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Microsoft has finally released Cortana for Android for everyone (only available via Google Play Store in US) as public beta. According to Microsoft, Cortana is the first personal digital-assistant to work across your PC and your phone. Other than its own Windows platform, the Redmond software giant is releasing Cortana for both Android and iOS platform. Today, the first public beta of the Cortana Android app is available to all Android phone users living in the US.

Windows 10 deeply integrates the digital-assistant to offer a better user experience. With the release of the Cortana app for Android devices, the company is making sure that you use Cortana across all the device you carry. Cortana functionality will remain almost same across all the platforms. If you are already comfortable with Cortana on your PC or Windows Phone, you will feel home when using it on Android.

Facebook has updated Facebook Messenger for Android based devices. The latest version is lets non-Facebook users sign up with just their name and phone number even if they don’t have a Facebook account or email address.

The important change makes Facebook Messenger for Android a direct competitor of another popular messaging service WhatsApp. Before the update was announced by Facebook, the Internet was abuzz with reports that the social network giant was trying to acquire the most popular cross-platform messaging service WhatsApp.

Almost all Android-based smartphones are affected by a dangerous Android USSD vulnerability. The USSD vulnerability allows any malicious users to wipe completely your Android phone remotely, either by directing you to a URL, or through a text message or scan a QR code or NFC tag linking to the malicious website.

The USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) codes (a code starting with asterisk *, continuing with hashtags # or digits, which represent commands or data, and ending with a hashtag) are normally used by handsets to communicate with carriers. A common USSD code used by all handsets is *#06# which displays the IMEI number of your device.

Ever wondered about running Android apps on computer? Using BlueStacks, you can easily run Android apps on your desktop Windows PC or laptop.

BlueStacks is not a virtual machine (VM) as such but it essentially runs an emulation of the Android Dalvik (also a VM) on top of Windows. The emulator lets you access more than 500,000 Android applications on your PC. BlueStacks have partnered with AMD, the global chip maker, to launch AMD AppZone Player. Though the emulator is optimized to run on a computer system having Radeon graphics card, it ran without any problem on my laptop having a Nvidia graphics card. AMD is also reportedly working with its partners to pre-load AMD AppZone Player on AMD-powered Windows 7 and Windows 8 desktops, laptops and tablets.

The long wait for the official VLC Android app is finally over. The official VLC Player for Android has finally seen the light (albeit in beta stage now) and is now available as free download from the Google Play Store.

VideoLAN, the developers of the VLC Media Player and the VLC Android app notes that VLC Beta is intended for power users and hackers. The beta version is not stable and is slower than the upcoming final version. The beta version is available only for Android devices running on ARMv7 processor that supports the NEON engine. The ARM NEON general-purpose SIMD engine efficiently processes current and future multimedia formats, enhancing the user experience. VideoLAN will release separate applications for Android phones or tablets running on other processors soon.

Google has officially debuted Google Analytics Android app Google Analytics for Android via the Google Play Store.

With this release, Google has made the webmasters’ and developers’ lives easier. Google Analytics Android app is yet another feather added to the increasing number native applications of Google services released for the Android platform.

Google Analytics Android app provides easier mobile access to the same accounts and profiles available through the web version of Google Analytics website accessible via any desktop browser. The mobile counterpart of Analytics however displays reports optimized for easy viewing on a small screen of the smartphone. Real-time statistics, along with customizable dashboards and intelligence events are available for Analytics users straight from their Android smartphone.

Google just announced the first stable version of Chrome for Android browser. With this announcement, Chrome for Android is now officially out of beta. Like before, Google’s Chrome mobile browser is only available on devices running Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, or later.

Chrome for Android’s stable version number is 18.0.1025123, marking the first version to be released to the Stable Channel. Google with the announcement of their first Nexus 7 tablet said that Chrome for Android will be the tablet’s default browser. Thus Nexus 7 becomes the first Android device to use Chrome as its default browser.

For a long time since 2010, iPhone users bragged about having Instagram exclusively for them. But now with the app being released for Android, it seems the wait is finally over. Yes, you got it right, Instagram is finally available for the Android platform!

If you haven’t heard about Instagram before, let me clarify a little. Instagram is the most popular photo editing app that allows you to apply cool filters instantly to your photos taken with your phone.

Instagram has more than 30 million iPhone users after its first year in the Apple App Store. When Instagram opened Android registrations few days back, it received more than 430,000 Android users on the waiting list. Now, after its launch for the Google platform, Android users will be able to join hands with the 30 million already registered iOS users.