Google likes to tinker with the UI of the mobile version of Chrome's user interface in the Dev and Beta versions of the app. Not every change we spot in these versions makes it into the standard, stable version of Chrome, but the changes to the New Tab page that we saw back in August seem to have made their way to the front. We're getting tips and reports from dozens of Chrome users that the UI change, which swaps out six website thumbnails for eight site icons instead, is now live. Read More
T-Mobile users with the latest devices (and sometimes with the latest software updates) appreciate the inclusion of Wi-Fi calling for those areas where the network doesn't reach or can't penetrate indoors. Of course, the fact that Wi-Fi calling is available is a good reason to abstain from flashing custom ROMs, even on multi-carrier devices like the latest batch of Nexus phones. Apparently that won't be a problem for much longer, at least if you're a fan of the CyanogenMod ROM. Read More
Compared to the early days of Android and iOS, it's amazing how good virtual keyboards have become... but that doesn't mean there's no room for improvement. Long email and street addresses in particular are a pain to type in, especially outside of the browser where saved user information isn't available. If you're tired of typing out your thirty-character company email address, Texpand can help: it allows you to create customized shortcodes for longer strings of text and use them in any text field. Read More
Even though they're technically "backgrounds," wallpapers are an intricate part of our smartphone and a unique way for us to show our personality. They adorn our homescreens, greet us each time we unlock our phones, and try to stay hidden while still being enjoyable. Some of us like nothing but a black screen full of widgets and apps, others prefer a gradient or pattern to add a touch of color, and some like simple graphics while others use photographs. The least we could say is that wallpaper choice is a very personal one.
Searching for the perfect wallpaper can be a daunting task, especially if you don't know where to start. Read More
If you've been modding your Android devices for any amount of time, you're probably familiar with Chainfire, developer of the extremely popular SuperSU root permissions manager and various other mods and apps. His latest work attempts to solve an annoyance that has bothered Android power users for years, but has become particularly annoying since the introduction of Android 5.0. Chainfire's new experimental method for rooting Android phones, tablets, and other gadgets does so without modifying any of the files on the /system portion of the device's storage, instead using a modified boot image.
That's a big deal, because after Android 5.0 any modifications to files in /system (even without a permanent root solution) cause over-the-air and sideloaded updates to fail, forcing rooted users to stay on older versions of Android or re-flash the stock build, then root again. Read More
The Galaxy View is big. Really, really big - the 18.4-inch device seems to be intended as a tabletop computer rather than a conventional portable tablet. Samsung's custom version of Android will make good use of the extra space, but even the tablet apps on the Play Store probably aren't well-formatted for a screen the size of a small PC monitor. To make sure users are getting a good experience on their Galaxy View, CNN has made an app especially for the tablet... probably with a little encouragement (read: payment) from Samsung.
"CNN for Samsung Galaxy View" is, of course, only compatible with the Galaxy View, but it's been published to the Play Store presumably for the sake of easy updates. Read More
While Android TV doesn't enjoy the wide support that Chromecast gets, and its current app catalog can't hold a candle to competitors that have been in the market for much longer like Roku, it's slowly and surely getting better. The latest major network to offer an official Android TV app is PBS, the United States' government-funded Public Broadcasting Service. The free app is available to download on Android TV units now.
PBS Video uses the same Google Play Store listing as the phone and tablet version of the app, it's just been expanded to Android TV with additional API support. The app allows users free access to streaming some, but not all, of the channel's currently-running shows, plus segmented versions of NewsHour and Austin City Limits and at least some shows from local markets. Read More
The "bend test" has been a thing ever since Apple redesigned the iPhone in 2014. It didn't take long for people to notice the new thinner phones could be bent fairly easily (this was "bendgate"). So, now that everyone is worried about how easily phones bend, YouTubers have taken it upon themselves to test that. One video in particular has made waves as it purports to show the new Nexus 6P folding in half like a piece of wet cardboard. However, this video misrepresents the build-quality of the phone. Read More
Android tablets in the last year haven't been particularly interesting, but I am happy we're finally moving toward the more comfortable 4:3 aspect ratio*. There are a few devices that use that shape, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2. It sure is expensive, though. The 9.7-inch variant is a little less spendy today with a deal on BuyDig—just $399.99 with free shipping. Read More