Saturday, June 24, 2017

10 best Philips Hue apps for Android

featured image - best Philips Hue apps for Android
Philips Hue was one of the first truly mainstream smart lights. You can find them in a variety of styles, including bulbs and light strips. There are competitors in the space that may or may not do a better job. That’s usually up to personal interpretation. As it turns out, there are plenty of options when it comes to Philips Hue apps. Philips has left their stuff open for third party developers to play with. Here are the best Philips Hue apps for Android! Note, some of these also come with support for Lifx lights as well, one of Philips Hue’s larger competitors.

AutoHue (Tasker Plug-in)

Price: $1.29


Task can do basically everything. It can also control your Philips Hue lights with this plug-in. Tasker has a bit of a learning curve. That means this isn’t the best option for those who need something simple and easy. However, the customization is top notch. You can control brightness, color, blinks of various lengths, color loops, and custom JSON scripts. You’ll have to learn how to use Tasker. However, it otherwise works very well. It’s definitely one of the better Philips Hue apps.


Hue Disco

Price: $3.99


Hue Disco is one of the better Philips Hue apps for parties. It taps into Hue’s ability to change depending on sound. You just play loud music with the app running. The lights will then change color, get dimmer, or get brighter. It’ll all depend on the music you’re listening to. There are a variety of features and customization options. It’ll even let you know if your music has hit the threshold of your lighting set up and can’t go any further. You will need a Philips Hue Controller in order to make this app work.



Price: Free / $2.99


hueManis is one of many Philips Hue apps that makes your lights more dynamic. By that, we mean that it’ll change the colors more frequently. It has about a dozen scenes that you can use. The colors will change and keep pace with things like music, your mood, etc. It works really well on its own. However, there are some additional features for the super tech savvy like ADB commands. You can try this one for free if you’d like. The full version costs $2.99.


Hue Pro

Price: $1.99


Hue Pro is one of the better basic Philips Hue apps. It comes with a lot of the same features as the stock app. That includes lighting presets, dimming and brightness toggles, a widget, music integration, and more. You can even control your lights away from home once you set it up right. Unlike most, the developers have a list of devices that they used to test this app. It should still work on devices that aren’t on the list. However, it’ll almost certainly work better on the apps that do. There’s no free version of this one. You’ll have to buy it and test it inside of the refund time to make sure you like it.


Hue Pro

Hue Switcher

Price: Free / $3.99


Hue Switcher is another one of the replacement Philips Hue apps for the stock app. It has one of the most robust sets of features of any app on the list. It features over 40 lava-lamp style changing scenes. You can also control the lights through your phone. That includes color, brightness, and the usual on/off. It also has support for the Hue Tap, Dimmer Switch, and Motion Sensor products. It should work for pretty much whatever you need it to work for. You can download this one and try it for free. The pro version will run you $3.99.


Lumio (for Philips Hue)

Price: Free with in-app purchases


Lumio is one of the newer Philips Hue apps for Android. It is also one of the simpler options. You can do the basic stuff. That includes turning the lights on and off, changing the color, and changing the brightness. It also boasts the ability to change the color with fewer taps than the stock app. It doesn’t compete with the other Philips Hue apps in terms of features. At least, it doesn’t yet. However, the interface is really nice and it does the basics pretty well. It may be a bit buggy, though.


Lumio (for Philips Hue)


Price: Up to $2.99


MediaVibe is a developer on Google Play. They have released several decent Philips Hue apps. Their apps include Philips Hue profiles for a variety of events. They have one for Halloween, one for fireworks, and even Christmas. They also have unique ones like an app with profiles for the World Cup or Twister (the game). Each app is a little bit different. However, they all perform more or less the same function. They load in color profiles that match the event in their name. The prices vary, but none of them are more expensive than $2.99.




Price: Free / Up to $9.99


OnSwitch is one of the more interesting Philips Hue apps. That’s because it also comes with direct support for LIFX lights as well. Most of the features work for both sets of smart lights. That includes 30 light scenes, the ability to manage groups of bulbs, and the ability to control independent bulbs. It doesn’t really have any more features than the stock app for those lights. However, this is still a great option for people who happened to have both types of bulbs and want one app to at least mostly control all of them. You can download it for free to see if it works. The pro version will cost money.



Philips Hue app

Price: Free


The official Philips Hue app really isn’t as bad as its horrible Google Play rating would indicate. A lot of people use the Google Play Store to complain about all kinds of Philips Hue issues. Thus, a lot of the criticism isn’t with the app, but issues with the entire product line whenever they have an issue with something. In any case, the app is actually pretty decent. It can do the basics like change colors, scenes, and brightness. They also have a very basic, but functional automation system to do things like change scenes or turn the lights on/off at a certain time. It also has support for Philips Hue accessories. It’s not perfect and it is fairly clunky. We’re not saying it’s a five star app. However, it is better than its current 2.9 rating would suggest.


Philips Hue app

Scott Dodson apps

Price: Up to $2.99


Scott Dodson is a developer on Google Play. His works are similar to MediaVibe. He has released several Philips Hue apps that have specific themes. Some of the themes include Firestorm, Thunderstorm, and Soundstorm. They work in a fun manner. For the Thunderstorm version, it’ll emulate a thunderstorm by having bright flashes of light to simulate lightning. These apps also come with various customizations, settings, and even sound options. They’re fun for what they are. The apps are around $2.99. There are also LIFX versions of these apps if you have those.


If we missed any great Philips Hue apps, tell us about them in the comments! You can also click here to check out our latest app and game lists!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Award-Winning VPN Unlimited Deal

Virtual Private Networks are becoming a necessity. They used to be a niche for tech-heads, but now they’re the norm for good reason – the rising threats online. The US government voted that your ISP can sell data about you. Advertisers want to know everything about you. Malware is more sophisticated and commonplace.

Not to mention that fact that more of your personal business is conducted online. Just the fact that you bank online is a scary prospect. All it takes is one person secretly monitoring and you could be cleaned out.

How secure do you think your connection is?

VPNs are the simple solution, which is why there are so many out there. One that consistently stands out is VPN Unlimited. Of course it encrypts your connection and masks your location. And yes it also blocks trackers and malware with A DNS firewall. Good to know, but you should expect nothing less from a VPN.

What really marks VPN Unlimited out are the award-winning touches. Unlimited bandwidth and connection speed. More than 1000 servers in 50+ countries with fast server switching. Use across 5 devices. That kinda thing.

If a lot of these terms don’t mean much to you, don’t worry. Trust the experts:

*VPN Service Providers Best VPN Service Award for 2015*

*Rated PC Mag Top VPN for 2016*

*Named a Best VPN Service of September 2016 by TechRadar*

A VPN Unlimited lifetime subscription is usually $500, but right now you can get it for the promotional sale price of just $39. Not much for complete peace of mind.

By the way, over 10,000 people have already taken up this offer and rated VPN Unlimited as 5 stars. But this deal won’t last forever, so join them by hitting the button below.

Is this deal not quite right for you? Head over to the AAPICKS HUB for more savings you’re going to love! For notifications of offers and price drops, sign up for our Deal Alerts newsletter.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Korean media: Galaxy Note 8 to launch on August 26 in New York

It looks like August will be a busy time for mobile aficionados. Rumors suggest LG will launch the V30 in the final days of the month, and now new reports out of Korea claim Samsung will unveil the Note 8 around the same time.

The Korea Herald and the news portal Naver ran stories today purporting to reveal the release date of Samsung’s Next Big Thing. According to the Korea Herald, citing industry sources, Samsung is planning to introduce the Galaxy Note 8 “in the third or fourth week of August.” Like the Note 7 before it, the new S Pen device will reportedly make its debut in New York.

Citing an unnamed Samsung official, Naver ventures a specific date: August 26, give or take a couple of days.

Samsung initially planned to launch the new Note at IFA in the first week of September, according to the Korea Herald. The impending arrival of rival devices from LG and especially Apple might have prompted Samsung to bring up the big release.

Note FE: July | Note 8: August

For reference, the Note 7 was announced on August 2 last year. Reports that surfaced after the phone was recalled due to faulty batteries suggested Samsung rushed the device to market in a bid to outshine Apple.

A caveat – we’ve heard this before. Almost every flagship release from Samsung from the last few years has been preceded by rumors claiming Samsung was accelerating release schedules in order to beat competitors to the mark. In several cases, the rumors turned out to be off the mark.

Galaxy Note 8: Everything we know so far

The Galaxy Note 8 is just two months away, but there’s another Note coming even sooner. Expect the Note FE (as in “Fan Edition,” not “Formerly Explosive”) in the first week of July.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Logitech MX Anywhere 2S Review: Best Bluetooth Mouse

If you want a great mobile mouse, the Logitech MX Anywhere 2S should find a place in your computer bag. The mouse lasts forever on a single charge and feels comfortable with plenty of features.

People use laptops less and less. However, plenty of us still drag around a computer bag with a laptop and some accessories. Since I hate almost every touchpad or trackpad I’ve used, I always carry a mobile Bluetooth mouse. For the last 7 months, I carried the Logitech MX Anywhere Bluetooth mouse. Recently Logitech updated the pointing device with the Logitech MX Anywhere 2S for $79.99. It comes in three colors including Graphite, the one they sent me for review, Midnight Teal and Light Grey.

logitech mx anywhere 2s bluetooth mouse

Logitech MX Anywhere 2S – Design

Anyone with large hands might find most mobile mice uncomfortable. That’s not the case with the Logitech MX Anywhere 2S. It’s large enough for big fisted users, but not so big that people with normal hands will feel it’s too large.

The mouse has the typical left and right-click buttons. On top, there’s a scroll wheel and a third button. By default the scroll wheel is set for smooth scrolling that’s great for quickly moving up or down long web pages. Click the button to enter precision mode with a clickable scroll wheel. That’s more useful for smaller scrolling.

logitech mx anywhere 2s bluetooth mouse charging

The LED indicator on top tells the user how much battery life is left when they turn on the mouse. It stays green when there’s plenty of battery life. It shows red when it’s too low. The mouse comes with a high-quality micro-USB to USB cable. Plug it into the port on the front edge to charge it up. The port’s a little too snug and it’s hard to plug in or unplug. And that’s the only weakness I could find.

The left edge, where a right-handed person would place their thumb, includes a comfortable rest with some grip on it. It’s comfortable to hold for long computer sessions.

logitech mx anywhere 2s bluetooth mouse side buttons

Two buttons adorn the left side as well. By default they go back and forward in a web browser or in Windows Explorer and macOS Finder.

The bottom brings the real excitement. That sounds strange, but turn over the mouse and you’ll see the On/Off switch. This saves battery life while you’re storing the mouse in the bag. Otherwise, you can drain it quickly if one of the buttons gets pressed continuously in the bag.

logitech mx anywhere 2s bluetooth mouse bottom

A button on the bottom lets you pick between three different devices.That means users can connect the mouse to three devices. I often carry my Microsoft Surface tablet and an Apple MacBook. This lets me quickly switch between them – using the same great mouse for both devices. Even if you don’t use more than one device at a time, it’s more convenient to hit that button to connect to your laptop on the road, a desktop at home and a third computer at work.

Logitech MX Anywhere 2S – Software

logitech options software

The software that configures the mouse, Logitech Options, lets the user configure most of the features for personal use. Options include:

  • Pointer speed.

  • Smooth scrolling (the fast versus clicking scroll  wheel described above).

  • Scrolling direction.

  • Button customizations.

  • Mouse sensitivity, which helps with precision movements while doing photo or image editing or playing first person shooters.

logitech flow configuration

The Logitech software includes a feature called Logitech Flow. This lets users connect their mouse to multiple machines and then use them as if they’re connected to each other. Copy from one PC and then paste it to the second.

Open the Logitech Options software and click on the Flow tab. Then, hit Enable to get it set up. The software instructs the user on how to make this feature work with two computers.

logitech options software button configuration

Both computers have to connect to the same network and they both have to have the software installed and configured.

logitech options software point and scroll options

Logitech MX Master 2S

The company doesn’t just make a mobile version of this great mouse. The Logitech MX Master 2S brings the same quality, comfort and configurability to the desktop. I got to test one of these out for this review as well and love the new version. They increased the battery life over the first version and change the shape in just the right ways to make it slightly more comfortable to use.

logitech mx master 2s

Since the MX Master 2S connects to up to three devices, I can hook up to my desktop PC, my MacBook and my Samsung Galaxy S8+ docked in the Samsung Dex charging dock. This keeps me from having three mice. I put it with the Logitech K480 wireless Bluetooth keyboard, which also connects to up to three devices. Position 1 on each device controls my Lenovo desktop. Position 2 controls the Galaxy S8+ and position 3 handles work with my MacBook Pro.

What’s the difference between the two MX mice? The MX Master is bigger and has a thumb scroll wheel. By default it’s set to scroll horizontally. It’s more comfortable for longer computing sessions. Users could take it on the road as well if they have plenty of space in their bag.


The designers of the Logitech MX Anywhere 2S deserve an award for the best mobile mouse ever made. I’ve tested a bunch and never used one I like better! It’s a nice upgrade over the older version bringing with it better battery life and more comfortable feel. It’s worth the price of $79.99, which seems steep. People who hate trackpads and prefer to carry a mobile mouse will likely love the Logitech MX Anywhere 2S.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Crowdfunding project of the week: UrbaNext turns any bicycle into an electric one

The ‘Crowdfunding project of the week’ series is where we highlight the coolest gadgets coming from websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. We know you have no time to be navigating through dozens of campaigns, so we take care of the grunt work and bring you only the creme de la creme. Let’s take a look at today’s featured gadget.

Other featured projects:

We all want one of those cool electric bikes, but they are pretty limited in terms of options, availability and pricing. Not to mention the fact that you may have a bike you already love. What if you could turn any bicycle into an electric one? This is exactly what UrbaNext promises with its electric wheel, which is said to work with about 99% of all bicycles.

UrbaNext is an electric front wheel that can transform any bicycle into an electric one “in 60 seconds” (or the time it takes you to replace a front wheel). It is available in six sizes, accommodating for the vast majority of bikes out there. These sizes are: 24”, 26”, 27.5”, 29″, 650c and 700c.

Once set up, you are in for a very nice ride. The user can pick between 3 modes: full electric, pedal assist and traditional bike. The full electric mode allows users to ride along without pedaling. Simply push the throttle button and get going. Meanwhile, the traditional bike mode will leave all the work to you.

Pedal assist mode is where things get interesting, and smarter. This mode uses an app to regulate how much help you want from the battery. The more you physically pedal, the longer the charge will last. There are 3 levels, so choose wisely.

Now, how fast a bike can go and for how long will depend on which model you get. The company built a couple electric motors in order to comply with both USA and European regulations. The American version features 350W of power, with a top speed of 20 mph and a 30 mile range.

Meanwhile, the European model is powered by a 240W motor and can reach speeds of up to 15 mph. The range is similar at about 30 miles, which pretty much equates to a couple hours of riding. It’s even possible to get rid of the throttle button to keep it all within the boundaries of the law in some European countries. This would leave users without full-electric mode, of course.

Interested? Some of you may already love your bikes, so we can see how a gadget like this would be enticing. Prices start at $319, which is great considering Indiegogo backers are getting a $380 discount over retail price. And it’s really not too much considering current electric bike prices. Are you signing up?

[DEAL] Get $200 off a Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus by trading in any working smartphone

Here’s a nice deal to brighten up your weekend.

Samsung is currently offering $200 off a new 64GB Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8 Plus device when you trade in any working smartphone. Got an old device sitting around that you haven’t used in years? Looking to update that phone you’ve been rocking much longer than expected? As long as the device meets the requirements Samsung has listed for trade in, that dust-collecting hunk of metal should now be valued at a cool $200.

Samsung readying Bixby voice commands early preview

2 days ago

The requirements for trade-in are listed below:

  • Phone Powers on

  • Normal Wear & Tear

  • No Cracked Screen

  • Not Bricked

  • Not Blacklisted

  • Android or iOS

It is important to note that the terms and conditions specify you will not be able to get your trade-in back under any circumstances, and if Samsung doesn’t think the conditions are met they will value your device at $25 instead. If you go ahead with the deal we would suggest you take photos and log everything just in case.

If you’re hoping to upgrade a more recent device, Samsung will give you $300 for your Galaxy Note 5 or Galaxy S7, or $350 for a Galaxy S7 Edge.

Hit the link below to check out the deal from Samsung, and let us know if you’re looking to upgrade to the company’s newest flagship.

Do note this deal is U.S. only. Sorry, rest of the world!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Buy your dad a new phone from T-Mobile this Father’s Day and get another for free

best mobile carriers

T-Mobile is running a sweet BOGO deal to celebrate Father’s Day: buy a new Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 Plus, LG G6, or LG V20, and you get another for free.

Deal: Amazon Echo and Kindle devices see huge discounts for Father’s Day (Update: live now)

5 days ago

Yes, it’s that time of the month: scrolling up and down Amazon and Googling frantically to figure out what to get your pop for Father’s Day. T-Mobile wants to help make that decision a bit easier by offering a pretty sweet BOGO deal on the latest flagships from Samsung and LG. Whether you are with T-Mobile right now or not, when you pick up a new Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 Plus, LG G6, or LG V20 on T-Mobile’s no-interest Equipment Installment Plan with an unlimited data plan, the Un-carrier will give you a mail-in rebate for another one.

The promo will end on June 22, so if you were looking to surprise your dad or if you just wanted two new phones for whatever reason, this is your chance.

Given that this is specifically for Father’s Day, the promo will end on June 22, so if you were looking to surprise your dad with a special gift or if you just wanted two new phones for whatever reason, this is your chance. Of course, there are terms and conditions you must fulfill to take advantage of the deal: for instance, both phones must be activated on T-Mobile’s ONE plan, meaning you cannot just buy the first outright and expect a second phone for free. Also, if you choose to cancel your cell service, you will have to pay the remaining balance.

However, if you’re a fan of T-Mobile and use a lot of data, getting two flagship phones for the price of one isn’t too bad. After all, Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus will usually set you back $750 and $790 respectively, and LG’s G6 and V20 both cost around $500. If this is something you might be interested in, you can head on over to T-Mobile’s Deals Hub to find out more about it.

Do you think this is a good deal? Will you be getting your dad a brand-new phone from T-Mobile this Father’s Day? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Vivo, not Samsung, could win the race to put fingerprint sensors into phone screens

Less is more. That’s the mantra of phone designers in 2017, as manufacturers race to integrate fingerprint sensors into phone screens and make standalone sensors obsolete.

But who will be first to the finish line?

For a long while, Samsung seemed positioned to win, but recent rumors out of China suggest Vivo, followed closely by Apple, could actually take the honor.

According to Jiutang Pan, a reputable researcher that specializes in tracking the Chinese mobile supply chain, Vivo could release a phone with a fingerprint sensor integrated in the display in the next few months.

Pan shared a brief video showing the feature in action. It’s not clear if users can unlock the phone by touching any part of the display or just a specific region.

Apple could be the first non-Chinese manufacturer to offer the feature on the iPhone 8, expected this fall, Pan said.

An unrelated report from Korea claims two other Chinese phone makers are planning to release phones with in-display sensors – Xiaomi and Huawei. The report also mentions Vivo, but it doesn’t suggest Vivo would be the first to market, like Jiutang Pan claims. Huawei is said to add the feature to the P11, expected in the first part of next year.

What about Samsung? The Korean giant tried and failed to embed a fingerprint sensor supplied by Synaptics into the Galaxy S8’s AMOLED display. Reportedly, the project ran out of time, and Samsung had to settle to mount the sensor on the back of the Galaxy S8. Now it looks like the feature won’t be ready in time for the Galaxy Note 8 either. At least Samsung has its iris scanner to fall back on to, though the technology can’t replace fingerprint sensors in every situation.

Regardless of who ultimately wins this race, it’s likely that the time of dedicated fingerprint sensors – and, through extension, of power buttons – is running out.

5 Things to Know About the June Battlefield 1 Update

A new Battlefield 1 update is set to bring a new map, improvements to the Frontlines game mode, and crucial bug fixes to the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC.

Earlier this year DICE promised to release monthly Battlefield 1 patches and so far, the company’s kept its word.

The developer is poised to release a new June Battlefield 1 update. The new patch is expected to bring some noticeable changes to the World War I sim.

We don’t have an official release date or even an official change log but we already know quite a bit about DICE’s next Battlefield 1 patch.

This guide will take you through the most important things to know about the update’s release time, the Nivelle Nights map, the changes to Frontlines, and what’s coming up next for Xbox, PS4, and PC.

June Battlefield 1 Release Date & Time

If you’re interested in Nivelle Nights or experiencing issues with the game, you’re probably curious about the June Battlefield 1 patch’s release date.

We know it’s coming sometime this month but DICE hasn’t confirmed a specific release date for the Xbox One, PS4, or Windows PC. That said, DICE likes to release new software updates on Tuesdays so we’d circle June 27th on the calendar.

On release day, DICE will take the Battlefield 1 servers down and start the roll out. This typically happens late at night/early in the morning if you live in the United States.

Here’s what you can expect from the June update’s release time:

  • PC: Multiplayer offline starting at 07.00 UTC / 12.00 AM PDT.

  • PS4: Multiplayer offline starting at 9.00 UTC / 2.00 AM PDT.

  • Xbox One: Multiplayer offline starting at 11.00 UTC / 4.00 AM PDT.

DICE will announce the official release details on its forums so be on the lookout.

Nivelle Nights

Nivelle Nights, a new map DICE’s promised to Premium Pass holders and They Shall Not Pass owners, will be released alongside the June update. The map pits the French against the Germans in intense nighttime combat around the battlefields of Malmaison and Soupir.

The new map spent some time in the Battlefield 1 CTE (Community Test Environment) and DICE showed it off in detail during EA Play 2017 in Los Angeles.

DICE says Nivelle Nights will be released in late June so, again, we’d expect the June Battlefield patch to emerge in the last week of the month.

If you haven’t seen Nivelle Nights, watch the unofficial trailer above.


Frontlines, the game mode that arrived with the They Shall Not Pass DLC, will get new life thanks to the June patch.

DICE says the patch will extend the game mode to Argonne Forest and Amiens for all players, not just those who own the They Shall Not Pass DLC.

Bug Fixes

Thanks to the Battlefield 1 CTE we have a pretty good idea about what to expect from the June update in terms of tweaks and bug fixes.

The change log below isn’t official but these are the changes DICE is hoping will go live for Xbox One, PS4, and PC users later on this month.

  • Fixed vehicle skin descriptions not showing up in the vehicle customization screen.

  • Fixed an issue where self repair would activate without input upon entering a driver seat after leaving that seat mid repair cycle. All tank and plane parts are now fixed automatically upon the vehicle reaching full health. This prevents the confusing situation of having a healthy vehicle with broken parts.

  • Fixed low resolution texture on Chauchat rear iron sight.

  • When ever the player count would drop below 75% of the required player count to get out of pre-round for Operations, the operation state would revert to “waiting”. This affects match-making. The desire is to instead only revert to the waiting state if the operation is in preround (which happens when a new map begins and the player count has dropped to less than what is required to exit pre-round) and the player counts drops once again under 75%.

  • Amiens and Argonne Forest – Extended collision to fix exploits that allowed people to get on top of buildings.

  • Verdun – Fixed a few out-of-bounds spawns in Operations.

  • Verdun – Adjusted the combat area and capture area for the flag in the last sector to improve the balance.

  • Verdun – Higher likelihood for more weather variation.

  • Verdun – Adjusted HQ spawns for both teams for Conquest.

  • Fixed issue where Conquest Control bonus points were rewarded in other games modes than Conquest.

  • Fixed rainsounds playing when it’s not raining.

  • Fixed an issue where outdoor reverbs were not fully faded in when transitioning from indoor to outdoor.

  • Fixed bug where rain audio would be heard in bunkers when impaired weather state was set.

  • Fixed a bug where shells of the BL9 artillery on Rupture in the Rush gamemode would be blocked if fired after the attackers had advanced past the second sector.

  • Corrected aiming controller settings for the Benet Mercie Optical when using 1.5x zoom. It was using iron sights settings, it will now use optical settings like the other zoom levels.

  • Added blur around the Selbstlader 1906 Sniper’s scope when aiming.

  • You cannot deal damage while a melee victim.

  • Fixed an exploit which allowed AT Mines to be placed on vehicles.

  • Ammo pouch speeds up grenade resupply if player stands close to it.

  • Spectator Mode: Camera Filters and Depth of Field settings can now be used while in Player View mode (1st person, 3rd person, and director cameras).

  • Player HUD is now active during Pre-round.

  • Fixed issue where squad info was not properly sent to spectators.

These are subject to change but we expect most of this to be included in the final version of the update.

What’s Next

The June update will be a big one but the content will continue to flow in July.

DICE is planning to release another night map, Prise de Tahure, next month. Like Nivelle Nights, it will be available to Premium Pass holders and They Shall Not Pass owners.

The map features the Germans and the French fighting in the Champagne-Ardennes region in 1917. If you’re unfamiliar with it, watch the unofficial, fan-made trailer above.

In August we’ll see another update and in September, DICE will finally release the In the Name of the Tsar DLC. The Russian DLC will be the biggest Battlefield expansion yet.

The third Battlefield 1 DLC, Turning Tides, arrives in December.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Not every messaging app has to be like Snapchat

Facebook’s blatant copying of Snapchat is nothing new, but with Microsoft’s Skype being the latest messaging app to mimic Snapchat, it’s time to say enough is enough.

Does Instagram do Snapchat better than Snapchat?

April 19, 2017

Snapchat in pure numbers

Snapchat, as I’m sure you already know, is an ongoing sensation, especially among younger generations. What began as a start-up of three Stanford alums in 2011 quickly grew to become one of the most valuable companies in the world. It boasts 166 million daily active users who send a total average of 3 billion “snaps” each day. Snapchat’s parent company Snap Inc., which recently went public, is valued at a whopping $30 billion and is expected to rake in $935.46 million from its app alone this year.

Before Snapchat, our communication was limited to texts and emoji. And when we did occasionally decide to send photos, it was counterintuitive and time-consuming.

Before Snapchat, our communication was limited to texts and emoji. And when we did occasionally decide to send photos, they had to be snapped separately and attached, which often was not worth the effort and the time. In that regard, Snapchat revolutionized how we share our lives and communicate with others: never before were we able to send five-second snapshots to friends and share important moments that disappear after a day in an effortless and fully customizable way.

That’s why Facebook wanted to buy Snapchat almost half a decade ago now for $3 billion. Of course, Snapchat knew that its value would be worth more than $3 billion. Yet, what the Snapchat team probably did not foresee was just to what extent Facebook would go in order to copy their image messaging app.

Facebook’s incessant plagiarism and why it’s frustrating

When Instagram launched Stories last August (this was way after Facebook had purchased the picture-centric social media app), it quickly became the talk of the town not because it was innovative or useful, but because it resembled Snapchat’s key feature just a little too much – even the name itself. Just like Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories allows users to post pictures or short videos, doodle on them or add stickers, and upload them, which would disappear after 24 hours.

Facebook did not stop there, unfortunately: not only did the “Stories” feature expand into all of its main apps including Facebook, Messenger, and WhatsApp, but most of these apps now let users send direct photos and videos to one another, which self-terminate once opened exactly like Snapchat. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, responded to criticism about Facebook’s blatant copying of Snapchat by saying, “The first chapter that made sense was to release products that people were familiar with… I feel like we do different kinds of work in different areas (compared to Snapchat).”

For a company who takes pride in practically coining the term “social media,” simply brushing off what may be a byproduct of a lack of innovation as a necessary step seems almost hypocritical.

Although Zuckerberg has reassured the public that the continued plagiarism is only a small part of the company’s bigger AR plans, it’s still incredibly frustrating for me for several reasons. First is Facebook’s attitude: for a company who takes pride in practically coining the term “social media,” simply brushing off what may be a byproduct of a lack of innovation as a necessary step seems almost hypocritical. Not only that, the stolen Snapchat features on Facebook’s apps don’t work as well as the original. For instance, I’ve noticed that on my phone, Facebook now gives you two bubbles: one for your usual chats and one for Facebook’s My Day. I haven’t figured out how to get rid of the second bubble, and whenever I open my chat bubble, I’m stuck with notifications for life stories of people that I don’t even care about.

Snapchat was always a more private place for me with significantly fewer contacts than Facebook. Facebook’s take on Snapchat Stories is intrusive, unoriginal, and frustratingly useless.

Stick to the status quo, Skype

Well, the true tragedy is that Facebook is not the only company: Tinder is reportedly looking into a Snapchat-like style UI for sharing multimedia, and Viber has already added Snapchat-like features to its app with the latest update. And now, Skype is the latest messaging app to join in on the shameless aping of Snapchat. The Microsoft-owned video-chatting app now has a tab called “Capture,” where you can take photos and short videos to send to your contacts. And yes, you guessed right – you can insert text, doodle on them, put stickers on them, and even add them to your “highlights” (aka Stories). The entire UI, just like Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, is eerily identical to Snapchat’s, and you have to wonder, “Where do we draw the line between providing a familiar experience for end-users and creating a desperate clone?”

Skype is for video chats; it’s not where best friends send double-chinned photos or where millennials share their music festival shenanigans. From a company’s perspective, the addition of Snapchat-like features could mean attracting more users. However, from a user’s perspective, the indistinguishable mishmash of Snapchat-wannabe apps means their original, distinctive purposes are slowly becoming lost.

The indistinguishable mishmash of Snapchat-wannabe apps means their original, distinctive purposes are slowly becoming lost.

What’s next? Is Microsoft going to introduce GroupMe Stories? Will we soon be able to send ten-second videos on Telegram? With the latest update to Skype, perhaps it’s time to say enough is enough.

Is all the senseless copying hurting Snapchat?

Probably the more interesting question here is whether these stolen Snapchat features on other apps have hurt Snapchat itself, and it looks like the answer could be yes. As I previously discussed, the number of downloads for Snapchat dropped dramatically in August 2016, right around when Instagram Stories first launched. The number stayed relatively low until the beginning of November 2016 when it introduced World Lenses.

Although Facebook’s other apps haven’t yet enjoyed the boom that Instagram has, the likelihood is that Snapchat users will continue to migrate to Instagram as those two apps probably have the largest shared audience.

What Snapchat must confront, however, is the challenge of attracting a broader audience.

That doesn’t mean we will see Snapchat’s demise any time soon. Its more intimate and private nature as well as the vast celebrity users will continue to attract more users. What Snapchat must confront, however, is the challenge of attracting a broader audience. Facebook and its apps already have an eclectic range of users, from millennials to 90-something year-olds; Snapchat, on the other hand, seems exclusively focused on a certain age group and a certain socioeconomic sector. In an age where major companies are out to bury Snapchat by baking its features right into their own messaging apps, Snapchat will certainly have a harder time surviving by merely existing.

Have you used the new Skype app? What are your thoughts on companies trying to copy Snapchat? Do you still use Snapchat? Let us know in the comments below!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

How to Hide Instagram Photos & Video with Archive

In this guide we’ll show you how to archive old photos and video on Instagram, instead of deleting them. Basically allowing you to hide uploads you no longer want to share with the world. The idea behind this new feature is that we evolve over time, as does what we share on the social network. This gives users more control over their account without completely removing content.

Earlier this year Instagram added an option to save live videos, and now you’ll be able to save any embarrassing photo to your account and relive the memory.

Read: How to Turn Off Comments on Instagram

After being tested with a small group of users last month, Instagram Archives are available to everyone as of June 13th. You can archive photos one at a time, not to mention restore them later if you’d like. Look for a new circle rewind icon near the top right of your profile that shows all hidden archived photos and video.

How to Archive Photos and Video on Instagram

Similar to turning off comments on posts, users just need to select the image and archive it in settings. Here are the step-by-step instructions.

  • Open Instagram and find the photo you want to Archive

  • Tap the 3-dots menu button near the top right (on iOS and Android)

  • Select Archive from the pop-up of options as shown below

The photo or video will now be completely removed from your visible account and saved to your private Archive. No one will be able to see it. To restore a photo back to public view and your account tap the same 3-dots and select show on profile.

Archiving a post will not delete any content, so you can always return to these posts to see likes and comments. To see any and all archived uploads just select the backward circle icon in the top right corner of your profile.

Read: How to Upload Multiple Photos to Instagram at Once

Instagram hopes that by adding an Archive option users (mostly teens) won’t delete old photos. Additionally, this should make people more comfortable with sharing certain photos or video to begin with, as they know it can easily be hidden. Keep in mind that Instagram will not notify followers when a photo gets archived, it just disappears. Make sure you have the latest version from Google Play or the App Store and try it today.

While you’re here, check out these 8 common Instagram problems and fixes.


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