App Update Roundup: AirDroid 2, Chrome Beta, Kindle, and Moviefone
Today we bring you the latest roundup of recently updated Android apps; including AirDroid 2, which is moving out of beta, improvements to Amazon’s Kindle app, and an all new user interface for AOL’s Moviefone.
AirDroid is a tool I’ve been using for quite a while, and I’m pleased to report that AirDroid version 2 is now moving out of its beta stage and is now ready for release.
The basic functionality will be familiar to previous users and beta testers alike, you’ll still be able to access most of your phone’s features through your web browser via web.android.com. Users can still connect over WiFi , but now you can use an AirDroid account, Facebook, Twitter, or Google account to connect via a data connection. And you won’t need to bother with the cumbersome password authentication method either. There’s also the option to scan a quick QR code if you’re in a hurry.
AirDroid 2 grants you the ability to access your phone from a web browser anywhere in the world, providing that both devices are connected to the internet. The only limitation placed on users is a 1Gb data limited when transferring items from phone to desktop over a non-LAN connection.
The user interface will look familiar to regular users, but there are some subtle changes to the way things work. There’s an all new toolbox on the right side which houses many of AirDroid’s more useful features, including the option to upload files, install non-Market APKs, clipboard sharing, and URL forwarding.
Even the search bar has received a few tweaks, as it now includes three new options; Call, Settings, and Sign Out, which all do exactly what their names suggest.
There are also a few more shortcuts on the desktop. Beta users will be familiar with the Camera and Phone Location options, but these are entirely new features since Version 1. The Phone Location option works as you’d expect, it allows you to track the location of your smartphone or tablet. AirDroid uses the GPS transmitter on your device to pin down its location, which could be helpful if you ever lose your handset or have it stolen. The Camera app gives you a real time view of either the front or rear camera on your device, and can also capture a picture from a click in your browser. Interestingly this doesn’t even activate the camera app on your device, which has interesting implications for the wannabe spies out there.
Calls can now be started directly from AirDroid as well, SMS message logs have been added, and there are various tweaks to the Tools menu to speed up actions like tethering and running the task manager. On top of all that there are a few tweaks to the UI when it comes to messaging, drag and drop has been implemented on compatible browsers, and some options have been moved around slightly. But on the whole things will be fairly familiar.
Feature wise, AirDroid has over gone a pretty huge update with Version 2, improving the app in many areas without detracting from what made the app great in the first place. If you haven’t been participating in the beta then now’s your chance to try out the full version of AirDroid.
Chrome updates are a pretty common occurrence, but the latest update for the Chome Beta program aims to really ramp up the performance of Google’s Android web browser.
The engineers over at Google have improved page rendering response times, so everything should load up faster than ever before.
As always there are a few bug fixes for some of the most frequently occurring crashes as well. The bug which prevents users from scrolling after zooming in on images has been eliminated, and the black screen problem on Huawei tablets has also been addressed. Finally the color glitch causing a blue line to appear below the search box has also been fixed.
Of course with this being a beta there are still a few known issues; embedded videos may be jittery on Ice Cream Sandwich devices, typed characters are deleted sometimes on password fields, and opening tabs is sometimes a little slow. But that’s the price you pay to be on the cutting edge of Chrome features.
Continue on to page two for update information regarding Amazon’s Kindle Android app and AOL’s Moviefone.