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5 months ago

Google Play Music may finally be coming to India

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It looks like Google is finally about to bring Play Music to India. Several users on Reddit are able to access selected songs from the Play Music catalog, with prices listed in INR (₹).

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5 months ago

AC editors' apps of the week: iPlayer Radio, Sensor Sense, FIFA 16 and more

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It's Appday Sunday and that means we're back with more of our favorites to share. Every week we bring a handful of great apps to the table and share them with everyone. Sometimes they are new apps, sometimes old standards, but every time they are apps we love to use.

Give these a look and then take a minute to tell us all about the apps you are using and love so we can give them a try. We all find some of our favorites right in the comments on these posts!

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5 months ago

How to use Snapchat on Android

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How do I use Snapchat on my Android phone?

The idea of Snapchat was first conceived in 2011 when founder Evan Spiegel was having a conversation with his friend Reggie Brown. Brown explained to Spiegel that even though he was enjoying exchanging messages with a girl, he wished all the photos he was sending her would vanish after she saw them.

Spiegel clearly liked what Brown was putting down, and over the summer of 2011, Snapchat began to pick up steam (back then it was called Pictaboo) with the help of Brown and co-founder Bobby Murphy. They even used the same cute little ghost icon that we know and love today!

After a bit of drama (what's a successful start-up tech company without a little drama?), a name change, some people leaving, and a brand shift, Snapchat as we know it began to take shape.

Today, Snapchat has nearly 100 million daily users who send and receive snaps. In fact, every single second over 8,500 photos are shared across Snapchat. We're here to help you set up Snapchat and get in on the fun!

Download: Snapchat (free)

How does Snapchat work?

Think of Snapchat as messages meant for a secret agent, except instead of your video or picture message exploding when it's done playing or times out, it simply disappears.

If you try and screenshot a photo or video that someone has sent your way, Snapchat will alert the person on the other end that you've screenshotted their snap, so don't think you're being sneaky — you'll just end up embarrassing yourself!

You can use Snapchat for pretty much anything, although it was originally designed for dating (can you guess why?), but it's recently become a more artistic medium for some people.

One of Snapchat's newest features is the "story," which broadcasts your snaps out to many other snappers for 24 hours rather than sending a snap to one person.

Some people spend a lot of time shooting interesting things, taking unique photos, and sharing their lives through their "story" because it's not as permanent as posting something to Instagram but not as fleeting and temporary as sending out individual snaps.

Sign up for Snapchat and get started

Signing up for Snapchat is super simple. After downloading the app, open it from your home screen. You'll see a bright yellow screen with a little white ghost on it. Underneath, tap on the red login bar (the little ghost will then stick his tongue out).

Enter your first and last name, your birthday, your username (this is how friends will add you on Snapchat), and your password. Enter in your phone number or email and wait for your confirmation code.

Once you've signed up for Snapchat and gone through the verification process, Snapchat will scan your contact list for other people using the app, so you can add friends. Then you're ready to get snapping!

Getting familiar with the home screen

Your home screen in Snapchat isn't the Stories/discover section like some people think (although that is where all the action happens), but the screen that shows what your camera sees when you first open the app.

On the home screen, you'll see a few different icons that do different things, including a tiny ghost at the top that when you swipe down, shows a pull-down menu of extra Snapchat things like how to add friends, settings, and more.

Filters

Filters in Snapchat work similarly to filters in Instagram but with a fraction of the options to choose from. After you take your photo or video, swipe left to pick from all your filter options. At this time, there are four color-filter options to choose from:

Filter #1:

Slightly airbrushed and brightened effect throughout the filter. Also lowers the contrast a bit.


Filter #2:

A very light green/yellow tint to your photo or video. Makes things a bit darker, so it looks best with snaps that have brighter lighting.


Filter #3:

A 'modern' looking filter that gives your photo a blueish, cool tone. Makes colors pop and adds a bit of saturation to otherwise dull snaps.


Filter #4:

Your standard, run-of-the-mill black and white effect.


There are a number of other of filters to choose from that wont tint your pictures. You can add the speed into your snaps if you're traveling on a car or bike, the temperature if it's a particularly hot day, the date or time, and your phone's battery percentage.

Your city or neighbourhood may even have a few geofilters designed for you to use (geofilters will only work if you're in a certain space or area), so be sure to swipe through all of your filter options and explore!

Lenses

A lot of people get lenses and filters mixed up because they sound like similar things, but in reality they're super different features on Snapchat.

While a filter works by laying a blanket tint, text, or design over your photo or video, a lens works by adding real-time sound effects and special effects directly onto your Snapchat screen as you pose and snap.

When the feature was first rolled out, people could take pictures with lenses that turned them into puppies, made them vomit rainbows, distorted their faces into hilarious caricatures of themselves and more, but as lenses have become more and more popular, the options you have seem to grow daily.

Singular-person lenses

Singular-person lenses first appeared in 2015 and do just what you think they do; produce a lens for a singular person.

These lenses are normally updated and changed every single day, and feature everything from cute and cuddly animal lenses, freaky demonic lenses, lenses that give you a full face of makeup, lenses that let you face swap with a photo in your camera roll, and much more.

Double-person lenses

Double-person lenses or "Try it with a friend" lenses are new to Snapchat, but they only appear on a couple of lens options and they change constantly, as in: one hour a double lens will exist and the next hour it'll only be a single-person lens.

Double-person lenses work by masking both people in the frame with a similar effect but with a slight variation (one's a brown dog and one's a dalmatian or one's a panda and one's a koala, etc.) or they work by applying the same effect to both people, like the same flower crown or wreath or laurels.

Doodling

After you take a snap, you'll notice a small white pencil in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. This lets you draw and add your own artwork to your Snapchat videos and photos.

You can even adjust and pick your colors as you draw, and on Android phones, you have the option to change the opacity (so if you want to draw a ghost chasing you, you totally can).

Pro tip: Use a stylus for more creative control over your drawings!

Text

Right beside the white pencil in the corner is a large "T" that stands for "text". Tap on that icon to produce a text box on your snap and then go ahead and write whatever you want.

You can tap the T again to change the text from a panel to free-floating text. Here you can change your text color, size, and position on your snap. If you tap the T again, it centers the text for you but still keeps the text free-floating for you to adjust as you want.

Stickers & Emojis

On the other side of the white T and the pencil on your snap screen is a little box that looks like its edge is folded inward. This is the button for all the fun stuff – the stickers and emojis!

Tap on the icon and you'll see some of Snapchat's own stick designs, but if you keep swiping you'll quickly see all of your favorite emojis displayed.

You can put stickers and emojis into your videos or photos on Snapchats, or you can "stick'" them to your video, which means the sticker or emoji would match movements with an item in the video.

Taking, sending and saving your snaps

Taking, sending and saving your snaps

After you've taken your desired snap and edited it, there are a few things that you can do with your Snapchat photo or video.

You can send your snap out to specific people by tapping on the big blue and white arrow in the lower righthand corner and selecting who specifically you'd like to send it to from your friends list; just don't forget to adjust the length of the snap in the lower lefthand corner.

You can also save your snap directly to your camera roll by tapping on the little white arrow going into the box at the bottom of your screen, or send the snap directly to your story by tapping on the square with the plus sign icon beside it (you can also send a snap to your story through the same screen where you send individual ones. The "your story" option is at the top.)

Your story/discover page

If you swipe to the left of your Snapchat home screen, you'll find the stories page, and if you swipe again, you'll land on the discover page.

The discover page is a bit useless now that Snapchat has made all the outside news sources on that page appear on the stories page, but if you're looking to cut through the noise and use Snapchat as a super convenient news source rather than a way to send and receive videos, then the discover page will be your best friend.

At the top of the page, you'll see your stories – these are the snaps that you've set for all of your followers to see for 24 hours before they disappear. If we're looking at this from a social media perspective, your story is almost like a temporary Facebook page that broadcasts the day's shenanigans to all your followers.

You can also use the story page to scroll through all of your friends' stories as they post them. Every time a friend posts something to their story, their story will jump to the top of your queue, so you can watch them in order. While you're watching a story, you can tap on your screen to jump to the next snap in their story, or swipe to go to the next person's story altogether.

Another cool thing Snapchat has is its news sources, entertainment sources, and publications that are updated daily on your discover and story page. Currently, Snapchat has regular feeds from Tastemade, Daily Mail, Buzzfeed, IGN, Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, VICE, MTV, People, Comedy Central, CNN, Bleacher Report Sports, Mashable, the Food Network, National Geographic, and Sweet Magazine.

Sending audio, text, photo and video messages

Snapchat isn't just used for sending out snaps; it can also be used as an instant messaging service for audio and text messages, along with photo and video calls.

To start a conversation with a friend on Snapchat, simply find them in your friends list and tap on their photo. Tap on the little blue icon in the pop-up's lower left-hand corner to bring up the conversation window.

Once the window is open, you can send pictures from your camera roll by tapping on the photo icon; send an audio note by holding the phone icon or make an audio call by tapping the phone icon; record a video note by holding the video icon or make a video call by tapping the video icon; and send emojis via the smiley face icon.

Anything tips for starting on snap?

Is there anything we missed about Snapchat that you'd love for us to cover? Let us know in the comments below!

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5 months ago

How to set the default keyboard on your Android phone

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How to set default keyboard on your Android phone

Setting up a default keyboard on your Android phone is a lot easier than you think!

One amazing thing about Android phones is the plethora of customization options you have, including the option to change keyboards. There are a bunch of great keyboard apps for Android to choose from, so find the one that feels right for you.

We'll be working with the SwiftKey keyboard today to show you how to set a default keyboard on your Android phone, but the process is the same no matter which keyboard app you choose .

  1. Download and install new keyboard.
  2. Go to Settings.
  3. Find and tap Languages and input. It should be under the Personal submenu.

  4. Tap on current keyboard under Keyboard & input methods.
  5. Tap on choose keyboards.
  6. Tap on the SwiftKey keyboard you would like to set as default.

  7. Read the Attention prompt that comes up on screen and tap OK if you wish to continue.
  8. Make sure the switch beside the keyboard has changed from gray to green.
  9. Go back to the main language & input screen.

  10. Tap on current keyboard again.
  11. Select the SwiftKey keyboard. This will save automatically.
  12. Make sure the keyboard is working by writing a quick message to someone.

Enjoy using your new third-party keyboard on your Android phone! If for any reason you want to go back to the stock keyboard or want to try out a different keyboard, it's the exact same process.

This article was originally published in July, 2016. It was updated in November 2016 with minor fixes.

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5 months ago

Chrome gets native Google Cast support built in, no extension required

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Google is rolling out some changes to Casting in the desktop version Chrome with the latest release, 51. While you could previously cast from the browser using the Google Cast toolbar icon, this will no longer be necessary going forward.

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5 months ago

Amazon locks in the exclusive on streaming PBS Kids shows (sort-of)

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Amazon this week announced that it and PBS "they have entered into a multi-year agreement that makes Amazon Prime Video the exclusive premium subscription streaming home for a broad collection of PBS KIDS series." That's a bummer for folks who had been watching via Netflix and Hulu, and a boon for Amazon, which is (of course) pushing for the entire world to sign up for Amazon Prime. So if you have Prime, you'll still get all the Daniel Tiger you want, for free.

There are a couple catches here, though.

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5 months ago

Google Fit makes it easier to see your daily stats with new design

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Google Fit, the company's fitness tracking app, has recently received a pretty sizable update. Included in the update is a new look that helps show all your daily stats at once, an easier way to see how your weight is trending and more.

You'll be able to see how you compare to other users in your area and even set more detailed goals.

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5 months ago

Best Android lock screen and lock screen replacement apps

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Best Android lock screen and lock screen replacement apps

What's the best lock screen app for Android?

For most folks, the standard Android lock screen is just fine. For some, however, it's not quite customizable enough. For those people, there are lock screen replacement apps that allow you to tweak the way you see the time, notifications, the layout, and much more.

Here are a few of our favorites.

ZUI Locker-Elegant Lock Screen

ZUI Locker

ZUI Locker has over 240,000 5-star reviews in the Google Play Store and it's definitely the best of the best Android lock screen replacement apps.

You can download all sorts of themes that include a time widget, weather widget, wallpaper, and more (or less, if you prefer) or you can use any of the stock wallpapers and themes available right in the app. Customize your lock screen the way you want that's best for you.

The best feature of ZUI Locker is the Control Panel, á la iOS. You just swipe up from the bottom of your lock screen and many of your most-used settings are there for you to control without having to unlock your phone.

You can turn on/off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular data (requires you to unlock your phone), control brightness, enable Flight mode, and, best of all, turn on the flashlight (as an Galaxy S5 user, this is a godsend!). You can also quick-launch apps from the Control Panel, and you have your choice of which apps and how many are in your panel.

If you're looking for a versatile and customizable lock screen replacement app with really useful functionality, then ZUI Locker should be your app of choice.

Download: ZUI Locker-Elegant Lock Screen (free)


AcDisplay

AcDisplay

If you yearn for a simple, minimalist look for your lock screen, AcDisplay is the lock screen app for you. It features a flat black background with the time and date, and that's it. Notifications show up as app icons alone — tap 'em and unlock your phone and away you go.

The downside is that AcDisplay isn't a true lock screen replacement app, so it doesn't work unless you have the app open. If you're someone who likes a clean phone and hates apps left open, then steer clear. It also doesn't presently support pin or pattern verification, so you phone can be unlocked with just a swipe.

If you like a clean lock screen that shows the bare necessities and aren't concerned with locking your phone, then AcDisplay is perfect for you. Just be aware that AcDisplay becomes a device administrator, so if you ever want to uninstall it, you'll first have to deactivate it in your settings.

Download: AcDisplay (free)


Start Lock Screen

Start Lock Screen

Start Lock Screen is essentially a start screen on your "lock" screen. "Lock" in quotes because this app doesn't replace your lock screen; it actually just masks your home screen, so your Notification shade is still fully accessible.

This is truly a lock screen app for those who need quick access to their phone at all times. That means your phone isn't totally locked and therefore not as secure as some folks may like.

If you prefer the convenience of quick-launching apps without having to poke around your home screen, then Start Lock Screen is your solution. You just tap and hold the lock and app categories pop up, featuring all of the apps that apply. For example, there's a messaging apps category wherein you can just tap an app such as Hangouts, and be taken right into it.

If you're all for accessing your phone right out of your pocket but still want some separation from instant total access, then Start Lock Screen is a very capable middle man.

Download: Start Lock Screen (free)


Echo Notification Lockscreen

Echo Notification

Perhaps the prettiest lock screen app on the list, Echo Notification Lockscreen is a smooth, streamlined lock screen replacement that categorizes your notifications so you can quickly see what's important. You can even snooze notifications so you'll be reminded of them after a while.

The two main categories are Priority and Social, and there are already predetermined apps divided among these camps, but you can go into Echo's settings and change them around at will. So if Facebook notifications are a priority to you, you can make sure they're noted under that category.

There are only three stock wallpapers available, one of which happens to be a boring gray background. But the others are high quality, and you can always add in your own photos.

Echo offers swipe, pattern, or PIN security, and out of all the apps on this list, seems to behave the best, i.e. it works all the time.

If you want a very straightforward lock screen replacement app without all the bells and whistles that others have, but also want your notifications organized for you, check out Echo Notification Lockscreen.

Download: Echo Notification Lockscreen (free)

Locker Master

Locker Master

Locker Master is another pretty lock screen replacement app with a plethora of free wallpapers to download.

If you'd like to intricately personalize your lock screen, down to the layout, font, wallpaper, and what information is shown, then Locker Master is the lock screen replacement app for you. You can add text, the time, your battery percentage, and more to your lock screen, all while controlling the color of each widget and the look of each widget. There are myriad font and style options to download for free, allowing for limitless possibilities unlimited.

Locker Master can be a tad on the buggy side (like any lock screen replacement app), but it will definitely sate the appetite of the customization beast that lives inside you.

Download:Locker Master (free)


Lock Screen - Iphone Lock

Lock Screen - Iphone Lock

OK, so right of the bat, yes, the developers aren't capitalizing iPhone properly — who knows why. In any case, if you made the switch from iPhone to Android and still need to wean yourself off iOS, this app makes your lock screen look just like — HOW DID YOU GUESS?!? — an iPhone lock screen.

Sarcasm aside, this lock screen replacement app actually works quite well, aside from taking a few seconds to engage and the occasional flash of your home screen when you manually wake up your phone.

Your notifications will only show in your Notification bar, but you'll have full access to your Notification Shade when your screen is locked, so this app acts as more of a home screen mask than a true lock screen.

If you're missing your iPhone lock screen, then Lock Screen - Iphone Lock is the lock screen app you've been pining for.

Download: Lock Screen - Iphone Lock (free)

What do you use?

Do you use a lock screen or lock screen replacement app on your Android device? Sound off in the comments below!

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5 months ago

Microsoft's Arrow Launcher for Android adds Office 365 document access

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Microsoft has released version 2.0 of its Arrow Launcher for Android. The update allows users with an Office 365 subscription to access and read any documents they have stored without the need to open an Office app.

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5 months ago

Night mode shows that Twitter's finally serious about its Android app

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A smart transition takes things from white to black, but still keeps the app easy to read.

For a long time — OK, a long time insofar as Twitter is concerned — the conventional wisdom was that the powers that be cared only about you tweeting from Twitter's website, and apps be damned. The official app was long outpaced by third-party offerings, at least until Twitter began to choke out those apps by limiting the number of users they could top out at.

Things are different now. And that's no more apparent than with the recent addition of a dark "night mode" in the official Twitter app.

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5 months ago

Google Keep now creates automatic topics for searching through notes

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Google Keep has received a small but useful update that makes it easier to organize your notes by topic. The app now automatically generates topics for your notes, such as food, books, or travel. So Keep might put a to-do list with the word 'trip' in it under the 'travel' section, or a recipe under 'food'.

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5 months ago

Note-taking alternatives now that Evernote is more expensive

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Now that Evernote is raising prices for its Plus and Premium plans — and limiting the free basic sync to just two devices — perhaps you're in the market for a new note-taking app.

Well, we've used more than a few around here. These are the note-taking apps that keep us taking notes, day after day.

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5 months ago

PlayStation Vue app now streaming on Android devices

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The PlayStation Vue app is now officially available for Android phones and tablets. Sony recently announced that it would be releasing the app and held to its word. Vue is a streaming service that lets you watch movies, TV, sports and more without a cable subscription.

From the app's description:

PlayStation™Vue is a new TV service with live TV, movies and sports, without a cable or satellite subscription. Now available on Android Mobile. Download the app and sign-in with your Sony Entertainment Network account to get started. Available nationwide.

If interested in trying out the service, you can start a free trial now to check it out. After the trial there are a few different subscription plans, ranging from $40 to $55 per month. You can get started with the PlayStation Vue app on your compatible Android device now. Are you excited to see this, or are you content with your current streaming setup?

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5 months ago

Yahoo Sports gets a new look, live video, and more

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Yahoo has launched a complete refresh of its sports app, offering people a brand new design and a new set of features, such as personalized favorites, alerts, and scores. The app also features a variety of video content, including access to Yahoo's free MLB Game of the Day live.

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5 months ago

Facebook's latest News Feed change will prioritize posts from friends

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Facebook has announced it will be making more changes for its News Feed in the coming weeks. Posts from friends that Facebook users care about most will be placed higher in the News Feed with this change.

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