AT&T customers here in the US have a new update to the myAT&T for Android app that brings several new features to them. The update, version 4.5 for those keeping score at home, brings the ability for account holders to create custom notifications within the app when you are approaching your data limit each month. It can be configured for individual plans as well as family plans and makes you full aware of when you are approaching your monthly allowance. It’s a great way to stay on top of your bill before it is too late.
Google has a somewhat unknown app named Google Opinion Rewards which rewards you with Google Play Store funds when you respond to opinion polls on your phone or tablet. Not every opinion poll in the app gives you Play Store funds but most do and most of the polls are quick and easy to fill out. With the latest update to the app, version 20150331 for those keeping score at home, now Android users in Brazil and Mexico can take part in these opinion polls and gain rewards.
Microsoft’s continual update of their apps for Android continues and the big news today is concerning OneDrive. The cloud-based storage app OneDrive for Android has been updated to version 3.2 for those keeping score at home and now has the ability to cast your photos and files to your television via Chromecast. It is a sign that Microsoft’s commitment to Android remains strong but also another app in the ever-growing Play Store that supports Chromecast.
I’ll start this post with both a confession and admission for the sake of full disclosure. I’m a big fan of OnePlus. I have been carrying the OnePlus One now as my primary phone for over a month and it is without question one of the best smartphones I have ever used or reviewed in my 15 years of writing such pieces. The design works. The OS works. The camera is awesome. It is overall just a great device. So I write this from a slight fanboy perspective but I also write it from a business professional. My day job has me continually reviewing business plans, product roadmaps and talking to companies who what to have an alliance with mine. It’s a full time job, trust me.
So it is with this dual vision that I write this post about the critical need by OnePlus of having their follow up device, the OnePlus 2, be a success. The Chinese company can’t simply have a “similar success” nor can they have some of the distractions they had with the release of the OnePlus One – namely the much maligned invitation system. No, to be considered a top player in the Android phone space, the OnePlus 2 has to be a critical and public success with a capital BIG. It’s easier said that done and clearly the OnePlus team is very much focused on making sure their second release is does not suffer from a Sophomore Jinx.
There are three reasons in my view why the OnePlus 2 has to be a big winner for the company: Proving the success of the OnePlus One was not a “one-hit wonder”, long term financial viability of the company and third, to be considered a major and serious player in an already crowded Android market. Can they pull it off? If the OnePlus One is any indicator then the answer is a resounding yes. But history does not always repeat – in fact, rarely does it.
BLU is running another sale today over at the Amazon store front and the BLU Studio 6.0 HD LTE is one of the highlights. Today you can pick up the 6″ Android phablet with its 13MP camera, 16GB of storage and 2GB of RAM for only $206.84. That’s a savings of just over 26% off the regular price of $279. This is the full blown LTE version too which will work here in the United States on T-Mobile and while it will work with AT&T, you will likely only get HSDPA+. It’s a great price for a device that is loaded with the specifications of this phone and certainly one to consider if you are looking for a big screen, budget minded phone.
The BLU Studio 6.0 LTE will come with KitKat installed but the Lollipop update for this device has already been released by BLU so you can get the latest-and-greatest Android pretty much out of the box.
BLU Studio 6.0 HD LTE on Amazon – $206.84
If however you are looking for something a little less on the screen size, BLU has several other of their phones on sale today too.
For those who have the AT&T version of the Nexus 6, it’s a good Wednesday morning for you. The Lollipop 5.1.1 update is starting to roll out from the US carrier, following in the footsteps of Sprint and US Cellular who have already released the update (see my article on why I think Android Lollipop updates are broken and this delay is a good example). The update is coming via an over-the-air (OTA) update and is 81MB in size according to the AT&T site. Interestingly, the site also points out that the OTA update will slowly ramp up over the course of the week. That means if you check for an update on your Nexus 6 and don’t see it, try again later as it may just not be to you yet.
The collage making app Layout from Instagram has been updated today, bringing with it the ability to access your photos from your Google+ or Dropbox account. The app is a relatively new photography app that allows you to put together a photo collage and share it on Instagram. The latest version, build 1.1.1 for those keeping score at home, leverages your Instagram account so there is no separate sign up required. The app is also free.
Users of Ilium Software’s eWallet for Android have a new and important update to download today from the Google Play Store. The app has been updated to verson 8.0.5 for those keeping score at home and this build has a lot of bug fixes and improvements to the electronic wallet app, especially those impacted by a crashing issue or opening a wallet from email. I have been a user of eWallet for about a thousand years now – all the way back to my PocketPC days back in (dating myself here) 1999. While there are plenty of other wallet solutions out there, I’ve always found eWallet to be a solid performer regardless of platform. If you haven’t check out the app, here are some of the highlights:
- 256-bit military-grade AES encryption
- Sync your data seamlessly over the cloud (Dropbox) or via Wi-Fi with eWallet’s PC version; or sync via Wi-Fi with eWallet’s Mac version (PC and Mac versions purchased separately)
- Random password generator to keep your login details safe and secure
- Store bank account, insurance and personal details. Keep all your info close at hand, and secure
- Auto-locking feature
- Create and sync multiple wallets between computers and devices
- Customize your wallets with great-looking cards, backgrounds and categories
- AutoPass automatic password entering through built-in browser control
If you are a user of Evernote for Android, there is a new and significant update for you to get today. This afternoon version 7.0.5 for those keeping score at home, dropped into the Google Play Store with a fairly significant list of updates to it. The two biggest updates to this build come in the form of a user adjustable passcode timeout setting and visual enhancements to be more in line with the material design of Lollipop. The update is free of course and you can try Evernote Premium for 30 days by clicking this link which will give you added benefits such as offline notebooks, presenting of notes, allows others to edit your notes and to PIN lock your Evernote app. Evernote Premium can be purchased via an In-App purchase and is $4.99 per month or $44.99 per year.
Microsoft has released an update to the Office for Android apps today and it is an utter mystery what is addressed in the update. All three of the Office apps – Excel, PowerPoint and Word – have received an update and they are available now for those who have Android Tablets and if you are in the Office for Android Phone preview, you will see them available on your phone. The version of the builds is 16.0.4201.1004 for those keeping score at home. While mysterious “bug fix and performance improvement” updates are common in the Google Play Store, updates with literally no release notes are not as common (but not unheard of). What Microsoft addressed in these updates is only known to them at this point but I think it is safe to assume that they are aimed at the phone builds.