Are Heart Rate Monitoring Apps Really Accurate? We Put Them To The Test

Health has become the focus of many new gadgets with personal fitness bands growing increasingly popular. Health apps have become a stock feature in both Android and iOS and long before that happened, developers had been working to put the these devices to better use. There have long existed apps that claim to measure your heart rate using nothing more than the front and/or rear camera on your phone. People obviously have their doubts about apps like this because measuring medical information can't be that simple. I've personally tried to 'fool' these apps and those that claim to measure heartbeat by scanning one's face are quite easy to fool with nothing more than a picture placed in front of it. We did however decide to give these apps a chance; see if they really can measure a person's heart rate and how accurate the reading is. Read More

Tunity Is A Shazam-Like App That Sends TV Channel Audio To Your Device

Shazam is a very popular service that helps identify songs. All you need to do is let the service listen to a small snippet of what's playing on the radio or on TV, or maybe blaring out from someone's headphones, and it can correctly identify the song. Tunity is an app for iOS and Android that does something much like that but for TV channel audio. Think of any scenario where you're sitting staring at a muted TV. The news might be on, a re-run of your favorite movie or series, or maybe just a really interesting documentary. Unfortunately, given the place you are, the audio is muted. That's where Tunity comes in; it lets you scan the TV screen, and streams the audio from that channel directly to your Android device or iPhone. Read More

Modify The Google Now Gesture To Launch Apps Or Perform Other Actions

Now Gesture Tweaks action
Mobile operating systems will often reserve a certain functionality for a stock feature. An example of this is how iOS allows only the camera to be accessible from the lock screen, and how Android Lollipop similarly  only allows access to the camera and dialer app. With the camera, no one grudges the OS owning how it is accessed. Both operating systems go much further reserving swipe up and swipe down functions on all screens but with Android you can change it very easily. Now Gesture Tweaks is an Android app that lets you change the default swipe up function reserved by the default Google Now launcher. The app has a free version and a premium version. The free version is limited to only letting you select which app is launched, open all apps, or open the notification center when you swipe up from the bottom of the screen. The premium version lets you do much more. The app doesn't require a rooted device but if your device is rooted, you will get extra functions that you can assign to the swipe up gesture. Read More

How To Rearrange The Order Filters Appear In Instagram

Instagram has just received a fresh update and it's a big one. The update has introduced five new filters and a filter management feature. No doubt the new filters are exciting news and you'll want to try them on your next coffee or dessert but the filter management feature is deserving of equal attention. It lets you do two things; hide filters that you don't like or don't use at all, in my case that would be the Inkwell filter. It also lets you rearrange the order the filters appear in when you scroll through them in the app's interface. You can bring your favorite or most frequently used filters to the start of the line-up and move less frequently used ones to the end. Here's how. Read More

Set The Default Launcher, SMS App, And Browser In Android Lollipop

Android Lollipop brought some big new features to the Android platform and we've covered the exceptionally noteworthy ones such as pinning screens and user/guest accounts. But this latest version of Android isn't all about big features, there are smaller more obscure ones that deserve just as much attention. Android Lollipop has made it ridiculously to set default apps. You can choose the default launcher, set the default SMS app, and even set or reset the default browser on your Android device. The options aren't exactly well placed and easy to find but they're all there in the Settings app and are simple to use. Read More

Bring Back The Old Tab Switcher In Chrome For Android

Chrome's Material design version does something a little unorthodox with the tab switcher; it combines the tab switcher with the app switcher. To switch to a different tab, you have to tap the app switcher button and it brings up, in addition to the other apps that you have open, all open Chrome tabs. You cycle through them much like you would cycle through your open apps and tap the tab you want to switch to. There isn't anything wrong with this approach if you can get into the habit of using it but I kept looking for the old tab switcher. Fortunately, there is a super simple way built into Chrome to get the old tab switcher back. Read More

Send A Message To Let Someone Know Why You’re Calling

Calltag tags
The Do Not Disturb mode, or Interruptions if you're using Android, is a feature that prevents notifications from disturbing you on your device. You can ensure that only calls from important people come through or only your most essential apps can send you alerts while your phone is resting on your night stand, or on your desk at work. I've personally found Do Not Disturb or Interruptions to work great but to only be suitable for use at night. I don't really favour it at work for one simple reason; working hours is when a lot of important activity happens and blocking calls isn't the best way to avoid interruptions. I just keep my phone on silent and prefer people text me before calling. Lots of people don't have time for their devices when they're working so taking calls isn't easy. Calltag is a great way around this; it's an app available for both Android and iOS that lets you quickly compose a message with your name and where you're calling from, and add tags that describe what your conversation is about. The message is sent to whoever you intend to call to give them a heads-up on why you're calling. Once the message is sent, the app initiates a count down before the call is made. Your recipient will know why you're calling and they can choose to take the call, or ignore it. Read More

New Features In Firefox 34 For Desktop And Android

Firefox 34 is now available. If the update hasn't already downloaded, go ahead and check for it now. Firefox 34 is leaning more on the end-user side in terms of new features. The Android version isn't big on either developer or end-user features with Chromecast mirroring being the only significant one. The most interesting feature in Fiefox 34 is easily Firefox Hello, a new way to exchange private messages, both audio and video though the feature is still in its Beta phase. Other significant features are the new theme switcher and a way to fix the 'Fire. fox is already running' problem that users encounter at times. Read More

Material Design Color Palettes Suggests Colors For Your App [Android]

Material Design has been a highlight of Android Lollipop and rightly so. It's Android maturing in terms of design. The design itself is pretty good, enough to encourage developers to adopt it more and more. Maybe one day we will wait for apps to upgrade to the new design like we  do today with iOS apps. For anyone looking for inspiration on how to do Material Design well, there is the myriad of stock apps by Google to act as an example. Implementation-wise we have quite a few examples but if you're a designer struggling with the right colors for material design, give Material Design Color Palettes a try. It's a very simple free Android app that lists shades for nineteen different colors that are a good fit for Material design. The colors range from bright reds and pinks to mute browns and greys. Read More

3 Android Features That Will (Probably) Never Make It To iOS

We often compare Android with iOS and each time Google and/or Apple announce a new version of their OS, fans of both take to the internet to debate who did it first, or who did it better. A lot of times, the two operating systems do indeed borrow or adapt popular features from the other but a lot of features, a lot of popular ones, often do not make the transition. That's where you see a lot of variance between the two in terms of features. Both Google and Apple follow a certain philosophy when adding features to their respective mobile operating systems and there are just somethings neither will adopt (voluntarily or otherwise) from the other, Here are three very awesome Android features that are highly unlikely to make it to iOS. Read More

Gmail’s Inbox Doesn’t Organize Email, It Reminds You To Answer It

inbox emails
A lot of you may have heard about Inbox, Gmail's new email app for iOS and Android. You might be wondering just why Gmail decided to launch a new email app for both these platforms when it already has a pretty great email app for both platforms already out in the field for several years now. I took a look at the new app and also at the need for it to exist, which I found to be genuine. Inbox supports multiple accounts and is built on Material design which works pretty nicely on iOS. One misconception we should probably clear up about Inbox is that it isn't just an email client, it's also a reminder app. The reminder feature is actually a pretty great feature which we'll go in to more detail. Also, access to the app is still invite only. Read More

TakeOff – Schedule Instagram Posts At Regular Intervals For The Day

There aren't a lot of apps out there that can legitimately claim to improve your Instagram experience. Plenty of web apps have surfaced attempting to do just that and it's hard to mention one that came any close. So far only apps that allow us to download all out photos from Instagram are the winners in this category.  TakeOff is a free app available for both Android and iOS that lets you schedule up to ten posts a day on Instagram. The app asks how many photos a day you want to post ( from 1 -10). You select the photo, add a caption, and the app will decide what is the best time to post them. You cannot give the app a custom date for scheduling a post. The app is super simple and can legitimately claim to be a great companion app for the avid Instagram user. Read More

How To Pin And Unpin Screens In Android Lollipop

pin screen passcode
Android Lollipop has been rolling out to users for a good few days now and if your device still hasn't received the update, we know exactly how you feel. Keep checking and reading up on the great new features in Lollipop until you get the update. Pinning screens is a new and very down played feature in Lollipop and there hasn't been much talk about it but it's really useful especially if you've got an Android tablet instead of a phone. Pinning screens allows you to 'pin' an app to the screen and no accidental swipes or taps on a button will allow you to exist the app unless you unpin it first. If you've enabled any sort of PIN or passcode on your device, you can set it so that the passcode is required to unpin the app. Read More

Here’s How You Can Play The Hidden Game In Android Lollipop

lollipop_start game
Google loves Easter eggs and Apple is possibly the only company that does them as well or nearly as well as the search giant. One such Easter egg comes in Android Lollipop, the newest stable version of the Android OS currently rolling out (painfully slowly) to nexus users. It's a nod to the very popular game flappy bird. Adapted with Lollipop inspired backgrounds and the Android bot replacing the bird, the hidden game can be played without having to download anything extra if you know where to find it. Read More

Add, Manage, & Switch User Accounts On Android Lollipop

One of the most awesome features to come out of the latest Android version is user accounts. Our smartphones and tablets are so ridiculously powerful these days that it's no wonder a feature like this was introduced, after all, we have multiple accounts on our laptops. Android Lollipop doesn't just let you add other users, it also comes with a pre-added Guest account that is already set up for you so you can switch to it and hand over your device immediately, when needed. Here's a quick look at how you add and switch between user accounts, and set them up. Read More

Do Not Disturb Comes To Android Lollipop As Interruptions

When Android Lollipop was first announced, a Do Not Disturb was part of the feature line-up. Now that Android Lollipop has begun rolling out to Nexus devices, we are taking a closer look at some of the most popular Android Lollipop features in their final form. When we visited the feature back in June, it was originally called Do Not Disturb but in the final version, it has been dubbed Interruptions and it can be found in the Sound section of the Settings app. We're not sure how long it will take for it to shed the Do Not Disturb label since it's already so popular from iOS but Interruptions as a feature has been built to impress. Let's take a look. Read More

Facebook Launches Groups App, Lets You Add A Group To Your Home Screen

Facebook Groups home
Facebook launched a new app today, Facebook Groups. Much like the Messages app, this app takes a popular Facebook feature and lets you use it in a stand alone app. The point is of course to make access easier because Facebook as a service has grown significantly complex to the point that messages and group interaction isn't convenient from your news feed. Facebook groups is a lot like the Messages app in layout. You have a home screen where all your groups are listed. You can post a status or photo to a group, get regular push notifications for any group activity, and even create a new group from the app itself. Perhaps the crown jewel in terms of features on this app is the ability to add a group to your phone's home screen. The app is available for both iOS and Android although at the time of writing, the Google Play Store link isn't working. Read More

Waaaaay! – Follow the Arrow Is An Easy-To-Follow Navigation Tool

Waaaaay modes
If you're good with directions, rarely get lost, and are quick to find yourself again if you do, you know this ability is sort of like having a super power. You also know that a good sense of direction isn't popularly recognized as a supernatural ability, you're pre-disposed to think that everyone should be able to find their way from point A to point B without any trouble. If nothing else, anyone should be able to use Google Maps but that sadly isn't the case. Lots of people still get lost and/or have trouble following a map. Waaaaay! - Follow the Arrow is turn-by-turn navigation for dummies (no offense). If you find following directions is overly complicated, this app is what you need. It detects your current location, asks you to pick a destination, and then guides you with nothing more than a compass. It's up to you to pick which route you want to take as long as you're following the arrow. Read More

Dear Developer, This Is Why I Won’t Buy Your App

In my line of work, I get to test a lot of apps. I hunt for them, I judge their usefulness, I try them out, and then when I find an app works well enough or addresses a real problem, I review it for our readers. It sounds like a fun job and as I've continued to test and review more and more apps, I've picked up on tell-tale signs of what makes a good app. But I'm not overly clever to pick up on these signs; it's a by-product of experience and where I can identify if an app is good or bad just by looking at the screenshots and reading a brief description, it isn't a foolproof check. Developers are just as clever (if not more) at the game  than I am and they give me the slip. It's times like this that the true test of a good app comes down to one thing, and one thing alone; features. Read More

Sleep Better Tells You How Well You’re Sleeping

Sleep Better home
Scientists still debate over why we sleep. There is no doubt that we need to sleep but the effects of sleep are simply amazing and worth every bit of research that is done about it. While scientists are figuring out the many mysteries of sleep, the REM cycle, why we dream, sleepwalk, talk in our sleeps, and that one time when Professor Utonium began robbing toy stores in his sleep, we wake up to the shrill call of our alarms wondering why it feels as though we haven't rested at all. Sleep Better is an iOS and Android app by Runtastic, a popular name in heath and fitness apps, and it helps analyze your sleep patterns telling you how efficient your slumber was. Sleep Better integrates with iOS 8's health app. Read More