The Settings menu/app on Android phones has evolved quite a bit in recent years. Starting in Android 8.1 it got a search bar that made digging for individual settings a bit easier, and in Android N it got suggestions to help encourage you to enable things like a lock screen, finish the setup process, or explore additional customization options. Google even reserved some secret sauce for search and suggestions on its Pixels, and now it's breaking that out into its own app called Search Suggestions. Read More
Scaled down versions of apps are nothing new; Google has made plenty of "Go" apps specifically for emerging markets where internet connections are unreliable, phones are generally less capable, and plans offer less data. Uber is now getting in on the act, too.
Uber Lite has been built with India in mind — where it's currently being piloted — but it will be coming to other regions around the world later on. It's been designed to save space, weighing in at only 5MB (or about three selfies as Uber helpfully points out), and run on any Android phone. Even when on a network with poor connectivity, a response time of just 300ms is touted, so you should be able to book a ride almost immediately. Read More
With mobile data getting faster and smartphones having larger storage, you'd be forgiven if you thought the need for slimmer and more efficient apps is dwindling. Quite the contrary, many developers are building bigger apps with overflowing features, which are not optimized enough for the lower-end devices and slower networks that are still found all around the world. To provide an alternative and avoid alienating this large user base, these developers are making "lite" versions of their apps — we've already seen this happen with Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Uber, LinkedIn, Skype, Shazam, and all of Google's Go apps. Instagram is now joining the fold with its own Lite app. Read More
I'm a fairly satisfied Verizon Fios customer with a basic internet and TV package. Sure, it helps that the man who installed our setup somehow gave us a handful of channels we weren't supposed to get (shh), but I've come to prefer it over any of the previous providers I've endured. But one thing I haven't taken advantage of yet is the Verizon FiOS Mobile app, probably because I'm still a bit scarred by visions of the atrocious bloatware defecating all over my phones when I was a Verizon Wireless customer. Well, Verizon has just released a new app for Fios TV customers simply called Fios TV. Read More
Facebook's Internet.org initiative was designed to extend better internet access to developing nations, which it does via its Free Basics service in 63 countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and South America. The platform's latest app, Express Wi-Fi, aims to connect users to connect to public hotspots offered by the company for a fee. Read More
For anyone tempted by the Samsung Galaxy S9 or S9+ who wants to learn more about what it can do, there's an app for that. The Experience app for Galaxy S9/S9+ does exactly what the name suggests. It can be downloaded on most Android phones (Marshmallow 6.0 and up) and it gives you a sense of what it would be like to own Samsung's latest flagship. Read More
Back at I/O in May last year, Google announced the Android Go initiative; a less intensive version of the OS optimized for cheap phones with little RAM. This was launched in December and to go with it we've seen a number of Google apps get the Go treatment to make them smaller and less memory-hungry.
Apps like Google Maps Go, YouTube Go, Google Go, and Gboard Go are all designed to get the best performance out of the low-cost devices that are typically popular in emerging markets. There's even a brand new app called Files Go that can help you declutter your phone and maintain a healthy amount of free storage. Read More
Here in the UK, you get used to the convenience of catching up on any BBC show using the fantastic iPlayer app. It hasn't been so easy for Stateside users, even though the BBC iPlayer Radio app is available outside the UK. BBC America has just released its very own app, so US viewers can get some of the same benefits as we do this side of the Atlantic. Read More
There are plenty of apps on the Play Store if you want to check your credit score, but how many of them would you trust? Intuit is a company people have come to depend on for financial services, with popular apps like QuickBooks and TurboTax. So while we might not normally highlight an app of this kind, Turbo is probably worth a mention. Read More