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How many people check Facebook more often in a day than they do any local news. Problem is, our friends are sharing details faster than we can consume them –especially because we are often checking in on them while we are on the go! Thankfully, Facebook understands (and finally implemented a feature that we can get behind instead of just redesigning our home pages and making us constantly frustrated). A new save feature lets you put a virtual bookmark in a link, place, movie, TV show, or music clip… so when you have time, you can get properly caught up.

To access the feature, find the drop-down menu called from the top right-hand corner of any post –tap there and choose ‘Save’. Later, view the saved section to recall these items that you thought warranted a closer look. Apparently Facebook will also remind us of these saved items on occasion, popping them back into your news feed (which could be handy or annoying, time will tell).

If you haven’t installed Facebook for Android on your device yet, download it now and get back in touch with those people on your friends list.

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Jul
21

BBM Beta Live for Windows Phone

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BBM

When smartphones began, BlackBerry ruled the land and everybody fell in love with their messaging app (fondly called BBM). It behaved like iMessage, long before such a thing existed, offering up multi-person chats, read notifications and other more dynamic features. These days, fewer (and fewer) people have BlackBerry devices, but the beloved BBM has been extended to work on other platforms –the most recent being the Windows Phone.

Features of the BBM app for Windows Phone include: BBID setup and log-in, BBM profiles, invite a contact and suggested contacts (based on people you know), 1-to-1 and multi-person chat, contact categories (handy for separating out work colleagues, family, and friends), and BBM groups. Each of these things combined with their cross-platform expansions have turned BBM into a serious contender as a universally adopted instant messaging app.

To give this app a test-drive on your Windows Phone, you must be a part of the BlackBerry Beta program. If you haven’t gotten on board, or you don’t have a Windows Phone, BBM Messender for Android is also available as a free download.


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udacity

Do you have a fantastic idea for a new Android app, but lack the development skills to bring it to market? Udacity would like to help you turn inspiration into reality with their new course called “Developing Android Apps: Android Fundamentals.” Delivered entirely online, this class is aimed at developers who understand the fundamentals of programming (using other languages such as C++, Objective C, or Python for 3 years or more) but may not have any experience with the Android operating system.

The course commitment is approximately 6 hours of study during each of 8 weeks, throughout which Android development fundamentals will be covered. By the conclusion of the course, graduates should enjoy an understanding of the tools, principles, and patterns leading to the creation of Android apps.

Becoming comfortable with Android development may be a lucrative move for many software development professionals, especially when you consider that the mobile operating system is branching out to other platforms as well, including: wearables, desktop computing, and cloud-connected solutions.

Interested? You can get started immediately with a 2-week free trial, after which the tuition will cost you $150 per month –a bargain when you consider the earning potential of successful Android apps.

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GoG

News of an upcoming superhero movie is always exciting for fans of the genre, so when Marvel announced one was in the works –everybody was wondering who the star of the show would be. Turns out the next big feature is all about the Guardians of the Galaxy. If you’re among those who aren’t familiar with these heroes, you aren’t alone, but playing a little of the co-branded Android game will help you learn and get excited. In Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon (TUW), the brilliance of Marvel crossed with Disney comes to life.

The team fighting evil is a rag-tag crew, comprised of Star-Lord, Rocket, Groot, Gamora, and Drax –a group of assassins, grouchy aliens, and one that resembles a tree. Together with their allies, your job is to help them through real-time battles while trying to recover the five pieces of The Universal Weapon so that it isn’t built by the villainous Ronan the Accuser! Once you make it through the story, keep playing and enjoying the game while testing your survival skills in Arena Mode. For added fun, the more you play, the more combo moves and crushing attacks you can unlock (plus gain access to over 25 characters).

Download Guardians of the Galaxy: TUW for $4.99 USD now (and enjoy the fact that there are no in-app purchases to get in the way of your villian-hunting)!

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Over the course of the last few years our News App for Android was not very compelling. It was slow, unwieldy and not indicative to the simplified vision we had for reading our stories on your phone or tablet. We have solved this situation by launching our updated News App for Android Smartphones.

In the last few weeks we have launched a brand new mobile version of our website that appeals to readers who have an iPhone or Android devices. When you visit our news site on your phone, you will be greeted by a new mobile theme. The text is readable right off the bat, and there is no pinching or zooming required to keep informed on all of the latest happenings in the eBook, e-Reader and digital publishing world.

The News App for Android is your gateway to accessing our mobile version of the site, but with a few extras. We have a new commenting system for the app, that shows you how many comments a story has on the frontpage and has the ability to connect your favorite social media account to easily weigh in on a specific news item.

Doing a mobile version of our website has always been a huge priority with us and we now have an excellent solution. We have attempted three different versions in the past, and they all were terrible. I am honestly very happy with our app and implore you to check it out and download it today.

Download Good e-Reader News for Android or visit our website on your smartphone.

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kyocera-sapphire

If rumours can be believed, Apple is set to release a new iPhone this fall –equipped with a durable and resilient synthetic sapphire glass screen. If this fancy new screen performs as expected, Apple may just deliver a scratch- and shatter-resistant phone (leaked videos indicate that torsion force isn’t even a problem). Fortunately for Android OEMs, Kyocera has an innovation of their own: Sapphire Shield.

Sapphire is a desirable material because it is incredibly strong, second only to diamonds. Natural sapphires have a blue hue, but lab-created sapphires can be created without the offending chemicals and result in a fully clear material. Aside from being an incredibly durable panel, Sapphire Shield is also affordable to mass produce (something that has always prevented the use of these materials in the past).

Until these new screens are actually in place so they can be tested and tried by users, we won’t be certain which is better –but the idea of having a smartphone (or wearable) that is more difficult to break will appeal to every person that owns one (but may be less appealing for the manufacturers of heavy-duty cases).

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google-play-android

Every person with a smartphone or tablet has experienced the frustration of a free (but not so free) app; you download it, you install it, you go to run it… and find that it’s so bogged down with ads and purchase options that it’s nearly impossible to use. In North America, many classify these apps as being Freemium. Beginning in September, Google has reached an agreement with the European Union that indicates no title offering in-app purchases (IAP) can be labeled as free.

The approach Google will take involves a change to the way app pricing is listed. Once implemented, a title will not be designated as free unless it also carries no IAP.

While it is easy to understand the motivation behind these changes, the main catalyst appears to be parents whose children have unwittingly racked up serious charges by downloading game add-ons. What isn’t being considered is that no price listing is a replacement for supervision and education: any child capable of entering payment information (even by way of just knowing the password) will download any app they want, regardless of the way a price is listed.

Apple has also been tapped to make these changes, but the company has yet to commit to anything specific, indicating they have no “concrete and immediate solutions”.

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PayPal

In the land of virtual wallets, PayPal is arguably the best known and most used service. Now with a series of updates made to their Android app, using PayPal from your smartphone or tablet is even easier and more convenient.

First on the list of changes was the addition of a quick login feature that lets you associate your account directly to your telephone number –so access is just a PIN away. While it may seem trivial to include this as an update, for anybody who logs in frequently it can be very handy (this is not dissimilar to how you access the funds in your bank account by associating a PIN with your client card).

Perhaps the most exciting addition is the ability add in loyalty cards (those things in your wallet taking up all the space that let you accumulate points for this and rewards for that)! Now when you hit a retailer and they ask if you have your card with you… you will actually be able to use it!

The last change isn’t an update at all: PayPal has removed the ability to scan checks using their app. It isn’t known why this feature was removed, but you won’t be able to deposit cheques in this manner any longer.

If you haven’t yet enjoyed the convenience of accessing your PayPal account from your Android device, download it now for free!

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Subscribers to the Amazon Prime Instant Video service have longed for an Android app that would work on devices other than the proprietary Kindle Fire tablets (and oddly, iOS-based tablets which are already supported as well). Fortunately it appears that the release of an actual Android app is ‘imminent’ (according to their Marketing Director, Russell Morris).

Amazon Prime Instant Video Service is a subscription-based service not unlike those offered by Netflix or Hulu Plus. Customers are able to rent and purchase movies and television content as well as accessing a library of free titles available for instant streaming. While each service has strengths and weaknesses, Netflix has traditionally come out ahead when it comes to having a simple user interface and high quality feeds –but Amazon has announced they soon intend to support 4K Ultra HD (UHD), which would help level that playing field. Hulu Plus has content the fastest (with minimal commercial interruption) while Netflix has more original series –though Amazon recently cut a deal with HBO to deliver their original series shows, something their competitors have been unable to achieve.

No specifics have been given regarding which Android devices will be supported by the app and there isn’t a confirmed release date.

Do you have a preferred subscription service for streaming movies and television shows (or are you like me and require more than one to satisfy your multimedia needs)?

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flash-serp-note

In the early days of the Internet, using Oh Flash was a sign that a website was ahead of the times. It was impressive and sought-after. These days it is akin to a technologically-transmitted-disease –we’ve all heard about Flash content and we all know of websites that feature it, but for the most part we really just hope to avoid it. Thanks to Google, users searching from an Android or iOS device will now receive a warning when a website in their results is built on the Flash platform. From there it becomes your choice: take your chances and try it anyway, or move on to the next result.

Once upon a time, many people chose Android devices because they supported Flash –but that all ended with JellyBean when security and performance concerns outweighed the perceived benefits (something Apple felt strongly about since iOS began). Of course, it doesn’t hurt that technologies like HTML 5 now exist that are equally dynamic and entirely cross-platform.

In order to display this warning, Google has developed an algorithm that aims to detect websites whose content is based mostly in Flash. It’s likely this will result in a few false-positive hits, but that accuracy should improve with time (especially as legacy sites start to die out or face redesigns)… but there is another side-benefit that shouldn’t be overlooked: Flash content is difficult for search engine spiders to crawl –meaning the overall quality and accuracy of your search results should also improve.

As somebody who uses iOS devices as often as I do Android, I can tell you firsthand that it is frustrating to hit a website and only see portions (or nothing at all in some cases). Are any of you as excited as I am to hear this news? Do you see any downsides?

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If you’ve been holding off on using Google+ because you couldn’t use the display name you wanted (or maybe you just found the rules a little annoying), starting today those restrictions have been lifted. Some are speculating that the changes to Google’s terms of service are related to the departure of Google+ lead, Vic Gundotra, but it may just be that it was time.

Google made comments on this update on their Google+ profile:

“We know you’ve been calling for this change for a while. We know that our names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users. For this we apologize, and we hope that today’s change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be. Thank you for expressing your opinions so passionately, and thanks for continuing to make Google+ the thoughtful community that it is.”

Google+ turned 3 years old last month and still isn’t winning the social networking race against the reigning leader, Facebook. While I doubt many people were truly holding out because of the names that were allowed, fewer restrictions may provide a more welcoming atmosphere for would-be joiners.

Which social networking site do you like best? Do you try to keep up with all of them?

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GPS

At the Google I/O conference this year, we were treated to news that the latest version of Android would also come with a new Material Design UI –complete with an updated look and feel that would persist through to most of Google’s apps as well. A full tour of the design changes won’t be possible until the fall, but until then we will have to have our curiosity satiated by sneak peeks. To that end, we’ve seen a little bit of what the new Google Play Store will look like.

The primary difference with Material Design is whitespace (and lots of it) combined with large header images that make it easy for users to skim the content.

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It goes without saying that these leaked images should be considered part of the rumour mill at this point, Google may surprise us with something else entirely when the time comes.

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large

Do you like dinosaurs? If so, don’t play Dino Hunter: Deadly Shores. Do you like shoot ‘em up games where you get to brandish a rifle and take to hunting man-eating lizards? Play this game immediately.

As you begin your hunt, the first weapon you can equip is an assault rifle aptly named the Atlas Eliminator (which should tell you a great deal about the game) –it is every bit as violent as any first-person shooter you’ve tried. Working your way through the objectives of each mission finds you trying to earn points for head shots, heart shots, and anything that gets you the kill you need to progress.

Graphics in the game are vibrant and much better than you might expect, though the on-screen controls are slightly awkward to get used to. Taking aim isn’t always easy, but that challenge keeps you playing (until you get to finally hunt the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex).

If you don’t have a weak stomach and feel like hunting a few extinct animals, download Dino Hunter: Deadly Shores for free now.

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