Google Camera Updated!!

Google has recently updated its native Camera app with a couple of nifty new features. Also, the Camera app will be available on Google Play to all devices running Android KitKat 4.4 and above.

As we all know the Google Camera app comes with the very creative modes like the very much appreciated Photosphere and Panorama.

Up until now Photosphere used to capture 360 degree Panoramas at 8 megapixels, which was really great. Photosphere product manager Evan Rapoport recently announced on Google+ that through this update users will be able to capture 360 degree Panos at a whopping 50 megapixels!!

The already awesome Photosphere just got better.

The new update also brings a new feature, Lens Blur, which as the name suggests allows users to focus on a particular object while blurring out the background resulting in a nice creamy bokeh effect. One can also change the focus subject after taking the shot, just like Nokia Refocus and it works really well.

Apart from this, the View Finder has been improved to eliminate Dropped Pixels, which means what you see on the screen is what you get in the image. The Panorama mode has also been updated to offer more resolution and detail.

There are a couple of drawbacks though. For instance, the camera shoots only in 4:3 aspect ratio, the timer option is gone and so is the white balance settings. But going by Google’s reputation these options should be back soon.

As mentioned, the new Google Camera will be available on Google Play and is compatible with all phones and tablets running Android KitKat 4.4 or above. So head over to Google Play and start clicking!!

Google Camera
Google Camera
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free

Telegram, Minuum and Shush! – a few apps you have to try out

Telegram for Secure Messaging

telegram_app_screen-8

If you haven’t yet heard about Telegram, the alternate Instant Messaging client, you have to try it out. Telegram shot to glory when WhatsApp’s service went down last weekend after Facebook bought them. This outtage led the Telegram clocking up 5 million new users in a single day.

I don’t know what it is about Telegram, which caused this surge of users, considering there are quite a few Instant Messaging apps like Line, WeChat and more.

Most standard features of Telegram match that of WhatsApp. The additional feature on Telegram is the ability to start a secret chat with your friends, where the messages are encrypted from end to end, which means even servers through which the message passes can’t read it. There’s also an option to self-destruct messages after a set time period. This includes photos, or other attachments which are sent across.

If you are looking for a WhatsApp replacement, which is secure, try out Telegram. The official client is available for IOS and Android, with quite a few unofficial clients for Windows Phone, and desktops as well.

Android App Download

Telegram
Telegram
Developer: Telegram FZ-LLC
Price: Free

IOS App Download

‎Telegram Messenger
‎Telegram Messenger
Developer: Telegram FZ-LLC
Price: Free

For unofficial Telegram clients for other platforms, check this link.

Shush! , Don’t forget to turn your ringer back on.

How many times have you turned the ringer off on your android phone and hours later realized that you missed out on a ton of calls and messages because you forgot to turn it back on?

Shush! to the rescue! Download this tiny app called Shush from Google Play, and launch it the first time. Once you do this, Shush! is now active. Every time you from now, when ever you turn your ringer off, Shush! will pop up a window like this:

Screenshot_2014-02-27-10-48-52

You can tell it when to turn your ringer back on by just sliding your finger over the clock circle, in increments of 15 minutes. After that time elapses, Shush! automatically turns on the ringer on your phone.

Shush! Ringer Restorer
Shush! Ringer Restorer
Developer: Fizz Buzz LLC
Price: Free

Minuum – the tiny keyboard for Android

Do you need a keyboard which takes up the least amount of space on screen? The regular keyboards take up most of the screen, especially when you use the phone in the landscape mode. Minuum keyboard is a solution if you want to get over this problem. This keyboard replacement takes up less than half the space of the normal keyboard. They achieve this by jamming all the keys into a single line.

Minuum Keyboard

If you think, like I did, that this is going to be difficult to type, you’ll find that the auto correct capability of this keyboard really shines, so you can type at about the same speed as you’d do with a regular keyboard (after a little practise). They also have the option to switch to a regular keyboard layout, which is useful for those hard to type names, email addresses and password, all you need to to is to press the keyboard with two fingers and it switches between the full and tiny layouts. You can also quickly switch between alphabets and numbers in the tiny layout quickly by flicking your finger down on the keyboard.

Minuum Keyboard + Smart Emoji
Minuum Keyboard + Smart Emoji
Developer: Whirlscape
Price: $3.99

Nokia Refocus App now available on Windows Phone Store

A few weeks back we told you that Nokia had some camera tricks up their sleeves for Lumia users through their Refocus app. Well if your phone has been updated to the latest Lumia Amber update, you can head out to the Windows phone store and download the Nokia Refocus app on your phone and start taking pictures.

How the app works is by taking around 3-8 photos at different focus points when you click a snap, and then merges them into a magical snap which you can play with the different focus points later on.So make sure you have your subject close to you before taking a snap and keep your phone steady while the snap is being clicked for best results.

Once you’ve clicked your snap, you can share this with your friends by uploading the snaps and sharing the link. The photo is first uploaded to Skydrive and then to a page on refocus.nokia.com where even your friends can try out different focus points in your photo.

Apart from this feature, Nokia has also bundled a Colour Pop feature which allows you to selectively retain colors in certain areas of your photo and convert the rest to black and white for an artistic twist to the photo.

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The Nokia Refocus app is available to all Lumia phones which have a PureView camera. Here are the models for quick reference – Lumia 920, 925, 928, 1020 and 1520. So if you own one of these models, head out to the Windows Phones store and take the app for a spin.

Nokia Refocus – Focus Later – Coming Soon to a Lumia Phone Near You

How many times have you had taken snaps where your subject was out of focus? Well even the best of us have done that at some point or the other. Now how about having your phone take a picture which you can review later and then change the focus? Pictures speak louder than words, so try this out. Click on the wall on the left to focus there, or the street to focus on that.

Impressed?

This was taken using the Nokia Refocus app. Nokia Refocus essentially does some *magic* maths and creates a depth map on the scene you are trying to photograph. When you click the photo, the app then goes and takes multiple photos at varying levels of focus and saves a composite image which you can later open up and adjust the focus on. The app works well when you’re trying to capture a near by object along with objects further out. Awesome work from the Nokia team, who excel in mobile camera phone technology.

Can’t wait to get it?

According to the Nokia Connects team, the app should hit the Windows Phone store in the coming weeks. So keep an eye out on the Nokia Collections section of the Store.

The bad new? Not all Lumias get this.

Only the following phones are capable of running this app as of now:

  • Lumia 920
  • Lumia 925
  • Lumia 928
  • Lumia 1020
  • Lumia 1520

Check out more Nokia Refocus Sample Snaps

Smart IR Remote – Convert your Galaxy Note 3/smartphone into a Universal Remote for your TV, Music System and more

If you have the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 ( or any model with an IR Blaster) here’s a nice app which turns your phone into a universal remote control for your TV, or any home appliance which  can be controlled via an infrared based remote. Of course Samsung’s WatchOn app, which is bundled on the phone, provides IR remote feature.  One drawback with the WatchOn app was that it provides the basic remote control features of my TV (volume, channel, menu and navigation) but missed some of the advanced features which I couldn’t control. The Smart IR Remote app which I found on Google Play had much more appliances in their database and allowed most advanced remote settings for the devices as well. Apart from the standard features, this app had a few tricks up it’s sleeve which made it the killer app for me. More on this later in the post.

Setting up the Remotes

Universal remote - Smart IR Remote
Keep trying till you get it right

This was one of the tedious things in the app, which needs to be done once for any device. The setup required a trial and error phase to figure out your TV or appliance’s remote control codes in order to work properly.  The app eased the pain by having a nice guided way of setting up the remote, by allowing you choose the type of appliance, the model and then run through the remote codes, by trying to turn on the device. Once you’re able to turn on the device, the app then presented the full remote control, so you can see if the other functions on the remote work, if not, you can switch back to the previous mode to try out some other settings. Once you have the right one, you can save that and go ahead to try setting up the next device. I managed to fully setup my TV, Airtel HD Setup Box and my Blue Ray player, which I now control entirely using the phone, a universal remote!

Beyond Remotes

The other cool features of the Smart IR Remote App are the what makes me stick to this app:

Air Gestures

If you’ve got this app running and then leave the phone on your table, you can just wave your hand over the phone, to control your TV, wave it up and down to control the volume and left to right to change the channels. All this without even touching your phone.

Auto Mute

You can set up the app to auto mute your TV when you get a call. Nice feature to have when you’ve got your volume cranked up and get a call. You don’t have to fumble around with your remote to mute the TV.

Macros

Smart IR Remote also allows macro creations to automate tasks. For example, when I want to watch TV, I have to turn on my TV and then my DTH set-top box to get started. I can set up a button to do both these commands  by creating a macro. Macros make couch surfing even more lazy! Just perfect without having to fumble around two different remotes.

In Short

In all the Smart IR Remote app is a must have to do away with all those pesky remote lying around. The additional features which the app supports makes TV surfing even more a lazy task. The app supports even Air Conditioning units, Music Systems, DSLR camera and more. If your device isn’t listed there, just contact the developers of the app and they should be able to get help out.

Supported Phones and Tablets

  • All Samsung Phones with IR Blaster. Here are some which should work Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Mega, Galaxy S4 Mini
  • HTC One

Download Link

Smart IR Remote - AnyMote
Smart IR Remote - AnyMote
Developer: Color Tiger
Price: $6.99

Screenshots from the App

Samsung to Start Offering BBM services on their Galaxy Devices Soon

In what seems to have been ages back, Blackberry did announce that their BBM (Blackberry Messaging) services would come to Android devices. It wasn’t clear how they would be managing this yet. Now it looks like Blackberry is tying up with OEMs to bundle their BBM services for their devices.

Samsung is the first to announce that they’ll be offering the BBM app to users of their Galaxy Range of devices soon via the Google Play and Samsung App Store. According to Samsung’s Press Release, it looks like they’ll be rolling this out to their African customers first.

Apart from the fact that the BBM app is going to be free for Samsung customer, there’s no concrete dates on availability or if and when the rest of the world could get their hand on the BBM app. So soon BBM is going to go head to head in competition with other multi-platform messaging services like WhatsApp and the rest.

I’m not yet sure if this is a good strategy for Blackberry.  I know for a fact that a lot of people stick to Blackberry devices primarily for the BBM service, so would  unbundling BBM affect Blackberry’s sales? Let’s see where this leads.

via n4bb

Quip Wordprocessor for iPad, iPhone, Android and Desktop

Launched by a startup with ex-Facebook  and an ex-Google team members, Quip relooks at the age old word processor. The big name in Quip is  Bret Taylor who was the CTO of Facebook for a while. Word processing has been ingrained in everyone’s mind as being a task for desktops, and not mobiles. Quip wants to disprove that and mobile users do as much work as possible from their mobiles as well.

What I love about Quip is the simplicity of it. Most word processing software these days have complicated options to make a document look like it’s been edited and laid out for printing. It’s not too great with the medium of sharing is the web and mobile, since print’s on the decline.

Quip provides an easy interface to edit your document with minimal formatting, so you can export it out to once your work is complete. Of course, not everyone would agree with me on this. The simplicity could be a put-off for someone who lives in let’s say Microsoft Word or Open/Libre Office universe. For me it’s a distraction free editor which allows me to focus on the content, rather than the formatting and how it looks.

Wait that’s not all, whether you’re working on an article or writing up a shopping list you can also invite your friends or family to collaborate with you by sharing a folder of documents with them. They can edit the documents and you see the changes real-time on all their devices and have a conversion with them by messaging them. This is similar to the collaboration features which Google Docs provides.

Quip comes with a web version on quip.com and has their official apps for the iPad and iPhone in the iTunes Market. Android users can try out the alpha version of the app from Google Play. The alpha version on Android doesn’t have the ability to edit the docs yet, but it should come in a future update.

Quip’s service is currently free to use for consumers and small companies which let you collaborate with up to 5 users. They offer paid services to bigger companies at $12 per month for each user. Scroll down for the Download links for your device, and if you’re on your desktop point your browser to quip.com to get started online as well. Once you’ve used it, let us know your thoughts on Quip by leaving us a comment below.

Download Links

‎Quip
‎Quip
Developer: Quip
Price: Free
Quip: Docs, Chat, Spreadsheets
Quip: Docs, Chat, Spreadsheets
Thanks to @justjots for the tip

Mobile apps for Lawyers (iPhone and iPad apps)

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Lawyers are the kind of professionals that are always low on time and high on demand. They need to sort out a lot their work on the go, keeping deadlines, creating documents and researching cases simultaneously. Meanwhile, they also need to keep a track of the standard laws and the amendments being made in them from time to time. Arranging client details in order and managing research material becomes quite a messy work. In regards with these issues, lawyers can resort to the use of various smartphone applications available in the market these days. Almost all of us now use smartphones, so this list here of all the top mobile applications for lawyers can be pretty useful.

1. Black’s Law Dictionary

Lawyers have to use a lot of books and reference materials constantly to look up a lot of articles, laws and legal issues. Carrying all this stuff everywhere is of course impossible, but it is darned much essential for every lawyer looking to make a mark. This is where the Black’s Law Dictionary mobile application comes in extremely handy. With technologies aid, lawyers can now have this supremely exhaustive and comprehensive piece of Thomson Reuters reference guide with them at all times.

2. Evernote

Evernote is undoubtedly the best mobile application out there for effective and efficient note taking without much fuss or delay. For people who want to organize, store and sync their data on the mobile (especially Lawyers who need their legal documents and research well organized), this application is a boon. Even though, it requires you to pay a monthly charge for the subscription for its full advantage, it is undeniably well worth it.

‎Evernote
‎Evernote
Developer: Evernote
Price: Free+

3. Dropbox

Dropbox is easily one of the “must-have” applications on your mobile – for the sole reason that you can access any of your files on the cloud from anywhere, on your mobile. Any important files, documents or research papers can be uploaded on the Dropbox cloud and then accessed from anywhere on your mobile. This reduces the risk of losing the files from your database as well as helps you share these files and documents with anyone using Dropbox extremely easily.

‎Dropbox
‎Dropbox
Developer: Dropbox, Inc.
Price: Free+

4. LawRD

This is the most essential mobile application for lawyers as well as law firms in regards with the Financial Management goes in the legal terms. LawRD essentially helps you estimate and measure the Return on Investment with immense proficiency. It provides you with a timesheet to keep records of your expenses, has detailed billing sheets to help you bill your clients on time and lets you know the profitability and productivity of a case instantly. A definite must.

5. iJuror

Jury is considered to be an extremely vital cog in the judicial system today, and iJuror is one of those rare applications which lets you observe and choose the perfect jury members. It gives you effective methods of monitoring potential jurors while enabling you to take due notes at the same time. It has features to make sharing your thoughts and opinions with other lawyers too. It does come with a cost of $19.99, but then it’s a darned good investment to make.

iJuror
iJuror
Developer: Scott Falbo
Price: 16,99 €+

6. Fastcase

When it won the American Association of Law Libraries New Product of the Year Award, you knew that Fastcase was undoubtedly the mobile application everybody had praised and revered. Also, if you have used the desktop version of this wonderful application, getting it on mobile would only make better sense. It is essentially a web-based legal research application that lets you sort and customize the search results according to your needs and necessities. This one should be in every list of top mobile apps for lawyers.

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Image credit: lucadp / 123RF Stock Photo

Photosynth finally arrives for Windows Phone 8 users. Hurray!

Finally my favorite Panorama app arrives for Windows Phone 8. I’m a long time Photosynth user, way back when Windows Phone 7 didn’t even exist. In fact most non-iDevice users may not know that Photosynth from Microsoft was first released for the iPhone way before Windows Phone was even released. My complaint last year was that Microsoft was dragging their feet while getting Photosynth for Windows Phone 7 and this year that Photosynth was notably missing from the Windows Phone 8 yet again!

Finally Microsoft has announced that Photosynth is now officially available for WP8 users through the Windows Phone Store. For those of you who haven’t yet tried it or know about the app are advised to first go download it!

Capturing a scene using Photosynth

 The app allows you to create immersive panorama spheres which you can later explore by scrolling both sides and even up and down. It’s almost like being there. The best part is that it’s quite easy to capture the photo. All you need to do is to keep moving your camera around and up and down to capture the entire scene, while the app guides you and auto clicks the scene. Once you’ve captured the entire site, the app stitches up the entire scene allows you to preview it and save it to your phone. You can then share it from there with your friends through Facebook, Twitter and Email. To give you an idea of how the final image comes, here’s one I captured quite a while back with Photosynth.

Do keep in mind that Photosynth like most panorama captures work well when you’re not trying to capture very near by objects, but from a distance.

The Photosynth blog also mentions that the new features for Windows Phone 8 are:

  • Camera lens integration – Quickly capture and view panoramas by launching Photosynth directly from the built-in camera app
  • View shared panoramas – View panoramas shared with you via email, Facebook, or Twitter directly on your mobile device
  • More camera controls – Adjust for various lighting conditions by using new exposure and white balance locking options

Download Link

 

 

via: Photosynth Blog

Backup your Android Device to the Cloud using G Cloud Backup

When we talk about backing up our Android devices, the Android power users go in for tools like Nandroid, Titanium Backup and the likes. They are pretty good as backup tools as well, but regular users usually get intimidated by these tools. If you are looking for an easy way to backup your device here’s an app just for you.

G Cloud backup is effortless and an automatic way to backup all your Android’s data to the cloud. No rooting or special requirements are needed for this app to do it’s magic.  G Cloud  backups  your

  • Call logs
  • Contacts
  • Messages
  • Pictures
  • Videos
  • Music
  • Documents
  • Apps settings
  • Browser bookmarks and history

All you need to do is to install G Cloud on your phone and let it do the rest in the background. To use G Cloud you’ll need to create an account to get started. The free account gives you 1 GB of cloud backup storage for you to use. You can also opt for  10GB of storage for  $0.99/month.

Since I usually backup my pictures to Dropbox, I went ahead and set G Cloud Backup to backup everything except docs, videos and pictures on my free account. 1GB is more than enough for all these settings. Once setup, the app keeps backing up your data to the cloud on a regular basis. You can change the backup time and other app options from the settings menu. to conserve your mobile data usage, you can also setup the app to backup data only when you connected to WiFi, make sure this setting is on if you plan to backup your images and videos as well.

The best part of the app is when you have to  switch your phones (if you loose it or get a new one). All you need to do is to install G Cloud on your new phone and login,the app takes care of downloading all your data on the new phone and the new phone is setup and ready for use. Since call logs and SMS messages also are restored, the new phone continues where you left off on the older one. No sweat and missing messages or contacts this way.

G Cloud Backup is free to download on Google Play.

G Cloud Backup
G Cloud Backup
Developer: Genie9 LTD
Price: Free+