Articles about Android

Santa brought you a OnePlus 3T? Here's what to do first

OnePlus 3T

Consider yourself extremely lucky: Santa just brought you one of the hottest smartphones of the year. The OnePlus 3T is the latest and greatest in OnePlus' line of flagship killers, packing really powerful hardware, a nice, big screen, solid camera, lovely software and a sleek design. It is also terrific value for money, but, hey, who cares about that right now?

If you are like me, all you can think about is taking it out of the box, setting it up and starting to use it right away. Here is what you need to know.

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Super Mario Run is bad news for everyone -- especially Android users

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When Apple announced that Mario was making his way to iOS, there was much rejoicing. But the excitement soon gave way to disappointment for several reasons. Firstly there was the price, with many feeling $9.99 was just too much to ask for what is, ultimately, a very basic, one button platformer.

Next there's the complaint that Super Mario run requires constant access to the internet -- many users have also grumbled that the game has eaten through large chunks of their monthly data allowance. Nintendo may have made a pretty penny from sales of the title in the first few days, but the company's share price has tumbled. On top of this, just as it happened with Pokémon Go, the initial success of the game is being used to push malware at users.

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Facebook introduces Live Audio in conjunction with the BBC

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It's not all that long since Facebook started to allow users to broadcast live video to their friends and followers -- now the social network is doing the same with audio. Things are looking good for mobile users, particularly those with Android devices.

Starting off with partners such as the BBC World Service, LBC and Harper Collins, Live Audio is something of a blend of podcasts and radio. To start off -- just as happened with live video -- audio broadcasting will only be available to a select group of companies, but there are plans to open it up to everyone.

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Facebook brings colored backgrounds to statuses

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After "the most requested Messenger feature ever" yesterday -- Group Video Chat -- Facebook now has another update.

This time around the social network is allowing users to change the background color of status updates. Before you get too excited, however, there are limitations aplenty to bear in mind.

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New York City gets 'ParkNYC' parking meter mobile payment app for Android and iPhone

NYCParkingStreetManhattan

New York City is a wonderful place to visit. There are countless great restaurants, not to mention museums, Madison Square Garden, and of course, Broadway shows. True, it is a very expensive city, but it is totally worth it for the culture.

One of the worst things about New York City, however, is driving. Traffic is unbearable and totally chaotic -- it can be maddening. Even worse is parking your car. If you can even manage to find a spot (they are hard to find), you have to deal with meters -- some of which still use coins. Today, Mayor de Blasio announces that paying for parking in New York City is getting much more convenient. The all-new 'ParkNYC'  app for Android and iPhone lets drivers pay to park using their smartphone.

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Chromebook's future is bleak

Chromebook Pixel LS

A few days ago, one of my Google+ followers, Steve Kluver, commented on an August 2014 share: "I am shopping for some more Chromebooks this Holiday Season, and found this post via G+ hashtag #chromebook search. How current is your ebook now?" He refers to Chromebook Reviews, which is available from Amazon for sale or for free reading with Kindle Unlimited. I apologized that the tome, published more than two years ago, is "way out of date". If I'm not going to revise, I really should remove the title.

I offered to give him buying advice, which got me to thinking about Chromebook as a concept and computing edifice. While a big fan, and owner of both generations of Google-made Chromebook Pixel, my primary laptop was a MacBook Pro for most of 2016. Measure of commitment: I bought the new 15.4-inch Touch Bar model just a few weeks ago. I've moved on, and got to thinking about why in crafting my response.

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Twitter apes Facebook and brings live video streaming to its mobile apps

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Twitter is rolling out a new feature to iOS and Android users that enables users to broadcast live video from within the app. If this sounds rather familiar, it's because it's a feature copied from Facebook -- and something that is already offered by Twitter-owned Periscope.

But live video broadcasting on Twitter is not replacing Periscope, it is powered by Periscope. By moving live video direct into the app, Twitter acknowledges the importance that users place on the feature, something which has been proven by the popularity of Facebook Live videos.

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OnePlus 3T: Refining the 'flagship killer' [Review]

OnePlus 3T

If you look at the specs of the new OnePlus 3T, there is nothing that gives away the fact that it costs hundreds of dollars less than a "traditional" flagship, like an Apple iPhone 7 or Samsung Galaxy S7. In some areas, it outdoes the big boys. It has everything that you would want in a high-end smartphone, with no compromise in sight.

I've had the OnePlus 3T as my daily driver for about two weeks now, after previously using the OnePlus 3 for a couple of months. And the new kid on the block is, to put it simply, the best "flagship killer" to date. It might even be the best smartphone that you can get for around $400.

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Google makes it easier than ever to switch from iOS to Android via the cloud

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Christmas is a time that sees many people getting new phones -- and for Google this is the perfect opportunity to try to steal a few iPhone users. But the problem with switching from one mobile platform to another is making sure data migrates across. Thanks to Google Drive, this is now easier than ever.

Google has had a guide to switching from iOS to Android on the Android website for some time, but it has now been updated to reflect important changes that have been made to the iOS version of Google Drive.

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Google brings Gboard keyboard to Android

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You would think that Google would concentrate on bringing its apps and tools to its own Android operating system before rivals, but this is not always the case. In fact the company has only just got around to launching the Android version of Gboard, months after it debuted on iOS.

Gboard is an updated version of the Google keyboard, and it comes with a raft of new features that make it well worth considering. Among the new additions are a dedicated number row, GIF and emoticon search, and the ability to perform Google searches from any app.

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How to change your Google Play store account country

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There's lots of information available on how to change the country associated with a Google Play account, but nothing works for me. I have been unable to switch to the US store despite following the recommended methods to the letter. Everything is in order, but when I open the Google Play app on my Android smartphone afterwards I still see my local store. And I am not alone.

For one reason or another, lots of fellow Android users want to change their Google account country to get access to a different Play store, but only few succeed. But I have found a method that actually gets the job done, and it involves Family Library. I have tested it on two different Google accounts and Android devices and, yes, it worked like a charm. Here is what you need to know.

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Samsung could be about to issue an OTA update to kill all Galaxy Note7 handsets

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Unless you've been living under a rock, the disastrous launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note7 cannot have escaped you. We've already seen the company pushing out updates in some countries to prevent the phones from fully charging in the hope that this will convince owners to take advantage of the exchange or refund program.

Now reports suggest that a new OTA update could be on its way to handset owners in the US. Rather than just limiting charging, the word is that the update will prevent charging completely, rendering the phone useless.

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IDC was so wrong about Windows Phone

Mime Surprise Shock

I laughed so hard and so often at IDC's smartphone forecast, my response took nine days to write -- okay, to even start it. The future isn't my chuckable -- that data looks reasonably believable enough -- but the past. Because 2016 was supposed to be the year that Microsoft's mobile OS rose from the ashes of Symbian to surpass iOS and to challenge Android.

In 2011, IDC forecast that Windows Phone global smartphone OS market share would top 20 percent in 2015. The analyst firm reiterated the platform's No. 2 status for 2016 in 2012 as well. Not that I ever believed the ridiculous forecasts, writing: "If Windows Phone is No. 2 by 2015, I'll kiss Steve Ballmer's feet" and "If Windows Phone is No. 2 by 2016, I'll clean Steve Ballmer's toilet". The CEO's later retirement let me lose from those obligations had I been wrong. I was confident in my analysis being truer.

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Google makes Android app updates even smaller

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When you update apps over a cellular network you go through your data plan more quickly -- and there is nothing that you can do about that. However, Google has found a way to make sure that Android users reach their data limit later rather than sooner.

Using the File-By-File patching technique, Google says that it is able to reduce the size of update files by an average of 65 percent. And, in some cases, the reduction can even exceed 90 percent. But how much data can you actually expect to save?

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Using VP9 and H.264/AVC High codecs keeps Netflix video downloads smaller

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The announcement that Netflix now allows viewers to download videos for offline viewing caused understandable excitement among subscribers. Of course, the key concern -- particularly with mobile devices -- is storage space. But thanks to a tweaked codec, Netflix has your back.

If you were worried that you might not be able to fit many episodes of your favorite shows on your phone or tablet, fear not. For Android users, Netflix opted to use the super-efficient VP9 codec, but as this isn’t supported by Apple, it had to think outside the box a little and ended up plumping for a custom H.264/AVC High codec for iOS users. The space savings are impressive.

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