Rumor Roundup: Moto G5 & G5 Plus Slated to Have Water Repellent Coating, Fast Charging & Android Nougat
With Mobile World Congress right around the corner, the 2017 smartphone season has officially begun. We've heard plenty of rumors that Lenovo, the company who owns Motorola, would be debuting successors to last year's wildly-popular Moto G4 lineup in Barcelona at MWC, but now, that's been all but confirmed.
The Pixel and Pixel XL both use AMOLED screens, which are noted for their deeper blacks and sharper contrast ratios when compared to traditional LCD panels. However, AMOLED displays still have one fairly major downside, and that's the fact that they're vulnerable to screen burn-in.
Google's own devices have always been the first to get new Android features—but unlike the Nexus series, this year's Pixel phones have a handful of exclusive tweaks that were never intended to trickle down to other devices once the newer Android version rolled out to them. These Pixel exclusives include the Google Assistant, a new launcher, and, of course, a unique set of on-screen navigation buttons.
Now that Android Nougat lets you add your own custom Quick Settings tiles, your pull-down menu is probably getting a lot more crowded than it used to be, with all sorts of new and useful toggles. But the trouble is, you can only add up to nine entries before your Quick Settings tiles spill over into a second pane that you have to access by swiping, and that's not exactly "quick."
Android is a highly customizable operating system. Sometimes, we use these capabilities to add core functionality or streamline the user experience, but there are other times when customization is just about having fun and making your smartphone's interface more enjoyable.
Considering that Google makes Android, it's rather strange that the operating system doesn't have a baked-in solution for doing a reverse image search. Sure, you can long-press pictures in Chrome to search for other instances of a photo, but it's not possible with pictures you find in other apps, or photos you've downloaded to your phone.
Almost every Android device comes with a Google search bar embedded directly into its stock home screen app. But Google search is available in so many different places on Android that having this bar in your launcher is almost overkill. On top of that, Google recently changed the logo overlay to a more colorful one that may clash with your home screen theme, so there's plenty of reasons to dislike this feature.
If you have a long commute, it only makes sense to catch a bit of shuteye while you're headed to work on the train or bus. The only problem with this is that, if you're napping a little too hard, you might end up oversleeping and missing your stop when the subway pulls into your station.
If you're ever in a major accident or have a bout with acute onset health problems, first responders will need to know as much information about you in order to provide proper care. For this reason, paramedics and firemen have been trained to search a subject's cell phone to find ICE (in case of emergency) contacts that know your allergies, blood type, and other vital details.
Android is Google's project, so of course you can see the search giant's fingerprints all over the operating system. Aside from the obvious user-facing apps, there's Google Cloud Messaging, Google Connectivity Services, and the much-maligned Google Play Services running in the background, to name a few.
Rumor Roundup: BlackBerry's Flagship, Codenamed Mercury, Will Sport a Physical Keyboard & Aluminum Chassis
Once a giant in the world of mobile phones, BlackBerry has since fallen into obscurity, due in large part to the rise of Android and the iPhone. Sales were so low that BlackBerry announced it would stop making handsets, ultimately giving TCL global rights in December 2016 to manufacturer devices using their brand name, software, and services. Out of this new partnership, a new flagship has arisen—codenamed Mercury—with hopes to push the BlackBerry brand to heights the PRIV fell short of back ...
If your phone has an AMOLED display, it doesn't waste any battery to power black portions of the screen. This is because the individual pixels that make up an AMOLED screen emit their own light, which means the backlight you'd find behind a traditional LCD screen is not present. In other words, showing a full-screen black image on an AMOLED phone is like turning your display completely off.
How To: Get CyanogenMod's 'Caffeine' Feature to Keep Your Screen Awake Longer at the Press of a Button
Sometimes it's the smallest feature in your smartphone that makes the biggest difference in user experience. Take screen timeout, for instance. You can probably think of plenty of times when your handset's display blacked out while you were in the middle of something. You could have been cooking with a recipe on the screen or looking at chords while you learned a new riff on your guitar.
Life hasn't been very good for LG this past year. The mobile division of the Korean electronics giant has now posted five straight unprofitable quarters, including a $389.4 million loss in Q4 2016, thanks in large part to weak sales of its flagship, the modular LG G5.
Nintendo's first ever game for Android has finally touched down (unless you actually count the abomination that is Miitomo). Fire Emblem Heroes, a classic turn-based RPG optimized for mobile gaming, has come out for Android and iOS in Australia, Europe, and Japan, and is due out in North America and other worldwide locales very soon. Due to Nintendo's staggered release, the game isn't available to us in the United States at the time of this writing, but fret not—there's another way to downloa...
The YouTube app for Android doesn't exactly offer the greatest user experience. For one thing, it opens to an arbitrary "Home" tab instead of your subscriptions, so you see a list of what YouTube thinks you want to watch instead of your favorite channels. In addition to that, videos are loading at a mere 144p playback resolution for many users lately, which is downright terrible quality.
Emoji, emojis, smilies, or smileys—whatever you want to call them, those little yellow icons have firmly implanted themselves in the human lexicon. However, just like with localized languages and dialects, emoji can be very different from one another depending on the device or operating system you're using.
For years now, Xiaomi's smartphones, as well as any phone running Xiaomi's MIUI ROM, have had a subtle feature that makes the interface look all the more refined: Rounded display corners. But now, LG and Samsung are reportedly getting in on the rounded corners craze, as the upcoming Galaxy S8 and LG G6 have both been tipped to feature a subtle curve at the corners of their screens.
Android has separate volume levels for various system sounds like incoming calls, notifications, alarms, and media. This means that when you want to adjust volume levels for just one of these categories, you usually have to press the physical volume rocker, tap a button to expand the volume menu, find the category that you want to adjust, then finally raise or lower the volume.
The iPhone has a handy feature called AssistiveTouch that lets you quickly adjust volume, lock your screen, rotate your display, and even navigate through the phone's interface using a virtual home button. In a way, it's a lot like the on-screen navigation bar that you'll find on some Android devices, but with a lot more functionality, and bundled together in a floating bubble interface.
One of the biggest things that differentiates Android from iOS is the app drawer. Instead of the operating system just tossing all of your app icons into a cluttered heap on your home screen, most can be tucked away neatly in the app drawer, which, in essence, is very similar to the Windows Start menu.
Android apps check your system locale settings to determine which language they should display. For the most part, it's a seamless experience—except for those times when an app has not been translated into your language of choice, in which case the app will usually default to English.
If you have multiple Bluetooth accessories, Android's volume system can be pretty annoying. For one thing, most phones reset to a "Safe Volume Level" every time you reconnect a pair of headphones, which means you'll probably need to turn up the volume once or twice a day. But even if your phone doesn't exhibit this obnoxious behavior, you might want your car's Bluetooth connection to be louder than, say, your home stereo or your wireless earbuds.
According to a study done by internet provider Tencent, a whopping 27.44% of Android users root their phones. With over 1.4 billion Android devices out there, that works out to somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 million rooted phones and tablets. In other words, there may very well be more rooted Android devices than there are Americans, so root nation is an important demographic that deserves being catered to.
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.
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.
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.
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.