Facebook updated its iOS app today to make saving and sharing photos easier. The app recently saw a significant performance boost alongside the addition of Chat Heads, so this release is more of an iterative move than a splash maker.
Also on board are performance improvements, especially when it comes to loading events. Facebook has become the de facto social event planner, so it’s good news to see a previously-slow feature significantly quickened. You can also make edits to Places check-ins, a little-used feature that Facebook is trying to grow out.
The main improvements here, however, are to do with photos. When clicking on a photo, users will not see three dots at the bottom of the screen. This lets you share, save or report the photo, a much-requested addition.
Facebook also changed the app’s icon on iPad and iPhone, with a chrome ring around it, though we’ve heard it was altered by mistake and will be reverted to the old version in due time.
Download Facebook for iOS.
Recently, Google transferred its Play Store app review credentials to Google+, ensuring that so-called “real people” were providing feedback to apps. Google’s real name policy ostensibly improved the quality of Google+ posts, but potentially limited the amount of discourse, due to lack of anonymity, the community engendered.
Now, after rolling out the ability for a small number of developers to respond to reviews, Google has opened up the floor to everyone. Devs can post public responses to specific problems or compliments, and can continue the discourse through email if the issue persists.
This is a great way to provide feedback to consumers concerned about a specific feature or bug, and can take a 1-star rating and turn it into a 4- or 5-star.
Have you ever posted a review and had a developer respond to you? Did it encourage you to improve the app’s rating?
Source: Android Developer Blog
BlackBerry Live 2013 is a day away and the company will be announcing “what’s next.” If you can’t make the physical event, BlackBerry has you covered in several angles. First, they’ll be live streaming the keynote starting at 9:00am via blackberrylive.com. It’s expected that Thorsten Heins, CEO of BlackBerry, will talk about “the power of true mobile platforms and how BlackBerry innovations in mobile computing, platform management and BlackBerry 10 are empowering the future of mobile,” plus announce tablet plans, and possibly new BlackBerry 10 devices.
If the live stream is not your thing, but checking out the party is, then BlackBerry will also be live streaming the Alicia Keys – their new Creative Director – “Keep Moving Experience” that will feature Alabama Shakes, Miguel, Maria Gadú, and Cedric Gervais. In addition, there’s the official BlackBerry Live Conference App that can keep you up to date with all the session breakouts and keynote agenda.
Hopefully we’ll get an update on sales numbers for BlackBerry 10, with the inclusion of Q10 results. At last count there were just over 1 million units shipped, plus the company recently passed the 100,000 available app milestone.
We’ll bring you all the details as they happen.
Source: BlackBerry Live 2013
Google I/O is going to have a very different feel from previous years, at least when it comes to product announcements and, potentially, giveaways. The conference has always focused on developers, but there was an expectation from the outside community that big new hardware would be floated alongside a new version of Android, for example.
Google’s new joint head of Android and Chrome, Sundar Pichai, spoke to Wired over the weekend and downplayed any big product announcements for the three-day conference.
“It’s going to be different,” he said. “It’s not a time when we have much in the way of launches of new products or a new operating system. Both on Android and Chrome, we’re going to focus this I/O on all of the kinds of things we’re doing for developers, so that they can write better things. We will show how Google services are doing amazing things on top of these two platforms.”
While this doesn’t remove the possibility of a new product, or at least a refresh of an existing one, it minimizes the likelihood of the rumoured Motorola X-Phone or a Nexus 5; we’re much more likely to see a LTE-enabled Nexus 4 or updated Nexus 7 tablet.
With hardware not a major focal point of the conference, it looks like Google will announce a unified messaging service called Hangouts, which will unite the current Google Talk, Google Voice and Google+ Messaging into one hub on Android and the web. Also likely is Google Play Games, a new match-making and synchronized saved game service.
There’s also a good chance we’ll see a new version of Android, version 4.3 Jelly Bean. Pichai told Wired that he wants to slow down the considerable pace of Android development from a consumer perspective by releasing major versions less frequently, while focusing on small iterative updates that are easier for hardware manufacturers to implement. Now that versions of Android above 4.0 make up more than 50% of devices there is a since that developing for the platform is not only easier but more enjoyable.
“We are thinking about how to make Android handle updates better,” said Pichai. “We see ways we can do this. It’s early days. We’re talking with our partners and working our way through it. We need time to figure out the mechanics, but it’s definitely an area of focus for me and for the team.”
With Google I/O only two days away, there is a lot of speculation as to what we’ll see. Perhaps more important than that, however, is what we won’t see.
Earlier reports of LTE coming to Fredericton, New Brunswick were correct. TELUS announced today that those visiting or residing in the area will be able to connect to their LTE network, thus giving them faster upload and download speed (expected average of 12 to 25 Mbps). TELUS’ LTE coverage reaches about 24 million Canadian, or about 70% of the population. Looking at the map also sees future expansion that will triple the LTE coverage in the region.
Nokia is set to showoff “what’s next” for Lumia tomorrow. Nokia previously provided a 21-second teaser video that showed a glimpse of this device, namely the camera features, but today famous device leaker evleaks has revealed what the Nokia Lumia 925 will look like. The specs are sparse, but clearly taking its design from earlier Lumia flagships, this Windows Phone 8 powered 925 steps it up with a metal (reportedly aluminum) casing. The Nokia Lumia 925 has been known as the “Catwalk.”
Until today, AirBnb’s Android app didn’t come close to its iOS equivalent for features, design and stability. With version 2.0, the company has revamped the app’s design, giving it a sliding left-side navigation bar, large HD photos and a lovely photo-centric workflow.
AirBnb is a great resource for travellers to find accommodations outside of the traditional hotel circuit. People offer their apartments for rent in a number of configurations — empty, shared, with the tenant, etc. — at rates considerably cheaper than the average hotel room. Thanks to an extensive set of checks, both on the buyer and seller side, safety, cleanliness and amenities are assured beforehand, and there are recourses to complain to AirBnb if a trip goes awry.
Much of the service’s success has stemmed from the ease at which users can browse and find the right room or house for their particular type of holiday. I’ve used AirBnb several times since its inception, and the San Francisco-based service has grown to a quarter million listings in 30,000 cities and 192 countries. The focus has shifted to mobile booking and administration in the last year, with the company launching a revamped iOS app in 2012.
With this latest Android app, hosts can monitor their listings and pre-approve guests in addition to setting general availability from within the app.
The app is also considerably faster and more stable now, and the company has rectified an issue with push notifications.
Download Airbnb for Android.
Google I/O may not be the product-launching bonanza of previous years, but there are rumours that Google will refresh its main Nexus smartphone, the Nexus 4, with a new colour and LTE connectivity.
The white Nexus 4 was expected to launch alongside its black counterpart in November but never materialized. Google never acknowledged the second colour, so it was thought to be held back due to low demand, simplified marketing messaging or, most likely, manufacturing issues. White cellphones are notorious for being delayed due to the difficulty of creating a white surface that doesn’t discolour or fade. With the Nexus 4 colouring behind glass, that doesn’t quite jibe with traditional thinking, but it’s a good theory.
If Google does re-launch the Nexus 4 at Google I/O with LTE connectivity, it would make sense that it would release the white version, perhaps as a limited-quantity special edition, for users to purchase. We wouldn’t be surprised to see a slightly larger battery inside the phone, too, to offset the higher demands of the LTE chip.
All will be revealed on Wednesday, May 15th at 12PM ET, when the Google I/O 2013 keynote is scheduled to begin.
Sony unveiled the Xperia ZR today, a smaller smartphone version of the 5-inch Xperia Z. The ZR comes in at 4.6-inches (720p, 319ppi) and has “the highest level of water-resistance for filming in Full HD underwater.” Sony states that the ZR is IP55 and IP58 compliant and can repel dust, plus can be submerged in 1.5 meters water for up to 30 minutes. Guess that would be perfect for those summer months at the cottage.
Other notable specs have the LTE-enabled ZR packing a 13MP camera (same as the Xperia Z and ZL), 1.5 GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB of RAM, NFC and weighs in at 140 grams. As for release dates, nothing yet confirmed for Canada, and the “Xperia ZR will launch in various global markets from Q2 2013 (availability will vary by market).”
When the Samsung Galaxy S4 launched a few weeks ago TELUS noted that they’ll have “additional color options to follow later this year.” There was no indication of what or when the new colours would be made available, but if this leaked doc from DoCoMo in Japan is correct then we could possibly see the “Blue Arctic” GS4 join the Black Mist and White Frost versions. As for targeted availability, the promo materials suggest a release in Japan mid-May… so any day now. Of course, we Canadians would see this much later in the year, but a new colour would certainly be welcomed anytime.