Android News 24 : Android Apps
Hands-on: Impala app offers true smart photography [VIDEO]
The Impala app for Android was invited to MWC by Qualcomm, where they took over a small section of the booth. The app is not finalized because Qualcomm only gave them 2 months, but it’s impressive how far the developers have gotten. And after a few minutes I realized why Qualcomm wanted them there.
What does Impala do?To put it in a simple way, Impala turns your phone into a smart camera/organizer. This software analyzes the image when you are taking a photo and optimizes your camera settings to make the photo better.
For example, the app knows when you are shooting food, so it optimizes the camera settings to make your food look better. Likewise, the app can optimize photos of people. There is more than that, though. It actually gets a little interesting.
This app can be programmed to pixelate hands, for example. Or maybe people don’t want pictures of faces, skin or anything else. As we can see in the video and image below, this device was programmed to pixelate hands.
Apps World: Hands-on with the new and improved Zeebox TV app
We travelled to this week’s App World event in San Francisco to learn about new and interesting apps coming to Android. One section of the show – TV Hackfest - specifically showcased apps relating to television and video viewing.
Inside of the TV Hackfest area, we met with Anthony Rose, Co-founder and CTO of Zeebox. Zeebox is a second-screen TV app that offers a customizable TV guide, news feeds for users’ favorite shows, discussion rooms for those shows, and more. The Android version of Zeebox is due for an update with exclusive features within the next few days. Check out our hands-on video to see how Zeebox can make watching the shows you like better and easier.
SlideLock is a Lockscreen Replacement that Displays Your Notifications
There are tons of lockscreen replacements in the Google Play Store. Some are great, some are not. We’ve covered a bunch of them here on the site. The beauty of Android is the options that you have to really make your device your own. Some lockscreen replacements are cluttered and have a ton of options. Others are basic and just give you the bare essentials. Today we have a new one for you called SlideLock that is all about notifications.
SlideLock is built around notifying you of anything that might happen on your device. It can display notifications from every app on your device, if you want it to. Of course, you can turn off those notifications if you’d like, only showing the ones that you are actually interested it. SlideLock displays your notifications very simply, keeping it clean. When a notification shows up, a swipe to the left will dismiss it while a swipe to the right will open it up for you. Once your lockscreen is cleared of any pending notifications, you can swipe to the left to unlock your device or swipe to the right to open your camera. This is handy for when you need to snap a quick photo.
SlideLock gives you options for changing the lockscreen wallpaper, turning notification sounds off and on, and toggling notification vibrations right from the Settings menu. You can also change the date and time format from Settings, and the app even has built-in support for your Pebble smartwatch. This is a minimal lockscreen replacement but it has some extra features you can tweak if you want to.
GetYourGuide for Android now available
GetYourGuide, a travel offers service, has announced they have released an Android app. The app gives you mobile access to over 23,000 offers from 2,200 destinations across the globe. The app is available for free on the Play Store.
If you’re unfamiliar with GetYourGuide, it’s a lot like Groupon for tourists. It offers up things to do at various spots around the world, all at a discounted rate. Previously only available on the desktop, the app has one unique feature for those on the go. By keeping tabs of your location, GetYourGuide can offer up things to do while you’re on the go. Once a booking is made, the app allows you to show your device to gain entrance.
The difference is that GetYourGuide is specifically geared toward activities, not so much getting stuff. Tours and other activities are on offer more than meals or other items. The app is meant to let you explore your surroundings without breaking the bank.
If you’re not sure what to do in a city, you can always access the city page and view things to do. That helps you plan ahead while on tours, or even see things in other parts of the city you’re in. There are also subcategories for activities, so if you want to go skydiving in Rome, that just might be available for you.
Regardless of what you want to do, GetYourGuide probably has something for you to explore. It makes searching for things to do really easy, and brings a new depth to your travels. Schedule ahead, or spur of the moment; GetYourGuide has you covered.
Google Experience Launcher – Hands on Video
Along with the release of Android 4.4 KitKat and the Nexus 5, a series of APKs were pulled from the Nexus 5 and the biggest three were the new Google Play Services APK, the new search APK, and the much anticipated Google Experience launcher. So to find out whether the launcher is worthy of the Google name, we took a closer look.
Downloading and installing
Currently, the app isn’t available in the Play Store just yet. In fact it isn’t clear yet whether it’ll ever come to the Play Store, but for now the leaked APK has worked relatively well on many devices.
To download and install the launcher, you’ll need to download three of the leaked APKs. The updated search app titled “Velvet”, the actual launcher app and the updated Play Services app.
The Google Experience Launcher user interface is very similar the one found on previous versions of stock Android. There’s the omnipresent Google search bar at the top of every page, and a 4×4 page layout to add apps and widgets. There’s also a dock at the bottom, with the app drawer shortcut in the middle and four slots for you to customize and add your most used apps.
Video demo: the new and improved photo editor in KitKat
KitKat brought a multitude of changes to our favorite operating system, including some that pertain to camera and photo processing functionality.
Google’s Nicolas Roard took to G+ to show a demo of the non-destructive photo editor incorporated in the Gallery app in KitKat and the AOSP. As you can see from the video, the tool lets you achieve some pretty spectacular results, but, in case you botch something up, you can easily revert to the original image. The app, which supports tablets and smartphones, received some new fine grain control features in the latest update, such as a gradient editor and local adjustments, as well as a revamped user interface.
In other photography related news, Photo Sphere project manager Evan Rapoport talked about his team’s behind-the-scenes work to improve the speed and reliability of what’s arguably one of the coolest features of Nexus devices. Photo Sphere now makes use of multithreading for faster rendering and includes a technique that Rapoport calls “optimal seam finding” to better stitch individual images together. In theory, this should lead to fewer failed Photo Spheres due to moving objects or people moving through the frame, including in indoors environments.
BBM Passes 10 Million Downloads on Android and Removes Waiting List
While it is hard to deny that BlackBerry’s launch of BlackBerry Messenger did not go over so well, it does seem to be a popular application surpassing the 10 million download count. This is rather impressive as BlackBerry is struggling to sell their once popular line of mobile phones.
As you may recall, there were several botched releases of the BlackBerry Messenger application that eventually turned BBM into a bit of a joke in the Android community. BlackBerry blamed the botched release on excessive traffic caused by a large number of Android users using a (leaked) pre-release version of BBM for Android. In order to combat this, BlackBerry implemented a waiting list feature into the final build of Android.
Thanks to the improved version of the mobile client, BlackBerry has removed the waiting list requirement. New users are now free to download the client and immediately setup a new account without waiting. I just went through the setup process myself and can confirm that it is a painless process.
Themer moves to open beta, here’s how to instantly receive an invite code
When Themer debuted a few weeks ago, everyone in the Android community was up in a tizzy and with good reason — it’s one of the quickest and easiest ways to give your boring Android homescreen a complete overhaul. There was only one problem. Themer was only available by invite, and many Android users were left waiting in a long line to get a crack at it.
Today, Themer has finally gone open beta. What that means is if you hop on over to Themerapp.com and enter in your email address, you’ll immediately be presented with an invite code to plug into the app. Easy peasy.
Cover is an Android-only contextually aware “smart” lockscreen, available only by invite [VIDEO]
Being able to customize your lockscreen is just one of the many pleasures Android users enjoy in life. Hop on over to the Google Play Store and you’re sure to find a bevvy of lockscreen replacements for your Android device. While a good deal of these only look to change the aesthetic of your standard lockscreen, there are a few that try and make your lockscreen more useful.
Cover is the latest Android lockscreen on the block, and it looks to supercharge your productivity with its unique UI and design. The tagline for Cover is “the right apps, at the right time” and the app aims to accomplish this in a few clever ways.
First off, Cover learns which apps you use the most, displaying shortcuts on the lockscreen according to 4 locations: home, work, car, and out (everywhere else). If you’re at home, you might find all your social apps hanging out on your lockscreen. While on the road, apps like Maps, Waze, and Rdio might appear. When you arrive at the office, all your productivity apps will already be waiting on your lockscreen. Turn the phone in landscape mode, and the camera icon will appear. Plug in headphones, and all your media apps will appear. Pretty sweet, right?
Motorola teases augmented reality app with “Windy Day” video ad
Looks like Motorola is cooking up a treat and has enlisted the help of animation studio Pixar to bring in a new augmented reality experience exclusively to users of its impressive Moto X smartphone.
Augmented reality has somewhat been a holy grail of mobile information and interactivity, ranging from simply map overlays in apps like Layar to one-time marketing and sales gimmicks to full-fledged alternate reality games like Ingress. Most of these, however, involved showing static displays, images, or overlays. Motorola, however, seems to have planned something new, creative, and ambitious, but it will need some help from the people who know those words best.
Academy Award-winning director Jan Pinkava created an animated short entitled “Windy Day” which was used at Qualcomm’s Uplinq conference to demonstrate Pixar’s real-time animation process. Motorola and Pixar have now teamed up to bring Pinkava’s masterpiece into the hands of Moto X users, with an augmented reality bent. Not much is known yet about this collaboration, but the video below created by Motorola shows people using the Moto X and spinning around or looking in all directions with the smartphone as if following something flying about in the real world.