistant, your choices of accurate and updated mapping solutions are varied, but OpenStreetMaps (OSM) remains one of the top contenders thanks to an open-source user-generated approach. There are many OSM apps on Android, but the choice is much more limited for apps that also allow users to edit and contribute data right from their phones. There's the simple OSM Contributor which is just an editor, Bertel's favorite OsmAnd which is a full-fledged navigator and editor, and now MAPS.ME is getting updated to allow for OSM editing.
With version 6.0, MAPS.ME is adding a new editor to allow its 40M+ users to add and edit places right from the app, without having to wait until they're in front of a computer to use the online OSM tools. Read More
HTC has been amping up its Vive virtual reality headset for months and the launch date is finally upon us. For the not-so-low price of $799, you can grab a Vive unit to connect to your powerful computer and enjoy all those great videos and games that were developed just for the platform. But as early reviewers and adopters have said, the experience could be so good and immersive that you might forget your real world surroundings.
That's why HTC has built a Vive companion app for Android phones to keep you updated on the most important notifications and save you from completely missing that time-sensitive call from your boss or crucial text from your wife. Read More
Pocket created a bundled deal for productivity services last year, calling it the Productivity Pack. The deal is back now with a new list of bundled services. The price is a few bucks higher, but there's a lot more in this year's pack. It's $69.99 and includes six full-year premium subscriptions. Read More
Staying private online is easier said than done, but a few services are popping up that promise to shield your conversations from prying eyes. The Signal messaging app, previously known as TextSecure, comes to mind. But the WhatsApp team has been working on securing its messages using some of the same code, and now, after testing things out last month, the service is ready to roll out end-to-end encryption to all users. Read More
Google added reminder support to Google calendar late last year, but the feature felt oddly incomplete without full support for reminders on the web. That's a thing now, so you can create and manage reminders in Google Calendar on the web. It's not showing up for me just yet, but everyone should see reminders on the web soon. Read More
Chrome Remote Desktop had been stuck on version 44 since July 2015, until an update rolled out today to version 49 (it follows Chrome's version numbers). With it come a few interface improvements that make the app a lot more Material and a new touch mode that creates a new interaction method with your remote desktop.
First things first, the main interface has now gotten a better title bar, a spec-compliant side-menu, and the color scheme has switched from a mix of blue and green to a more unified blue. You will also notice from my screenshots that computers now show their status if they have been offline for a while. Read More
Starz has long had multiple streaming plans and apps in the Play Store, but the service is refocusing with a single main app for digital and cable subscribers. The Starz Play app is the new hub for Starz content, but now it's just called "Starz." The other apps are still in the Play Store, but for how long is anyone's guess. Read More