App

Instagram has a new black-and-white design in testing

Instagram has a new black-and-white design in testing

Instagram has seldom tweaked with its design, but that could be changing soon. Screenshots have surfaced showing a black-and-white design that ditches the common blue and other colorful elements in favor of a plain ol’ monochromatic theme. Joining the new color scheme are some redesigned icons, as well, indicating that a minor overhaul may be in the pipeline.

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Talkshow app is Periscope for the camera-shy

Talkshow app is Periscope for the camera-shy

Are your text conversations so interesting, it kills you that you don't have an audience? Those who believe themselves to be truly entertaining can now prove their worth with Talkshow, a new app which blends elements of Twitter, Slack, and a sort of visual-podcast to effectively broadcast a written radio show.

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Android makes enterprise play with Gmail Exchange support

Android makes enterprise play with Gmail Exchange support

Google is adding Microsoft Exchange support to the Gmail app for Android, a huge step forward in making its mobile OS more palatable to enterprise deployment. The update will filter out to all Gmail users over the next three days or so, Google says, integrating Gmail accounts, Exchange accounts, and other email providers into a single inbox app.

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Chrome OS could soon have full Google Play Store support

Chrome OS could soon have full Google Play Store support

To many, it didn't make sense for Google to have different but related and practically competing operating systems. Some of those wished the two would merge, for the benefit of all but mostly for the Chrome OS users. Nearly two years ago, Google stirred things up when it officially supported running a handful of Android apps on Chrome OS, followed by silence. Things heated up again in the Alphabet reorganization but Google quickly shot down rumors of a Chrome-Android merger. Now, however, there might be evidence that Google is further bridging the gap, providing the full Play Store experience on Chrome OS.

Technically, the two OS are very different, except for a shared Linux base and some Google technologies like Chrome. Both, however, could benefit from the other's features. Android, for one, could learn a thing or two about window management and treating web apps as first class citizens. Chrome OS, on the other hand, needs the wealth of popular apps available on Android.

Google partly conceded to the latter in September when it launched ARC, the App Runtime for Chrome that allowed a few Android apps, selected by Google, to run on Chrome. That list started with Evernote, Vine, Sight Words, and Duo Lingo, eventually expanding to a few more, but never embracing the hundreds available on Android. Of course, there were a few attempts to give users that ability, but those were inconvenient at best, buggy at worst. In short, it was technically possible but needed Google's help in opening it up to the whole universe of Android apps. And it seems it finally will.

A user accidentally stumbled on a Chrome OS setting that would have enabled Android apps to run on the Chromebook. The setting quickly disappeared but not before a screenshot was taken. Naturally, dozens volunteered for the treasure hunt and indeed discovered placeholder text for the feature. If enabled, it would ask the user's permission to setup Google Play Store on the Chromebook to access millions of apps and games. Sadly, there is no "Hell Yeah!" button.

The feature is largely inactive for now but we could be given the full Monty this coming Google I/O. Even if it is prayer answered for some, it's still curious to see how Google will manage this strategy. Given how more Chromebooks, and even Chromeboxes and Chromebases, are coming out, Google will hardly kill off Chrome OS anytime soon. On the other hand, Android is set to receive more multi-window features in Android N, which could put it on par with Chrome OS. The two are ironically getting closer together, yet still not the same. Sounds familiar?

VIA: XDA

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Pictar iPhone camera grip adds shutter release, selfie button, and more

Pictar iPhone camera grip adds shutter release, selfie button, and more

The iPhone certainly changed how people take photos, not because it was the first camera phone, but it was the first successful modern smartphone that took quality images. As time has gone by the iPhone camera has improved to the point where it is one of the most commonly used cameras out there. A new camera grip has debuted that wants to make the iPhone an even better camera and it is called the Pictar.

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Listen to podcasts, see live TV listings in Google Search app

Listen to podcasts, see live TV listings in Google Search app

While in the midst of facing a massive antitrust lawsuit in Europe revolving around Android and search, Google is giving its Android Search app even more power. Somewhat ironically, these new features could give OEMs even more reason to stick to Google's apps, for the sake of their users, of course, giving more fodder to the EU's objections. With two new features, users won't even have to dive into web pages or open another app just to see when their favorite show is up or to listen to a podcast.

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Facebook Messenger group voice calling starts global rollout

Facebook Messenger group voice calling starts global rollout

Facebook is rolling out group calling in Messenger across the globe, the company has announced. The feature allows a group of individuals, whether friends, colleagues, or others, to all participate in the same call, expanding the app’s usefulness for individuals and businesses alike. Those with the latest version of Messenger should see the feature rolling their way within the next day or so.

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Android trails behind iOS in revenue, has twice the downloads

Android trails behind iOS in revenue, has twice the downloads

The app platform wars has never really disappeared. Although we do see more developers targeting both iOS and Android now, parity in terms of the number and quality of apps is far from becoming reality. And App Annie's 2016 first quarter market index hints at why that will remain the status quo for some time. App downloads on Google Play Store have left the Apple App Store in the dust with almost double the number. However, the iOS store generates nearly double the revenue of its Android counterpart.

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Microsoft’s iOS Word Flow Keyboard starts closed beta

Microsoft’s iOS Word Flow Keyboard starts closed beta

Microsoft has a virtual keyboard for every platform, and they are all different. The Windows 10 keyboard, for example, lacks the swiping gesture of its older Windows Phone counterpart. On Android, its Hub Keyboard puts the focus on productivity and sharing documents instead. Its upcoming iOS keyboard, however, might trump all those, at least as far as smartphones are concerned. Called Word Flow Keyboard, this rather unique keyboard includes a special design intended for one-handed use, utilizing an arcing layout instead of simply shrinking the keyboard to one side.

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Google Calendar can schedule your goals for you

Google Calendar can schedule your goals for you

Google has just announced a feature that would have seriously been useful about four months ago. A particular school of productivity says that you only put in your calendar items or events that have a definite of fixed time. However, not all things we want to accomplish are one off tasks, and not everything is really a recurring item. These activities usually come under the label of "goals", you know, like New Year's resolutions. Finally, Google Calendar now has support for setting, accomplishing, even delaying those pesky goals.

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Android’s new accessibility features has Voice Access control

Android’s new accessibility features has Voice Access control

Google Now might be smart and all that but it's somewhat limited in what it can do when it comes to interacting with the rest of the apps and content on your Android smartphone. It can do searches, take notes, set up alarms, open apps, and some other basic tasks. Once it moves away from that search app, however, you're on your own. Not a problem for people with near perfect mobility, not so much for those with physical disabilities. Google is announcing the start of beta testing for a Voice Access app that addresses that need, allowing users to control other apps using only their voice.

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Samsung Members app tries to make customer service easier

Samsung Members app tries to make customer service easier

Smartphones, for all their beauty, belie a complexity that sometimes confounds even more seasoned smartphone users. For all the power and features they offer, Samsung's Galaxy Android devices are perhaps also known for that kind of complexity. When Google search is no longer enough, and your closest tech-savvy friend is unreachable, Samsung is offering a new Members app that tries to connect you with the right answers or the right person, depending on your particular problem with your Samsung Galaxy device.

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