The regular Shazam app is becoming more and more of a social network centered around music than the music discovery engine it once was. It weighs over 27MB, tries to load recommendations and popular tracks each time you open it, and has charts and Auto Shazam, and plenty of features that you may not need or want especially when you're on a slow network or have limited bandwidth. That's why Shazam Lite was created.
It goes to the heart of Shazam: music recognition. Read More
Whenever a paid app or game goes free on the Play Store, it's for one of three reasons: a) the developer is being super generous, b) the developer has abandoned it, or c) the developer decided to use another monetization model. It is almost never the first case, though. The second one is just friendly behavior that we like seeing, despite it giving us grief over the death of another app/game. But it's incredibly annoying when it's the third scenario.
Carmageddon, unfortunately, seems to fall in that category. The game, which normally cost $1.99 for the ad-free version (another Carma (free) version used to pop up every now and then) is now free. Read More
Lately I've been looking at security cameras for homes and small businesses. Among the different options, Blink makes a very compelling proposal. Forget about wires and always-on connectivity, forget about monthly plans and limited server storage, the system works wire-free, hassle-free, and well, completely free after the hardware purchase. You just need to put in 2 AA batteries and they'll last up to 2 years, getting triggered only when motion is detected and uploading 5-10sec clips to the cloud.
The one problem with Blink though? Until today, it didn't integrate with any other smart home product. That summarizes most of the complaints on its online reviews: users say that you have to manually arm/disarm each camera separately in the app. Read More
Microsoft Garage's teams are bolstering with new ideas and different takes on existing ones. Every couple of weeks, sometimes even days, there's a new project being released under the Garage umbrella, and today marks the arrival of one of these: Trip Tracker.
It is built by the same team that brought us Arrow Launcher and Next Lock Screen, and uses a similar idea of contextual location. The app is a bit of a demo for the LOOP SDK (Location and Observation Platform), which is a Microsoft platform for Android and iOS that can grab location in a battery-efficient way. Trip Tracker leverages LOOP to gather data about your whereabouts and presents it to you in an easily digestible way. Read More
News apps are all the rage at the moment - just a few days ago we reported on News Pro from Microsoft, and Flipboard just topped 500 million downloads on the Play Store. Yahoo's been quite big on the news before, so today it's launching an update to Yahoo Newsroom to introduce some new features that curate the news to what you want to read.
The key new thing here is "Vibes." As you select what news interests you, the app will learn over time and better surface content that is more likely to get read. Let's face it: most of us, when reading the news, skip past most stuff and click on anything interesting. Read More
Back in March, Google renamed the official Chromecast application as 'Google Cast', and it is now renaming it again. Several users have sent us the below screenshot, showing the Google Cast app informing them that it will become 'Google Home.' Read More
As Cody found in his teardown of Google Photos v1.21 back in March, and Carphone Warehouse listed in its 'gone-live-early' promotion page, Google has announced free, unlimited photo storage for anyone who buys a new Google Pixel phone. This means any photos you take will be backed up to Photos at the original size, and not the "high quality" size that is uploaded by default. That's not all: 4K videos, which the Pixel phones can shoot, are also supported with unlimited storage and no quality decrease.
It's not clear how long this will last - if it's forever or for two years, like the 100GB of Google Drive storage is when bought with a Chromebook. Read More
Many of Google's most recent updates have been relatively light on features, turning instead towards cleaning up bugs. However, that doesn't mean there aren't still new things in the works. A couple of recent YouTube updates have been preparing some new features and we've got a teardown to reveal what users can probably look forward to in the future. Read More
After hitting 5 million downloads and #8 in the Top Charts just under a week ago, Allo is now falling fast. As of writing this, it is in 86th, but was 75th a few hours ago and, according to this tweet, 62nd earlier yesterday. This probably shows that after millions downloading it during the initial release and hype period, that has now passed and the number of downloads has fallen dramatically.
As you can probably infer, this is most likely not good for Allo's adoption rates. Looking at my personal contacts list, I have 9 contacts who have set up an account, out of 100+ phone numbers I have on my phone. Read More