Saturday, October 19, 2013

SwiftKey Updates it's Amazing Keyboard App with New Beta Release

One of my favorite things about Android is that you can easily customize any of its stock apps by replacing it with a more full featured alternative from the Play Store. I switched to SwiftKey a while back and have never looked back, replacing my HTC and Samsung keyboards in the past and my stock Google one presently. SwiftKey's auto-correction and prediction software is amazing and with their addition of Flow, which added Swype-like features it pretty much sealed the deal and it has been my default keyboard on all my Android devices.

The biggest change in the new beta update is “Layouts for Living,” which gives users the ability to create custom keyboard layouts to best fit their device, preferences, and current action. For me this update addresses one of the last major things I could currently ask for, further customization and the ability to adapt the keyboard on the fly to what I'm doing. It also allows for drastically different landscape and portrait layouts which I've found to be very helpful for my Nexus 7 and other larger devices.

SwiftKey is providing three common presets:

Compact: On many larger phones it can be difficult to enter text and hold the phone with just one hand. This new feature minimizes the width of the keyboard and allows for easier typing with one-hand or gesture typing using SwiftKey Flow. It also frees up more of the screen estate on tablets.

Full: Users with large screens can now opt for a full-width keyboard with left-right cursor control keys and a backspace key above the “Enter” key. By placing the keys closer together, this new layout mimics the experience of two-handed typing on a physical keyboard.

Thumb: For people typing on tablets in landscape and with wide phones in portrait the keyboard can be split into two sections, enabling fast, comfortable typing with both thumbs.

Another significant change in this update is that the phone and tablet versions have been merged, no longer requiring the purchase of two different apps (they have a one month free trial). I've found this keyboard, especially with its new levels of even more customization, to be one of the best keyboard options on Android.

Check out the beta here but keep in mind it is a beta and has been released to test for and hammer out any bugs before the official release. I've been using it for a few days now with no issues. Also, because it's a beta you will have to install it from the downloaded apk file with a file manager app of some sort as well as allow the installation of non-Play Store apps when prompted. I'm really impressed with the update and look forward to its final release. Check it out in the video below!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

LG G2 Tips and Tricks

The recently released LG G2 is one of the top phones out right now. Matter of fact if I weren't planning to get the Nexus 5 (which is actually based off of the G2), I'd be getting the LG G2. In addition to some of the most top end hardware I really like how LG handles their customizations to stock Android. Many manufacturers (including LG on past phones) add their own custom skin over Android.  This allows them to tweak and differentiate their software offerings and hopefully separate from their competitors. While some are executed well many are not. LG does an excellent job of keeping true to stock Android while lightly integrating in their unique features.

I stumbled across a good Tips and Tricks video that shows a bit of what I am referring to. If you have or are considering getting an LG G2 definitely check out the great tips in the video below. Let us know what you think of the G2 tips and tricks in the comments below.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Amazon's new Kindle Fire HDX Tablets

Amazon recently revealed their new Kindle Fire HDX tablets as well as their refreshed the Kindle Fire HD line which is now just $139 for 8GB of storage, or $169 for 16GB. With the 8.9-inch version from last year starting at $269. These Prices include Amazon's “Special Offers” tax, in which prices go up $15 for each tablet if you don’t want ads on your lockscreen.

The new tablets a have improved displays, battery life, memory, CPU and graphics processing and are lighter than their predecessors. Check out the specs comparison below:

One of the most interesting features on the new Kindle Fire Tablets is the Mayday 24/7 virtual assistance. THis feature puts at each users disposal a live support agent from Amazon. You can see the agent, but they can't see you. They can see and control your tablets screen and even draw on the screen to guide users. Al of this is available right from the push of a button. I have no idea how Amazon will be able to provide this support, but this could be a game changing feature. This is a huge benefit for those who aren't the most tech savvy, and makes the Kindle Fire an even more attractive holiday season gift for parents and grandparents. Check out Mayday below.

I know some people that these tablets would be perfect for. Any one interested in picking one up? Impressed by Mayday?