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4 years ago

Apps of the Week: Deezer, Anomaly 2, Network Signal Info and more!

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A solid group of app picks to take a look at this week

It's another Saturday afternoon and that means another Apps of the Week column to read and enjoy. This weekly roundup takes an app from each of the writers here at Android Central and puts it on display, showing what's neat and interesting about it and why it stays on our devices week after week. It may not be the best-selling or well-known app out there, but if it works for us, we'll list it here.

So go ahead and take a break from reading that massive Nexus 5 review and find a few apps to relax with this weekend — you'll find a great list to choose from after the break.

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4 years ago

Update brings Chrome 31 to the stable track, adds printing for Android 4.4 KitKat

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For those of you rocking the stable (ie not beta) version of the Chrome browser, be aware that an update is headed your way. Chrome 31 has been promoted to the stable track, and it brings forth the ability to print from a device running Android 4.4 KitKat (though it appears that's also in Chrome 30 on the Nexus 4 — but whatever), a better autofill/autocomplete experience, and the requisite stability and security enhancements.

And speaking of security, Google also announced it forked over (another) lump of money to Pinkie Pie after a couple more exploits were uncovered. Gotta love pwn2own.

Source: Google

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4 years ago

FCC releases speed test app to perform both active and passive mobile data tests

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In-depth mobile data metrics to empower wireless consumers

The FCC has released its own open-source speed test app in the Play Store, giving any Android user access to mobile data speed information on their device. The main goal of the app, the FCC claims, is to empower wireless customers in the U.S. to know how well their smartphone's mobile network is performing. Just as you would expect, you can perform active data speed tests, which return download, upload, latency and packet loss information. You'll also get extra info such as signal strength, SIM operator code and network operator name.

Further, by default the FCC Speed Test app will also conduct passive tests and return anonymous speed test data to the agency for analysis. The app collects absolutely no personally identifiable information, is completely anonymous and has a privacy policy that discloses everything the app is capable of.

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4 years ago

Imo messenger adds 'People Near Me' feature

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Popular messaging service Imo added a new feature today that helps friends meet up. The feature is called "People Near Me," and while the idea may not be new to the group messaging space its an important addition to a popular app. When you open the People Near Me page, you'll see other users with the app open to that page in a specific (although unknown) radius based on your GPS location.

The feature will show profiles of nearby friends, but also of nearby users that are not in your contacts list. Imo is positioning this more towards befriending people who you've met in person and just want to swap contact info, say at a concert or social event, but you could theoretically add friends and start chatting with complete strangers, if you both wish to do so. It's an interesting way to swap contact data considering the other options like using NFC, Bluetooth or something like Bump, but the end result should be about the same.

You can grab an update to Imo at the Play Store link above.

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4 years ago

Google Search update brings new features and new cards to Google Now

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OK Google — show me the Google Search update

Make no mistake, Google Now is the future of Android. What we see in the Nexus 5 and Google Glass updates tells us as much, and what we're hearing around the rumor mill fits right in. Google is going all-in with Google Now and their slightly creepy but informative and useful contextual style of pre-search, or whatever you want to call it.

As predicted, an update to the Google Search app today makes it even better. A new Website update card will bring you the latest blog post from a site like Android Central (yes, we really dig that one), the improved News topic card will keep you informed on the news you care about, as determined by the news you search for on the mighty Goog, and the What to watch card will give you recommendations of things you'll not want to miss on the boob tube.

Of course, you'll need to update your Google Search app to see any of this, and as usual it's a gradual rollout ( I like to call it a #trollout) and chances are you won't see it right away. And no, this doesn't cure baldness or erectile dysfunction. But it will help you keep track of the things you're interested in on the web and on the telly. Try your update luck at the Google Play link above.

Via: +Android

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4 years ago

Newly redesigned Facebook Messenger now available for all

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The all-new design and features can now be used by everyone

The latest update to Facebook Messenger, which was first announced about two weeks ago, is now rolling out to all users. Previously only available to a limited number (presumably to catch bugs), the new version with an all-new design and features will be available for everyone to download.

Along with a new white and light blue design (that frankly looks iOS 7-inspired) and faster performance, along with new chat features like the ability to message someone with just their phone number, the latest update is worth a look. It now stands in pretty high contrast to the stand-alone Facebook app, which can be kind of jarring, but the Messenger experience is now much improved.

Grab an update to the latest version at the Play Store link above.

Via: Facebook

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4 years ago

The best shopping apps for Android

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We've rounded up the very best shopping apps on Android to help you save more over Black Friday, the holidays, and year-round.

Getting in and out of the mall with your sanity intact can be a challenge in and of itself, nevermind trying to save money in the process. Life can be made just a little easier with the help of a few apps on your Android device, however. We've found some of the very best apps for finding deals, amassing coupons, and checking prices.

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4 years ago

The Blur app will give your home screen wallpaper a fresh new look

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Use your own pictures or ones borrowed from the Internet as a fancy blurred background on your Android

Want a really cool effect for your home screen wallpaper, but aren't a PhotoShop guru? If so, you need to check out a new app called Blur in Google Play. Blur allows you to take any picture and apply an adjustable blur effect and set it full resolution as your home screen wallpaper.

It's really simple to do, and the whole routine involves only choosing a picture and adjusting a slider. The paid version (just 99-cents) also allows you a bit of control over the colors, while the free version will randomly do a bit of adjustment if you like by tapping on the image. The free version also has some ads in a banner at the top.

Blur registers as an Android intent, so you can share pictures into it right from the gallery, and the entire process is live and with a real-time view. I tend to keep things pretty simple when it comes to the home screen on my devices, but I'm digging this one, and gladly sprung for the paid version. Check out the short video of just how it works and the end result after the break.

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4 years ago

Pulse update adds full LinkedIn feature sync, design refresh

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News platform to completely replace 'LinkedIn Today'

Pulse News is receiving complete integration with LinkedIn with its latest update. Building from LinkedIn's purchase of the news app back in April, Pulse will now sync and offer better sharing and content options when signing in with your LinkedIn account. While you're still able to sign in with your email, if you choose to go the LinkedIn route you'll now be able to make comments and like stories and have them sync with your LinkedIn experience on the web.

That ties in with the fact that Pulse will now replace LinkedIn Today as the main source of social news on the platform for both mobile and the web. If you follow channels on you your LinkedIn page on the web, those sources will now be pulled right into Pulse as well. You'll still have access to the other Pulse content you know and love, and you'll also receive personalized content recommendations for more sources to follow.

There's also a general visual refresh to the app here, puling together all of the new features in a more attractive package. The app has always looked good, but there's just a little more polish now and Pulse says that under-the-hood changes like faster searching and autocomplete are now included.

More: LinkedIn

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4 years ago

Google+ for Android update brings improvements for Photos, location sharing

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Image details finally will be available in the app

Be on the lookout, folks, for an update to Google+ in the near future. Google's Virgil Dobjanschi on G+ (natch) gives word that the updated v4.2.3 brings forth a few new improvements. To wit:

  • The Photos section now will work with Android Beam, so you can shoot pics to each other using NFC.
  • Also, Photos now works with Daydream (the screen-saver feature you can find in the Display settings), so when you're docked or charging the app can show off your pretty pictures.
  • Photos now shows image details. (Finally! Quit asking what camera we took that picture with!)
  • And, non-photo-wise, the Locations section will automatically refresh your friends' locations when you open it.

Good improvements, all. Look for the staggered rollout to hit you sooner or later.

Source: +Virgil Dobjanschi

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4 years ago

Sony launches new PlayStation App in the Play Store for eager PS4 users

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Push games to your console, chat with friends and keep up with stats on the go

It's that time of year (decade, really) where folks can get their hands on next-generation consoles, and to match up with its PS4 launch Sony has just put a new PlayStation App in Google Play. For those who want to stay in the loop even when they're not at home playing, the PlayStation App lets you keep in the loop. Once connecting your accounts and your PS4, you can push games to your console at home, chat with your friends and keep up with all of your stats.

The app also opens up chances for second-screen features when games make them available, expanding gameplay possibilities. You can cut down on the clutter with system guides, manuals and the PlayStation Blog right at your fingertips as well. If you are eagerly awaiting your PS4 arrival, you can head to the Play Store and grab a download of the PlayStation app and be ready for when it arrives.

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4 years ago

Plague Inc. adds new CDC content, game features

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Speed runs, new events and news are all included

Ndemic Creation's infectious title Plague Inc. is receiving an update today that brings a whole bunch of new game content. The so-called "Mutation 6 warning" update includes a new game mode called "speed runs," which as it sounds has the single goal of seeing how fast you can kill the entire world. It also includes new CDC content — the Centers for Disease Control is now inside the game.

You'll also find a rebalanced NAZG achievement, new events and news with more back stories and other general performance and game improvements throughout. You can grab the latest version of Plague Inc. at the Play Store link above, if you're so inclined.

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4 years ago

CyanogenMod Installer hits the Play Store to help you flash your phone

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App still needs to be paired with a Windows component to install firmware

In its push to make installing its custom firmware easier for the average user, CyanogenMod has just launched its installer app in the Play Store. You'll need more than just the app to get through the process, however. After installing and going through a few basic instructions related to turning on USB debugging and the like, you'll be pointed to its get.cm website to download the desktop software to initiate the install.

You'll still need a Windows PC (running Vista or later) and a good USB cable to get your phone flashed with CyanogenMod, which adds another wrinkle of complication to the process. The combination of apps on your phone and computer should make it pretty simple though, provided your phone is on the list of compatible devices.

Although the app doesn't do a whole lot on its own, you can grab it from the Play Store if you're willing to also download the software on your PC and move through the process to bring CM to your device.

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4 years ago

Got KitKat and a Sony QX lens camera? Use Camera 360 for full support

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Sony's official app is not yet updated for KitKat, but your equipment still works fine

Folks with a Sony Cyber-shot QX lens camera and a Nexus 5 (or KitKat in an unofficial way on other phones) are finding out the hard way that Sony's PlayMemories Mobile application isn't working. It will connect, but it then immediately crashes — which isn't very helpful when you want to take some pictures with a better camera. Sony suggests that this might be possible right in the app description.

[Recommended operating environment]
OS version: Android 2.3 – 4.3
This application is not guaranteed to work on all Smartphones and Tablets.

The good news is there is an easy and free fix with the Camera 360 application. Not only that, but you'll also have a ton of great features that work right with your QX camera, including some very nicely done live effects. There is a reason Camera 360 has over 320,000 five-star ratings in Google Play. It's also my go-to camera app anytime I'm shooting with the QX-10 I have here.

We imagine that Sony will get things sorted in short order, but in the meantime your gear still will work as well (or better) than it ever did. Grab Camera 360 Ultimate from the Google Play link above.

Thanks, Aaron!

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4 years ago

Smugmug's Camera Awesome exits Android beta, now available for $2.99

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For those who are in search of the next great camera app — and let's face it, who isn't — it's time to take a look at Camera Awesome. The longtime favorite on iOS has been in beta on Android for some time now, and today it's available to all for $2.99.

First and foremost, you get a pretty darn good camera user interface. That's important because Camera Awesome is full of features and settings, and that they're easy to understand and manipulate is paramount.

Consider: You've got the usual shooting options — single, burst, panorama, timer, etc. But added to that is an option "big button" shutter (love it), interval shots and image stabilization. You can adjust white balance, ISO and exposure. There's facial recognition. Anti-shake mode. Four options to help you better compose your shots — thirds, golden, trisec and square. There's a leveler to help you keep things straight. And of course there's sharing to Smugmug.

If you're looking for a new, full-featured camera app, this is well worth a look for $3. Swing by Smugmug's blog for the list of supported devices.

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