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2 weeks ago

Verizon debuts its own chatbot on Facebook Messenger

1

The Fios customer service bot will answer your questions and help you find things to watch.

Probably the worst part about customer service is having to talk to someone on the phone when things go awry or you have a quick question. But would you rather have the conversation over Facebook Messenger?

Verizon has introduced the Fios chatbot on Facebook Messenger. You can use it to do things like search for content to watch, manage your DVR, and add channels to an existing package. It works for Verizon Fios internet service, too, so if you're wondering what the throughput is on your internet speeds, you can simply ask the chatbot to test the connection.

"The Fios chatbot is focused on entertainment content now," said Miguel Quiroga, head of digital for Verizon's Fios consumer business, in the official press release. "It will continue to evolve based on how people use it. In effect, our customers will be 'co-creating' the platform with us."

Automated customer service isn't a new concept, just as chatbots aren't new either. Facebook on its part recently announced its plans to double down on chatbots in an effort to give them substantial credence over time.

If you're a Verizon Fios customer, you can try out the Fios chatbot on Facebook Messenger right now. Search for Fios, and then select "Get Started" as the first chat entry to start the process of linking your account.

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2 weeks ago

How to connect an accessory to Samsung Health

5

Connecting an accessory to Samsung Health makes tracking your progress easier than ever.

Samsung Health aims to be your one-stop-shop for tracking your health and exercise. While it contains plenty of features within the app to track things, you can also connect compatible accessories that will help you in this endeavor. Whether you're hoping to know what your fastest mile is or precisely how far you biked, you can do it all by connecting the right accessory. It's also an extremely easy process, and we have the details for you here.

Why connect an accessory to Samsung Health?

Connecting your Samsung Gear S3 Smartwatch, or Gear Icon X earbuds to Samsung Health can definitely enhance how well Samsung Health works. This is because the app is actually set up to connect to activity trackers, bike sensors, smartwatches, heart rate monitors, and plenty more.

Samsung Health really does aim to be an all-in-one place for you to build healthy habits, and then track them. To this end, they've included compatibility with a slew of different devices you may be using to aid you in a variety of ways. Whether these are smart scales to check your weight, glucose monitors to check your sugar levels, or just an activity tracker to get the stats from your morning run, this is a pretty big deal.

This makes tracking your progress easier than ever.

Being able to have all of your health information in one place, and to see the improvement day after day and week after week may be the motivation you need to get serious about your health. While the devices that you'll be able to connect are primarily Samsung's own, you can see a full list of supported devices within the accessory page inside of the app.

Now one thing to remember is that if you are connecting a Samsung Accessory, you'll need to go ahead and install Samsung Gear Manager first. Your phone won't connect to your smartwatch if the Gear Manager isn't on your phone.

Once you have an accessory connected then you'll be able to track specific information without having to manually enter it into the app. This makes tracking your progress easier than ever, especially if you tend to forget to input information after a workout.

How to connect an accessory within Samsung Health

  1. Open Samsung Health.
  2. Tap the overflow icon that looks like three vertical dots in the upper right corner.
  3. Tap Accessories to open the accessories page.

  4. Tap the Accessory you want to connect to Samsung Health.
  5. Tap Register in the upper right hand corner of the screen.
  6. Tap Connect to pair your accessory to your phone.

Have you connected an accessory to Samsung Health?

Connecting an accessory to Samsung Health lets you keep better track of information like your run, heart rate, weight, and plenty more. This makes it easier than ever to track your progress as you try to get healthier, without having to think about it or constantly input information. Have you made the jump and connected your smartwatch, or another accessory to Samsung Health? We want to know about it! Leave us a comment below!

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2 weeks ago

Allo's next trick: Turning your selfies into emoji

26

The new features takes advantage of Google's machine learning abilities to make a set of stickers based on your face.

Feel like your feelings could better be expressed through emoji that look like you? Well, you're in luck if you're an Allo user. The latest update comes with a feature that turns your selfie into a reusable sticker.

The feature was announced in an official Google blog, and then confirmed in an interview between Google's Jason Cornwall, Communications UX Lead at Google, and FastCo Design. Starting today, you'll be able to shoot and save your own emotive stickers to use within Allo conversations. Google's image-recognition algorithm will analyze your face and map each of your individual features to a preset selection of images illustrated by artist Lamar Abrams, who is best known for the Cartoon Network series Steven Universe. Then, you can choose the emotion that best suits your mood.

"The goal isn't accuracy," Cornwell said about the ability. "It's to let someone create something that feels like themselves, to themselves." Google estimates that there are 563 quadrillion possibilities. Once you create your stickers, you'll have 22 different moods to choose from.

The FastCo Design article continues with some background on Google's objective behind the sticker-making feature:

The project represents a long-running priority at Google—to figure out new ways that it can apply ML to broader and broader swathes of experience. The logic, for Google, is alluring: Google leads the world in ML, so if it can make ML into a must-have feature for apps and websites, then its products will be able to leapfrog competitors. Along those lines, Allo has become a test bed for all kinds of novel ML applications. "What we're doing with Allo is trying to find all the ways that ML can make messaging better," says Cornwell. "From saying the right thing at the right time to conveying the right emotion at the right time."

Unfortunately, I don't see the update available in the Google Play Store at the time of writing, which is quite a bummer. A sticker-making feature that uses Google's Machine Learning abilities is rather impressive, and I'm curious to see the end result in real time.

You can read the rest of the article, which includes background on how the stickers were designed, at FastCo Design. As for the app update, keep checking in the Google Play Store.

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2 weeks ago

Everywhere you can use Samsung Pay

82

Samsung Pay is available all over the place.

Samsung Pay makes paying for your purchases easier than ever, but knowing when it will work is handy in a pinch. There are plenty of places that work well with Samsung Pay, but it definitely isn't available everywhere. We've got the details for you on where it works, and where it doesn't.

Where can I use Samsung Pay?

Samsung Pay will work at terminals that use NFC or MST—Magnetic Secure Transmission —payments. While you may be pretty familiar with NFC payments, Samsung phones are the only ones using MST to render payments.

MST Technology allows your phone to trick a terminal into thinking a card has been swiped by using a magnetic field. Using this technology your phone is able to magnetically swipe at terminals as though it were a real card, even if the terminal does not support tap and pay.

Essentially what you need to use Samsung Pay is a terminal where it is possible to just tap or magnetically 'swipe' your phone in order to pay. Now, many folks currently have credit or debit cards that require a chip reader in order to render payments. Depending on the card that you are using, the virtual card supplied in the app should be able to bypass this by delivering a virtual card without a chip. And thanks to tokenization, a process that randomizes the numbers of your virtual card from those of your real, physical one, if the terminal is compromised and those numbers are stolen, it shouldn't affect your account as a whole.

Many retailers that are set up to accept Samsung Pay as a payment method have a sticker on their terminal. This makes it easy to tell at a glance if Samsung Pay is accepted, although in some locations it will work even if it isn't indicated.

What does not support Samsung Pay?

Samsung Pay is supported at many different locations, from grocery stores to convenience stores to Square readers. However, it isn't going to work everywhere. Specifically the place where you are going to run into problems is anywhere that requires you to insert your card in order to process payment.

This means that locations like ATMs, or vending machines are not going to be able to process Samsung Pay purchases if they require you to insert a bank card. While you do have a virtual card saved to your account, it isn't physical and thus can't be inserted into the machines.

The big thing to remember is that Samsung Pay is only going to work in locations that have a magnetic strip reader using MST, or access to NFC contactless technology. In some cases you may still run into issues with companies updating their terminals for chip technology.

What do terminals that use Samsung Pay look like?

Since so many places now support Samsung Pay, it can be a little bit difficult to figure out which ones don't support this payment method. We've collected some photos for you, so that you know when Samsung Pay ought to work, and when it won't.

We tested out terminals in chain stores like Target and Journeys, along with vending machines that take Samsung Pay.

Now when it comes to places that aren't currently accepting Samsung Pay, you'll often be looking at older locations that haven't updated their terminals yet.

Have you used Samsung Pay?

Samsung Pay lets you tap your phone to a terminal in order to pay with your phone, and it's available for use at thousands upon thousands of locations. While it doesn't work everywhere, or in every case, it is a handy alternative to digging through your wallet for your card. Have you used Samsung Pay? Let us know about it in the comments below!

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phones, where it sits somewhat-awkwardly next to the camera lens. Iris scanning makes its return in a new-and-improved version from the Note 7.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Waterproofing and wireless charging are still here as well, plus a new USB-C port on the bottom. The rear camera is unchanged in terms of its 12MP sensor and f/1.7 lens, but has improved processing thanks to a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

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2 weeks ago

Google wants you to (what else?) use its search engine to find things to do

1

Feeling droll and aching for something new to do? Ask Google.

Google doesn't want you to use a separate app or scour the depths of the internet to find something interesting to do. Instead, it wants you to give its ol' search engine a try. The latest update to the Google app and mobile website enables the search engine to tap into feeds from services like Eventbrite, Meetup, and Songkick to directly display what's happening near you.

To try it, type in a search like "art events this weekend" on your phone. You'll see variety of options, including an extended event calendar and tabs for the different days of the week. You can also type in the date or day of the week for more specific results, or "events near me" to see what's happening near your location.

The update appears to be on a slow roll out to both Android and iOS users, as the new features weren't available for me at press time. I also live in a smaller town, and it'll be interesting to ses if the lack of things happening nearby will affect this ability outright.

If you manage an event-centric site, you can check out the varying guidelines for marking up your own events so that they're more discoverable.

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2 weeks ago

Best Microsoft apps for Android

126

Microsoft apps have come a long way on Android.

Microsoft essentially shunned Android and iOS for several years, but with Satya Nadella taking the helm in 2014 and adopting a mobile-first stance, the company has turned its attention to bringing its apps and services to rival platforms. From heavy-hitters like Office to side projects developed by employees in their free time under the Microsoft Garage label, Microsoft has a lot to offer on Android.

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2 weeks ago

How to get started with Samsung Health

18

Samsung Health is filled with plenty of great features for you to utilize, but first you need to get set up.

When it comes to trying to get healthier, there are tons of apps out there that can help you in one avenue or another. Samsung Health, previously S Health, is an all in one app here to help you build better habits, and track the habits you already have. While there is a lot going on within the app, getting started is easier than you might think.

Create an account

The first thing that you'll need to do to get started with Samsung Health is create a new account or log into an existing S Health account. If you've ever had an S Health account, then you'll be able to log in and access all of your previous health information that was stored. If you want to start over or need to create a new account, that's also an easy process.

  1. Launch Samsung Health.
  2. Tap Agree to the terms and conditions.
  3. Tap Next.

    Open Samsung Health, tap to agree to terms and conditions, tap next,

  4. Type in your information to create an account.
  5. Tap Sign in.

    Type in your information, and tap log in

Set goals for yourself

The first thing that you should do after getting logged in to Samsung Health is set some goals for yourself. While there are plenty of specific goals that you can fine tune later, you get suggestions for the first few goals you set. These include counting calories if you're trying to eat better, a step counter to help your activity level, and a sleep tracker to help you get a solid amount of sleep each night.

  1. Launch Samung Health.
  2. Tap Set goals.
  3. Drag the slider bar to adjust the goal to where you want it.

    Open Samsung Health, Tap set goals, drag the slider to adjust the goal

  4. Tap Next to save your goal. Repeat this process with each goal.

    Tap next to save your goal, repeat this process with each goal

Fill out your Profile

The last big step of getting started with Samsung Health is to fill in the information on your profile. This includes benign information, like your display name, as well as entering information about your gender, height, weight, and activity levels.

Your profile page has all the information about your recent activities too. It's where you can see your personal best, as well as view a weekly summary that has a breakdown of your activity.

  1. Launch Samsung Health.
  2. Tap the green icon of a person in the upper right corner to navigate to the profile page.
  3. Tap on gender and tap to choose between male and female.

    Open Samsung Health, tap on the green icon of a person, tap on gender to choose your gender

  4. Tap Next.
  5. Tap the date you were born to set your age.
  6. Tap Next.

    Tap next, tap the date your were born, and tap next

  7. Tap and drag the slider to set your height.
  8. Tap Next.
  9. Tap and drag the slider to set your weight.

    Use the slider bar to set your height, tap next, use the slider to set your weight

  10. Tap Done to finish inputting profile info.

    tap done

Are you using Samsung Health?

Samung Health has plenty of tools to help you build better habits, but before you can jump into everything going on, you'll need to get set up. From creating an account to filling out your profile to setting your initial goals, this is an easy process. So are you using Samsung Health? Be sure to let us know about it in the comments below!

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2 weeks ago

Samsung renews deal to use McAfee security software on Galaxy S8, smart TVs and PCs

34

Yes, people do still care about security apps on their phones.

Samsung and McAfee have announced that they have extended their collaboration to put McAfee's security software across a wide range of Samsung's devices, including the new Galaxy S8 and S8+, smart TVs and PCs. The deal brings the McAfee LiveSafe application to Samsung PCs with a 60-day free trial, McAfee Security anti-malware software on Samsung TVs and the McAfee VirusScan app on the Galaxy S8 and S8+.

It's easy to point to these apps and say that you don't really need anti-malware protection on your Galaxy S8 or especially on your smart TV, but for some there's still a deep worry about security on mobile devices and the inclusion of this type of app can be a selling point. At a minimum, many will see the McAfee VirusScan app on their phone as a "belt and suspenders" situation where you might as well have it just in case because they don't trust their ability to keep their phone safe.

Readers of Android Central will know that the best way to keep your phone safe is to only download apps from the Google Play Store, only install apps that you trust and don't download files from websites that you didn't go looking for. Together with Google's built-in malware detection in Android you should be plenty safe if you think about what you do on your phone.

But regardless of whether you feel you're being safe or not, you're going to get McAfee VirusScan on your Galaxy S8.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Main

Verizon AT&T T-Mobile Sprint

About

The Galaxy S8, and its larger sibling the S8+, are Samsung's top-end devices for 2017 meant to appeal to the general consumer and power user alike. The two phones are only differentiated by screen and battery size: 5.8 inches and 3000mAh, and 6.2 inches and 3500mAh.

The displays have a new 18.5:9 aspect ratio with a QHD+ resolution, meaning they're extra tall and narrow. Samsung moved to on-screen buttons and reduced bezel size dramatically in order to fit as much screen into the body as possible. That moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the phones, where it sits somewhat-awkwardly next to the camera lens. Iris scanning makes its return in a new-and-improved version from the Note 7.

Though the batteries haven't increased in size from the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, the hope is that the improved efficiency of the new 10 nm processor inside will provide some help. The processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Waterproofing and wireless charging are still here as well, plus a new USB-C port on the bottom. The rear camera is unchanged in terms of its 12MP sensor and f/1.7 lens, but has improved processing thanks to a new ISP and software.

Specs

Width Height Thickness 5.86 in
148.9 mm
2.68 in
68.1 mm
0.31 in
8 mm
5.47 oz
155g grams
  • Display:
    • 5.8-inch AMOLED display
    • 2960x1440 resolution
    • 18.5:9 aspect ratio
    • Dual-curve infinity display
  • Cameras:
    • 12MP ƒ/1.7 rear camera
    • Dual-pixel phase detection autofocus
    • 1.4-micron pixels
    • 8MP ƒ/1.7 front camera
  • Battery:
    • 3000 mAh battery
    • Non-removable
    • USB-C fast Charging
    • Qi + PMA wireless charging
  • Chips:
    • Snapdragon 835 processor
    • Samsung Exynos 8896 processor
      (varies by region)
    • 4GB RAM
    • 64GB internal storage
    • microSD card slot
    • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • GS8+
    • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    • 6.2-inch AMOLED display
    • 3500mAh battery
    • 6.28 in x 2.89 in x 0.32 in
      159.5mm x 73.4mm x 8.1mm
    • 6.10 oz / 73g

Press release:

McAfee Extends Partnership with Samsung to Safeguard Samsung PCs, Galaxy S8 Smartphones and Smart TVs Worldwide

New Collaborations Allow Consumers to Connect with Confidence using McAfee Protection

Santa Clara, Calif. – May 9, 2017 – McAfee today announced further collaboration with Samsung to provide pre-installed security software protection on Samsung Smart TVs, Samsung PCs, and the Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone line worldwide. With this collaboration, McAfee is delivering on its vision to provide protection for connected devices.

"Protecting every connected device in your home is absolutely essential today," said John Giamatteo, executive vice president, consumer business group, McAfee. "That's because if one device is attacked, it puts your entire home network at risk. While that level of protection might sound like a lot of effort, McAfee makes sure that it's easy. We believe there is power in working with partners like Samsung to build world-class security into devices like smart TVs, PCs, and smartphones so that these devices are protected right out of the box."

According to a recent McAfee survey, nearly 44 per cent of consumers are worried about their personal financial information being stolen while 38 per cent are worried about identity theft. These consumer fears underscore the need for robust cross-device security. McAfee protection addresses growing concerns like these across multiple devices.

"As the connected world of devices continues to expand into consumers' homes, Samsung users can feel comfortable knowing that their devices are protected with the latest security solutions," said Henry Lee, VP of Mobile Security Technologies, and the Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics. "We understand the importance of building security in devices from the start and are proud to offer solutions that provide convenience while keeping our customers safe."

Availability of McAfee LiveSafe on Samsung PCs

The McAfee LiveSafe cross-device security product is currently shipping worldwide as pre-installed software on all Samsung PCs produced, starting in 2017. It will be available in other countries gradually. Samsung PC users can enjoy a 60-day free trial and after the trial period, will receive a special offer.

Availability of McAfee Security for Samsung TVs

McAfee Security for TV anti-malware technology is currently available in the U.S and Korea for Samsung Smart TV customers and additional countries will be added throughout the first half of 2017. No additional purchase is necessary.

Availability of McAfee VirusScan on Galaxy S8

McAfee VirusScan anti-malware technology will ship as a pre-installed solution for Samsung Galaxy S8 starting in April of 2017, and is available in Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 edge, S6, S6 edge and Galaxy Note 5**. No additional purchase is necessary.

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2 weeks ago

How to make a backup of any app installed on your phone

11

Finding old versions of apps can be tough, but backing them up yourself isn't!

While most of the time we're all looking for the best ways to back up the data from our apps and games, it can be pretty handy to back up the app itself, too.

Unless an app is pulled for security reasons, when you download an app from Google Play you'll always be able to download the latest version from the store. It doesn't matter if the app is abandoned or even if the developer made it unavailable; you always have access to the newest version if you ever downloaded it. For example, if you installed the original Flappy Bird game from Google play, you'll find it under the library tab in the My Apps section of Google Play, but a search doesn't show it and if an account that never installed it follows the link, they're told it's unavailable.

If an app is always going to be available through Google Play, you might be asking why anyone would bother to back it up. You'll find the answer in just about every Google Play review — because Android runs on so many different devices and has so many versions in use, it's not uncommon to see something about the "latest update not working". It's frustrating to update an app you use all the time and have the update not work as well as the previous version, then not being able to downgrade it because the Play Store only has the latest version. If you have the previous version of the app on your SD card (for example) it's easy to go back. That sure beats not being able to use the app while you wait for another update.

The best part of it all is that this is a lot easier than you think. You don't need any cables or to type anything at all. You just need a file manager app.

Not every file manager app will have the app backup feature, but several very popular ones do. I use the ambiguously named File Manager (it used to be Clean File Manager if you remember trying it) and I know ES File Explorer and Astro File Manager also have the feature, so if your favorite doesn't, you can just pick one of these to check it out.

More: Best file manager app for Android

If you dig into the tools part of the settings, you'll see an entry for backing up apps. Different file managers may use different terminology, but they all work the same way. You tap the listing, then pick an app from the file window that appears, then tell the file manager app where to copy a backup. This works for any app you downloaded and installed yourself, no matter where you downloaded it from.

It might not work for pre-installed apps. The short version is that it depends on which folder the app was installed to and how it was installed. If you see the app in the list the file manager gives you, you can make a copy of it.

Reinstalling an old app

This is super easy, too. Just open the file manager (any file manager works for this part) and tap the icon of the app. The installer window will open and ask you to enable unknown sources if you haven't already so you'll need to do that, then it installs it as normal. Sometimes you'll need to uninstall the existing version first (which will erase your data for the app, so look into backing it up) then install from your SD card or phone storage.

A few things to remember when you do this:

  • Don't expect support from the developers. You need to be using the latest version if you need the devs to help you.
  • Some online features can be broken. An update may have changed the way the app talks to the cloud so things might not work the way they used to.
  • You're not supposed to be sharing it. Even free apps are usually licensed to you in a way that says you're not allowed to share it with anyone else.

Hopefully, you won;t have to do this very often, but when you need to it's great that it's so easy!

Questions?

Let us know in the comments below or ask Jerry in the forums!

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2 weeks ago

Google Assistant inside Allo can now converse in French and Spanish

0

Google Assistant is learning new languages.

Just a week after adding a few new features, Google's smart chat app Allo is also picking up new language skills. You can now talk to Google Assistant inside Allo in French and Spanish, and it will respond in that language along with all of the smarts you expect from the Assistant.

French and Spanish join English, Hindi, Portuguese and Japanese as supported languages in Allo, which is a nice group that continues to grow. While users are surely taking advantage of many of Allo's features in more languages than that, now having the big selling point of the Google Assistant in the chats is a big improvement.

The updated languages are rolling out now, and may take a few days to arrive for everyone in the Allo app.

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2 weeks ago

Using your phone on the job site: 5 apps for the hard worker

5

Work smarter with these five apps designed for the job site.

Android appeals to people from all walks of life. Your butcher, the young person at the register at Taco Bell, and all sorts of people you meet every day have an Android phone. That's because a modern phone is totally a multi-tool and there's an Android phone to fit everyone.

There are apps to fit everyone, too. We're going to have a look at five of them that can make your work day easier!

Safesite

Keeping yourself and the rest of the crew safe is the single most important part of everyone's job no matter where they work, but this rings especially true for work like construction, mining, or in a refinery. We all know that things don't give much of a warning when they go wrong, so catching and fixing safety issues is a must. And Safesite is great for doing it.

It's an app for your Android in the field and a program for the computers back in the office. When you're on-site and see anything that needs attention, you can record all the details, complete with photos and incident reports, and share them instantly with the person who can get them fixed. You can also perform safety audits with the built-in checklist feature (OSHA, ISO, VPP, and SHARP-compliant) and the desktop program can build an overview so keeping track of problem areas is easy. The app is free and so is a demo of the desktop service. More information is available at Safesite

Download: Safesite (free demo)

Construction Master Pro

Without a doubt, Construction Manager Pro is the best $25 you'll ever spend on an app if you need to measure or calculate anything on a regular basis. The app is a feature for feature clone of Calculated Industries' desktop software and includes both the standard calculator and its Trig calculator.

Eyeballing doesn't cut it a lot of the time. When you're doing anything that needs to follow the "measure twice, cut once" rule you'll find everything you need to calculate simple and complex projects so you save money and do a better job. It's 2017 and writing on a napkin isn't the answer. $25 sounds like a lot for an app, but buying material twice because something didn't get measured correctly can be a lot more.

Download: Construction Manager Pro ($25)

Zoho Invoice & Time Tracking

Sometimes the hardest part of the job is writing up the invoice, but it's a necessary evil if you want to get paid. With Zoho's invoice and time tracking app, it not only gets a lot easier to fill out and send an invoice, but they also look professional. And best of all, the invoice and billing service is free for small contractors with 5 employees or less.

Zoho is an online service that can connect to your Google Apps account and provides invoice and billing as well as the ability to get online payments. You fill out the particulars and costs and the app does all the accounting then send the invoice to your customer on the spot. Extras, like the WePay service, add the ability for your customers to pay online and you're notified right away when they do. It's perfect for people who don't want to fool with a card-reader. And no desktop program is required — you can do everything from a phone or tablet.

Download: Zoho Invoice & Time Tracking (free, in-app purchases)

PlanGrid

I know from experience that checking blueprints on some job sites can be a royal you know what. Between the dirt, the dust, and the coffee stain rings, they get ratty and can be tough to read, and it never fails that you'll have to unroll them all to find the one you need.

The PlanGrid service is a cheap and easy way to get those prints sent to the cloud instead of the printer, where they're easy for everyone to view or edit. The mobile app is fully functional and the version control system keeps track of revisions so everyone is seeing the right thing, i.e. the same thing.

Download: PlanGrid (free, requires a PlanGrid subscription)

Fieldwire

There's a little bit of overlap here because Fieldwire has a really nice built-in plan reader, but the reason it's on our list is because it's a great communication platform for the entire team.

The task manager has built-in scheduling and notifications and can track everything you need to fill out an invoice or write a productivity report. You can add photos and annotate them, create and export pdf files for printing or sending by email to someone outside the team, and the built-in inspection tool makes building a punch list simple. And because the app synchronizes through Google Drive or Dropbox, everyone is on the same page.

The service is completely free for small teams and you can request a demo if you need a license for more users.

Download: Fieldwire (free for small teams)

Got a favorite?

Do you have a favorite worksite app? Let us know in the comments below.

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2 weeks ago

What the world needs now are more progressive web apps

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I'm embarrassed by all the apps I have installed. Do I really need a majority of them if there's a web app for that?

Have you had a second to check out the latest Android Central roundtable? A few of us shared how many apps we each have installed on our daily drivers. Frankly, I was embarrassed by my number. I take such pride in the curation of the apps that I have installed. But there are 127 apps installed on my 32GB Pixel XL, and only about 20 of those are apps that I use regularly.

This entire experience has made me yearn for more progressive web apps — not to mention the full launch of Instant Apps, which could negate the need for installing any app at all. I don't like having an app installed for the different airlines, transit systems, and minor little services that I use from time to time. And how wonderful would it be if I could easily log into the Lyft app with my account credentials through the Chrome browser to hail a car? Or for the VSCO app to offer its hipster photo filters online? Progressive web apps are not only (pardon the cliché) the apps of the future, but they're going to make for an interesting app market, where only the worthy will merit an install.

Progressive apps I use now to get through life

Progressive web apps are, essentially, apps that contain all the functionality you need within their base code on the web so that when you visit the website through a mobile browser, everything is there! Probably one of the most popular progressive web apps is Facebook, which you can access through m.facbook.com to log in. There's even a trick if you need Facebook Messenger: tap on the option while the link is open in Chrome, and then ask the browser to request the desktop mode.

Here's another "hack": If you'd rather not have Twitter installed — a great idea for those of you constantly distracted by its content — you can simply head to mobile.twitter.com and log in through Twitter Lite. You'll have access to all the same abilities as the full-sized mobile application, and you'll save roughly 141 MB on storage space versus the 1MB used to pump the web stuff.

FandangoTwitterDuolingo

A few shining examples of progressive web apps.

I also appreciate the fact that Duolingo works fully through Chrome. I've been freshening up on the Romanian language myself and not only can I quickly access my lesson with just a bookmark, but Duolingo also notifies me through Chrome if I miss a day. It's wild to think that you can now learn an entirely new language with just the browser on your phone — what a boon for those looking to learn another language in countries where low-end, low-capacity phones rule the market.

There are still plenty of outdated web apps out there that aren't actually friendly to use and thus require that you have an app to do a simple little thing. For instance, I don't ride the San Francisco Bay Area's BART transit system as often as I used to, but I'm still required to have the BART Runner app installed for when I'm rushing over to the nearest station. It would also be nice to have some heavy duty photo apps run solely off the web, like Snapseed, since I only ever really use something like that for editing and filtering when I'm on a trip.

Instant Apps are coming, too, and they'll be even better and more functional than progressive web apps.

Instant Apps, which are currently undergoing a limited testing phase, will also play a major role in negating the need for full apps. You'll be able to find them through Google search results. They don't rely on web optimization or HTML5, like web apps do. Instead, instant apps install a tiny bit of data locally, and it's only the most necessary functionality. We're hoping to hear about more compatibility at Google I/O 2017.

Save the best stuff for the install

I simply appreciate PWAs as a way to cut down on all the bloat.

I think I seriously need to take a step back from my phone and reassess what it is that I have installed. I prefer to save what little storage space I have (I'm not the only one who skimps out this way!) for photos, videos, and Allo sticker packs. I need to take some time to look at which apps have similar progressive web app counterparts and whether or not there are any other tricks I can utilize to become less dependent on the full-size version of other apps like Facebook.

One thing's for certain: the world of apps is going to change the more that people catch on to PWAs. The original idea for progressive web apps was for Google to help establish its unified vision for apps and services. But I simply appreciate them as a way to cut down on all the bloat.

Do you use progressive web apps?

Do you save storage space on your phone by using progressive web apps? Which are your favorites? Would you like to see more of them? Let us know in the comments below!

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2 weeks ago

Instagram introduces ability to upload images through its mobile web app

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It's limited to the mobile browser, but it's been added to help Instagram in its attempt at world social network domination.

In its neverending quest for global takeover, Facebook's other social network, Instagram, has finally enabled the ability to upload images for anyone accessing it through a mobile browser.

Previously, you could only access a few limited functions through the browser page, including the ability to fully peruse your feed. But now, when you navigate to Instagram.com from your mobile browser, it takes you to an app-like layout, complete with the ability to upload a photo or video stored locally on your device. Bear in mind that this is only accessible on mobile browsers at present—those of you clicking through on your desktop browser will not have the upload ability.

TechCrunch asked Instagram about the changes. The company responded that this new web experience is optimized for mobile phones, particularly in an effort to "help people have a fuller experience on Instagram no matter what device or network they are on." TechCrunch adds:

The mobile web launch ties in with Instagram's global growth strategy aimed at the 80% of its users outside the US. Other product updates in this vein include web sign-up, a better on-boarding flow for low-end Android users, and the recent addition of offline functionality. These helped Instagram speed through the 700 million monthly user mark. It added its last 100 million in just 4 months after averaging 9 months per 100 million users for several years.

The Instagram track seems to run directly parallel to Facebook's in the sense that it also appears to be heavily focusing its developing on its mobile web app for emerging markets. Many users in the developing world don't necessarily have a fast enough connection or the ability to download Instagram's full mobile app, and this offering should help bridge that gap.

Perhaps this is also a great method for posting to two Instagram accounts at once —save one account for the app and the other for the mobile browser — especially since the current way of switching between accounts is still sort of agonizing.

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2 weeks ago

How to disable Samsung Pay

32

How do I disable or delete Samsung Pay if I don't want it anymore?

When it comes to paying conveniently, Samsung Pay makes using your phone as a bank card an easy process. There may come a time when you don't want to use the app anymore and need to disable Samsung Pay. Thankfully this is a pretty easy process, and we have the details for you here.

How to disable Samsung Pay

To disable Samsung Pay you have two basic options. You can remove all of your bank cards from the Samsung Pay app, so that it can't pull from your bank account, or you can uninstall the app. Both of these methods are pretty easy to work with, and will ensure that you're not accidentally using Samsung Pay when you don't intend to.

If you just want to make sure a specific card doesn't get used with Samsung Pay, all you need to do is delete that bank card from the app. You just open Samsung Pay and then tap on credit/debit to see your bank cards. From there tap on the card you want to see the details of, then tap the overflow icon in the upper right corner that looks like three vertical dots and tap on delete.

You also have the option of uninstalling the app through your Settings menu.

If you're really done with Samsung Pay though, and don't even want to keep it on your phone you can of course uninstall the app. You can do this quickly by pressing and holding onto the Samsung Pay icon from your home screen, and then selecting delete from the pop-up dialog that appears.

You also have the option of uninstalling the app through your Settings menu. Head to your settings, and scroll down and tap on Apps. From there enter the App manager and scroll down until you see Samsung Pay. Tap on the app and then tap Uninstall. Verify that you want to uninstall this app, and it will be gone in just a few seconds.

Remove a card from Samsung Pay

  1. Open Samsung Pay app.
  2. Tap on Credit/debit to see your virtual bank card.
  3. Tap on your bank card to see details.

  4. Tap the overflow icon that looks like three vertical dots in the upper right corner.
  5. Tap delete card to delete your virtual bank card.
  6. Provide a reason to delete your card, and delete at the bottom of your screen.

Uninstall Samsung Pay

  1. Open the Settings menu.
  2. Tap on Apps to open the Apps settings.
  3. Tap on App manager to open it.

  4. Tap on Samsung Pay
  5. Tap on Uninstall
  6. Tap on OK to confirm you are uninstalling this app.

Did you uninstall Samsung Pay?

Samsung Pay gives you the option of having an easy way to pay for items, but it certainly isn't everyone's cup of tea. Thankfully getting rid of it is just as easy as setting it up, making it a painless process when you do the deed. Have you disabled Samsung Pay from your phone? Let us know about it in the comments below!

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3 weeks ago

Spotify has a new feature that lets you scan a barcode and play a song and it's pretty f'ing cool!

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This is how you go viral.

In February, Spotify removed its in-app messaging feature, which instantly made it harder to share a song with a friend. What they have now totally makes up for it.

According to Techcrunch, more details are coming Monday May 8, but a feature that lets you scan a special barcode and instantly play a song is live and it's pretty glorious.

Each song has a unique code attached to its album art (you bring that up the same way you always did) and using Spotify's in-app camera you take a picture and the song plays. The feature works whether you're scanning it from a friend's phone or from a screenshot that you can send through any messaging app. It's a simple feature that works just like it's supposed to work, and we love it when that happens!

There are some great ways this might go viral, too (see Snapchat codes). Being able to post a small image anywhere on the web and it plays a song for you means sharing music becomes a lot easier. This is bound to be great for Spotify as well as everyone who likes listening.

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