Category Archives: Android

Google Earth just got a Lot Better!

Google Earth is one of the purest, most beautiful gifts the company has ever given us. Today, the globe-trotting software received a major overhaul that will delight hardcore fans and remind others that it’s still a great way to throw away hours of your life.
It’s been two years since the search giant last gave Google Earth a major update and it seems as if the virtual globe has become a new priority for the company. Last October, a new virtual reality version was introduced and now several additions have made the application extra sticky.

One of the biggest changes is that it no longer has to be a separate app that you download. On a desktop, you can just  go to the URL in Chrome and start exploring. This may seem minor but you’ll now be seeing a lot more of Google Earth because there’s no need to open a separate app and sharing is an emphasized feature. With the Android app, you can quickly share a digital postcard with your contacts. The ability to use the service in browser is also a big deal for Chromebook users who were previously locked out. An iOS app is will be out soon as well as support for other browsers. (Google Earth Pro is still an app and it’s still outdated.)

Above all of the other updates, the most significant overall is the new “Voyager” feature, which is available by clicking the ship’s wheel icon. Google has partnered with organizations like BBC Earth and DigitalGlobe to create little informative experiences. Clicking on “Endangered Species Around the World” will show you the locations of various endangered species, give you photos and a “knowledge card” gives some background about them. It’s kind of like Wikipedia mixed with Google Earth. Other Voyager stories feature regular and 3D videos. “Itineraries” offer guided tours of cities and a lot more information has been added to major destinations. So far, there are a little over 50 stories but Google plans to add more every week. There are also 20,000 destinations with knowledge cards. It seems all but inevitable that a crowdsourcing model will be implemented eventually to flesh this tool out.


If you want to go off the beaten trail, there’s an “I’m feeling lucky” button. The first time I clicked it, I got to Osaka Castle. Cool. It was also a great destination for trying out the new 3D features that allow you to explore renderings of major cities and landmarks from any angle. We’re still not close to photorealism yet but it has a lovely Simcity-esque quality.

Source: Google

Facebook gets like Snapchat now somehow…

Facebook’s quest to mimic Snapchat is undeniable at this point. In just the last few months, Instagram, Whatsapp and Messenger have all integrated some form of Stories — a disappearing slideshow format that Snapchat is famous for — while Facebook Live dabbled in Snapchat-esque selfie filters. Now, after months of experiments and tests, it’s time for the main Facebook app to get in on the action too. Today, the company is officially rolling out three new Snapchat-inspired features to its core app: a brand new in-app camera that’s chockful of filters, effects and masks; Facebook’s very own Stories; and Direct, which lets you share photos and videos with specific people for a set period of time.

As soon as you launch the updated Facebook app, you’ll see the new Stories navigation bar prominently featured at the top. On the far left is a shortcut for Direct sharing, the second bubble is for Your Story (you can tap it to add to it), while the rest are Stories of your closest friends. Each Story interface is almost identical to that of Instagram’s version — you can move back and forth through the slideshow by tapping left or right, and if it’s your own Story, you’ll be able to see the number of views as well as the names of the people who saw it. Additionally, you’ll be able to leave direct replies on other people’s Stories, which then appear on top of the content. The replies only live as long as the content, however, so once the photo is gone, the comment’s gone too.

 

“We’ve been very text-centric in the past,” says Connor Hayes, a Facebook product manager. “But what we’ve been seeing is that the way people create content is changing, from text to photos and videos. […] We’re trying to upgrade the app to be more centered around the way people are behaving and creating the content in social apps. And that starts with the camera.”

Which explains why the new camera is much easier to access. Before, the fastest way to launch the camera in the Facebook app was to tap “Photos” and then select the camera icon. Now, that camera icon is located to the left of the search field, and is visible the moment you launch the app. Alternately, you can swipe right from the home screen, and that’ll bring up the camera function as well.

The camera interface is completely different from before too. On the left side of the screen are little navigation dots, which correspond to different filters that the app has pre-selected for you. Simply swipe up or down to scroll through them, and you’ll see the filter take effect on the main screen. These pre-selected filters are chosen based on an algorithm that susses out whether you’ll like them, and also on your location. So if you’re in London, you probably won’t see a San Francisco themed filter, for example.

But if none of those filters strike your fancy, no worries, because you can tap an option that will reveal as many as 70 other options (that number will change depending on your region). You can choose anything from selfie masks to Prisma-esque style effects to simple frames. In a brief demo, I saw filters that showed animated pizza slices flying out of my mouth, round glasses superimposed on my face and a “I Miss You” message scrawled in front of me. Other options include a mirroring effect, one that shows a lazy sloth on top of your head, a mustache, a pride rainbow, a glitter beard and even an effect that makes you look like a minion from Despicable Me.

Indeed, Facebook not only partnered with different film studios for licensed content, it also commissioned two artists — Hattie Stewart from the UK and Doug Coupland from Canada — to come up with special artistic filter effects. One of Coupland’s filters, for example, shows concentric colors radiating from your head. Open your mouth, and the circles now form in your mouth and on your forehead.

Kristen Spilman, the director for Art and Animation in charge of the camera effects, says that she hopes these filters help people express themselves. “Our new camera puts visual content at the heart of the Facebook experience,” she says. “While we want our effects to be fun to use, it’s more important that they’re thoughtful and relevant in enhancing relationships.”

 

After you’ve chosen your filter, you can write text on top of it or doodle on it with your choice of brush. Then, you can save it to your camera roll and do nothing with your creation, or you can choose to share it. You can post it to Newsfeed if you want your photo to live on forever, or you can post it to Your Story if you just want it up for the next 24 hours, or you can share it directly with your friends via the new Direct feature. If you do send your photo or video directly, note that your friends will only be able to view it once and replay it once. Once it’s over, it’s gone.

“Stories has become the format for people to create photos and videos and share them with one another immersively across social apps,” says Hayes. “This is something that Snapchat’s really pioneered. Our take is that Stories has become a format for people to share and consume photos and videos across all social apps.” When asked why someone would use Facebook Stories over Instagram Stories or vice versa, Hayes says that different people use the apps differently. “It depends on how they use each app, and who their network is on each app,” he says, pointing out that oftentimes the two have different audiences.

“Over the coming months, we plan to introduce new ways for the Facebook community to create their own frames and effects that can be used on any photo or video created with the new Facebook camera,” said Facebook in a statement. “Our goal is for the camera to be a home to hundreds of dynamic and fun effects that give you new ways to connect with friends, family, and your community.”

Facebook’s new camera, Stories and Direct sharing will be rolling out to all users on both Android and iOS throughout this week.

Source: Facebook

Google Play now gives you a paid app every week for free!

Android has millions of free titles, but some paid titles need to be shared. There are millions of free apps available on the Play Store, and many of them are pretty great. But there are also millions of paid apps that don’t always get the attention they deserve.

Now, Google wants to highlight a few of those paid titles by offering a free app or game of the week. The first one is Card Wars — Adventure Time, a lighthearted card trading and battle game that usually runs for $2.99, but this week is going gratis.

Like Apple’s version of the same, it appears Google will highlight a single title each week, and chances are it will be a paid game that also has in-app purchases. That benefits both Google and the developer, since it gets a chance to add millions of new users and ramp up revenue.

This isn’t the first time Google has given away paid apps for free. It started the practice in its then-nascent Family section back in 2015, but that particular enterprise seems to have faded away for this more broad version.

Source: Android Central

Reviewed: The Huawei P10

At the Mobile World Congress (27 February to 2 March), the big and not so big manufacturers are delivering a head-to-head race around the world’s biggest trade fair novelty. In times when the mobile companions are always more like each other and real innovations become more difficult, it are subtleties that make the difference. So Huawei has taken an attack on the front camera with his new top model, the Huawei P10, – and on Apple …

The Huawei P10 is the latest flagship of the Chinese manufacturer and is mainly based on design and a strong Leica camera. In the detailed test, however, it also shows unnecessary weaknesses.

Design

Design has always been a mainstay of the P series and this has remained that way with the Huawei P10. Like its predecessor, the P10 consists of a unibody case, which has been milled from a piece of aluminum. Two other similarities: the case is still only 7 mm thin (6.98, to be quite accurate) and there is no annoying camera shake on the back. This makes it the thinnest flagship smartphone on the market.

Overall, the P10 has become more curvy. The radii of the edges are clearly firmer and rounder, which makes them slightly better in the hand. No question, the Huawei P10 is a handy phone that is great in the hand.

Although compared to the P9, the display has shrunk from 5.2 to 5.1 inches, the dimensions have remained almost identical in height. This is due to the increased horizontal display edges. The fingerprint sensor, which is now on the front, takes up a lot of space; The edge on the top is held symmetrically. In terms of display-to-size ratio, the P10 is a definite step backwards. While the competition goes with large steps on the “edgeless smartphone” , see the freshly presented LG G6 or the condensing rumors to the Samsung Galaxy S8, Huawei seems to take a step back instead.

The P10 is a coloful Fashion-Statement

Apart from that, the Huawei P10 is a visually appealing device that appeals to fashion and design conscious buyers. For this reason, the P10 and P10 Plus will be available in eight (!) Different colors. Two surface treatments are available in Europe: Sandblasted aluminum or a so-called Hyper Diamond Cut.

Let’s start with the simple one. The sandblasted, matte aluminum is available in black, silver and exclusively for the P10 in gold. The P10 Plus receives another exclusive color – greenery. This was recently recognized by the recognized color institute Pantone as the color of the year 2017 and is indeed exceptional for the P10 Plus.

The second surface treatment is somewhat more complex. The so-called Hyper Diamond Cut creates a fine, glittering structure on the aluminum, which can really be seen. Do you know these shaky pictures that can be tilted back and forth to see a 3D image? This is how this surface feels. In any case, the P10 is thus a clear fashion statement, which in the colors Dazzling Blue and Dazzling Gold (only P10 Plus) surely requests for attention.

The black Huawei P10 tested by us is slightly less noticeable. The rounded sides with the curved and barely visible antenna strips remind strongly to another phone – the Apple iPhone 7. The feeling in the hand as well as the design are really similar here. Especially the matte housing has one disadvantage. Fingerprints do not remain on it , but sweat and skin fat, so that the back always looks smeared.

Build Quality on the highest level– well, almost

Continue reading Reviewed: The Huawei P10

Win a new Huawei P10 with the Acme Blog!

Its not been long since our Mate 9 competition ended and here we are already with the very next one. This time we got a Huawei P10 in Graphite Black up for grabs.

The Huawei P10 features a 5.1-inch 1080p display and Huawei’s own Kirin 960 processor, which has proven to be quite powerful according to leaked early benchmark tests. The phone includes 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage and microSDXC support, as well as a large 3,200 mAh battery. The handset also sports a Leica-branded dual-lens rear camera setup that marries a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor with a 12-megapixel main sensor. And yes, Huawei has aped the Portrait Mode feature from Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus to create a bokeh effect on portraits that’s similar to what you would get from a DSLR.

And this is how you can win:

Just participate below and have the chance to win. Please note that this competition is International. The device will be either shipped via Aramex/DHL or handed over in person in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

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Super Mario Run is now available on Android!

Apparently, Nintendo couldn’t wait to launch Super Mario Run for Android and decided to go ahead and surprise all those waiting for March 23, the previously announced launch date on Android, by rolling out the game a day early.

While most folks know Super Mario Run debuted on iOS three months ago, Android users will be pleased to know that the Android release has the benefit of coming in at v2.0, meaning that a lot of the launch bugs have been addressed. The details that are keeping in line with the iOS version, however, are how the game works and well, how much it costs.

Super Mario Run can be downloaded for free and after you purchase the game ($9.99), you will be able to play all the modes with no additional payment required. You can try out all three modes before purchase: World Tour, Toad Rally, and Kingdom Builder.

  • World Tour – Run and jump with style to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser’s clutches! Travel through plains, caverns, ghost houses, airships, castles, and more. To reach Bowser’s Castle, clear the 24 courses located across 6 worlds. There are many ways to enjoy the courses, such as collecting the 3 different types of colored coins or by competing for the highest score against your friends. You can try courses 1-1 to 1-4 for free.
  • Toad Rally – Show off Mario’s stylish moves, compete against your friends, and challenge people from all over the world. A challenge mode where the competition differs each time you play. Compete against the stylish moves of other players for the highest score as you gather coins and get cheered on by a crowd of Toads. Fill the gauge with stylish moves to enter Coin Rush Mode to get more coins. If you win the rally, the cheering Toads will come live in your kingdom, and your kingdom will grow.
  • Kingdom Builder – Gather coins and Toads to build your very own kingdom. Combine different buildings and decorations to create your own unique kingdom. There are over 100 kinds of items in the Kingdom Builder mode. If you get more Toads in Toad Rally, the number of buildings and decorations available will increase. With the help of the friendly Toads you can gradually build up your kingdom.

You can pre-order a BlackBerry KEYone now from Media Markt Germany

lthough we’ve yet to hear from any carriers opening up pre-orders for the BlackBerry KEYone, several third-party retailers have already begun. The latest added to the mix is Media Markt Germany which now has the BlackBerry KEYone listed for €599.00 through their online portal.

Perhaps more interesting than their listed pricing, though, is the date they have listed for shipment. According to Media Markt information, when ordered through them, the BlackBerry KEYone will ship on May 5 BUT, there has been some debate about that release date as well from their customer service via Twitter.

Of course, release dates with pre-orders are always subject to change so if you do decide to pre-order through Media Markt, be sure to keep that in mind. Maybe hold off for a bit and see if the date changes again, as it has changed a couple of times already.

You can place your pre -order from Media Markt here.

Source: CrackBerry

TCL Communication launched the all-new BlackBerry KEYone at Mobile World Congress!

After quite some months of anticipation and teasing , TCL Communication has now officially given the new keyboard device formerly known as the ‘Mercury’ a name, a pricing, and even a release timeframe. As unveiled at Mobile World Congress, the BlackBerry KEYone will be available globally beginning this April and will be priced at or under €599 /£499 /$549 .

On the inside of the BlackBerry KEYone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octa-core SoC along with Adreno 506 GPU. The phone comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, plus you can expand for more storage with a microSD card. There is also a decent sized 3,505 mAh battery along with Quick Charge 3.0 support; additionally, BlackBerry touts a “Boost mode” for charging speeds, although this merely consists of turning on Power Saving mode when the device is charging. Seeing how battery efficient the Snapdragon 625 SoC is, how small the display is and how large the battery is, the BlackBerry KEYone will easily be able to provide more than a day’s worth of battery life.

For the camera, the BlackBerry KEYone comes with a 12MP Sony IMX 378 sensor on the rear, and a 8MP front camera. The rear sensor is the same as one used on the Google Pixel, so we will have to see how BlackBerry manages the camera software to compete with top end flagships.

The BlackBerry KEYone also comes with the latest Android 7.1 Nougat software right out-of-the-box. BlackBerry has also been fantastic with timely security updates. Combined with their own security enhancements on the device like the DTEK app and feature additions like the BlackBerry Hub, the KEYone will be a good choice for corporate and enterprise customers.


You can check out the full press release below:

DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT. DISTINCTLY BLACKBERRY.

TCL COMMUNICATION LAUNCHES ALL-NEW BLACKBERRY KEYone TO THE WORLD AT MWC 2017

BARCELONA – February 25, 2017 – Today, TCL Communication, a leading global smartphone manufacturer, unveiled a new BlackBerry smartphone to the world – the BlackBerry KEYone. This launch represents the first BlackBerry smartphone released from TCL Communication under a new brand licensing agreement signed in December 2016 with BlackBerry Limited. Offering users all the great smartphone features you’d expect – like great camera, display and design – in a distinctly different experience, the KEYone pairs the best of BlackBerry Limited’s software and security with TCL Communication’s commitment to delivering high-quality, reliable smartphones to customers around the world. The BlackBerry KEYone will be available globally beginning in April and will be priced at or under €599 EUR/£499 GBP/$549 USD.

“Impressively designed to be distinctly different, the BlackBerry KEYone reimagines how we communicate by offering unmatched productivity and the world’s most secure Android smartphone experience,” said Nicolas Zibell, CEO for TCL Communication. “We’re humbled to play such an important role in the future of BlackBerry smartphones, which have been so iconic in our industry, and we’re eager to prove to the BlackBerry community that their excitement around this new BlackBerry smartphone is something they can be proud of as well.”

“We want to congratulate TCL Communications on the launch of KEYone,” said Alex Thurber, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Mobility Solutions for BlackBerry. “We have worked closely with TCL to build security and the BlackBerry experience into every layer of KEYone, so the BlackBerry DNA remains very much in place. We couldn’t be more excited to help bring it to market and introduce it to BlackBerry fans.”

DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT

Tucked into an anodized aluminum frame and soft touch textured back, this new BlackBerry smartphone is built to offer the best in durability while still remaining easy on the eyes. Featuring a 4.5-inch display (1620×1080 resolution / 434 PPI 3:2 aspect ratio) with Corning ® Gorilla® Glass 4 that offers greater impact and scratch resistance, the KEYone combines a touch display with a physical keyboard to give users more useable space for typing than a typical 5.5-inch all-touch smartphone.

With BlackBerry KEYone, you can forget what you knew about keyboards. The device’s Smart Keyboard responds to touch gestures mimicking the heritage of the BlackBerry trackpad making web browsing, reading emails and writing messages with flick typing a much smoother and intuitive experience. This Smart Keyboard can also be easily programmed to launch up to 52 customizable shortcuts, such as pressing “I” for your inbox or “M” to access maps; providing even greater ease of use. In addition, KEYone is the first smartphone to provide the security of a fingerprint sensor built directly into the keyboard spacebar, for added functionality and security.

DISTINCTLY BLACKBERRY

Beyond the iconic BlackBerry design that’s been curated for the modern user, the BlackBerry KEYone comes with a number of features and security enhancements making this smartphone distinctly BlackBerry. Out of the box, the device runs Android 7.1 – giving users access to the entire Google Play store and apps – and will receive Google security patch updates. It comes loaded with BlackBerry Hub®, bringing all your messages into one consolidated place; including emails, texts and messages from any social media account. Another benefit of BlackBerry Hub, is the ability to manage multiple email accounts without switching between apps, with support for Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, Microsoft Exchange accounts, and many other IMAP and POP3 email providers.

What really sets a BlackBerry smartphone apart from any other Android device are the enhanced security features built into every device right from the start. From a hardened operating system to BlackBerry Limited’s proprietary technique for establishing a hardware root of trust adding security keys to the processor, the BlackBerry KEYone is intentionally designed to offer the most secure Android smartphone experience possible. This device comes pre-loaded with DTEK by BlackBerry, offering constant security monitoring and protection of your operating system and apps by letting you know when your privacy could be at risk and how you can take action to improve it. A quick glimpse lets you see the overall security rating for your device and provides simple access allowing you to easily improve your security status. This BlackBerry security application monitors your other apps, alerting you if one is accessing your camera to take a picture or video, turning your microphone on, sending a text message, or accessing your contacts or location.

THE BLACKBERRY KEYONE EXPERIENCE

Beyond the design and security features making the BlackBerry KEYone so distinct, these additional features truly reinvent mobile communications for the business and enterprise user. At the core of this new BlackBerry smartphone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 mobile platform with the Qualcomm AdrenoTM 506 GPU. This means BlackBerry KEYone users will enjoy long battery life thanks to more efficient battery usage and fast LTE speeds for super-fast file sharing. It includes Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology, making it possible for the 3505 mAh battery on the KEYone – the largest ever in a BlackBerry device, to receive up to 50 percent charge in roughly 36 minutes. And for when you only have a few moments to grab a fast charge, BlackBerry’s Boost can turbo charge your battery to get you the most charge with the limited time you have.

“We are proud to be working with TCL on the BlackBerry KEYone,” said Enrico Salvatori, senior vice president and president, Qualcomm EMEA. “The Snapdragon 625 mobile platform with X9 LTE and the Adreno 506 GPU is purpose-built for users who demand superior performance and connectivity coupled with outstanding battery-life.”

The BlackBerry KEYone experience would not be complete though without a great camera. That’s why it includes a 12MP rear camera with the industry leading Sony IMX378 camera sensor. With a large pixel size(1.55μm) and Phase Detect Auto Focus, moments captured on the BlackBerry KEYone will be ultra crisp and clear. And for when you have to take a video conference on the go, it includes an 8MP front camera with fixed focus and 84-degree wide angle lens. For more information about the BlackBerry KEYone and to register for pre-order updates, please visit www.BlackBerryMobile.com.

About TCL Communication

TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited (TCL Communication) designs, manufactures and markets an expanding portfolio of mobile and internet products and services worldwide under three key brands – TCL, Alcatel and BlackBerry. The company’s portfolio of products are currently sold in over 160 countries throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, TCL Communication ranked as a top-10 global smartphone manufacturer by IDC. Headquartered in Hong Kong, TCL Communication operates nine R&D centers worldwide, employing more than 13,500 people across the globe. For more information, please visit www.tclcom.com. TCL is a registered trademark of TCL Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Alcatel is a trademark of Alcatel-Lucent used under license by TCL Communication.

Trademarks, including but not limited to BLACKBERRY and EMBLEM Design are the trademarks or registered trademarks of BlackBerry Limited, used under license, and the exclusive rights to such trademarks are expressly reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. BlackBerry is not responsible for any third-party products or services.

Qualcomm, Snapdragon and Adreno are trademarks of Qualcomm Incorporated, registered in the United States and other countries. Quick Charge is a trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated. Qualcomm Snapdragon, Qualcomm Adreno and Qualcomm Quick Charge are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

Win a Huawei Mate 9 with the Acme Blog

Its been a few weeks since the last competition, but here we are back with your chance to win a brandnew Huawei Mate 9 with us.  This is the 64GB Version coming in Moonlight Silver. It is the actual Top Phone from Huawei bringing you a brilliant Large 5.9-inch display. 

The Huawei Mate 9 offers a truly revolutionary battery life. With its large 4000mAh battery and smart power-saving technology, you can enjoy two days’ usage*. State-of-the-art HUAWEI SuperCharge technology safely charges the device for a full day’s power* in 20 minutes.

And this is how you can win:

Just participate below and have the chance to win. Please note that this competition is International. The device will be either shipped via Aramex/DHL or handed over in person in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

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Here are some more infos on the Huawei Mate 9:

 

WhatsApp now offers two-step verification for everyone

This feature was already available in beta, but now recame available to everyone. WhatsApp is rolling out two-step verification, an additional layer of security, to all of its users on iOS, Android and Windows. It’s an optional feature which you can set up by heading to Settings, followed by Account and Two-step Verification inside the app. You’ll need to create a six-digit passcode, which will then be required every time you try to register your phone number with WhatsApp (for instance, when setting up your account on a new smartphone).

You can also designate an email address which, in an emergency, can be sent a link to disable the feature. WhatsApp highly recommends this as a fallback, just in case you forget the code. It’s a different approach to most technology services, which typically send a randomized string to your phone over SMS. To help you remember, WhatsApp says it will ask for your code “periodically.” An inconvenience, sure, but a trade-off we would argue is worthwhile for greater security. If the app is your primary mode of communications, you owe it to yourself to turn this feature on.

One Important Note on this: If you receive an email to disable two-step verification, but did not request this, do not click on the link. Someone could be attempting to verify your phone number on WhatsApp.

Source: Whats App