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Everyone was shocked when Facebook acquired Instagram for a cool $1 billion. Facebook said they were going to keep Instagram somewhat of a separate entity after the acquisition and Facebook rolled out their own Camera app. Now, Facebook has released an update to the Instagram app, the first facelift since the acquisition.
What's New in Version 2.5.0:
- Revamped profile tab
- Search for users and tags in the Explore tab
- Improvements to commenting
- User search autocompletes based on people you follow
- Visual improvements
- Speed optimizations
- Optionally share likes to Facebook (enable in your Profile > Sharing Settings > Facebook)
The biggest change comes in the form of the new "Explore" tab which shows popular photos and has a way to search photos as well. The search allows users to look for users, hashtags, and photos based on the entered search terms.
Currently rocking an iPhone and want to switch over to that awesome new Samsung GALAXY S III but don't want to go through the hassle of manually re-entering all of your contacts, etc? Well, fear not, Samsung have released what they call 'Easy Phone Sync'.
Easy Phone Sync is an app that has been developed to make the transition between an iPhone and the GALAXY S III much easier. The app can run on both a Mac or a PC, and gives options to transfer music, videos, podcasts, pictures, contacts and even text messages. The process takes around five minutes to set up, and users can continue to rely on iTunes to manage their content after the transfer.
DRM-restricted content purchased from iTunes can't be transferred, the same goes for iOS apps.
SwiftKey 3 for Android is now here, and the customizable and helpful keyboard has been updated with some new features. The updated version of SwiftKey sports a more intelligent correction capability, and an improved user interface.
One of the new features is something the developer, TouchType, call "Smart Space". Smart Space detects when you've inserted a space in the middle of a word, or forgotten to insert spaces when typing too quickly into a string of words and automatically corrects it for you.
The keyboards also sports a bigger space bar, and a smart punctuation key that gives you access to common punctuation. As a long-term user of SwiftKey, the new smart punctuation key will take a little getting used to. There's also two new themes to choose from, the first "Cobalt" and the second "Holo", which looks similar to the default color theme of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
Flipboard arrives on Android, includes Google+ and YouTube, also comes standard with US-bound GALAXY S III phones
I've been using Flipboard on my iPad when I'm laying in bed, or on the couch and it's a perfect app that I wish were on Android, and now it is. Flipboard officially launched on Android today after its short beta period and sports some new flashy super powers.
These new super powers include integration with YouTube as well as Google+ across platforms, as well as a pretty big distribution deal with Samsung. The Verge reports that the YouTube and Google+ integration works just like the Twitter and Facebook integration does in Flipboard. To add, you just tap the content guide ribbon, then select either service under 'Your Accounts', then head to 'Add an Account', easy.
YouTube on Flipboard looks great, as it pulls down all of your subscriptions allowing for simple browsing, as well as full commenting, liking, sharing, and subscriptions support built directly into Flipboard. Google+ is said to be pretty much the same, you can +1, share, and comment on posts, as well as browse circles, individual users, or pages. The updated Flipboard app is available from the iTunes App Store, Google Play Store, Barnes & Noble NOOK Store, Amazon's Appstore for Android and finally, Samsung Apps.
Now when viewing apps in the Google Play Store, users will be able to see developers' responses to user comments and reviews. It's something that should have been instituted from the very beginning and it's surprising that it took them this long to add it. It's a feature that can be seen in action on Newegg's review system and, quite frankly, it works great.
Google Play Project Manager Ellie Powers:
User reviews on Google Play are great for helping people discover quality apps and give feedback to developers and other potential app users. But what about when developers want to give feedback to their users? Sometimes a user just needs a helping hand, or perhaps a new feature has been added and the developer wants to share the good news.
That's why we're adding the ability for Google Play developers to respond to reviews from the Google Play Android Developer Console. Developers can gather additional information, provide guidance, and - perhaps most importantly - let users know when their feature requests have been implemented.
The feature won't be available to every developer quite yet. Only developers who have a "Top Developer" badge will be given access to the feature for right now and they will be able to test it out. When a developer responds, an e-mail is sent to the user who placed the comment or review to alert them of the response.
Google seems pretty committed to strengthening its developer ecosystem around Android. So much so that they are now offering live support during office hours with a new program called "Developers Live." The new program allows developers to talk directly to Googlers who are the ones creating the APIs the developer is currently working with.
Louis Gray from the Developer Relations team:
We think connecting you with Google's experts and your fellow developers can inspire incredible app creation. So today, we're introducing Google Developers Live, a destination for developers around the world that will feature live, interactive broadcasts ranging from developer-focused game shows to Office Hours where you can connect with the engineers who created and work on your favorite Google product.
Google Developers Live allows us to bring you the excitement of Google I/O year-round, beginning today with the release of starter-level sessions on everything from Android to YouTube, to help prepare you for the more advanced content that will be presented next week. And, if you have any questions after watching these tutorials, we've set up Office Hours with each of our presenters on Google Developers Live so you can ask them directly.
It looks like with the impending release of Apple's mobile OS, iOS 6, that we could see a change in the podcasts section of Apple. Sources have revealed to AllThingsD that Apple are planning to release a native app that focuses solely on podcasts.
iOS 6 is said to have a dedicated podcasts app, which will let users discover, downloads and play podcasts on mobile devices. This is a similar move Apple played when they decided to split iTunes into a video and music app on iOS, as well as launching the iBooks app with the iPad release.
If this ends up happening, it may explain the disappearance of podcasts from the version of iTunes that Apple has been showing off to developers.
The My Xbox LIVE for iPhone app has been updated, which lets you find, learn more about, and control your favorite content from popular entertainment services on Xbox 360. But, it gets better: you can control the content on your console with play, pause, fast forward and rewind controls directly from the confort of your iPhone, on your lounge, bed or bean bag!
The good news doesn't stop there, My Xbox LIVE for iPad has also been updated. The new app sports Retina Display support, as well as improved authentication making connecting your iPad with your Xbox LIVE account easier than it has ever previously been. And for the first time on Android, the free My Xbox LIVE app lets you read and send messages to friends, manage your friends list and invite new friends, read and edit your full LIVE profile (name, bio, motto), change your avatar features and items with the avatar closet, and view and compare your achievement progress with friends.
Some of the updates coming for the iOS version are:
- Discover fresh content (iPhone)
- Connect to and control content on your Xbox 360 (iPhone)
- Improved authentication (iPad)
- Retina display support (iPad)
Popular music streaming service Spotify have updated their Android app which sports a new interface, new features, and Last.fm users can now add their account details to the app which allows songs to be scrobbled and added to their playlist history.
The updated app includes upgraded sound options, high-resolution artist imagery, and a new slide-out navigation system. The new user interface is swish, allowing you to simply slide across between options. Friend playlists and profiles, queues and album art are all here, as well as a new "related artist" view - something missing from the previous versions of the Spotify for Android app.
Folder playlist management and other social parts of the app are included, with sound quality settings extended to 320kbps. Android 4.0-based users can now control Spotify playback through a home screen widget (great!!), but for most of the high-end features, and offline mode, the $10 per month premium subscription is required - it's highly recommended, personally!
It looks as though Sprint could be working on their own NFC wallet app. Last week, news leaked out that Sprint was developing their own NFC wallet app, and thanks to some slides passed along today, we now know that those rumors were true. The details are slim, but we certainly know more now than we did.
The thing looks pretty darn similar to Google Wallet. Sprint has been the only official partner carrier for that app, so they may have decided it would be better to make their own. The biggest questions remain unanswered. Questions like what bank partners Sprint will have or when it will be unveiled have yet to receive an answer.
Functionally, it appears to be near identical to Google Wallet. After the app is unlocked using a passcode, you receive a screen of options. If the phone is tapped to a reader, a listing of sorts will be presented to select a card to use. When you are done, the entire thing locks back up.
Users in the US need a singular app to get behind before these NFC wallets will take off. Is this the one for us, or is it just another novelty?