Nokia announces it’s first Android app – Z Launcher

From being a mobile phone manufacturer, after selling itself to Microsoft, Nokia is fast developing into a software maker now. Nokia announced it’s first Android app and is calling it Z Launcher.

The launcher learns from your using of your smartphone and suggests the top apps to you at the right time. It’s not just the apps. The launcher learns from your web browsing history too.

It keeps suggesting you apps and content to access during different time phases – morning and evening to name a few. That is, the launcher will offer different apps when you are at work during morning and different ones when you are at home during evening.

Z Launcher learns and suggests apps and other content
Z Launcher learns and suggests apps and other content

The time and calendar widgets are shown above the apps suggestion. Five static apps are shown at the bottom of the apps suggestions.

Another unique feature is Scribble. Just scribble the first letter of the app that you wish to open and all the apps with that starting letter will be shown. You can access apps quickly this way. If you wish to open Uber app, scribble ‘U’ on the screen. (Check the video below)

The launcher is in beta form right now and is available for download for a quite few interested users. A dedicated website has been setup for the launcher. Interested users can connect with their Google account, download the APK file and try this new launcher on their device.

The launcher is available only for top selling models like Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, S5 and the Nexus 5 running Android 4.1 and above. The app is not optimized for tablets.

Link: Z Launcher website | Download APK via BGR

Facebook launches Slingshot

Facebook has officially announced the launch of Slingshot app for iPhone and Android. It was leaked accidentally a week back before Facebook took down the app soon. The app allows you to send and receive photo or video messages that self-destruct after viewing. Yes, it does look similar to Snapchat, but it comes with a different working mechanism.

In Snapchat, you can see the photo or video that your friend sent and then respond with a similar one. But with Slingshot, you will be able to see what your friend sent only when you send one back yourself. You can use your rear camera to shoot a normal photo or video or the front one for a selfie. You can enable or disable Flash too.

 

Choose your friends and Sling!
Choose your friends and Sling!

When you receive a Sling from your friend, it is Locked by default. Locked Slings are pixelated and can’t be viewed as a normal photo or video. To Unlock the Sling, shoot a Sling of your own and send to that friend to Unlock the Sling he/she sent.

This is a Locked Sling. You will be able to see only the Pixelated view.
This is a Locked Sling. You will be able to see only the Pixelated view.

Once Unlocked, you can either tap the Sling to respond with one back, or simply swipe away the Sling to discard it. Do remember that once you swipe away the Sling, the message will no longer be available for your view.

This Sling is Unlocked
This Sling is Unlocked

Slings can also be customized with a text message (limited to 140 characters). You can also draw something on your Slings before Slinging them.

There is an option to Sling to all your friends too. Simply click the Select All button while you are about to Sling your message.

Since the messages self-destruct automatically, the photos and videos that you send or receive are not stored locally on your device. But, there is an option to opt-in to save your images to your local storage – check the Settings section inside the app.

The app is made by Facebook Creative Labs, the same team that made the Facebook Paper app. Slingshot is available for free on the iTunes App Store and the Google Play store, but is limited to the United States for now. As for the Android users, the Slingshot APK is already available on the internet.

Related : How to install Facebook Paper for non-US users?

What do you think about this app? Do you think Facebook’s Slingshot will succeed over Snapchat, the company which denied Facebook’s offer of $3 billion? Do share your thoughts with us.

Link : Slingshot websiteOn iTunes App Store | On Google Play store | Slingshot APK

Gmail for Android gets ‘Save to Drive’ button and other new features

Gmail for Android is now updated with a couple of new features. The app now has the much needed Save to Drive button that automatically uploads the attachments to your Google Drive. The announcement comes with +Gmail on Google+.

The Save to Drive button helps you to reduce the burden of downloading the attachment to your local storage (laptop, desktop or your smartphone) before uploading to your Google Drive account.

‘Save to Drive’ button automatically sends attachments to your Drive
‘Save to Drive’ button automatically sends attachments to your Drive

Other updates in this new version include improved readability for Right-to-Left languages like Arabic, Persian, Hebrew and Faster access to side navigation menu. You will now be able to access the navigation menu whenever you want to.

On the user interface part, the mail refresh bar has received the Google Now colored refresh style. And also, the app seems faster and sleeker than earlier.

The update is being rolled out to all the users. At the time of writing this post, the update was available in the Indian Google Play store.

Google is known for integrating most of it’s native apps together. There are no reports on if Google is integrating Google Hangouts with other apps or not. As of now, Hangouts stands as a separate app.

If you didn’t know, Gmail for Android is the first Android app to reach the 1 billion unique installations ever. It reached this milestone a few days back.

Swarm for Android and iOS is here, Brings Neighborhoods, Swarm Planning

A few weeks back Foursquare announced that the company is splitting it’s service in two – Swarm for check-ins, Foursquare for discovering new places. And now, Swarm for Android and iOS is here.

Taking a first look at Swarm, I should say that Foursquare has worked really good at keeping this app simple and more focused on what is to be done – check-ins, rather than putting everything together like in the previous Foursquare app. The Foursquare app is still the same for now. But, in the near future, Foursquare will be working on making Foursquare app more focused on discovering places and will remove check-ins option soon.

Getting back to Swarm, you get to login with Facebook, Foursquare or sign up with your email ID. Once you are in, you will be introduced to ‘Neighborhoods’ and ‘Swarm Planning’.

Neighborhoods basically displays where your friends are. Unlike Foursquare, Swarm shows the location of your friends even if they haven’t checked in at a place. It scans their location signals and beams you their location. Still, Foursquare gives you options to stop this Neighborhood feature to stop beaming your location to your friends.

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Neighbourhood shows where your friends are

The next section shows the list of your friends’ check-ins. You can favorite those check-ins or drop in comments.

And, here’s another new feature – Swarm Planning. You can Create a plan and your friends can vote I’m interested or create a discussion right there. A built-in group messaging section makes this possible. This way, you can create plans and discuss with your friends before actually executing them. Planning to go to the movies this weekend? Swarm Planning will help you work out things with your friends.

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Make plans and discuss with your friends

And the last section shows notifications to you just like notifications on the previous Foursquare app.

Talking about Mayorships and Badges, they are not available on Swarm. It looks like Foursquare will be retaining those in the Foursquare app and not port those to Swarm.

So, Swarm is an app that looks good only if have lots of friends on Foursquare. If you do not have much friends or live in remote areas, the app is useless. Swarm is all about beaming your friends’ location to you. If you are more into discovering new places, Foursquare app is the one for you.

If you haven’t downloaded Swarm yet, you can get the app at your respective app markets with the links below.

Link : Swarm on Android | Swarm for iOS

Automation app IFTTT releases for Android

IFTTT, short for “If This Then That”, is a great web service for automating tasks between internet services. It’s been a while since it has started and now it’s on Android (and iPhone too).

IFTTT

Most Android users would have heard about Tasker, an app which runs specific tasks based on the context. IFTTT is like Tasker, but for the web.

There’s a lot you can do with the service, most obvious ones are: changing your Twitter picture automatically as your Facebook picture is changed, getting a notification if it’s raining tomorrow, backing up your phone’s contacts to Google spreadsheets etc.

Now that IFTTT is available on Android, you can be even more creative. There are five new channels introduced: Android Device, Location, Phone call, Photos, SMS.

So if you’ve misplaced your phone which is on silent mode, you can increase the ringtone volume by sending an E-mail. This is possible because IFTTT now has permissions to control your Android device.

To get started, check out the most popular recipes in their site.

To enable the Android channels, you have to first install the app on your device. Get it from the link below.

Link: IFTTT for Android

Dropbox launches Mailbox for Android, Mac OS X version coming soon

Dropbox, the largest cloud storage service, has launched Mailbox for Android and announced that the Mac OS X version is coming soon. Mailbox was bought by Dropbox last year. Mailbox is a smart email client that manages all your email accounts in one place. It has been designed for mobiles.

Mailbox has been available for iPhone and iPad since a long time. This is the first time Mailbox is available for Android. Currently it supports only Gmail and iCloud accounts. There are no words on when Dropbox will launch other email services to Mailbox for Android.

Mailbox for Android - Archive section
Mailbox for Android – Archive section

Mailbox for Android comes with Auto-swipe feature that learns from your swiping gestures on the mail conversations. There are four swipes that you can perform on your mails :

  1. Short swipe to the right : Archives the mail.
  2. Long swipe to the right : Trashes the mail.
  3. Short swipe to the left : Snoozes the mail. A pop-up box shows you pre-defined times which you can choose. Based on your choice, Mailbox will remind you of the pending un-read mail at the specified time.
  4. Long swipe to the left : Categorizes the mail to lists. There are three pre-defined lists : To Watch, To Buy, To read. You can create your own lists too.

You can also create your own rules (tasks) to be performed when you receive a particular type of mail. To create rules, long press icons shown at the top right of the mail conversation and choose the task.

For example, if you wish to trash all the upcoming mails from xxx@yyy.com, long press the trash icon at the top right of the screen and choose the required option.

Also, based on reports, a Mac OS X version of Mailbox is coming soon. To signup for the beta, enter your email address at Mailbox for Mac OS X webpage.

Link : Mailbox for Android | Mailbox for iOS

How to get the new UI on Facebook for Android

The current Facebook for Android group is a mess. Everyone knows that. The app is slow, lags and many users have even experienced problems with crashing often.

If you didn’t know, Facebook has a Alpha Testers group that allows the Android users to test the Facebook app updates before they are rolled out to the public.

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The above shown image is that of the new Facebook for Android that Facebook has been working on. Based on first impressions, the app is fast and fluid. Scrolling across the posts, navigation is smooth, multimedia upload/download is flawless and the app didn’t crash. Simply said, this version is much better than the previous ones.

How to get this new Facebook app

Before you download this new version, you’ll have to note that, you will experience issues too since this is a beta edition. There may be crashes, image upload/load failure and other glitches.

There are two ways to get this new version of Facebook for Android.

The easy way is to download the Facebook version 9.0.0.0.18 APK and install it on your device. The APK download link is mentioned at the bottom of the post.

The hard way, is to sign up at Facebook for Android Alpha Testers group with your Google account by clicking the Become a tester button. Once registered, go to Settings > Apps on your Android device, find Facebook and hit Clear data. Once done, go to Google Play Store and update the app. If you do not find the update button, uninstall it and download it again.

If you are not able to update the app inside Google Play, try installing the alpha version APK.

Link : Facebook for Android version 9.0.0.0.18 APK | via Android Beat

Link Bubble for Android opens links in floating browser in background

Link Bubble is a nifty Android app that makes mobile browsing more easy. When you click a link on any app, Link Bubble automatically loads the page in its floating browser in background, and displays the page once it is fully loaded.

Like the name denotes, Link Bubble is basically a bubble that floats on your Android device screen. It draws inspiration for its interface, from Facebook’s Chat Heads.

Two things that Link Bubble does great : load pages silently in background, save the user from the process of looking at the URL redirects.

Link Bubble

Based on first impressions, the app does a perfect job, but is slow. When I opened a link with Link Bubble’s built-in floating browser, it took 15 seconds to completely load the page. When I opened the same link on my Opera Mini browser, the page loaded in less than 5 seconds.

The bubble transitions could have been better. They lag a bit and don’t have the zippy nature (which Chat Heads have).

The app can help you share a link to other apps. This is achieved with the help of two special bubbles : Left bubble and Right bubble. Drag-and-drop the main bubble to any one of the special bubbles to share the link.

Link Bubble shows even after you come out of the default app. The bubbles disappear only when you drag-and-drop the main bubble at the close bubble available at the bottom of the screen.

You can choose the default app (the app whose links should be intercepted by Link Bubble), special bubbles and the default fallback browser in the settings.

The free app limits to one bubble and one app (the links in this app will open through Link Bubble) while the pro version can opens links in all apps and it supports multiple bubbles.

The pro version costs 4.99$.

Link : Link Bubble on Google Play | Pro version

Fiverr launches native app for Android devices

Fiverr for Android is now available. You can grab it from the Google Play store.

If you didn’t know, Fiverr is a platform for people to buy/sell micro jobs. You can hire people who are willing to do something for $5. Also, you can sell your own services for $5.

Fiverr has been available on the iOS platform since last December. It is the first time it has come to the Android world.

Based on first impressions, the app is beautifully coded. It has a menu section in the left side and there, you’ll find your Inbox, Collections, Sales, Shopping and Notifications.

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The app offers options to quickly purchase your favorite Gigs and also notifies you whenever a buyer contacts you or when there is an update to your sale.

It comes with a search box too, to help you find the Gig that you need among the millions that are available.

Sadly, there isn’t an option to create your Gigs. For creating Gigs, you’ll have to visit the Fiverr website on your mobile or desktop browser.

Link: Fiverr for Android

Paytm for Android gets a new user interface, Bargain Chat

A new version of Paytm for Android is now available on Google Play. It brings a completely new user interface and Paytm’s Bargain Chat. Earlier, you could only make recharges for mobile phones, DTH, data cards, pay postpaid, landline and gas bills. Now, you can shop dresses, footwear, furniture and more.

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Bargain Chat aims at remodeling the way buyers and sellers interact. It first came with it the iOS version of Paytm. It allows the buyers to bargain with the sellers before purchasing products using Paytm app. When the seller agrees to your bargain, he/she will give you a Bargain Code. You can apply this code during checkout to get the discount that you asked for.

The Bargain Chat button is available in every product page, at the bottom left. Once you click it, it’ll connect you with the seller and you can bargain with the seller through text messages.

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Some of the popular sellers include Yebhi, Yepme and Ferns N Petal.

There are many categories like Men, Women, Sports and fitness, Home decor. Holi special is a special category that will be available for a limited time now.

The best thing about this update is that, you can use your Paytm cash not only to recharge, but also to make payments for shopping. In the near future, you will be able to use the Paytm cash for paying your education fees too.

You can continue to choose Paytm coupons in this new version. There is an option to enter promo codes too.

Link: Paytm for Android