Editor at 9to5Mac + 9to5Google
Zac covers Apple news and product reviews for 9to5Mac. Zac also contributes to 9to5Google.
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Late last year we got an early look at improvements coming to the next version of Bluetooth, and now the Bluetooth Special Interest Group has revealed the name of the upcoming version plus more specifics about the new standard. Bluetooth 5 will be the successor to Bluetooth 4.2, which was released at the end of 2014, suggesting a notable release this year. The new standard will be announced next week, and this is what we know so far.
Changes are coming to AT&T’s Next program starting in June. AT&T Next, the company’s monthly payment program for buying smartphones and tablets, is shifting from four options to two options and adding ways to lower the monthly payment.
Third-party keyboards have been possible (but flaky) on iPhones since iOS 8 in 2014, and today Google has joined the likes of Microsoft and others that are trying to offer a better software keyboard to iPhone owners. Meet Gboard, Google’s brand new iPhone keyboard that’s launching today and packed with features including search, GIF lookup, and gesture typing.
After years of resisting the trend, Instagram has finally replaced their classic app icon with a trendier, flatter version that preserves some original color from the realistic icon in the form of a background gradient. In addition to overhauling its app icon, the Facebook-owned photo sharing social network has also shipped a new black and white user interface.
Talking Schmidt fans have something to look forward to later this month: the Alphabet executive chairman and former Google CEO is set to speak at the first Startup Fest in Amsterdam on May 24th. Eric Schmidt is among several big name keynote speakers, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Uber founder Travis Kalanick, and Airbnb CTO Nathan Blecharczyk. Google is among the list of sponsors for the first Startup Fest as well.
Snapchat is changing how you communicate with friends in a major way through what it’s calling Chat 2.0. The social network says it focused two years ago on making chatting more like face-to-face conversation with features like letting you know when your friends were present and “listening” to what you were typing, and the latest Snapchat update refocuses on the 1-to-1 chat aspect of the app with new features around voice and video calling plus stickers and more. How you watch Stories is also getting a change in the new update.
Google Photos already lets users backup and view an unlimited number of high-resolution photos and videos for free, and Google recently added a button that lets users manually purge downloaded content to make room for more free storage. There’s a new update awaiting Google Photos users today that adds support for the latest software and hardware features on iPhones and iPads.
Just over one year ago Adobe brought the first version of its Photoshop Lightroom image editor to Android for the first time, and today the first major overhaul of Lightroom for Android is being released with version 2.0. Lightroom for Android 2 brings the mobile image editor up-to-speed with the iOS version of the same software, and actually goes a step further with RAW image support made possible by Android.
New data released this week from Strategy Analytics shows how global smartphone shipments and marketshare from major brands has changed between 2014 and 2015 as well as the holiday quarter from both years.
Insights that standout include Samsung remaining on top in both metrics, and regaining marketshare during the recent holiday quarter. Meanwhile, Huawei has hit a new milestone for the brand with its 2015 smartphone shipments.
December 15, 2015
Android Pay launched earlier this fall bringing a fresh approach to NFC payments in stores to Google’s mobile platform, and today Android Pay is taking payments virtual. Google announced that Android Pay will now support in-app payments in supported apps. This means you can easily make secure payments when making purchases on your phone without having to type in your credit card information. Google also shared that it expects Android Pay to go global in 2016 starting with a launch down under in Australia.
December 10, 2015
Back at Google’s big event in September, the company announced a new feature destined for Google Photos later this year: Shared Albums. This lets you invite friends and family to view albums that you create and add photos to, and you can optionally allow them to also add photos to these shared albums. As promised, Google will begin rolling out its new Shared Albums feature for Google Photos starting today.
December 3, 2015
Google is out today with an interesting new app for VR fans called Cardboard Camera for Android. The new camera app lets users shoot their very own virtual reality photos right from a smartphone. Simply launch the app, start shooting a photo and pan in a circular motion like you’re shooting a panorama image, and you’re set.
Then throw your phone in a Google Cardboard virtual reality viewer and you can experience the immersive shot as if you were back in the moment, adding a new dimension to still images. expand full story
December 1, 2015
A few weeks ago we noticed that Google has started testing pre-release versions of Chrome through Apple’s TestFlight beta distribution service, and today the version in testing then has been released to everyone through the App Store. The latest version of Chrome for iOS takes advantage of Apple’s new pressure sensitive iPhone 6s displays and offers even more hardware keyboard shortcuts that will benefit iPad users. expand full story