Universal ADB driver for all Windows versions include 8 [Download]

If you have ever rooted your Android device or loaded custom ROM on it, chances are that some or other time, you would have had issues with the drivers.  Windows 8 is another big problem, even after so many months of its launch, device drivers still continue to have problem with this OS version.

Now, thanks to known Android developer Koushik Dutta (and dev community help), we have a universal ADB (+ Fastboot) driver that should work for all Android devices (or most of them) and most Windows versions include the Windows 8.

“This driver should work on all Android phones for all versions of Windows. [1] It does not require that you turn on test signing or disable driver verification. This is done by installing ClockworkMod as a trusted certificate and publisher into the local machine’s certificate store,” Koush noted in a Google+ post.

This is a godsend for newbies, who especially have troubles with drivers.

You can download the driver from here, or take a look at its source code here.

Facebook Home pre-release APK leaked, works fine on Nexus 4

Turns out we don’t have to wait until April 12 to test-drive the Facebook Home. Paul at Modaco has posted the APK for Facebook Home (they are actually three APKs) to install on your Android phone. As this has been taken out from a pre-release HTC First ROM, it is quite buggy and Chat Heads don’t seem to be working.

Also, there is a specific set to requirements to runs this. It has been tested on Nexus 4, and if your Android phone satisfies the following requirements, you are good to go.

In order to use the leak, you need an Android device with a maximum resolution of 1280×768 and the ability to completely uninstall your existing Facebook app. This is important, as the leaked APKs are re-signed and can’t just be installed over the top of an existing installation. This will automatically exclude some devices which have Facebook installed in the base ROM.

You can grab the APK downloads from Modaco.com.

If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, the Facebook Home app is scheduled to be released in Google Play on April 12, which is just four days away. The app will initially be only compatible with select phones like HTC One X, X+, Samsung Galaxy S III and Note II.

Facebook Home to only support Android 4.0+ devices

When Facebook unveiled its new home-screen replacement app “Facebook Home” for Android, it skipped a small detail in the main announcement and even the press release. Apparently, Facebook Home is only compatible with phones powered by Ice Cream Sandwich and newer Android versions, the social giant revealed in Q&A following the event.

If your phone has Gingerbread or below Android versions, which are still present on about 45pc of total Android devices, you are out of luck.  Facebook did not reveal if it plans to expand the compatibility to Gingerbread, but it seems highly unlikely. Facebook is clearly planning for the future and in the next one year or so, Gingerbread and older versions will be out of the scene and we will have a majority of devices running on 4.0+

Set to be released in Google Play on April 12, Facebook Home will initially only support – HTC One X, One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III and Samsung Galaxy Note II, but S 4 and HTC One support will soon follow. Other Android devices with Android 4.0+ are expected to get Facebook Home support in the coming months.

Company is also not bringing the tablet support right-away; Android tablets are likely to get Facebook Home in the coming months.

 

Facebook makes ‘Home’ official, available beginning April 12

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg  took to the stage in California to announce their new home-screen experience for Android users called ‘Home.’ In simple terms, Facebook Home is like any other Android launcher that you have seen so far during your Android days with the soul of Facebook.

In Facebook’s words, it is a combination of multiple social apps by the company, to make the Android phones more people-centric and not app-centric.

Facebook Home is set to be released in Google Play on April 12 and will be initially available for select phones. These phones are HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III, and Samsung Galaxy Note II, all of which are some of the most popular Android phones on the planet. The upcoming Samsung Galaxy S 4 and just released HTC One will be next in line to receive Facebook Home. Other Android devices will be getting ‘Home’ in the coming months.

This Android user-interface will not be available for Android tablets initially although Facebook is working on a tablet version, which is expected to be launched in the coming months.

“We asked ourselves ­if sharing and connecting are what matter most, what would your phone be like if it put your friends first? Our answer is Home. Home isn’t a phone or operating system, and it’s also more than just an app. Home is a completely new experience that lets you see the world through people, not apps,” Facebook noted in a press release.

Facebook Home features

Cover feed: It is the Facebook replacement of your Android lock-screen and home-screen. It is an image-centric version of Facebook newsfeed.

Chat Heads: It is a unified messaging feature from Facebook. It combines Facebook messenger and SMS

Notifications:  Information about stuff that is directly meant for you on Facebook.

Apps: A list of your favourite Android apps from your phone. You can add or remove as many you want. It can be accessed by swiping up the screen.

 

 

Firefox for Android updated, brings per-tab private browsing

Mozilla has updated Firefox of Android to version 20.0 along with the Windows, Linux and Mac versions. The new update is now available in Google Play and brings some new features along with lower hardware requirements.

Android users will now be able to enjoy per-tab private browsing in Firefox for Android along with ability to edit top sites section in Firefox home. Here is the full change-log:

  • Per-Tab private browsing
  • Gingerbread and Honeycomb support for H.264/AAC/MP3 hardware decoding
  • Top Sites in about:home is now customizable
  • The ‘Quit’ menu item has been removed from Firefox versions running on ICS and higher. When done browsing just tap swipe off recent application list. Use the QuitNow add-on if you want more control
  • System requirements have been lowered to 384MB of RAM and QVGA displays

“Firefox for Android adds support for additional devices running on a less powerful processor architecture, ARMv6 processors. This includes popular phones like Samsung Galaxy Next, HTC Aria, HTC Legend, Samsung Dart, Samsung Galaxy Pop and the Samsung Galaxy Q,” Mozilla noted in a blog post.

Download Firefox for Android from Google Play

Top Android app updates

We are back with our guide of top Android app updates in the last 24 hours. We saw updates for apps like SoundHound, SoundCloud, Expedia, Socialcam and a lot more. Find the details below along with full change-logs.

Productivity Android apps

SoundCloud (version 2.5.2): Cloud storage for audiophiles

Change-log:

  • Added extra URI handling
  • Fixed Search loading bugs
  • General stability fixes

Download SoundCloud for Android

SoundHound (version 5.3):  Music recognition app

Change-log:

  • Optimized for medium and large tablets
  • Visually stunning music discovery
  • See LiveLyrics, the newest way to experience lyrics as they magically move in sync with the song
  • Explore charts, albums and artists with graphic imagery
  • Streamlined sharing to Facebook, Twitter, and more
  • Easily purchase the songs you love

Phone updates:

  • Find your songs quickly with SoundHound’s even faster music recognition!
  • Scroll through history more easily

Download SoundHound for Android

Dolphin Browser (version 9.3.2): Web Browser

Change-log:

  • Facebook/Evernote/Box sharing improvement.
  • Stability optimization of Dolphin Connect.
  • Many bug fixes.

Download Dolphin Browser for Android

Social Android apps

Minus: Chat with People Nearby (version 1.2)

Change-log:

  • See who liked your photos
  • New camera and upload improvements
  • Bug fixes and performance improvements

Download Minus for Android

Keek Social Video (version 2.7.4): Record & share video with others

Change-log:

  • UI enhancements
  • Performance improvements
  • Bug fixes

Download Keek for Android

Fitness Android apps:

Strava Cycling (version 3.3): Record all your rides, analyze your performance

Change-log:

  • View the map of your ride as you record
  • Create manual activities from your mobile device
  • Share, comment and give kudos from the feed

Download Strava Cycling for Android

Travel Android apps

Expedia Hotels & Flights (version 3.0)

Change-log:

  • Itineraries! A beautiful timeline of your upcoming trips with Expedia
  • New! Flight booking is now available in Spain, Sweden, Austria, and the Netherlands (phone only)
  • Improved! We made it easier to select dates for multi-night hotel stays and roundtrip flights
  • Improved! We simplified the checkout process so that you can book even faster
  • Fixed! We fixed issues with guest checkout in UK and Canada

Download Expedia for Android

Android Games

Line Play (version 1.3)

Change-log:

  • You can now give even more Hearts to your friends with the new “Extra Heart” feature.
  • Optimized the app and fixed some minor bugs.

Download Line Play for Android

Where’s My Perry? (Version 1.4)

Change-log:

  • This update includes 20 brand-new Agent P levels and 20 Dr. Doofenshmirtz very-evil levels!

Download Where’s My Perry? For Android

Facebook rolling out VoIP for Messenger in the UK

Facebook seems pretty keen on giving Skype, Viber and other VoIP services a run for their money by pushing the free calling service on its Messenger app to more countries. The Next Web reports that the social network is quietly rolling out VoIP to Facebook Messenger for Android in the UK.
The addition to the Android version of the app comes days after the iOS Messenger app was updated in the UK with the VoIP feature. Just like in the US and Canada, users in the UK can place free calls to Facebook friends using the Messenger app on iOS devices. The feature on Android was first released in Canada.

A new option now shows up next to the photo and camera buttons on users’ Messenger profiles. To place a call, you must select the person you wish to talk to and click on the “i” button on their profile to make this option show up.

Now, use Google Translate for Android offline with over 50 language packs

Despite 3G and 4G networks reaching everywhere, data connections still remain unreliable in major parts of the globe, so it is always great to have apps that can work offline.  To help you with that, Google has now introduced downloadable offline language packs for Google Translate, so next time you want to translate something but don’t have data connection; Google Translate for Android won’t leave you out to dry.

With support for Android devices running on Gingerbread or above, Google’s offline language packs include 50 languages.

These offline packs aren’t the best that Google can offer you, but they should still be able to help you out in need. “You can select [Offline Languages] in the app menu to see all the offline language packages available for download. To enable offline translation between any two languages, you just need to select them in the offline languages menu,” noted Minqi Jiang, Associate Product Manager, Google in a blog post.

The new Google Translate for Android, which brings the offline language packs, also adds the ability to translate vertical text in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean with your camera.

Download Google Translate for Android

Flipboard update brings user-created magazines and Etsy integration

Makers of Flipboard have updated the social magazine app in one of the biggest overhauls of the application to date. The new app now allows readers to create and share their own magazines in a bid to keep growing in popularity.

The app is letting readers customise their own content around topics, events, and personal interests that can be shared with others. It also partnered with Etsy, the online bazaar for handmade goods, allowing users to shop from Flipboard.

It’s the largest thing we have ever done,” said Flipboard co-founder and CEO Mike McCue about the new edition. “We want to allow people to curate the content they love.”

Flipboard is the latest social media company trying to entice people with the lure of creating and sharing interests along the same lines as fast-growing online scrapbook Pinterest, which lets people ‘pin’ items on a virtual bulletin board.

Even Facebook changed its popular newsfeed in March giving more prominence to photos and videos in an effort to make the social network more of a personalized newspaper.

With more than 50 million downloads, Flipboard is a popular app among people who use it as a one-stop place for reading a variety of articles from different sources. It makes money by sharing revenue with its partners who sell ads on Flipboard.

But publishers are also keeping a close eye on the start up. Conde Nast, for instance, which is a partner of Flipboard pulled back the reins with some of its titles—The New Yorker and Wired—in order to keep guard over its content. Flipboard users will see an excerpted summary sending readers to the New Yorker and Wired websites.

 

Google+ app updated, gets photo filters, new profile design

Google has rolled out a massive update for its Google+ apps that brings new photo filters, profile designs and even the ability to use GIFs as your profile picture.

The most important addition to this release are the photo filters for the iOS app. Google has finally put its acquisition of photo editing app Snapseed to use by adding features from it to the Google+ apps. You can now make all of your photo edits within the app itself; you can crop, change the image’s contrast, saturation and brightness, and more. Like most social networking sites that have an image-editing function built-in, Google+ now lets you add filters to your images, quite like Instagram. This feature, however, seems to be a part of only the iOS app refresh.

The Google+ app also has a new flow to it. Your stream will show a lot more text and comments without having to view a story. In fact, when you tap on a story now, it takes you directly to the image, watch page or the website lightbox.

On the Android app, the +1, Reshare and Comment buttons are now displayed more prominently next to each post. It is now possible to filter search results by choosing between “best” and “most recent”, too—quite like Facebook’s News Feed. You can also swipe through albums in-line on the Android version of the app.

Ever since Google+ got Communities, users’ news feeds have been clogged by certain active communities. However, the update lets you control the “volume” of the posts that you see in your stream from individual circles and communities. You can even choose to not have posts from communities show up on your stream. If you happen to be a Community manager, you can even moderate posts via the app.

The updated app for Android lets you share your current location. For iOS users, a new notifications tray has also been worked out. Showering its love yet again on the GIF format, Google+ will now allow animated photos as display pictures on the site.

It has been a long time coming, but “Ghost Town” Google+ is finally making a mark for itself as a social networking platform. Its deep integration with products like Gmail, YouTube, Search and Drive aside, Google+ is standing on its own two feet as an independent platform for users to connect with family and friends.

You can download Google+ for your Android and iOS devices here.