Google’s New Android Brings a Much Needed Change

Thanks in part to Samsung’s Galaxy Note lineup and Apple’s iPhone 6s Plus, large-screened phones are becoming more popular than ever. Time spent on these large phones, sometimes called “phablets,” grew by 334% year-over-year in 2015, according to data from Flurry Analytics.

Still, few phone makers other than Samsung SSNLF 8.93% have made good use of these larger devices. Google GOOG 0.02% is hoping to change this with its newest version of Android. Called 7.0 Nougat, it notably features the ability to view apps in a split-screen mode. The software update, which Google began pushing out to certain Nexus devices this week, makes it possible for Android users to interact with more than one app simultaneously.

That’s beneficial because it reduces the need to skip around from app to app. Let’s say you’re making edits to a work-related document in Google Drive while chatting about the changes with your boss. With split-screen, you can have your document and email open and displayed on screen at the same time, making it easier to multitask. As Google pushes for Android to work on screens of all sizes, it’s promising to see the company refine how Android works on larger devices.

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Still, some Android fans may find the functionality familiar. Certain Samsung phones have been offering split-screen modes since as far back as 2011. Users of LG’s G2, which launched in 2013, could open apps in floating windows on the home screen. But a split-screen view has never been part of Google’s core Android software — meaning you wouldn’t be able to enjoy the feature unless you purchased a phone whose manufacturer added the capability. Google’s latest version of Android should change this, making split-screen more widespread.

How does split-screen view in Android 7.0 Nougat work? Pretty much the same way it does on Samsung’s Notephones. On the Nexus 6P, I was able to launch two apps by tapping the recent apps button, pressing and holding down on the title bar of the app I wanted to view in split-screen mode, and dragging that app to the top or bottom of the screen. Like Samsung’s multi-window mode, Google’s version also allows you to adjust the amount of space one app occupies on screen over the other.Nougat’s split-screen mode is emblematic of the software’s larger overall focus on multitasking. Even cycling between apps has become slightly easier: tapping twice on the recent apps button will switch between the two apps you last opened. These improvements are especially critical as Google introduces devices like the Pixel C, which is a tablet meant to be used with an accompanying keyboard — similar to Microsoft’s Surface lineup and Apple’s iPad Pro. Until this point, however, Pixel C owners didn’t have an easy way to juggle multiple apps at once, a sore point with critics.Above all else, the decision to add a split-screen view to Android suggests that Google — not just its hardware partners — considers productivity to be an important part of the Android experience moving forward.

[Source:-Fortune]

Rheo, a personalized video app designed by ex-Apple product vets, scores $2.3 million

A personalized video channel for Apple TV, Rheo, has now closed on $2.3 million in seed funding, the company announced this week. It has also updated its application and expanded its content lineup, thanks to a new deal with Vimeo which brings the network’s catalog of short videos, including its “Staff Picks,” short films, animations, music and more, to Rheo’s service.

The funding was led by Accomplice, with participation from Pathbreaker Ventures, Social Capital, SocialStarts, and Google Maps creator Lars Rasmussen.

Rheo, by way of background, was founded by notable product development veteran Alan Cannistraro, who previously spent 12 years at Apple working on apps like Remote, iBooks, and Podcasts. He also worked at Facebook building auto-play videos and Year-In-Review, among other things. Rheo’s newly joined Chief Product Officer Charles Migos, meanwhile, also worked at Apple for over a decade, where he recently created Apple News, and Microsoft, where he designed the company’s home media experience.

The idea for the startup came from Alan’s belief that media has become too difficult to access in our new digital landscape, compared with traditional TV viewing in years past where you could just switch on the set.

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“Media is everywhere. It’s scattered. To find it, you have to search. You have to remember. You have to act to get to it,” he says. “There was a time when media was effortless. When you just turned on the TV, and information came at you…Partly it was good information because you didn’t have to put any effort in to get it.”

Unlike services like YouTube where content is organized by channel, Rheo organizes videos based on mood.

For example, there’s a “Laugh” channel for comedy, an “Inform” channel for news coverage, a “Spark” channel for creative content from artists, designers and musicians, “Learn” for educational content, and “Chill” for music. With the updated version of the Apple TV app, Rheo has also added a new channel called “Move,” which features action sports content.

The videos on Rheo come from a variety of sources, but mainly Facebook via API access. With the Vimeo addition, Rheo has around 16,000 total videos available and it adds around 1,000 more every week. Alan says the team curates the selection, whether that’s hand-picking select videos they come across, or pulling in all from a specific, trusted publisher.

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What’s interesting about Rheo’s service, however, is that it gradually adapts itself to the viewer’s own interests. Over time, the more you watch, Rheo gets better at identifying those you’d like.

When you watch a video to the end, for example, that’s a signal that you like it, while skipping a video indicates disinterest. The app can also learn what time of day you tune into certain types of content, plus you can more directly indicate you like something by “boosting” it with a double-press on the Siri remote.

In addition to the new Vimeo content, the updated app also now offered more controls to move through videos.

While there are a number of video-viewing apps on the market, Rheo is betting on its product as being the way it wins.

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“Charles and I know how to build great products that people love. That is how we differentiate ourselves from the sea of other apps,” says Alan.

In three months, Rheo’s viewers have watched over a million videos on the app, though the company declined to say how many users it has. It’s also not currently monetizing, nor discussing its plans on that front in detail.

“I’ll say this about monetization: We are approaching peak ads. I believe it will mature,” says Alan. “It’s unfair to show a user a 30s pre-roll for a 2 minute piece of content,” he adds, “I think users will revolt.”

In the near-term, Alan says the company will use the new funding for hiring, with plans to hire both industry experts and creative newcomers to round out the team.

The app is a free download for Apple TV. The plan is to remain on Apple TV for the time being, then move to other platforms after they get the experience right.

[Source:-TC]

Rescue strategy game EMERGENCY goes free on Android

EMERGENCY came to Android more than 3 years ago in March of 2013. Back then, the Xperia Z was the hottest phone on the block, the Galaxy S4 was starting its pre-orders, and Holo was the coolest design language we could imagine. But EMERGENCY was rather well received thanks to its replay value. With 13 disaster scenarios and 18 units under your command, you could manage your resources differently to try to save as much lives and fight as many terrorists as you could, and thus control the situation better and faster.

The game has seen several updates on Android since its release, though none in the past 8 or so months. Its only change on the Play Store this week was a price drop from $0.99 to nada. Yes, EMERGENCY is now free on the Play Store. Since free apps can never go back to being paid on Android, it either means that development has stopped or that the team plans to monetize it via in-app purchases. It already has some additional missions as IAP, so that’s a plausible scenario.

[Source:-Android Police]

‘Double Dog’ is a crazy new app that’s sure to get one of your idiot friends killed

‘Double Dog’ is a crazy new app that’s sure to get one of your idiot friends killed ...

Double Dog is the epitome of the dare by the same name. Only this time, it’s for friends to wager money, or points in order to see who can do the craziest shit. If you’re like me, you can watch from the outside and laugh at the pain of others rather than taking part yourself.

To play, users send or receive dares. If you send a dare, you get video proof that it’s been completed before ponying up the payment. If you’re dared, you have to do it. If you elect not to, you can send it back to the user who sent it to you for double the payment. If they get cold feet and decline, three times the original payment value comes back to you.

It’s essentially the epitome of your childhood, only now you can break your neck, suffer public ridicule and lose your cold, hard cash while doing it.

Look, I don’t know what your thing is, but the weekend is upon us and we all have that one friend that’ll do anything for cash. Double Dog might give you a cool idea or two, or just act as a proof and payment facilitator for the dares that you cook up while getting baked.

It really doesn’t matter.

At the end of the day, it’s all about having fun and getting paid, or, having fun while paying your friends to do stupid things. After all, the tagline is “Dare. Money. Fame.,” which all seem accurate, especially if you consider “fame” ending up on ‘Tosh.0’ or ‘Ridiculousness.’

You can download Double Dog for iOS or Android at each of their respective app stores.

[Source:-TNW]

Supporting Donald Trump? There’s an App for That

Donald Trump

Are you supporting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and want to connect with other like-minded voters between now and the November election?

There’s an app for that.

Friday afternoon, the Trump campaign unveiled the “America First” app for both Android and iOS-enabled mobile devices. America First allows Trump supporters to engage with the campaign, meet fellow supporters and collaborate to “Make America Great Again” by answering various calls to action and building an active online community of supporters.

If it sounds familiar, that’s because it’s nearly identical to the “Cruz Crew” app put out by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’ presidential campaign last fall during the GOP presidential primary race. The Trump campaign put out the following statement describing the app:

Supporters can earn Action Points by signing up for campaign alerts, contributing to the campaign, checking in at events, sending messages to friends, and sharing campaign videos, images and other personalized content through various social networks.

 

Every Trump supporter has a unique personal profile where they can view and track their progress by unlocking up to eight levels of Activist Badges, ranging from Apprentice to Big League. Supporters will see different content and opportunities in the app based on where they are located at the time.

America First also includes state and global leaderboards and social interaction with other supporters through a messaging system.

[Source:-Charisma News]

‘It Just Works?’ Not quite: iPhones crash more than Android phones, study finds Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/iphones-android-crashes-blancco-study/#ixzz4IY5LFY7U Follow us: @digitaltrends on Twitter | digitaltrendsftw on Facebook

iphones android crashes blancco study iphone transer comparison apple google smartphones nexus s  samsung htc

One of Apple’s catchphrases for its devices in years past was “It just works.” That might not be as accurate anymore, according to a new study by Blancco Technology Group. In its latest quarterly “State of Mobile Device and Performance” report, the company claims crash reports have nearly doubled quarter over quarter, suggesting that Apple has its work cut out to improve its software.

Blancco says 58 percent of all Apple devices with its mobile diagnostic tools installed failed at some point during the quarter, compared to only 35 percent of all Android devices, up from just 25 percent last quarter. Sixty-five percent of the crashes on iPhones were due to apps, while Wi-Fi issues accounted for 11 percent of crashes. Headset or data connectivity issues crashed four percent of devices each.

What’s the cause of this dramatic increase in crashes on iOS devices? That’s difficult to ascertain, as Blancco provided little data on the phones in the test themselves. One possibility is a large number of iOS devices participating in the iOS 10 Public Beta were plagued by many of the issues that Blancco found as the most common early on, but have gotten dramatically better with successive releases.

Related: iOS users outspend Android users in in-app purchases, study says

Among the biggest offenders when it came to apps that caused crashes on Apple devices were social media apps, including Snapchat (17 percent), Instagram (14 percent) and Facebook (9 percent). Android, on the other hand, seemed to have more problems with apps native to the OS itself, including Google Play Services (12 percent), Google Contacts Sync (5 percent) and the Address Book (5 percent).

As a whole, crashes on Android devices actually dropped 9 percent quarter-over-quarter, possibly indicating that Google itself might be starting to get a handle on the bugs that seem to plague some of its native apps. It did, however, have a greater rate of hardware-related issues, according to Blancco’s study.

In any case, third-party app stability seems to be much better overall on the Android platform, possibly due to the fact that Android places less restrictions on app developers in how they build their apps for the platform — and that shows in the fact that apps are at fault for crashes 50 percent less of the time than their iOS counterparts.

By device, the iPhone 6 and 6s were the most crash-prone on the iOS site, and Samsung devices fared the worst on the Android side. With Samsung, that might be more of a function of its massive market share. Other poor-performing devices were generally low-cost smartphone purveyors like Lenovo and LeTV. In other words, you get what you pay for.

[Source:-Digital India]

Trump launches America First app, a competitive social network

The Donald Trump campaign has released a new mobile app on Friday that encourages the Republican presidential nominee’s supporters to both interact with and compete against one another.

The America First app serves as sort of a hybrid between social network and game, in which points are earned through actions such as checking in at a Trump-Pence rally, donating money to the campaign, and declaring support for “Team Trump” on social media.

Screenshot of the leaderboard on Trump's new "America First" app.
Screenshot of the leaderboard on Trump’s new America First app.

Users are required to create individual profiles that include a variety of personal data: home address, age, gender and whether or not they’re registered to vote. Selfies are also encouraged.

The profiles enable users to keep track of their own points and see where they rank among fellow Trump supporters. The more points you earn, the higher you’re able to rise through the app’s eight levels, from Apprentice to Big Time.

Screenshot of features on the Trump campaign’s new America First app.

The app also has several point-free features, such Donald Trump Trivia, a running countdown of the “Time Left Until We Defeat Crooked Hillary” and the “Newsfeed,” which appears to be the candidate’s Twitter feed.

Though the Trump campaign first announced the new app in an email Friday afternoon, it had apparently launched last week, and according to ABC News has already sparked concerns from privacy experts about its broad data-collection abilities.

[Source:-Yahoo]

Android 7.0 Nougat: Top 10 Features You’ll Love

Google’s latest Android 7.0 Nougat made its official debut earlier this week, bringing a slew of enhancements, tweaks and cool features to improve the overall experience.

Android 7.0 Nougat is already available for download for select devices such as the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, the Google Pixel C and the Android One General Mobile 4G.

If you’re a proud owner of one of these devices and want to get a taste of the latest OS, here are the top features you’ll love aboutAndroid 7.0 Nougat.

1. Enhanced UI And Better Notifications

Since the visual changes are the first ones you’ll see as soon as you boot up your Nougat device, the tweaked UI deserves a special mention. Android 7.0 Nougat brings instant control toggles when swiping down from the top of the screen, improving the way you can activate or deactivate Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and more.

The notification menu, meanwhile, gets a cool overhaul that makes better use of available on-screen space, sporting smaller fonts and bundling all notifications from the same app. Moreover, a new Direct Reply feature now enables users to reply to messages faster and easier, straight from notifications, as Google finally enabled the feature for third-party apps as well. Another useful trick is pressing and holding on a notification to access the app’s settings, which makes things arguably more convenient.

2. Instant Apps

Google’s new Instant Apps may well be the greatest change to app stores in ages, significantly facilitating access to apps. Instant Apps basically allow Android users to start using an application immediately in the Play Store, without even having to download it. With Android Nougat, you can simply open the Google Play store page for an app and start using it instantly, so you can try it out before deciding whether to download it or not. This could be a real game-changer for how we try out new apps.

3. Power Saving

One of the most commended features of Android 6.0 Marshmallow was Doze, which brought neat battery optimizations to keep devices running for longer on a single charge. Google is now taking things to the next level with Android 7.0 Nougat, introducing “Doze on the Go.”

While the Doze in Marshmallow placed devices in a dormant state when not in use, Doze on the Go offers power-saving features even when in motion, whenever the display is off. Another neat feature called Project Svelte, meanwhile, keeps apps from waking up when detecting changes in the device’s network connection.

4. Vulkan API Support

With Vulkan API support on board, Android 7.0 Nougat should substantially improve the quality of mobile gaming, virtual reality experiences and other graphics-intensive applications. Vulcan is designed to replace OpenGL and deliver a smoother, more streamlined cross-platform game development process. As a result, mobile games should be more power efficient, work more smoothly and look better.

5. Lower System Requirements

Google started a while back to make its mobile operating system lighter, so to say, aiming to make Android work well even on devices with less impressive specifications.

Android Nougat now rocks tighter core components, lowering the system requirements to run faster on devices with lower-end hardware. This builds on the efforts Google made in earlier versions of Android, starting with KitKat.

6. Daydream VR

Google Cardboard is nothing compared to the ambitious Daydream VR, the company’s latest platform for virtual reality. Daydream VR pairs VR headsets and controllers with an Android Nougat-based UI designed to facilitate discovery and consumption of VR content. Moreover, Daydream VR will rock an impressively low 20 ms latency, which should translate to the best mobile VR experience yet.

On the downside, Daydream VR will only be compatible with a few new handsets, which means that current devices will most likely not be able to support the platform. Future flagships, however, should have no problem getting the most out of Daydream VR.

7. Seamless Updates

Android 7.0 Nougat will minimize disruptions by introducing seamless updates, borrowing a page from the Chrome OS playbook. Simply put, the system will discretely download the OTA update in the background when connected to Wi-Fi, and install them as separate system images on the device storage. This means that you’ll be able to continue using an app even while it’s updating in the background, as Nougat allows two system images to run at the same time. The latest system image will automatically boot up upon restarting the device.

8. Google Allo

Android Nougat finally brings Google Allo to the table, arriving as a cool new messaging app that taps Google’s powerful search, security technology and machine learning. Allo will allow users to make web searches and bookings quickly and easily, without having to leave a conversation. The app is also designed to offer suggestions for message replies, based on what messages and photos you’ve received.

Moreover, Google Allo also sports an “Incognito Chat” mode that not only protects messages with end-to-end encryption, but also allows users to set timers for when they want messages to expire.

9. Google Duo

Neatly complementing the Allo messaging app, Google Duo is the company’s new video calling app, aiming to make video calling easier than ever. At the same time, Duo also doubles down on security, ensuring end-to-end encryption for all calls. Google Duo quickly soared to the top of the Play Store, ranking as the top free app.

10. Better Multitasking With Quick Switch And Multi-Window

Google has always handled multitasking quite proficiently with Android, but Nougat makes everything better. Quick Switch, for instance, will allow users to seamlessly switch to the last used app simply by double-tapping the Recent button.

Speaking of the Recent menu, Android 7.0 Nougat also introduces a new Clear All Button, which was missing from the stock version of Android Marshmallow.

Multi-window makes use of the Recent menu as well, allowing users to easily open an app from another app. More specifically, if you press the Recent button while you’re using an app, you’ll have the option to select another app to open alongside your current one. Both apps will work simultaneously in a split-screen view. This should significantly improve productivity, especially since you’ll be able to drag items from one app to another when both are open in split-screen view.

Conclusion

There are many other cool features and tricks Android 7.0 Nougat has up its sleeve, as this top 10 merely covers a fraction of what the new OS has to offer. If you’ve already tried the latest Nougat flavor, drop by our comment section below and tell us about your favorite Nougat features.

[Source:-Tech Time]

This App Makes It Easy to Find New Friends on Pokémon Go

Gotta catch ’em all, right?

Interested in hanging out with Pokémon players in the real world? Soon there’ll be an app for that.

Florida native Jeffrey Shafer is the creative mind behindPoké Trainer, a new mobile app designed to help Pokémon Go players find their new best friend—or possibly something more.

Shafer, a marketing and PR entrepreneur based in Fort Myers, Fla., told Street Insider that he first got the idea for a friendship app after he successfully introduced two of his Pokémon-catching friends. Shafer was curious to see if other millennials would like an app like this, so he created a Facebook page with all the details.

After three days, Shafer’s post had more than 1,000 likes. Now he’s working with a local software developer to bring the concept to life.

“Poké Trainer is a friendship app, first and foremost,” Shafer said. “It’s developed so no matter how infrequent or often you play Pokémon Go, there will always be a trainer for your skill level and interest.”

Pokémon Trainer is basically the friend version ofPokéDates, a dating site that launched in July. While PokéDates aims to bring singles together, Shafer hopes his app will bring two people together platonically.

Less than two months after its launch in the U.S., Pokémon Go skyrocketed to the top of the most popular mobile games list. On July 8, more than 5% of all Google’s GOOGL 0.24% Android devices had Pokémon Godownloaded, which is more than the amount of phones with Tinder.

[Source:-Fortune]

Simple free app enables Android 7.0’s hidden Night Mode

Android Nougat Features

Truth be told, no one really knows whether or not features like “Night Mode” actually help you sleep better at night. Although the jury is still out, there’s no question that reducing the amount of blue light cast be your smartphone’s display is easier on the eyes in the dark. Apple introduced its “Night Shift” feature in iOS 9, allowing users to automatically or manually cut out a configurable amount of blue light from their screens. Google’s newly released Android 7.0 Nougat operating system has a similar feature baked in, but for some reason Google decided to keep the feature hidden in its new release.

Of course, you knew that third-party developers Android developers wouldn’t let this sweet new feature stay hidden for long.

Had Google’s new Night Mode feature been made available upon installing Nougat, it might have made the cut in our list of the best new features available in Google’s latest Android update. On second thought, maybe not — the features on that list now are much cooler than Night Mode.

Night Mode is still a hugely useful feature though, especially considering how often people use their smartphones in the dark these days. The new feature will stay hidden for most users who install the new update, but those who know about a great free app by Android developer Mike Evans will be able to toggle the new feature on and off right from within the quick settings menu.Once you use the app to enable the setting, you never have to worry about it again. Simply place the quick tile wherever you want and then tap it anytime you’d like to enable or disable Night Mode.

[Source:-BGR]