App Updated With Pull-Down Refresh Support App For Android

An updated version of the site app for Android is now rolling out to the Google Play Store.  The update, version 10.05 for those keeping score at home, brings mostly behind-the-scene changes to improve the overall feel and function of the app.

One new feature in this build is the ability to pull down on your device’s screen to refresh the news feed.  This was something that has been needed for a while and now you don’t have to exit the app or wait for the app to refresh itself using background services.  In order to work with Oreo better, this feature needed to be added.

The overall look of the app has been tweaked with a new color scheme and font changes that should make it more readable on smaller devices.

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Visa Checkout Going Live in Android Pay

Android Pay

It has literally been a year since it was announced but Visa Checkout integration into Android Pay is finally starting to roll out to users.  Back in October 2016, Google and Visa announced that Visa Checkout and Masterpass would be coming to the tap-to-pay app for purchases online.  At the time, it was indicated that the integration would happen in early 2017 but it has taken until October of this year to happen.

Better late than never I suppose.

With the integration, Android Pay users can pay on hundreds of thousands of new sites where Visa Checkout or Masterpass are accepted using their preferred device authentication method – like fingerprint recognition. No longer will users have to remember multiple usernames and passwords in order to checkout, saving them time and hassle.

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Google Text-to-Speech Engine Adds Filipino and Greek

Google Text-to-Speech for Android

Google Text-to-speech, the underlying engine for converting on screen text to speech has been updated.  Version 3.13.3 is now rolling out and with it comes support for Filipino and Greek languages.

Chances are that the majority of readers have never leveraged the TTS engine but it is a critical application for those with visual impairments who need the text on their device display’s read aloud to them.  Setting up of the engine is done in Settings>Accessibility and powers Google’s TalkBack feature built into Android.

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Google Play Books Adds Stylus Support for Highlighting

Google Play Books Text Highlighting

Google Play Books, the eReader app from Google, has a new update rolling out today.  The updated version, build 3.15.5 for those keeping score at home, is mostly a maintenance update but does bring stylus support to the app.  Once update, and if you have a device with a stylus, you can now use it to highlight text and select text as you read.

Support for styli is something that shouldn’t entirely be unexpected.  Devices like the Note8 and others have had stylus input for a while new Chromebooks like the Samsung Chromebook Pro, which can run Android apps, also comes with a pen.  Later this month, the new Pixelbook from Google will hit shelves and it has an optional PixelPen for inputs.  It’s only natural for apps to start picking up this input method as the line between Chrome OS and Android continues to blur.

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OneNote for Android Update Brings Password Setting Support

Fingerprint Authentication in OneNote

Microsoft OneNote for Android has a new update rolling out that finally brings support for setting passwords on note sections.  The updated build is version 16.0.8625.2040 for those keeping score at home and with it comes the ability to set a password on a section of notes and to open that section using your phone’s fingerprint scanner (or password if you phone doesn’t have one).

Password protection of sections has been in OneNote for a while and while you could open up a section on your Android device, you could not set the password in the app itself.  You had to use the OneNote desktop app in order to set passwords.  No more.  Now you can long press a note section in the app on your device and you will see a new Protect Section option on the menu.  Tap it, set the password for the section and you are good-to-go.

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SwiftKey Update Brings Microsoft Account Support

SwiftKey for Android

The popular keyboard app SwiftKey has a new update rolling out in the Play Store today.  The update, version for those keeping score at home, is primarily a performance and bug fix release but there are a couple of new features of note too.

First, the app now supports signing in and synchronizing of your learned words and typing patterns with your Microsoft account.  Support for Google and email sign-ins have been support for some time now but not for those who prefer to use their Microsoft account.  Why is this a big deal?  Because Microsoft owns SwiftKey.  They bought the company in February 2016 so it seems odd that it took this long to bring support for their own accounts to their own apps.

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Arrow Launcher Re-Launches as Microsoft Launcher

Microsoft Launcher

After spending the past couple of weeks in beta, the rebranded Microsoft Launcher is now available for download in the Play Store.  This is what was formerly known as Arrow Launcher and this update, version 4.1 for those keeping score at home, brings a lot of polish to the already impressive launcher.

From a features perspective, you aren’t going to find a lot of new things in this update.  Outside of the new “Continue on PC” feature, which requires the upcoming Fall Creators Update on Windows 10, you won’t find a lot of new stuff.  Instead, there are a lot of refinements to the launcher.  For example, the Utility page now has a top banner with a greeting, the weather and the number of events you have on your calendar for the day.  Also, the Utility page has more clearly defined cards and they can now be themed both in colors as well as if you want the cards Light, Dark or Transparent.

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