Thanks in no small part to Facebook, Messenger is rapidly growing in popularity. On Google Play, the app reached one billion downloads earlier this month, while on Apple's App Store it leads the free apps chart for iPhones. But while it certainly benefits from being tightly linked to Facebook, the company wants to make it possible to sign up for its messaging service without a Facebook account.
When it announced this change, Facebook did not detail why it is introducing this sign up option. However, it looks like the company wants its messaging service to become more attractive for those who are not willing to join the social network but want to connect with their Facebook friends.
Finding your way around big cities is generally a challenge, even if you live there. You might know the best bus routes, or have mastered the metro, but you can still be in trouble if a service is unexpectedly cancelled and you're left looking for an alternative.
Transit App is a free Android and iOS app which helps out with a host of tools for planning journeys around and across your local city.
Today Google revealed an updated version of its Google Play Developer Program Policies. There aren't actually all that many changes or additions, but those that are present are quite interesting. Google is clamping down on the problem of impersonation, making it clearer that it is not permissible to mislead users by imitating other apps, making false claims, or suggesting endorsements that do not exist.
One of the more intriguing changes to the document sees Google calling on developers to show sensitivity to evens such as natural disasters, war, and death. Any apps or other content that attempt to benefit by exploiting such events are explicitly banned.
After a few weeks in preview, Microsoft Office is now available for Android smartphones. Despite Microsoft's mobile-first, cloud-first philosophy, it has actually taken some time to bring the world's most popular office suite to Android phones -- it joins the tablet version of the suite that was released last year.
Just like the tablet editions, the phone versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint won't cost you a penny, allowing for the viewing and editing of a range of files when on the move. There is a cloud focus with support for not only OneDrive, but also Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box, and Microsoft says it has made changes based on the feedback received during the preview period.
Not all partnerships and alliances are created equal. Some are superficial, some are one-sided, and some are actually balanced and meaningful. A balanced partnership is the rarer of those types, but when they happen, magic can happen.
Today, a partnership comes to light that has many in both the Enterprise and open source communities excited. Two powerhouses -- Red Hat and Samsung -- are forming an alliance for mobile Enterprise solutions. Will this partnership be balanced and meaningful? It looks very likely.
Not willing to be upstaged by Apple Music, Google is launching a free version of its Google Play Music service. To make money, the free version of the service will be supported by advertisements -- forget free trials and the prospect of upsetting artists such as Taylor Swift.
The free version of Google Play Music is starting life in the US and Google is pushing the fact that there are curated radio stations to suit whatever mood you find yourself in. The station features the involvement of some of the Songza team and it is possible to home in on a custom radio station based on genre, mood, decade, activity, or similarity to particular artists.
Uber has faced numerous complaints since its inception in 2010, including suggestions that drivers are not properly vetted. Now the taxi service is facing legal action over plans to track the location of its customers whether the app is running in the foreground or background on their phones.
The new policy is due to come into force on July 15, but the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has filed a complaint with the FTC saying that the policy change is unfair and should be investigated by the commission. It will be possible to opt out of this location tracking, but EPIC feels this is unreasonable.
USB hubs are commonplace and, let's be honest, not especially exciting pieces of kit. Inateck’s HB4009 is a three-port USB 3.0 hub, but it also has an extra trick up its sleeve. It has a Magic Port, allowing you to link two systems together for file transfers or establish a client/host link using the USB On-The-Go (OTG) standard.
This makes it a versatile little device as you can link Windows, Mac OS and Android devices to their own kind or to each other. You can also attach another USB device like a flash drive or camera to a system, such as a tablet, that might not otherwise have a suitable port.
Finnish navigation and mapping giant Nokia is planning a return to the mobile industry in 2016, but it will not manufacture any smartphones.
Instead, CEO Rajeev Suri plans to find partners capable of working on the manufacturing and distribution parts, while it designs and licenses its brand name.
If you haven't heard the news, the program formerly known as XBMC, or Xbox Media Center, is now Kodi. The name change reflects the change in direction that the software has taken as it has evolved. It now does much more than it ever intended and runs on just about every platform.
Unless you have a Kindle Fire. Despite that the tablets run Android, it's very different -- the version is highly customized to fit the Amazon ecosystem, locking customers into the Amazon App Store and getting rid of Google Play. This generally is OK, most apps folks want are in both places.
Once people have made the decision to go with a particular mobile operating system, they tend to stick with it. Moving all of your data from one device to another can be a bit of a pain, and it’s made even harder if you’re also switching operating systems, and have to find and re-buy all of your favorite apps.
If you’re thinking of making the move from Android to Windows Phone -- perhaps in anticipation of Windows 10 Mobile later in the year -- the process doesn’t have to be stressful. Here’s what you need to do.
Videos that automatically play when they appear on screen are making their way to Twitter. Taking the lead from Facebook, the microblogging service is introducing the feature to reduce the need to click in order to watch a video.
It's something that will be loved and loathed in just about equal measure -- and if you fall into the latter camp, you'll be pleased to hear that it's possible to revert to the old click-to-play method. Twitter thinks that autoplay will help to ensure that you miss fewer videos about breaking news, but it remains to be seen just how popular it proves.
Even though it is over nine months old at this point, the second-generation Motorola Moto X is still among the most interesting Android smartphones that you can get your hands on today. Part of its appeal are its more affordable price, lovely design, close-to-stock Android distribution and timely updates, things which few competitors can boast.
If you are considering buying a 2014 Moto X, now is the time to pull the trigger. For a limited time, Motorola is running a very attractive deal, selling the smartphone for as little as $299.99 off-contract.
The humble PIN is a common way to secure access to accounts, but it has one major problem -- it is, usually, limited to using the digits 0-9. A UK firm thinks it may have come up with a better solution: emoji-based PINs.
Intelligent Environments' Emoji Passcode system can be used to secure accounts with ideograms. The company argues that Emoji passcodes are not only easier to remember than number-based alternatives, but also more secure. This is thanks to the fact that there is a pool of 44 Emoji to choose from, and research also suggests people find it easier to remember images.