Android's notification system is quite robust, especially now that Google added bundled notifications and quick reply features to Android 7.0 Nougat. However, things can still get quite cluttered when you have several unread messages, which fills your status bar with icons and makes your notification tray take up half of the screen by itself.
With smartphone makers ditching the headphone jack in the hopes of a truly wireless future, we're having to rely on Bluetooth devices like earbuds and headphones more and more. But the downside here is that these devices aren't physically connected to your phone in any way, which makes it way too easy to leave an important accessory behind.
Super Mario Run was released for iOS on December 15, 2016. Even though it debuted as a "free" app, almost all of the playable content was hidden behind a ridiculous $10 unlocking package. Despite coming with such a hefty price tag and receiving a two-star rating on the day of its release for iOS, Android users are still very much interested in giving this game a whirl.
Many Android users woke up on January 10 to discover that their phone's performance took a nosedive overnight. Battery life is draining fast, overall performance has been sluggish, and devices seem to be overheating for no apparent reason. Not to worry, this isn't happening because of something you did.
HTC, known well for its HTC One series of flagship devices, released one of its best smartphones to date in 2016. That phone, the HTC 10, was met with near-universal praise from tech blogs and YouTubers—however, the sales numbers didn't quite match the hype, and HTC ended up posting a net loss of $133 million in the quarter that followed the phone's release.
Locking individual apps on your Android device gives you an added layer of security by safeguarding app data from unwanted attention. I personally prefer using an app locker over a standard lock screen because my kids play with my phone, and they've completely disabled it after inputting the wrong PIN. So app lockers give me the right balance between giving my children access to my device, and the security of locking down my data from would-be intruders.
Everyone loves sharing pictures and quick video clips with Snapchat, but while the service itself is tons of fun, the Android app is one of the worst on the market. For one, Snapchat takes terrible photos even on high-end Android phones. And to make matters worse, the app is a notorious data-sucking battery drainer.
If your mechanical home button or capacitive navigation keys are on the fritz, doing something as simple as navigating your phone's interface becomes a tedious chore. In this situation, some users have turned to root mods that enable Android's software navigation bar to solve the problem, but not everyone is willing or able to root their device.
Let's say you gave your Wi-Fi password to your neighbor a while back, under the assumption that they'd only use it while they were at your house sharing stuff via Chromecast. But now, your connection is slower than it normally should be, and you have this sneaking suspicion that the dude in apartment 3C is flat-out piggybacking off of your home network.
Anyone who's ever flashed factory images to manually update an Android phone knows how tedious the process can be. Unlocking the bootloader and flashing Android firmware requires the use of ADB and Fastboot—but, like getting a whole pizza pie when all you wanted was a slice, users in the past had to download the entire Android Studio development package or SDK in order to get the two utilities.
Samsung began offering Android 7.0 Nougat to users in its beta program on November 10, 2016. The beta came to a close last month after the fifth and final version was pushed out to users under the build number ending in 1ZPLN. This update was released a couple of days after Christmas and fixed a couple of bugs, including a fairly annoying one that caused your device to randomly reboot.
Android 7.0 Nougat brought a lot of multitasking improvements along with it, but the most notable addition is a unified multi-window mode (which shines bright in Google's Pixel phones). This means that every Android device can now use the same split-screen interface, and the days of software fragmentation caused by differing multi-window implementations by LG and Samsung are now over.
The Huawei Nexus 6P was released a little over a year ago, but despite doing moderately well in sales, the device has had more than its fair share of issues. When first released, there were numerous reception and memory management difficulties that left users extremely frustrated, though, those problems were solved with updates pushed by Google.
A few months ago, it was discovered that Verizon was installing an extremely shady app called "DT Ignite" on some of its smartphones—most notably, the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The app, created by Digital Turbine, monitors your smartphone usage, then uses the data it collects to silently install "recommended" apps without notifying you.
Ever since QuickPic was sold to a known adware company, there's been a glaring need for lightweight and fast third-party gallery apps on Android. For the folks that don't want to use Google Photos and other cloud-based solutions, a gallery app that loads your locally-stored pictures quickly without taking up much storage space is the best possible fit.
Ever since the update that turned Google Keyboard into Gboard rolled out, a lot of people have been noticing that word suggestions and auto-correct features are downright slow. The issue seems to affect users with multiple languages installed more than anyone, though it can also happen if you have a midrange phone or older device with only one language installed.
As we first reported here on Gadget Hacks, Google's new Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones come with an unlockable bootloader, with the exception of models sold by Verizon.
If you have a mobility impairment that affects your hands, arms, or manual dexterity, a smartphone's touch-based interface can almost be a barrier between you and the mobile internet. Eye-tracking software requires too much computing power for today's smartphones to handle, so it might seem as though there's no good way to interact with an Android device.
After months of it being exclusive to iOS devices, Google finally made their popular Gboard app available for Android phones and tablets. It's a snappy keyboard with the power of Google search built right in, which allows you to search for and share images and GIFs right from your favorite messaging app.
Starting in October, many Nexus 6P users have been experiencing a bug that causes their phone to completely shut down, even though there was 20% or more battery life remaining. At first, it was thought to be a direct result of the recent Android Nougat update, but a combination of factors indicate that this isn't necessarily the case—or, at least, it's not the only problem.
Cyanogen, Inc., the for-profit company that spun off from its CyanogenMod roots several years ago, has announced that they're shutting down all of their services. The company's impending demise shouldn't directly impact many Android users, but the announcement does have one major repercussion: The servers that used to host the popular CyanogenMod custom ROM have now been shut down.
If you were a particularly good little girl or boy this year, Santa might have finally brought you that cool new smartphone you've been wanting. Or perhaps you just took advantage of a great sale and treated yourself to a new gadget this holiday season—totally justifiable, and surely a well-deserved gift.
In recent weeks, thousands of Nexus 6P users have reported that their devices are shutting down with 30% or more battery life remaining. The phones won't start back up until they're plugged into a charger, so it's as if the battery completely dies even though there is plenty of juice left.
WhatsApp recently updated their emojis (or emoji, depending on your preference), but it wasn't exactly a welcome change. Many users have complained that the new smilies are just way too big, others aren't too fond of the shinier appearance, and countless folks have been venting their frustrations on Twitter.
If you need to do some hardcore multitasking on your Windows PC, a second monitor can go a long way towards getting things done. If you opt to "extend" your Windows desktop across a dual monitor setup, it's as if you have two computers side by side, with each display getting its own set of windows and programs that can be open simultaneously.
The Google Nexus 6P, manufactured by Huawei and released a little more than a year ago, has been a well-received smartphone in general. It sports front-facing stereo speakers, an awesome camera, a massive screen, supports all US carriers, and doesn't allow the infamous Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 to hamper its performance in the slightest.
Thanks to live-streaming video and social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, we're all on camera nowadays. Unfortunately, though, we don't have a script to work with when we're shooting selfie videos, so it's hard to come off as perfectly eloquent when you're just freestyling off the top of your head.
The brand new Pixel and Pixel XL, Google's first direct attempts at taking on the iPhone, haven't rolled out exactly how Google would have liked. The devices have already had more than their fair share of issues, starting with the camera, and now extending to the built-in speaker. The camera issues were marked as "solved" by Google, but the lens flare is still very much there, just not as prominent.
With the exception of New York, D.C., and maybe San Francisco, public transportation in the United States is downright abysmal. Like it or not, you need a car to get around. This is why Uber and Lyft have seen so much success in recent years. Both ride sharing services get you from point A to point B in an efficient manner, and they do it without costing an arm and a leg. Well, in most cases.
YouTube is a great place for all your mainstream audio and video needs. Too bad you can't simply plug in your headphones, choose a playlist, and put your phone back in your pocket. Oh wait, you can... with YouTube Red and its absurd $9.99/month pricing for ad-free and background playback.
The OnePlus 3T was released about five months after the OnePlus 3 with several noticeable upgrades. Firstly, it has a new processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, which is the same one that the Pixel and Pixel XL sport. Second is the 16 MP front-facing camera with a different sensor. And the next big change was a slightly larger 3,400 mAh capacity battery.
Google's new Pixel and Pixel XL flagship phones are a rousing success, with consumers praising the fluid user experience and overall performance as two of the devices' biggest strengths. But even though Google may have knocked it out of the park with a set of Apple-like smartphones that "just work," there's still room for improvement in a few areas.
If you're an Android user, Google probably has almost your entire digital life stored on its servers. Family pictures are backed up on Google Photos, your e-book library resides with Google Play Books, videos are on YouTube, chat logs in Gmail and Hangouts, starred places and location history in Google Maps, and so much more.
How To: Film Student Tracked Phone Thief for Weeks by Installing Cerberus as a System App, Here's How to Do It
Dutch filmmaker Anthony Van der Meer recently published his 2015 thesis short from Willem de Kooning Academy in South Holland online—a brilliant piece of work that managed to be touching, alarming, and informative at the same time. His documentary, which is soaring to the top of the YouTube charts as we speak, covered the journey made by a stolen smartphone and how the theft and ensuing tracking affected all parties involved.
A scary piece of malware just got a lot more terrifying this week. Security firm Comodo reports that "Tordow," a banking Trojan first uncovered in September 2016, received a massive update this December.
If you really want to play Gran Turismo or Castlevania on the go, Sony's PlayStation Portable is a great way to do it. But it gets harder and harder to justify carrying around a PSP handheld gaming console when you've got an equally powerful Android phone in your pocket already. The PSP had a good 10 years before being discontinued, and your Android can pick up the slack now.
Ah, the Nokia Lumia series... what can be said about Microsoft's recently-deceased line of smartphones? They might not have been the best, but they certainly weren't the worst, and they did get the job done in terms of what you would expect from a smartphone.
Each generation of smartphones ushers in a new set of top-of-the-line specs, with processing power, battery size, and display resolution growing by the year. These headlining features get the most press, but there's one unsung hero that has the potential to make the biggest difference when it comes to real-world performance: RAM, or random-access memory.
By default, Android limits your call history to the last 500 incoming, outgoing, or missed calls. When you reach this limit, older entries get trimmed off the bottom of the list and deleted forever. This isn't an issue with storage space, because even the biggest call logs only occupy mere kilobytes, so it's really just an artificial limit.
There's no question about it—Skype is one useful program, but has always been lacking in the mobile department. On your desktop, Skype works just fine and all of its options are available for usage. However, the same cannot be said for Android. On Android, you can't even change your status to "Away" or "Invisible."