Google Releases Standalone Camera App for Android 4.4+

Today, Google has introduced a new standalone Camera App. This was significantly needed as many Android phones which are not Nexus did not have useful features like “Photosphere”. Overall the camera features even on Nexus were not exactly brilliant.

So a standalone camera app will be very useful for Android users. Even if you are using a Nexus, this there are some added features so it is a good idea to go ahead and update the app or re-install it.

The Google Camera app is only available for Android 4.4+ (KitKat) version for phones and tablets.

Google Standalone Camera Interface

Google Camera App features

  • The prominent feature are Lens Blur and Panorama. Overall the options are a lot easier flip through.
  • I tested the Lens Blur function and was quite impressed with how well it works. Below is an image I took using Lens Blur.
Lens Blur - Google Camera App
Photo taken using Lens Blur – Google Camera App

Now hopefully we will see better cameras on Android phones than what are available now. If you have an Android phone running 4.4 KitKat, then this app would be really useful one.

Link: Standalone Google Camera App

Download Heartbleed Detector for Android, LastPass’ Heartbleed checker

Heartbleed, a recently discovered OpenSSL security bug has created fears in the minds of many Internet users. OpenSSL provides communication security to web, email, instant messaging and various virtual private networks too.

Heartbleed is a serious flaw in the OpenSSL security system that allows any person to access the memory of the systems of the client or sever and get information.

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This security flaw has been found in only certain versions of OpenSSL software. Android devices use OpenSSL software. Based on reports, Google has confirmed that Android 4.1.1 is vulnerable. To check if your device is affected by Heartbleed, a new app from Lookout Mobile Security is available and is called Heartbleed Detector.

Heartbleed Detector is a free app on the Google Play store and supports all Android devices running Android 2.2 and above. Once you download and install the app, it automatically scans your device and tells you if your device is vulnerable or not.

As for me, my Android device is running a version of OpenSSL that is affected by Heartbleed, but there are no serious issues that I should pay attention to. My device is safe.

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This app will not scan the apps on your Android. So, you will not be able to check if your online accounts are vulnerable to Heartbleed.

Solution to save your Android device from Heartbleed

As of now there is no option to save your Android from this bug. Google is currently working on a patch and will send the update through mobile carriers. To update your Android software, go to Settings > About > Software Update.

If you are worried about waiting for Google’s patch and want to safeguard your Android device, consider installing Android anti-virus apps from Google Play Store.

LastPass Heartbleed Checker

LastPass, a password manager, has launched its own Heartbleed checker. It allows you to type a website address and shows if it is vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug. It also gives an in depth analysis of which version of OpenSSL the website is on and if the website is patched from the bug.

Links : Heartbleed Detector for Android | LastPass Heartbleed checker

Google Keep updated with searchable images, trashcan and List Settings

Google Keep for Android has been updated. The Android team sent a tweet on Twitter announcing this new update. This update brings three interesting features : text search in images, trashcan and List Settings to auto organize lists.

In-image text search is an useful feature that scans your images for the text input that you give.

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Trashcan is a temporary location that stores your deleted notes. It will help you to recover notes that you deleted accidentally. Note that, deleting and archiving notes are different.

List Settings brings an option to program has the lists organize themselves. You can choose the position of a new text to the list and what happens to the checked off lists.

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Hopefully there will be many more updates coming to Google Keep in the near future. Some of the features that I would like to see are : integration with Google Drive, Gmail, Night Mode, shared notes with other Google accounts and protected notes.

Do you have anything that you would like to see in Google Keep? Share your thoughts with us.

Link : Google Keep on Google Play Store

Nokia X to be available in India at Rs 8,500 from March 15

Two weeks back Nokia announced the Nokia X family at the Mobile World Congress 2014 held at Barcelona. The Nokia X family consists of Nokia X, X+ and XL.

Immediately after launch, Nokia X was available in the US markets. The device is already listed in The Mobile Store. The device price is not available right now, but the page title says that the price is Rs 8,500. Also, it is said that the delivery will start from March 15.

Nokia X runs Android and is priced at 89 Euros. It has a 4 inch display with resolution 854 x 480, and is powered by a 1 GHz dual core Snapdragon 200 processor. It has a 3 MP camera at the back and comes with Android 4.4.2 KitKat out of the box. It does not come with Google services. Instead Microsoft’s and Nokia’s services are bundled in it. You will find Bing, Nokia app store, Outlook and more in it.

Outlook and Bing are already available for every Android device. Why would anyone move to Nokia X and risk losing Google services? Basically, not having Google apps doesn’t give pure Android experience.

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On a happy note, Nokia does give you an option to sideload Android APK files. But, you cannot be sure that all the Android apps will work with Nokia X. Nokia has requested developers to add a few extra lines of code to make their apps working on the Nokia X.

Also, there is now an option to root Nokia X and bring Google services, including Google Play. Thanks to Kashamalaga, an Android developer.

Before rooting the Nokia X, you should remember that rooting the device removes Microsoft and Nokia services. In turn, this voids the device’s warranty.

Force your Nexus device to use 3G in low network coverage area

One of the most irritating things about Nexus devices is how they don’t stick to the network you choose. Say you’ve got 3G data to use and network coverage is weak, your device will quickly switch back to EDGE (or whatever has good coverage).

Funny thing is, AOSP has built-in feature to ‘force’ an Android device to use a network (even if coverage is nil) – but it is kind of hidden. Read on.

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To access the feature, open Phone/Dialer app, type *#*#4636#*#*. Tap on Phone information. Scroll down and you’ll find a drop down menu where you can choose between different network modes. Choose ‘WCDMA only’.

That’s all. Now your device will stick to 3G regardless of network coverage.

If you want a quicker way to access the setting, then get this little app called ‘Network’. It’ll directly launch the Phone information page and you can then change the network mode.

KitKat Google+ Page hints Android KitKat coming on October 18

The official KitKat page on Google+ has posted an Android robot in KitKat style, with a description “Everybody dance now!

Google is known to tease users with interesting riddles from time to time. So what is special about this coded message?

If you happen to be a fan of the 90’s music, you might recognize that “Everybody dance now” is a popular line from a hit single by C+C Music Factory. The song was released on October 18, 1990.

Android KitKat

To make things more interesting, the song happens to be exactly 4 minutes and 4 seconds long, another coded references to Android KitKat version being 4.4.

So the final conclusion is that Google might be launching Android KitKat on October 18. Just in time before they introduce a new Nexus phone, often called Nexus 5.

Source: Android Community

Related: Android 4.4 KitKat will let users choose one default SMS app

Google opens Android retail stores in India partnering with Spice

It’s obvious that Android is growing like crazy in India. That’s not just the low-priced segment, but even the high end phones are getting sold like never before. But in spite of all this, Google never really focused on properly marketing Android in India.

That’s only until now, Google has partnered with Spice, one of the popular Indian Android OEMs, to open retail stores in India.

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The stores are named ‘Androidland’ and have opened in Bangalore and Delhi on Wednesday. The main focus will be on showcasing Android phones/tablets from a variety of OEMs (Indian and international).

The Androidland staff, called ‘Spice Android gurus’ will be around to help you with setting up your device and explaining what all Android has to offer to you.

The staff will also recommend apps and let customers download them on the spot. Apparently, Google Play gift cards aren’t yet available in India, but if they were, it could be a win-win situation for Google and customers.

Hopefully, Google will open these stores in more cities and care about India the next time they release a Nexus device.

You can find the exact addresses of the store locations from the link below.

Link: Androidland

BlackBerry’s BBM comedy shows how not to launch an app

BlackBerry has simply been having its worst year in its history. It has been totally sidelined as a major mobile phone manufacturer and its latest Z10 and Q10 handsets have more or less flopped. Last week, it decided to get a part of that BlackBerry experience onto Android and iOS platforms. This was done by announcing the BBM app for iPhone and Android. The announcement was done in an official blog post on 18th September. The BBM app for Android was to be made available on 21nd September and the iPhone app was to be released on 22nd September.

BBM for All

So far so good but the comedy of errors was about to start. Before the official Android app for BBM was posted online, an unofficial one got uploaded. The unofficial app was downloaded and over 1.1 million users went live inside 8 hours. That led to issues for BlackBerry which they apparently tried to fix but in the end had to roll back the global launch of the app.

The offending unofficially released BlackBerry app for Android was pulled and users who had downloaded it saw that the service was blocked. The few iPhone users who had downloaded the app could use it but app was pulled from the App Store too.

So when is BBM for Android and iPhone available?

BlackBerry is a update post had mentioned that they were planning a staggered roll-out on Android and re-releasing the app on Apple App store. This update was made on the 21st September itself. A couple of day went by and BBM app was still nowhere to be seen. That is when BlackBerry’s BBM chief Andrew Bocking updated in another blog post, that not only were they pulling the app but users should not expect the app to show up for another week. Strangely a new release date is still not announced!

The doomed BlackBerry!

BlackBerry could not compete with the likes of Apple and Google in the mobile phone space. The new BBM app for Android and iPhone would have made them competitors to WhatsApp and WeChat and other similar messaging apps. But wait, even here BlackBerry will hardly compete as most users will simply not give its app a second chance (whenever it gets actually released).

If you are still interested in downloading BlackBerry app on your iPhone or Android visit the link below and enter your email address to get updated on when the app goes live!

Link: BBM for All

MyAppSharer : Share your Android apps with your friends

MyAppSharer is an Android app that helps you to easily share your Android apps with your friends. You can choose to share the apps’ market (Google Play) links or directly send the app package (APK file).

It is a free app and supports every Android device running Android 1.6 and above. The app is easy to use and makes Android apps sharing a lot easy. Also the best thing is that, your friend doesn’t need to have MyAppSharer installed on his device.

The user interface requires no description. It is an user friendly app and one can start playing with the app within seconds of installation.

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On launching the app, all the Android apps installed on your Android device populate. You can choose the list of apps that you want to share. You can also select/deselect all the apps.

You can share by two ways :

  1. As a market link : You can share the market link of the app and your friend will have to download the app package himself/herself. You can share the market link by various means : text messaging, QR codes, bluetooth, bluetooth (zip) add to Dropbox, Facebook and a lot more.
  2. Share the APK file : The second option is sharing the entire app package. Like the first option you can share the entire APK by bluetooth, bluetooth (zip) or by internet via mail, Dropbox, Skype and many more.

Important things to note

  1. To share the QR code for a particular app, you should have Barcode Scanner installed on your Android.
  2. To add the market link or APK fle to Dropbox, you should have the Dropbox app installed on your Android.
  3. It has been reported by many users that they are not able to receive the apps’ APK/market link by bluetooth on their Nexus device. MyAppSharer developer recommends you to share by bluetooth (zip) if you are sharing the file to a Nexus user.

Doesn’t this app look brilliant? Do give it a go and share your thoughts on it with us.

Link: MyAppSharer on Google Play

Clueful : Your Android Apps Privacy Analyser

Most of the smartphone apps these days ask for special permissions like accessing your contacts, sending texts on their own, using your Gallery photos and more. To be on the safe side, we must be aware of the things that these apps ask and should take steps to be safe. If any app is found to be leaking out your contact numbers to third parties or sending your private data to others, that app should be removed immediately.

To take of care of your privacy, here comes Clueful. If you are an Apple fanboy or a previous iOS user, you might recognize this app. It is an app brought by Bitdefender. Available earlier to the iOS users, Clueful is new to Android. The app is easy to use and gives you a detailed analysis on the list of apps installed in your Android.

How Clueful Works

  1. On opening Clueful, the app scans all the apps installed on your Android and compares with it’s Cloud database from Bitdefender. Note that the app requires Internet connectivity to work.
  2. Once done, it classifies them as low, moderate and high risk apps.
  3. It also gives you a Privacy Score. The larger the score, the safer you are.

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Features of Clueful

  1. Once the apps have been classified, you can get a depth analysis of the apps’ privacy by clicking on that particular app.
  2. It also lets you to uninstall apps right within the app.
  3. You can filter apps and then check which particular apps use your location, which particular apps are viruses and more.
  4. It works as an anti-virus, anti-theft, web control and SMS control tool.
  5. It scans each app that you download from Google Play immediately and lists it as a low, moderate or high risk app.

It is a must have app for every Android user who give privacy the first priority. Privacy matters.

Link : Clueful on Google Play