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4 years ago

Apps of the Week: Financial Times, NewsBlur, Blank Lockscreen and more!

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Another great set of apps to wrap up this month's Apps of the Week posts

It's Saturday afternoon, and that means it's time for another Apps of the Week post where we show off a few of our (currently) favorite apps. A handful of the Android Central writers have chimed in this week with an app that keeps them productive, entertained or just solves a problem that's bothering them on a particular device.

This week we have a couple ways to read the news, a great game choice and a few tools. Stick around after the break and see how we did.

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4 years ago

Chrome beta updated, fixes keyboard at Gmail website and favicon sync

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Chrome beta for Android has received another sizable update, and a few long-standing nags have been addressed. A quick look at the change log says the white flash that appears when you load a new tab (that's murder on the eyes at night in bed) should be gone, favicons should sync across other devices using Clank (Chrome beta for Android's code name), and issues with the keyboard at the Gmail website where it won't dismiss have been corrected. 

Add in a security fix to make sure a dialog is displayed as soon as any downloads are called instead of actually accepted and a slew of the normal bug fixes, and this is one you'll want to install. Grab the update through Google Play or at the link above.

Source: Google

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4 years ago

Max Sound's Spins HD makes Android mp3 playback not suck

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Coming update makes it easier to organize and play your library while keeping all the sound improvements you expect from Spins HD

While the debate over keeping your music collection stored locally or in the cloud will never end, the one thing most people agree on is that a good music player app makes a world of difference in the way those files sound. Everyone has a favorite, but Max Sound is pushing out an update to Spins HD that you're going to want to look at.

Spins HD takes your existing on-device music collection and runs it through more than equalizer presets, the app delivers HD sound by converting the file into an actual analog sound wave. While it's still a compressed digital file, this allows the "full breadth" of the original recording to come through, delivering better sounding music. These claims may come from the developers, but I will say the files do sound better when playing in Spins HD, and often times much better. And it's easy -- there is a page of presets that work well, and for the more adventurous, you can also set the tone for high, low, and midpoint sounds from your music. Great sound from an app that's easy to use is always a plus.

Smart phones have taken the place of the mp3 player for most of us, so getting great sounding audio is important for the connoisseurs out there. The coming update for Spins HD keeps the great sound you expect from the player, and adds a much improved UI that makes it easier to manage and sort your playlists and songs. If you're a current user, look for the update shortly, and if you haven't tried Spins HD yet, click the link above to give it a whirl. A press release and series of screenshots is after the break.

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4 years ago

BBM still coming to Android before the end of the summer

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BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins this morning on the company's quarterly earnings call reminded us that BBM — that's BlackBerry Messenger — will be available for Android and iOS "before the end of the summer."

He didn't give any further details, and it's worth noting that summer officially is all of a week old.

More: CrackBerry earnings call liveblog

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4 years ago

Gmail update brings the delete option back by default

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A quick update to the Gmail app tonight brings about a couple changes. First off is that Google has brought back the delete option by default, alongside the archive button. (Previously you had to turn that back on in the settings.) Also listed is "tap sender images to select multiple e-mails in the conversation list," but we've been doing that for a little while now, right? Plus, the requisite bugfixes. 

Not a huge update, but any update to the Gmail app is an important one. Head on over and set things right.

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4 years ago

Vine update enables 6-second selfies

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Just use that front-facing camera power wisely

Vine has just been updated in the Play Store to enable what every self-loving kid on the internet needed -- front facing camera support. Nothing else in the interface for recording has changed, except now you have a simple button in the bottom left corner of the app to toggle between cameras. You can toggle in the middle of a video between cuts if you just have to give that reaction shot, or you can go the full 6-seconds with one camera or the other.

Is this enough to bring people back over from Instagram with video? Hard to say that it is. Regardless, you're likely about to see your Vine feed filled up with a lot more faces for the next few days. You can grab a download from the Play Store link above.

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4 years ago

Android 101: Keep your apps up to date

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Those apps aren't going to update themselves ... by default, that is

One of the best parts about owning a smart phone is the limitless possibilities of installing apps that can do so much more than the phone can out of the box. The unfortunate downside is trying to keep up with the seemingly constant flow of app updates coming to your device every day. But you're in luck, as Android has had automatic updating of apps through the Play Store since back in the day when it was still the Android Market, and it's a simple process to get set up.

Head to the Google Play Store on your device, hit the menu button and go to "settings". If it isn't already set by default, go ahead and tap the "Auto-update apps" setting and choose the most appropriate setting for your needs -- no updates, updates only on Wifi, or all updates. Most people with limited data buckets will be best-off with the "Auto-update apps over Wifi only" option. Once you have turned on automatic updates of either kind, you can always turn off automatic updates for a particular app by navigating to its Play Store listing (from the "My apps" area) and tapping the menu button, then un-checking the "Auto-update" box.

Visit our Google Play mini-site for everything there is to know about Google Play

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4 years ago

Google Play Movies gets a new look, drives another nail in Nexus Q's coffin

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Google Movies & TV today got visual refresh that also takes away another third of the functionality of the already defunct Nexus Q.

First, the important stuff: The app got a new layout and design that brings it more in line with Google's other apps, borrowing from the likes of Gmail and Google Play. The new navigation drawer is your portal to "Watch Now," which tries to predict what you'll want to see next, along with "My Movies," "My TV Shows" and "Shop," which takes you to Google Play. There's a shortcut in the overflow menu that'll take you to videos that you've shot with your phone or tablet, which is nice.

And now, the slightly disappointing part.

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4 years ago

Facebook introduces Android app beta testing via Google Groups

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Proper beta testing with a feedback network to help squash bugs and improve performance

Facebook has had a rocky past of questionable app quality and a couple instances of side-stepping Play Store guidelines for updates, but the social network is hoping to correct some of those issues today by introducing a proper beta testing program for its app. In an effort to try and solve some of the issues associated with having an app that needs to be able to run on probably the widest range of hardware of any other app -- from the cheapest unlocked device in the developing world up to the Galaxy S4 -- Facebook will now enlist the help of beta testers to flush out bugs.

Somewhat surprisingly, Facebook will use Google's newly created beta testing feature tied to Google Groups, which it introduced at Google I/O this year. The process will be pretty simple -- just join the Google Group that Facebook has set up for its app beta testing, opt-in to the test and go download the latest version of the app from the Play Store. Further discussion about new versions and associated bugs will continue in a specialized Facebook group, where beta testers will have the ability to discuss issues directly with the developers.

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4 years ago

Delta updates its Android app with better international, seating features

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Delta Air Lines today announced version 2.1 of its official Fly Delta Android application, adding new features directly related to getting your butt in the seat and the plane on its way.

Most important is that you'll now be able to purchase Preferred Seats (ie aisle and window seats, as well as exit rows) within 24 hours of departure. You'll also be able to book international flights directly from the app.

For the iOS folks, Delta has added Facebook integration that will let you document your travel and create a "virtual passport" through the Facebook Collections feature. You'll also be able to share when you've planned a trip, when you check in, and when you arrive. That's not listed in the Android changelog, though, and we're not seeing any options for it.

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4 years ago

Get Photosphere on non-Nexus devices with the 'Google edition' camera app

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Camera app from Google Play GS4, HTC One can easily be loaded onto other phones

Yesterday we covered the new camera application in the "Google Play edition" Galaxy S4 and HTC One — a slightly redesigned stock camera app that's a little easier to get around. In the past day we've been digging around in the devices' system partitions and we've discovered that the app, as it exists on the Google Play edition devices, can be installed directly onto other devices running Android 4.0 or higher.

Unlike earlier methods for getting Photosphere — Google's 360-degree panorama tool — on non-Nexus handsets, you don't need to root your phone, or manually push it to the /system/app directory. To install it, it's just a case of downloading it directly via the web, or putting it on your device's internal storage and selecting it from a file manager. Of course, bear in mind that you're using the app on a phone it wasn't designed for, so proceed at your own risk.

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4 years ago

Moving to Feedly? Here are a few more app options to access your feeds

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We're in a transitional phase, but there are a few great choices for Feedly RSS clients out there

While we've already voiced our position on which RSS reader is still at the top of the heap after the move over to Feedly, we know that not every app works for every person. In the move over to new back-end syncing solutions from Google Reader we've lost (or are in the process of losing) a whole lot of well-made clients. Luckily a few have stayed quick on their feet and have made the transition away from Google Reader so that users still have a few choices in the RSS client space.

Let's also hope that more readers can come out of the woodwork and offer even more options going forward, but for now there are still a handful of great options in the Play Store. Hang with us after the break and try a few more RSS readers on for size, and see if you can find one that fits your needs. 

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4 years ago

Google Now update brings new cards for TV shows and Google Offers

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Google improves location-aware and voice-controlled features for Now

An update to Google Now is bringing two new types of cards, TV shows and Google Offers, to users starting today. For those who have an internet-connected TV on the same network as their mobile device, Google Now can now listen to the show you're watching and offer more information -- such as actor or show details -- right on your device. For Google Offers users, Google Now will show reminders for upcoming saved offers when you're near a store that you can use the offer at, which expands on Google's current location-aware shopping and research cards.

Additionally, the latest update also includes a new voice action to play music from Google Now. You can now say "Play [artist name]", and a prompt will pop up letting you select your preferred music app from the ones you have installed. The app will then open and begin playing from the artist you asked for.

The new TV show card is U.S.-only for the moment, but the other new features should be available for everyone. You can grab the latest updated Google Search (which is Google Now) app from the Play Store link above.

Source: +Android

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4 years ago

T-Mobile HTC One S update fixes Jelly Bean battery life

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OTA notifications start today, along with a manual update path

Since T-Mobile updated the HTC One S to Android 4.1.1 back in April, many users have seen a noticeable drop-off in battery life. This unfortunate bug soured an otherwise much anticipated update for One S owners who waited patiently on Ice Cream Sandwich for many months.

The newest update -- bringing the software version up to 3.14.531.17 70RD -- is solely focused on fixing the lower battery life caused by the update to Jelly Bean. Those wishing to update need to already be on software version 3.14.531.11 710RD, have a device that is not rooted, and ensure they have at least a 50% charge before beginning the update.

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4 years ago

Press is still the best for RSS on Android after moving to Feedly

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Google Reader is going away, but Press is here to stay and integrates perfectly with new services

When Google casually noted that it would shut down its RSS aggregation service Reader back in March, news apps that relied on it as a backbone were left scrambling. As alternative services to Google Reader such as Feedly and Feed Wrangler popped up on the scene, a few of the aforementioned apps pivoted quickly to integrate the new services. We gave one of such apps, Press, the review treatment as a Google Reader client back in December and came away extremely impressed with its design and performance.

Even though Google Reader will close its doors on July 1st, Press lives on as a fantastic RSS client that will work with (among other systems) the Feedly account you may have set up to save yourself from losing everything. The developers have made some great settings and user interface improvements along the way as well, so let's take a refreshed look at Press.

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