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Essential Applications for Android right now



An awesome breakdown right here of the essential Android Applications that you must have on your device, these all support the latest Android OS.

There are nearly three million apps in the Google Play Store. That’s a lot of apps. Simply running the numbers, one can easily estimate that most of them aren’t worth your time, so how do you cut through the trash to find the apps you really need?

Fear not. We’re here for you. Just like last year, we’ve compiled 50 apps that are essential for Android users. These range from media apps, to tools, to simple housekeeping fare. No matter what section of the Play Store they came from, they all hold at least one thing in common: they deserve a spot in your app drawer.

These are the 50 essential Android apps for 2017:

Amazon Kindle
amazonkindle_final.jpgAmazon is still the king of eBooks, despite the best efforts from other companies like Barnes & Noble. If you’re already tied into the Kindle ecosystem, the Android app is a must have. It allows you to sync your current read between your phone, tablet and Kindle so you can keep all your devices on the same page. If you’re not a Kindle user, there are other great options in the Play Store like Moon Reader and Overdrive, which allows you to borrow eBooks from your library.

Android Device Manager
androiddevicemanager_final.jpgGiven the importance of smartphones to most people’s lives, you need to have a plan when something goes wrong. Android Device Manager helps users locate their device when it’s gone missing, reset their pin or passcode and even erase all the data. It’s not an app you will use everyday, but the one time you do need it, you’ll be happy it’s in your app drawer.

Android Pay
androidpay_final.jpgUnlike iOS, Android has a few options for mobile payments depending on what device you have. If you’re locked into Samsung’s Galaxy line, using that company’s own payment app is the likely choice. For anyone else, the answer is Android Pay which allows users to add any card from a participating bank (which is most major U.S. banks) and a large number of rewards cards.
anydo_final.jpgKeeping yourself on task can be immensely difficult. is a great way to do so thanks to its ability to sync between all of your devices, including desktop, so you’re always in the know about what’s next on your to-do list. Add in a deep bench of features, like sharing lists and tasks with friends and co-workers, and becomes a must have.

Avast Mobile Security
avastmobilesecurity_final.jpgOf the two major mobile operating systems, Android is the more vulnerable from a security perspective. Though the best security is still common sense, it’s nice to have a safety net. Avast is one of the most recommended security apps in the Play Store, and for good reason. It has a host of features, including WiFi scanning, app locker, RAM boost and more.

blendle_final.jpgBlendle is one of the most interesting new apps to hit the Play Store in recent years. It shakes up the mode of delivery for high quality, subscription-based journalism, allowing users to buy articles à la carte from top-tier publications like The Washington Post, The New York Times and more.

camscanner_final.jpgIf you ever need to scan documents on the go, CamScanner should be your go to. It’s incredibly simple to use and helpful in a pinch. The app also allows you to sync your scanned documents across multiple devices, so you can keep everything up to date.

duolingo_final.jpgDuolingo has long been one of the best language apps on the market, and nothing has changed in 2017. It’s beautifully designed, easy to use and offers real instruction. The app claims that 34 hours of use is equal to a semester of university-level education.

espn_final.jpgThough the worldwide leader in sports has fallen on hard times recently, it’s app is still one of the best designed and easy to use options for sports fans. Timely, customizable updates for your favorite sports and teams, plus industry news, make it a must have.

Facebook Messenger
facebookmessenger_final.jpgYou may be able to get away without installing Facebook’s primary app, thanks to slick wraps like Metal, but avoiding the company’s messaging option is more difficult. Luckily, the app performs well, is beautifully designed and is continually adding new features, like the ability to send money to friends within the app.

flamingo_final.jpgQuite possibly the most gorgeous Twitter alternative on the Play Store, Flamingo stormed on the scene last year and quickly became a favorite thanks to its combination of looks and performance. Though it lacks some features the standard app contains, thanks to Twitter’s well-documented surly attitude toward third party apps, it makes up for it by offering the best, uncomplicated, pure Twitter experience on Android.

flipboard_final.jpgFlipboard shook up its approach recently, but the core of the app remains the same. It collects various news sources and topics into “magazines,” giving users a single place to quickly catch up on the news they care about. It remains one of the best looking, and useful, news apps on the market and one that is well worth your time.

gboard_final.jpgThere is no shortage of keyboard apps in the Play Store, but Google’s own offering is the one you should have on your phone. After debuting on iOS, Mountain View finally brought the full GBoard experience to its own operating system months later. Though it seems a simple addition, having a Google search button directly on your keyboard is incredibly useful, making the whole experience of using your smartphone more efficient.

Google Chrome
googlechrome_final.jpgArguments can be made for numerous Android web browsers, including Dolphin and Opera Mini, but Chrome gets our nod because of the simple fact that you’re probably using it on your desktop or laptop. The app’s ability to sync your searches and history across devices is useful in a way that isn’t always apparent, but the moment you want to visit a website, whose address you can’t remember, on your laptop, you’ll be elated you were using Chrome on your phone, too.

Google Drive
googledrive_final.jpgThere are no better online office apps than Google Drive. Seamlessly working between all your devices, it’s the best and easiest way to handle documents across multiple locations and machines. The only downside is that, in order to get the best experience out of Drive, you will have to download a few other apps, like Google Sheets.

Google Fit
googlefit_final.jpgFit’s best feature, aside from being a beautiful and effective app in its own right, is its willingness to play well with others. If you need a more robust experience than what Fit offers with its basic fitness tracking, simply team it up with another fitness app you love.

Google Maps
googlemaps_final.jpgWaze has carved out its own section of the market, becoming a clear competitor to Google Maps(though, not really, as Google owns both), but the latter is still king. It’s the best maps app on the Play Store, and is always improving with new, and better, features like the recent addition allowing users to add a stop along their road trip.

Google Photos
googlephotos_final.jpgQuietly one of Google’s best apps, and perhaps the best product it’s released in years, Google Photos is absolutely a must have. It’s the best way to index all of your photos, particularly because it will do it automatically for you. The real star of the show, though, is the machine learning at work that makes searching through your photo collection a breeze.

Google Translate
googletranslate_final.jpgSometimes lambasted for its direct, and often humorous, translations, the Google Translate app is actually quite helpful, especially if you’re a frequent traveller. It uses the smartphone platform intelligently, letting users scan signs, posters and other items in the real world and translate them on their phone. If you find yourself in unfamiliar territory, look to Google Translate to lend a helping hand.

grubhub_final.jpgIf you live in one of the thousand-plus supported cities, you need to have GrubHub on your phone. It turns tons of restaurants into instant takeout options because it will deliver the food for you. All you have to do is get it on your phone, search for what you’re craving and place the order.

headspace_final.jpgWith the world becoming more stressful each and every day, an app that helps you manage that stress is indispensable. Headspace is one of the best apps available for adding a little mindfulness to your day, with its guided meditation sessions that help you relieve stress and find an emotional balance.

ifttt_final.jpgA classic Android app, IFTTT helps you unlock your phone’s potential. Its wide array of applets let users connect multiple applications together, so your Philips Hue lights will blink when your favorite baseball team scores, or your steps from Fitbit will be logged into a spreadsheet on Google Sheets everyday and much, much more. Support for Google Home and Amazon Alexa make it even more useful.

Inbox by Gmail
inbox_final.jpgThe race to find the perfect email app may have cooled of late, but there are still numerous great options to choose from on Android. Inbox gets our vote thanks to its streamlined interface, and built-in smarts. It will bundle similar messages together, show any reminders you set throughout the day, let you snooze messages until you have time to deal with them and more.

instagram_final.jpgA no-brainer. Instagram is a juggernaut, and it needs to be on your phone. Sure, it may be blatantly ripping off the core features of Snapchat, but its still a hotbed for the social media movers and shakers of the world, and a phone without it is one sorely out of the zeitgeist.

lastpass_final.jpgOne of the primary steps everyone should take toward being more secure online is creating varied, intricate passwords. A manager like LastPass makes the process easy. It lets users sync across multiple devices for free, and will even read the context of your screen to know if it should chime in with a username or password suggestion. LastPass can give you ease of mine, and ease of use.

A lover of all things tech, love all things that uses creative juices (not an innuendo) an avid blogger and part time vlogger, now stop reading and go check out some awesome posts on this site.

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Facebook personal data use and privacy settings ruled illegal by German court | Technology



The court found that Facebook collects and uses personal data without providing enough information to its members for them to render meaningful consent.
Photograph: Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images

Facebook’s default privacy settings and use of personal data are against German consumer law, according to a judgement handed down by a Berlin regional court.

The court found that Facebook collects and uses personal data without providing enough information to its members for them to render meaningful consent. The federation of German consumer organisations (VZBV), which brought the suit, argued that Facebook opted users in to features which it should not have.

Heiko Duenkel, litigation policy officer at the VZBV, said: “Facebook hides default settings that are not privacy friendly in its privacy centre and does not provide sufficient information about it when users register. This does not meet the requirement for informed consent.”

In a statement, VZBV elaborated on some of its issues: “In the Facebook app for smartphones, for example, a location service was pre-activated that reveals a user’s location to people they are chatting to.

“In the privacy settings, ticks were already placed in boxes that allowed search engines to link to the user’s timeline. This meant that anyone could quickly and easily find personal Facebook profiles.”

The Berlin court agreed with VZBV that the five default settings the group had complained about were invalid as declarations of consent. The German language judgment was handed down in mid-January, but only publicly revealed on Monday.

The court also ruled eight clauses in Facebook’s terms of service to be invalid, including terms that allow Facebook to transmit data to the US and use personal data for commercial purposes. The company’s “authentic name” policy – a revision of a rule that once required users to use their “real names” on the site, but which now allows them to use any names they are widely known by – was also ruled unlawful.

In a statement, Facebook said it would appeal, adding: “We are working hard to ensure that our guidelines are clear and easy to understand, and that the services offered by Facebook are in full accordance with the law.”

A week after the Berlin court ruled against Facebook, the social network promised to radically overhaul its privacy settings, saying the work would prepare it for the introduction in Europe of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a sweeping set of laws governing data use across the EU.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, announced the changes, saying they would “put the core privacy settings for Facebook in one place and make it much easier for people to manage their data”.

The European Union’s new stronger, unified data protection laws, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), will come into force on 25 May 2018, after more than six years in the making.

GDPR will replace the current patchwork of national data protection laws, give data regulators greater powers to fine, make it easier for companies with a “one-stop-shop” for operating across the whole of the EU, and create a new pan-European data regulator called the European Data Protection Board.

The new laws govern the processing and storage of EU citizens’ data, both that given to and observed by companies about people, whether or not the company has operations in the EU. They state that data protection should be both by design and default in any operation.

GDPR will refine and enshrine the “right to be forgotten” laws as the “right to erasure”, and give EU citizens the right to data portability, meaning they can take data from one organisation and give it to another. It will also bolster the requirement for explicit and informed consent before data is processed, and ensure that it can be withdrawn at any time.

To ensure companies comply, GDPR also gives data regulators the power to fine up to €20m or 4% of annual global turnover, which is several orders of magnitude larger than previous possible fines. Data breaches must be reported within 72 hours to a data regulator, and affected individuals must be notified unless the data stolen is unreadable, ie strongly encrypted.

Facebook has faced repeated attacks from European regulators, particularly those in Germany, over issues ranging from perceived anti-competitive practices to alleged misuse of customer data.

Since March 2016, the company has been investigated by the German Federal Cartel Office over allegations it breaches data protection law in order to support an unfair monopoly. In an interim update in December last year, the office said that it objected to the way Facebook gains access to third-party data when an account is opened. This includes transferring information from its own WhatsApp and Instagram products – as well as how it tracks which sites its users access.

In October, Facebook was the target of an EU-wide investigation over a similar issue. The Article 29 Working Party (WP29), which oversees data regulation issues across the European Union, launched a taskforce to examine the sharing of user data between WhatsApp and Facebook, which it says does not have sufficient user consent. When the data sharing feature was first announced in 2016, the group warned Facebook that it may not be legal under European law, prompting the company to pause the data transfer until a resolution was found.

“Whilst the WP29 notes there is a balance to be struck between presenting the user with too much information and not enough, the initial screen made no mention at all of the key information users needed to make an informed choice, namely that clicking the agree button would result in their personal data being shared with the Facebook family of companies,” the group told WhatsApp in October.

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Samsung S9 vs iPhone X vs Pixel 2: which one should you buy?



In the last five months, three of the most well-known smartphone manufacturers – Apple, Samsung and Google – have announced new flagship devices. Google led the pack in October with the release of its Pixel 2, with Apple following a month later with the iPhone X. Now Samsung has revealed its own hand with the announcement of the Galaxy S9 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

There’s not a great deal separating these devices at the top-end of the smartphone market, although each device has its own strengths and weaknesses in different areas. So to help you work out the best device for your own needs, we’ve put together a guide to how they compare.


The Pixel 2 has a five-inch 1080p AMOLED display with a chunky bezel at the top and bottom of the screen. This is the smallest screen of the three flagships, which is to be expected since it has the smallest overall footprint too, but it does feel a little squeezed compared to the other two phones. Flip the Pixel 2 over and you’ll find some models have a contrast colour scheme on the back, with the top section of the phone a slightly different shade to the rest of the back. Whether this rocks your boat is down to personal preference, but its a nice touch of personality that is sometimes missing from these top-tier devices.


Enter the Samsung Galaxy S9. Its 5.8-inch Quad HD AMOLED screen takes up almost all of the front of the device, leaving just a narrow strip of bezel at either end. At either side, the screen gently curves around the sides of the device, blending neatly into the rear. On the back of the phone, the fingerprint scanner has been shifted to sit directly beneath the camera. Compared to the Pixel 2, the S9 is a much slicker-looking device, all smooth curves and shiny glass, that fits much more screen into a similarly-sized device. It’s also the only of these devices to have a 3.5 mm headphone jack, so if you’re still fully wired up, this is the phone for you.

Dimensions compared

The iPhone X also has a 5.8-inch, screen even though the device as a whole is a tad smaller than the S9. And as is the case with the S9, the iPhone X screen fills almost the entire of the front of the device, save for the notorious notch that takes a chunk out at the very top. There’s no fingerprint scanner on the iPhone X, since Apple decided to go all-in on Face ID with this model, and some people might find it more inconvenient using their face to verify payments or unlock the device instead of a finger, so that’s worth bearing in mind if you’re picking between the devices.


All three of these phones have extremely capable cameras, so picking between them again comes down to a matter of personal taste. The single-lens 12.2 megapixel rear-facing camera on the Pixel 2 has an aperture with an f-stop of 1.8, which makes it particularly well-suited to photography in low-light conditions – and recent software updates have given the camera another boost. Aside from its snapping skills, Google has integrated some machine learning smarts into its camera so you can point its at an object in the real world and use Google Assistant to identify it and bring up relevant information.


Since it’s only just been announced, the jury is still out on the Galaxy S9 camera, although initial indications are that Samsung has managed to set a new high when it comes to smartphone cameras. Like the Pixel 2, the main S9 camera also has one lens, and a 12 megapixel sensor, but the S9 has another trick up its sleeve. A variable aperture feature widens up the camera’s f-stop in low light conditions, letting in way more light than most smartphone cameras are able to capture in relative darkness. In normal light conditions, the camera automatically switches to a more conventional f-stop for better focussing. The ability to record slow-mo at 960 fps is a nice too, too.

Cameras compared

The iPhone X also has a 12 megapixel sensor, but this one is a part of a dual-lens setup, with one wide-angle lens paired with a telephoto lens for photos with plenty of Instagram-friendly bokeh. Dual optical image stabilisation smooths out videos taken in bumpy circumstances while the X’s quad-LED flash is supposed to smoothly light backgrounds and foregrounds without washing subjects out.


There’s not an awful lot between these phones when it comes to their insides. The S9 and Pixel 2 both have super-fast eight-core processors, while the X’s six-core processor is more than capable of powering everything the phone can do. If plenty of storage capacity is a must, then the S9 has a Micro SD slot that can fit in up to a 400 GB SD card, while the Pixel and the X both max out at 256 GB. When it comes to battery, however, the S9 leads the pack with its 3,00mAh battery, while the X’s battery weighs in at 2716mAh and the Pixel 2 at 2,700. All should last a day of mixed use.


If you’re in the market for a new phone and only the best will do, then you’ve got a tough decision ahead of you. In terms of specs, these phones are more or less on par with each other, but if a big screen is a must then you can rule out the Pixel 2 and decide between the other contenders. Photos are more subjective, and each of these phones will hardly disappoint in the camera department, so it’s worth taking the time to get hands-on with these devices and take a few test shots to decide which one is really ticking your boxes. Whichever you chose, you can’t go far wrong.

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