Category: App Update

Microsoft Office 365 Apps for Android Updated With New Features

Microsoft has pushed an update out to the Android version of Excel, Word and PowerPoint to the Play Store.  The updated Office 365 apps brings new features to each app that continue the company’s drive to have feature parity between the desktop and the mobile screen.  For Excel, the big new feature is the ability to open a file that contains form controls.  Form controls, as the name suggests, are when you have a form embedded into a spreadsheet.  This previously could only be opened on the desktop.

For PowerPoint, a likely more useful addition than the form controls in Excel for most of us.  Now in PowerPoint on Android you can send a single slide to someone.  Previously you had to send the entire presentation and couldn’t send an individual slide.  Again, this is something you could do on the desktop and online version of PowerPoint but now can do it on your phone or tablet.

Project Fi App Update Gives Management on Group Plans

The Project Fi app for Android and Fi members has an update rolling out that allows some management features of Group Plans.  Referred to as the “M” update, users who upgrade and have group plans enabled will be able to manage some elements of that plan including being able to limit a users data allocation.  However, in order to create a group plan, add or delete a member of the plan, you will still need to go through the Fi website.

Group Plans have been in Fi for a few months now and had been one of the most requested features of the MVNO service from Google.  Like other carriers, group plans allow you to share a pool of data with up to 5 members.  It is great for families or even small businesses.

Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for Android See Minor Updates

Users of Google Docs, Sheets and Slides on Android will find minor updates rolling out for each of the productivity apps.  For the most part, these updates are bug fixes and performance improvements but in the case of Google Docs and Google Slides, there are new features in each.  For Docs, you now have the ability to add page numbers to a document from the app.  You have been able to do this in Docs on the web for a long time but it has finally made its way to the Android app for the sake of feature parity.

For Google Slides, the ability to import and export OpenDocument formatted files (.odp) has been added to the presentation app.

Outlook for Android Update Brings Mentions to Emails

Microsoft has pushed a new update out to Outlook for Android users.  The update should be hitting users in the next few days and when it does, you will find a new Mentions features.  The new feature allows you to mention people or call attention to things in your email by using the @ sign in your email.  When you use @ in your email, you will get a pop-up of your frequently used contacts or you can dive into your contacts list (personal or corporate if on Office 365).  This makes it just a couple of taps away from adding a person to an email you are sending.

Microsoft Arrow Launcher Gains Customizable Icons in Latest Update

Microsoft has once again pushed out another big update to their Android launcher app, Arrow Launcher.  The update is in the Play Store now and has a number of improvements and new features.  In fact, there are three big features that users of the launcher will likely enjoy immediately.  First is the ability to customize the icon and name of individual apps.  All you have to do is long press the icon and it will pop-up a menu that gives you these options.

Next is an all new backup and restore feature.  This gives you the option to save your app layout and settings and restore them if you need to reinstall the launcher.  This is a huge win as you no longer have to recreate your home screen layout if you delete and reinstall the app.  This is something many other launchers do so it is great to see Microsoft bring the feature to Arrow Launcher too.

Flickr Update Abandons Yahoo Account Requirement

Yahoo has rolled out an update to Flickr for Android that over all, isn’t that exciting.  It is mostly a bug fix release and a new notable feature of seeing photos from your groups within your feed on the home page.  The bigger news in this update however is there is no longer a requirement to sign up with a Yahoo account.

It goes without saying that Yahoo is an unholy mess.  The company, once one of the pillars of the online world, is a shadow of itself and Verizon looks to be picking the carcass for valuable bits.  If and when that happens, Yahoo will have a name change and will cease to exist.  But one that that will stick around it seems is Flickr.  The photo storage & sharing company was acquired by Yahoo back in 2005 and one of the early changes they made to the app was the requirement for a Yahoo account.  At the time, it angered a lot of pre-Yahoo users but 11 years later, the requirement has been abandoned.

Book Your Ride Share Service Right Within Google Maps

Google Maps has a big update rolling out that brings a nicely integrated car sharing booking element to it.  The ability to see ride share services like Uber and Lyft has been in Maps for a while now but if you wanted to actually book an Uber, you had to go to the Uber app to do it.  No more.  Now you can link your Uber account to Google Maps and can book your ride right from within the app.  Further, you can see the location of your driver within the app and you don’t even have to have the Uber app installed on your phone for all this to work.

What you do need however is the latest build of Google Maps.  That is version 9.43.2 for those keeping score at home and it is currently rolling out to the Play Store.

Google Gboard for Android Gets A Much Needed Performance Update

Google Gboard for Android has just been updated with some significant performance improvements.  The update is still in the 6.0 train so if you have the app installed, the OTA should be coming to you over the course of the next few days.  Almost immediately you will feel the difference.  First, overall Gboard is much faster and more responsive to typing.  There isn’t the millisecond delays between you pressing a virtual key and it registering.  But perhaps a bigger improvement is around Glide Typing.  In this update I find there is virtually no lag or false positives of me picking up my finger when I don’t.  It is remarkably better in this release and if you use Glide Typing, you will want this update ASAP.

Microsoft’s Next Lock Screen Update Brings Battery Life Improvements

Microsoft has pushed an update out to their Android lock screen app, Next Lock Screen.  The new 3.11 version brings much improved battery performance so all users of the app are encouraged to upgrade.  If you aren’t familiar with the app, it is designed to give you more information on your lock screen than the standard lock screen found on Android devices.  Sure it can give you things like notifications and weather, but it gives so much more.  You can for example text friends who have texted you right from the lock screen or have your favorite apps one-tap away.  It will also allow you to do searches via Bing right from the lock screen.  The idea is to give you quick information or access to key apps without having to go through the unlocking process.

Microsoft Teams Update Brings Voice Call Capabilities

Microsoft has rolled out a sizable update to their intracompany, Slack competitor, Microsoft Teams.  The update, version 1416 for those keeping score at home, brings a lot of improvements to the collaboration app, the most notable of which is the ability to have voice conversations through the app.  Now if you are collaborating with a colleague, you can elevate that chat to a voice conversation with a push of a button.  No longer do you have to leave the app for that voice interaction to happen, making this sweet and simple.  All indications are that this new feature is leveraging the existing Skype for Business infrastructure on the backend.

Another nice update to the app is the ability to delete messages.  Now you can delete a message within 24 hours of it being sent.

Add Money To Your PayPal Account at 7-Eleven

A small update to the PayPal app is rolling out in the Google Play Store that brings the ability to add funds to your account at your local 7-Eleven.  The update builds on a feature that was introduced late last year which saw the same feature come to local CVS and Rite Aid stores.  How it works is pretty straight forward.  Take your phone and the money you want to add to your account to a participating 7-Eleven.  Go into the app and go to Manage Balance>Add Money>Add cash at a store.  Follow the prompts and you will get a barcode that you need to show to the cashier.  Once they scan that barcode and collect your money, the funds will appear in your PayPal account in about 15 minutes.  Quick, simple and easy.

As you would guess, there is a convenience charge to do this type of transaction which is $3.95.  Also keep in mind that not every 7-Eleven (or CVS or Rite Aid for that matter) is setup to take funds like this.  You will need to check with your local store.

Microsoft Updates Arrow Launcher with Performance Improvements

Microsoft has pushed an update out for their Android phone launcher, Arrow Launcher.  The update to the launcher doesn’t bring a lot of new features but focuses on performance improvements and bug fixes.  In my How To Microsoft your Android Phone article, I pointed out that Arrow Launcher is a great launcher alternative for those of you who are heavy into the Microsoft ecosystem.  It allows easy access to recent files and contacts, your apps and photos.  Even if you aren’t a heavy Microsoft user, check it out.  It’s pretty good and continues to improve.

This updated version of Arrow Launcher, version 2.9.1 for those keeping score, brings a couple of changes.  First, Bing wallpaper is now an icon on your home page.  You can tap that icon to change your wallpaper instead of having to dive into settings on your phone.