Articles about Android

Amazon adds more Android 'Prime Exclusive Phones' from Nokia, Motorola, and Alcatel


Some people don't like advertisements, but I do. They are a great way to learn about new products while also helping to pay for "free" content. People think I am crazy when I say this, but many times I don't bother fast-forwarding commercials when watching my DVR. Heck, in 2017, there is so much great content that is subsidized by ads, such as news articles, YouTube videos, and of course, both television and radio. If it weren't for advertisements, you would probably be "nickle-and-dimed" at every turn.

A great example of advertisements helping consumers is Amazon's 'Prime Exclusive Phones' program. The consumer gets a discount on the smartphone by agreeing to see ads on the device's lock screen. It is not forced on the buyer -- they get to choose if it is worth it to them. It actually empowers the consumer. Today, Amazon is introducing five more handsets into the scheme from Motorola, Alcatel, and for the first time, Nokia.

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Google Photos removes backup while charging option

Google Photos shown on Chromebook, Android smartphone and tablet

As a tool to backup your photos and videos to the cloud, Google Photos should give you a fair degree of control over how and when you want the backups to be performed. However, a new update to the popular app on Android manages to do quite the opposite, removing a very useful feature -- which is sure to frustrate some users.

Google Photos has dropped the backup while charging option from the settings menu, forcing users to either perform backups manually or accept that backups can happen anytime their smartphone or tablet is connected to a cellular or Wi-Fi network.

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Camera trickery: the OnePlus 5 does NOT offer lossless 2x optical zoom


Just one day after the launch of the long-awaited OnePlus 5, accusations of cheating in benchmarks started to creep out -- just as they did with the OnePlus 3T. Now another minor controversy has hit the brand new handset: it turns out that while it is strongly suggested that the OnePlus 5 has lossless 2x optical zoom, that is not actually the case.

OnePlus' marketing certainly pitched the dual camera as offering instant 2x zoom, and many people assumed that the arrangement was the same as with the dual camera iPhone 7 Plus which does offer 2x optical zoom. But the focal length of the OnePlus' two cameras is such that it needs a little digital help to boost the zoom to 2x -- and that raises the question of whether it is actually lossless.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 will reportedly be revealed in August

Samsung logo building

The Galaxy Note brand is alive and well, as Samsung will be officially unveiling the new, hopefully non-exploding addition to the premium large-size smartphone line near the end of August.

That report comes from Reuters, which cited "a person familiar with the matter," as saying the official reveal will happen at a typical New York City Samsung event later this summer.

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OnePlus 5 cheats in benchmarks for a performance boost

oneplus 5

At the start of the year it was discovered that the OnePlus 3T was cheating in benchmarks, artificially boosting performance when testing tools were detected. The OnePlus 5 was only officially launched yesterday but the same accusation is already being leveled at the latest version of the flagship killer.

As with the OnePlus 3T, the benchmark trickery of the OnePlus 5 was discovered in tests carried out by XDA Developers. The site says that its review unit "manipulates benchmarks to maximize scores" and issues a stark warning in an article entitled: "Do NOT Trust OnePlus 5 Benchmarks in Reviews -- How our Review Unit is Grossly Cheating at Benchmarks."

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OnePlus 5 vs. Essential Phone -- which Android flagship smartphone should you buy?


If you like iOS, you buy an iPhone -- easy enough. If you prefer Android, well, picking a smartphone can be quite the confusing affair. Even if you select a phone you like at first, it is quite possible that the manufacturer could abandon it from an update perspective. In other words, you could end up with a vulnerable phone which, quite frankly, can be dangerous to use. This can happen even with well-known companies, such as Samsung and LG. Frustrating, right?

Of course, you can always opt for Google's own Pixel phones, as they are sure to get updates for a couple of years. What if you don't want to go that route? Well, there are two upcoming flagship smartphones that should be well supported both by the manufacturers and Android hacking communities. The phones to which I am referring are the OnePlus 5 and the Essential Phone. These devices are the "it" smartphones of the moment, and choosing between them won't be easy. So, which one will you be buying?

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The OnePlus 5 is now official -- Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 8GB RAM, and a price rise


Three years in the making, the OnePlus 5 -- the company's "most complete and competitive product yet" -- is now official. OnePlus says it's all down to the details, and the company has made endless minor adjustments, and over 100 prototypes to settle on a final design. The handset is just 7.25mm thick, and the overall layout of the phone is all but identical to the OnePlus 3 and 3T -- and yes, there is a headphone jack.

The phone is available in Midnight Black and Slate Gray and the specs are in line with the leaks and rumors we've heard over recent weeks. OnePlus is keen that we don’t focus entirely on specs, but with the inclusion of up to 8GB of RAM, they're hard to ignore -- and it's central to the "smooth experience" the phone offers.

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Mozilla launches Firefox Focus, a privacy-focused web browser for Android


Late last year Mozilla launched a private browser for iOS called Firefox Focus. Now the browser arrives on Android bringing the same privacy-focused internet experience to users of Google's mobile operating system.

When Mozilla talks about being privacy-focused, it does not just mean using Private Browsing. Firefox Focus is a completely separate browser which blocks trackers, analytics and ads, and also wipes your browsing history with a single tap. As well as improving privacy, Focus also speeds up web browsing and reduces data usage.

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HTC U11 squeezable Android smartphone coming to America in beautiful 'Solar Red' color


One fun aspect of Android is that there are many different device designs. Unlike the iPhone which is largely uniform in style, there are countless smartphones running Google's mobile operating system with different sizes, shapes, colors, user interfaces, etc. Heck, you can still get an Android phone with a physical keyboard!

One manufacturer that is often pushing the envelope on design is HTC. Its newest smartphone, the U11, is absolutely gorgeous from an appearance perspective, but it has a very unique aspect too -- it is squeezable. Yes, you can squeeze the frame to interact with the phone. Unfortunately, one of the most lovely colors for the phone, called "Solar Red," was not available to consumers in the USA. This is changing, thankfully, as HTC is bringing the sought-after color to America.

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OnePlus 5 TV ad shows India the upcoming smartphone in full


It feels as though we've been waiting a long time for the arrival of the OnePlus 5, but the big day is finally upon us -- the smartphone launches tomorrow. There have been a huge number of leaks about the latest version of the flagship killer, teasing us with little glimpses of what to expect. But now a TV ad has aired in India that reveals everything.

Shown during the India vs Pakistan cricket final, the ad gave an unfettered view of the OnePlus 5 to millions of people. This is the first official render we've seen of the phone... and it’s looking good. As the ad was shown in India, it makes reference to June 22; the Indian launch date is two days later than other parts of the world.

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Twitter's redesign basically comprises old fashioned rounded buttons and new icons


It has been a while since Twitter was treated to a new lick of paint, but that all changes today. A new look is rolling out, and "round" is the word that springs most readily to mind.

Think back to the look of the web around 15 years ago -- all rounded corners and the like -- and you're in the right ballpark. Online there are not only rounded buttons and round profile pictures, but also redesigned, wireframe icons. Mobile users are also treated to a new look.

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BlackBerry lets Android and iOS developers embed BBM into their apps

BlackBerry logo

Developers building enterprise apps for Android and iOS can now embed BlackBerry's messaging system with ease, the company has announced.

The Canadian firm has released an SDK for its famous BBM app, which it hopes can bring secure communications services for users around the world.

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Google Pixel's low sales prove mindshare doesn't equal market share


If you look at the flagships the media loves to talk about, you may be inclined to believe that the Pixel and Pixel XL are two of the most popular high-end smartphones today. It is easy to think that when you have so many major outlets comparing them to the Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ like they're in the same league somehow or as attractive to consumers.

In reality though, Pixel and Pixel XL sales are abysmal. How do we know that? Well, for one, you do not see Google showing up as a leading vendor in any of the quarterly reports issued by IDC and Gartner, and, second, Google itself has confirmed their niche appeal. This is another great example why you shouldn't put an equals sign between mindshare and market share -- especially when it comes to Google-branded devices.

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Google launches Android Excellence to recognize the very best apps and games


Google has launched a new scheme which sees the company highlighting the very best games and apps to be found in Google Play. This is not simply a list of the most downloaded or, necessarily, the most highly rated titles; Google has a new batch of criteria by which to judge developers' offerings.

The real aim is to heap praise on those apps and games which exude quality, and deliver the best user experiences. Google says that titles which "use many of our best practices, and have great design, technical performance, localization, and device optimization" will also feature in the regularly-updated list.

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Gboard for Android now recognizes the emoji you draw by hand and suggests phrases for you


Emoji offer a great way to spice up your chats, and the Android version of Gboard has been updated to make it easier to find the perfect ones. The update means you can now use the emoji search box to draw the sort of emoji you're looking for, and Google's keyboard will track down what it thinks you mean.

Google uses machine learning to interpret even the most primitive of squiggles, so now there's no need to think about how you would describe a particular emoji in order to perform a text-based search for it -- just draw what you want! But there's more.

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