Google+, Google Play Music Updates Boost Utility

One of the advantages I found when switching my primary device to Android was the pace of development in native system apps. That was on display with some nice updates for Google Play Music and Google+.

Google+ page managers get some very welcome additional options in version 3.5, such as more moderation capabilites for community managers, improved notifications and access to the clipboard for sharing content. Page owners can now promote, review, or ban members from a community. they also can remove or restore posts that were marked for review. [Read more…]

Facebook for Android Gets Faster with Code Rewrite

Facebook for Android finally has some parity with its iOS counterpart. The recent update to version 2.0 for Android devices vastly improves the app’s speed and performance, which until now had been desperately behind Apple’s mobile platform.

The focus of the effort is one area: speed.

After using it over the weekend I can say it is a much more pleasant experience than I previously had on Android with Facebook. The iOS version still trumps it with more features, but for now the speed improvement is welcome.

Menus appear almost instantaneously. Some of the more improved graphical touches are here, such as pop out menus for comments and a more animated “Like” button.

Also, when opening the menu on the left the new sections load almost instantly. A notification bar appears at the top of the application to inform you about new stories added to the stream.

[Read more…]

Swiftkey Flow Beta Rethinks Gesture Typing

Swiftkey Flow, the popular Android keyboard’s take on Swype, is launching today in beta. It seeks to combine gesture-based typing with the Swiftkey’s strong predictive text capabilities.

I have been using the beta myself for about a week and have been very impressed. As someone who prefers to thumb type on a mobile device, I found Swiftkey Flow’s predictive capabilities strong enough to make me use the swiping feature. The new version is available from the Swiftkey site for the company’s “VIP” beta testers. 

The beta launch includes what Swiftkey is calling “Flow Through Space,” whereby users can glide their finger across the keyboard amongst letters and the spacebar without needing to lift it for new words. A key component of this is Swiftkey’s predictive text technology, which attempts to learn what you are likely to write based on your past usage.

[Read more…]

Starbucks Fixes Android App

Starbucks has fixed its Android app, which became unusable after Google pushed out Android 4.2 about two weeks ago. A new update is live in Google Play.

Galaxy Nexus owners started reporting the app would repeatedly force quit. Starbucks confirmed the issue, with a company representative saying a fix was on the way.

I experienced the same issue myself, which was rather frustrating given the excessive amount of coffee I typically order from Starbucks. Nothing fixed it: uninstalling and reinstalling the app, resetting the phone (which was necessary for a bevy of other bugs from Android 4.2) or threatening looks. [Read more…]

Android 4.2 Breaks Starbucks App [Updated]

Starbucks Android app users who upgraded their device to 4.2 are getting an unwelcome surprise when trying to pay for a Starbucks purchase.

Galaxy Nexus owners who upgraded to the latest version of Jelly Bean (myself included) are reporting the Starbucks app repeatedly force quits.

A Starbucks spokesperson said the company is at work on a fix to the problem.

“We’re aware of this issue and working to resolve it,” she said.

Uninstalling and reinstalling the app also did not resolve the bug.
[Read more…]

A Jelly Bean 4.2 Wait for Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 7 Owners

Android Jelly Bean 4.2 is slowly making its way out to the wild as users battle Google Play to try and purchase the latest version of Google’s flagship handset.

That has been quite the challenge lately, with all models of the Nexus 4 selling out. Those with a Galaxy Nexus or Nexus 7 are scheduled to get the update soon, according to Google.

As of this morning all models of the Galaxy Nexus and the 32GB Nexus 10 tablet were sold out on Google Play. While no specific sales numbers have been released by Google, there does appear to be a significant demand for the newest Nexus devices. [Read more…]

SwiftKey Flow to Take on Swype

SwiftKey is challenging Swype for supremacy in typing without lifting a finger. The London-based maker of a popular Android keyboard announced SwiftKey Flow today, which combines its auto prediction technology with glide-based typing. [Read more…]

Google+ Mobile Adds Page Support

Managing a Google+ page from an Android or iOS app is now possible thanks to a new update. Google+ version 3.2 for Android and iOS gives page managers the power to post, comment, and interact with followers.

Doing so is a little tricky: you must sign out of your account, then log back in as the page administrator.  [Read more…]

Retro Game Dragon’s Lair Debuts on Android Tablets

Dragon’s Lair is one of the great retro games transported to mobile devices. It has been on the iPhone for a couple of years, first debuting in 2010. It now comes to Android tablets with its . [Read more…]

Foursquare Explore Widget Finds Places Quickly for Android

One of the best features of Android is the customization options of widgets. Foursquare recently added a new Explore Widget that quickly scans near your location for happening places in which to discover.
[Read more…]

Songza Moves to Android Tablets

Songza has had a pretty successful run as of late, hitting the number one spot among iOS users in Canada. It now is one of the all-to-rare applications to make a native version for Android tablets. [Read more…]

RealPlayer Reinvents Itself for Android

The music app scene on Android is far better than it once was. Whereas Android used to be a ghost land in comparison to iOS, it now has many excellent apps and services competing for your listening time, such as Spotify, Google Play Music, Songza, and others. [Read more…]

Chrome for Android Gets Full-Screen YouTube Videos, Security Tweaks

YouTube on Chrome for Android will now show all those adorable yet annoying cat videos in full screen mode. This is one of a series of tweaks to Chrome for Android now available in the Google Play store.
[Read more…]

Slices for Twitter Organizes Tweets

Slices for Twitter is an Android app that uses the idea of “slicing” up your Twitter world into specified groups. While the idea of Slices is unique, the app is also wonderful if you’re just looking for a new general Twitter client.

The interface on Slices is beautiful. It is simple to use, has a clean look to it and is very appeasing. Additionally, the app is typically very fast. It’s simple to click through and find exactly what you are looking for. [Read more…]

Catch 5.0 Conquers Cross-Platform Note Taking

Note-taking app Catch has been gaining traction this week, climbing up Apple’s App Store to number four in the productivity apps column. It recently underwent a major interface overhaul on iOS, with a clever semi-circle that emphasizes fast choice of action.

Catch 5.0 makes it an excellent choice for iOS and Android users who want a rapid, light note-taking app that works for individual notes as well as collaboration. [Read more…]

SwiftKey Squashes Bugs, Adds Fuchsia

Popular Android keyboard SwiftKey is rolling out an update today that fixes a number of bugs and adds two vibrant color schemes. The version 3.0.1 update brings performance improvements (especially for those using a Jelly Bean device), adds Sky and Fuchsia color schemes, and Malay and Urdu to the language pack. This brings the total number of supported languages to 44.  [Read more…]

Google Play Tightens Developer Rules

Google recently updated its developer content policies in order to clean up Google Play – the app and media hub for all Android devices. Google Play has branched out to include music, books, movies, TV shows, and of course apps.

However, Google Play’s biggest problem is that there are many rouge apps out there – repeat, copies or spam apps. Google hopes by updating the developer agreement they can begin to clean up Google Play’s app market. [Read more…]

Editorial: Android is OS of Choice for the Geek Crowd

Google went hardware crazy at its I/O conference this week, unveiling the Nexus 7 tablet, Nexus Q media streaming device and lowering the price for the unlocked Galaxy Nexus. A high-profile demo of Google Glass, a wearable computer that provides real-time data, showed that Google is serious about its futuristic product and hardware strategy.

Yet in many ways the star was Android, which was bumped up to version 4.1 (dubbed Jelly Bean). Sexy hardware combined with the slick Jelly Bean are giving tech enthusiasts more enticement to make the leap from iOS over to Android. [Read more…]