I consider myself an advocate of the affordable smartphone. 2015, and the years before it, seemed to paint a picture of promise for the mid and low-end smartphone, a noble future as the no-frills alternative to the $800 wonder-brick. I cannot help but feel we have failed to watch that potential emerge in a way that we can really say has served consumers well.
Who’s to blame for the promising ZenFone turning into a bloatware-ridden pile of bugs languishing on Lollipop, seven-plus months since Marshmallow was released? What’s the reason Alcatel’s relatively unbloated Idol 3 took nearly as long to get Marshmallow itself (mine still doesn't have it)? Read More
Google Maps is my go-to tool for finding local businesses, but it isn't always the most transparent way to see them at a glance. For example, I'll search for a café in a major retail hub, but half the results will be from the Starbucks inside Target or the little deli inside a grocery store - not exactly what I'm looking for in a quiet meal. Things might soon get a little easier on that account: the Google Asia Pacific blog says that upcoming versions of Google Maps will list business types right in the map view... but only in Japan for now. Read More
The latest Snapseed update brings a couple of things that the development team says have been oft-requested by users. For those tweaking RAW images, you get two new handy ways to get the white balance. For all image types, an additional color filter has been added to the existing choices in the black and white editor.
You already could adjust the color temperature for RAW images with Snapseed, but this isn't a foolproof method since it requires you to be able to eyeball the photo to figure out when you have correctly set the temperature. This update lets you do what the pros do, which is use a color picker to tell Snapseed what to use as a reference for a neutral color. Read More
For Xperia fans in the US, getting the phones is not as straightforward as it is for other major brands like Samsung or HTC because you won't be buying them through a carrier. That means interested buyers need to look to electronics retailers. Well, the search is almost over for the newly-released Xperia X series in the US.
It's worth making clear that you can't take these home just yet. Some retailers will allow you to put in a pre-order, others just have placeholder, out of stock listings. Below is the release day pricing along with links to each retailer's listing. Read More
If you have an AT&T Galaxy Note 5 or S6 edge+, start checking for an OTA update - oh, and make some... time for the download. Around 1400MB of Marshmallow are headed your way, and knowing AT&T's ultra-slow OTA servers, it's going to take you an hour or two to actually get them. AT&T has posted the update pages - for the Note 5 here and S6 edge+ here.
What's packed in this OTA? Hopefully a heaping helping of idle battery life-saving doze mode goodness, along with Marshmallow's granular permissions model, and a whole lot of smaller changes. While many of the UI-facing updates from Android 6.0 won't affect TouchWiz, there are some feature changes lurking that you should be aware of, so check out our feature spotlight series here for a refresher course. Read More
OnePlus managed to integrate a fast charging solution into the OnePlus 3, but it's a non-standard one called Dash Charge. It's a licensed version of Oppo's VOOC, so it requires special code on the device and hardware in the adapter. Some OP fans were bummed that custom ROMs would not be able to support Dash Charge, but that will change next month when OP releases the code. Read More
New York City's Pride March is scheduled to take place this Sunday the 26th, and Google is all ready to join in. Android's "be together not the same" slogan champions acceptance and celebrates difference, something that falls in line with the message of Pride. And with the Orlando shooting's black cloud looming over everyone, it's nice to see Google already excited and ready to grab its rainbow flag and stand proud.
At the corner of Christopher Street and 7th Avenue in NYC, there are two new billboards for Android filled to the brim with more than 80 different homescreen setups — some, if not all, of which have been made with Nova Launcher (which happens to be on sale now, happy coincidence!). Read More
Earlier this month, the Moto 360 and Moto 360 Sport started getting an update with May's security patches and a couple of Moto Body improvements, while other Wear watches got just the new security updates. And given that almost none of the other manufacturers share their update's details, we didn't know if anything else had changed in their software along with that.
Now ASUS has posted the release notes for its ZenWatch 2 update to software version MWD59,MWD48B. There's nothing groundbreaking here, but if you own this speaker-enabled and yet slightly cheap watch, you'll be happy to read about the different improvements along with the option to view the Peek card in ASUS' own watchfaces. Read More
Instagram's filters may have set the bar low for "photography" but, by doing so, they democratized something that many users were either too afraid to attempt or deemed too complicated and demanding. The app has gone from being known for crappy photos of daily meals to becoming the place where audiences can find and follow brands, popular or esoteric interests, and niche hobbies.
Now, it's celebrating more than 500 Million registered users. But even if that isn't as impressive as Facebook or WhatsApp or other popular social networks' numbers, retention and loyalty are super high. More than 300 Million users visit Instagram daily, which means that of every 5 users that have signed up to the site, Instagram was able to convince about 3 of them to come back and check it out each day. Read More
If the presentations at Google I/O last month were any indication, Android Pay is growing quite quickly. Several new features were announced, but most were still only demos, not available to the public. A fresh update to the Android Pay app came out yesterday and a teardown reveals a few of those key features are either ready to launch or getting closer. There's also work being done on a map that will show merchants in close proximity that accept Android Pay, and a shortcut already showing up that will direct users to apps with Android Pay integration. Read More