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Mobile apps

  • Pixel camera app, complete with HDR+, hacked to run on other phones

    The Google Pixel stood out last year thanks to its camera chops, touting the same fundamental specs as the Nexus 6P, but with one key difference. The camera app delivered HDR+, which dramatically stepped up photo quality. Far from being blurry like the HDR modes of yore, the Pixel's HDR+ mode resulted in much improved photo quality at night, for example. Unfortunately, Google didn't release the updated camera app for all, but a Ukrainian developer has stepped up to the plate. According to XDA, the developer spent two evenings hacking together the Google Camera APK. The end-result is that the app...

  • Data too expensive? Offline app stores are a thing in Cuba

    Between constant updates and large file sizes, apps can be a major data hog for your smartphone. This is especially apparent in developing markets, where the price of data is often expensive for the local populace. One cool solution, as reported by free software activist Torsten Grote, is an app "store" or repository that doesn't require data at all. And this solution is being used in Cuba to fascinating effect. According to Grote, the open-source F-Droid app store for Android has an "app store kit" that allows anyone to create their own repository that runs over a local WiFi network. The activist...

  • Nintendo Switch Online app finally hits Android, iOS

    The Nintendo Switch has truly been a sales phenomenon since its launch in March 2017, but one of the biggest issues has been the requirement for a separate app to use voice chat. Now, the app in question has finally been pushed out to Google Play and iTunes. The Nintendo Switch Online app comes ahead of this week's launch of Splatoon 2, being an eagerly anticipated multiplayer shooter and one of the bigger Nintendo titles of the year. As for features, the app lets you voice chat and invite social media friends to gaming sessions. However, Nintendo adds that you can...

  • Got a rooted device? No Netflix from Play Store for you

    There are quite a few reasons to root your Android smartphone, such as gaining more granular control over customisations, removing bloatware or even overclocking/underclocking your processor. This will come at a price though, as Netflix has confirmed reports that rooted devices can't download the app from the Play Store anymore. In response to a Gearburn query, the streaming provider said that changes to its multimedia underpinnings forced it to take this route. "With our latest 5.0 release, we now fully rely on multimedia enablers provided by Google services; therefore, many devices that are not Google-certified or have been altered will no longer work with...

  • BlackBerry brings its suite of apps to all Android Marshmallow users

    BlackBerry's array of apps and services is nothing to scoff at, especially for business and enterprise users. We've already seen its Android apps leaking online though, but now the company is making it official with the release of BlackBerry Hub+. "BlackBerry Hub+ for Android is a new suite of apps that should be familiar to any BlackBerry 10 user. It helps centralise all of the user's communications into a single, unified interface, as well as help streamline many other productivity tasks such as Calendaring, Passwords, and many others," the company explained in a blog post. The suite is available as a 30-day trial,...

  • These are 7 cool Android apps you can’t get in the Play Store

    Featuring over a million Android apps, it's hard to argue that Google's Play Store doesn't have something for everyone. In fact, we often find that banned iOS apps get released without issue on Google Play. But did you know there are some interesting Android apps even Google doesn't want on its store? We showcase a few prominent examples. TubeMate Google really doesn't want you to download videos off YouTube. Unless it's via their official Android app (even then, it's only viewable via the app and some videos can't be downloaded), but we digress. For those wanting to download a video permanently (i.e. having...

  • Here are the inaugural Google Play Award winners

    Apple has held mobile app/gaming awards for a few years now, but Google has decided to do the same this year, announcing the winners today. The Best App award went to Houzz Interior Design Ideas, which allows you to browse over ten million photos of home interiors/exteriors (categorised by rooms, style etc). The app even connects you with architects, designers and other experts. The award for Best Families app was clinched by logic puzzle title Thinkrolls 2 (R39) which delivers over 270 levels for kids between the ages of three and nine. The Best Game nod went to Supercell's mega-popular Clash Royale, which really needs no...

  • Google sets sights on better accessibility in Android

    Smartphones are amazing tools, but there's no doubting that platform-holders can do a little better when it comes to accessibility. Apple has done a good job of implementing tools in this regard, such as Assistive Touch, zoom support, Braille Display connectivity, VoiceOver screen reading and more. Now, Google is upping the ante with its own technologies. Google beefs up voice commands Most prominently, the company has announced a closed beta for a new app, called Voice Access. The app lets people navigate through their phones without using the touchscreen. Google says that people who might want to use the app include those with paralysis, tremors and...

  • Awear debuts Coffee: Android Wear’s ‘first touch-based’ messaging app

    Android Wear is quite an immature OS by any stretch of the imagination, so simple features like typing and sending messages still hasn't been perfected yet. Silicon Valley company Awear, funded by incubator Studio 9+, has largely solved this issue though with a brilliantly simple and free app. It's called Coffee, and it makes replying to message notifications on an Android Wear smartwatch rather simple, involving no typing and no dictation at all. It's the "first touch-based smart messaging app" for Android Wear, that allows the users to send "hundreds of different type of SMS messages". "With Coffee, you can stay in...

  • TwoDots review: beautiful frustration

    What do you look for in a casual game? Something quick and sweet to entertain you while you queue? Or something so addictive and potentially frustrating you'll become numb to what's going on around you, miss your bus stop while intensely sliding across your screen or throw your phone across whatever room you're in? Having just come back from making myself a cup of hot chocolate to calm down (after sending the Gearburn editor an eloquent and descriptive message reading "KILL IT"), I can safely attest that TwoDots falls into the later category. The sequel to mega hipster Tetris puzzler...