It’s no secret that Twitter has been tightening its belt when it comes to allowing its competition to access its services. Today Twitter tightens that belt one notch tighter with an update to its official Twitter app that adds photo filters. This seems to be a direct attack against its biggest photo sharing competitor – Instagram. Twitter’s latest release now includes eight “creative” filters that enhance your images before you upload them. The filters include: vignette, black & white, warm, cool, vintage, cimematic, happy, and gritty. Twitter has also added cropping and auto-balancing tools. The cool thing about how Twitter is approaching photo filters is that their editing grid allows you to see how each filter affects your photo in a side-by-side comparison (see the screen shot below). This update should cause a lot of people to cut out the middle man and edit their photos and upload them all from the same app, which is exactly what Twitter wants. If you’re ready to update, head past the break and use the QR code or Google play link to get your photo-filtering on.
We’ve already heard some news today about in-app billing in the Play Store, and now we’ve got a little more to go along with it. Mobile payments and analytics company Bango is stepping into the Play Store to help carriers set up carrier billing within applications. Since the process of starting that carrier billing can be a bit pricey, using a third company for the legwork is financially easier. Plus, it makes things more convenient for some customers and offers alternatives to customers that don’t want to use their credit cards or bank accounts online.
Telstra in Australia is going to be the first at bat with Bango’s billing services, and hopefully we’ll see a few more follow suit. Hit the break for the press release.
Seeing as the majority of top-grossing apps on the Play Store utilize In-app Billing, you can bet they will continue to revamp the tool to streamline it even more. Today the Android developers blog revealed a few changes in the latest version. Below is a summary of the major changes devs can expect to see:
- A streamlined design that makes applications simpler to write, debug and maintain. Integrations that previously required several hundred lines of code can now be implemented in as few as 50.
- More robust architecture resulting in fewer lost transactions.
- Local caching for faster API calls.
- Long-anticipated functionality such as the ability to consume managed purchases and query for product information.
I’m sure that’s all good news for devs. The good news for consumers is that it’s now even more easier for developers of apps to take our money. Wait, maybe that’s not so good.
source: Android Developers Blog
Coming off the the heels of the same advancements and coverage upgrades in Oakland, San Francisco and the Silicon Valley, T-Mobile announced today that it has rolled out the same upgrades in coverage in Atlanta, Seattle, and Minneapolis along with various surrounding suburbs. In case you missed it, this enhanced coverage will provide voice and data enhancements, improved signal strength, and in-building coverage. They also challenge owners of unlocked AT&T devices to give Magenta a test drive, promising 70-percent faster downloads, better coverage, and saving up to $50 a month on their bill.That’s a no-brainer then. Now, can a regular user confirm those numbers?
source: T-Mobile Blog
It’s been a long battle between Google and their Wallet app and NFC-equipped Verizon devices. It turns out that Verizon is now blaming Google itself as to the reason why it’s not working save for a few unlocked devices, citing specifically issues with devices ‘secure element.’ According to a letter from Verizon in response to XDA member Josh995′s complaint to the FCC, Verizon goes on to explain that Google Wallet is different than other m-commerce services such as Square, PayPal, or the Starbucks card.
The difference Verizon is referring to lies in the fact that Google Wallet accesses the device’s ‘secure element’ as mentioned earlier, and does not simply access the operating system. This ‘secure element,’ according to Verizon, is a proprietary and secure piece of hardware built into some devices and is separate from the device’s operating system. Verizon finally mentions that Google is free to offer the application in a manner that doesn’t require the app to access this secure element. I’m not sure as to the validity of this reason or excuse from Verizon since they did block the app at one time, even though they denied it. Regardless, Google, it’s your play.
source: XDA Forums
One of the biggest gripes that people had with the recently launched Nexus 4 was its lack of 4G LTE capability. However, as some tech geeks discovered a few weeks ago, the Nexus 4 does indeed have a 4G antenna since it is based on LG’s Optimus G (which has 4G capabilities). Recently it was thought that this antenna could only be enabled in Canada on Telus and Roger’s networks, since they are the only networks that are built to use LTE Band 4 (which runs on the 1700MHz and 2100MHz wireless spectrum). Turns out however, that AT&T also has several US markets in which it owns LTE Band 4 spectrum. Those markets include Phoenix, Raleigh, San Juan, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Chicago, Charlotte, Athens, GA and College Station, TX.
LG announced today that the company has moved 10 million L-series phones worldwide comprising of the LG Optimus L3, L5, L7, and L9. While that figure may sound good, LG in fact has simply called it ‘modest.’ In business speak, that sounds as if LG didn’t quite meet sales forecasts. It’s a little confusing as they use the word ‘modest’ in the same sentence as the word ‘milestone.’ Regardless, it looks as if they have in fact reached that 10 million milestone. Their goal is to move 35 million smartphones by the end of the 2012 and without any sales figures regarding the Nexus 4, not to mention the perceived shortage; they may fall short.
If you’re looking for a stocking stuffer or gift idea, then take a look at AndyTags NFC Stickers. Since most of the newer phones are sporting Near Field Communications (NFC), they make a great gift. What can you do with NFC tags? Well we did a review of NFC Tag Launcher earlier in the year so check that out, but essentially you can use them to automate tasks like to quickly turn settings on or off or open apps. For example, lets say you’re heading to bed, you can program a sticker to switch your phone to silent mode. Just put the sticker on your nightstand and touch your NFC-enabled phone to the sticker and bingo, your phone is now in silent mode. You can also use them to open certain apps as well. Let’s say you like to listen to Slacker in your car. You can program a sticker to tell your phone to open Slacker. Just keep the sticker in your car and when you get in, you can touch the sticker with your phone and Slacker will be opened. You can even program the same sticker to turn on Bluetooth at the same time. If you find that you always text your spouse when you’re on the way home, you can even automate that. The possibilities are endless.
McAfee is one of the more popular antivirus protections available to PC users, and with the malware on Android devices, they’ve stepped in to provide their trusted protection on smartphones and tablets, too. Recently, McAfee updated their Android application with a refreshed user interface and an innovative new App Lock feature. McAfee claims that since apps like Twitter and Gmail don’t require a password each time you open the app, it’s a possible security threat on your device. App Lock protects against this threat by requiring a pin number each time you want to use one of these applications, protecting you from someone digging through your phone for personal information or even just some nosy friends. This feature can also be used to protect children from having access to certain apps on your device, like the browser or your banking app.
McAfee offers a free trial of the app on Google Play, and offers the paid version at $29.99. Hit the break for the press release and download links.
Those that may be holding off on a pretty sweet deal on the Kindle Fire HD may want to pull the trigger today. Today only, Amazon has the 8.9″ tablet as their ‘Deal of the Day.’ That deal will land you $50 off if you enter coupon code ‘FIREHD89′ at checkout to score the deal which will make the price of the 16GB version $250. The deal is limited to one per person and will be available through today, or until stock runs out whichever happens to come first. Anyone been holding off and possibly jumping on this deal?