Tuesday

New Google Play Store Algorithm Bsdiff makes app updates faster




The Google Play Store is the one-stop location for all users of Android, especially those who love and use a lot of apps. While downloading the apps and using them may be exciting, the process of updating the apps at regular intervals is often a pain in the neck.

Some apps, in fact, almost all of the major and most-downloaded apps in the Google Play Store are updated at least once monthly, which further compounds the update problem. Those to be pitied most in this situation are those who play heavy games like Grand Theft Auto, The Walking Dead and EA Real Racing. The apps possess extension files and APKs that are always larger than 2GB, and updating them could last forever.

Google has now rolled out a new algorithm for updates in the Google Play Store to fix this problem. In the event of an app update via the Play Store, the algorithm called Bsdiff will compare the installed components of the app being updated, to the new components available in the update installation file (APK), and will only deliver these new components to the app in the update, as opposed to the former algorithm which downloads the whole new APK and re-installs it.

According to Google, the new algorithm reduces the size of app updates by up to 50%, since it only delivers a patch to the existing app components.

To this end, Android App Developers have been advised by Google to decompress native libraries in their apps, in order not to hinder the smooth performance of the Bsdiff Algorithm.

Now, when you view installed apps in the Play Store, you will see a new Update Size listing along with the other application listings, which shows the size of the app update, if available. If it's a new app being viewed, the actual Download Size will be seen in place of Update Size.

Monday

Upcoming iOS 10 feature warns you when your iPhone is wet




iOS 10 release date is coming nearer, and beta versions of the new iPhone software have already been released to selected testers. Among the numerous

Injustice 2 will come with a mobile game and comic


It is no news that a new Injustice game with the moniker Injustice 2 is coming up soon, but a new twist has been added to the news. Actually, there are multiple twists.

Saturday

Apple Music decides to Move Over to a Better matching technology

Apple Music, though a very good cloud service for music lovers, has its own fair share of problems. Before I go on blabbing about the problems Apple Music users do encounter, let me talk a little about the service itself.

Apple Music is a service by Apple Inc. that allows you to match your personal collection of music files on your Mac to an online music catalog, so that you can stream your favorite music tracks from the cloud via Apple's iCloud. Now you know what Apple Music is.
Though Apple Music is a very good service, it has a couple of problems. One of it is that it doesn't match songs from a personal library accurately with those on the online catalog. Sometimes, a live version of a song in the personal library could be matched to a studio version of the same song in the online catalog. While it's the same song, the sounds and vocals would be quite different, and users who get caught up in such a situation wouldn't be too happy.



Another problem associated with Apple Music is that if you accidentally deleted a music file from your personal library on your Mac, when re-downloading it from your online catalog on Apple Music cloud service, a DRM (copyright protection) would be attached to it, even when it was previously not included. When this happens, it would be impossible to use and distribute the song as freely as you would have done had the DRM not been attached to the song.

Well, good news is here for Apple Music subscribers. Apple has finally addressed the issue and now Apple Music is being switched over to a new audio fingerprinting technology that would make sure your personal library files would be matched accurately with those in the online catalog.
Most importantly, this means that all your songs will be DRM-free whenever this matching takes place, and you would now be able to download your favorite tracks from iCloud without being restricted by copyright protection.
It seems online service providers are now thinking more and more about the welfare of their users and subscribers, even as Amazon Video was updated a few days ago to allow you download offline videos to an SD Card.
Not all Apple Music subscribers have been switched over to this better technology yet, as the switching is going on at the rate of 1 to 2 percent per day, but when a subscriber has been switched, he/she would be able to tell by seeing Matched in the iCloud Status column in their iTunes app.
iTunes Match, an online music matching service similar to Apple Music has had this audio fingerprinting technology for a very long time. Now, iTunes Match subscribers who also have an Apple Music subscription can drop their iTunes Match subscriptions in order to enjoy the same access to their personal library at any time, and in addition DRM-free songs.
Are you an Apple Music subscriber? Have you been switched over yet? Perhaps you're thinking about dropping your iTunes Match subscription now that you've read this, but aren't too sure? Do let us know in the comments below. We'd be glad to help. :-)

Wednesday

A New Batman Mobile Game is Out: Arkham Underworld - Download Now!

As is our usual practice to bring you the latest games trending in the world, we are happy to announce to all Batman lovers that there's a new Batman game out for mobile For iOS (and Android to be Available later).
There have been various game adaptations of different parts of the Batman movie ever since its first release, and the latest game called Batman: Arkham Underworld is an adaptation of the happenings prior to the event of Arkham Asylum and Arkham Origins.
In Batman: Arkham Underworld, you are going to play the role of a Batman villain, and you will be required to:
  • Build and upgrade your hideout
  • Recruit and train an army of henchmen
  • Fight one-on-one with Dark Knight.

The game is set in various iconic locations around from the Batman Arkham Series, and at the end you'll have to fight Dark Knight himself and defeat him to take his place as one of the most wanted villains in Gotham City.

How To Get Batman: Arkham Underworld on Mobile

Currently, Batman: Arkham Underworld is only available for download on iOS devices. The version for Android should follow soon enough. For iOS users, you can get the game from the App Store by clicking the link below. Batman: Arkham Underworld is quite different from the other Batman games we've been having on mobile and could be the beginning of a new variety of larger Batman game adaptations for mobile.

Meanwhile, Pokemon Go is still causing waves around the world and setting AR-related trends for mobile.

What do you think about the new game Batman: Arkham Underworld? 
Have you downloaded it before and have been playing it for a while? Or are you heading to the App Store to download it right now? Perhaps the download is 80% complete? Do let us know what you think of the game after you've downloaded and played it.

Tuesday

Android moves Android Nougat closer with Developer Preview 5

The release date of Android 7.0 Nougat is drawing closer, even as Google has released the last in a series of developer previews -- Developer Preview 5 -- for the upcoming Android OS Version.

If you don't know already, a developer preview is kind of a software update where app developers for Android get to view new features in the upcoming OS Version update, test them and start incorporating them into their existing and new apps.


 Android Nougat closer with Developer Preview 5




It is received and installed on an Android-running smart device (phones, tablets) and works the way a normal software update or bug patch works. However, to be able to use these developer previews, you would need a compatible device. There's a list of devices that are eligible for developer preview releases, and most of the devices on that list are Nexus devices, which are owned by Google. More on that later.

Developer Preview 5 is the fifth and final delevoper preview release prior to the official rolling out of Android N (Nougat) to devices later this year. It doesn't really include new features to be expected in Android N, but includes the final APIs for Android N and other tools to make sure your apps are ready to go by the time Android Nougat is released.
Here's a list of what is contained in Developer Preview 5:
  • System images for Nexus and other preview devices
  • An emulator that you can use for doing the final testing of your apps to make sure they are ready
  • The final N APIs (API level 24) and latest system behaviors and UI
  • The latest bug fixes and optimizations across the system and in preinstalled apps
Developer Preview 5 is basically for Android Developers who want their apps to work with Android Nougat to make sure their apps can handle the changes to existing android features in Android N, as well as to incorporate new features introduced with Android N into their apps. The latter is optional, of course.
Android developers are encouraged to, after testing Developer Preview 5, publish their apps to Google Play as soon as possible. If you are working on a not-too-large scale and you aren't sure of how your app(s) would perform on a large variety of devices, you can use Google Play's beta testing feature. This feature allows you to release your app(s) to a group of selected Android users, called beta testers. These people test your apps on their various devices and report back to you on the bugs that need to be fixed in the app, features that could be made better...etc, and it's up to you to implement them. Beta testers are normally experienced and know what and what to look out for in a beta app, so don't be afraid.If you are an Android app developer and you've not been hibernation in one ancient forest since the beginning of this year, you should have heard of Android Developer previews. If you fit the above description, all you have to do to get the Developer Preview 5 for Android N is to enroll in the Android Beta program (using an eligible Android device) and you'll receive the preview over-the-air in no time.

Below is the list of devices that are eligible to install and use the Android Developer Previews for Android 7:

  • Google Nexus 5
  • Google Nexus 5X
  • Google Nexus 6P
  • Google Nexus 9
  • Android One (General Mobile 4G) Devices

If you are not an Android Developer and you want to see what this developer review contains, you can flash the update manually..
Lest I forget, Google's Android Engineering team are hosting a Reddit AMA to answer all technical questions about the Developer Preview 5.
Speaking on the release of Developer Preview 5,
"Thanks so much for all of your feedback so far. Please continue to share feedback or requests either in the N Developer Preview issue tracker, N Preview Developer community, or Android Beta community as we work towards the consumer release later this summer. Android Nougat is almost here!"

Monday

Amazon Video Update allows you to download to SD Card

You've heard of Amazon Video, right? If you haven't, it's an app that allows you to stream all your favorite movies and shows, in fact anything Video from the web on your smart devices and PCs. All you need is a good smartphone and strong data connection plus enough data access (megabytes, gigabytes, terabytes, what have you...), and of course your time :). It's very similar to Netflix, both requiring you to subscribe with a particular amount of money to enjoy the streaming services for a particular length of time.



Most of you reading this post probably are already using Amazon Video, but did you know you could download your favorite videos to your phone memory, in fact your external SD Card? I bet you didn't.

Well don't go beating yourself over it, you couldn't have known, because Amazon just included that option in the app's latest update. And we've brought to you in a jiffy, with the hope that it may save some extra bytes of data from being burnt out on the internet.

So what do you get with the latest update of Amazon Video?

You get the option to download any movie or video from the app to your phone, and there's even an option there to make the default download location your SD Card, so you don't go hogging the internal memory down with videos and slowing down performance.
This means that whenever you have a long trip ahead and you're not sure of availability of data in the new location, either you're running out of data or the data expiry date is running out and you still got a lot of data left with no time to sit for long hours watching videos, you can now heave a sigh of relief. Whichever is your situation, the latest Amazon Video update has got you covered.

So, How can I download movies from Amazon Video to my SD Card?

There is no long tutorial here, all you have to do is head over to the Google Play Store and grab the latest update. If you're in a hurry to get the update and the process of launching your Google Play Store app and searching for the update seems too long, click on the button below.
What do you think of this new feature in Amazon Video? Do let us know after you've tried it out!

Friday

Pokemon Go and the future of Mobile Augmented Reality

In the last two weeks, something has been sending waves of excitement all over the internet, and it's the game called Pokemon Go. This is the game that had broken records on iOS and Android with millions of downloads within a week of its Official release. 
If you haven't heard or do not know what Pokemon Go is, it's a smartphone game that involves catching Pokemons. So what makes it different? Pokemon Go uses a smartphone's in-built GPS and Camera in a combo with Augmented Reality (AR) to create a live experience of catching Pokemons.


Photo credits: Nintendo

Anyway, we're not here to elaborate on how playing Pokemon Go feels, and the feats Pokemon Go has amassed in the weeks since its release. No, we're not. What we are interested in here is the trend the game sets for the use of Augmented Reality on our mobile (smart) phones, as long as you own an iPhone or Android, you really should look at AR being used on cameras in this post.

Niantic, the developers of Pokemon Go, have been behind several immersive games, and had previously taken a shot at utilizing Augmented Reality on smartphones with the game, Ingress. However, Pokemon Go is the first mobile game to offer a decent AR experience without the need for any other thing apart from the smartphone itself. Previous efforts at incorporating augmented reality into our everyday smartphone use need the use of an AR-designed headset or device of some sort, which requires more out of the pocket of the interested.

All Pokemon Go uses is the in-built GPS of a smartphone and the camera, utilizing the software and internet connection to create virtual images of Pokemons in front of and around a player, with the GPS used to place virtual Pokemons in real-life locations in the environment of the player, prompting them to move around in order to catch 'em all.

This shows that the capability of Augmented Reality has been with modern smartphones, at least those manufactured as far back as 2014, since all you need is a smartphone with good internet connection capabilities, clear camera, solid GPS and strong battery.

So why have we not been having Pokemon GOs to play on our smartphones? Why is the Google Play Store and the Apple Store not filled with AR-enabled apps requiring you to move around and interact more with the environment, or at least offer some immersive experience of the virtual in the real?

It just shows how lightly developers have taken this possibility. Perhaps they don't know it's possible, or they've tried and failed. Well, Pokemon Go didn't come out of the blues. Niantic workers didn't just wake up one day and put together the addictive game. It has taken them years of plannings, failures and retries, and from the success the game has seen in such a short time, it has been worth all the stress.

What I'm particularly excited about is the future our smartphones now face in terms of Augmented Reality usage. PokeMon Go has set a trend in the mobile gaming industry, and it's one other developers and gaming companies are bound to (and had better) follow. Relax, dear smartphone, your augmented future is bright!

Wednesday

iPhone 6S Plus VS Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge – Who's Better?

Last year, the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus were released, and Apple fanboys were all heated up, especially about the iPhone 6S, claiming it's the device of the century and all.
Now, early this year, Apple's biggest rivals Samsung dropped the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge and it was the turn of Android fanboys to shout the roof down, singing praises of both Galaxy S7 variants to whoever cared to give an ear.
In a nutshell, both devices are great, and both excel in features and performance. But as in all situations, one is always better than another right?. It is very hard to judge which is the better one between the current top flagships from the top smartphone manufacturers in the world, and it's practically impossible to say which is the overall best.

In our comparison between the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and the iPhone 6S Plus today, we'll be comparing the performance of both devices in different areas and specifications, with picture proofs where necessary.
It's quite chunky, so you may want to grab a sit as you begin reading The iPhone 6S vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Comparison


Spoiler Alert!!!
If you're an Android fanboy and you're reading this post eagerly waiting for us to destroy the iPhone 6S (with the pen of course, since it's mightier than the sword :) ), you might want to hit the back button. Same goes to all iPhone or Apple fanboys. We are going to compare both devices fairly and based on real life tests and experiences.
We're going to base our comparison on the following:
  • Design & Display
  • Performance & Storage
  • Software & Hardware
  • Camera
  • Battery & Charging
  • Price

Display & Design

Apple iPhones have always been loved by their superior designs, and the premium look it possesses and gives its users. However, from the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, Samsung has started producing its flagship phones with designs good enough to match that of the iPhone, and the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has been described as sexier than the iPhone 6S Plus.

Looking at the specs, the S7 Edge is made from glass and aluminum, the front screen and back of the phones sporting curved glass designs. This gives the phone a more classy look, but the fact that the glass on the Galaxy S7 Edge tends to accumulate fingerprints a lot is enough to scare some people off it, especially the germaphobes. Should you mistakenly break the glass on the S7 Edge, it is very expensive to replace.

The iPhone 6S Plus is made purely from aluminum and is designed in the way iPhones have always been designed, with some minor tweaks in the design. That said, the iPhone is still a good-looking design, and some will actually prefer its looks to those of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Both devices have screens 5.5 inches wide, but in dimensions, the S7 Edge is smaller and more handy to the touch at a dimension of 151 x 73 x 7.7mm. The iPhone 6S Plus is quite massive, at a dimension of 158 x 78 x 7.3mm, thanks to its smaller bezels. The iPhone 6S Plus is the weightier of the two, at 192 grams. Combine that with the wider display, you get a slightly bulkier classy flagship.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge once again excels here, at just 157 grams. Coming to the screen internals, the Galaxy S7 Edge has an AMOLED display with display resolution of 2560 x 1440 (Quad HD/QHD) pixels and pixel density of 534ppi, while the iPhone 6S Plus has an IPS LCD display with display resolution of 1920 x 1080 (Full HD/FHD) pixels and pixel density of 401ppi. The S7 Edge's display is 33 percent sharper from the specifications, but the Apple iPhones have been known to exceed just paper specifications.
Verdict: TIE

 



 Performance & Storage


Under the hood, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge comes with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with processing speeds of up to 2.1 GHz, while the iPhone 6S Plus comes with Apple's own A9 Processor with dual cores and processing speeds of 1.84 GHz. Though the specs suggests that the S7 Edge has a better processor, iPhones are well renowned for their efficient RAM management in the face of Samsung's formerly crappy Touchwiz RAM management, so it's hard to off-handedly say which processor is better. However, in graphics and benchmark tests conducted repeatedly, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge processor has been shown to beat the iPhone 6S Plus' processor.
Another plus for the edgy phone. The Galaxy S7 Edge comes with 4GB of RAM, which is double that of the iPhone 6S Plus. Again, this doesn't really matter as the iPhone has much better memory management than any other smartphone. With the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, you have the option of only 32GB of storage in the U.S. and 32GB, 64GB and 128GB outside the U.S. There is also the option to expand the internal memory with an external memory card. The iPhone 6S Plus offers 16GB, 64GB and 128GB of internal memory, however with no option of expansion. Overall, both devices perform well enough, with the S7 Edge better in magnitude of specs and the 6S Plus performing really well in real time situations.

Software & Hardware

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box, with the Samsung's heavily-customized version of Android Touchwiz, as usual.
Touchwiz has had pretty bad criticisms and reviews since its release, but not many have been able to fault the version of Touchwiz that came with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, mainly to the fact that it has been refined and RAM management and general operations on the custom UI have been greatly improved. The iPhone 6S Plus, which was released in 2015, ran iOS 9 out of the box, with its users gearing up for iOS 10, just as Android users are anticipating Nougat. Both software versions perform exceedingly well, each packing its own features, some similar, some different. The iPhone 6S Plus comes with 3D Touch, which is absent on the S7 Edge, and the S7 Edge offers a lot of customizations with Touchwiz, which the iPhone doesn't offer.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and the iPhone 6S Plus come with fingerprint scanners, located in the same place -- the home button -- and with similar performance speeds. It is said that the iPhone's fingerprint scanner requires a shorter validation time, but longer on-screen unlock time due to animations, and the S7 Edge requires a longer validation time and shorter on-screen unlock time. Both devices have a single speaker on the bottom of the devices, and, as usual, a charging point at the middle of the bottom of the devices. The Samsung device's charging port is a micro-USB port, while that of the iPhone is a lightning port, the difference being that the iPhone's charging cable is reversible. The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has an IP68 rating, which means that it can be submerged in up to 1.5 metres of water for up to 30 minutes. The iPhone, though doesn't have this capability.

Camera

The camera on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge has been hyped very high, much due to its excellent performance in low-light conditions. Both smartphones come with Optical image Stability (OIS) and 4k video recording. The apertures on both phones' cameras are different, though, with the S7 Edge's camera having a larger f/1.7 aperture, and the 6S Plus having a smaller f/2.2 aperture. Practically, the two phones' camera perform really well in normal light situations, with the iPhone 6S Plus' camera producing softer, darker images with less contrast, and the Galaxy S7 Edge's camera producing more sharper and vibrantly-colored images with more contrast. Invariably, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge's camera performs better than the iPhone 6S Plus in low-light conditions, and this has been confirmed over and over again in various tests and camera shots.

Battery & Charging

The iPhone 6S Plus comes with a smaller 2,915mAh battery, while the S7 Edge has a 3,600mAh battery. IPhones have always been known for their not-too-large choice of batteries, and a lot of iPhone users say that this doesn't necessarily mean a shorter usage time, since iPhones are very good in software and hardware blending. The S7 Edge's battery, though, has been confirmed to be better then the 6S Plus' battery in terms of usage time. The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge comes with Qualcomm's Quick Charge technology, which allows you to charge the device from 0 to 100 percent in about 75 minutes, compared to the iPhone 6S Plus that doesn't have fast-charge and takes almost 2 hours to charge fully. The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge further beats the iPhone 6S Plus hands down with its wireless charging capabilities. The iPhone is incapable of wireless charging, mainly because of its all-metal design.

Price

The prices of the two phones differ according to the storage capacity and color. Check the listings below:
  • IPhone 6S Plus
16GB - Silver Color N220,000 ==> View at Konga
Gold Color N235,000 ==> View at Konga 
64GB - Space Grey Color N274,500 ==> View at Konga
Silver Color N279,000 ==> View at Konga
128GB - Silver Color N299,900 ==> View at Konga
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Currently only the 32GB is available in Nigeria at N275,500 on Jumia Nigeria HERE.

Overall, considering all the points above, my professional verdict on this matter is that the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is better, though slightly, than the iPhone 6S Plus. We're looking forward to what the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will bring to the table this year.

Tuesday

Google has introduced Android Skilling Program in India

Google has introduced a skilling program for Android developers in India, which is aimed at training close to two million developers in various Android skills such as End-to-end Android training and Associate Android Developer Certification.
The launch of the Android Skilling Program in India was announced just recently on the Google India blog, where it was stated that the program is in support of the recently established Skill India initiative of the Indian government, where private and public authority companies and establishments are encouraged to train India's citizens in their respective niches.



Google believes India will have four million software developers by 2018, which prompted them to quickly launch the Android Skilling program in India to capture the country's developers before other software-developing companies do. Furthermore, since just 25% of India's current developers develop for the mobile platform, the Android Skilling program aims to encourage developers to start building and developing for mobile platforms, even as majority of Indians access the internet from these mobile platforms. The Android Skilling program will focus on the following key elements:
  • End-to-end Android Training
  • Training Channels
  • Associate Android Developer Certification


Speaking about the three key elements of the Android Skilling program;

"Last year, together with Udacity, we introduced the Android Nanodegree program in India. Today we are seeing over 11,500 students across India enrolling every month. And only two weeks ago, we launched the Android Basics Nanodegree with Udacity so that we have an end to end path—from zero to hero—for Android Development without having to send all of our students to many different places to learn the prerequisites. Today we are announcing The Android Developer Fundamentals course, a specially-designed instructor-led training program that will be made available across public and private universities and training institutes of the National Skill Development Corporation of India. This in-person training will be integrated with Computer Science curricula of universities within this calendar year. The Android Developer Fundamentals course material will also be covered on NPTEL (an IIT Madras project in collaboration with the IITs and IISc) as part of its online Mobile Computing course starting July 18, 2016. The Android Developer Fundamentals reference course and all practicals and courseware will be available as Open Source to everyone for free. All details of the program and courses can be found here."

"In addition to partnering with the National Skill Development Corporation of India, we have teamed up with training partners like Edureka, Koenig, Manipal Global, Simplilearn, Udacity and UpGrad who will operate as Authorized Android Training Partners in India. We are working closely with them to train their trainers and to update their Android courseware to prepare their students for the Android Certification and a career in Android development."

"To support potential Android developer employers, we are also launching a globally-recognised, job-oriented, Associate Android Developer Certification—a performance-based exam, that will help candidates obtain entry-level Android Developer jobs in the Industry."


If you're a developer in India and you are interested in the Android Skilling program, log on to the Google Training Certification website and take the certification exam. However, you'll have to part with 6,500 INR (Indian Rupees) before you can take the exam. We are looking forward to when Google would launch a similar initiative to the Android Skilling program in African countries.