WhatsApp's reliance on phone numbers for authentication is part of the reason the app took off so fast — no username, no email, no password, no fuss. But that requirement has become a hindrance over the last few years, be it in the lack of multi-device support or the inability to quickly start chatting with someone without adding them to your phone's contacts first. There are workarounds for the latter, but nothing too straightforward. Now WhatsApp is starting to address this by adding QR codes for profiles in the latest beta.
A year ago, Google introduced two accessibility apps for Android: Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier. As the name implies, the first one lets deaf and hard-of-hearing people use their phones to instantly transcribe any conversation around them and read it on their screen. The app has now been updated to v3.0 and gained two new features: Custom words and Vibrate when name is spoken.
Five years after its acquisition of Authy, Twilio is now adding its ownership stamp on the app. The Play Store listing has been renamed to "Twilio Authy," though the launcher icon retains its simpler "Authy" name. The app also rolled out a new dark mode in its latest beta.
Earlier this month, an update to the Chromecast built-in app on Android TV finally brought with it speaker grouping, but it was removed soon after. It turns out this update introduced another feature that went unnoticed until 9to5Google spotted it: Chromecast audio streams no longer need to remain in the foreground to keep playing, they now support background playback.
With the latest version of Google Duo, the video calling service is adding several features that were either officially announced or secretly unearthed, including a new family mode and some timely filters. The most interesting of these additions, however, is the option to make yourself reachable over email, and thus remove the need to share your phone numbers with others to allow them to call you.
WhatsApp is one of the most popular messenger platforms in the world, and when they launched WhatsApp Business back in 2018, it provided businesses a great way to connect with customers. And now things are getting a bit simpler for businesses on the service, as they'll be able to link their company's Facebook page to WhatsApp Business in order to sync info from it and run Facebook ads that click to WhatsApp.
A long-time darling of Android aficionados, Astro File Manager hasn't always had a look befitting its excellent functionality. That changed somewhat through the 7.x version updates, with certain parts of the interface getting refreshed here and there — bottom tabs had been introduced by v7.9, for example. Now version 8 is upon us, and the Astro team has delivered an even more dramatic overhaul. The home page has been completely restyled and the much-requested dark mode has also arrived.
Slowly but steadily, Google is turning its Messages app into a viable contender for the messenger market. As Google rolls out RCS to more and more countries, the app's chat features become more prominent, like photo attachments or stickers you'd usually have to send via MMS. As such, Google has decided to test an "attach recent picture" button in the latest beta version, but it's of questionable value at best.
The Google Authenticator app has undergone its first facelift since 2017, making the jump from version 5.0 to 5.10. But the visual makeover — including a much-needed adaptation to newer phones' aspect ratios — belies a major change that will make it easy for you to port your keys over to another phone.
OnePlus Gallery has received a small update that adds Google Lens integration. The app, which comes built in on all OnePlus devices, can now easily call up Lens to visually search an image and find elements and text in it.