Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

28
Jan
reflow

We often take mobile web browsing for granted, but sometimes the simplest of problems can turn it into a miserable experience. One of the early improvements to Android’s built-in web browser was a neat little feature that allowed text to re-wrap based on zoom level. It’s an obvious function, something that seems natural for reading more than a few words on a small screen. Unfortunately, a significant change in Android 4.4 resulted in the loss of this incredibly convenient capability for most web browsers and several applications.

28
Jan
google-chrome

We've known for a while that Google had plans to bring Chrome apps to Android, the first tangible sign of that project appearing early last month. Today, the first developer preview of Chrome Apps for Mobile went live on GitHub. Now developers can construct apps based on web standards (HTML, CSS, and Javascript) and run them just like any native application built from the Android (or iOS) SDK. These apps don't run inside of a browser or require an Internet connection; plus they can be submitted to the Google Play Store and Apple's App Store.

27
Jan
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If you've never heard of Stack Exchange, you're missing out on some of the best Q&A-style sites on the Internet. Each site is a community built to encourage people to ask and answer questions. Reputation and badges can be earned by giving good answers and comments. With over 120 communities (and growing), there are sites dedicated to programming, server management, gaming, travel, and even anime. The one thing that has been missing was a good mobile application.

22
Jan
art thumb

Shortly after the new Android Runtime made its grand entrance, I ran a pretty exhaustive (and exhausting) series of performance benchmarks that showed ART wasn't really ready to blow us away. At the time, I opted to avoid the topic of battery life because it is so difficult to test accurately and with unbiased, meaningful results. As it turns out, that was dumb. Yup, so many of you have asked, I finally had no choice but to dive in and run a battery of tests on...well, the battery.

08
Jan
Scratcheddisk

If you're an audio perfectionist, you've surely stumbled onto flac, an audio compression format designed to deliver lossless recordings. The file sizes are considerably larger than your average MP3, but the sound quality is unparalleled by lossy compression algorithms. It's not hard to see why audiophiles drift towards flac as their preferred storage medium. Now imagine the latest version of Android is causing stuttering, cracks, pops, and static in the otherwise perfect playback of flac.

07
Jan
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If you're a regular user of almost any social network, you probably know how powerful crowdsourcing questions and answers can be. That's the basis behind a new search engine dubbed Jelly, created by Ben Finkel and Biz Stone, one of the co-founders of Twitter. Jelly is a social network for question-and-answer style interactions with friends you've already made connections with on Twitter and Facebook. Instead of going to traditional search engines, users are encouraged to snap a picture and post a question, which can then be answered or forwarded to others who might be able to help.

06
Jan
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One of the worst things about managing music playlists is adding new songs when we hear them. Sure, once we've identified them, we can always track the song down by name, but that can turn into a lot of manual labor. If we've learned anything from the popularity of music subscription services, it's that we want things to be quick, simple, and convenient. Rdio and Shazam agree, and they are doing something about it.

05
Jan
Hero

When it comes to toys you can control from your smartphone, few are quite as fun or inspiring as Sphero. Orbotix blew onto the scene a little over a year ago with an awesome choreographed display in Union Square. The company followed up on the original with an upgraded v2.0 of the robotic ball which began shipping in September, but that wasn't to be the end of the line. Orbotix is at it again with a completely redesigned robot, dubbed Sphero 2B.

30
Dec
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If you like to mod your Nexus devices but you're also a fan of tight security, you probably already know BootUnlocker. It's a simple app that allows rooted devices to lock and unlock the bootloader without wiping user data. The developer, segv11, is back with v1.5.1 of this handy little utility. The latest update adds support for the WiFi (flo) and LTE (deb) variants of the 2013 Nexus 7 and the ability to set the tamper flag on the Nexus 4 (mako) and Nexus 5 (hammerhead).

30
Dec
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Earlier this month an update to the Play Store began rolling out with a brand new ratings widget appearing on the main landing page and within landing pages for each major section (Apps, Movies, Books, etc.) The simple card encouraged users to give a score of 1 to 5 stars on a previously downloaded (or claimed) item in exchange for some suggestions about similar items they might be interested in. While this seemed like a relatively innocuous addition, obviously intended to drive additional downloads, it seems to have had a unexpected negative effect: Several developers are reporting a drastic rise in 1-star ratings on otherwise successful apps.

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