tbreak.ae http://tbreak.ae tech'ing the Middle East Fri, 01 Aug 2014 07:16:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Facebook messenger for Windows Phone adds video sharing http://tbreak.ae/facebook-messenger-windows-phone-update-adds-video-sharing/ http://tbreak.ae/facebook-messenger-windows-phone-update-adds-video-sharing/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 07:16:15 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=24469 With the recent announcement from Facebook to use the Messenger app as the only method for messaging, the company has updated their messenger for Windows Phone with the ability to record and share videos and added more features in an attempt to get a more beneficial experience for users. Earlier, Android and IOS users received the video […]

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With the recent announcement from Facebook to use the Messenger app as the only method for messaging, the company has updated their messenger for Windows Phone with the ability to record and share videos and added more features in an attempt to get a more beneficial experience for users. Earlier, Android and IOS users received the video sharing update as well but it was strangely missing on Windows Phone.

The app will give users the ability to send photos and videos with a single tap. When a video is received by the recipient, it will play within the messenger app without the need of a third party video player.  There will also be a sticker tab that shows the recent stickers used so that you can find your favorite stickers faster.

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Windows Phone 8.1 update expands Cortana features http://tbreak.ae/windows-phone-8-1-update-expands-cortana-newer-markets-plus-new-features/ http://tbreak.ae/windows-phone-8-1-update-expands-cortana-newer-markets-plus-new-features/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 07:12:19 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=24464 Microsoft just put up a post on their Windows Phones blog about the new features in their upcoming update. They are expanding Cortana to more countries as beta version in China and UK, and as an alpha version to Canada, India and Australia. Since the Chinese market has different needs and prospects than the US […]

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Microsoft just put up a post on their Windows Phones blog about the new features in their upcoming update. They are expanding Cortana to more countries as beta version in China and UK, and as an alpha version to Canada, India and Australia.

Since the Chinese market has different needs and prospects than the US or other countries,  Cortana will be dubbed as “Xiao Na” and will hold special features just meant for the Chinese people such as support for Mandarin in voice, text and spoken communication, and have specialized suggestions such as air quality information, driving restrictions and track TV shows and celebrities.

In the UK, Cortana supports UK spellings and pronunciations, information on sports teams, London Stock Exchange, commuter conditions and more. For US, Cortana received improvements including new natural language scenarios, snooze time for reminders and some great additions including asking to do an impersonation. If your car kit is incorporated with your contacts, you can simply say “Call Cortana” to interact with her.

Microsoft has added  Live Folders where you can organize your favorite apps into folders on your start screen and even receive updates within the folder. The Xbox Music app has also been updated with features such as quick play of recent songs, support for Kids Corner, and faster app load and list scrolling.

Users are also being offered a new characteristic called the Apps Corner, where users can choose which apps to be displayed like a protected start screen from external users. The update even brings the ability to create a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when connected to unknown networks to create an anonymous network to protect data and the identity of the device.

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Google Now can check for hotel reservations and restaurants http://tbreak.ae/google-now-can-check-hotel-reservations-nearby-restaurants/ http://tbreak.ae/google-now-can-check-hotel-reservations-nearby-restaurants/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 10:23:33 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=24453 Google has made travel a little more comfortable with Google Now. If your hotel confirmation has come into your Gmail account, Google will make a note of the hotel and the area and you can ask Google anything that can be done nearby the hotel. Once Google knows the hotel you stay, you can ask […]

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Google has made travel a little more comfortable with Google Now. If your hotel confirmation has come into your Gmail account, Google will make a note of the hotel and the area and you can ask Google anything that can be done nearby the hotel.

Once Google knows the hotel you stay, you can ask “Show me restaurants around my hotel” and ask directions from the hotel to your destination. Moreover, you can still look for nearby places to explore or shop. If at any time you forget the name and address of the hotel, you can simply ask for Google to “Give me directions to my hotel from here”, avoiding the prospect of getting lost in a new city.

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LG G Watch Review http://tbreak.ae/lg-g-watch-review/ http://tbreak.ae/lg-g-watch-review/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 10:14:10 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=24457 If a market filled with fitness trackers wasn’t enough, we’ve also got to contend with the growing number of smatwatches that are making their way into the consumer market. Google’s recently revealed Android Wear ecosystem introduced three initial devices to the market one of which is the LG G Watch, when I spent the past […]

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If a market filled with fitness trackers wasn’t enough, we’ve also got to contend with the growing number of smatwatches that are making their way into the consumer market. Google’s recently revealed Android Wear ecosystem introduced three initial devices to the market one of which is the LG G Watch, when I spent the past two weeks with. These are all still early devices, in the sense that their functionality and use may be limited for the moment, until more developers find new ways to use these unique extensions of Android.

Build Quality & Design

LG have really gone for a safe design with their G Watch, which sports either a black or white design and adjustable rubber strap. It features a 1.65” 280 x 280 resolution IPS display, and no physical buttons. You simply swipe from the watch’s edges to dismiss notifications or access certain features.

Like I said before, there are no physical buttons – not even a power button. The first time you unbox your G Watch, you have to slot it into the provided cradle to recharge it. Once it’s plugged into a power source, the watch springs to life and you can start using it or connecting it with your smartphone. In order to turn off the watch you have to scroll through the device’s Settings panel, and hilariously enough, to turn it back on you have to return it to the cradle. What?

The LG G Watch is dustproof and waterproof, but I can’t imagine anyone going for a swim with this thing on – it’s not as unobtrusive as certain fitness trackers, so you’re always quite aware that you’re wearing one and you’re more likely to slip it off before diving in the pool.

Setup & Features

To setup the LG G Watch you’ll need to have a device running android 4.3 or better. Simply download the Android Wear app onto your device and it will pair up with the LG G Watch.

Once paired up, you’ll receive any notifications on your LG G Watch. The device vibrates slightly whenever there’s a new notification, and you can simple tap it to scroll through more information, or swipe it to dismiss. You also have the option to open any notification on your smartphone with a simple tap, provided that your phone’s screen is unlocked.

While this all sounds remarkably seamless, in reality it’s not. The screen on the LG G Watch is absolutely terrible outside, and there’s no auto-brightness setting so you’ll either be squinting or covering your watch to actually read anything. Also the screen often refused to wake up when I twisted my wrist – it took an exaggerated turning of my wrist for the accelerometer to register and turn on the screen. This sort of defeats the purpose of wearing such a device – it’s supposed to be a discreet notification system, and not one where I have the flail my arms to wake it up.

The LG G Watch allows you to use voice recognition for basic search actions. Simply say “Ok Google’ at the watch face or tap on the clock to activate it – as long as it’s paired with your smartphone, you can do web searches, navigate with Maps, and call someone from your Address Book. Unfortunately, voice recognition was quite spotty at times, and often I just picked up my phone to get the task done quicker. You can’t use the LG G Watch for phone conversations, but you’re able to quickly answer or dismiss an incoming call with a simple swipe. You can also use the G Watch as a step counter, and it intuitively shows the steps you’ve taken throughout the week. There are a number of limited apps that you can download from the Play Store which will appear on your G Watch.

The internal 400mAh gave me 2 straight days of usage with the screen always on. With the “Auto Screen Off” feature turned on, I got a total of 4 days of use out of it.

Conclusion

The LG G Watch is the first of many new devices that will be introduced by Android Wear, but therein lies its biggest flaw. Because it’s a new device, there are very few useful apps available for it. There are also plenty of usability annoyances, with the unreadable screen being one of the biggest ones for me. The sketchy voice recognition is another disappointment, as is the fairly mediocre design choices. It’s still early days for the LG G Watch, so we’ll have to wait a few more months for more developers to make it into a device you would actually want.

Available now from safaqati.com

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Wakie – the social network app that wakes people up http://tbreak.ae/wakie-social-network-app-wakes-people-everyday/ http://tbreak.ae/wakie-social-network-app-wakes-people-everyday/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:28:54 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=24438 A new social alarm clock app called Wakie that lets users wake a new person every morning has just been launched for Windows Phone 8.0 and 8.1. The app has already been launched for Android and has over 1.5 million users worldwide who already made over 30 million calls. According to the developers, you have […]

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A new social alarm clock app called Wakie that lets users wake a new person every morning has just been launched for Windows Phone 8.0 and 8.1. The app has already been launched for Android and has over 1.5 million users worldwide who already made over 30 million calls.

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According to the developers, you have to set an alarm, say for 7am, and you will receive a call from another Wakie user at 7am. The call will last for only a minute with a warning at 50 seconds, so the conversation should be quick and causal. Furthermore, you can make a call to another Wakie user too when their alarm goes on. The Wakie website shows an audio visual demo of how a conversation between two Wakie users happen.

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Facebook forces everyone to use the Messenger app http://tbreak.ae/facebook-forces-everyone-use-messenger-app/ http://tbreak.ae/facebook-forces-everyone-use-messenger-app/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 07:02:13 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=24431 It was inevitable and only a matter of time before Facebook would strong arm users into another change.   In a statement to TechCrunch, Facebook added, “In the next few days, we’re continuing to notify more people that if they want to send and receive Facebook messages, they’ll need to download the Messenger app. As we’ve said, […]

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It was inevitable and only a matter of time before Facebook would strong arm users into another change.

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In a statement to TechCrunchFacebook added, “In the next few days, we’re continuing to notify more people that if they want to send and receive Facebook messages, they’ll need to download the Messenger app. As we’ve said, our goal is to focus development efforts on making Messenger the best mobile messaging experience possible and avoid the confusion of having separate Facebook mobile messaging experiences. Messenger is used by more than 200 million people every month, and we’ll keep working to make it an even more engaging way to connect with people.”

Put simply, Facebook will stop messages through their native app and will make it necessary for users to download their standalone messenger app. This change applies to all smartphone platforms i.e iOS, Android and Windows Phone. The recent update now means when you open messages to chat, the messenger app will open up instead now should you have it. Mobile Web, Paper, feature phone and Desktop versions are the only platforms not affected, for now.

While some see the move as a better way to streamline their services, others may not be as pleased to download another app to do something you could already do in the first one. The same case with Foursquare forcing users to download Swarm. Facebook however claims that there are over 200 million users on Messenger sending out 12 billion messages a day sending more photos than ever including group messages, videos, stickers and audio clips and clearly that’s a rationale for improving user experiences. The messenger app by itself is a clean interface that gets updated constantly and as it stands can now send videos across.

While this seems a good move from a business perspective, Facebook may find itself in the midst of a downward public opinion that hasn’t helped them recently.

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LG Tab Book 11 might be the fastest Android tablet in the world http://tbreak.ae/lg-tab-book-11-fastest-android-tablet-world-intel-i5/ http://tbreak.ae/lg-tab-book-11-fastest-android-tablet-world-intel-i5/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 06:40:45 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=24426 LG just officially announced a convertible tablet dubbed the Tab Book 11 that runs on Android but with PC-level specifications. The tablet is powered by a dual core Intel Haswell i5 4200U ultra low power CPU. Although it is still to be determined if Android is properly optimized for the i5, the processor is ridiculously overpowered […]

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LG just officially announced a convertible tablet dubbed the Tab Book 11 that runs on Android but with PC-level specifications.

The tablet is powered by a dual core Intel Haswell i5 4200U ultra low power CPU. Although it is still to be determined if Android is properly optimized for the i5, the processor is ridiculously overpowered for a light operating system such as Android. LG could have opted for the Android 4.4 Kitkat instead of the Android 4.2.2 jelly bean included. Furthermore the device comes with a 11.6 inch display with FullHD resolution, a massive 4GB of RAM, USB 3.0, a fast 128GB solid state drive and a microSD card reader.

Additionally the tablet comes with a sliding keyboard with a dedicated Android home button and weighs in at a little less than a kilogram. Although these specs are meant for a 64 bit operating environment, the recent reveal of the 64-bit Android L could bring hope in the near future for devices that want to take advantage of more powerful processors. Apparently, a LG representative informed Android Police that the Tab Book 11 can be purchased with both Windows and Android in a dual boot configuration, although no dates or pricing have been announced for now.

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Selfies is a new social app for sharing…selfies! http://tbreak.ae/selfies-new-social-app-just-sharing-selfies/ http://tbreak.ae/selfies-new-social-app-just-sharing-selfies/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:17:15 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=24419 The team at Automattic, the company behind WordPress, were working for a photo app for Gravatar and had fun taking selfies and sharing among themselves. This lead to the creation of the Selfies app which was silently released on the Google Playstore without any announcement on purpose to see the public reaction. When starting the […]

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The team at Automattic, the company behind WordPress, were working for a photo app for Gravatar and had fun taking selfies and sharing among themselves. This lead to the creation of the Selfies app which was silently released on the Google Playstore without any announcement on purpose to see the public reaction.

When starting the app for the first time, the user is asked to take a selfie, add a caption, photo edits and filters, and post it to the network. There is a public stream of selfies in the app and users can respond to selfies with a captioned image of their own. Furthermore, users can share the selfies to all other social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Moreover, the app is in its yore stages for now and the team plans to add more features such as a filter system to only show high quality content.

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In contrast, Selfies is a part of Gravatar app, but the team was more focused to make it as stand alone app. Apparently there was a poll in the Gravatar blog on which platform should receive the app first and the highest hits belonged to Android. Availability for IOS will depend on how the app does in Android and users are asked to send their feedbacks of the Selfie app for further improvement and suggestions.

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Windows Phone 8.1 newest update to support smart cases http://tbreak.ae/windows-phone-8-1-newest-update-support-smart-cases/ http://tbreak.ae/windows-phone-8-1-newest-update-support-smart-cases/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:42:15 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=24414 Windows Phone 8.1 is slowly reaching out to users everywhere and Microsoft has already announced a major update to 8.1. Folder support to organize apps using live tile, a feature that’s long been in need for Windows Phone devices ,will finally be introduced. Alongside this, another important addition in the update is the software interaction with […]

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Windows Phone 8.1 is slowly reaching out to users everywhere and Microsoft has already announced a major update to 8.1.

Folder support to organize apps using live tile, a feature that’s long been in need for Windows Phone devices ,will finally be introduced. Alongside this, another important addition in the update is the software interaction with smart interactive cases.

Phone makers are looking to find ways how apps interact with users on these devices with what happens when the case is opened or closed. While this has been deemed necessary. The Verge reports that the case support shouldn’t come as a surprise since HTC appears to be currently in the works of testing a version of their popular One Android device for Windows Phone. This means that HTC’s popular dot matrix case could someday be optimized to function with Windows Phone devices.

Other updates include support for phablet devices giving them a resolution support of 1280 x 768 on 7″ screens and an option to opt for 1280 x 800 for devices that use software navigation buttons. Microsoft hasn’t announced when these updates will roll out, though it appears their newer devices will have the update built in for retail.

 

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Microsoft rolls out Live Lock Screen App for Windows Phone 8.1 Beta http://tbreak.ae/microsoft-rolls-live-lock-screen-app-windows-phone-8-1-beta/ http://tbreak.ae/microsoft-rolls-live-lock-screen-app-windows-phone-8-1-beta/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 07:15:45 +0000 http://tbreak.ae/?p=24393 One of the main features revealed during the Microsoft Build 2014 conference was the use of the Live Lock Screen app that lets you to customize the lock screen animations of your Windows Phone 8.1. Microsoft has released a beta version of the lock screen app, so users can try it and report bugs. The lock […]

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One of the main features revealed during the Microsoft Build 2014 conference was the use of the Live Lock Screen app that lets you to customize the lock screen animations of your Windows Phone 8.1. Microsoft has released a beta version of the lock screen app, so users can try it and report bugs.

The lock screen app will have six new layouts, with each having revamped designs of the time and date notifications. Moreover, these lock screens will receive unique unlock animations, and background pictures are changed automatically throughout the day or from Bing. The minimum RAM required has also been reduced from 1GB to 512MB, a good news for low-cost Windows Phone 8.1 handsets.

There have been reports from a few users who uninstalled the app stating that the device when unlocked takes some time to resume the start screen. This is because bits of the app still exists even after successful removal of the app and a workaround has been set up as of now.

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