Category Archives: Social Networks

Android 5.0 Lollipop: What’s New and Updated


Android Lollipop

Google previewed ‘Android L’ at its Google I/O developer event in June, and since then, developers and consumers have awaited the final version, which was finally announced on Wednesday as Android 5.0 Lollipop ‘L’.
The company also launched the platform
lead devices for Android 5.0 Lollipop, namely the Nexus 6 ,Nexus 9, and Nexus Player.
Since the Android L preview earlier this year, Google has added several new features to the final release of Android 5.0 Lollipop.
While some changes are extensions of the themes introduced in Android L, some are relatively new, and other previously known features have now been detailed by the search giant.

Here are some of the biggest changes that Google brought to its widely-popular mobile and tablet platform with Android 5.0 Lollipop:


Material Design
First up is the ambitious Material Design. Remember when Google had introduced Android L saying that this next version will receive a complete visual overhaul for a consistent experience across devices? Well, here it is. Android 5.0 Lollipop features a cleaner, flatter design with a more fluid interface and animations.
We saw the revamped navigation and status bar in the Android L preview, and Google has stuck to the design but now the status bar can be coloured or kept transparent (depending on the
app) and features refreshed status icons. The ‘Quick settings’ menu has also been revamped, and includes new controls like
flashlight, hotspot, cast screen controls and more. Also new is the toggle for location services. The recent apps menu or task switcher now appears like a stack of cards instead of a list of screenshots of recently open apps which is cool.
Google explains the new Material Design for Android 5.0 Lollipop as “A bold, colorful, and responsive UI design for consistent, intuitive experiences across all your devices.
Responsive, natural motion, realistic lighting and shadows, and familiar visual elements make it easier to navigate your device.

Vivid new colors, typography, and edge-to-edge imagery help to focus your attention.”

Improved Notifications/ Lock Screen
Android 5.0 Lollipop’s lock screen displays richer notifications, and users can view and respond to messages directly from the
lock screen. In fact, Google has further gone ahead with notifications and included rich floating descriptive notifications on top of your activity. Users will be able to view or dismiss any
notifications without moving away from an activity.
Essentially, Google has provided better overall control for Notifications.


Users will be able to control notifications triggered by their apps, and choose to hide sensitive content, apart from prioritising or turning off an app’s notifications completely. Android 5.0 Lollipop users can also turn on ‘Priority mode’ via the device’s volume button and allow notifications from only certain people or apps to be shown – users can schedule when Priority mode turns on as
well. The feature also works as a Do Not Disturb mode as seen in Apple’s iOS, and allows users to also selectively silence notifications and calls on the Android device.
Importantly, Google has also now downgraded the priority that incoming phone calls are given, and users can now choose to answer the call, cancel it, or just continue to do what they were doing without waiting for the call to end.

Kill Switch and Improved Security
Android 5.0 Lollipop will come with an opt-in kill switch dubbed ‘Factory Reset Protection’, which will allow users to wipe out the device’s data on will. If a user activates this feature, they will be
required to enter their Google login to factory reset the device and it will only work when the phone passcode is enabled. Google
also says that new devices come with encryption automatically turned on to help protect data on lost or stolen devices. Google
had announced the feature last month, after Apple revealed its own version . Not much is known about this feature yet rest assured we will update you as it comes…
Users will also get an Android Smart Lock feature to secure their device by pairing it with a trusted device like a wearable or even their car, says Google.

New Messenger App
There is a new Messenger app that will be shipping with the Nexus 6 as part of Android 5.0 Lollipop It is said to be a more simplified of Hangouts, and is not a replacement for it, says a Google spokesperson, “Messenger and Hangouts offer users choice, each have their own benefits. Hangouts work great for cross platform (web, iOS, Android) and cross medium communications (video, voice,messaging, SMS).  Messenger will be specially designed to be a quick and easy way to send and receive SMS and MMS messages on Android Nexus 6 will come with both apps.

Device Sharing
Google has finally brought device sharing features that will help users share their Android 5.0 Lollipop device with members of their family and friends without worrying about access to sensitive content. Android 5.0 Lollipop features a guest user mode with custom options for access, as well as screen pinning that lets users fix in place the screen that’s displayed without allowing guests to go further. Interestingly, it has also introduced a new feature in Android L that lets users log in to another Android phone to access synced messages and content in case they forget their phone at home.
Battery Saver
Google has also added a new battery saver feature to Android 5.0 Lollipop, claiming to extend device battery life by up to 90 minutes. Android 5.0 Lollipop will also display the estimated time left to fully charge the device when plugged in, as well as the estimated time left on the device before the user needs to charge again.

Quick Device Set Up
Google has introduced new ways for users to set up their devices with Android 5.0 Lollipop. Users can instantly set up their new Android phone or tablet by simply tapping it on their old device – though this requires NFC support. All apps from Google Play are also carried over on the new device, as long as the same Google account is being used.
Other new features in Android 5.0 Lollipop include the new ART Android runtime for improved application performance and responsiveness; support for 64-bit devices and SoCs; native 64-bit apps; improved hardware keyboard accessory support (including support for multilingual, emoji input, search key, and improved app and system key chords), support for 15 new languages (including Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu); improved accessibility features (such as text contrast boost, colour inversion, and enhanced colour differentiation); improved audio, video, and camera capabilities, and improved Internet connectivity everywhere and with more powerful Bluetooth low energy

The keyboard app for Android L is stylish and colourful than it predecessor. Awesome swiping, improved personalized typing, improved dictionary and material design .  Good thing developers on XDA already ported it and it can work on devices running Android 4.1+ .Get yours here


BBM on Android and iOS review

AFTER THE RUMOURS, the denials, the leaks and the false starts, it is finally time to welcome the most notorious instant messenger of them all .

Perhaps that’s a little harsh because Blackberry Messenger (BBM) was a hugely innovative alternative at a time when most smartphone users were still battling Windows CE and Symbian.

So, for whatever reason Blackberry has decided to wade into the market already successfully occupied by Skype, Google+ Hangouts, Facebook Chat, Chaton, Whatsapp, Kik, Tango, Viber and at least a dozen more, and we think it deserves a fair trial because, to be fair, it’s not a bad app.

Screenshot_2013_10_21_20_18_41It is being rolled out in stages, so unless you are an existing user, you will have to wait for your email address to be authorised to use the service .  Once you’re in, setting up an account is almost easy.

Unlike Blackberry users, users of Android and iOS devices are required to use their email address as their user name. You’re also required to think up a password, a password reminder question and a password reminder answer. Finally you’re given your PIN, which consists of a not-so-catchy eight character letters and numbers combination begining with “7”. Then you’re ready to add some friends.

Except, if you’ve never had a Blackberry, probably very few of your friends or contacts ever had a Blackberry, and even if they had, you wouldn’t know their PIN, so why would you? Fortunately Blackberry gives you the option to invite people by email, barcode, SMS or social media. So what actually happens is that you spend the next 20 minutes telling your friends that they can chat with you on BBM, by chatting with them on Facebook or Twitter or whatever other social network you use.

And therein lies the rub. The need to communicate with people across networks has overtaken the decision to create and release this app, and therefore rendered BBM a bit pointless, because there are plenty of alternatives that are well established at doing just that.

Of course there are some nice touches. Group chat and broadcast messages are useful touches, but you’d need a big group of contacts to consciously decide to switch to it as your main form of messaging, and there just isn’t enough here to convert anyone.

We like the fact that you can see when a message has been delivered and then read, but many IM apps already do that, and besides, there’s a very good way of telling if someone has received your side of the conversation, because they start talking back. That’s how conversation works.

We also like the fact that you can instantly become BBM buddies with someone using NFC over Android, though this could cause an interesting long-winded turn of events when it suddenly becomes clear you’ve spent the last 10 minutes trying to NFC to an iPhone.

The BBM app user interface is reasonably smooth with a great UI, but lacks a little spit and polish. In some cases avatars failed to appear for our contacts, and there’s an irritatingly persistent notification at the top of the screen that adds little except to stop the BBM app from being automatically closed by the system, a problem that most apps overcame several years ago.

In summary, any kudos that Blackberry deserves for the introduction of BBM as a cross-system tool is outweighed by the fact that while it might have been a hugely popular app a few years ago, it now seems like another third-party system to manage. At the moment, we can’t see BBM making the impact that Blackberry might hope for. This app needs not just to be good, it has to be game changing.

Yes, it is good. But that’s all.

Why Is Everyone So Excited About Instagram’s New Video Feature?

With more than 130 million users, Instagram unveiled a new feature to its social photo-filtering app — the ability to record 15 second videos. But there’s already an app — Vine — that records just a few seconds of video, so why are people so excited about Instagram video?

Instagram video

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom speaks during a press event at Facebook headquarters on June 20, 2013 in Menlo Park, California. Systrom announced that Facebook’s photo-sharing subsidiary Instagram will now allow users to take and share video. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Here are a few notes:

  • Vine records only six seconds and Instagram records up to 15.
  • Instagram extended its iconic filters to also apply to videos.
  • Instagram built in a stabilizing feature that cuts down on the smartphone shake factor.

But even with these differences, many tech experts are saying Instagram’s new video feature won’t lead to Vine’s demise.

Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom said Thursday that users will be able to record and share 15-second clips by tapping a video icon in the Facebook-owned app. They can also apply filters to videos to add contrast, make them black and white or different hues, similar to how users currently filter photos.

“This is the same Instagram we all know and love but it moves,” he said at an event held at Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters.

Watch this video showcasing the new Instagram feature:

For an example of such an Instagram video, check out this one by RedVine licorice.

But even though the Vine and Instagram video might seem similar, many are pointing out the differences between the two that could allow both to live in their own social media spheres.

Chris Brogan, CEO and President of Human Business Works, wrote on his website:

People’s first reaction is that because Vine has a six second limit and Instagram has a fifteen second limit that Instagram will do better. Twitter has a 140 character limit and Facebook has a reasonably endless character allowance, and Facebook has more people using it, so there’s some understanding why you think that way.

But no, Instagram will not kill Vine. People who like Vine and Twitter a lot will use that. People who like Instagram and Facebook a lot will use that. Some people will bleed over and do everything.

instagram video

Instagram’s new video feature is demonstrated at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., Thursday, June 20, 2013. (Photo: AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

CNET’s Daniel Terdiman too called comparing Vine and Instagram like comparing apples and oranges. Terdiman interviewed frequent Vine user, actor and filmmaker Adam Goldberg, about how he thinks Instagram’s new feature will impact Vine:

“It’s a completely different technology,” Goldberg told CNET. “That Vine aesthetic is not possible, unless they decide to make [Instagram video] more touch-sensitive….I don’t know why they even bothered to have the feature to keep your finger pressed down on the screen, because it doesn’t have that stop-action quality that [like Vine] lets you create weird Lynchian dreamscapes.”

But Goldberg wasn’t saying that Instagram video was a failure. Rather, he argued that the new tool was simply a very different animal than Vine. Essentially, while his Twitter feed was full of people expecting him to say that one was better than the other, or that six seconds was a better time limit than 15 seconds, or vice-versa, he feels the two services are basically apples and oranges.

To use the video feature, Instagram users who’ve downloaded the latest version can tap on the same camera icon they use to snap photos. A new video camera icon will appear on the right side. Tap it and a screen with a red video button will let you record clips of sunsets, kids running in parks or co-workers staring at their computer screens.

instagram video

A Facebook employee demonstrates the new Instagram video option during a press event at Facebook headquarters on June 20, 2013 in Menlo Park, California. Facebook announced that its photo-sharing subsidiary Instagram will now allow users to take and share video. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The app will record as long as your finger is on the red button or for 15 seconds, whichever comes first. Not unlike Vine, taking your finger off the button will stop the recording, allowing you to shoot the scene from a different angle or record something else altogether. Once you have 15 seconds of footage, you can play it from the beginning and post it on Instagram to share with others.

Given Vine’s popularity, “it is perhaps more surprising that Facebook has not introduced video for Instagram sooner. There is no doubt Twitter will move quickly to up the ante on Vine and this could undercut Facebook’s efforts with video on Instagram,” said Eden Zoller, principal consumer analyst at Ovum, a technology research firm, in an email.



Instagram adds feature to share 15-second videos

FACEBOOK is adding video to its popular photo-sharing app Instagram, following on the heels of Twitter’s growing video-sharing app Vine.

Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom said users will be able to record and share 15-second clips by tapping a video icon in the app. They can also apply filters to videos to add contrast, make them black and white or different hues.

“This is the same Instagram we all know and love but it moves,” he said at an event held at Facebook’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters.


Heatmap of smartphone Tweets shows iPhone dominance in wealthy areas

Heatmap of Twitter use shows iPhone dominance in wealthy areas - Jason O'Grady

More than 280 million Tweets posted from mobile phones reveal geographic usage patterns in unprecedented detail.

Author for The Apple Core | June 21, 2013 — 03:11 GMT (20:11 PDT)


MapBox has posted an interactive Twitter visualization that shows a heatmap of smartphone Tweets by region, broken down by smartphone brand. It shows the iPhone (red) dominating in affluent areas and Android (green) in poor regions. Blackberry (purple) use is predominantly outside of major cities and in Africa, Central America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Pictured above is a map of Washington, Philadelphia and New York showing a heavy bias toward Tweets from iPhones.


Mobile Devices is a map that reveals the information about phone brands that is stored when people use an official Twitter App and is hidden in the metadata attached to each tweet. Each brand of phone is a different color and can be independently toggled. The patterns of usage in each city often reflect economic stratification. For example iPhones, in red, are predominantly in wealthy sections of the city while Android phones, in green, have more coverage in poorer sections. On a global level, national trends reveal a complicated set of cultural preferences. (Tweets from web browsers and from other Twitter clients don’t appear on this map)



WhatsApp Surpasses 250 Million Active Users

WhatsApp tells The Wall Street Journal it has more than 250 million monthly active users, the first time it has revealed a rough number of users for its popular smartphone messaging app.

The figure is impressive for a company that launched its app just four years ago and that spends no money marketing itself. It makes WhatsApp one of the largest messaging platforms and possibly bigger than Twitter, which in December announced it had eclipsed 200 million monthly active users. Microsoft MSFT -3.18% in October said its video-chat service Skype had 280 million monthly active users.

WhatsApp’s growth is of concern to many other companies. That includes telecom carriers that make huge profits billing for text messages as well as Facebook FB -1.68% whose traffic relies in part on users trading messages with one another.

Indeed, Facebook has its own separate smartphone app for messaging. It hasn’t disclosed how many use it, but in a sign of its popularity, the Facebook Messenger app is currently ranked sixth in the U.S. among free Android apps in the Google Play Store and 44th in the U.S. among free iPhone apps. For the iPhone, WhatsApp charges a one-time, 99-cent fee, and is ranked first among paid iPhone apps in the U.S. The app is free to download for Android devices, but charges 99 cents after the first year of service. It is currently ranked 31st in the U.S. among free Android apps.

A big reason for the popularity of such apps is that they allow their users to message one another without paying high fees for text messages. Apple’s iMessage service works similarly, though it only allows iPhone users to trade messages with one another. WhatsApp is available for the iPhone, Android devices, BlackBerry and Windows Phone among others. Facebook works with the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, but is unique in that it also enables users to trade messages between desktop computers and mobile devices.

In April, WhatsApp chief executive Jan Koum did offer a clue as to the size of the WhatsApp user base, saying on stage at the All Things D Mobile conference that WhatsApp was bigger than Twitter.

Facebook’s Instagram video feature seen as challenge to Twitter Inc.’s FB +0.41% anticipated rollout of a new video service for Instagram is already getting some upbeat reviews from Wall Street and beyond, with one tech executive calling it a potential threat to Twitter.

Facebook is expected to introduce a feature similar to Twitter Vine service during a media event at the company’s Menlo Park, Calif. headquarters on Thursday.

That prompted S&P analyst Scott Kessler to reiterate a buy rating on the stock, saying in a note, “We see online and mobile video as a significant growth opportunity for FB, and have noted recent strong growth for Twitter’s Vine mobile video app.”

Kessler cited a research report earlier this month which found that for the first time there have been “more Vine shares than Instagram shares via Twitter.”

In fact, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said the expected video service from Facebook “will make Instagram stickier much as Vine has made Twitter stickier. “

“I think it will be a cool feature,” he told MarketWatch. “The Instagram audience is important to Facebook, given the much younger and more female dominated membership, and I think it is important for Facebook to pay attention to this audience and give them something different.”

And that’s because, “with 90 million users,” he added, it’s likely that “video sharing will take off, and will help Facebook’s efforts to monetize Instagram via interstitial advertising.”

That view was echoed by Marc Poirier, co-founder Acquisio, which helps companies manage online marketing campaigns, who also saw the speculated Instagram video feature as a potential challenge to Twitter.

“Here is a real opportunity to monetize Instagram, which becomes an attractive ad medium for brands seeking to engage with audiences,” he said.

“Inserting video ads into the feed would not only draw in more money from brand advertisers, but it would also create a serious challenge to Twitter’s service, Vine,” he added. “Not only is there still no advertising on Vine, but Twitter has yet to truly emerge with an ad platform that marketers take seriously, hence they’re struggling to draw in any real budgets.”



#hashtags on Facebook and what that means for you (Photos)

Hastags OnlineHashtags across multiple platforms, here seen listed on facebook. You will see a stream like this after clicking on a hashtag.

Hashtags are words and phrases behind the ” # ” sign, not using any spacing, like #askyvi. These hashtags work just like a bookmark, if enabled, like on Twitter and now Facebook, they become a text-link that, once clicked, will open up a list or stream of posts and status updates containing this hashtag.

How to choose a good hashtag?

Just like with a good Url, keep it short an sweet. When you decide on a hashtag make sure it is easy to remember, that it’s unique and not already used by someone else, so don’t skimp on you research!

How to use hashtags and use them right?

  • Just like any other marketing effort, don’t overdue it! If you annoy people, you will loose them.
  • Use a maximum of about 3 hashtags, don’t “stuff” your status update with them trying to reach as much people as possible.
  • Use them in a positive way and right on topic! Research your hashtag before you join an existing conversation.
  • Join existing hashtags and conversations to reach others you might not reach with your regular marketing efforts.
  • You can use them to categories your content.
  • Used them for research or to find information relevant to you or your business, just like you would type in your search in Google.
  • Use them cross-platform! Twitter uses hashtags, as does Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn and now Facebook.

What else to consider

Hashtags are completely public!! That means no matter how you set you privacy settings it will be view able by everyone!

What’s in for the future?

Now that Facebook has opened it’s platform for hashtags, the next logical step is the use of hashtags for paid advertising. We’ll see how this will be getting used, but it is just a matter of time after “boosting” status updates and “sponsored” stories.


Google Chrome 27 for iOS is out: Improved voice search, better voice recognition, and faster page reloads

Almost two weeks after releasing Chrome 27 on the desktop and Chrome 27 for Android, Google today announced the release of Chrome 27 for iOS, significantly improving voice search and speeding up page reloads. You can download the latest version now directly from Apple’s App Store.

The biggest addition in the much more accessible method for speaking your searches into the omnibox. Just tap the microphone, say your search query aloud, and see your results (some will even be spoken back to you), all without typing a single character.

Chrome for iOS Voice Search 730x432 Google Chrome 27 for iOS is out: Improved voice search, better voice recognition, and faster page reloads

Google already includes voice search in its Google Search app for iOS thanks to its Google Now integration. As of Chrome 27, Google also began offering conversational voice search which it announced at its I/O 2013 conference, and now it’s finally bringing voice search to Apple’s platform. Continue reading