The personalization of news is a nice idea. It should strip out unrequired stories, leaving behind only those pieces of writing that excite, educate or entertain — AppStorm posts, for instance.
But in my experience, most tailored news apps tend to be a bit…meh. They certainly filter, but rarely with the desired result. Some try to sort stories by keyword — always an inaccurate, spam-ridden approach — while others simply provide broad brushstroke subjects, gathering plenty of content you would otherwise avoid.
So, I’m interested to see how Material, an app which claims to deliver news that is tailored to each user, copes with this challenge. The product of an accomplished developer (Inq), Material has recently been updated with a sleek new design and a batch of new features; critically, though, can it deliver a great mix of content?
Although I’d definitely take a paperback over my tablet as my medium of choice to read a novel, one can’t argue the convenience of a single device that can carry all the books you’d ever want to read. That’s why I’ve been steadily growing my ebook collection — being able to carry every tome I intend to digest this year in a jacket pocket, just makes sense. The ebook game is now in a hot innings, with new heavy hitters like Google Play and even India’s Flipkart taking to the field. So I thought it’d be interesting to see what Kobo had up its sleeve.
Known for manufacturing affordable dedicated ebook readers, and for going up against the likes of Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes’ and Nobles’ Nook devices, Kobo has now made its debut in the Play Store with a bookstore-and-reader combo app that promises to deliver a comprehensive reading experience on your smartphone or tablet. With a wide range of titles, cross-device content and bookmark sync, and a clean flat interface, Kobo sure looks like it’s up to bat — but can it score a home run? I spent a couple of weeks with the app to find out.
While the first few years of the tablet’s life as a new consumer product category were rife with various screen sizes as the market was still being established and our demands and habits weren’t as well understood and stable as they are now, manufacturers have currently gravitated toward two different sizes or segments of tablets: the 7″-7.9″ small and compact one, and the 9″-10″ bigger and more couch-oriented one.
That left the whole 8″ bracket of the spectrum almost untapped, which is exactly where LG decided to focus their first tangible effort at the tablet market. At 8.3″, the G Pad sits comfortably in the middle between the two segments, but does that make it an ideal one-size-fits-all tablet or a neither-this-nor-that tablet? I’ve had the G Pad for review for a few days, and I tried to answer that question.
Books are amazing. They can thrill, sadden, educate, inspire and amuse with only the words they hold. For bookworms like me, the introduction of e-reading only further broadened the opportunities to be captivated by prose, particularly given the considerable selection of public domain titles which are freely available to download.
There are quite a few apps which provide access to these ebooks, as well as offering the option to sync your reading progress between multiple devices — Kobo and Amazon’s Kindle being the most prominent examples to be found in the Play Store. Over on iOS, though, another e-reading app has been making all the waves.
It goes by the name of Readmill, and it has already gained a cult following. Now, it has landed on Android – but does it have enough to push aside more familiar Play Store offerings?
Over the past two years, I have transformed into an online shopper. Not only did I discover that some eBay vendors deliver to Lebanon — where I currently live — but I also came across Borderlinx and their shipping services, and I fell for the excitement of Indiegogo and Kickstarter product backing.
As my habits changed, I tried manually tracking my payments and shipments, but I soon had to give up as it was too much work. I eventually resorted to simply hoping I wasn’t paying a lot instead of using personal finance apps, and relied on good ol’ Google Now to track some of my shipments while manually checking the ones that Now didn’t smartly detect.
But I was recently introduced to Slice, an app which sole purpose is to simplify the life of people like me, who shop online quite frequently. Not only does it keep track of how much I’m spending online and organize my purchases by type and vendor, it also notifies me when any of my purchases is shipping and lets me track its progress. The app also just got updated with a fresh tablet-optimized interface, making it my ultimate shopping companion.
For almost two years now, I have owned both an Android phone and tablet but I have almost never felt like the two devices were working together. Notifications plague them both and still don’t get dismissed from one after I’ve checked them on the other, I have to install third-party apps to get notified on my tablet of new SMS and calls on my phone, and there doesn’t seem to be any kind of smart communication between both devices.
Well, that was my opinion until yesterday. I was given an LG G Pad 8.3 review unit and I saw something called QPair on it. It took me a while to figure out that I needed to manually install the app on my own LG G2 to get it to work, but once that was done and the initial setup completed, I was pleasantly impressed. QPair is what I’ve dreamed should happen when I switch between using my phone and tablet. It is not perfect, but it is the most seamless integration I’ve seen so far between two separate Android devices.
One of the things I use all the time on my iOS devices — and, in fact, strongly value — are text editors. As a platform, it’s hard to beat it for writing. Android has made some great progress recently, and I get really excited every time I see another text editor in the Play Store. That’s why I couldn’t wait to try out JotterPad X.
JotterPad is highly functional and is a sheer pleasure to look at, but the question remains: should you use it? Read on to find out if JotterPad X is right for you.
Transferring files across devices can be a pain, especially when they run on separate platforms. One of the most common ways to share from a device to another without having to unpack wires, is to either email the file to yourself so you can open it on the second device, or to upload it to your Dropbox and re-download the file on the other device.
Not only is this time-consuming, it requires an internet connection and has serious limitations when it comes to file sizes and types. Thanks to Instashare, you can send files to almost any device instantly without having to worry about wires, file size or compatibility.
Whether I’m working or relaxing, tuning in or tuning out, music is a constant in my daily routine. As is typical of a library-based listener, my soundtrack is a mix of old favourites and newer additions, but usually, nothing absolutely fresh flows through my speakers or earphones. Once in a while, though, I break this mould.
There are several routes which new music takes on its way to my eardrums. I listen to local commercial radio, for example. Radio stations will always provide a wider scope of tracks than my iTunes library, but the variety of broadcast playlists can be a little too random — which is why I’ve also long used Last.fm. As a taste-based recommendation engine, it is as close to human as an automated platform can currently be. However, this intelligence can actually hinder the finding of newness. Presenting me with clones of the music I already like isn’t going to improve the breadth of my listening experience.
A new app named MPme Radio wants to find a happy medium between these polar opposites, marrying the unexpectedness of radio with the predictability of an intelligent recommendation engine. Given that this app relies on the content provided by third-party broadcasters, though, is a middle-ground nirvana really possible?
Plants vs Zombies was originally released in 2009 for OS X and Windows and quickly became a phenomenon only matched by the scale of titles like Angry Birds. Over the following years, Plants vs Zombies would become a mobile hit on iOS, Windows Phone, the PS Vita, the DS and, in 2011, Android.
With Plants vs Zombies 2, the post-apocalyptic threat is back but with some big twists. You still use a variety of plants to both attack and defend the zombies but now the game’s boundaries are no longer the fence of a virtual backyard. Plants vs Zombies 2 takes you through time and space to battlefields around the world, from Ancient Egypt to the Wild West.