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Facebook has finally updated its aging app to improve its performance. Unfortunately, this update only takes care of iOS users as there has been no announcement regarding Android. However, if you are an iOS user, this update should make you significantly more happy with the Facebook app as it is quite a bit faster.
According to the Facebook post, "Facebook 5.0 for iOS is twice as fast as the previous version when launching the app, scrolling through news feed and opening photos in feed." This speed increase is due to the app being completely rewritten from the ground up. A quick update and you'll be able to see for yourself just how much better it is.
The changes are as follows:
App opens quickly: We've rebuilt the app from the ground up, so now the app opens much faster and your news feed and notifications load right when you open Facebook.
Stories scroll smoothly: As you scroll down your news feed, all your friends' stories appear faster than ever. A banner lets you know when new stories come in, and you can tap once to immediately see the latest updates.
Photos load instantly: Tap on any photo and it opens right away. Pull down to close it with a single swipe.
An updated and quicker app is an important thing for Facebook to focus on. They need to keep users' eyes on the app so that it becomes an attractive platform for advertising.
Skype is a popular platform for communication among all walks of life. According to the post, "millions of people use Skype for iPhone or Skype for iPad each month." These users have requested features, and Microsoft has obliged with one of the most requested feature: Photo Sharing. They've also updated the apps for speed.
"In addition, we've made some improvements to the performance of the app, as we know many of you want to keep Skype running on your mobile devices all the time." The new feature allows users to send photos that were taken with a user's iPad or iPhone directly to friends and family via Skype. There is no file-size limit.
This means the feature can be used to avoid MMS fees or e-mail attachment size limits. Regarding the performance tweaks:
Over the last couple of releases, we've started to improve the overall performance of Skype's mobile apps. The prior release began to make them less battery hungry when running in the background, so you can answer Skype calls throughout the day when they come in. And, as you'll be able to keep Skype open, you can respond to or send IMs to friends and colleagues all day long. In addition, this latest release improves the app start and the contact list loads even faster, so you can do all the things you love to do with Skype more quickly.
Preview of Firefox for Windows 8 to launch next month, sports 'Modern UI', asks Metro to take a seat elsewhere
It looks as though a preview of Mozilla's Firefox for Windows 8 is coming next month, which should show off the company's Modern UI styling and windowless Flash. We've known about the UI for a while, but this was before the whole Metro issue, as it was named Metro UI and has now had a makeover and unveiled as Modern UI.
New details are leaking out about the web browser for the upcoming OS, with a few screenshots to tease us with. A developer on the project, Brian R. Bondy, has posted an update on his blog that talks of Mozilla's progress with the app and their goals for its release:
Work on the Metro style enabled desktop browser has progressed steadily and things are looking really good.
Ustream have just announced a new app called 'Broadcast for Friends', which does quite the amazing thing - lets smart device users stream live video from their phones, to Facebook, where their friends can access it live, and see what's going on.
After the broadcast has completed, the video is saved and placed into the user's profile, where it can be accessed by anyone with appropriate permission (Facebook friend/subscriber, depending on your profile setup). Broadcast for Friends is free, which is one of the best things about it, with the app having a variety of color options to shoot in, just like Instagram.
The app will land in the App Store next week, with an Android-based application in the works. Broadcast for Friends is said to work on 3G connections, but compared to Wi-Fi, we suspect you wouldn't get the best results. Broadcast for Friends will also detect a low-bandwidth connection, where it will grab the video, automatically record it and upload it. Broadcast for Friends requires a Facebook account, at a minimum.
Google talked about this feature at their I/O developer conference earlier this year, but it looks like they've turned on delta updates for apps running on Android 2.3+. These new smart updates enable users getting to sit back and not needing to download the complete app when there's an update.
Instead, just parts of the app that have been changed will be acquired, saving bandwidth, and time. When Google first announced this feature, the company's engineers estimated that the now-live feature would download around one-third the size of the app when updating. Better yet, developers won't need to touch a thing in order to have this feature enabled, as the feature went live just hours ago.
Android Police are reporting that an update for ezPDF Reader is out, which would normally come in at 6.3MB, but with smart update, only consumes 3MB. Instagram, which just hit version 3.0, would normally be a 13MB download, comes in at just 3MB post-smart update. This is a great change from Google, especially if you want to quickly grab that app and you're not connected to a Wi-Fi network.
Quick, Instagram has been updated, better go out for lunch or dinner and snap a photo! I kid. But, Facebook's acquisition of Instagram hasn't stopped the photo-sharing service from hitting version 3.0, where there's some nice updates.
Instagram has smashed through 80 million users, and has unveiled a new user interface (UI) overhaul today, where geolocation is a very important part of that. Geotagging has its benefits, but the gem here is most likely going to end up being a Photo Maps view. It overlays photos with a map underneath, showing users where they've taken their photos, very cool.
Instagram 3.0 also adds "mutli-line caption editing, more streamlined photo uploading, speed improvements and infinite scroll". There has been a removal of something quite strange, the Twitter "Find Friends" feature, which is due to Twitter turning off their API to Instagram last month, I wonder why. Instagram user? Your thoughts on the new version?
Pinterest has released an Android app and iPad app after "very vocal" Android users persistently requested one. An iPhone app has existed for a while now, but also saw an update on Tuesday. The idea behind the apps is to allow pinning to be faster and more efficient so that you can "go offline and do things that you love."
Apparently, every product release by Pinterest was followed by the question "what about an Android app?" So that's what they did: "our custom-designed Android app makes it simple and fast to pin, so that the time you spend on Pinterest is as productive as possible. We also made sure the app works well on Android phones and tablets, regardless of your device's cost, speed or screen size."
Pinterest believes that their iPad app is the best way to experience Pinterest. "iPad owners may have the best Pinterest experience yet." iPhone users also received a redesigned app. The new version features a two-column layout so that users can see more pins, just like they have been requesting.
When we think about what we're designing at Pinterest, we think about giving everyone a place to dream, plan, and prepare for the things in their lives. The Pinterest apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android are about enabling you to do just that, not seated in front of a computer or at the office, but wherever you go as you live your life.
Adobe's run of Flash player on Android devices ends tomorrow, with the developer disabling new installs of the app on Android-based devices. The developer will now concentrate on HTML5 and other web-based technologies.
Adobe wanted to go head first into mobiles with Flash, but were met with some strong resistance from Apple. The late Steve Jobs wrote an open letter in April 2010, where he explained just why Flash wasn't allowed on the iOS-based devices. Jobs took a swing at Flash's reliability, security, impact on battery life and performance, as well as claiming that Flash was a proprietary web standard. He suggested that Adobe work on creating great HTML5 tools, which is now what they're doing.
But, Flash isn't just going to disappear. Adobe still have a huge market for Flash, with Google adding better Flash support to their popular Chrome browser. How much longer does Flash have to stay relevant? Well, this market is an ever-changing one, so its really an impossible question right now.
Google has updated the Google Translate app to version 2.5. With the update, Google has ushered in some big, and extremely useful, changes to the app. Instead of having to type in all of the text you want translated, you can now take a picture using the rear-facing camera and have the app translate selected text.
Simply select the camera icon, tap the screen to take a picture, and select the text you want translated and let Google's servers do the rest. The feature, according to AndroidCentral, takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do, it is easy enough to select small bits of text for translation.
The new feature requires you to be running a minimum of Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), so my older Epic 4G, which I've neglected to update, wouldn't be able to run the app. This new feature could be extremely useful while traveling for translating train tickets, public transport signs or schedules, or restaurant menus. The options are endless.
You can grab the updated version of the app from the Google Play store.
Facebook SDK 3.0 for iOS hit beta a few weeks ago, but it looks like a finished version has popped up onto the surface of the Internet. The SDK continues to push a more iOS-native experience, better API support and better session management.
iOS 6 integration won't get the eye down until Apple pushes out their latest software update, with Facebook keeping a separate beta track active to serve forward-thinking developers. Facebook's regular users won't be getting the same reward, though. Mobile ads are peeking their head into the latest beta, it seems and while Facebook isn't pushing them big time [yet], it's a sign of things to come.
The social network is letting developers pitch their Android and iOS apps from Facebook's mobile portals, with a quick jump over to the relevant app store if the title isn't already loaded. At the moment there's no ETA, but with the mobile ads, I'm sure Facebook junkies are in no rush just yet.