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Mobile apps

  • Google Play Store adding Instant Apps, more in upcoming update

    A number of changes are coming to the Google Play Store its parent company announced Thursday. Usually the unchanged bastion of the Google ecosystem, the Play Store will finally receive a much needed nip and tuck. As for an implementation timeline, the company remained as mum as ever. Nevertheless, sifting through the latest Google Developers Blog post, here are three standout interface and functionality tweaks heading to the Play Store sometime before the world ends. Revamped Editor's Choice Vineet Buch, author of the post and Google Play's director of product management, noted that a revamped version of Editor's Choice is now live in...

  • 5 great space apps you should grab right now

    One of my favourite early Android experiences was using Google Sky Map for the first time, being a revelation for stargazers. Since those heady days, we've seen a variety of space-based apps being released on mobile devices. So we picked a few worth downloading. Google Sky Map (free - Android) Let's start with the original augmented reality app in many ways, Google Sky Map overlays a map of celestial objects on your phone. The app also relies on your phone's gyroscope and other sensors, so it'll accurately show you stars, planets and other objects, depending on where you're pointing your phone camera. Sky Map...

  • Get the Google Assistant app in South Africa with this quick guide

    The Google Assistant app might not be listed on the South African Play Store just yet, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work here. With a few jukes and sidesteps, here's how you can get the new Google Assistant app running and functioning on your smartphone right now. 1. Check your smartphone for these apps and features Before we get started, I should point out one thing: Assistant won't be compatible with every smartphone. Your device will need to meet the below minimum hardware and software requirements: Google app version 6.13 or higher must be installed to your device You'll need Google Play...

  • Microsoft Edge hits Android, iOS because people asked for it (lol)

    Microsoft Edge represents a big improvement over the much-maligned Internet Explorer, but it's still a long way from threatening the likes of Chrome and Firefox (both critically and commercially). So colour us surprised to hear that Microsoft is bringing Edge to Android and iOS. And they're apparently not just doing it to test the waters, but because people wanted it. "One of the most common requests we hear from people who use Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 PCs is 'we want our browser experience to move to our phones'. You spoke, we listened," read an excerpt from an official blog post. As for...

  • Rocking The Daisies and OppiKoppi 2017: your essential festival app kit

    It's once again festival season in South Africa, and kicking off the year's musical escapades is a weekend double header. Both Rocking The Daisies in the Western Cape and OppiKoppi in Limpopo will take place this weekend in two opposite corners of the country -- but just because you're spending the weekend in dusty tents with limited power supply doesn't mean you can't use technology to make your partying just that bit easier. While there are a few apps you should have on your smartphone for both events (and the festivals to come), we'll take a look at specific apps you should...

  • Which Android period tracking app should you be using?

    Periods are annoying. They're painful, they're messy and they get in the way of life. You probably know this. For me, the most difficult part of periods is the unpredictability. I'm not on hormonal contraception, and my cycle can sometimes last over forty days -- resulting in an agonising week of suspense and dark pants. I know I'm not alone in this anxiety, because there are so many period tracking apps on the market -- but how do we know which one will be accurate? Can we really leave the protection at home if some algorithm tells us to? I decided to take...

  • 7 Android apps that seriously need a ‘lite’ version

    Earlier this week, we got word that Google has revealed Search Lite, a lightweight (duh) version of its iconic web search tool. Offering the usual search functionality, as well as a host of other features, the app stands out thanks to its small install size and emphasis on data saving. It's not the first Lite app we've seen though, with Facebook, Messenger, Skype and even YouTube (in a limited fashion) seeing tiny apps being launched. But what about other services in need of a Lite version? Twitter Yes yes, Twitter Lite is actually a thing, but it's merely a lightweight website rather...

  • Data saving app Opera Max is officially dead

    After a stellar run of three years, Norwegian internet company Opera has announced that its data saving app, Opera Max, is officially dead. The announcement comes after a reassessment of Opera's focus areas, with browsers becoming its integral subject. "The product had a substantially different value proposition than our browser products, and represented a different focus for Opera. We, therefore, focus on our browsers and other upcoming services," it noted in a brief press release. Opera Max will no longer be updated The app itself allowed traffic to be funneled through Opera's servers, compressed, and returned to users in a thriftier package. Overtime...

  • 8+ portable apps you should keep on your flash drive

    Portable apps are one of the coolest things ever, allowing you to run PC apps off your flash drive without having to install them on the host PC. There are loads of supported apps out there, so we chose a few that you should slap on your flash drive. Google Chrome Maybe you're using a friend or loved one's PC. Maybe you're at an internet cafe. Maybe you're travelling and using a hotel computer. Either way, why use Edge or Internet Explorer when Chrome will do better? The portable app means that you can use Google's browser on another machine, complete with your...

  • The YouTube app now has a DM tab

    Google has added yet another messaging feature to its repertoire -- and this time it's on the YouTube app. Dubbed the "Shared" tab, the feature allows you to send videos and chat with friends directly in YouTube. These friends are anyone you connect with via email, phone number or an invitation link. That's right -- anyone to whom you've ever sent an email will now have your channel sitting in their shared tab for whenever they get nosy. With the click of a button, your university tutors, your colleagues, that friend you stopped speaking to years ago: they'll know every video...

  • Google Play Store will no longer suggest ‘lower quality’ apps in search

    Google Play Store has made it easier for users to spot the "lower quality" apps on its platform from the genuinely useful. According to a new blog post, the company is actively focussing on privileging apps that exhibit stellar stability, and penalising those that show "excessive battery usage, slow render times, and crashes". "As part of our continued effort to deliver the best possible Google Play experience, we recently enhanced our search and discovery algorithms to reflect app quality," Google Play's product manager Andrew Ahn explains. Google Play rewards well-built apps by pushing them further up search listings "This results in higher quality apps...

  • VSCO gains video editing features, but there’s a premium catch

    Popular photo editing suite VSCO has long let users on iOS and Android edit their fancy photographs. But a new update finally lets users tinker with videos. "Although VSCO has long been home to storytelling through photography, we also recognise and celebrate different mediums of creative expression like DSCOs, design, poetry, and videography," the company writes on its blog. There is of course a catch. The video editing tools are only available on iOS for now, and only accessible to VSCO X members -- the app's premium membership tier. The subscription service also gives paying customers access to a bevy of additional...

  • LinkedIn Lite joins the lite app bandwagon

    We've seen quite a few "Lite" versions of popular social networking apps in recent years, now it's time for LinkedIn to jump on the bandwagon with LinkedIn Lite. Yep, the professional network has released LinkedIn Lite for Android in India, TechCrunch reports. So what's actually "lite" about it? The publication says that the new app is 1MB in size, making it ideal for low-end smartphones that have a tiny amount of storage. It's also claimed that the app is optimised for slower connections, with pages loading in under five seconds, "even on a 2G network". That doesn't mean that you've got significantly...

  • Telegram adds self-destructing media, swanky CDN system

    Chat app Telegram has added a number of new features to its latest version, including self-destructing photographs and videos. "If you set a timer, the countdown starts the moment your recipient opens the photo or video you sent," the company reveals in a blog post. "After the time runs out, the photo/video will disappear forever, just like in Secret Chats." If the recipient attempts to screenshot your self-destructing media, you'll receive a notification. Other quality of life improvements include the ability to set a biography for your profile, post and receive larger obnoxious stickers and quicker downloads thanks to an improved content delivery...

  • New Google Feed will delve even deeper into your data

    Google has taken control of its knowledge of you to personalise its mobile app even further with the launch of the new Google Feed. Replacing what was once Google Now, Google Feed will use even more complicated algorithms to present users with news it thinks they will enjoy. These algorithms know which of your interests you've cultivated for years, and which are passing phases. "For example, if you’re a photography enthusiast but just casually interested in fitness, your feed will show that," engineering VP Shashi Thakur writes. The interface will remain much the same -- the few changes include articles being headed by their...