As someone who has gone through his fair share of Android phones and tablets over the years, I’ve also installed and reviewed countless apps and games. As such, there some titles out there that I simply must have on my Android – and as soon as possible. We like to term these as “Day One Apps” because, well, we install them on day one.
What follows are the day one apps that I look for almost as soon as I get connected to Wi-Fi. Be sure to check out Volume 1 and Volume 2 to see what my fellow writers are loading on their respective devices.
The first thing I do on any smartphone or tablet is install Google Keyboard. In some cases this comes preloaded with the phone, however many manufacturers choose to go their own route with a third party keyboard. To me, there is nothing easier to learn or set up. It’s easy, intuitive, and I like some of the customization settings. Yes, I know that there are more feature-rich keyboards out there, and some will save me more keystrokes over time, however I love the universal feel that this Google client provides. I don’t even want to mess with email, text, or installing other apps until I’ve had this one in place.
Internet Movie Database (IMdb)
I am a big movie fan so I am always quick to install the IMDB application. It is one of the more polished looking Android apps you’ll find and is always among the first to adopt Google’s latest design principles. I love looking at trivia, movie trailers, and just tripping down the rabbit hole. I like the app so much that I prefer this experience over the web version now and I’m often found skimming this app when watching older films. It’s also the first one I break out when I leave the theater so I can check out trivia.
Movies by Flixster
Staying with the theme of films, I install Flixster right away so that I can see what is showing at the local box office. Whether you’re traveling or staying close to home, the app does a great job of showing what is available at what time. Of course this one provides phone numbers, addresses of theaters, but it also hands off to turn-by-turn navigation. Although the color scheme is getting a little dated in my opinion, it is a simple to use application and ties into your Facebook or Google profiles for quick login.
Nova Launcher Prime
Nova Launcher Prime ensures that my smartphone looks exactly the way I wanted to. It is not necessarily that I have a problem with stock Android or some of the custom UIs out there, it’s more that I love to hand select every little facet. The experience has gotten incrementally better over time and new features are introduced on a semi-regular basis. If you are looking to set up your phone with gestures, custom icons, or want to have your new phone mirror the exact user interface as your last device, this is the first one you should consider. Yes, there’s a free version, but do yourself a favor and spring for the Prime version as it unlocks all sorts of wonderful things for the money.
BaconReader for Reddit
I am a reddit junkie so I install Baconreader right away; Reddit is the way that I pick up most of my headlines and participate in discussion. Moreover, it’s also a great way for me to unwind and waste time with various subreddits and irreverent, fun stuff. Baconreader recently picked up a new design that implements Google’s latest guidelines and looks fantastic. I would like to see more themes, however, I am content with the experience. I’ve dabbled another reddit applications, but always come home to this one.
ESPN is a must-have application for me because I follow a variety of sports and have loyalties to teams in multiple leagues. I love being able to pop in and check at-a-glance as to how my teams are doing. I appreciate that I can toggle notifications for alerts and I am sure to get scores as they happen. This one has gotten more refined overtime and really uses some of Googles Material Design cues. In addition to scores, you can pull up news as it happens in just about any league; the “Now” column brings up a steady stream of tweets and updates from a whole host of sources. Plus, it’s always nice to hop in and watch a quick replay of your team ripping off a 75 yard touchdown run. Things get even better with the counterpart app, WatchESPN.
Although I do have quite a few photo editing tools, Snapseed is the one that I currently love the most. I’ve installed this on day one for the last year or two and simply love the editing tools. As cameras get better with time, the pictures look even cooler when you run them through quick clean up, filters, minor and major tweaks, or add a border. I also love that this one is easy to work with and it doesn’t hurt that it is owned by Google.
Managing social media for myself personally as well as the AndroidGuys brand, I need a tool that gives me flexibility and a robust set of options. To me, HootSuite, is one that does the best job of this. Not only can you add multiple streams, for social media accounts, but it looks great on a tablet. If you stay active on social media, then you will want to consider this one.
I don’t get to spend as much time reading books as I would like to, so I take every advantage of listening to audiobooks. Audible is the first name in audiobooks, and, conveniently, it’s tied directly to Amazon. I love that I can log in on any device and resume where I left off. Depending on the book, I will also adjust the playback speed so that I can get through it quicker. This varies, of course, from book to book and reader to reader, but it’s a great way to take him books while riding a bike, mowing the grass, or on longer car rides. Speaking of which, Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks.
I love Timely particularly because of the cloud sync. I have a number of alarms that go off throughout the day and week to keep me on task, and the cloud synchronization here makes sure that I don’t miss a beat. Indeed, you can set alarms on any of your devices and make it so that the alarms you set on your first phone carry over to your latest phone. You can toggle this stuff on and off at a per-device level and it super easy easy to manage. I don’t spend much time inside of the application, but it is among the prettiest clocks, stopwatch, timer, countdown apps you’ll find.
I count myself among the 400 million active Instagram users so of course I will use their mobile app. Although the app was a little stale for a while, I have come to appreciate the new filters that have been at it over time. And, thanks to the video feature, it easy to share longer moments, too. The mobile application, to me, works better than the desktop version. While we’re on the topic, be sure to follow AndroidGuys on Instagram.
Sending and receiving money is something I deal with on a weekly, if not daily, basis. The first name in this space, for most people, is PayPal. The mobile app has gotten exponentially better in the last year or so and I love the ability to add to balances at various locations. The mobile client is a no frills experience, but when dealing with mobile payments, it doesn’t have to be gorgeous or feature-rich. I find the app to be intuitive and pleasing to the eye.
We have a Sonos music set up in our house so I am always quick to install this app. Whether I am listening to music in one room, or grouping music across the household, I I’m a big fan of this app. Content providers and developers are always adding new features and services to the client. I will admit that a few years ago this was an ugly app and not something I enjoyed dealing with. But, the stuff we have today not only looks great, but it is easy to use.
Whereas most devices come pre-installed with a weather client or ties to a weather service, I love WeatherBug so much that I install it on day one. I don’t spend too much time interfacing directly with the app itself, however when I do, this one is sharp, customizable, and as accurate as anything else. I know that there are other apps out there that provide more detailed weather or forecasts, but I think WeatherBug does a great job of putting together a hassle free and easy to use weather app.
I install a number of restaurant and food-related applications on my Android phone on day one. Among the first loaded up is the Dunkin Donuts application. I live dangerously close to a Dunkin’ Donuts location so I am often found at the drive thru.
Not only can you use the app to pay for your food, but you can also keep an eye on your rewards, and manage your gift cards. If you are the type of person who likes to be alerted to new promotions, then you may enjoy this one as well. Just about once a day or so I will get an alert on my phone for some limited-time deal or savings that can be had.
Although it may be viewed as someone of a competitor to the aforementioned title, I love the Starbucks app. Again, managing my account and adding to my balance is easy and can be done directly from the application. A recent update also makes it possible for me to order my drink or food ahead of time and pay for it. The app, of course also provides location based help and can direct you to the nearest store. As someone known to rush out the door without his wallet, it’s nice to know my phone will pay for my drink.
If you ask my wife, she’ll tell you that I eat Taco Bell way more than I should. OK, maybe I do. I love the Taco Bell application as it is one of the most gorgeous food apps you’ll find, especially for a fast food chain. You can view the menu, place orders, and even pre pay for your food to be picked up. I like that I can customize my order with little add-ons or make adjustments and not feel awkward standing at the cash register with these changes. This one looks way better than it needs to for the money.
Our team uses Slack for internal communication and collaboration. We’ve been employing its services for roughly a year now and I really enjoy the mobile counterpart. If you’ve seen the desktop version, you’ll find this looks exactly the way you would expect it would. Do you have a group or are you part of a team that needs to work together on a regular basis? This is one you will definitely want to check out. You can share directly to this app from your Android phone in just about any scenario. Want to upload an image? Easy. Want to share a web link with a specific set of users? Presto. I don’t know how these guys monetize, and I won’t question it, but we really love Slack and the way it helps our organization.
I have toyed with a number of task applications and to-do list clients, however I am really in love with Todoist. It looks very modern, is full of features, and delivers what you would want from a big name developer. The fact that it synchronizes across clients and has real-time updates and notifications is vital to me and my team. It doesn’t take long to learn how to use this one and tap into its potential. Indeed, it is quite the robust app. It is a breeze to add a task, set a date and/or reminder, assign it to somebody and, and leave comments. We use it internally here, however I’ve come to love having it for personal uses too.
A mainstay on my phone for the past few years, Doggcatcher is my favorite podcast client. For an app designed for listening you could be forgiven if your app wasn’t quite as polished or refined. Having said that, I like the way this one looks today, and it feels very fresh and modern. It wasn’t the most beautiful podcast app a few iterations back but it’s got Material Design all over it today. I don’t know what will happen Google Play Music begins curating podcasts, however I am not ready to give up on this one yet. Adding, discovering, and sharing podcast is very easy with this client.
The post Day One Apps: The first apps we install on every new Android (Volume 3) appeared first on AndroidGuys.
If you’re one of the few still using a third-party app to browse Instagram feeds, you’ll need to make other arrangements soon. The photo-sharing app is killing support of the feed API that allows outside apps and websites to pull in your feed as part of a larger effort to clean up its platform. With updates to its Platform Policy, Instagram will only let apps that help users share their photos access your collection of snapshots. For example, software that allows to your print your snapshots or use your Instagram photos as a profile picture will still be supported. Instagram will continue to lend a hand to advertisers and allow images and videos to be used on the web via embeds.
Following the recent discovery that malicious app InstaAgent was stealing Instagram passwords from users, Instagram has instituted much stricter rules for accessing its API, effectively killing off a large number of apps that read Instagram feeds.
In a notice posted today on its developer site, Instagram explains it will no longer permit apps that access the Instagram feed API, as that API is being shut down. In the future, third-party Instagram apps will have much more limited capabilities.
We’ve updated our Platform Policy to explicitly list the use cases we will support moving forward. These include apps and services that:
Help individuals share their own content with 3rd party apps, such as apps that let you print your photos and import an Instagram photo as a profile picture.
Help brands and advertisers understand and manage their audience, develop their content strategy, and get digital rights to media. Established apps in this space may apply for our newly announced Instagram Partner Program.
Help broadcasters and publishers discover content, get digital rights to media, and share media using web embeds.
Starting today, Instagram is instituting a new review process and preventing new apps from using its APIs until it starts conducting reviews on December 3. Existing apps have until June 1, 2016 to comply with Instagram’s new platform rules, and the users/self/feed and media/popular API endpoints will be available until the end of the review period. Instagram is also launching a new Sandbox Mode to allow developers to privately build and test apps using Instagram’s APIs.
Instagram’s new policy will put an end to dozens of questionable third-party Instagram apps that promised users new followers and the ability to track follows and unfollows. Apps are no longer able to use “like,” “share,” “comment,” or “follower” exchange programs nor can they use follower information for “anything other than analytics” without Instagram’s permission.
Unfortunately, as no apps will be able to access the full Instagram feed, it will also have an impact on legitimate Instagram clients for the iPad and the Mac, where Instagram is not natively available. As TechCrunch points out, this will affect apps like Retro, Flow, Padgram, Webstagram, Instagreat, and more.
With today’s changes, Instagram says it plans to institute a “more sustainable environment built around authentic experiences on the platform” and give users more control over their content.
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Just because an app has passed iTunes’ verification procedure doesn’t automatically mean it’s safe. Take this Instagram client called “Who Viewed Your Profile — InstaAgent” for example, which was available on both iTunes and Google Play until an iOS developer found out that it harvests usernames and passwords. It’s not very popular in the US, so we wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of it, but in a nutshell, it’s an app that monitors your Instagram profile views. Peppersoft developer David L-R took a close look at the app and revealed on Twitter that it’s been sending log-in credentials (unencrypted and in cleartext, to boot) to remote server instagram.zunamedia.com. Despite that address, it’s in no way connected to Instagram itself.
Via: Apple Insider
Source: David L-R (Twitter)
InstaAgent, an app that connects to Instagram and promises to track the people that have visited a user’s Instagram account, appears to be storing the usernames and passwords of Instagram users, sending them to a suspicious remote server.
An app developer from Peppersoft downloaded InstaAgent — full name “Who Viewed Your Profile – InstaAgent” — and discovered that it reading Instagram account usernames and passwords, sending them via clear text to a remote server – instagram.zunamedia.com.
InstaAgent is also using the credentials to log into accounts and post unauthorized images. Instagram does not permit third-party apps to upload photos to user accounts.
While InstaAgent isn’t particularly popular in the United States, it is currently the number one free app in both the United Kingdom and Canada, with thousands of downloads that puts a huge number of Instagram users at risk of having their information stolen. In the Google Play store, the app had between 100k and 500k users, and the install numbers could be similar for iOS.
Google has removed the InstaAgent Android app from the Google Play store, but InstaAgent is still available in the iOS App Store for the time being. Anyone who has downloaded InstaAgent should delete the app immediately and change their Instagram password.
I would say "Who Viewed Your Profile – InstaAgent" is the first malware in the iOS Appstore that is downloaded half a million times.
— David L-R (@PeppersoftDev) November 10, 2015
http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsPasswords for other sites and accounts that were the same as the Instagram password should also be changed as a precaution. We also highly recommend a password management app like 1Password, which can generate unique complex passwords for each and every site or service. Instagram also advises against installing third-party apps that don’t follow its Community Guidelines.
There are dozens if not hundreds of third-party apps that promise to provide Instagram users with followers and other perks, and these kind of apps should be avoided. According to Instagram, these apps are “likely an attempt to use your account in an inappropriate way” as InstaAgent does.
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Instagram ads have been around for some time now, but a new report claims the company is looking to boost the in-app shopping experience. According to Digiday, the photo-sharing app is testing 3D Touch and Apple Pay support for those ads from companies that are looking to sell you goods. With the former tool, a long press could give users access to multiple offers or items instead of just one from the Shop Now button Instagram added earlier this summer. The inclusion of Apple Pay will tack on a convenient method for handling payments for iPhone and iPad users. As is the case with any rumor, we’ll have to wait and see when, or if, the test features make their way to the app.
Instagram has begun testing various ads that will allow users to shop for everything from clothing to menu items at local restaurants, integrating new iPhone features like 3D Touch and Apple Pay as well (via Digiday). The social network has had ads appear in users’ feeds for a while now, but hopes that more unobtrusive shopping experiences that keep users in the app itself will attract bigger brands to the service.
“From an innovation standpoint, Instagram is where a lot of brands are putting the most eggs,” said an ad agency executive familiar with the tests. “Force touch gets interesting, because instead of quickly tapping Shop Now to buy this one thing, you can choose from two or three offers. It makes for more frictionless shopping.”
3D Touch integration will let users press harder on the ad to toggle between various selections from a clothing brand, for instance. The addition of Apple Pay aims to add to the “frictionless shopping” experience by letting users purchase something they see directly within Instagram, without having to visit the brand’s own app or Safari to complete the purchase.
Instagram, owned by Facebook, is attempting to get a cut from the sales of many of the products that its service generates naturally, according to Digiday‘s sources. Some of those sources fear Instagram’s commercialization due to the heavily-marketed advertisements being tested on the platform, suggesting the photo-focused service is best left as a “branding opportunity” for companies and leaving the sales portion to its parent site, Facebook.
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Embedding curated feeds within social media platforms seems to be all the rage these days. Recently Twitter launched both their Moments option and the advertiser driven Promoted Moments as a way to keep users within their app while delivery a more concentrated source of content to users. In a bit of a surprise move, Instagram revealed on Halloween they have their own take on a curated feed ready for users.
If you happened to open Instagram on Halloween, a holiday especially well-suited to a platform focusing on sharing photos, you probably noticed the new curated content option as its availability was front and center on the homepage. Instagram merely invited users to “Watch Halloween’s Best Videos” so it is unclear whether a snappy name has been given to the new feature.
The video channel was available for 24-hours starting at 1 pm on Saturday and showcased the best Halloween videos that Instagram’s staff of curators could locate. The internal effort was headed up by Amanda Kelso, a community director for Instagram, who led a staff of a half dozen team members who pored through user posts to find content for the feed.
Although the feed revealed on Halloween showed how Instagram can capitalize on an event by providing a high entertainment value – after all, what better way to spend a few minutes than watching videos of costumed candy collectors – it also shows how Instagram can get in on the news cycle. Instagram hopes to challenge Twitter as the source for breaking news as revealed by users posting to the platforms. Just like Twitter is working on features like Moments to help users discover trending information, the best videos feature on Instagram can do the same thing.
Instagram is on the look out for more events to feature on the new video channel. Reportedly there are no plans to make the feature available to advertisers ala Twitter’s Promoted Moments.
Come comment on this article: Instagram unmasks new curated feed on Halloween
Snapchat has its Stories, Twitter has moments and, as of Halloween, Instagram has ‘Best Videos.’ It’s not the catchiest name in the world, but it delivers. The feature launched with a curated collection of holiday-themed Instagram videos all bundled under a simple headline: “Watch Halloween’s best videos.” Clicking it presents you with a continuous stream of trick-or-treating, singing, scaring and, of course, Thriller dance-offs.
Instagram is all the rage these days. My 15 and 12 year old nieces can’t get enough of it and think Facebook is for “old people”.
Instagram has introduced Boomerang, which is a new video app that lets you turn pictures into quick loops, which is not quite a gif. Their followers are becoming more and more creative with their uploads to Instagram. Boomerang is an app which takes a burst of photos, and stitches them together to make a mini-video that plays forward and backward like an actual boomerang. Boomerang can be shot in both portrait and landscape mode and is just as easy to share to Instagram like any other photo.
Now I just need to log into Instagram and see how long it takes for my nieces to pick up on this new feature if they haven’t already.