Windows Phone Users, OS Upgrades Are Broken in Android Too

If you have followed my site for the last few weeks you will have noticed a lot more Android updates.  It’s partly because I have to use an Android device for my day job but also it is good to expand horizons.  I’ve never been a big fan of Android.  I don’t really like the UI although it is certainly better than the last time I really tried to use one, circa Ice Cream Sandwich.  But it’s still not may favorite.  That’s Windows Phone.  I love the personal experience of Windows Phone that despite Google’s best efforts – and Apple’s with iOS for that matter – just can’t replicate well.

One factor about Windows Phone that I and many other sites and users have moaned about however is the upgrade process.  While an update may be available, it could take months or never for that update to hit your phone depending on your country and if your phone is locked to a carrier.  Everyone’s favorite example is Verizon and the Lumia Cyan update which never came out.  Instead, owners of the Lumia ICON (Lumia 930 in the rest of the world) had to wait a full year before that got it and Lumia Denim at the same time.  A year.  It’s unacceptable and is something that Microsoft has said they are addressing with the release of Windows 10 Mobile.

If however you are thinking that the Android grass is greener, guess again.  The upgrading of Android devices to the next version of the OS, Lollipop, if fraught with problems, delays and phones that, while can run it, will never get the update.  Compounding this is the sheer number of devices that are out there and all the possible permutations of Android that have to be developed to support those devices.  By Gartner’s estimate, there are over 18,000 versions of Android out in the wild today.  18,000!  That makes a uniform, systematic upgrade virtually impossible.

Skype for Android Updated With Several User Friendly Improvements

The Skype for Android app has received an update today that brings several new user friendly features to it.  While none of the new features are overwhelming and indeed are present in many other Instant Messaging and video apps, this update bring Skype on par with them with simple things like an indicator when the other person is typing.  The update, version 5.4.0.3239, also brings the ability to send feedback on the app directly from within it amongst several other improvements and fixes.

Skype for Android – Free – Download Now

American Airlines App for Android Update Brings Android Wear Support

The American Airlines app for Android has received a nice update today that brings support for Android Wear devices.  Now once you have viewed your boarding pass within the app on your phone, you will have it available on your watch for quicker boarding of your flight.  It’s one of the latest apps to support Android Wear and one that busy travelers who have Wear devices will likely find quite, erm, handy.  For those keeping score at home, the updated version is 4.0.1 and it is available now in the Google Play Store.

American Airlines for Android – Free – Download Now

Microsoft Update Outlook for Android with Improved Agenda Widget

Microsoft continues to improve their apps for Android and the latest update to Outlook for Android is a case-in-point.  The latest update brings with it a much improved Agenda Widget which you can install on a page on your Android phone to give a quick glance at your upcoming events.  This update, version 1.2.9 for those keeping score at home, also brings performance improvements and bug fixes to the email, calendar and contact app.

Outlook for Android – Free – Download Now

Google Play Books Updated With New Font

Google has released a minor update to their eBook reader app, Google Play Books.  The update, version 3.4.9 for those keeping score at home, brings a new font that is, by their definition, “designed for book lovers”.  The new font, Literata, can be selected from the font menu in the app and joins the five other fonts that are available to make it a better reading experience.  For those who are not familiar with it, the Google Play Books is an eBook app that gives you access to millions of books through the Google Play Store.  Much like the Kindle app from Amazon, this app gives you the ability to read eBoooks, PDFs or EPUB files and you can get a sample of every book in the library to read before you make the buying decision.

Google Play Books – Free – Download Now

Microsoft Releases Windows 10 Build 10122 to Windows Insiders

Earlier today Microsoft released Build 10122 for Windows 10 for PCs to the Fast Ring participants of the Windows Insider program.  The new build has a pile of new features along with a lot of improvements and fixes over the build released a couple of weeks ago.  While the Windows 10 builds started out slow in coming, Gabe Aul and the team at Microsoft are releasing builds fast and furious now which is critical given that it is expect to reach GM (Gold Master) in July.

Unlike previous updates to Windows 10, the blog post on the Windows Blog clearly stated an issue up front for users of AMD processors.  That issues has to do with crashes of the new Microsoft Edge (Project Spartan) browser.  In fact, AMD users are advised by Microsoft to “sit this one out”

I usually start these posts with the fun stuff at the top but want to call out our only big known Issue here right away – if you’re using an AMD GPU you’re likely to run into frequent crashes in Microsoft Edge (still branded as “Project Spartan” in this build.) If you want to avoid that, simply go to Settings > Update & security > Windows Update > Advanced and change to the Slow ring to sit this one out.

So if you are using an AMD processor you will need to do as advised and move to the Slow Ring until a fix is released.

BLU Studio 6 HD Only $140.83 on Amazon Today

Today over at Amazon you can score a great deal on the dual-SIM BLU Studio 6 HD Android phablet for only $140.83.  That is a 25% savings off the regular price of $189.00.  The 6″ display device was recently announced to be receiving the Lollipop update this month which makes it even better considering not every phone will get the latest build of Android.  The sale is on the 8GB storage version of the device (which can be expanded up to an additional 64GB via the MicroSD slot) which has a 6″ 720 x 1280 display.  If you are looking for a phablet experience without the phablet price, this is on to take a look at today.

BLU Studio 6.0 HD Smartphone – Unlocked – Black

Google Drive Update Brings Performance and PDF Viewer Enhancements

The cloud storage app Google Drive has been updated for Android devices, bringing with it several performance improvements along with improvements to the built-in PDF viewer.  The update, version 2.2.182.17.35 for those keeping score at home, is available now for all Android devices.

Google has indicated in the release notes that this update to Google Drive brings performance and interface improvements.  In my testing of this update this morning, the update appears to have solved some lagging performance.  I have not noted any interface improvements but it could simply be that Google is referring to these performance improvements of the interface and not changes to the interface itself.  Regardless, it does appear that the update makes the app a bit more snappy in performance on my BLU VIVO IV.

Google Drive for Android – Free – Download Now

Lollipop 5.1.1 Begins Android Wear Rollout

Google has announced on their Product Forums blog that the Lollipop 5.1.1 update has begun rolling out to Android Wear devices today.  The update is obtained via an over-the-air (OTA) update and brings a wide range of improvements and features to these devices.  The four devices that will be receiving the update are the LG Watch Urbane, Moto 360, Sony Smartwatch 3 and the Samsung Gear Live.

MLB Ballpark for Android Updated With Performance Improvements

On the same day that Major League Baseball has released MLB At Bat for Windows Phone, the league has also issued an update to the MLB Ballpark for Android app as well. While there are no new features to the baseball park companion app, there are some general performance improvements that make it worth updating to for anyone who uses the app.  For those keeping score at home (an old term used during the heyday of baseball on radio) the new version is 4.1.0

If you aren’t familiar with it, MLB Ballpark is a companion app that you have on your phone when you visit any of the 30 major league stadiums.  There you can check in, get promotional information and discounts (depends on the ballpark and if they are running any) and even get discounts on merchandise.  You can also get information on the stadium itself and check in from your seats.  If you check in you can also upload photos from your seats so others can share in your vantage point.

MLB Ballpark for Android – Free – Download Now