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3 years ago

Facebook Messenger nixing requirement that you actually use Facebook


Facebook today announced that it's opening up Facebook Messenger to folks who don't actually use Facebook. Going forward, all you'll need to use the Messenger app is a name and phone number, and you'll be able to hit up your mobile contacts. The obvious play is to get non-Facebook users to stick a toe into the water -- and not into the pools of cross-platform competitors such as Whatsapp. Whether the Facebook name remains too much of a deterrent, we'll just have to see.

Facebook says an update to the Android client should be rolling out today (it's not live as of this writing).

Source: Facebook

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3 years ago

Beautiful Widgets 5 released with a new look and full Jelly Bean support


Android app developer LevelUp Studio has announced the launch of Beautiful Widgets 5, a brand new version of its popular widget and application suite.

New features in the latest version of Beautiful Widgets include a visual refresh to many widgets and apps, and full Jelly Bean support, including rich notifications, as well as Android 4.2 features like lock screen widgets and new "Daydreams." 

Also included is a new forecast app and theme store, where as you might expect, there are endless widget customizations to be had. If you're a widget fan, there's certainly plenty in this latest version to keep you occupied.

Hit the Google Play link above to get downloading -- the app sells for $2.39 in the U.S. £1.90 in the U.K. We've got an official promo video after the break.

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3 years ago

Starbucks updates app with Android 4.2 compatibility


Starbucks lovers with a device running Android 4.2 -- quite a few of us now -- have been out in the cold waiting for an update to fix compatibility with the latest OS update. Some problem with the app in Android 4.2 caused a nasty bug that made the app crash almost every time it was opened. Thankfully, the wait is over and today's update fixes the issues.

Go grab that download at the Play Store link above and get back to paying for your latte (or quadruple extra hot venti caramel macchiato, if you're me) without a wallet.

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3 years ago

AT&T Galaxy S3 Jelly Bean update hitting Kies


Coming up on 3 weeks after the T-Mobile Galaxy SIII (S3) started receiving an OTA update to Jelly Bean, users in our forums are reporting seeing the update become available via Samsung Kies for their AT&T Galaxy S3s. There's no indication of when (or if) this will go out via an OTA package, but willing users that are impatient can always go with the Kies desktop software route.

Take a look at the source link below to our forums where the discussion about the update has already begun.

Source: AT&T Galaxy S3 Forums

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3 years ago

How to enable Gmail 4.2 swipe and zoom features


Starting today, that fancy new Gmail update -- version 4.2 -- is bringing the much-requested features of pinch-to-zoom and swipe-to-delete to any device running Ice Cream Sandwich or later. But curiously, the best settings and features aren't even enabled by default.

So how do you turn those settings on? It just takes a few extra taps into the settings menu, so read on and see how.

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3 years ago

Gmail 4.2 update now available for non-Nexus devices


Just a quick heads up that there's an update to your Gmail app that brings you the same version that we've been enjoying on the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10 and Galaxy Nexus with Android 4.2. That means you've got swipe to archive/delete, zoom into HTML e-mails (be sure to turn it on in the settings) and other bad-assery. The full update's available for any device on Android 4.0 and above. Here's that changelog:

  • Auto-fit messages to screen and message zooming
  • Swipe messages to archive or delete
  • Attach photos and videos from within Gmail
  • Larger photo previews and gallery view for photo attachments
  • Bug fixes and performance improvements

If you're on Android 2.2 (and above), you'll get new labels for third-party app developers, and other performance improvements.

Hit the Play Store app on your phone (or the link above) to get your update on.

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3 years ago

SwiftKey aware of Android 4.2 upgrade issues


You might've read about this issue in Phil's latest column, or experienced it first-hand if you've upgraded to Android 4.2 on a device with SwiftKey installed. In any case, some SwiftKey users are finding that after upgrading to the latest version of Android on Nexus devices, the keyboard is either soft-disabled or removed entirely, taking user data along with it in some cases.

Fortunately, SwiftKey says it's in touch with Google to identify exactly what's going on --

"This is a rare but unfortunate report that we've recently been made aware of. We have contacted the Android development team to understand what caused this in their code. We are doing what we can on our end to resolve this issue for those affected.

"Meanwhile, please redownload SwiftKey from the same storefront you originally purchased it from. As long as you are signed into the same account that you originally used to purchase the application, you will not be charged a second time. Also, remember that to get SwiftKey fully installed, you may need to click on the SwiftKey 3 icon in your app drawer to initialize the installation process."

It's rare to see this kind of glitch in a major OS update, but at least there's a simple workaround for those affected. And for what it's worth, SwiftKey works just fine on Android 4.2 once it's installed.

Source: SwiftKey

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3 years ago

XBMC 12 beta 2 now available with official Android support


The folks at XBMC have released the second beta for version 12 (Frodo) and we finally see official Android support. XBMC for Android has been "unofficially" available on and off, as the open-source project code is easily compiled and redistributed. Official support means the right people are working on it, with organized version control and bug tracking. 

In case you're not sure what XBMC is, think of it as the ultimate cross-platform digital media hub. Support for most fie types on most operating systems, compatibility with a multitude of remotes, and easy network streaming make XBMC a pretty big deal. Getting official support for Android is a pretty big milestone for the platform as a whole.

Remember, it's still in beta, and you're forewarned that the first load is ultra-slow. Also, right now XBMC doesn't work with Android 4.2, but we're told beta 3 corrects this and is "right around the corner". For more information and the download, hit the links below.

Source: XBMC; via XBMC for Android forums

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3 years ago

From the experts: Debugging an Android application like a boss


Remember how you can tap things and do a little voodoo to enable developer options in Android 4.2? Most of us still won't need to enable any of these other than USB debugging, but folks who are developers have some serious tools at their disposal in there. That's why we're fine with them being hidden for more normal users. Out of sight, out of mind, and the folks who need them know where to look.

One of those folks is Romain Guy. He's an extraordinary photographer, but he's also an Android engineer at Google who focuses on graphics and animation. In short, he knows what he's doing. Turns out he's a fan of the new Falcon Twitter client, and likes it enough to notice that there might be a hiccup or two in the timeline scrolling. Software engineers are regular people for the most part, but in our imaginations they grab a cable and a laptop to investigate anything that gets them curious. This time, out imaginations are correct.

Have an excellent read of just how he uses the developer tools available to track down the issue, and see just what developers have to go through sometimes to pump out awesome Android applications. Chances are you'll only understand part of it, but that will be enough to have a better appreciation of what these guys do.


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3 years ago

Apps of the Week: Hootsuite, Clock Plus DayDream, Stickmount and more!


It's the first day of December, and for some of us that means terrible, cold weather. When it's nasty outside, you're probably just better off staying in and downloading some great apps instead. We're here to help you out with that with this week's app picks.

Stick around after the break and see if we can give you another reason to stay in out of the cold.

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3 years ago

Review: Falcon Pro Twitter client


It's a perilous time to be the developer of a Twitter client, with major changes to the service's API looming on the horizon. We've already seen one Android client shut down in large part because of it, and Windows Phone has seen one if its darlings leave the dance floor, too.

Then there's Falcon, which has quietly been improving for some time in an open beta at XDA Developers. Falcon (the app) actually started as Falcon (the widget) and finally emerged from the forums and is now available for purchase on Google Play as Falcon Pro for about $1.

How's it fare? Let's find out.

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3 years ago

Falcon Pro for Twitter exits beta, now available from Google Play


Falcon Pro (Beta) was my weekly app pick last week, and for good reason. Twitter clients aren't in short supply, but with Twitter's new rules, some of the better ones seen recently are starting to wind down development before being fully complete. Not so with Falcon Pro though, as work is now complete, the beta process is over and the app is available for download from the Google Play Store. 

The key differences between the finished article and the beta version will be features. In the beta, several of the key functionalities such as lists and search were disabled. Naturally, those are now turned on, and a couple of other goodies are packed in there too. One such addition is Tweetmarker support. This comes with a slight warning that it slows down refresh a little, but it's a nice addition to have all the same. 

And, let's not forget the UI. Falcon Pro is great to look at, scrolling is smooth, and the inclusion of an in-app web browser for viewing web links is well executed. We're going to spend a little time with the finished build, so look out for a full review in the coming days. But, if you're eager to take a look, head on over to the Play Store and grab a copy. It is a paid app, and pricing is set at £0.64/$1.03.

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3 years ago

How to score an Ingress invite


Android users everywhere are all talking about Ingress. It's a cool location based MMO sci-fi game where you secure portals to help alter the course of human history. The back story is all at the Niantic Project website, and it's quite the puzzle itself to get it all sorted. The short version -- it's fun, it gets you exploring, and it's addictive.

It's also invite-only for now, and that's always a bummer. There's a couple ways to get an invite. The first way is to sign up for one at the Ingress portal site. They're metering them out, but that's where most people that are playing today got theirs. 

The second way is to jump on Google+ and add these four folks from Niantic to your circles:

Read what they post, because they are the people who can override things and hand out invites -- and they often do. Try to catch their eye with cool artwork or stories with an Ingress theme, and mark your post with the #ingressinvite hashtag, and maybe even mention them so your post gets seen.

Finally, you can get an invite from a friend who has scored a handful from the game. Word is that you can get invites to pass out once you reach a certain level (between 2 and 3) but nobody is 100-percent sure. 

What I am 100-percent sure of is that I don't have any. Instead of pummeling my inbox for one, try the tactics above. It's fun enough to work for.

More in the Ingress forums

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3 years ago

Keep on top of EA's Daily Deals with a handy homescreen widget


Electronic Arts is currently offering up a series of deals every day, funnily enough known as the EA Daily Deals. The offers vary as one would expect, but to help us keep an eye on what's up for grabs each day, EA has released a handy homescreen widget. It basically cycles through the full list of current deals, and when you see one that catches your eye, tapping on it will take you right into the Play Store listing for that app. 

Upon installing and launching, you'll be asked if it's OK to provide EA with a bunch of information about your device and your location. Hopefully, this means the deals you see will actually be available on your device and in your region. Something not always the case with EA games in the past. It isn't compatible with the lockscreen on Android 4.2 though, so it's homescreen only for this one. 

North American's should hit the Google Play link above, and for our International friends, head to the download link below. 

via Droidgamers

Download: EA Daily Deals (International)

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3 years ago

Zombies, new gameplay, new languages coming to Plague Inc.


Plague Inc. easily is in the running for my 2012 Android Game of the Year, and it's about to get even better. Developer Ndemic today let loose a blog post detailing some upcoming features in Mutation 5. Try these on for size: Zombies, with "radically different gameplay." New achievements, events and games. New languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and French. And further down the road, expect support for Amazon's Kindle tablets.

Ndemic says we should see pics in the next few days, and Android and iOS should get updates together, or pretty close, anyway. If you've yet to play, hit the link above and have fun destroying the world.

Source: Ndemic Creations

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