Phones have progressed enormously in the last few years. If I look at my beloved Nexus 4, bought new in 2012, it had a Snapdragon S4 Pro chip, 2GB RAM, and 16GB storage. It cost me £279, or $349 in the US. For a phone of that quality, $349 was a stupendous price, much cheaper than comparable phones from Samsung, Motorola, or HTC. It kept me going for two years before the battery finally gave out.
Fast forward to this year. A tiny British company, Wileyfox, has released a phone, the Spark, with 1GB RAM and 8GB storage, for £89.99 ($120).
We're hearing from multiple sources that Cyanogen Inc. is in the midst of laying off a significant portion of its workforce around the world today. The layoffs most heavily impact the open source arm of the Android ROM-gone-startup, which may be eliminated entirely (not CyanogenMod itself, just the people at Cyanogen Inc.
Some folks prefer to run a custom ROM on their phone than stick with the stock software. I'm one of them. But you need a good custom recovery in order to get the job done. That's why it's good news whenever we see more devices gain support from the TeamWin Recovery Project.
Wileyfox and Cyanogen formed a partnership last summer to deliver smartphones running Cyanogen OS to Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. The Wileyfox Swift was the second phone to get version 13 of the operating system. Now the Wileyfox Storm is getting that same update.
Back in February, Cyanogen Inc. announced the MOD platform, a way for developers to customise the Cyanogen OS experience with deeper-level integration into the framework of the operating system. The update to Cyanogen OS 13.1 - with MOD support included - is now rolling out to the OnePlus One.
Currently, Twitter, Skype, OneNote, Cortana, and Microsoft Hyperlapse hook into the platform and provide features integrated into Cyanogen. Twitter shows trending tweets on your lockscreen; Skype integrates VOIP into the dialer app, along with Skype contacts clearly marked in the phone's contacts app; OneNote integrates with the email and phone apps to enable you to take notes anywhere in the OS; the already-existing Cortana mod takes things further, allowing users to 'take a selfie' hands-free, while also expanding to the lockscreen; and Microsoft Hyperlapse means time lapse videos can be created easily in the camera app, or videos edited in the Gallery app.
It's been a while since we've heard anything from the Paranoid Android ROM team. Perhaps that's because ROM flashing has fallen by the wayside a bit as stock and skinned Android has made serious improvements, perhaps it's because a lot of the original team was hired by OnePlus to work on its Oxygen OS builds. Whatever the reason, they're back now. While PA is definitely late to the Marshmallow party (the last time they issued a major release was almost a year ago), the team has been revitalized with new developers and support for new devices.
For a phone that was supposed to "kill" high-priced flagships, the OnePlus 2 seems to have taken its sweet old time in upgrading to the latest version of Android. Whether that has to do with a smaller development team over at OnePlus, or the idiosyncrasies of the company's custom "Oxygen OS" ROM, we couldn't say. But it appears that the wait is finally over: according to a post on the OnePlus user forum, the Oxygen OS 3.0.2 over-the-air release (based on Marshmallow 6.0.1 code) is heading out today.
Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications, games, and live wallpapers that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous 2 weeks or so.
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Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.
DashLinQ Car Driving Mode App
This week's roundup is brought to you by DashLinkQ Car Driving Mode from GROM Audio. This custom car dashboard app can show a variety of finger-friendly widgets and links for use without actively taking your eyes off the road with your phone in a car dock.
Slowly but surely, Android offshoot-slash-alternative Cyanogen OS is gaining ground. The incorporated and semi-proprietary version of the CyanogenMod ROM now powers a handful of retail-available phones from companies like YU, Zuk, and Smartfen, though larger manufacturers like OnePlus and Oppo have seemingly cooled on Cyanogen software. Speaking of OnePlus, its One hardware was the first to get access to Cyanogen OS version 13, based on Android 6.0.1 code. Today the Swift from Wileyfox becomes the second.