Articles about Android

Pebble Time pre-orders set to begin next month

Pebble Time on wrist

Pebble has proven to be a darling of Kickstarter, launching its first smartwatch there and more recently launching its latest model in the same fashion. It's known as Pebble Time and if you got in on the Kickstarter then shipments have already begun. If you didn't, then you'll have to wait a bit, but not terribly long.

Beginning June 22nd, less than a month away, you'll be able to place your pre-order. Shipping dates were not announced, but the sooner you order the sooner you're likely to get it.

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Twitter releases Periscope for Android

periscope-android

Periscope from Twitter seems to get mixed reviews from users and the tech community. However, it isn't going away, at least as far as we know. The video sharing app received a lot of attention, which really is what Twitter wants from any improvement or new apps.

Periscope isn't new, but the app for Android is. It boasts the ability to replay your live broadcast to your followers, it can be private if you only want certain followers to see it, you can also share these broadcasts via Twitter, manage notifications and Hearts, which tracks how many viewers like your broadcast.

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Google revamps age rating system for Android apps in Play Store

Google revamps age rating system for Android apps in Play Store

Google's system of rating apps and games in the Play Store has been relatively simple up to now. A rudimentary high, medium, and low labelling format has been used to give a rough indication of the age a particular title is suitable for, but things are about to get a lot more complicated. Developers are now required to answer a questionnaire about their apps so they can be assigned movie-style age ratings.

Sounds simple enough, but this is not a global system; different parts of the world have different views of what is suitable for different age groups. What is deemed acceptable for 15-year-olds in one country might be thought suitable only for over 18s somewhere else. Any app that does not receive an age rating will simply not appear in Google Play.

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LG and Sony partner with Microsoft to save their Android devices

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There is something happening in the Android world -- consumers just aren't caring about the latest and greatest flagships like they used to. Even Samsung, once thought to be unstoppable, is facing declining sales. It almost seems as if consumers are fatigued to the upgrade cycle. While a new iPhone is a magical annual affair, the market is flooded with so many Android phones, it is hard to differentiate one from another. The major manufacturers are even starting to feel pressure from smaller companies such as OnePlus.

What are manufacturers such as Sony and LG supposed to do to make their smartphones stand out? Turn to Microsoft, apparently. Yes, both of those aforementioned manufacturers, plus a bunch of others, are turning to the Windows-maker in an effort to get Skype, Office and more pre-loaded on their devices. In other words, maybe Microsoft can save their device's from Google's perception-stranglehold and overall monotonous Android sales environment.

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Sony announces Xperia Z3+: Just another flagship

Waterproof credentials of Sony Xperia Z3+ shown in Copper Gold

While the likes of HTC, LG and Samsung all have new flagship smartphones for 2015, Sony is still trying to sway consumers with last year's Xperia Z3. While it is not exactly dated, it is showing its age in a time when the competition is rocking newer and more impressive hardware, as well as more attractive designs.

So how is Sony answering? The Japanese maker has decided that the flagship it needs to compete against rivals like G4 and Galaxy S6 is actually a rebranded version of the Japan-only Z4 that it unveiled in mid-April. Sony is either crazy or dropping out of the race.

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Samsung announces Iron Man-themed Galaxy S6 edge

Samsung Galaxy S6 edge Iron Man-themed limited edition

Samsung has teamed up with Marvel to release an Iron Man-themed version of its Galaxy S6 edge Android flagship smartphone. The handset is introduced in celebration of the Avengers: Age of Ultron blockbuster, and hits store shelves starting tomorrow as a limited edition.

As you might expect, where the Iron Man-themed Galaxy S6 edge differs from its standard counterpart is in the looks department. But there are also differences when it comes to packaging, with the former being shipped in an Iron Man-themed box with extra -- cool -- accessories.

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Google Play hosts over 30 malicious Minecraft apps

virus malware infection mobile

Malware is still a worry on the Google Play store, even though the rate of malware is dropping to its lowest levels since the inception of the store in 2008.

One of the easiest ways to push malicious apps is by masquerading them under popular names, in this case Minecraft. Guides, tutorials, tricks and other apps would offer help, but quickly turn into a user’s worst nightmare with malware and adware spam.

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Android's factory reset leaves private information behind on 630 million devices

Insecure Android smartphone

Sensitive data, such as user credentials, can be easily recovered from an Android handset after performing a factory reset, according to a University of Cambridge report. The feature, which is claimed to "erase all data" from the device and is especially recommended come resale time, will not work as advertised on up to 630 million Android handsets.

A factory reset will not properly wipe the data partition, where "credentials and other sensitive data are stored", on up to 500 million handsets, while on a further 130 million devices it will not properly clean the user-accessible storage. Even worse, relying on encryption to secure sensitive data does not help.

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Google brings open source gaming to Cardboard

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Virtual reality is definitely a popular thing nowadays. Unfortunately, the hardware can be rather expensive. Not to worry though, it doesn't have to be pricey. Last year, Google released its Cardboard project, bringing virtual reality to anyone with a compatible Android phone and some cardboard (plus rubber bands and lenses, etc.).

Today, the company announces it is bringing its open source Android game, Pie Noon, to Cardboard. Are you ready to play a game with your smartphone strapped to your face?

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Android 5.1.1 now available for Nexus 4, 5, cellular 7 and 9 -- here's how you can install it

Android 5.1 Lollipop announcement image

You might think that Google will quickly update its supported Nexus devices to the latest version of Android, after releasing it. After all, the search giant controls the development of the mobile operating system and Nexus software updates. But that is not exactly the case.

Some Nexus devices -- like the second-generation Nexus 7 -- got Android 5.1.1 Lollipop last month, while other handsets -- like the 4G LTE version of Nexus 9 -- are only now receiving the software upgrade. Not a level playing field it would seem.

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Google launches artist-inspired 'Editions' Android phone cases -- Skrillex goes first

Skrillex Live Case

One of the major reasons I choose Android over iOS is freedom. Not only am I free to set a default browser and default email client, but I am free to install different "launchers" to customize the experience. Manufacturers are even free to make phones of various sizes and shapes, which in turn means consumers can find the right device to meet their needs.

Following that trend of freedom and customization, Google today launches "Editions", which are artist-inspired cases for Android phones. Not only will they offer a fun and unique way to show-off your phone, but they will also grant access to exclusive artist content. The first artist is the king of dubstep, Skrillex.

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My four months with Nexus 9 [Review]

Nexus 9 and Friend

I want to love Google-branded, HTC-manufactured Nexus 9. But ours is a contentious relationship. N9 is not a bad tablet; others offer better value and performance for the price (or less), with Apple iPad mini being high among them. That said, if pure (aka stock) Android is your thing, there is no worthy alternative. Just prepare for a few compromises, particularly if moving up from Nexus 7.

In his November 2014 review, my colleague Brian Fagioli calls Nexus 9 "magical". I can't agree. During my four months using the tablet, response occasionally hesitates and WiFi too often disconnects. Last week, my N9 received the newest Android update, which somewhat resolves both problems. I purposely delayed this review, waiting for v5.1.1.

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Adblock Browser launches for Android

AdBlock Plus Browser Logo

Adblock Plus, the maker of the popular ad-blocking tool for desktop web browsers is taking a major step today in offering similar services on mobile devices. The company releases Adblock Browser for Android, which blocks ads while also offering features like the ability to block adware, boost browsing speed and save data and battery life.

Adblock Browser for Android is powered by the same popular ad-blocking tool that has been downloaded over 400 million times. The company claims that by blocking the annoying elements -- which includes ads among other annoyances -- it is able to speed up browsing as well as save data usage.

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LG expands G4 lineup -- announces G4 Stylus and G4c

LG G4 Stylus and G4c together

LG's G4 lineup is growing, as the South Korean maker just announced G4 Stylus and G4c. The two new smartphones look similar to their flagship sibling, G4, but sport much more modest hardware.

G4 Stylus is the proper phablet in the lineup, while G4c is the compact offering -- if it can be called that, given that its display is as big as some of G4's rivals. Both smartphones can be considered mid-range offerings.

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GV18 Aplus smartwatch -- what can you expect for $35? [Review]

GV18 Aplus smartwatch

It's always the way with technology that it starts out expensive then tumbles in price as more manufacturers enter the field. With smartwatches that fall in price has come pretty quickly as Chinese manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon.

The last budget smartwatch we looked at proved pretty impressive for the price. The GV18 Aplus is cheaper still and yet packs in even more features. So, is it cheap and cheerful or cheap and nasty? Let's find out.

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