While we knew the Android version of Instagram was coming sooner rather than later, with the release being teased just last month at South by Southwest Interactive, the exact release date wasn’t clear. Well, the day has finally arrived.
With more than 430,000 Android users on the waiting list, Instagram is now available in Google Play. The app carries with it the same features (except tilt-shift/blur) and a similar user interface to that of the iOS version. Users are able to browse friends’ photos, view the popular photos, and upload their own photos, as you would expect.
Android users will join a community of 30 million registered users, who contribute more than 5 million photos a day. More than 1 billion photos in all have been uploaded to Instagram, strictly from iOS devices. With the addition of Android devices, these numbers are sure to grow at a considerable pace.
Are you excited to see Instagram on Android? Or are you tired of Instagram-like photos taking over your social streams? Let us know your thoughts below!
With the arrival of Chrome Beta for Android, the convergence of Google’s desktop and mobile browsers has begun.
Chrome Beta for Android includes desktop features such as tabbed browsing, Incognito mode and bookmark syncing. It can also list any tab that’s currently open on the user’s desktop version of Chrome, and open it on the phone.
Now for the bad news: Chrome for Android is only available on devices running Android 4.0, known as Ice Cream Sandwich. Right now, that includes Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S, Motorola’s Xoom and Asus’ Transformer Prime. Users can get the browser free from the Android
Here’s everything else you need to know about Chrome for Android:
How Does Tabbed Browsing Work?
On Android phones, individual tabs don’t appear on screen together, like they do in some third party browsers such as Dolphin. Instead, you quickly move between tabs by swiping from the phone’s left or right bezel, or show all tabs by tapping a button next to the search and URL bar. On tablets, tabs are arranged side-by-side, in similar fashion to the existing stock Android browser.
How Does Desktop Sync Work?
Chrome for Android places desktop bookmarks in their own folder on the mobile browser’s new tab page, so they don’t get mixed up with other bookmarks. Another section of the new tab page shows any open tab for any computer that’s signed in to the user’s Google account. The mobile browser also syncs auto-complete suggestions from the desktop, drawing on your search and browsing history.
What Other Features Are There?
As TechCrunch reports, Chrome for Android uses hardware acceleration to make browsing feel smoother and snappier, and it can pre-load pages based on what links it thinks you’ll click, just likedesktop Chrome (but only over Wi-Fi, to prevent excess mobile data use). It also includes some advanced HTML5 features such as Web Workers, which allow Web apps to update in real-time. Unfortunately, the browser doesn’t yet have a way to always request the desktop version of Websites instead of mobile-optimized sites.
The browser also has one other feature not found in the desktop version of Chrome: When tapping on an area filled with links, a magnified view appears to ensure you’re clicking on the right thing.
What About Plug-Ins and Extensions?
The current version of Chrome for Android doesn’t support plug-ins, butAll Things Digital reports that the browser’s architecture supports them. There are no plans to support Flash on the mobile browser, however. As for extensions, MG Siegler reports that Google is figuring out how to make them work best on mobile devices.
Why Only Android 4.0?
According to MG Siegler, Chrome for Android uses APIs not found in earlier versions of Android, so there’s not much hope for Gingerbread or Froyo users. As TechCrunch points out, Firefox for Android offers similar syncing features between the desktop and mobile devices, if that’s any consolation.
What Will Become of the Stock Android Browser?
Eventually, it’ll go away, but Google hasn’t announced timing. Still, with Android’s ability to set alternate browsers as the default, Android Ice Cream Sandwich users can make a complete switch to Chrome today.
T-Mobile is throwing some of its weight behind the mobile payment movement this morning, becoming the first carrier to offer Square credit card readers to a handful of retail outlets. Under the company’s new campaign, stores equipped with T-Mobile smartphones will be able to use Jack Dorsey’s readers to finalize transactions from the comfort of their palms. This should come in handy for cash-only businesses, in particular, as T-Mobile emphasized in its announcement today. It’s all part of the provider’s lineup of small business offerings, though not every retailer will be involved at launch. To see the full list of Squared-up outlets, check out the source link below.
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The best Android phone to date, the Galaxy Nexus dazzles with its curved display, sleek design, fast performance, and, of course, the Ice Cream Sandwich update.
The slim and speedy Samsung Epic Touch 4G is excellent for gaming, Web browsing and watching video, but the plasticky design feels a bit on the cheap side.
Uneven call quality doesn’t stop the Evo 3D from being the best phone currently available on Sprint.
If you can deal with subpar battery life, the HTC Rezound is an excellent phone that won’t feel outdated anytime soon.
The MyTouch 4G Slide has one of the best cameras we’ve ever tested—and the rest of the phone is pretty amazing as well.
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By Alan Henry
There are so many great ereaders for Android that it’s exceptionally difficult to select just one, and the one that works best for you may depend heavily on where you get your ebooks and what format they come in. Even so, when it comes to features, usability, flexibility, and compatibility, we think Aldiko is the best ereader for Android.
Aldiko, like many ereaders for Android, depends on your ebooks being in a format they can understand. While ereaders that are tied to specific ebook stores are definitely easier to use—especially if you get all of your ebooks from that one store—I found that Aldiko’s flexibiliy, compatibility with phones and tablets, and the overall feel and features of the app made reading books even on small screens enjoyable. If you drop the cash for the premium version, you lose the ads that will occasionally appear in the app.
Using Aldiko isn’t a sentence to free and public-domain books, although there are thousands of them available in Aldiko’s in-app ebook store. There are also hundreds of best-sellers and books by popular authors available to purchase in the app from partner booksellers, who then immediately allow you to downlaod your book and start reading. Aldiko also supports many public libraries and schools that work with the Overdrive digital book lending program, so you can check out books from your public library and read them on your Android device. Additionally, with Aldiko Sync, you can synchronize your ebooks—as well as our bookmarks and the place you left off reading—across multiple Android devices via your Dropbox account. If you have a phone and a tablet, for example, you can buy a book once on your phone, start reading, and pick up where you left off on your tablet. Spend $0.99 on Aldiko Sync Pro and the process is fully automatic.
Aldiko isn’t perfect - it doesn’t support a ton of different ebook formats, so it’s likely or possible you’ll wind up with some that the app won’t allow you to read without converting them first, and the app doesn’t include any type of conversion tools or utilities. Also, some users have reported that with new versions and updates, the app has actually removed some of its finer features, like granular title/genre/author search, although you can still tag and search by tags and categories. Aldiko’s free selection is modest but could be bigger, especially in comparison to services like Google Books, for example.
Moon+ Reader (Free/$4.99 Pro version) was very close to taking the top spot, partially because it supports more ebook formats than Aldiko, but also because it has a few more reading customizations and animations that make it feel a bit more like an ereader. The app supports gesture commands, like swiping your finger across one side of the screen to increase/decrease brightness (a feature Aldiko also has), and even has an eyestrain warning to remind you that you’ve been staring at the screen too long. The additional customization options, themes, animations, and other features are great if you want that in your ereader, but at the same time, I found that the price for the pro version is a little steep and the features you get from unlocking it (remove ads, multi-touch, password protection, annotations and bookmarks) should really be in the free version—or are in Aldiko, and you don’t get any sync options at all. Still, Moon+ is an excellent ereader if you like a little form with your function.
There isn’t too much to say about the Amazon Kindle (Free) app, the Kobo eBooks (Free) app, the Google Books (Free) app, or the NOOK for Android (Free) apps that aren’t common knowledge, without getting into the nitty gritty of which supporting store has the most free titles or the most best-sellers or the most books available overall to purchase. In the end, you may wind up with more than one on your Android phone, and which one is best for you will be a matter of taste and brand allegiance.
Each one is clearly best suited if you’re a patron of their respective ebook store, and if you have a preference for one or the other, you’re best off sticking with the companion app unless you’re willing to branch out and try something like Aldiko or Moon+, and even then you may be limited by the copy protection on the books you’ve downloaded and purchased. Unlike our iOS counterparts, none of these apps stop you from buying eBooks, magazines, and other media right inside the app, and all of them have built-in readers so you can enjoy your media right after purchase. Some of the apps allow you to add your own ePub books so you can read everything in one interface, but it’s clear that the real selling point for all of them is the media store plus media reader combination, and all of them excel at that.
Finally, Mantano Reader (Free/$8 Pro Version) is another ereader with multiple localizations, language packs, and support for Android phones and tablets. If you’re an international user and prefer to read in your own language or your own character set, Mantano Reader may be a good option for you. It doesn’t have the features of some other ereaders, but it’s a strong app that supports multiple ebook formats and sources.
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By Jamie Condliffe
Woz never fails to impress me. If the man has opinions, he doesn’t mind sharing them, whatever the consequences. I just didn’t expect him to openly admit to preferring many Android features over those of his iPhone.
Speaking to The Daily Beast, Woz openly chatted about the pros and cons of Android. “My primary phone is the iPhone,” Woz said. “I love the beauty of it. But I wish it did all the things my Android does, I really do.”
What things, Woz, what things? Turns out he’s particularly impressed by, of all things, the voice recognition, GPS navigation and, since the launch of the iPhone 4S, battery life.
Ultimately, while he admits that iOS is more immediately user-friendly, he went on to explain that with Android phones “if you’re willing to do the work to understand it a little bit, well I hate to say it, but there’s more available in some ways.”
It doesn’t come as a huge shock that Woz likes Android. After all, he headed straight to Google HQ to pick up a pre-release Galaxy Nexus.
“I used to ask Siri, ‘What are the five biggest lakes in California?’ and it would come back with the answer. Now it just misses. It gives me real estate listings. I used to ask, ‘What are the prime numbers greater than 87?’ and it would answer. Now instead of getting prime numbers, I get listings for prime rib, or prime real estate.
“With the iPhone 4 I could press a button and call my wife. Now on the 4S I can only do that when Siri can connect over the Internet. But many times it can’t connect. I’ve never had Android come back and say, ‘I can’t connect over the Internet.’”
Still, fan boys needn’t worry their pretty little heads. Because Woz is proud that the iPhone is simple for you to use! “For that kind of person who is scared of complexity, well, here’s a phone that is simple to use and does what you need it to do,” he said. Apple: happy to make tech for people that are scared of tech. [The Daily Beast; Image: OnInnovation]
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by Shaan Haider
Huawei which is popular for the entry level smartphones, is out with something huge this time. Huawei launched the Ascend P1 and the Ascend P1 S at the CES 2012 and the Ascend P1 S is claimed to be the world’s thinnest smartphone as it is just 6.68mm thin.
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The Titan II is the good kind of sequel: It doesn’t screw up anything that made the original a fan favorite—that 4.7-inch screen—but it adds everything they want. Like a crazy 16-megapixel camera, AT&T LTE and a massiver battery.
It really is just like the original Titan, but with a slightly fresher industrial design—it’s prettier!—and LTE and a big-baller camera packed in. So on the LTE front, despite a million people packed on AT&T’s network, we’re getting 10Mbps downstream pretty consistently here in Vegas, and even heavy web pages load with serious zip, thanks to the Titan II’s 4G powers and 1.5GHz processor.
But what about the camera? It’s genuinely damn good, considering how many pixels are crammed into the phone’s tiny sensor. Autofocus and shooting is plenty quick, though sometimes I wish Windows Phone gave you slightly more control over the camera.
Full sized samples can be had right here.
All in all, there’s not much more to say, though, than it seems like a pretty solid update to an already solid phone. Just wish we knew when it was coming out and how much it’s gonna cost.