One of the more interesting alternative launchers out there (that is to say, one that isn't just a grid of apps and widgets plus a drawer) is Action Launcher. This premium custom launcher has been gaining fans since its launch, thanks to a unique gesture-based app drawer and a focus on speed and usability. With version 1.7, developer Chris Lacy has added some of the features this younger launcher lacks, most notably icon theme support - the various theme packs for GO, Nova, and Apex launchers should work with Action Launcher Pro now. A stock Jelly Bean icon pack is included.
Sometimes, updates break things. That seems to be the case for some HTC owners who, upon receiving a silent update to the newest version of Google Play Services, are having trouble using apps that rely on location data. According to HTC phone users in this support thread, Google Now continually asks to turn Location Services on, location-dependent applications like Foursquare and WeatherBug don't function properly, and Maps is unable to lock onto a location.
The good news? Google's looking into the problem. The bad news? No ETA. And unfortunately, because Google Play Services updates in the background automatically, wiping data won't help.
Sony's first attempt at making Android slates was less than a rousing success. Not one to be discouraged, Sony is back with a new Android-powered tablet called the Xperia Tablet Z. This is the big brother of the Xperia Z flagship smartphone. I've spent a little time with the Tablet Z and I have some thoughts in advance of the full review.
The device is surprisingly thin and light. Yes, I know what the spec sheet says, but it's different when you get it in your hands. Just knowing that it's 495g and has a 10.1-inch screen doesn't mean much until you pick it up.
Google Glass is very much an experimental piece of hardware and it turns out the software has been built with that ethos in mind, too. With root and a few carefully-crafted ADB commands, you can enable a ton of experimental features the Google has built into the Glass software.
Over on Github, Zhuowei Zhang has posted the whole list of Glass Labs features, and how to enable them. Zhuowei isn't a Glass explorer though, so it's been up to me to be the guinea pig and actually try this stuff.
Check these out:
AUTO_SHARE_TARGETS("AUTO_SHARE_TARGETS", 26, false),
BLUETOOTH_HEADSET("BLUETOOTH_HEADSET", 10, true),
CALL_NOISE_CANCEL("CALL_NOISE_CANCEL", 25, false),
CLIPLET("CLIPLET", 4, false),
COMPANION_API("COMPANION_API", 35, false),
DEBUG_LAUNCHER("DEBUG_LAUNCHER", 11, false),
DEV_SERVERS("DEV_SERVERS", 18, false),
DING_ON_LOAD("DING_ON_LOAD", 31, false),
DISABLE_GAZE_ON_MIC("DISABLE_GAZE_ON_MIC", 32, true),
GCAM("GCAM", 0, false),
GPS_DEBUG_CARD("GPS_DEBUG_CARD", 20, false),
GPS_IN_BACKGROUND("GPS_IN_BACKGROUND", 21, false),
HO_BG_WAITING("HO_BG_WAITING", 5, false),
HO_USE_SVC("HO_USE_SVC", 3, true),
KANNADI_DEV_SERVER("KANNADI_DEV_SERVER", 14, false),
LOG_NEG_SENSORY_REC("LOG_NEG_SENSORY_REC", 8, false),
LOG_POS_SENSORY_REC("LOG_POS_SENSORY_REC", 7, true),
LONG_TAP_TO_SEARCH("LONG_TAP_TO_SEARCH", 33, true),
LONG_TAP_UI_SEARCH("LONG_TAP_UI_SEARCH", 34, true),
NATIVE_APP_VOICE("NATIVE_APP_VOICE", 28, false),
NAV_CONTAMINATE_FIX("NAV_CONTAMINATE_FIX", 42, false),
NAV_NO_COMPANION("NAV_NO_COMPANION", 23, true),
NAV_USE_LOCAL_GPS("NAV_USE_LOCAL_GPS", 22, false),
OK_GLASS_EVERYWHERE("OK_GLASS_EVERYWHERE", 24, false),
PHONE_AEC_LOG("PHONE_AEC_LOG", 41, false),
PRODUCTION_SERVERS("PRODUCTION_SERVERS", 15, true),
QUICK_QR_CODE("QUICK_QR_CODE", 36, false),
SAVE_AUDIO("SAVE_AUDIO", 6, false),
SEARCH_DEV_SERVER("SEARCH_DEV_SERVER", 12, false),
SEARCH_FEEDBACK("SEARCH_FEEDBACK", 9, false),
SEARCH_GWS_FLOW("SEARCH_GWS_FLOW", 40, false),
SEARCH_TEST_SERVER("SEARCH_TEST_SERVER", 13, false),
SHORT_TIMELINE_POLL("SHORT_TIMELINE_POLL", 38, false),
SMS_FROM_VOICE_MENU("SMS_FROM_VOICE_MENU", 29, true),
STAGING_SERVERS("STAGING_SERVERS", 16, false),
TESTING_SERVERS("TESTING_SERVERS", 17, true),
THIRD_PARTY_VOICE("THIRD_PARTY_VOICE", 27, false),
TOUCH_VOICE_MENU("TOUCH_VOICE_MENU", 39, false),
UPLOAD_SESSION_MNGR("UPLOAD_SESSION_MNGR", 19, false),
VSTAB("VSTAB", 1, false),
VSTAB_CALIBRATION("VSTAB_CALIBRATION", 2, false),
WEB_BROWSING("WEB_BROWSING", 30, false),
WINK("WINK", 37, false);
All of these are properties that go in Glass's build.prop file, in the form of "persist.lab.[NAME]=true".
NVIDIA SHIELD, the company's first in-house built device, is officially available for pre-order for $350. And no sooner than the announcement was made, the "this is too expensive!" comments started showing up. I want to explain why I think that line of thinking is not only unfair, but also illogical.
The issue with SHIELD, in my opinion, isn't actually with SHIELD itself but rather the way people are perceiving it. Sure, it's a portable gaming console; but first and foremost, it's an Android device. A stock Android device. It has access to the Play Store, Google services, and everything else that makes Android great.
Announced at CES this year, the ASUS Cube has managed to get a decent amount of attention for a Google TV Box. Formerly known as the Qube, this angular, textured device came to market toward the end of last month, and I've been living with it ever since, trying to get a feel for the product and decide whether ASUS has something special on their hands.
In reviewing the Cube I wanted to answer two main questions that I think underlie every GTV device: Is the user experience a good one, and does the product successfully make Google TV something I actually want to use on a daily basis?
At least some Android enthusiasts were disappointed that version 4.3 wasn't revealed during Google I/O, despite a few leaks prior to the event. But rest assured that Google is hard at work on the next update to Jelly Bean, as at least one XDA Developers forum poster discovered firsthand. "challeen" took the following pictures at the Thailand Mobile Expo 2013, showing a display model Nexus 4 (allegedly) running Android 4.3. He took some candid photos of both the standard "About phone" settings screen, and what appears to be a new camera interface.
The Settings page isn't all that interesting, but the camera interface seems to include a new see-through action area, complete with a new activation ring and fresh icons for HDR, contrast, and rotation.
Since their inception, tablets have been seen as a computing form factor conducive to a particular kind of artistic expression: drawing and painting. Of course, accurate sketching can be a little difficult with clumsy fingers, and conductive stylus pens have proven a middling solution, at best. Fortunately, with the advent dual-digitizers capable of supporting pressure-sensitive styli - like those found in Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 - tablets have become a much more practical art tool. Hardware is nothing without the software to take advantage of it, though. Enter ArtFlow, a new drawing app for Android that comes with, in addition to a number of effects, support for advanced styli baked in.
If you saw the Aurora Red version of the omnipresent Samsung Galaxy S4 yesterday and decided you just had to have it, AT&T has got you covered. Just let your fingers do the walking to the AT&T web store and get a pre-order in, and it'll be on its way in a little over two weeks. At present the $200 16GB model ($639.99 off-contract) is the only one available in a hue that matches your ruby slippers. Free standard shipping or in-store pickup is offered.
Interestingly, the AT&T store is showing the Aurora Red Galaxy S4 as coming in on Tuesday, June 11th, three days before the press release specified yesterday.