Each annual Nexus phone gives us a refreshed software experience that us Android nerds crave, but the amazing software isn’t usually backed up by the most amazing hardware. Each phone seems to bring us one or two really high-end hardware features, but then sacrifice something important.
I want to start with the third phone in the Nexus family. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus brought us one of the first 720p HD screens which simply amazed me, but that compensated for the poor camera, bad battery and somewhat cheap build quality. The HD screen was the highlight of this phone’s hardware because Google wanted to push developers to update apps to HD.
The LG Nexus 4 ditched the plastic for a premium glass feel, even though it was a bit fragile. The phone sported the fastest Snapdragon S4 Pro processor on the market, 2GB of RAM, an okay 8-megapixel camera, but lacked a couple big things. LTE support was absent in this phone which was a huge drawback for a lot of people. Storage options were only at 8GB and 16GB with no expandable SD card slot. Perhaps Google was trying to push cloud saving by doing this, but really it had to be to cut costs. Of course, the phone’s battery was a bit mediocre as well.
LG’s Nexus 5 was a really solid step from the Nexus 4, with an OIS camera, slightly better battery life and LTE support. The build of the device is solid, but feels a little cheap compared to other flagships. Many people argue that this is the Nexus phone they’ve always wanted. Google made sure this phone had a 1080p HD screen and a screaming fast Snapdragon 800 processor, to push developers to update apps to Full HD and support Qualcomm’s 800 series of chips.
I believe each phone is learning from the previous one’s mistakes, but battery life, camera and build quality are all things that really need to be focused on. Obviously Nexus phones are sold as low as $299, so the view is that corner’s have to cut somewhere. Google sells these phones not to make profit from the actual device though, but the apps that developers build and consume. Google Play apps and widgets are not put on the home screens just for the fun of it, but because Google really wants us to buy content.
Developers have done an incredible job filling the Play Store with apps for us all the enjoy. Downloads from the Play Store passed Apple’s App Store back in 2012, and revenue from the Play Store is expected to pass the App Store in 2016. That will be a huge milestone once it happens.
The Nexus phone should not only be an invitation to Google’s playground, but a reward for being a dedicated builder, developer or even a fan of the Android OS we see today.
A high-quality, premium Nexus phone that doesn’t cut corners is what Android builders deserve. OnePlus was able to sell one of the highest quality phones to date with a price of only $299, and they aren’t even making money from Play Store sales like Google. Here’s what I have in mind for the next Nexus phone.
“Motorola Nexus X”:
That’s just my dream phone really, but I’d love to hear yours in the comments!
Nova Launcher is one of the best and most popular launchers out there. It’s full of customization, updated regularly and runs as smooth as butter. Beta version of the app got updated about a week ago and is now out of beta. What’s new? Here’s the changelog:
If you’d like to get the new version now, you can do that via the Google Play Store.Nova Launcher (Playboard) | Nova Launcher (Play Store)
The post Nova Launcher gets updated with new drawer animations in version 3.1 (out of beta) appeared first on AndroidGuys.
New apps need lovin’ too, right? Every day there are thousands of additions to the Google Play Store, but many go unnoticed and never receive the attention they deserve. We’ve shown in the past that this community can discover great apps and propel them to new heights. Our weekly Fresh Meat column highlights new apps with fewer than 100,000 installs. Browse our new Android app picks below and let us know which ones you enjoy.App Swap
Description: App Swap is a drawer which allow you to easily launch your applications. It works with your existing launcher (Google Now, Nova, Yahoo Aviate, Everything Me,…). There are two ways to launch it, from your home screen or with a swipe up from your navigation bar.(Playboard) | (Play Store)
Description: The Peacekeeper App is a tool that gives individuals and families a way to effectively safeguard their own households and communities for as little as $.89 cents/month per user (for households ranging from 6-12 people when they subscribe for 1 year).(Playboard) | (Play Store)
SpinMe Alarm Clock
Description: Suck at waking up? Are you the type of person to set multiple alarms a few minutes apart from each other just to make sure you wake up on time? If so, say hello to your new alarm clock.(Playboard) | (Play Store)
Description: Simply select your photos & videos or use the share button, add your friends’ email addresses and upload up to 10GB! Enjoy inspiring backgrounds during the transfer. Your friends will receive an email with a download link. There’s no signup!(Playboard) | (Play Store)
Description: With Fragment, you now have the power to transform any image into totally unique, one-of-a-kind prismatic art you’ll want to share with everyone. Whether you’re looking to completely redefine and enhance your level of mobile photography, or simply want to add a subtle dose of creativity to your pictures, Fragment puts the artistry in your hands.(Playboard) | (Play Store)
Description: SuperBetter isn’t a game. It’s just an awesome tool created by game designers who take the best of games and apply it to your real life so you can get stronger, happier, and healthier.
Description: Comes with 18 sounds used on the montageparodies subreddit and montage parody YouTube videos, can play multiple sounds at the same time and has optional shrekt or not shrekt background.(Playboard) | (Play Store)
Description: Your calculator has any features such as: touching to edit number and operator, reusing previous calculation result for the next calculation, sharing and storing result with note app? —> Calc+ can do all of them.(Playboard) | (Play Store)
Android Wear BeeLink
Description: BeeLink is a Android Wear application that allows users to connect Android Wear devices to nearby Bluetooth devices. The application puts wear in command, allowing users to connect/disconnect the wear device to a tablet, phone or any other bluetooth device.(Playboard) | (Play Store)
Showear: Android Wear Lock
Description: Showear is a simple utility avoiding your shower to take control of your smartwatch, but generally speaking it is a lock screen for Android Wear.(Playboard) | (Play Store)
LG on Wednesday announced the G Watch R, its round smartwatch powered by Google’s Android Wear. Made of stainless steel and a calf-skin strap, the G Watch R features a plastic 1.3-inch OLED display with a 320×320 pixel resolution. With an artisanal elegance, the LG G Watch R boasts a refined aesthetic that is reminiscent of traditional timepieces…. Read more »
Hold onto your hats folks — looks like LG prompted Samsung to issue their smart watch announcement a bit early. The company today confirmed the existence of a new smart watch that might hold a tremendous amount of value for those who don’t fancy tethering to a smartphone for their smart watch needs.
What you see above is what we’ve been calling the “Gear Solo,” and comes with its own embedded 3G radios so you can make calls and use data without having to tether it to a smartphone. Beyond that, it actually sounds like a pretty powerful smart watch under the hood. Here are the specs you can look forward to:
Samsung says you can get up to 2 days of “typical” usage out of this thing, though we’re sure that will eventually vary from person to person. As for software you can expect Tizen to be running on this bad boy (which we know isn’t the most popular thing Samsung could have used).
The design looks pretty sleek, but you’re out of luck if you want to customize the wrist band.
Following that announcement is the Gear Circle, an accessory that’ll let you listen to tunes, make phone calls and issue voice commands on either your phone or smart watch. We thought the Gear Circle would turn out to be a smart watch with a circular display, but it looks like Samsung had something totally different in mind. Where does it get its name? The fact that it can wrap around your neck and clasp into a magnetic mechanism, effectively making a “circle.” You can also call it the geekiest necklace you’ll ever wear.
Samsung expects their latest products to be available this October, and we imagine they’ll push them quite heavily alongside the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 expected to be unveiled in one short week. No pricing details have been mentioned at this point, though we’re sure Samsung will be throwing us the details once they are finalized.
This is a story you've heard before - Samsung has announced another smartwatch. Not content with its current bevy of smartwatch offerings, the South Korean manufacturer has introduced the Gear S, a new Tizen-powered watch with a curved display that Samsung says "enhances the smart wearable experience."
The watch has a 2.0" SAMOLED display at a 360x480 resolution, a 300mAh battery, a dual-core processor, and a handful of sensors including an accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, heart rate monitor, barometer, and sensors for ambient light and UV.
Samsung Announces Tizen-Powered Gear S Smartwatch And Gear Circle Earbuds was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
We’ve just learned what’s inside LG’s latest smartwatch as the LG G Watch R Specs have been officially announced. Now we learn about the outside as LG has just issued a number of stunning pictures of the LG G Watch R:
There’s a whole lot we could say… but we’ll let you be the judge in the comments!
LG has just announced the round counterpart to its first Android Wear smartwatch, the stunning LG G Watch R. And if what the company is showing off today ends up resembling the real deal when it’s released later this year, the competition has their work cut out for them.
The LG G Watch R is essentially an LG G Watch but with a round Plastic OLED (P-OLED) display. The display takes up 100% of the watch’s face, unlike the Motorola Moto 360, and according to LG, “produces stunning image clarity even under bright sunlight and superb clarity when viewed from any angle.” The full spec rundown of the G Watch R looks like this:
While the G Watch R won’t be out in “key markets” until early in the fourth quarter, it will be on display at IFA next week. Be on the lookout for much more to come on the LG G Watch R in the near future.Gallery
Ever since LG announced their circular Android Wear smartwatch we’ve been dying to know more. Now we do. LG has announced a teaser to the device’s IFA debut, making clear some of the specs we’ve so desperately desired to see, officially announcing them before Motorola does so for the famed Moto 360. Here they are…
LG G Watch R Specs:
In their press release, LG makes sure to rub in the fact that its the, “first watch-style wearable device to feature a circular Plastic OLED (P-OLED) display and utilizes 100 percent of its watch face.” That is, of course, a dig at the Moto 360 design that cuts off a small fraction of the screen.
If you’re looking to buy the LG G Watch R for the holidays – whether as a gift for someone else, gift for yourself, or sticking it on your list for Santa – you’re in luck: it’ll be available in Q4 in key markets. I’d anticipate key markets includes the US of A, other parts of North America, and most of Europe at a bare minimum.
Keep in mind that Android Wear is only compatible with Android 4.3 and above, so if your phone is outdated, you better upgrade that while you’re at it.
See our LG G Watch R Picture Gallery!
After a few teases of its premium follow-up to the G Watch, LG has finally let loose official details for the G Watch R. The immediate takeaways: a 1.3" P-OLED [Plastic Organic LED] display, stainless steel body, a heart-rate monitor, leather strap, Q4 availability in "key markets" and, not surprisingly, no pricing at this time.
As far the insides go, this is basically still just the G Watch. It has the same Snapdragon 400 CPU, the same 4GB of storage, the same 512MB of RAM, the same IP67 rating, and a very-slightly-larger 410mAh battery (compared to 400mAh in the G Watch).
LG Officially Announces The G Watch R: Same Guts, New 1.3" Circular P-OLED Screen And Stainless Steel Body was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
Last week we told you guys about the latest Humble Mobile Bundle to hit the ground running, once again offering up some of the best games on Android, but at a much deeper discount (all in an effort to help charity). The Sega themed bundle initially offered up 6 games — Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I, ChuChu Rocket!, and Virtua Tennis Challenge, Sonic & SEGA All-Star Racing, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II and Crazy Taxi — all for about $3.78 or more with the promise of 2 more titles to be added later.
As was expected, Humble Sega Mobile Bundle is back with 2 new titles to add to the mix: Sonic CD, and Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition. But that’s not all, the bundle also including a special “Happy Sonic! Live Wallpaper” as a bonus, which should fit nicely on the Android launcher of your choice.
The going rate is currently at $3.89 (the average donation amount) in order to unlock all the titles listed above. If you’d like to relive Sega’s glory days, you can find the Humble Sega Mobile Bundle deal here and don’t forget to check out their newly overhauled companion app linked below.Humble Bundle (Playboard) | Humble Bundle (Play Store)
If you ever said to yourself, “Man, you’d have to pay me to use Cricket” today’s your day. The now AT&T owned prepaid carrier is offering up a $100 credit to anyone who leaves T-Mobile or MetroPCS (also owned by T-Mobile) for up to 5 lines.
Those crazy enough to switch to Cricket from T-Mobile, heaven help you. With JUMP early upgrades, free music streaming, free data roaming, and all the other recent moves T-Mobile has been making in recent months, it’s easy to see where I choose to spend my money. But because no 2 people have the same wireless needs, you may find saving a few bucks upfront with Cricket’s cheaper monthly rates and new promo to be a bit more enticing. Cricket’s deal is valid until October 19th and will only work for those porting their number to one of Cricket’s available Basic, Smart, or Pro plans.
This new move shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering AT&T officially purchased Cricket earlier this year for $1.19 billion which, to be fair, greatly expanded Cricket’s footprint from their CDMA days of yore. Cricket and MetroPCS often go head-to-head in rural markets offering up affordable off-contract devices for those on a budget.
As a one time (and still bitter) Cricket customer, I’ll admit, current customers using newer GSM devices assure me things have changed since they’re now operating on AT&T’s network. Guess you’ll just have to take their word for it.
If you've found a problem with your Android Wear watch, you can now submit a bug to wearable app developers. That's definitely a good thing, since certain parts of the platform could use a little spit and polish. But hold your horses: the process for recording and submitting the bug is on the far side of confusing. First update the official Android Wear app to version 22.214.171.1249611, now available on the Play Store.
Android Wear App Update Adds A Confusing Way To Report Bugs To App Developers, Support For Ambient Light Sensors was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
Announced during the wee hours of last night, the HTC Desire 510 is a sexy little entry level Android that wont break the bank. While the official announcement did a good job at revealing the new handset (which seriously, looks awesome), it was mum on exact availability details like when — and more importantly, where — we can plan on picking one up in the future.
This afternoon, HTC USA took to their Twitter account to reveal exactly where we can pick up the HTC Desire 510 later this year, listing off Sprint, Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile and even Cricket. For this living a little more north, HTC Canada also chimed in, revealing that the handset will be available from Fido Mobile, Rogers, SaskTel, Telus, Videotron, and Virgin Mobile (Canada, of course). For those that need a little refresher on exactly what the HTC Desire 510 offers up, check out some of the basic hardware specs listed below.
HTC Desire 510 specs
One of the coolest parts about the HTC Desire 510 is that HTC will also offer a compatible Dot View case made especially for the device. A stylish way to the protect the handset, the Dot View case allows you to see specific notifications and interact with the device even while the case is closed. HTC recently updated the Dot View app on Google Play to allows users to upload their own images, while expanding notification support. Slick.
With roughly a week to go before Asus unveils its first smartwatch, we finally have a name to associate with the device. Thanks to a video released by the hardware maker we can now look forward to learning about the ZenWatch. The short clip does provide some teasing glimpses at the watch but we’re still… Read more »
It’s probably one of the most useless apps to come along in awhile, yet those who download pseudo messaging app “Yo” can be entered to win a Moto 360. Revealed on Twitter, Motorola will be giving away 20 Motorola Moto 360 smartwatches to random people who message them using Yo over the next 24 hours (before August 28th, 2:59 PM CT). If you get a Yo back, then you officially have a shot at picking up a Moto 360 free of charge.
Once a Yo has been received, Motorola will be contacting winners around 4:00PM CT on August 28th via Gmail (yes, a Google account is required to claim the prize). At that point the race is really on, and only the first 20 people to successfully fill out an entry form will eligible to win the Moto 360.
What’s interesting is how Motorola is — once again — giving the Moto 360 an approximate retail value of $250 in the official contest rules, lining up with what we saw recently from a Best Buy leak. You can download the Yo app on Google Play via the link below. Good luck!Yo (Playboard) | Yo (Play Store)
As with Holo before it, Material Design has triggered a deluge of app concepts, mockups, and fancy animations from various enthusiasts and designers in the community (myself included). A key factor that is often left out of these presentations, however, is a detailed and thoughtful explanation of design choices and UI considerations that went into the finished product.
As a designer, explanations of your design thinking are critical when presenting new designs, not just to those that would actually be building the app (they need to know the details), but to a broader audience of end users and even other designers.
Francis Cortez Explores Material Design Thinking In Conceptual NBA App was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
The Humble Sega Mobile Bundle kicked things off last week with a collection of six games the publisher has released into the Play Store over the years. For any price, buyers could get ChuChu Rocket, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1, and Virtua Tennis Challenge. Those who beat the average were rewarded with Crazy Taxi, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, and Episode 2 of Sonic 4. Now, right on schedule, three additional apps have made their way into the bundle.
Humble Bundle Adds 3 More Entries To The Sega Mobile Bundle, And We Are Giving Away 10 Gift Codes was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
As the largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, Samsung has a lot to live up to. It’s created oodles of phones and tablets that have helped to move Android into the hands of the mass market, bringing Android to the top in popularity. For 2014, Samsung created a tablet to act as a flagship for Android tablets, to set the bar for every other tablet. But did the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 succeed? Does it push Android to higher heights? Let’s take a look in our full review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.51. Hardware
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is Samsung’s leading lady tablet for 2014, and as such, is packed to the gills with high-performance specs. Samsung threw in an Exynos 5 Octa 5420 processor with four 1.9GHz cores and four 1.3GHz cores. RAM is at 3GB and the graphics are kept going by a Mali-T628 GPU. Other specs include 16/32GB storage, microSD card slot, 8-megapixel rear camera, 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera, 7900mAh battery, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Body size clocks in at 9.74 x 6.98 x 0.26 inches that weighs 1.03lbs. On the front, you’ll also find a fingerprint scanner and the key feature of a 10.5-inch 2560×1600 display.
A solid performance from the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 on the hardware front.2. Design and Build Quality
Samsung has long been known for extensively using plastic in the creation of its devices. The Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is no exception to that with a stippled plastic back and smooth plastic edges. While the design of the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 isn’t the most eye-catching or attractive, it’s functional and ergonomic with easy to hold sides and a decent amount of grip. The plastic doesn’t much pick up on fingerprints, but it can get scratched fairly easily so keep an eye out. Summed up, it’s functional but not the best we’ve seen.
The display of the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is where the tablet shines. With a 10.5-inch 2560×1600 Super AMOLED display, you’d expect it to be good. In real world performance though, I was blown away at the sheer beauty of the display. It’s bright, crisp and colors pop off the screen, making for a great experience in anything. Whites are white and blacks are extraordinarily black due to the nature of AMOLED.
In short, it’s the best tablet display I’ve ever encountered.4. Software
TouchWiz gets a lot of flak for verring from Android’s clean, flat design. It’s colorful and bright with more gimmicks than can be counted on several hands. Using the software is, for the most part, simple due to its purpose of drawing people to Samsung devices because of their ease of use. The majority of the gimmicks are just that, gimmicks. Many won’t be used often and they occasionally cause the device to stutter.
Despite its flaws, TouchWiz is still quite functional and is simple and friendly enough to allow many new entrants to Android to easily figure it out and enjoy the experience. With a little bit of work on the design, TouchWiz could be great for noobs and power users alike.
While the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 is designed to be a flagship tablet, it has a few flaws that hold it back from becoming top dog. While software may play a part, the real issue comes with the layout of the octa-core Exynos processor that Samsung has used in the tablet. The processor has four powerful 1.9GHz Cortex A15 cores and four power saving 1.3GHz Cortex A9 cores. The tablet automatically switches between the sets of cores for efficiency.
When using the A15 cores, the tablet flies along, but when it switches to the A9 cores, it occasionally stutters. Even in basic tasks. That inconsistency puts off the performance a bit and cheapens the experience. Nonetheless, it’s fast for enough of the time to not make it a major issue.
Check out the benchmarks below if you’re into that sort of thing.Benchmarks Benchmark Test Score AnTuTU 33811 Quadrant 18599 Geekbench 3 895 (single-thread) 2586 (multi-thread) AndEBench Pro 6331 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited 13386 SunSpider 1.0.2 1082.2ms
The Galaxy Tab S 10.5 camera is a tablet camera. And that’s about all you need to know. It takes basic, fairly bland photos without much for special effects. But that’s okay because this is a tablet and if you take pictures with a tablet then no, just no.7. Battery
On battery, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 holds up well against its competitors. The 7900mAh battery is able to power the Tab S 10.5 through a full day of usage, or about four hours of screen-on time with auto brightness. If you’re TV show watcher, that equates to four episodes of House of Cards or twelve episodes of The Office, both important figures to keep in mind.
When it comes to the Galaxy Tab S 10.5, it performs nicely against the competition. Sure, there are a few things that I’d like to see refined, but in its current state, it’s one of the best tablets on the market. With that, we can highly recommend the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 in the search for your next Android tablet.
(Click to view the circle animation GIF)
Last week we told you guys about a new Nova Launcher Beta update that, in addition to introducing search in the app drawer, brought along some sleek new drawer animations as well. Looks like everything checked out because today, that update is now officially out of beta and available to everyone via the Google Play Store.
As a refresher, users can expect fancy new app drawer animations like Circle, Slide Up, Zoom, and Fade. Just keep in mind that the developer has noticed some issues with the circle animation not behaving properly on a few devices, in which case you may not see the option if your device wasn’t released this year (Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S3 to name a few). In most cases, TeslaCoil says the circle animation should be working fine for 2014 flagships.
Users can also set a gesture action to open up the app drawer search, useful if you prefer finding your apps via that method. Of course, the usual bug fixes and improved memory usage have all the made the cut, so stop waiting and update/download Nova Launcher 3.1 via the Play Store link below.Nova Launcher (Playboard) | Nova Launcher (Play Store)