TIME apps

The Best Livestreaming App Is Now on Android

The Periscope video streaming site logo is displayed on the screen of an Apple Inc. iPhone in this arranged photograph taken in London, U.K., on Friday, May, 15, 2015. Facebook Inc. reached a deal with New York Times Co. and eight other media outlets to post stories directly to the social networkÕs mobile news feeds, as publishers strive for new ways to expand their reach. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
Chris Ratcliffe—© 2015 Bloomberg Finance LP The Periscope video streaming site logo is displayed on the screen of an Apple Inc. iPhone in this arranged photograph taken in London, U.K., on Friday, May, 15, 2015.

Periscope was previously iPhone-only

Periscope, the Twitter-owned livestreaming app that has taken the world by storm in recent months, is coming to Android.

Previously available only on iOS devices, the livestreaming app is now available in the Google Play store two months after first arriving for iPhone.

Periscope lets users livestream video content to their followers directly from a mobile device. It’s become popular for journalists and experts to do video chats, and for people at big events like political rallies or sporting events to show followers what’s going down on the scene.

Twitter announced its purchase of Periscope only weeks after a similar app called Meerkat launched to much fanfare among the tech press and early adopters.

The Verge notes that the features of the new app are pretty similar to those available on the iOS version.

TIME Google

The Real Reason Google Loves Big Phones

US-TECHONOLOGY-GOOGLE
JEWEL SAMAD—AFP/Getty Images Journalists take a look at Google's newest smartphone nexus 6 during a media preview in New York on October 29, 2014.

For the search giant, size definitely matters

The trend towards bigger smartphones isn’t just a boon to the fat-fingered and farsighted among us — Google loves it too.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Google’s head of advertising Sridhar Ramaswamy said larger phones are helping Google hold the line on how much it charges for search ads. Google’s search ad business has been taking a hit as more and more web traffic has been migrating towards mobile. Mobile-based searches are more difficult to monetize because smaller screens make it harder to show effective ads or have customers complete purchases.

“As phones get bigger the space issue becomes less challenging,” Ramaswamy told the Journal. ” Referring to his Nexus 6 smartphone, he said, “This is essentially a tablet. People’s ability to navigate sites and fill out forms and such goes up tremendously.”

TIME Video Games

How to Play Pac-Man for Free on Its 35th Anniversary

Pac-Man arcade game.
Dennis Hallinan—Jupiter Images/AP Pac-Man arcade game.

Celebrate the anniversary by playing the iconic game

Happy birthday, Pac-Man! The world’s favorite hungry yellow orb turns 35 today. The arcade game was a sensation from the time it launched in 1980, eventually inspiring an animated series, a top-10 single and a never-ending cycle of sequels and spinoffs.

Today, thankfully, you no longer need a pocketful of quarters to enjoy one of the world’s most iconic video games. Here are a few ways you can play Pac-Man for free right now:

Google

For Pac-Man’s 30th anniversary, Google made one of its most famous Google Doodles, turning the logo on the search engine’s homepage into a customized version of the arcade game. The game, which marked the first time Google ever made its logo interactive, is still available to play in the company’s Doodle archives.

Pac-Man Lite

Bandai Namco, the creator of Pac-Man, is offering a limited version of original game for free on iOS. Users only get a limited number of continues before they have to either have to pay for additional tokens or watch video ads to unlock more levels. But all 256 levels of the original title are here waiting to be conquered.

Pac-Man + Tournaments

The Android version of Pac-Man features the classic game available for free as well as weekly tournaments featuring new mazes that players can pay to access. In some modes the classic Pac-Man ghosts are replaced with Android robots.

Read Next: This Is What Pac-Man’s Creator Thinks 35 Years Later

TIME Smartphones

One of the Best Smartphones for Photography Is Now on Sale

LG G4
LG LG G4

The LG G4 starts rolling out across the world today

LG began its global rollout on Monday of its new flagship G4 smartphone, which reviewers said could be one of the best Android phones out there.

The G4, already on sale in South Korea, will first hit the Hong Kong market before rolling out into Turkey, Russia and Singapore, the company said in a statement. The smartphone will eventually go on sale throughout of Europe, North America, Southeast Asia and other regions, though LG did not provide a specific timeline.

Unveiled last month, the leather-bodied G4 has become known for its 16-megapixel camera with a rare f/1.8 aperture lens — that means the G4 lets in more light than its two biggest competitors, the Samsung S6 and the iPhone 6. The device also comes with a manual shooting mode, allowing users to adjust settings like white balance, ISO and shutter speed, giving the 5.5-in. smartphone the feel of a DSLR camera.

LG has not yet announced a price for the G4, but it’s speculated to be around $600.

Read next: The LG G4 Could Be One of the Nicest Android Phones Out There

TIME apps

6 Apps for People Who Hate Apps

TIME.com stock photos Social Apps iPhone
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Get your nose out of your phone with these simple tools

While smartphone apps are certainly as popular as ever, there’s also a revolt brewing against these attention-grabbing, notification-slinging programs. People are tired of being tied to their handsets and falling down the rabbit hole of their touchscreen every time an alert dings.

Don’t believe me? Just look at the Apple Watch, an entirely new product put out by the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer, that’s main goal is to keep us from using (yet also keep us tethered to) our iPhones. But you don’t need a 21st century calculator watch to escape the tractor beam pulling your eyes to your phone. These six apps will help you cut back on your screen time, while making you more productive than ever.

Hooks: What do you look for when you fall into the Internet? Do you drift over to Twitter to see what someone’s most recent tweet was? Do you check your team’s score, or even look to see when your favorite band is coming to town? Instead of chasing all those things down, just set up Hooks to do it once, and the app will reward you with timely alerts when the moment has arrived.

The free, iPhone-only app makes sure you’re on top of your game — whatever game that may be — by notifying you whenever the prompt of your choice gets triggered. That means never having to look up lottery numbers or forgetting Game of Thrones is about to start. Oh, and if you’re a weather-watcher, Hooks can probably tell you when winter is coming, too.

Do Button: Even with smartphones, sometimes it’s unnecessarily hard to do easy things. For instance, if you’ve got a connected lightbulb, you have to swipe, tap to open the app, tap to access the bulb, then tap to turn it on or off. Do Button, a free Android and iOS app made by IFTTT, cuts those steps down to just one. Tap the app, and you’ve got a simple, programmable button staring you in the face, ready to do your bidding, whether it’s turning on your WeMo plugged in device, setting your Nest thermostat to a predetermined temperature, or tracking your work hours on a Google spreadsheet. A little tap goes a long way.

Launcher: Swipe down on your iPhone’s home screen, and be prepared to never look at your smartphone the same way again. The drawer that comes down from the top of the display is your notification panel, and if you optimize it, you can cut down your app usage considerably. Launcher helps you do this by placing tappable shortcuts right on the notification panel.

Just place the functions that you perform most frequently here (call your husband, email your boss, get directions home), and tapping on the tiles Launcher creates will springboard you into action. The app is free, but a paid version provides a lot more functionality, from changing icon sizes to letting you put more of them on the panel.

Overboard: Whether it’s tapping on weather, then the news, then your Twitter — or a another routine entirely — there’s no reason, in this age of customization, to go from app-to-app to gather all your vitals. Overboard, a personable dashboard of pertinent information, lets you pull all your most current information together in one easy to read place.

A great app for media mavens, you can check everything from the top trending stories on BuzzFeed and The New York Times without tempting yourself with one of the publications’ other articles. Social media fans will appreciate being able to monitor their follower count on Twitter and Instagram without loading those apps. And with a clean interface, the $.99 app keeps it simple and distraction free, which is worth the price of admission.

Magic: Anything you desire, delivered on demand — that’s not an app, that’s practically magic. But there’s no genie in the bottle with this free (to use) service that’s so incredible you already have it on your phone without knowing it. Just text what you want to the number 83489, and as long as it’s not illegal, the operators manning the line will work on getting it for you, 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

Available anywhere in the U.S., the service will source whatever you ask for — a pizza, a hotel reservation, a new car — and set up payment via a secure web link (powered by payment processor Stripe), quoting a price to complete the purchase, with tip included, before sealing the deal. The service uses the likes of DoorDash, Instacart, and Postmates to fulfill your orders, but in figuring out all the logistics for you, you’ll never even have to open those apps (or even sign up for them, necessarily). Now that’s quite a trick.

Clara: Technically speaking, Clara isn’t an app. She’s an assistant, powered by artificial intelligence, but since she exists solely in your email, she’s fair game for this roundup. Just enter your customizable Clara email address into the CC: field of one of your email exchanges, and she can coordinate between the parties in the message to set up a meeting on your calendar. Automatically responding to emails within an hour, the platform-agnostic service will correspond with your contacts, determining the best time for everyone, and then put the event on your calendar. Between $119 and $399 per month, her services don’t exactly come cheap, but hey, that’s the cost of convenience. On the bright side, she works 24 hours a day, seven days a week — which breaks down to a very low hourly rate.

TIME Television

This Ad For Androids Has Brits Totally Freaked Out

It's actually an ad for a new TV show called 'Humans' that airs on AMC later this year

People in Britain are totally freaked out by a 30 second ad for synthetic humans.

The ad is actually part of a campaign for a new Channel 4 show called Humans, which according to Ad Week will be a futuristic drama in the vein of the popular British show Black Mirror.

But the commercial that’s scaring everyone makes no mention of the TV show – instead it advertises a company called Persona Synthetics that promises to make androids that are “closer to humans than ever before.” After the ad aired, which shows a creepy, almost-human housekeeper named Sally folding sheets and putting children to bed, Persona Synthetics was Googled over 100,000 times, Ad Week reports. The site has been visited almost 500,000 times.

The commercial is part of a larger unconventional advertising campaign for the show by 4Creative, which includes a storefront in London and a fake auction on eBay where users could bid on a robot.

Humans will begin airing this year on AMC.

TIME Microsoft

Here’s Why Microsoft Is Suddenly Killing It Now

Key Speakers At The Microsoft Build Developer 2015 Conference
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

CEO Satya Nadella has changed the software giant's modus operandi. And investors are loving what they see

Remember Borg Microsoft, the bullying juggernaut that ruled the software industry with an iron fist? The Microsoft of 2015 has strayed so far from that original incarnation it might as well be called bizarro Microsoft.

Gone are the days when Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer mocked Linux or called it a cancer. Or when Ballmer laughed at the iPhone. Or when Ballmer dismissed Android was too hard to use. (A billion Android phones shipped last year.) The new Microsoft has shed its arrogance. These days, it works hard to play well with others.

And the new, more open approach is working. Microsoft’s stock is up 53% in the past two years after a very long season of stagnation. While the stock stumbled earlier this year, it’s up 14% since the company reported earnings on April 23, largely because of growth in its cloud business, such as its Azure computing platform.

Investors, flush from a strong year in tech stocks in 2014, are looking ahead to the end of 2015 and 2016. In some cases, they’re not liking what they see, but Microsoft is persuading more and more shareholders it’s ready to deliver on the cloud-first, mobile-first world that its CEO Satya Nadella has been touting. Unlike Netflix, Spotify or other companies that are thriving on cloud-based services for consumers, Microsoft has focused its cloud efforts in the enterprise market. Nadella said last week Microsoft’s enterprise cloud revenue, including hardware and software, would reach $20 billion a year within three years from about $6 billion now, an audacious goal but one that brought few snickers of disbelief.

MORE Meet the Inventor Behind Tech’s Weirdest New Product

Of course, much of this will come as its clients migrate from legacy products (like Microsoft Office) to cloud-based offerings (like Office 365), so there’s some cannibalization involved. And the shift is a project that Microsoft has been working on for years, thanks to moves made by Ballmer. Ballmer, it seems, was better at building an enterprise business than effectively bashing rivals in consumer tech.

Under Nadella, Microsoft is emerging as one of a handful of big names poised to thrive in the cloud economy alongside Amazon, IBM, and Google. But last week, as the company held its Build developer conference to announce details of Windows 10, Nadella made a pitch for Windows to become a platform where developers from other platforms–iOs, Android, Linux–would not only be welcome, but actively courted.

Windows 10 is designed to build “universal apps,” meaning a single app working on phones, tablets, PCs, consoles like Xbox and even one day a augmented-reality platform like HoloLens. App purchases can easily be billed directly through carriers, simplifying payments to developers. Microsoft also introduced Visual Studio, a free, cross-platform code editor that can write apps for Windows, OS X and Linux.

But the bigger surprise–and, depending on how developers respond, the potential game changer for Windows–is that Microsoft announced Islandwood and Astoria, two middleware projects that allow developers to easily port their existing apps into the Windows platform. Islandwood will let iOS apps work on Windows with a minimum of changes, while Astoria will do the same for Android apps.

In recent years, Microsoft has talked more and more about opening up its software ecosystem to developers working in other platforms, but much of the rhetoric has sounded like lip service. Visual Studio, Islandwood and Astoria moves show that Microsoft is dead serious about doing just that, retooling its offerings to actively reach out to the iOS and Android communities.

MORE Why Microsoft Thinks Your Phone Could Be Your Only Computer

The idea is to make it simple for iOS and Android developers to port their existing apps into Windows. In the mobile world, more apps can mean more users, which in turn gives developers more incentive to work with a particular platform. But the plan comes with risks, such as the possibility that some iOS/Android apps translate into inferior or buggy versions on Windows Mobile. Or that developers may be too busy or indifferent to try.

Microsoft is also doing what it can to upgrade users of Windows 8. Windows 10 will be free for the first year, which could interrupt the way Windows sales are recorded as revenue but has a much bigger draw: consumers and businesses will be more likely to upgrade quickly, giving Windows 10 developers a larger audience early on.

All of this is aimed at making Microsoft a single, unifying platform for developers. In that way, it’s not unlike the original goal Microsoft set out for itself. What’s fundamentally different is how Microsoft aims to reach that goal: not through brute-force coercion, but through creating an open and inviting platform that plays well with others.

In some ways, the open, cross-platform world of software today evolved in direct opposition to Microsoft’s arrogant dominance in the 80s and 90s. Now it must adapt. Nadella’s plan isn’t likely to make Windows dominant in the mobile world right away, but in time it could give it a more equal footing in mobile OS alongside iOS and Android. And that could keep Microsoft’s revenue growing for years.

Read next: Microsoft’s Crazy New Tech Totally Explains Why It Bought Minecraft

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Smartphones

This New Android Phone Looks Like a Photographer’s Dream

LG G4
LG LG G4

The LG G4 should be much better at shooting in dimly-lit places

LG unveiled its new flagship G4 smartphone Tuesday morning, and it looks like a photography powerhouse.

Running on Android 5.1, the LG G4 packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 5.5-inch “quantum display” and 32GB of on-board storage. The optional leather backing is fantastically grippy (the other options less so) and the body has a subtle curve that makes it comfortable in the hands, and, LG says, more resistant to injuries upon unexpected drops. A high-capacity swappable battery differentiates the G4 from rival Samsung, which dropped the swappable battery feature in its new flagship Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones.

But where the G4 might really shine is in the camera tech. The 16-megapixel rear camera boasts an f/1.8 aperture lens, meaning it can let in more light than the Samsung S6 or Apple iPhone 6 — good for shooting in low-light environments. Also helping the camera’s low-light performance is LG’s new optical image stabilization technology, which now helps manage camera shake in three axes. And LG says its new “Color Spectrum Sensor” helps the G4’s photos more closely resemble a scene as you saw it with the naked eye.

There’s plenty for photographers to like here on the software side, too. A manual mode gives shooters full control over settings like shutter speed, aperture and ISO, helping to bring full-size DSLR controls to a mobile device. G4 owners can opt to shoot in RAW, a file format that allows for more editable photos at the cost of taking up more storage space (the G4 has a microSD card to add space).

We’ll know more about the LG G4 after hands-on testing. The G4 goes on sale in South Korea on April 29, with a global rollout to follow. LG hasn’t announced a price or specific release date for the U.S.

TIME Television

Ellen DeGeneres’ Popular Game App Heads Up! Is Coming to Television

Executive Producer Ellen DeGeneres speaks about the NBC television show "One Big Happy" during the TCA presentations in Pasadena, California, January 16, 2015
Lucy Nicholson—Reuters Executive Producer Ellen DeGeneres speaks about the NBC television show "One Big Happy" during the TCA presentations in Pasadena, California, January 16, 2015

Quick! Guess what channel you'll have to flip to

The popular game app Heads Up!, created by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, is now set to become a game show on the HLN cable channel.

Hosted by comedian Loni Love, the show will feature contestants attempting to identify what has been written on cards based on clues from a teammate, according to a press release.

“I’m so excited that Heads Up! is going to be a game show,” DeGeneres said. “I play it on my show all the time. I play it at home. I played it last night at Jennifer Aniston’s house. She wasn’t home, so please don’t print that part.”

Apple’s top paid app of 2014, Heads Up! involves one player putting a smartphone or tablet up to their forehead so they cannot see the word they are meant to guess. Another player then gives clues, and if the correct guess is made, a point is awarded.

HLN said the show will air sometime in early 2016.

TIME Smartphones

Samsung’s New Galaxy S6 Went On Sale Today

AUSTRALIA-SKOREA-SAMSUNG-PHONE-S6
Peter Parks—AFP/Getty Images The new Samsung Galaxy S6 is seen on display in a Samsung store in Sydney on April 10, 2015.

The company is predicting record-breaking sales

Samsung launched its latest flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, in the U.S. on Friday, marking the South Korean device maker’s latest attempt to revive smartphone sales after a year of tumbling profits.

The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge were widely praised by reviewers as Samsung’s best looking smartphone to date, replacing the plastic chassis of the previous model with a smooth metal frame. Samsung also included eye-catching design flourishes, such as a touchscreen on the S6 Edge that gently curves around one side of the phone.

Samsung executives predict record-breaking sales for the latest Galaxy smartphones, which, at a starting cost of $600, will compete in the same price bracket as the iPhone 6.

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