Thurrott Daily: April 27

Posted on April 27, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Dev, Mobile, iOS, Android, Office with 0 Comments

Thurrott Daily: April 27

Tech tidbits from around the web.

4/27/2016 12:43:14 PM

As promised, Microsoft open sources the Xamarin SDK

As Microsoft promised at Build earlier this month—and, geesh, that feels like months ago—it has open sourced the Xamarin SDK. Brad reports over on Petri:

The Xamarin SDK for Android, iOS and Mac, under the same MIT license used for the Mono project, have all been open sourced which means any developer can now contribute to the project. This newly released source code includes native API bindings for iOS, Android and Mac, the command-line tools necessary to build for these platforms, and Xamarin.Forms, Xamarin’s cross-platform UI framework.

In addition to the completion of open sourcing its SDK, Xamarin also announced several new development tools and features coming to its software.

Office Lens for iOS and Android is updated

As Neowin reports, Office Lens has been updated on both iOS and Android. I consider this a key app for any mobile phone. Here’s what’s new:

Office Lens for iOS

  • Multi-scanning. Take a series of images and save them at the same time.
  • Rotation. Rotate photos.
  • 3D touch.You can select modes by pressing and holding the Office Lens icon on the screen. This works on iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
  • Handwritten text OCR. Scan handwritten text in English and export it to OneNote, where you can search for it like normal text.
  • Business Card mode. Scan business cards in Simplified Chinese and extract contact information.
  • Bug fix. Users who have the same Office 365 and Microsoft account can use Office Lens with both accounts.

Office Lens for Android

  • Handwritten text OCR. Scan handwritten text in English amd export it to OneNote, where you can search for it like normal text.
  • Business Card mode. Scan business cards in Simplified Chinese and extract contact information.
  • Rotation. Rotate photos.

Google expands Android Wear bands to better compete with Apple Watch

I’m still a bit confused by how one of these things would work on my Moto 360, which is allegedly supported, but Google this week announced a new set MODE watch bands that make it quicker and easier to change your watch band.

MODE snap-and-swap watch bands feature a simple slide button so you can attach and detach your band in one click.

MODE bands are versatile—they come in four widths, fit most Android Wear watches, and work on mechanical watches too. This first collection comes in a rainbow of colors, and is available in leather and silicone, so you can easily go from the office to the gym to a night out.

This is just the beginning. We want Android Wear to give you as much choice as possible, so we’ll be sharing the MODE mechanism design and source with other brands to use to create their own snap-and-swap watch bands.

The bands are available online at the Google Store (US), Amazon, and Best Buy.

My confusion is this: In the pictures, you can see that the MODE bands connect to a rod that is on the watch. But my Moto 360 doesn’t have that rod; the rod is on the band parts. Maybe the MODE bands include the rod(s)? Hm.

Beyond that, just knowing which size to get is confusing. I obviously don’t “get” fashion.

A reminder about Amazon cloud storage

After I posted yesterday’s story about Dropbox implementing placeholders on Windows, Amazon emailed me to remind me that they offer unlimited cloud storage to individuals at very reasonable prices. This is worth remembering.

Amazon Prime members already have access to Amazon Cloud Drive with Prime Photos, which provides unlimited photo storage as part of their Prime membership. In addition, Prime members get 5 GB of additional storage space for videos, movies, music, and files. However, you don’t have to be a Prime Member to enjoy Cloud Drive: Amazon Cloud Drive’s Unlimited Everything Plan ($59.99 per year—equivalent of less than $5 per month) lets anyone signup and store an infinite number of new and existing photos, videos, files, documents, movies, and music.

Here’s the Amazon Cloud Drive pricing page.

Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program is now available online

As you may recall, I think Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program is brilliant. And now it’s available to customers who want to shop online, which you can see on Apple’s page for the iPhone 6S and other phones.

The iPhone Upgrade Program is now available online.

iPhone 6s from $32.41/mo. with the iPhone Upgrade Program, or pay now from $649

iPhone 6s Plus from $36.58/mo. with the iPhone Upgrade Program, or pay now from $749


Android Studio 2.1 supports Android N Developer Preview

The Android Developers Blog announces:

Android Studio 2.1 includes the following new features:

N Developer Preview Support: Android Studio 2.1 is the best IDE to test and validate your app with the N Developer Preview. Get the latest versions of the preview SDK, experiment with the new Java 8 support, and gain access to the only official Android Emulator able to run N Developer Preview Emulator System Images to help in your testing. Instant Run: For those of you who enjoyed the fast edit, build and deploy cycle with Android Studio 2.0, Instant Run now can now update incremental changes to your app code significantly faster.

You can download Android Studio 2.1 from the Android Developer web site.

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