Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon: These juggernauts are at the forefront of the tech industry. And with that success comes an ever-expanding workforce, and the need for a place to put them. To keep pace with growth, these companies have been making the requisite real-estate deals in order to build physical spaces to match their forward-thinking business approach. Fortunately, their designs are also more environmentally conscious than ever before. With the eyes of the world upon them, they’ve taken the well-being of the Earth, as well as their employees, into account, building innovative work spaces in an attempt to harmonize with the world around them. Below, we take a look at some of the steps these giants of industry have made over the years as they’ve moved from garage operations to vast campuses.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
nPerf Speed Test is a comprehensive speed test application that allows you to test your web speed. It does so in three tests which includes your classic speed test along with a browsing load test and a YouTube streaming test. You can test on a WiFi or mobile connection and even compare your final score with other carriers and Internet Service Providers. You can track history and location of each speed test and it even comes with a pretty decent user interface. It’s free to use and we’d like to thank nPerf Speed Test for their support of Android Apps Weekly. Learn more about the app and test your speed here.
Welcome back to Android Apps Weekly! Here are the headlines from this last week:
- A woman claimed her account was hacked and is suing Google for allegedly unauthorized in-app purchases that apparently cost her thousands of dollars. According to court documents, her account was charged 650 times and she managed to not notice the money missing or receive any of the emails you always get when you buy things.
- A new Humble Bundle is out now and includes 10 titles from Tin Man Games. You can pay whatever you want and get four titles, pay the average and get four additional titles. For a flat $9, you get all ten games. It’s a great way to get some awesome games on the cheap.
- A new study came out to show the Q1 numbers for both Google Play and the Apple App Store. As per the norm, Google Play has more apps and more app downloads but iOS continues to lead in overall revenue. Nothing new here, but it is the latest stat sheet and we don’t expect it to change anytime soon.
- Some developers in Italy who call themselves OrangeSec managed to port Cortana to Android. There are a lot of limitations including no offline mode and it’s only it’s Italian, but it’s still Cortana’s backend that’s being accessed. We imagine Microsoft will shut it down eventually but it’s still fun to see.
- In a blog post released earlier this week, Adobe has officially promised to support Android better in the future. Adobe has Android apps but their more innovative creations have remained iOS exclusives and that is about to change. We can expect to see some progress on this over the summer of this year.
For more Android apps and games releases, headlines, and updates, don’t forget to check out this week’s newsletter where we round up all of the apps news from the last week. If you’re so inclined, you can also sign up using your email to get this news delivered directly to your inbox every single week.
Google has released the official Android for Work application. Obviously you’ll need to have Android for Work on the web to make this work but it’s nice to see it available for mobile devices and tablets. The compatibility is a bit limited, but you should be able to find all of the tools there including contacts, calendar, downloads, the office suite, and email. It also includes the hallmark admin control of Android for Work.
[Price: Free / $2.16]
Servicely is a root application developed by Francisco Franco. The app allows you to identify, control, and shut off processes that may be draining your battery while you’re not using your device. It’s similar to Greenify but works more efficiently to keep tasks shut off so they don’t keep your phone awake when it shouldn’t be. There is a pro version that you can access for free and then donate later if you want to. We think you should.
[Price: $3.99 with in-app purchases]
Tiny Guardians is a tower defense style game that was released to relatively positive reviews this last week. Like your typical tower defense games, your goal is to guard against waves of bad guys. Unlike tower defense games, Tiny Guardians doesn’t have any towers. You controls guardians that must defeat all the bad guys and you lose if your strategy doesn’t work out and your guardians die. It’s a unique concept that could be a lot of fun.
Hello is a new application from Facebook that acts as a dialer app for their Facebook Messenger service. Messenger has had calls for a while but now has a dedicated interface to access them. On top of working with Facebook’s service, you can automatically block calls, get free calls and texts over Messenger, and integration with your phone contacts and Facebook. It does work like a regular phone dialer with your number if you need that.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
The long awaited Mortal Kombat X is here, kind of! The game has made its way to the Google Play Store but it has only been soft-launched in select markets ostensibly for testing purposes. We don’t know when it will roll out to everyone but it is here and that means it’s coming very soon. Mortal Kombat X features a whole bunch of your favorite MK characters along with classic tropes from the series like fatalities. It should be a lot of fun once it’s fully released.
If we missed any great Android apps or games news, let us know about it in the comments!
In the three months leading up to March 31, 2015, Microsoft reported a 24 percent drop in revenue from its Xbox division compared with last year, attributing much of the decline to sales of an “increased mix of lower price Xbox One” consoles. Microsoft cut the price of the Xbox One from $500 to $400 (and it ditched the Kinect) in June 2014, and it’s knocked off another $50 since. The corporate Xbox arm includes both the Xbox One and Xbox 360, and Microsoft did not separate sales of each console in its Q3 2015 financial report. Hardware revenue overall was down just 4 percent, boosted by Surface tablet sales, which were up 44 percent over last year to $713 million.
After a very slow start, Microsoft’s Surface finally seems to be hitting its stride. The company made $713 million from Surface sales last quarter, a 44 percent jump over last year, according to its latest earnings report. And yes, it’s attributing much of that to the Surface Pro 3, which also saw strong sales during the previous quarter. While any bump is good, it’s easy for Microsoft to report revenue growth when it’s starting from a low point. Apple sold around $9 billion worth of iPads during the last quarter, for comparison. It’s also worth noting that the company’s third quarter doesn’t include sales of the new Surface 3, which doesn’t ship until next month. It’ll be interesting to see if that model ends up helping its Pro sibling come next quarter. Before the Surface Pro 3, Microsoft’s Surface sales weren’t exactly pretty — at one point it had to write off nearly $900 million in unsold units.
During the company’s earnings call today, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella noted that 64 percent of Surface Pro 3 users also use One Note. That’s not surprising, since that device’s stylus integrates directly into OneNote. Nadella pointed out that the Surface Pro 3’s OneNote penetration is also nine times that of any other touch notebook.
Microsoft’s Devices and Consumer group, which the Surface is a part of, saw an overall revenue bump of 8 percent compared to last year. It was also helped by strong Office 365 growth (up 35 percent, reaching 12.4 million subscriptions), Bing advertising gains (21 percent), and a 30 percent bump in Xbox Live usage. Oh yah, and it sold 8.6 million Lumia phones, down from 10.5 million from the holiday quarter. It was a different story for Xbox revenues, which fell 24 percent from last year, mostly due to price drops for the Xbox One.
Microsoft is sweetening the pot for schools looking to adopt its new hybrid tablet by giving them a 10 percent discount on the Surface 3, Type Cover and stylus. Normally, they cost $500, $130 and $50, respectively. On top of that, it’s also offering a slightly cheaper Surface 3 model with just 32GB of memory and 2GB of RAM (the base Surface 3 has 64GB of storage). We don’t yet know the price of that cheaper model, but expect it to be well below the $450 for the newly discounted 64GB Surface 3. Educational discounts aren’t anything new — it’s already offering them for the Surface Pro 3, and it’s something most other computer makers do — but Microsoft is clearly trying to position the Surface 3 as an alternative to Chromebooks. Those cheaper Google-powered machines have been a huge hit in schools, thanks to their low prices and easy maintenance, but they can’t run all of the software a full-fledged Windows machine can.
To the dismay of many users, Microsoft decided to remove its Solitaire, Hearts and Minesweeper games from Windows 8. But now, to celebrate the venerated card game’s 25th anniversary (it debuted all the way back on Windows 3.0), the company is making things right. Microsoft has announced that a modernized version of Solitaire will return to the Start menu from the Windows Store where it had been relegated. Unfortunately fans of both Hearts and Minesweeper will still have to grab both of those games online and install them individually.
Via: The Verge
Source: @stroughtonsmith (twitter)
The Outlook for Android app has been updated seventeen times while in preview, but now everything seems ready for primetime as Microsoft has removed the ‘preview’ tag. The performance and stability of Outlook for Android has been tweaked and the company feels that it matches the iOS version. The non-preview release of the app offers an improved design, IMAP support, unified contacts viewing, directory search, three-day calendar view, and custom gestures. Microsoft asks that users forward them bugs and suggestions to issue updates as quickly as possible by contacting support from within Outlook.
Hit the break for the gallery and download links.
Come comment on this article: Microsoft Outlook for Android exits preview
The May Xbox One update preview is all about SmartGlass. First up, users will be able to turn their consoles on or off directly from the Xbox One SmartGlass beta apps on Windows, Windows Phone and Android. Also, the console will support Miracast screen mirroring from Windows PCs, Windows Phone 8 and some Android devices, including the Samsung S5 and Nexus 7. This allows users to display photos and videos from their smaller devices on the Xbox One screen. May also brings some Windows 10 updates: Preview members will have the option to stream live TV from the console to a PC with the Xbox app or directly to the SmartGlass app. To make this magic happen, users in Europe or Australia need an Xbox One Digital TV Tuner, while those in the US and Canada can use the Hauppauge 955Q TV Tuner. This update adds a power-saving option to the Xbox One set-up process, a new feature for US consoles in particular. Read the full preview rundown on Xbox Wire or watch the video below.
Source: Xbox Wire
Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint became available in Google Play for Android tablets in January, but they weren’t compatible with Android 5.0+ Lollipop, nor any tablet that sported an Intel/x86 chip.
Microsoft announced yesterday via a Yammer post that a preview has been released that take care of both of these issues. These apps are beta, so you have to jump through a couple of very simple hoops in order to try them out.
You must first join the Microsoft Office for Android Tablets Preview community on Google+. Once you do that, you need to become a tester for each app (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) that you’re interested in trying. The links are below…..
Now you will have to ability to download the preview apps from Google Play. The below links might not be available to you for at least 10 minutes and as much as 2 hours. Google Play has to replicate the permissions.
Also be sure to provide feedback in the Google+ community. The faster everyone reports bugs, the faster Microsoft can fix them, which means the faster it exits the preview stage and will be available to everyone.
You will need a qualifying Office 365 subscription in order to get the most out of these apps. You can still use them without a subscription, but you will only be able to make core edits for free, assuming your tablet is between 7-inches and 10.1-inches. If you want extra features like the ability to track changes or insert page breaks in Word, you need to go with a subscription. Subscriptions start at $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year.If your tablet is greater than 10.1-inches, you will need an Office 365 subscription regardless.
Come comment on this article: Microsoft Office preview now available for Lollipop users and tablets powered by Intel/x86 chips
When Microsoft said its Health platform was open to everyone, it wasn’t kidding around. The company has revealed that its mobile Health app will soon get step counts and calorie burns from the sensors built into your phone — you won’t need a Band (or any wearable tracker, for that matter) to put fitness data in Microsoft’s cloud. The update is due for Android, iOS and Windows Phone in the “coming weeks.” Don’t worry if you do like the Band, though, as it has a few upgrades in store as well.
To start, the company is expanding the Band’s cycling support to two common bike apps, MapMyRide and Strava, on April 23rd. There will be some improvements when you’re not on wheels, too. A web update rolling out on April 27th will provide more insights about your Band data, including your maximum oxygen volume, how well your body recovers during sleep and the times of the week when you’re at peak performance. You’ll have plenty of reasons to wear Microsoft’s device, then — it just won’t be as vital as it once was.
Source: Microsoft Devices Blog