The New Facebook for Android App: What’s New and How to Download It


Close on the heels of the website refresh, Facebook is pushing out a major revamp of its Android app. I am not a very big fan of the recent Facebook website redesign; it took an already cluttered user interface and made it even worse. Fortunately, the changes on the Android front are a lot more positive.

The new app feels a lot more vibrant and cheerful, mainly due to the use of lighter and brighter shades throughout the UI. Everything is also distinctively flatter.


The top bar has been split into two, and the navigation drawer on the left has been removed. The new layout is not only more visually appealing, but also more intuitive.


The upper half has just two buttons – one for Search and the other for accessing phone contacts. The second half contains all the navigation options including Friend Requests, Messages, Notifications, and Profile and Settings.


The new Android interface is more compliant with the Android design philosophy, and is definitely a step in the right direction for Facebook. Unfortunately, it’s still not ready for prime time. It’s currently only available for the Facebook alpha testers. If you want it right away, there are a few hoops you’ll have to jump through.

  • Go to the Facebook Alpha Testers group and signup with your Google account. This needs to be the same one that you’re using for the Play Store.
  • Once you’ve signed up successfully, you should be able to see the following page.


  • Follow this link to become an alpha tester. If all goes well, you’d be able to see a message stating “You are a tester”.


  • Now open the Play Store on your mobile phone, and you should be able to see an option to update Facebook. Download and install the update.
  • Go to Settings –> Apps –> Facebook. The current version of the Alpha build is Your version should be same or higher.


  • ‘Force Stop’ the app, and ‘Clear Data’.
  • Launch the Facebook app. You will have to sign in once again. Once you login, you should be able to see the new Facebook layout.

Please keep in mind that Facebook builds released in the alpha channel are expected to be buggy. They might be buggy, crash-prone, or might not work at all. If you want to go back to the normal build, simply “Quit the Test“, and un-install and re-install the Facebook app from the Play Store.

[via Reddit]

Gmail Tries to Tackle Inbox Clutter with Tabs

AOL isn’t exactly a hotbed for innovation, but its Alto mail did introduce a few neat concepts. The chief among them is the idea of stacks and automatic categorization. Unfortunately, Alto also had too many inconveniences to ever become a mainstream product. However, the good news is that Google is taking a leaf out of Alto’s book. Yes, Gmail is taking inspiration from an AOL email product.

Google has annoucned a new tabbed inbox for Gmail that builds on the automatic categorization concept featured in Alto to reduce your inbox clutter. Gmail already has Priority Inbox, which surfaces mails that matter to you. Now, it will be grouping mails further, depending upon its source of origination. For example, one can tuck away all notifications from Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn under the Social category. Similarly mails from Groupon and its likes can be put under the Promotions category. You can setup custom categories and customize how you want your mails to be categorized.


Google will also be updating its Android and iOS apps (for iPhone and iPad) to add support for a categorized inbox. You will see your uncategorized mail by default when you open the Gmail app. You’ll be able to navigate to your categories from the left menu, as shown in the above screenshot. The updated Gmail app will be released within a few weeks, while the desktop version will be rolled out gradually.

Google Launches New Hangout App For Android, iOS And Chrome

Apart from the unveiling of the Galaxy S4 Google Edition, the tech-giant has also launched a new unified, cross-platform messaging service for Android, iOS, and Chrome at the I/O 2013 event in San Francisco. This messaging service has been rumored from a long time and it was previously codenamed as ‘Babel’. For the first time, Google’s Hangout messaging app will be available on all smartphones and tablets running on the Android and iOS Operating System as well as on the Google Chrome browser running on your Mac, Linux and Windows computer.


Hangout allows you to send a text, photos and emoji to your friends. You can also video chat with up to 10 friends with this app. If your friends are not available when you try to reach them, they’ll see an alert next time they connect to Hangout. Similar to the Facebook Chat, this app lets you see whether your friends are online, when your friends are together in Hangouts, when they are typing or whether they have seen your message.

Once you see a notification on one device, Hangout will clear the notification from all other devices connected to your account. It also saves your chat history and shared photos by default, so that you can read your previous conversations anywhere anytime. You should also note that unlike Google Talk, Hangouts does not support invisible status. Google has also renamed the Instant Upload to Auto Backup, which helps you to automatically back up unlimited photos from your phone at standard size of 2048 pixels. The Hangout app is currently not available for Nexus 7.

[ Download Google Hangout on Android, iPad/iPhone and Chrome ]

BlackBerry Messenger Coming to Android and iOS as Free Download

BlackBerryBlackBerry Messenger or BBM used be the one killer features of BlackBerry. In fact it’s still the reason why many people purchase a BlackBerry. However, thanks to the popularity of multi-platform apps like WhatsApp, Kik, and Viber, BBM no longer commands the respect it used to. WhatsApp recently reported that it has 200 million active monthly users, which is more than thrice that of BBM’s active user count. Sure, BlackBerry Messenger is a lot more secure than WhatsApp, which is frankly a security nightmare. However, this can hardly enough to sway the opinion of millions of smartphone buyers. It has long been rumoured that the struggling Canadian smartphone manufacturer will be opening up BBM. Perhaps feeling the pressure, BlackBerry has finally bit the bullet.

BlackBerry just announced at the BBLive conference that it will be launching the BBM as an independent app on Android and iPhone this “summer”. No concrete dates were given; however, Android Police is reporting that the BlackBerry Messenger will be a free download that will require at least ICS (Android 4.0). It will be initially released with support for messaging and groups with additional features including voice, screen share, and channels being added later on. BBM users will be able to setup groups and share voice notes, calendar, photos, files and more. “For BlackBerry, messaging and collaboration are inseparable from the mobile experience, and the time is definitely right for BBM to become a multi-platform mobile service”, said Andrew Bocking, Executive Vice President, Software Product Management and Ecosystem, at BlackBerry.

Flipboard 2.0 For iOS Brings Custom Magazines, Read Later And More

Flipboard is an extremely popular news reading app for smartphones and tablets running on the iOS and Android Operating Systems. Flipboard was originally designed for the iPad, which was later updated to add support for the iPhone and iPod Touch followed by Android smartphones and tablets. Flipboard is one of those apps which I’ve been using almost everyday on my iPad.

Flipboard recently released the version 2.0 of this amazing app. The new Flipboard allows you to collect and save articles, photos, audio and video by organizing them into beautiful magazines. You heard it right! Now you can even create you own digital magazines on Flipboard. These magazines can be made public to share them with the Flipboard community or you can choose to make your magazines private.


What’s new in Flipboard 2.0?

  • You can now collect and save content into your own magazines, tap the new “+” button to get started.
  • Your magazines are public, but can be made private (viewable only to you).
  • Use the new bookmarklet to add items to your magazines from your browser.
  • Get Flipboard notifications when people like, comment or subscribe to your magazines.
  • Easily email or share magazines to Facebook, Twitter, G+, etc.
  • Personalized recommendations for more to add to your Flipboard.
  • Search is now front and center on your Flipboard, with new and improved results.
  • Faster page-loading and faster flipping performance.

Flipboard 2.0 has also introduced a new commenting system which allows you to comments on articles and even use @mentions to interact with other Flipboard users. Apart from that, Flipboard also brings new “Flip It” bookmarklet which lets you flip the current page on Flipboard. This update is currently available only for iPad and iPhone users. Android users might have to wait for few weeks before getting their hands-on these amazing new features.

Carbon for Twitter Arrives on Android with Its Gorgeously Animated User Interface

After teasing us for months, Dots and Lines has finally introduced Carbon for Twitter in the Play store. Carbon made a name for itself on the WebOS App Catalog and Windows Phone Market as a gorgeous, intuitive, and powerful Twitter client for the masses as well as power users. Making the cut in the crowded Play app store will be tougher, but judging from the initial spate of downloads, there’s still room for a carefully crafted Twitter app for Android.


Carbon for Twitter makes a positive impression the moment you launch it. After a quick splash screen, you are asked to authenticate yourself, and within seconds your Twitter stream is laid out in front of you in neatly arranged cards. Two-finger downward swipe takes you to the bottom of the list, while a similar gesture in the upward direction will take you to the top. Swiping right will take you to the Mentions and Direct Messages screens. There are subtle animations for practically everything you do, and Carbon for Twitter feels alive in a way very few Android apps do. My favorite is the little card tilt animation that Carbon does while jumping in and out of a conversation. In spite of having a beautiful user interface that is livened up with thoughtful use of animations and clever gestures, Carbon feels fluid and fast. None of the lags and momentary freezes that are oh-so-common in Android are present in Carbon.


This is not to say that it’s all rosy with Carbon. The first version is understandably buggy, and crashes every once in a while. I have already had to reinstall it once to fix a crash loop. Carbon is pretty feature complete, and includes support for native retweets as well as classic retweets, lists, searches, hashtags, and trends. The Filters feature deserves a special mention, since it’s something I am only used to seeing on desktop clients. You can cleanup your Twitter stream by filtering out content based on people, hashtag, or keywords. However, power users might spot that a few features they are accustomed to using in other clients are absent in Carbon. Sync frequency can’t be changed (it’s either once every fifteen minutes or not at all), the app doesn’t have a widget, integration with third-party url shorteners and image uploaders as well as services like Twitlonger and Tweetshrink is absent, and video uploads don’t seem to be supported at all. Tablet support is also missing at this point. However, this is only the first version. I am sure that M.Saleh Esmaeili, the developer, wanted to get a working version out as soon as possible, and feature enhancements will come later.


Carbon for Android was initially supposed to be a paid app; however, since Play store doesn’t support payments in the developer’s country, he decided to release it for free. As of now, Carbon is a completely free app without any in-built advertisement. It’s the most visually attractive and fun Twitter client I have seen on the Android app store. If none of the missing features I listed above are dealbreakers for you, go ahead and take it for a spin. It’s still early days for Carbon, but it has definitely raised the bar for Android apps as far as aesthetics is concerned.


[ Download Carbon for Android ]

Snapseed Photo Editing App Finally Comes To Android

Snapseed is a popular photo-editing app developed by Kik software. This app was previously available only for iPhone and iPad. Back in September, Google acquired the parent firm of Snapseed. This indicated that Google was planning to release the popular Snapseed app for Android smartphones and tablets. After waiting for a couple of months, Snapseed was finally released on the Google Play Store.

Snapseed allows you to edit your photos as well as adjust brightness and contrast using simple gesture controls. You can easily adjust or tweak your photos with a single tap using Auto Correct and Tune Image. You will also find a Google+ button on the top, which clearly indicates that Google wants you to post all your amazing photos on its very own social networking site. Currently, this app supports only JPEG and TIFF photos.

Photo editing apps doesn’t come cheap. However, you will be surprised to learn that Android users can download Snapseed for free! This app was previously available for $4.99 on the Apple App Store. Now, iPhone and iPad users can also download this app without spending a dime. Sadly, this app is available only for devices running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or the newer version of the OS. We will be posting a complete review of Snapseed within next few days. Stay tuned!

[ Download Snapseed For Android ]

Falcon Pro For Twitter – The Twitter Client Android Users Have Been Waiting For?

The Android app ecosystem may not be lacking compared to iOS, as it was before. The Play Store is now filled with some quality apps from top developers that mostly follow the design guidelines laid down by Google.

However, accept it or not, there is still a lack of a decent Twitter client for Android. The official Twitter app for Android is absolutely horrible and slow, while Plume, Tweetcaster and others seem to be designed by a high-school going kid.

Thankfully, the developer of Falcon for Twitter – a full featured Twitter widget – has released a new Twitter client for Android, based on his Twitter widget, Falcon Pro.

The app is still in beta, and does lack certain features that Plume or Tweetcaster have, but it looks much better and polished. The developer has also taken effort to optimize the app for tablets. The app will work on any Android 2.2+ devices.

Falcon Pro for Twitter is still in beta and the APK of the app can be downloaded from this thread on XDA forums. The developer plans release the app on the Play Store after beta testing it for sometime at a nominal price.

Sony’s Xperia Motion Snap App for Android Converts Videos into Live Wallpapers

One of the coolest things about Android is live wallpapers. Yes, they aren’t particularly utilitarian, but some of the live wallpapers are truly breathtaking. Now Sony has released an app to enable you to add a personal touch to your live wallpapers.


Xperia Motion Snap is a new app from Sony, which can record a short video and use it as a live wallpaper. After you record a video, the app will automatically convert into a looping live wallpaper. There are a few additional options, including miniature effect, which adds a nice looking blur effect to the video.


The bad news is that this app is only available for Xperia users in Japan. Fortunately for us, some enterprising users have already extracted the APK and shared it with the world. You can download and install the APK on any device. The other alternative is to use Video Live Wallpaper, which is a free app available in the Play store. Video Live Wallpaper has a few more options and can cycle through multiple videos. Xperia Snap, on the other hand, only works with videos recorded through the app, and is less configurable. However, Sony’s graphics engine is capable of recording pretty looking videos that work well as live wallpapers.

[ Download Xperia Motion Snap ]

Last Day Of Google Play 25 Cent Sales Begin; Includes Nova Launcher Prime And Horn

Today is the last day of Google’s 25 cent sale in lieu of the company celebrating 25 billion app downloads on the Play Store. The apps and games on sales in the last four days ranged from pretty awesome to some pretty lesser known games and live wallpapers. Some notable apps that were worth buying and went on sale in the last four days included Camera Zoom FX, Where’s My Perry, Cut The Rope, Endomondo Pro and Cogs.

Today is the last day of the sale, and thankfully, it contains some really popular apps that very rarely go through a price reduction or on sale.

Below is the full list of apps on sale today -:

Some must buy apps in the list include Nova Launcher Prime, Horn, Great Big War Game and the Dark Knight Rises. Make sure you have a decently powerful Android device with tons of storage space before you buy The Dark Knight Rises and Horn though. The latter is especially optimized for Tegra phones, and was only recently released on the Play Store with ravishing reviews.

As an Android device owner, I must say these yearly sales from Google are a great way to get people to buy apps. At such a tempting price, it just becomes hard to resist some quality apps in the Play Store.

Via – Reddit