The BBC has finally, finally released the BBC iPlayer in America. The iPlayer app is one of the best apps from the BBC and it gives users the ability to listen to radio and other content from the UK broadcaster on their Android phone. Having lived in the UK for many years, the iPlayer app was my go-to app on many a train trip across the country to keep me up-to-date and for other content. Now that it is here in the United States, you have the option now to listen to the BBC great news coverage and content for free.
The Microsoft Office suite of apps for Android – Excel, PowerPoint and Word – have all been updated today with several new features and improvements. Perhaps the biggest new feature across all three apps is the ability to store your files on an SD card on your device. To this point you could only save your files in your device’s main storage. That can be problematic for those who do a lot of file editing on their devices, especially those with low storage devices. This new feature, which is across all three apps, should help solve that problem. There is nothing special you as a user have to do other than tell the apps to store on your SD card. Your device, however, must be running Android Lollipop or later to take advantage of this feature. All three apps now also give you the ability to annotate files. You can use a stylus or your finger to write, draw or highlight. These new tools found in the Draw tab, a new tab in each app.
Back at the end of June, I started an experiment on my Nexus 6P. Like many of you, I have dozens of apps installed on my Android phone with the vast majority of them being accessed just a handful of times per week or month. Yet, with those apps installed and with them organized on my various home screens, I still found myself doing a lot of swipes and taps to get to things. Personally, I found that frustrating so I took a drastic step and eliminated all of my home screens except one. Admittedly, the first couple of days were rough. But as I got use to using the power that is in the Google Now Launcher, I can honestly say that life in one screen works for me.
But at the time I started this little experiment, it wasn’t just me who tried it. Fellow tech enthusiast Kyle Reddoch (You can find him on Google+ and on Twitter) tried the experiment too. During these last few weeks, while we’ve had plenty of Hangouts discussions, we’ve not talked about life on one screen until earlier this week. The result? Both of us don’t plan on going back to multiple screens any time soon.
I’ve outlined in this post the thought process behind this little experiment and how we went about it. I’ll cover the tools we are using that have made this transition much easier than expected but frankly, it all comes down to the Google Now Launcher and our voices. If there is one thing this experiment will teach you, it is the power of voice commands.
Today’s Deal over at Amazon is on the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua. This 5″ Android phone is down to $149 over at Amazon, a savings of over $50. The phone is unlocked and is compatible with GSM carriers here in the US (AT&T and T-Mobile), it has 16GB of storage which can be expanded thanks to the MicroSD slot and is water IP68 certified against dust and water. That means this phone is dust and water proof up to 1.5 meters deep for up to 30 minutes. Powering the Xperia M4 is the Snapdragon 6.15 processor clocked at 1.5GHz with 2GB of RAM installed. Perhaps the deal clincher for some readers will be the fact that Android Marshmallow is available for this phone.
With Android Nougat now only weeks away from release, developers are starting to prepare their apps for support of the release. Google is no exception and the latest update to their clock and alarm app, Google Clock, is squarely aimed at getting it ready for Nougat. The update, which is in the Play Store now, also works on Lollipop and Marshmallow but a lot of the focus is on Nougat to be fair. In fact, the first thing noted in the Release Notes is support for Nougat. With that support comes support for multi-screen, the new feature that will come in the release that allows you to view more than one app at a time. Google Clock will support that natively so you can setup timers or alarms while working on with another app.
If you run a business or are responsible for creating Financial Statements, life just got a little bit easier for you. The Google Apps team has announced that a new Financial Statement template is available in Google Sheets, both for the web and mobile versions of the app. The template comes from the accounting software company Xero and is designed to take your inputs and generate the statements.
Simply access the Financial statements template from the Sheets homescreen, and get started by entering and categorizing your business transactions. The template will automatically update charts and graphs illustrating your company’s sales, expenses, revenue, and more.
This template should speed things up a lot of Google Sheets users who need to make these financial statements.
The latest update to The Weather Channel app for Android brings a new forecast feature for those who like to run or walk. The new GoRun forecast gives you current conditions as well as conditions later on in the day or the next day so you can plan your walk or run accordingly. The forecast gives you a 1-10 scale with 10 being the best time to run based on the weather forecast that includes precipitation, humidity and air quality. This new forecast is found by scrolling down to the bottom of the main forecast display on the app, just below the radar section.
Fans of Major League Soccer, there is an update of the MLS app waiting for you. The updated app, version 7.3 for those keeping score at home, brings several new features and updates. The biggest of those updates is information and details about the upcoming All-Star game in San Jose. That match happens on July 28th and is against the English Premier League team, Arsenal. Now the app provides you more details and information about the game including roster information. When the match is ongoing, you’ll be able to get play-by-play details of the match on your phone just like you do normal MLS matches.
Today’s Deal over at Amazon is a great one for those of you who are looking for a solid performing 11″ Chromebook. The HP Chromebook 11 G4 is down to $174.89 at Amazon and that is for the 4GB of RAM model with 16GB of storage. I reviewed this Chromebook back in February and it remains my day-to-day Chromebook. I have to say it is one of the best 11″ Chromebooks I have had the privileged to test and review. It’s performance is solid, the keyboard is smooth and responsive, as is the trackpad. I found the display to be very good for an 11″ device while the battery life, for some, will be lacking. All that said though, with a price of $200 for the 4GB, 16GB of storage model on Amazon, it is hard to beat. I have no hesitation in recommending it for the vast majority of readers.
Readers who own the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 on the AT&T network have a nice surprise waiting for them this morning. The carrier has rolled out the July 1st Android Security Update to the device in what must be record time. The update, a 22.6MB sized download, will give your Note 5 all of the security fixes and improvements from the first security patch released this month by the Android team. Remember that there were two patches this month, one dated July 1 and the other July 5. In the Release Notes, according to the Kernel version, this patch was compiled on July 4 so it will not have any of the fixes or driver updates that were in the 2nd patch. Those, likely, will be rolled up into an August update for the Galaxy Note 5 on the carrier’s network.
The Android development team at Google has rolled out what is likely the last Developer Preview for Android Nougat. The update takes devices to build NPD90G and it is available for all of the Nexus devices that have been a part of the beta testing process. Those devices include
- Nexus 5X
- Nexus 6
- Nexus 6P
- Nexus 9
- Nexus Player
- Pixel C
- General Mobile 4G (Android One)
For those how have devices registered in the Android Beta program, the OTA update should be coming to you over the course of the next few hours. If you want to manually flash your device to the newest build, the images are available already.
Here in the United States, we are in the throws of election season. In November the Presidential election happens along with some House of Representatives seats, Senate seats and countless local elections. A fundamental right in the United States is the right to vote and regardless of where you stand on a particular candidate or issue, exercising that right is key to making the country work. As my father always told me, “I don’t care who you vote for, but vote.” But figuring out where and how to register to vote can be tricky. That’s where Google comes in and helps simplify things. Now you can simply type in “Register to vote” in Google Search on your phone and all of the details on how to register for your state will be displayed.