Articles about Android

Novostella brings it all to automated lighting [Review]

Home automation continues to grow in popularity at an ever-increasing rate. The market value is expected to reach $114 billion by 2025, with smart lighting products accounting for 25 percent of that.

It’s hard to say where the average user begins with home automation, but we’d argue it’s likely to be with a smart lightbulb for most of them. It’s a product that seems straightforward and doesn’t have the dangers of locking you out of your house (as a smart lock could) or making you feel like you’re either in a) Death Valley, or b) Nome, Alaska (unlike a smart thermostat). 

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Google is rolling out its unified backup service, Backup by Google One

Google building logo

Backing up Android data is getting a whole lot easier as Google starts the roll out of Backup by Google One. The service makes it easy to backup everything from SMS, MMS and call logs, to Wi-Fi passwords and photos.

The company has not made a great deal about the rollout, making no announcement about it. This is perhaps understandable as it is essentially a consolidation and rebranding of a previously disparate selection of settings and tools.

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Trust your game? Rovio exposes Angry Birds Friends database

It’s been over a decade since Finnish game maker Rovio hit the big time with Angry Birds. New levels were periodically added to keep players interested and, capitalizing on that success, the company followed it up with other games such as Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds 2. They also released a tournament-based version called Angry Birds Friends. 

Rovio has kept the tournament version fresh and exciting by releasing loads of new levels every week. The goal of the game is to beat the people you're playing against and after completing each level you will see where you rank amongst those ahead and behind you  -- both places and points. 

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The classic Symbian OS reimagined as a rival to iOS and Android

Before Android and iOS took over the mobile market, there was Symbian. Originally developed for PDAs in the late 1990s, it was the most popular mobile OS in the world for a time, powering early smartphones from Nokia, Samsung, Motorola and Sony Ericsson.

As Google and Apple’s mobile operating systems took off, Symbian OS went into an inevitable decline, and it was discontinued in 2010. But perhaps now is the time for a modern re-invention of it.

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T-Mobile REVVL V+ 5G Android 11 smartphone costs less than $200

Just yesterday I went to the Verizon store to investigate upgrading my aging iPhone 8 Plus. The company was offering a promotion where I could get an iPhone 12 Pro for free if I switch. While finally having a 5G iPhone excited me, Verizon's service was insanely expensive, so I passed on the "deal." While getting a $1,000 phone for free was tempting, it got me wondering why anyone would actually spend so much out of pocket on a smartphone.

And now, today, T-Mobile launches a new 5G smartphone for only $199.99. Believe it or not, that is the retail price without any promotions. Called "REVVL V+," it is a 5G phone running Android 11 for less than $200. In other words, you could buy five of these phones for the same price as just one iPhone 12 Pro!

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TCL 20 series of affordable Android smartphones finally available in the USA

The TCL 10 series of phones are some of my personal favorites. The company managed to break into the smartphone market with devices that were premium despite being very aggressively priced. In other words, TCL proved that even consumers on a budget can have a high-quality handset. Heck, the TCL 10 5G UW in particular was cutting-edge while being priced under $400.

And now, the follow-up to the TCL 10 series is coming to America. Yes, the TCL 20 series of smartphones are on their way to the USA market, and like its predecessors, they too are priced affordably. There is a trio of new smartphones -- TCL 20 Pro 5G, TCL 20S and TCL 20 SE.

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Windows 11 will support Android apps through the Amazon Appstore

Although the Windows 11 announcement introduced lots of new and exciting features coming to the new OS later in the year, perhaps the most jaw dropping was native support for Android apps.

Users will be able to find and download Android apps directly through the new and improved Microsoft Store, but you won’t be able to grab your favorites through Google Play as it isn’t supported.

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Google releases Android 12 Beta with a focus on beauty, speed, and privacy

Android has been a bit boring lately -- it has been hard to get excited about Google's Linux-based mobile operating system. Android 10 and 11, for instance, were more evolution than revolution. While there was plenty going on underneath the hood, there wasn't much to excite the typical Android user.

Well, folks, Android is about to get fun once again. Today at Google I/O, the search giant unveiled Android 12. Even better, the search giant has since released a Beta of the operating system. This version of the OS is very exciting, as it puts a lot of emphasis on eye candy and aesthetics -- things that do matter. In other words, typical end users will actually see something fresh and new.

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Google launches Android Earthquake Alerts System in Greece and New Zealand

While we would all like to think the ground beneath us is stationary, the truth is, this giant sphere we call Earth is constantly moving. Not only is our planet simultaneously rotating and moving around the sun, but sometimes the ground can shake and rumble more than we'd like too. This can happen when the tectonic plates move about too much. This friction is what we call an earthquake. We call it this because a layer of earth beneath us quite literally quakes.

These earthquakes aren't just scary -- they can be deadly too. Yes, people can be injured during these seismic events, including death. Earthquakes can even cause tsunamis, leading to drownings too. This is why it is so important to alert people when earthquakes happen. Thankfully, if you own an Android phone and live in either Greece or New Zealand, I have some good news -- Google is launching an earthquake alerts system in those two countries.

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ZTE Blade 11 Prime Android smartphone looks pretty damn nice for the price

Some people are willing to pay more than $1,000 for a smartphone, but I'm not one of them. Look, if you can afford to spend such money on a premium phone, and the purchase makes you happy, then more power to you. However, if you are a regular consumer on a budget, please know you don't have to spend that much cash to score a quality device.

Case in point, today, ZTE launches the all-new Blade 11 Prime smartphone. This beautiful Android 11 phone costs less than $200, making it shockingly affordable. Despite its low price, it actually looks quite nice. No, it isn't top of the line, but it should meet the needs of most consumers.

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Microsoft has killed off Cortana... partially

Hi, I'm Cortana

When digital assistants are mentioned, it tends to be Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa that come to mind; it is only for real Microsoft diehards that Cortana features.

So it is little wonder that Microsoft has seen sense and decided to kill off some implementations of its own digital assistant. Cortana will still be found in Windows 10, but mobile users will find that it is no longer available for either iOS or Android.

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The new Barnes and Noble NOOK is really just a 10-inch Android tablet made by Lenovo

Earlier today, I told someone there was a new Barnes and Noble NOOK. Their response? They had no idea Barnes and Noble was still putting out NOOK devices! Yeah, I can understand that thinking, as who in the heck even buys a NOOK nowadays? I mean, look, hardcore readers usually opt for an e-ink Amazon Kindle. For those wanting a traditional tablet, an iPad still reigns supreme.

So, yeah, with all of that said, there is an all-new NOOK coming next month, but in reality, it is just a 10-inch (technically 10.1-inch) Android tablet made by Lenovo that has the Barnes and Noble bookstore pre-loaded. While that may not sound exciting, let us remember that Lenovo does make great hardware. In the case of this tablet, which weighs less than a pound, it is priced very affordably too. And yes, it has Google Play Store support.

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Facebook enables the use of hardware security keys on mobile devices

Facebook is expanding support for physical security keys to mobile devices in order to help users secure their accounts.

The site already offers multi-factor authentication via SMS or authenticator apps, but adding support for hardware keys offers users another means of supplementing their passwords and keeping their accounts more secure.

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Excess permissions put Android app users' data at risk

Android phone home screen

Over a third of the 1,020 most-downloaded Android apps on the Google Play store request access to a user's camera -- despite no obvious benefit for user experience and potentially placing sensitive data at risk.

Research from CyberNews also shows one in three apps request access to track a user's precise, or approximate, location. Excluding those that require such access to function, such as weather or navigation, applications attempting invasive access included gaming and even wallpaper, which appear to have no legitimate reason to track location data.

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Download Avdan's amazing Windows, Android and iPadOS concept wallpapers now

Although there are a number of talented designers creating operating system concepts, YouTuber (and full-time medical student) Kamer Kaan Avdan leads the way.

He has designed professional concepts for updated versions of Windows 95, Windows XP and Windows 7, as well as Apple’s version of Windows 10, and Windows 20. Most recently he gave us his vision of  iPadOS 15.

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