Take a gander behind the curtain of how Facebook designers created the Facebook Home launcher for Android. The forty-five minute video essay shows the evolutionary process of cover feed, chat heads, and the premise of mimicking the real world experience with a software operating system not based on apps, but focused rather on people.
On May 8th, the designers behind Facebook Home (Justin Stahl, Francis Luu, Joey Flynn and Mac Tyler) presented a behind-the-scenes look at their work at the Bluxome Street Winery for a small crowd. In this four-part talk, they discuss how they combined their high-level goals with an iterative process and interactive design tools such as Quartz Composer to bring the first version of Home to launch.
It appears that Samsung is prepping for its first annual Samsung Developers Conference boasting a "cross-product, cross platform" event on October 27-29 in San Francisco. Perhaps, Samsung is shifting gears by lessening its dependence on Google's Android mobile operating system and blurring the lines of its long line portfolio of successful products with developers. The South Korean conglomerate has been working on different mobile OS like Linux based Bada and Intel processor based Tizen, which is a spin-off the abandoned Meego OS project by Nokia. Samsung promises more information to follow leading up to the event. Samsung and Google have had major successes as partners but, in the recent acquisition of Motorola, something that Google previously stated it wouldn't do and Samsung focusing on diminishing Google presence from its products have shown the relation is more stressed than first perceived.
Read More | Samsung Dev Con
We're big fans of Connected Data's Transporter device, which basically gives you locally stored and protected cloud storage without having to upload your files to third-party services like Dropbox or Copy, with no subscription fee. Now, on the heels of the Connected Data & Drobo merger agreement, comes the announcement of Transporter 2.0, a big software update for the NAS. Version 2.0 of the Transporter software brings a host of welcome improvements like:
- Improved integration with the OS X Finder and Windows Explorer
- Custom right-click options and drag-and-drop functionality
- Share direct links to files and folders
- Choose how folders are synced (locally or remotely)
- Increased firewall support
Additionally, new Transporter iOS and Android apps will allow remote access and management of files stored on the device. Transporter v2.0 will be a free software upgrade for all existing customers. For new customers, Transporter starts at $199 without a hard drive, $299 for 1TB, and $399 for 2TB.
The new Google Hangouts has arrived, bringing together Google's Talk, Hangouts, Voice, and Google+ Messenger under one app and umbrella. Google Hangouts offers unified, synchronized chat that retains history across all devices, allowing you to dig into your history wherever you are, delete messages, and check out files, photos, etc. Hangouts naturally includes the previous Google Hangouts video chat features, which allows multiple people to video chat with each other, again, from a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Hangouts it now available on iOS, Android, Chrome, and within the Gmail web client. Get a look at the video promo after the break.
Facebook Home is now available for download on Google Play, as promised last week at the Facebook Home announcement event. If you're the owner of an HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III, or Samsung Galaxy Note II, you are good to go and can download and apply Facebook's launcher right away. You can also pick up the HTC First, which ships with Facebook Home built right in. The HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4 will also be capable of running Facebook Home.
As a reminder, Facebook Home is a replacement lock screen, home screen, and chat experience for compatible Android smartphones, bringing pictures feeds to the forefront, and the new Chat Heads feature that will allow you to stay manage Facebook messages in a much more efficient way.
Read More | Facebook Home
The Google Play Store is getting a fresh coat of paint beginning today with the release of the official 4.0 update. What's so great about Google Play 4.0? Well, for starters, the images are larger, making it easier to see what exactly your about to download. Content grouping has also been improved, providing better recommendations of other items you might be interested in, and the checkout process also sees a slight overhaul as well. Google Play 4.0 starts worldwide rollout today, and may take a couple of weeks before hitting your particular device. It'll run on any smartphone or tablet running Android 2.2 or later.
Read More | Android Blog
If you love listening to Pandora when you're on the go, you may have to start paying up. Pandora has announced that it will now be capping mobile users to 40 hours of listening per month. If you reach that cap, the music will stop, and you'll need to pay a fee of $.99 if you'd like to continue listening for the remainder of the month. The reason behind this is the rising costs of the per-track royalty rates that Pandora has to pay.
"Pandora’s per-track royalty rates have increased more than 25% over the last 3 years, including 9% in 2013 alone and are scheduled to increase an additional 16% over the next two years. After a close look at our overall listening, a 40-hour-per-month mobile listening limit allows us to manage these escalating costs with minimal listener disruption."
Pandora says this should only affect about 4% of its users, so it shouldn't be a huge deal. Subscribers to the Pandora One service, which eliminated the ads altogether for $36 per year, are not affected.
Read More | Pandora
Spotify for iOS has just received a massive overhaul, bringing the UI in line with the look that Android's been sporting for a while. iOS users now get access to features like the swiping method for accessing different areas of the Spotify app (similar to what you can do in the Facebook iOS app.) The "Now Playing" area shows you the artist and track name no matter where you are navigating in the app, right above the play controls. You can swipe here to go to the next or previous track with ease. You also get bug fixes and overall improvements to stability, as well as the Ford SYNC AppLink Spotify feature that we mentioned yesterday. You can grab the update now from the App Store, and peep the full changelog after the break.
Read More | Spotify
Twitter has finally (finally!) released a substantial update to Twitter for Windows Phone. The new version brings the design of the app in line with what you'd find in the iOS and Android variants, with the Home, Connect, Discover, and Me tabs included in the app. Additionally, Twitter for Windows Phone includes Live Tile support, so you can pin specific Twitter accounts, lists, and searches right to your Start Screen. You can grab the update right now.
Read More | Twitter
Facebook 5.5 for iOS has just been released, and with it comes free voice calling for North American users over Wi-Fi and cellular networks. The feature came to Facebook's separate messaging app a couple of weeks ago, and is now baked in to the full-fledged Facebook iOS experience for users across the US and Canada. After updating, simply open your chat pane by tapping the icon on the upper-right, select a friend, and then select "Free Call." As you'd expect, the person on the other end also needs to be located in North America, and also needs to have the latest Facebook app installed. It's a nice way to make voice calls without tapping into your voice minutes--just make sure to keep an eye on your data plan when you're away from Wi-Fi, no need to try to save on voice minutes, only to rack up massive data usage fees, you feel me?
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