Apps

Android P Developer Preview: What you need to know

Let the name guessing begin

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The latest version of Google’s mobile operating system, Android P, is finally here, but don’t get too excited just yet. This is only a developer preview.

A developer what? This means it’s an early build meant for app developers and not consumers. This is important in finding bugs and creating optimized software before the final version begins rolling out.

But while this release is targeted toward software specialists, there’s a bunch of info regular users like us can learn from this early peak into Android P. Here are some things you must know:

Android P has no official name yet

Android Pie? Android Peanut? Nope, sorry — there’s no dessert tagged to Android P at the moment. That’s something we’ll learn between July and August 2018, a year after Android Oreo became official.

What’s more or less certain is this will be the ninth version of Android, and that it feels too early to release considering how few users actually have Oreo on their devices.

Most improvements are on the back end for now

This being a developer preview, a lot of the tweaks are currently happening from behind the curtains (or user interface in this case). Watch and see how geared this early build is for app makers:

But that doesn’t mean we won’t see any visual changes to Android P in the coming months. Based on the back-end improvements we’ve seen so far, some design cues and menus will have to shift, especially since…

It’ll have support for phones with a notch

The biggest — and possibly most disappointing — trend in smartphones is the inclusion of a notch or cutout at the top of a borderless display. However, smartphone manufacturers argue that it’s necessary in pursuing an all-screen front while maintaining key hardware like the earpiece and selfie camera.

Whatever the case, we have to accept the notch as more and more brands adopt it into their designs. Likewise, Android P will begin building its interface around the dead space. Notice how the clock is now positioned to the left in the above image; this will supposedly even out the icons in case a notch rests in between.

Quick settings and notifications are getting revamped

Notch or not, the quick settings and notifications on top will look a lot different. These previews from Google are the clearest looks we have so far of the design revamps:

You’ll notice the circular borders around the quick setting icons and the rounded edges of the notification shade. Each notification also includes more visuals, such as user icons and full-blown images from messages. There are even integrated smart replies for quick responses straight from the pull-down menu.

Android P won’t support the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, and Pixel C

Sadly, the last batch of Nexus smartphones and Google’s former flagship tablet aren’t getting a dose of this year’s Android flavor. Having been launched in 2015, they’ve reached the end of their software lifespan, but that doesn’t mean independent hackers won’t find a way to get Android P into these classic gadgets.

As anticipated, 2016’s Pixel and Pixel XL will be on the receiving end, along with last year’s Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Although nothing is certain yet with the current crop of Android One phones, all recent releases should get Android P by the end of the year.

We’ll learn more at Google I/O

The next major build will arrive in May during Google I/O, which is the company’s conference for announcing software-based updates. It’s this version that’ll officially be called a beta build, and will be available to the public for download. This is how it played out last year:

Apps

Spotify re-introduces PhP 9 three-month Premium subscription offer

For first-time paid users

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Still using free Spotify? Now is the best time to jump to the Premium side because Spotify is bringing back its limited-time holiday offer. If you’re a former Premium user, Spotify also wants to welcome you back.

Until the end of year, free Spotify users can avail of the Premium subscription for just PhP 9. The promo subscription will last three months, so you’ll be able to enjoy it even after the holidays.

Spotify Premium offers on-demand access to millions of songs and thousands of playlists available for high-quality streaming. Additionally, paying users can also listen to podcasts and the best part is everything is ad-free.

As mentioned earlier, Spotify also has a pretty good offer for existing users. If you canceled your Premium account before October 16, you may avail three months of Premium subscription for the price of one or just PhP 129.

Eligible users can grab the holiday offer through spotify.com/premium.

SEE ALSO: Spotify introduces its app for Apple Watch

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6 apps that help make travel stress-free

Don’t leave home without these!

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Photo by Ross Sneddon

In this crazy-busy world we live in, we often find ourselves in need of an escape. Travel provides that for me. Going away for a bit of a break is an absolute necessity. There’s nothing like coming back refreshed and ready to take on the stress brought by daily life — both the challenging and the mundane parts of it. Sometimes, however, the thing that’s supposed to help you destress can be the cause of it too. Planning and the actual journey just to get to your destination (and even coming home) can be pretty stressful.  

Years of traveling has taught me a couple of things to make trips like this easier both on my wallet and my stress levels. In a previous article, we discussed how to save money while traveling (link). This time, we’ll be talking about apps that help keep the stress away. Being ready and planning ahead is half the battle for any journey. Having these six apps on your phone will make sure you’re more than ready for it.

PackPoint

I’ve been using PackPoint since 2015. Back when we were still living in Kuala Lumpur, one of my friends who traveled often recommended it to me and it has been part of my life ever since. At that time, my husband and I were about to go visit my family in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Malmö with side trips to Paris, London, and Geneva. It was a three-week trip and I was going nuts with planning what to bring.

That friend saved me by introducing me to this app that comes up with a digital packing list that you can consult on the go. All you have to do is enter the place you’re going to along with the dates. It will then ask you what the trip is for (business or leisure?) and a few other basic questions. It will then give you your personalized packing list — from clothing to your electronics. Packpoint just figures everything out for you, making those days before a trip a little less stressful.

Spotted by Locals

When visiting a new place, we often make time to see the historical highlights. But what happens when you’re done with those? I always make sure I visit an interesting establishment, a café, or even a restaurant that’s local-approved. More authenticity, less overpriced. I often consult Spotted by Locals for this.

The app collates recommendations from locals in the city you’re visiting — from places to grab food in to interesting and alternative sites to see. Even though I live in Berlin, I make it to a point to look through this app for some recommendations here and it never disappoints. I often find something that piques my interest, like this GDR Cinema I plan to visit next week.

Google Maps

What I see on Spotted by Locals, I always save here on Google Maps. The option to save places on different lists such as “Favorites” or “Want to Go” is such a blessing for people like me who need to organize absolutely everything — even my thoughts and my eating plans. Whenever I feel hungry and I don’t know where to go, I just open it up and see the places that I’ve saved on my “Want to Go” list and pick the ones nearest to me. It solves the problem of having to keep going back and forth with your friends, deciding where to eat.

City Mapper

 

While Google Maps can already provide you with transportation options to get to where you want to go, City Mapper is an app I keep for more options. You get your usual routes via walking, taking the train and bus, or even driving there, but you also get ride-sharing options. It even tells you where the nearest Mobike (bike-sharing app) is so you can exercise a bit by cycling your way there.

Flio

I absolutely hate signing up for Wi-Fi in airports. The questionnaires just seem to go on forever, I end up wondering whether they will be asking me for my medical history next. Flio lets me sign in hassle-free. It also keeps my flight information, helping me keep track of my schedule and making sure I never miss a flight while browsing the Duty Free makeup aisle.

Flio also tells you which restaurants and shops are at the airport while giving you vouchers for them. We all know dining in airports can be pretty expensive so a discount is always welcome. Your phone’s battery running low? It also tells you where you can charge within the airport so you can keep posting stories on Instagram.

Google Translate

Save yourself the trouble of miming your way to get information. This app can translate a conversation as you go. Another fun feature is the camera which lets you snap a photo of signs and labels. It will then scan the photo for words and all you have to do is highlight the ones you need translated and press on the blue arrow. Et voila! You now know the flavor of jam you have inside that jar. This is such a lifesaver when grocery shopping abroad or looking at posters and announcements in a foreign language.

Got favorites of your own? Share them in the comments below! Would love to discover new apps that I can use in my next trips!

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Tinder’s new feature tells you when a lot of people are swiping in the area

You’re welcome, Tinderella!

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Dating app Tinder is finding more and more ways to get people swiping more.

Enter: The new Swipe Surge feature.

Let’s face it, not all areas or events are equal — in terms of swipe activity, that is. But, fret not. Tinder will now tell you if you’re in an area with a high swiping ratio to make sure you don’t miss out on all the fun.

Wait, what fun exactly? Well, according to Tinder, during a Swipe Surge, activity on the app is 15 times higher than normal. This means that the chance of finding the love of your life (or the love of tonight 😉) is higher by 250 percent and even chatting up some cuties becomes 33 percent faster. Yep, those are some serious computations.

To get in on the fun, enable push notifications so that the app can notify you when a Swipe Surge is happening in real time. Once you’ve joined the Swipe Surge party, you’ll be put on top swiping priority. Tinder will even show you who’s actively swiping at that moment!

Oh, what fun! Swipe Surge is being tested on iOS in select cities. Unfortunately, we don’t know which ones, or when it’s coming to all users; if it even ever will.

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