Apps

Instagram app icon gets a makeover

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A few years back, Google introduced a design aesthetic called Material Design – basically this meant a more clean and flat user interface on websites, computers and smartphones.

It was a huge departure from another design concept called skeuomorphism, where designs are made to look like real life objects.

Not sure what we’re talking about? Look at the app icons on your phone, there was a time when icons looked 3D, had bevels and drop shadows. Apple was a big proponent of skeuomorphism, and on the original iPhone the notes app icon resembled a notebook, the camera app icon resembled a camera lens.  

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When material design started taking root, apps were quick to follow the trend, looking flat and for the lack of a better word, basic. Except for one hold-out, Instagram’s app icon has stayed the same all these years.

For an obsessive compulsive like me, it was really annoying. I meticulously curate the apps that appear on my home screen, and the Instagram app stands out like a sore thumb. It’s one of my most frequently used apps but one I’d rather hide than give prominent placement to.

But that’s all changed today. Instagram has a new app icon, and it’s flat!

In a blog post announcing the update, Instagram says the new app icon is inspired by the original, “but with a simpler camera.” The rainbow that once adorned the old logo, “lives on in gradient form.”

According to a separate blog post on Medium, Instagram design head Ian Spalter said he asked everyone in the company to draw the Instagram icon from memory, giving them only 5 seconds. The elements from the original that had the most recall (rainbow, lens, and viewfinder) were incorporated into the new, modern design.

The new icon is essentially a camera still, but instead of the Polaroid which is what Instagram was originally about, the new camera outline represents the shift to smartphone photography – the way most people take photos today.

Spalter writes, “We wanted to create a look that would represent the community’s full range of expression — past, present, and future.”

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Instagram’s other apps Hyperlapse, Boomerang, and Layout also get similar app redesigns.

The redesign isn’t just skin deep. The Instagram app also gets a facelift, looking cleaner than ever. Now its mainly black and white, bringing “more focus on your photos and videos without changing how you navigate the app.”

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We checked, the Instagram update is available on both the iOS app store and Google Play.

[irp posts=”11261″ name=”The LG G6’s camera features are built for Instagram”]

Apps

Google asks smartphone makers to pay for Play Store

In response to EU’s ruling

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Google Play

Months ago, Google landed in a scalding pool of Europe’s hot water. The European Competition Commission accused the company of anti-competition practices. Among other things, Google forced smartphone makers to bundle Chrome and Google Search as a requirement. According to the commission, the stipulation gives the company an unfair advantage over its rivals.

Eventually, the Commission hammered down a guilty verdict. From this, Google paid a record-breaking fine to the European Union. Besides this, the company had to stop the indicted practice.

Now, Google is finally implementing a resolution for the guilty verdict. Starting this month, the company will change its offered bundles for smartphone makers in the EU.

As opposed to enforcing the bundle, Google will offer Android’s apps for a price. Instead of a strong-arm strategy, Google’s new strategy aims for the best of both worlds. Smartphone companies can opt out of the program. Historically, some companies have already opted out of Android’s app ecosystem. For example, Chinese smartphones often implement their own variants because of China’s prohibitions.

Additionally, Google will loosen its regulations against forked versions of its Android operating system. Some smartphone makers alter Android’s inner workings for their own uses. Most notoriously, Xiaomi uses its own MIUI software. Previously, the bundling scheme swayed the deal towards Google’s favor, despite any proprietary changes. With looser regulations, companies can fork all they want.

Now, companies can sell smartphones running forked Androids. That is, if they also sell a separate smartphone with Google’s untouched software.

Amid all these changes, Android remains as free software for smartphones. Android can maintain its status as the world’s most ubiquitous operating system. However, if this issue elicits any questions, it’s this: How will Google’s new schema affect the casual consumer? Right now, we’ll have to wait and see.

SEE ALSO: You might need to pay Google for Android soon

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Apps

6 iPhone apps for your well-being

Mental health is important!

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World Mental Health Day may have come and gone but that shouldn’t mean that your well-being should be pushed aside. In fact, a healthy disposition should always be practiced. How does one do that in today’s fast-paced world?

We’ve got apps for you!

Omvana 

Omvana is a meditation app that measures stress levels and even your state of mind; it’s your personal mindfulness coach! The app also automatically connects to HealthKit.

Download here. 

Calm

With guided meditations, breathing exercises, sleep stories, and relaxing music, this app will help make sure you’re always in a relaxed mood.

Download here. 

Insight Timer

Don’t know how to meditate? This app allows for guided meditations from the industry’s best practitioners!

Download here. 

Headspace: Guided Meditation

Another guided meditation app which allows you to manage stress and even apply meditative practice to your every day. There’s also a sleep experience feature which promises better rest and calmness.

Download here.

Aura: Calm Anxiety & Sleep

Aura’s three-minute meditations will bring more positivity to your life. The app also does life coaching, relaxing music, and even personalized meditations.

Download here. 

AutoSleep Tracker for Watch

Better sleep means a better disposition! This app tracks sleep automatically with Advanced Heuristics AutoSleep so you’ll always have the info at hand.

Download here. 

What are you waiting for? Get to downloading and happy meditating!

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Apps

Facebook Lite comes to iPhones at less than 5MB

It consumes less power, too!

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After being enjoyed by Android users for years, the slimmed down version of Facebook’s main app finally arrived on iOS. Although, it’s only available to a select few — for now.

The Facebook Lite app was originally designed for developing countries where mobile data can be unreliable and Android phones are pretty basic. But, it also gained popularity among users with better phones because it uses way less data than the main Facebook app.

On iOS, the lite version is available for download through the Apple App Store for less than 5MB. Apart from being an easy download, it also uses less battery power and occupies minimal storage space.

This is going to be ideal for iPhones and even iPod Touch devices that are already showing signs of slowing down. The app is compatible with devices running iOS 9.0 and later.

For now, the app is only available in Turkey. As the testing phase expands to other regions, Facebook Lite will eventually be open for everyone.

Via: Business Insider

SEE ALSO: Facebook Messenger redesign starts rolling out to select users

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