Microsoft has been releasing its own apps on Android lately, but it's apparently looking to buy one now. Financial Times reports Microsoft is swooping in to snap up keyboard maker SwiftKey for $250 million. SwiftKey is running on millions of Android devices, plus the ones from OEMs that license and re-skin SwiftKey. Now Microsoft could extend its reach to all those devices very soon. Read More
The v2.8 update to Greenify has been in testing for a few months, but the final version is rolling out at long last. This app began life as a root utility to forcibly hibernate apps, but it has slowly gained more non-root features. In v2.8, it can supposedly accelerate Marshmallow's Doze mode so it kicks on in just a few minutes. That's just the start; there's plenty more, especially if you're rooted. Read More
Amazon has been rolling out Amazon Prime Now, its local service for delivering goods from nearby retailers in hours instead of days, in a few cities in the US. In India there is no Amazon Prime, so the same service is simply referred to as Amazon Now. (Not to be confused with Google Now, which doesn't have anything to do with shopping.) There was already a dedicated app for the American version, but now the Indian model gets one too.
Unfortunately Amazon Now suffers from the same drawback as all local delivery services: a limited services area. It's currently only available in Bangalore, and even there, only in specific PIN codes (the Indian equivalent of zip codes). Read More
When Ryan reviewed the Google OnHub back in September of last year, one of his major complaints about the router's usage was the inability to rename devices, which created a messed up soup of unnamed and/or vaguely named devices in your list of connected hardware. That's about to change with the new update to Google On, the OnHub's companion Android app, which adds the ability to give custom names to all of your devices so you can tell which Samsung phone is which and what that no-name computer is. Read More
SoundCloud, the free music service particularly favored by independent and grassroots musicians, has finally added 'stations,' a sort of never-ending playlist of related tracks and songs. The feature has been in beta for about a week, and is now hitting the release version of the Android app. While new for SoundCloud, this is something that's been available on most other music streaming services for quite a while. Spotify and Apple Music call it 'radio,' and Play Music has 'instant mixes,' but they are all different names for the same thing.
Creating a station is a simple matter of picking one of your favorite songs and selecting the "Start track station" from the three-dot menu. Read More
Microsoft Health is the companion app to Microsoft's activity tracker, which is now on its second iteration, the Microsoft Band 2. An update is rolling out via Google Play that adds quite a few new features for folks who own the device. Read More
If you want to stream electronic music, Digitally Imported (di.fm) is one of the best sources you can turn to. The service's Android app, Digitally Imported Radio also does it justice on mobile thanks to wide channel support, a great and updated interface, and frequent changes to implement new features like casting support. The app, however, lacked one option when it was redesigned in June of last year: landscape support. That's finally being implemented along with interface optimizations for tablets.
Version 3.1 of the app adds "first class support for Android tablets," and restores support for landscape orientation on phones. Read More
Not to be outdone, WhatsApp today announced literally during Alphabet's earnings call minutes after it was announced Gmail had 1 billion MAUs that it, too, has joined the billion user club.
Unlike Gmail, the Facebook-owned communication service got there substantially quicker relative to its Play Store app: WhatsApp registered 1 billion installs on the Play Store in March last year, meaning it converted those installs into a billion MAUs in just 11 months. WhatsApp, of course, has also not been around nearly as long as Gmail, which makes it an even more impressive feat. Not to mention that here in the US most people have no freaking clue what WhatsApp is. Read More
During Alphabet's first earnings call this afternoon, Google CEO Sundar Pichai commented that as of this month, Gmail now officially has one billion monthly active users. That's a lot of Gmail.
The Gmail app for Android, by comparison, hit one billion installs a little over 20 months ago, back in May of 2014. And that was two years after Gmail became the most popular email service on the planet. When that occurred in 2012, Google reported around 425 million MAUs for Gmail, meaning the service has grown its active user base twice over in around three-and-a-half years. Read More
Love the idea of cloud storage providers but don't want to trust your data with the big guys? One more of your options is about to go away. Copy, the cloud storage service from Barracuda, is shutting down on May 1st, 2016. Read More