Smartphone manufacturers are conservative when it comes to form factors. Virtually every new handset is of the bar (slate) type. That is because this allows the shell to maintain a thin profile and the touchscreen to take up most of the space on the front panel. Both are features relevant today. Unsurprisingly, clamshells and smartphones do not ever go hand in hand. But there are exceptions.
Among the few smart flip phones, or flip smartphones, is the newly-unveiled LG Smart Wine. The device runs Android 4.4 KitKat and packs decent hardware specifications for what could very well be the ultimate niche smartphone.
There is plenty of competition in the cloud storage space, but, unfortunately, for the most part any massive changes are limited to paid plans. They get bigger, they get cheaper, but the free tier, which most users get first, remains largely as limiting as it has always been. Sure, we get a couple of extra gigs for free here and there, but it's all smoke after all, meant to lead us right to the money grabbers. (And who could blame providers for trying to make money?)
Now, Microsoft is doing something rather interesting, as it gives OneDrive users nearly twice as much storage in the free plan, bumping the limit from a so-so 15 GB to a respectable 30 GB. The reason? Well, it's a damn clever one -- the extra freebie is meant to help Apple users who are having trouble with iOS 8 upgrades due to low available storage. Because this is an oft-discussed issue, it is bound to generate some free advertising for Microsoft and OneDrive.
Turning on data encryption can make a huge difference in case your Android device is lost or stolen, as it will make it extremely difficult -- if not impossible -- for a third-party to access your files. It also gives you quite a bit of time to remotely wipe your device, which means that your photos, videos, texts and whatnot have a better chance of remaining private.
And if the local authorities want to take a peek, they are also out of luck -- it's good news for those involved in criminal enterprises, and others as well. All this sounds great from a privacy and security standpoint, except that encryption has never been enabled by default in Android. But that is soon about to change.
Android is a very robust operating system that finds itself in many places. Other than phones and tablets, it also runs on laptops, desktops and cameras to name a few. The secret to this diversity is that Google's mobile OS is powered by the open-source Linux kernel.
Today, Android is shoe-horned into yet another form; a projector. Yes, a company named FAVI announces the Pico+ Smart Projector, which is an All-in-One Android Projector PC. Is it cool, or just plain weird?
When I first learned about the HooToo it sounded, frankly, a bit nuts. Pitched as an "all-in-one device charger, AC adapter, personal cloud, travel router, Wi-Fi hotspot, and wireless bridge" I was instantly intrigued, but fearful that this was going to be a device that promised the world and delivered little. Was I setting my expectations too low? Before we look at things any further, it's probably worth spending a moment or two decoding what it actually is. One of its more basic functions is a rechargeable USB battery pack complete with two outputs. But there's more to the TripMate Elite. Much, much more.
The 3.2 x 3.2 x 1.0 inch (82 x 82 x 28mm) black box is home to a 6000mAH battery that's perfect for powering up a dead mobile or tablet on the move, but the 7oz (200g) package has plenty more tricks up its sleeve. As it's a portable battery pack, it's hardly surprising to find a couple of USB outputs, one kicking out 1A, the other 1/2.1A. Equally unsurprising -- but no less useful -- is the battery level checker on the adjacent side; tap the button and four blue LEDs let you know the charge level. But what's that next to the charge lights? Internet and LAN indicators? Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice.
For the majority of Android users, the idea of moving from a handset running Google’s mobile operating system to the iPhone holds zero appeal. But I did it last year, and I couldn’t be happier. For me, iOS is by far the superior operating system (and I use iOS and Android daily), and the iPhone is a great handset.
If you’re thinking of making the move from Android to one of Apple’s new sized-up iPhones (and you won’t regret it), the process is pretty painless and Apple has created a new support page explaining how to move your photos, music, documents, and more.
Microsoft continues its recent trend of bringing exciting new features to rival platforms by adding Android Wear support to OneNote. The most recent version of Microsoft's note-taking tool -- suitably named OneNote for Android Wear -- and a new iOS 8-friendly version of the app is also due to launch today. If you've invested in an Android smartwatch (you'll have to wait a little longer for an Apple Watch version), taking a note is as simple as uttering "OK Google, take a note" -- but be prepared for a few weird looks when you try this out in a store for the first time.
To take advantage of the voice-activated features of the app, you will also need to have the main OneNote app installed on your Android phone or tablet. Forget the fact that your smartwatch doesn't have a keyboard -- notes can now be dictated to your wrist in a way that will not in any way make people who may be nearby think you're a little, er, strange. Or, as the Office Blog puts it, "we hope you enjoy using OneNote in a manner even Dick Tracy would envy!"
Almost three years on from its first release, BlueStacks is probably still the easiest way to run Android apps on your Windows desktop. But it also has issues: performance can be a problem, and you don’t get full control over your virtual device.
Andy is a new contender which takes a different approach, running an Android image with VirtualBox. It can be much more awkward to configure, but performance is great, and every aspect of the system can be tweaked to suit your needs.
Remember the halcyon days of your HTC One/LG G3/Samsung Galaxy S5? How you ran your fingers across the screen and marveled as it transitioned smoothly between apps? You were together, taking on the world in ergonomic bliss.
Now though, with a few scratches to the screen and some scuff marks to the casing, your beloved phone has become sluggish and as you browse the web, your eyes guiltily move towards the gleaming fascias of the latest models.
Google geeks have speculated for nearly a year about Android and Chrome OS coming together as one operating system. Yesterday's announcement -- that some Android apps can now run on the browser-based platform -- seems to foreshadow a combined future. Make no mistake about what this really means. Chrome OS is an ecosystem with no future because there is little monetization of apps. The platform would be dead if not for the existing and smoothly integrated Google cloud ecosystem.
Android apps inject life into the Chrome OS ecosystem. Free apps can't sustain any platform because developers have no incentive to create them. Android opens a huge spigot of apps -- and some which developers can monetize, more than they do through paid services tacked onto free web apps. BTW, Microsoft should take a cue from Google, by bringing boatloads of Windows Phone apps to its PC operating system.
Believe it or not, I am relatively platform agnostic. I've never understood the need to pick a side. On the desktop front, I use Windows 8.1, OS X Mavericks and Fedora 20. My bedtime tablet is an iPad Air, my work tablet is a Surface Pro 3 and Android is typically my phone of choice. Unfortunately, many Android and Windows users seem to strongly dislike Apple, which I have never totally understood. How do you hate a successful, forward-thinking company that makes products people like? Even if you do not prefer its products, anger and hatred seem excessive.
Android has been dominating in smartphone marketshare, and many users of Google's platform have been salivating as they daydream about the iPhone losing relevance. Guess what? It isn't happening. Pundits have discussed whether the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus would be a success and today, we're one step closer to the answer. You see, Apple works its magic again, as the new iPhones set an overnight preorder record.
Google is an amazing company that offers many products and services that make our lives better. For example, Gmail, YouTube, Maps and Android help many people every day. Unfortunately, there is one downside to living in Google's world -- having one password.
You see, with Google services, one password gains access to them all by utilizing a central account. If your password is exposed, nefarious people can wreak havoc across Google, including your precious Gmail account. Unfortunately, this recently happened to 5 million users and you could be one of them! Don't panic -- there is now an app for iOS and Android that can tell you if you are affected.
A lot of Google services have transitioned to gain the title of "apps", and the same is true of a large number of extensions for the Chrome browser. These online tools are essentially cross-platforms apps that work identically Now Google is taking another step to break out of the confines of making apps available to a single platform. Android apps are, quite rightly, associated with smartphones and tablets, but now a small number of these mobile apps are finding their way onto Chromebook.
The (usually) cheap and cheerful Windows laptop/Mac Book alternative (did someone say netbook?) can now start to benefit from a handful of well-known titles from Android devices. It is very early days but as of today there are four Android apps available to Chromebook owners -- Duolingo, Evernote, Sight Words, and Vine -- but we can expect to see this list expand over time. The quartet of crossover apps were introduced today by Ken Mixter and Josh Woodward. A short blog posts penned by the pair explains that the Chromebook support comes thanks to the App Runtime for Chrome (Beta) project.
Apple has finally conceded that big screens are better, as its new iPhones offer 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays. It has also finally conceded that a mobile operating system is better when it's more open, as iOS 8 supports third-party keyboards and inter-app communication. It's almost like Apple is saying that Steve Jobs was wrong while rival Android manufacturers and Google were right all along. Oh, the horror. How will Apple fanbois be able to explain this?
But, even as Apple is doing all these things, that some of us have already been enjoying for too many years to count, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are still outclassed by rival Android flagships. In fact, the new iPhones are not much different than Samsung Galaxy S3 or Galaxy Note 3, and, as you may know, neither of the two is the latest incarnation in their respective series. Ouch!