The app you know and love, now with the best BlackBerry news
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. At long last, at great expense to life and limb and with no small amount of fanfare, we're happy to announce that the second Mobile Nations community has a proper native application on Google Play.
In other words, CrackBerry has arrived.
If you're a fan of the Android Central app — and if you're not, you really should be — you'll feel right at home with the CB version. We've taken all the awesomeness of the AC app, all the blood, sweat and tears, and optimized it for CrackBerry. That means you get all blog posts. All the reviews. All the editorials. You can play podcasts in the dedicated podcast section. Videos play directly in the app. You've got full access to the CrackBerry forums, as well as Shop CrackBerry. (The CB Wallpaper Gallery will be added in a future update.)
And best of all, it's free.
Again, this is a native Android application. And while those on BB10 will be able to sideload it, you'll get a better native BlackBerry experience with the official BB10 app from BlackBerry World. Just something to keep in mind.
We're less than two weeks out from Christmas, and Google's updating everything. We've got two new Google Play edition devices. We've got a white Nexus 7. And just about every app Google makes has been updated — along with yet another update to the Android software itself. Strap in, folks. This is a big one.
White variant of Samsung's latest 7-incher goes under £100 for the first time
If you're looking for a good deal on an Android tablet for someone this holiday season, and you're British, then Amazon might be worth a look. Currently you can pick up the white Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7-inch for just £99. Sure, it's not going to set your pants on fire, but if you're looking for something for a more casual user or for the kids, it's a great price.
This price is for the 8GB model, though being a Samsung tablet you do at least get the option of expanding that with a microSD card. It's pretty tame on the specs, with a 1024x600 resolution display, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and two less than impressive cameras, but right now at £99 you'll still likely be better off than with a similiarly priced no-name tablet.
Hands-free functions updated for devices running Kit Kat
Motorola has updated the Touchless Control app in Google Play, and this time around it's more than juts a bug-fix. The latest version of the application allows for more commands to work while your phone is locked, and the ability to speak your PIN number to unlock it. The change log:
More Google Now commands now work without having to unlock your phone first. Personal information such as emails, messages, and contacts are still protected by your PIN or password.
Say your pin to unlock your phone when using Touchless Control
New listening tone when you say "OK Google Now"
Compatible only with Android 4.4 KitKat
This looks to be a great update for those times when you're not connected to a Trusted Bluetooth device, and it's nice to see Motorola realizes that not everything should be accessible while the phone is locked up.
The Kit Kat only bit is a little worrisome, because that means the Droids are out of this one until Verizon gets the update pushed out. Hopefully, that's soon and everybody with a X8 device can have a go. You can find the update at the Google Play link above.
Picture-in-picture display and fast zooming in your contact list come in Skype 4.5
Microsoft's Skype application has undergone another big change, and version 4.5 is headed to Google Play. Like the last major update, this focuses on tablet design. Included are the bug and crash fixes and support for devices you would expect, but there are also two new features for tablet users.
The first is a picture-in-picture window for video and voice calls. You can now move out of the Skype app but still interact with a floating window of the active call. This is a tablet-only feature, though you will need to allow permission for it on phone installs as well.
The second feature is pinch-zooming and tapping your contact list to quickly navigate based on the letter of the contacts name. This should allow faster searching through your list if you've a long one, and should help when calling someone who isn't in your favorites.
Microsoft says the update will be rolling out today, so keep an eye out for it.
So here we are, we made it... to the very first Mobile Nations Community Update. I'm James Falconer, Community Manager for Mobile Nations. If you've seen me around the forums on Android Central, CrackBerry, iMore or Windows Phone Central, it's good to see you again. If this is the first time we've met: Howdy!
This is the first of what will be a monthly series of Community Updates spanning the Mobile Nations network. Each month we will highlight the most exciting things happening in our forums, stand-outs among the forum membership, moderators and our community ambassadors, plus a lot more.
Many of us run with one primary smartphone or tablet, but these devices do NOT exist in isolation. There's not just iPad or just BlackBerry or Android or Surface - they coexist. The communities likewise aren't islands - there are bridges, there's crossover, and comingling. This Community Update aims to strengthen those bridges and highlight the very best across all of Mobile Nations Communities. So let's get to it!
Double-tap listening improved while pinch zooming remains in latest Chrome beta build
If you've ever used a mobile web browser (I think that applies to all of us) you have experienced a self-imposed 300 millisecond delay between the time you tap something and it is registered as a click. This is a big part of the reason that mobile web browsing seems more disjointed and sluggish that what we're used to from a desktop machine, and why native applications seem to work better than HTML 5 web-based versions.
Starting with Chrome 32, now in Beta for Android, all this changes.
The delay was originally imposed because your browser has to listen for a double-tap. Based on the page width, some dynamic CSS, and your screen size double-tapping is a great way to zoom the content. But if a web-page is written well for mobile, there is no need for the double-tapping. When your phone doesn't have to listen for it, it can turn taps into clicks instantly — and still retain all the pinch-zooming you would ever want.
Google's own Jake Archibald has a nice little video showing the difference. We've dropped that in after the break, And the source link has all the technical details for web developers and interested parties.
The first of 14 winners in our extra-long photo contest
It's the end of the first full day for the Holiday Photo Contest, and that means one lucky entry will receive an Android mini collectible for their picture submission. Just as a quick refresher, the contest is looking for your best "holiday" photos, whatever that may mean to you, for a chance at a prize every single day from now until December 26th.
Hit the break to see today's winner, and be sure to get your entry into the contest thread in the forums if you haven't yet participated. Good luck!
High-level reorganization aims to differentiate future smartphones with camera tech
Samsung is reorganizing its corporate structure with the aim of rolling its camera expertise into future smartphones, according to reports from the Korean press. Korea's ETNews and Yonhap report that the company's digital imaging division is to be merged into its mobile devices and IT division. The goal, according to ETNews, is to "integrate the technical know-how of the two business divisions" in a way that allows Samsung to differentiate its smartphones through camera technology.
In the past year Samsung has launched several devices which straddle both categories, including the Galaxy Camera, the Galaxy S4 Zoom smartphone and the Galaxy NX Android-powered mirrorless camera. This latest reshuffle might push more of the company's imaging technology into its mainstream handsets, similar to the way rival Sony incorporates its Exmor RS sensors and Bionz processing tech into its flagship handsets. It could also be seen as a way for Samsung's smartphone business to become even more vertically integrated, giving it more control over its supply chain and reducing its reliance on competitors.