Articles about Android

I bought a $200 Android 'flagship' smartphone and it changed everything

Xiaomi Mi 4i lead image

A few weeks ago my one-and-a-half-year-old Nexus 5 started to misbehave. Its power button wasn't holding up well, forcing the phone to switch off a dozen times, while also making it a chore to turn the phone back on again. I realized the phone was on its last leg. I also have an iPhone 5s, but I mostly use it to listen to podcasts, take phone calls, and take photos. Suffice to say I'm an Android guy. With OnePlus announcing its plan to release the successor of its One flagship in Q3 later this year, and LG reportedly working on the successor to Nexus 5, I decided to purchase a cheap phone running Google’s software to keep my boat floating until these much-anticipated smartphones begin to trickle up on the market. This led me to purchase the recently launched $200 Mi 4i smartphone from Chinese conglomerate Xiaomi. After using it for a couple of weeks, I don't think I want to upgrade to a new phone this year.

The smartphone market has seen many new forces arrive in the last couple of years. These new players have changed the landscape entirely, pushing new phones with top-notch capabilities at an increasingly competitive price point. We now have plenty of options in both the low and mid-tier categories. The dirt-cheap $100 Moto E is a decent entry-level smartphone, and the $180 Moto G entices users looking for a more efficient phone. The Lenovo A7000 offers 4G LTE capability for less than $150, and $100 Android One smartphones from Micromax, Karbonn Mobiles, and Lava offer the up-to-date software and reasonably good specs. But I wanted a phone that offers a high-end processor and top-of-the-line hardware modules; Xiaomi was offering me just that.

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Facebook Lite gives a social fix without eating mobile data

facebook_lite

With its Internet.org project, Facebook is trying to not only spread into new parts of the world by bringing the internet to places where it is not currently available. With a focus on minimal data usage to help keep down costs, it was only a matter of time before a stripped down version of the Facebook app appeared.

Today is the day that Facebook Lite arrives. As the name suggests, this is a data-light version of the familiar Facebook app, and it starts its life on Android devices. It is designed with developing markets in mind, and today it starts the rollout process in Asia before it spreads further around the globe.

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New ransomware says you've been watching porn on your Android device

mobile security

Ransomware has become big business these days, with high-profile cases affecting computer users. Up until now though, mobile users have remained relatively safe from that particular form of infestation and only had the "garden variety" version of malware to contend with. That landscape is changing rapidly, it seems.

Security researchers at AVG have uncovered what they dub "Porn Droid". The infected device is locked by the "FBI" and the user gets a message demanding money in exchange for restoring the phone or tablet. To make the message particularly scary, it claims the offense is for child pornography.

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The best 5 running apps

Runner

While you certainly don’t need technology to get the blood pumping, there are a huge number of fitness apps out there that can help encourage and focus your exercise regime.

If you do need some help getting your running shoes on, then we’ve listed five of the best apps for motivation, technique and fitness monitoring currently available.

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Tim Cook is an opportunist

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Nine years ago, a NPR interviewer asked me about Google and other U.S. companies censoring search results in China. The question was one of morality -- to which I gave answer she didn't expect. That response, or my recollection of it, is appropriate for rather ridiculous and self-serving statements that Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly made two days ago.

"We believe that people have a fundamental right to privacy", Cook said, Matthew Panzarino reports for TechCrunch. "The American people demand it, the constitution demands it, morality demands it". Oh? What is moral? The answer I gave NPR in 2006 applies: There is no moral high ground in business. The high ground is quagmire, because all public companies -- Apple surely among them -- share a single, moral objective: Make profits for stockholders. Plain, pure, and simple.

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How to unlock your LG G4's bootloader

G4_Genuine_Leather_500

LG's Android handsets are not the best choices for enthusiasts. Bootloaders are tightly locked, so loading a different kernel or installing another distribution is next to impossible. And there is no official tool that lifts the restrictions, even if that would mean having the warranty voided. Without getting a Nexus 4 or Nexus 5, you are out of luck. Heck, even iPhones are friendlier to the modders.

Fortunately, LG is well aware of the enthusiasts' interest in its devices, so it has finally taken the first step towards embracing the community's ways by allowing G4 users to unlock the bootloader. Here is how it can be done.

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Want to get rich making Android apps? Take these free Google-approved training courses!

moneylady

Have you ever dreamed about getting rich from creating and selling apps? Me too. Unfortunately, I have literally zero coding skills. In other words, even if I had a brilliant idea for an app, I could not create it, and that is just sad.

Being illiterate with programming is something that I am both ashamed of and regret. Luckily, I am not dead yet, so this is still a skill I can achieve. Thanks to Google and Udacity, I may even be able to do it for free. Yes, free training courses are now available! Check it out.

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Adware makers turn their sights on OS X

Adware

Hot on the heels of news that OS X topped the vulnerabilities charts in April comes Dr. Web's virus activity review for May which shows increasing quantities of adware and unwanted applications targeting the Apple operating system.

The company reports several programs aimed at OS X that either install adware, install other applications or inject JavaScript code into webpages.

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How to Install Android M on Nexus 5, 6, 9 using Windows PC or Mac

Android M running on Google Nexus 5

At its developer conference I/O 2015, Google today unveiled Android M, the latest iteration to its mobile operating system. The update brings with it a handful of interesting features and other improvements. The full-fledged version of Android M will roll-out sometime later this year, but for those who want a sneak peek a developer preview version of Android M for select Nexus devices is out now. Here’s how you can install it on your smartphone or tablet.

Android M comes with a number of interesting features including Chrome custom view, built-in fingerprint scanning feature, and permission manager. The company says that with the new update it is going back to the basics -- offering bug fixes and performance improvements to the users. For instance, Android M-powered devices will have twice as much battery life compared to Lollipop-powered devices, the company claims.

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Brillo is Google's new IoT platform

Brillo is Google's new IoT platform

Every tech company worth its salt is running to get involved in the Internet of Things; Ubuntu is in on it, and Microsoft has teamed up with more than one company to plant its IoT flag. Today Google unveiled its new IoT platform, Brillo.

Google is not entirely new to the Internet of Things -- it already has its cloud platform in place and has also acquired Nest. Destined for all manner of connected devices, Brillo is a stripped down and streamlined operating system based on Android. Google has not revealed how its size compares to Huawei's LiteOS, but has said that -- like Android M -- there is a focus on security, and the platform will run on Weave.

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HBO NOW to launch on Google Play this summer

game-of-thrones

It's getting hard to keep track of HBO these days. The cable channel has been around for years, existing only through cable and satellite providers. Then came HBO GO and then HBO NOW which was exclusive to Apple TV, though not for very long. More recently the channel itself came to Sling TV, meaning no subscription to a TV provider was required, though $15 per month was.

Now other customers will be getting the opportunity to get Game of Thrones and all of the other content. Sundar Pichai announced the big news today during the Google I/O event which has just kicked off.

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Google Play gets a family-friendly makeover

Google Play gets a family-friendly makeover

All eyes are on Google today, and there are certainly plenty of announcements to take on board. As well as exciting future releases such as Android M, there are also changes to old favorites. Google Play is one stalwart that's in line for an update, and this time around Google has decided to focus on making the store a family-friendly experience.

To allay the fears of concerned parents who are worried about what their kids might stumble across while looking for apps and games, Google is introducing a new Family category. There is a strong focus on making it easier to select content that's suitable for specific age groups and the categorization is available across apps, games, books, movies, and TV shows.

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Google reveals Photos -- coming to Android, iOS, and web

Google Photos shown on Chromebook, Android smartphone and tablet

Google revealed Google Photos today, at its Google I/O 2015 developer conference. It is a new standalone app for Android, iOS and the web which aims to make it easy for users to upload all of their photos and videos to the cloud, and manage everything afterwards. And it will be available starting today.

For mobile users, this means that the Google+ app is no longer needed to automate photo and video uploads. However, Google Photos is not just about uploading content to the cloud, but also organizing it. Google says that everything will be (privately) auto-grouped, so that users can easily find, for instance, dog photos.

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Google reveals Android M with improved security and battery life

Android M

Ready to further facture the Android market, Google today gave us the first glimpse at what to expect in the follow up to Lollipop -- Android M. We're not yet any the wiser about what the M might stand for (Marshmallow? Marzipan? Mars?) but we do know that Google is placing a focus on security improvements, giving users greater control over app permissions, and prolonging battery life.

Battery performance improvements -- if Google is to be believed -- are seriously impressive. The company claims that its Nexus 9 tablet could benefit from twice the battery life currently enjoyed under Lollipop. What else is there to look forward to? The Developer Preview also boasts a new fingerprint reader API, indicating that biometrics are set to become increasingly important in future handsets.

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Google announces Android Pay

The Google I/O logo for Android Pay

Apple Pay now has some serious competition, as Google today announced its own contactless payments solution, called Android Pay, at its Google I/O 2015 developer conference. Android Pay will "soon" be available, as an app, through Google Play.

Android Pay will be an open platform, so developers will be able to integrate it into their apps to allow users to easily pay for things. Bringing its contactless payments solution to market, Google says that it is "bringing together mobile carriers, payment networks, banks and retailers".

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