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Facebook for Android has just been updated, with some big Facebook Home changes. Facebook Home for Android now includes music controls on the lock screen during playback, which is nice.
But, it doesn't end there: there's also animated stickers now available in messages. Not a huge update, but the music controls in the lock screen is definitely a nice addition. I've tried out Facebook Home on my Galaxy S4, and I don't know what to think. If your life centers around Facebook, which many do, then it might be nice to check this out.
Today, Evernote updated their app for Windows Phone 8, bringing it more in line with its Android and iOS versions. The update ushers in several new features, including a new multi-shot camera that allows users to take multiple snapshots per note without exiting camera mode.
To complement this feature, Evernote has also included a new slideshow that can be accessed by tapping on a photo while looking at the note. This will pop up the slideshow, which you can then swipe to view the other images. Speech-to-text is now also featured in the phone. Simply tap on the speech bubble from within a note and begin talking. The app will then transcribe your words into notes and add an automatically generated title so that users no longer end up with a bunch of untitled notes.
Google has pushed out an update on Gmail for iOS, which now includes a few new improvements. First off, Gmail for iOS has reached version 2.4, with the latest version including improved integration for Drive and Google+.
This means you can open links to the respective apps by tapping on them, which is nice. Google has boosted up the attachment system, which now sees larger image thumbnails that can be opened in full-screen mode. If you want to grab the latest Gmail for iOS app, head on over to the iTunes Store, or manually update from your iOS-based device.
Google's Chromecast took the world by storm when it was released about a month ago. The little $35 HDMI streaming dongle sold out faster than any other tech item released this year. Unfortunately, consumers with an iOS device were left in the dark on how to control the dongle from their phone.
Today, Google released the official Chromecast app for iOS and it currently works with the iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, and iPod touch. The app allows you to configure basic settings that are required to get the dongle up and running and will display all of the Chromecasts connected to your Wi-Fi network and their statuses. The app is available for free on iTunes, but requires users to be running iOS 5.1 or higher.
We've known that BlackBerry Messenger is making its way to Android for quite some time now, and while we had hoped for an OS-wide launch sometime in July, it appears that the first Android devices to get BBM will be of Samsung origin. Earlier today, website CrackBerry spotted a teaser ad that was posted on both YouTube and Samsung's Ghana Facebook page.
Unfortunately, the YouTube video has since been removed, but the Facebook posting is still up at the time of this writing. It makes sense that the company's Ghana page would be the first to post as BlackBerry Messenger is a major form of communication in many African countries.
So what does this mean? I think we may see the app officially announced by Samsung or BlackBerry at the IDC trade show in Berlin, Germany, next week, and with a working port for Android-based Samsung devices now in existence, it is only a matter of time before BlackBerry Messenger is in the Google Play Store for all Android devices. That is, unless BlackBerry did something stupid like sign an exclusivity deal with Samsung, but then again this is BlackBerry were talking about and weirder things have happened in the past.
As an ex-professional photographer, one of the most annoying things about 90 percent of the photos posted online is the fact that they are never straight. No one seems to care about holding their smartphone in a nice in level orientation. Today, it appears that the developers over at Instagram felt the same way and decided to fix this crooked issue.
The latest version of Instagram for iOS features built-in image straightening and the best thing about it is that it can be setup to happen automatically. The developers figured out that they can collect data from the phone's accelerometer and gyrometer sensors to figure out at what orientation and the angle the smartphone was being held at at the time the image was captured and then use that data to automatically straighten the image.
Baydin, the makers of the popular Gmail add-on Boomerang, have just released a full email client for the popular mobile platform Android. Boomerang for Android is a full email client that features Archiving, Deleting, Labels, Read/Unread, Full Search Features, Attachments, Conversation View, Push Notifications, and everyone's favorite "Send later" feature. The company says that you can use it as a standalone application or in conjunction with Google's Gmail app.
The app includes all of Boomerangs popular features wrapped up in a easy-to-use, customizable, swipe-based user interface that allows users to swipe right to archive email or swipe left to reveal more actions that include delete, boomerang, label, mark as read, and staring. I tried out the app for most of the day and I am quite excited to continue using Boomerang for Android.
I don't know what has taken Instagram, or Facebook for that matter, to get off its asses and unleash Instagram for Windows Phone 8, but it looks like those days could soon be over.
A WMPoweruser has pointed out some remarks that Nokia's executive vice president, Chris Weber, who said that Instagram is finally coming to Microsoft's mobile OS, but he didn't provide any further details or a possible release window. Considering Instagram is one of the major apps that Windows Phone 8 is missing, you would think it would've been here by now.
Apple is poised to press the all-systems-go button for iTunes Radio, but Pandora is striking its hammer now, with company CFO Mike Herring announcing during Pandora's earnings call yesterday that the company will remove its 40-hour listening limit on mobile devices.
Last we heard they had started a 40-hour listening limit per month because of an increase in royalty rates, but now mobile users can enjoy the same unlimited music streaming goodness that desktop users can enjoy, without the $36 per year charge. Just what accounting magic did Pandora perform to provide mobile listeners with unlimited music, for free? Herring explains:
Our investment in advertising infrastructure and implementing smart levers such as reducing song skipping and limiting mobile listening have helped us drive monetization and manage content costs, as reflected by the increase in RPM and a decrease in content costs as a percentage of revenue
As our results have shown, the continued strong growth in our advertising revenue allowed us to cover the increased royalty costs with dollars left over to invest back into the business. With these tools in hand, and insight into how they work, we are resetting our levers in September. Notably, Pandora plans to eliminate the blanket 40-hour-per-month limit on free mobile listening effective September 1st.
Many years ago, Mozilla revolutionized the browser world with its addition of the "awesomebar" to its Firefox web browser. This awesomebar allowed users to do so much more from the URL bar than just entering URLs. Today, the company announced that it has completely revamped the "awesomescreen" feature in its Firefox for Android app.
In a blog post, user interface engineer Lucas Rocha said that Mozilla has accepted the new awesomescreen design into its beta-stage "nightly" builds, which is where the new feature will be tested, debugged, and further refined before being released into the mainstream app.
The awesomescreen basically meshes together two key features of Firefox: the browser start screen and the screen that is shown when users tap the address bar. Much like Chrome, this new awesomescreen will display thumbnails of webpages from a user's browsing history, bookmarks, and a reading list. Each of these different segments can be featured by swiping from side to side among the different topics.