Articles about Mobile Apps

Facebook Lite officially available for low-end Android devices

Facebook Lite Android

Facebook is not exactly the lightest mobile app around. In fact, it is one of the worst offenders, no matter if we are talking about Android or iOS. It uses plenty of resources, both in terms of data and processing power. We may have gotten used to it by now, but these are major pain points in developing and emerging markets, where more and more potential users are going online for the first time.

There, lots of consumers are rocking low-spec Android devices and small cellular data plans, and the standard Facebook flavor is not a great match for them. So, the social network has finally released a lighter version of its Android app, called Facebook Lite, which promises to address those shortcomings. Let's take a look at it.

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Windows Phone users rejoice! Dropbox is here

Dropbox Windows Phone

It is fair to say that Windows Phone still needs quite a few major titles in Store before the so-called app-gap can be considered a thing of the past. Take cloud storage services for example. You can embrace OneDrive if you want to stick with Microsoft services, or, as an alternative, use Box. But neither Dropbox nor Google Drive are an option. Both are hugely popular services, and their availability can be a deal-breaker for prospective Windows Phone users.

The good news is that at least Dropbox's availability on Windows Phone is no longer an issue, as the cloud storage service just launched its app in Store. It's undeniably a major win for the tiled smartphone operating system, which has consistently been criticized for lacking an official Dropbox client.

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Mega finally makes its official debut on Windows Phone

Mega Windows Phone 1

Windows Phone is the last major mobile platform to receive an official Mega app, following Android, iOS and even BlackBerry. It took quite a long time for the offering to make its public debut in Store, as the cloud storage service, which launched two years ago, first mentioned details surrounding its development in mid-2013.

Expectations are high, also taking into account the fact that Mega currently sits in Windows Phone Store as version 2.0. What does it have to offer? Well, let's take a look at the features it has, and should have.

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Developers are killing Windows Phone

Thumbs down

No matter how much Windows Phone has progressed, it feels like it will always be held back by its app store. Lots of nice titles continue to be unavailable, despite claims of the so-called "app-gap" closing. It is not, clearly. When top developers eventually release their apps on the platform, they usually come long after their Android and iOS counterparts and are rarely updated. Let's not even talk about feature parity, which is a huge issue on its own. Of course, that is if those top developers can be convinced to support Windows Phone in the first place, which isn't always the case. It's not an easy thing to do.

Windows Phone Store is also not helped by the developers who decide to abandon or leave the platform altogether. The latest blow is dealt by Chase Bank, which has supported Windows Phone for more than two years. It just announced that it will take the latter route, packing its bags and leaving the platform in just a few days.

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Spotify for Windows Phone gets an updated look

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For a while Windows Phone users complained about the lack of apps, one of which was Spotify. The music service is now there and things are improving in general for the platform. Now Spotify has a major new update for Microsoft's mobile devices, bringing it more in line with versions on competing handsets.

The big feature is the addition of Your Music. This option allows customers to better organize and browse their tunes, as well as create playlists and view cover art. If you find something to your liking, you can simply hit "save" and move on -- it will be there for you in the future.

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IObit launches safe payment environment for mobile users

mobile payments NFC

Perhaps best known for its SystemCare products for Windows, software company IObit is launching a new version of its Android app, AMC Security.

AMC Security is a combined security and device optimization app. Among the new premium features included in this release is Payment Guard, which is designed to protect mobile users' financial data and the mobile payment and banking process.

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SAASPASS makes two-factor authentication available to the masses

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Passwords are increasingly being seen as inadequate for protecting information and businesses and end users alike are looking for more secure alternatives.

San Francisco-based SASSPASS is making it easier to implement two-factor authentication with the launch of its Computer Connector. In conjunction with a SAASPASS mobile app it enables quick and easy 2FA for Macs and PCs.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook fast-tracks 'Je suis Charlie' app

je suis charlie

Apple’s rigorous approvals procedure means it can take quite some time for an app, or app update, to make its way into the App Store. 10-15 days is a typical approval time.

French news agency Nice-Matin created an app which allows users to show their support for controversial French magazine Charlie Hebdo, but was faced with an obvious problem. By the time the app was available in the App Store, support for the 'Je suis Charlie' campaign would have started to dwindle. So the company emailed Apple CEO Tim Cook.

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Next Lock Screen: Microsoft's take on the Android lock screen

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Next Lock Screen is an Android lock screen "built for busy professionals".

That sounds very familiar, but what’s a little more unusual is that Next is from Microsoft Garage, an "idea factory" where employees work on whatever "wild ideas" they like.

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Book wakeup calls from strangers with Wakie

Wakie

There are a vast number of alarm clock apps available for every platform, most of which are tired variations on the same thing: choose a skin, set a wakeup sound/ method, and that’s about it.

Wakie is an iOS and Android alarm clock app with a difference. Forget custom audio files or complicated snooze functions, instead you’re called by another Wakie user, who chats, sings songs, ask you questions, or otherwise gets your day off to a much more interesting start.

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How to monitor your home using an Android Wear smartwatch

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Anyone using an Android powered smartwatch no longer needs to worry about actually having to pick up their smartphone in order to see what’s going on back home, or in the office while they’re gone.

Now they can do it through the smartwatch.

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Sinch enables low-cost SMS integration for apps and websites

SMS

Businesses are increasingly turning to mobile to communicate with both customers and employees. But whilst attention tends to be focused on apps, SMS messaging still has its place.

Communications platform Sinch is announcing the launch of its SMS API, making it easier for developers to integrate SMS capability into their apps and websites.

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Microsoft introduces beta Gestures app for Lumia Windows Phones

Microsoft Gestures beta Windows Phone

Windows Phone started off as an easy to use smartphone operating system without many bells and whistles. Over the years, it has picked up more and more advanced features, reaching the point where it can now hold its own in a comparison against main rivals, Android and iOS. And Microsoft keeps adding to the list.

One area where Windows Phones have struggled -- against Android rivals -- is gesture-based features, like the ability to answer a call by holding the phone to the ear. (You can find that on some old Android devices, like Samsung Galaxy S3.) It is not a major feature by any means, but it is nice to have. Well, Microsoft is trying to catch up by introducing a new app, called Gestures, which enables (more) gesture-based features.

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New performance testing tool brings added speed and flexibility

Software analyst testing

With increasing pressure to produce new apps to meet customer demand, testing is vital as problems can lead to the loss of customers and revenue.

Yet the test process can often prove a bottleneck as the tools involved are cumbersome and can struggle to cope with modern complex apps and sites.

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GCHQ spy agency releases code-breaking app on Android

GCHQ

The UK’s history of cryptography is fascinating, with famous cryptanalysts like Alan Turing, Dillwyn Knox, and W. T. Tutte deciphering different code machines used in World War I and II.

To celebrate the achievements of the past and reinvigorate students on cryptography, the GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) has released a code-breaking app on Android, named Cryptoy. An iOS version is set to see a 2015 release.

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