Account security is a tough issue for a lot of people. It's a constant balancing act between having a stronger system to keep out would-be invaders while also making it convenient enough that users won't reject it. After Google began offering its own 2-step verification system, several other services adopted the same mechanism and opt-in model for people that wanted more than a single password protecting their personal data. This generally left users with Google's Authenticator app, which got the job done, but it lacked features and languished on an early Holo dark design. Read More
Perhaps you don't remember the Xperia L – this 2013 handset never made much of a splash in the US. However, it's proven a popular budget device internationally. It probably won't be seeing a ton of update love through official channels, but at least you'll have CyanogenMod. The first nightly build is available for the Xperia L right now.
Anker makes solid external batteries, and there's a nice deal on one of the larger ones over at Amazon right now. The Anker Astro E3 with 10,000mAh of juice can be yours for $25.99. This unit has a retail price of $80, but of course, you're never going to pay that. It usually bounces around $40, so this is still a good deal.
Power! Unlimited power! Okay, technically the Skiva PowerFlow Octofire limits us to charging eight devices at once, but in a world of plugging devices into power outlets one at a time, this sounds like a gift from the gods. Users can charge two families' worth of devices (or, for the sake of imagination, half of a college class, every phone in a very small office, or all the handsets that can fit in the pockets contained within a clown car). Read More
Skype just rolled out an update to its Android app, bumping it up to v5.0. The app isn't going to look much different, but it is gaining the ability to automatically find and add your phone contacts to your Skype contact list. It even happens automagically in the background.
The problem with sharing files over the internet is that everything is permanent. Digify doesn't fix this issue, but it sure attempts to by taking the Snapchat approach to privacy and applying it to files. Rather than giving someone permanent access to a document, it gets a time limit from the sender and initiates a self-destruct at said time. It even goes so far as to provide information on who has opened the file and how long they've interacted with it. Read More
Let's get this out of the way first: SecondScreen is not an external extended monitor app for Android. (Though that would be extremely cool.) I think the developer does a bit of a disservice with that name. What it does is force your phone or tablet to use a different resolution in order to make it display correctly - or at least more correctly - when casting the screen to a television via Chromecast or simply using an HDMI cable. Read More
Like other Google I/O attendees, I picked up an Android Wear device at the conference. I went with the LG G Watch. What follows is not really a review so much as my experiences and thoughts about Wear thus far, having lived with it literally every day since picking it up. I'll include some of my opinions on the platform (ignoring for now the hardware), and what I think might be relevant insights and comparisons to Google's other efforts (like Glass). Read More
It looks like Google has surreptitiously started a little summer promo in the Play Store with discounts on apps and games, with some going below the usual $0.99 barrier. There's no official landing page yet, so we don't know everything that's included, but more could still be on the way. Read More
Amazon's Prime Music service, a free add-on for anyone who's already a Prime subscriber, launched to a resounding "meh." The app and service functions well enough, but with plenty of alternatives both free and paid, Amazon's boast of "over one million songs" rang somewhat hollow. As a Prime subscriber myself, I saw it as a nice perk, but it's no reason to stop paying for Google Play Music All Access as well. Read More