Category: Mobile software
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Google Maps gets offline search, navigation support

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Google Maps for Android has had some sort of offline support for years now, but it’s definitely not good enough for most use cases, in the current iteration at least. At its I/O conference Google has announced that it’s working on bringing better offline support to Maps sometime before the end of this year.

So in the future you’ll be able to start navigating to places while offline. Currently navigation works offline, but you need to be online when you start it. Additionally, Google Maps will allow offline searches for places and points of interest (with autocomplete no less), something which you can’t do right now. Read more »

Content from iOS apps is now featured in Google search results

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Today Google has announced that it’s brought its App Indexing feature from Android to iOS. What this allows is for you to jump straight to a relevant iOS app from Google search results. In the example showcased by the image below, a restaurant reservation is required, and following a Google search tapping on the first result will take you to the OpenTable iOS app that’s installed on the same device. In it you can then make the desired reservation, or go back to the search results with one tap.

The feature exists in both the Google app for iOS as well as Chrome for iOS, as long as you’re signed into your Google account. For now such links to iOS apps will be limited to a short list, with Google having worked with some initial test partners so far. Read more »

Microsoft releases Office Lens app for Android

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Back in April, Microsoft introduced the Office Lens app for iOS. It lets you capture anything using a smartphone’s camera and get it automatically tweaked to be saved in OneNote or OneDrive storage.

After beta testing it for several weeks, the Office Lens for Android devices is finally live in the Google Play Store. The phones running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and higher will be able to get the app. Read more »

Xiaomi Mi Band can now sync with Google Fit

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Xiaomi’s Mi Fit app has just received a new update. The fitness tracker, specifically designed to work with the company’s inexpensive Mi Band tracker, now has integration with Google’s Fit platform.

This definitely simplifies data tracking on most Android devices. Up until now, the Android Mi Fit app was mostly closed off from data exchange, which is kind of odd, considering the company’s iOS application already has integration with Healthkit. Now, using the Google Fit API, your Mi Band, or rather Mi Fit, can feed information into Google’s platform, so, you can use both without dealing with the hustle of conflicting data. Read more »

LG, Sony, and 18 other companies will preinstall Microsoft apps on Android tablets

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Today Microsoft has announced the expansion of its strategic agreements with Android OEMs for preinstalling its productivity apps on devices running Google’s mobile operating system. The first step in this strategy was revealed in March when we found out that Samsung and Dell agreed to preinstall Microsoft’s apps on their devices along with a few smaller, regional players.

And now the software giant is adding 20 more OEMs to the list, the most well-known of which are LG and Sony. This round seems to concern only tablets, by the way. So, “in the near future”, these companies will ship tablets with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype preinstalled. Read more »

Periscope, Twitter’s live video streaming app, finally arrives on Android

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Periscope was launched by Twitter on iOS back in March, and today it’s finally become available for Android too. The app can already be downloaded from the Google Play Store, in fact. It should work on Android 4.4 KitKat or newer versions of the OS.

Periscope arrives on Android almost a month after its chief competitor, Meerkat (which was also iOS-only for a long while). Read more »

New Opera Max version will save you from crowded hotspots, battery hogs

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Opera’s headlining trick – compressing the web – is evolving in the time of high-powered smartphones. Opera Max enables a Turbo-like compression for any and all apps on your phone, not just the browser. And now not just mobile data either, Max can now handle your Wi-Fi usage.

“Why?” you may be asking. Simple – public Wi-Fi hotspots often suck worse than mobile data. Also, this allows Opera Max to improve your battery life too. Read more »

Microsoft to release Cortana for iOS and Android

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Microsoft has rolled its sleeves and branching out its apps as well as other services to rival platforms. Today, the company officially announced it will release its Cortana companion app for the iOS and Android platforms.

Cortana will not be a full-blown native app that it is on the Windows platform but Microsoft promises to work actively to include at least the notifications support. Read more »

Google’s upcoming Photos app leaks

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We have been hearing rumors of the Photos app in Android for a while now but Android Police finally has some solid information on it, including lots of screenshots.

As you may know, the current Photos app in Android is part of the Google+ app, and you need a Google account to use it. However, Google has been working on separating it from Google+ and making it a standalone gallery app (and service). Read more »

Best Apps and Games of the Week

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Here are the best apps and games that came out this week.

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Dropbox app gets Material Design and gesture navigation support

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An update to Dropbox for Android gave the application a much deserved makeover. Version 2.6 brings the Android 5.0 Lollipop’s Material Design language to the cloud storage app.

The tabbed browsing interface of old has been replaced – users looking for files in photos and favorites will find them in the side menu. Read more »

Snapchat apparently exploring e-commerce with investment in shopping app Spring

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Looks like Snapchat is planning to enter into e-commerce business as the company has invested in Spring, a shopping app that was launched just last year, according to a Recode report. There is, however, no information on the size of the investment as well as whether or not it has closed.

Spring raised $25 million in funding last month, but that did not include Snapchat. However, Jello Labs – the company behind Spring – has an option to raise another $5.7 million in a fresh round, which is where the messaging app company might step in, the report notes. Read more »

Nokia CEO: company in no hurry to unload HERE mapping division, might even keep it

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Over a month after there were reports that Nokia is contemplating a sale of its HERE maps business, CEO Rajeev Suri has said that the company is in no hurry to unload the division. He made the comment in an interview with trade magazine European Communications.

“Let’s give it more time…We may not end up selling it if we don’t get the right value. It has to be a good competitive deal for Nokia and our shareholders,” Suri said, while revealing that the division has managed to attract significant interest as the Finnish company is receiving high quality bids from potential buyers. Read more »

HTC releases official Mail app for Lollipop devices on Google Play Store

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HTC released the official Sense Mail app in the Google Play store. The application functions like any other modern email app – one can read and compose emails, create folders, and manage multiple email accounts using it.

Designed using its own Sense UI language, the HTC Mail app offers useful customizations such as changing the font and its color, highlighting text, and more. Read more »

Apple Maps rumored to finally get transit directions in iOS 9

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The lack of public transit directions in Apple Maps may be baffling, but it looks like the company is finally going to take care of this glaring omission soon. According to a new rumor, transit directions will be added to the Apple Maps app that will be part of iOS 9.

Apple’s next version of its mobile operating system should be demoed in June at the company’s annual developer-focused conference (WWDC). As in previous years, we expect iOS 9 to be released around the time the new iPhones ship, so probably in the fall. Read more »