Articles about Mobile Apps

Dropbox Pro gains new sharing controls and bumps storage to 1TB

Dropbox Pro gains new sharing controls and bumps storage to 1TB

Today Dropbox Pro users gain access to a raft of new features including automatically expiring shared links, password-protected sharing, and adjustable permissions. In recent times, Dropbox has moved away from being just a simple cloud storage platform into a cloud-based collaboration tool. Password-protected files sharing is the first line of security that's now available, but it has been bolstered by the ability to have the share automatically stop after a set period. This is something that is particularly useful for sensitive data, and is a helpful addition to the manual disabling of a shared link -- a set-it-and-forget-it option.

Catching up with other file collaborative tools, Dropbox Pro now also takes into account the fact that you might want to share files with others without giving them the option to edit those files. The new ability to add view-only permissions to files and folders has this covered so it is possible to share sensitive files without worrying about them being changed. For anyone using Dropbox on mobile devices, there is always the fear of losing a handset; a new remote wipe feature takes care of this.

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V.BTTN is a programmable Bluetooth button that can do anything your phone can

V.BTTN is a programmable Bluetooth button that can do anything your phone can

Think about wearable tech and your mind probably jumps to watches first. V.BTTN is a little different. It's a programmable button that links smartphones, tablets and computers via Bluetooth and it can then be used to trigger all manner of events. Looking for a remote shutter trigger for your smartphone? V.BTTN can do that for you. Need a remote control to start and stop recording? Got that covered too. The device comes from VSN Mobil and is available now for $59.99. It's one of those pieces of hardware billed as having virtually limitless possibilities, but this is one instance where the claim is justified.

What the button does depends entirely on the app you decide to link it to. It's slightly more advanced than just "hit the button" -- there are short and long press options, as well as gesture support thanks to a built-in accelerometer. As standard, V.BTTN is just a button. You can stick it in your pocket or bag and carry it around with you if you like, but there are also a number of accessories.

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How many apps are smartphone users taking advantage of?

Breakup Smartphones

It's a simple question, with no apparent simple answer. A Nielsen report has shed some light on the matter, revealing that Android smartphone and iPhone users, on average, use 26.8 apps per month. But, without knowing the context, it is impossible to accurately determine what it actually translates into.

If that's 26.8 apps out of 30, the usage rate is close to 100 percent, but if it's 26.8 apps out of 100, the usage rate is close to 30 percent. A new infographic, courtesy of Yahoo Aviate and Yahoo Labs, adds some much-needed context into the picture, but does it offer an accurate answer to that question?

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The story-driven Superhero Workout app makes getting fit super-fun

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There are hundreds of fitness apps available for iOS and Android and, I suspect, like fitness equipment, many people buy them with the best of intentions, but then never use them. I’m a prime example. Although I use running apps like Zombies, Run! and Runtastic on a regular basis, most of the workout apps I own see far less action (the one exception being Runtastic PushUps which I use daily).

However, Six to Start -- the creator of story-driven apps like Zombies, Run! and The Walk -- has come up with a workout app that people will actually want to use. Superhero Workout uses camera-based motion tracking to record the reps as you exercise, and marries it with a thrilling sci-fi story. Punches become plasma blasts, abdominal crunches charge your AEGIS One battlesuit’s reactor, and you can brace yourself from incoming debris with a wall sit...

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Opera Mini will see some Microsoft feature phones through their death throes

Opera Mini will see some Windows Phone through their death throes

Asha and Series 40 "feature" phones (read cheap, crappy phones) may be taking their last breath -- Microsoft plans to kill them off by the end of 2015 -- but it's never too late to try spicing things up by changing the default browser, eh? This is precisely what's happening with the ill-fated handsets, along with the Series 30+ range, as Opera Mini replaces the current Xpress Browser. Despite the seemingly short-lived nature of the deal, Opera Software is upbeat about the arrangement as, undoubtedly, will any poor blighter suffering with one of these handsets.

What is there to look forward to in the browser switch? Like other versions of Opera Mini, the version replacing Xpress Browser benefits from built-in compression that reduces data usage and helps to speed up web browsing. The deal will come as something of a surprise to many, and it has come rather out of the blue. Starting in October, Asha, Series 30+ and Series 40 handset owners will start to see notifications inviting them to upgrade, and newly produced handsets will come with the browser pre-installed.

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PayPal for Windows Phone receives a much-needed update

PayPal for Windows Phone

Official Windows Phone apps are steadily growing in numbers and quality, as more and more developers support the platform and improve their existing offerings. PayPal is the latest top title to get a much-needed revamp.

Based on my experience, PayPal for Windows Phone was in dire need of a major upgrade, as it failed to provide the same features that Android and iOS users get. Fortunately, according to PayPal, much has changed with the latest version, suggesting that the subpar experience is a thing of the past now.

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Snap Clap for Android takes better selfies with a clap of your hands

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The average selfie can look a little strange, oddly framed and at a weird angle as you strain to fit everybody in. Usually no-one cares -- it’s supposed to be spontaneous, that’s that point -- but sometimes you just can’t get any kind of picture, no matter what you try.

Snap Clap is a simple Android app which helps out by taking a photo when you clap your hands.

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Bye bye, Ballmer -- Steve bows out from the board at Microsoft

Bye bye, Ballmer -- Steve bows out from the board at Microsoft

Having left his post as CEO of Microsoft six months ago, Steve Ballmer today further cut his ties with the company. In a letter to Satya Nadella, he explains that it would be "impractical" to continue to serve on the board of directors. The decision comes after the purchase of the LA Clippers, and Ballmer's letter makes reference to "the start of the NBA season" meaning that his "departure from the board is effective immediately". But Steve is not cutting the umbilical cord entirely; he remains a shareholder and wants to keep his hand in to some extent.

The heart-warmingly friendly letter praises Nadella's drive and vision at the top of Microsoft, and it's clear that Ballmer is still deeply passionate about the company he leaves behind:

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Constantly turned on -- the bleak reality of being permanently connected

Constantly turned on -- the bleak reality of being permanently connected

We expect, and are expected, to be contactable at any given moment -- and indeed we often expect the same of others. Send a text, and you expect a response. Pen an email, and you expect to receive one in return, and fast. Hit up someone on Google chat and an all-but-instant reply is all but expected. Maybe this doesn’t sound like you, but I can guarantee that you fit on the spectrum, and also that the people you are in contact with make the same demands of you. When did this change? It used to be that you'd call a landline number and if you didn’t get a reply you might just try again a few hours later. The fact that we now carry mobiles with us virtually 24/7 means that it is weird if someone doesn't answer the call.

They can’t be busy! Try again! Still no reply? Send a text. And an email. And an IM. If it was limited to office hours, it might be understandable -- and bearable -- to some extent, but there has been a massive slip in end-times. It is acceptable to send emails to someone at any time of day. You may have woken up at 3 in the morning and thought of something relating to work, or even just something that made you laugh, and felt the need to share it immediately. The recipient, in all likelihood, will be alerted to this email on a smartphone or tablet if they don’t happen to be sitting at their computer. At 3 in the morning, it might not wake them up, but at, say, 8pm how likely is it that the email will be ignored? The recipient's working day just got extended by several hours.

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Traditional development practices don't work for mobile apps

Software development

As IT teams face more demands from business units for new mobile applications they'll need to adopt practices that are different from traditional development techniques.

This is according to IT research company Gartner which says that users find it challenging to effectively describe what a mobile app needs to do and therefore the approach of sitting down with a business analyst to define requirements doesn't work.

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Why Facebook Messenger for Android needs those permissions

Why Confused Question Mark Woman Wall

Seeing Android apps requesting various permissions in order to install can be disconcerting for inexperienced users. How can one know if there is a valid reason to trigger them, or if an offering will maliciously use those permissions? Those are valid concerns, after all, as a third-party, that we have little control over, is entrusted with access to critical features, like the microphone or contacts list. In this day and age, you can never be too cautious.

Facebook has decided to drop the chat functionality from its Android app, asking users to turn to Facebook Messenger to message their friends. And, naturally, quite a few of its users, who are likely new to the offering and find themselves forced to use it, are voicing their concerns over its permissions, as they allow it to do some potentially dangerous things.

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What you should know about Windows Phone Store (other than it has 300,000 apps)

Windows Phone 300,000 apps

Windows Phone boasts more than 300,000 apps in Store. Now that the news is out of the bag, let's move on to something that actually matters.

I'm skipping the obvious comparisons because that number is meaningless to the average consumer making up the bulk of smartphone buyers today (and who is unlikely to take advantage of even 1 percent of those titles). It doesn't tell prospective buyers how many great apps are available in Store, or how many great apps are missing. It's just a figure that serves only one true purpose, and that is telling fans, enthusiasts, pundits and other tekkies how much progress was made since the last serving. But that doesn't make you feel all warm and fuzzy, does it? Here's what should.

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WordPress for Android gains major new features

WordPress

WordPress has updated its two mobile apps with the twin releases of WordPress for Android 3.0 and WordPress for iOS 4.2.

The different version numbers highlight the disparity between both platforms, although ironically it’s the Android version that is more fully featured than the iPad and iPhone build.

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Access multiple cloud storage accounts with B1 File Manager for Android

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Back in June we looked at B1 Free Archiver, a free cross-platform archive manager which can open (though not create) 38+ archive formats.

The same developer is also behind B1 File Manager, a capable file explorer for Android.

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Amazon Fire phone -- Android done differently [Review]

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Amazon's Fire phone does not have access to Google's Play Store. I want to get that out of the way first, as it may be a consumer's biggest concern about the phone. However, that said, it might not be a big deal. In fact, it is quite refreshing to experience Google's Linux-based operating system without Google. In my opinion it is dangerous for Android to become synonymous with Google's store.

With Android, you do have the ability to add 3rd party stores without rooting or hacking. Unfortunately, on most devices, only Google's Play Store comes installed. While I have seen some devices come with the Amazon Appstore preloaded too, make no mistake, the Play Store is always the main focus. The Fire phone bucks that trend and puts Amazon's store into the spotlight and that is not a bad thing. Actually, as I will explain later, you can add additional app stores and even install some of Google's apps.

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