The only Samsung smartphone I have owned and used was the Galaxy S3 (well, I also had the Galaxy 5 - not S - for a few weeks, but that doesn't count). I had been eyeing the company since the original Galaxy S, checking what it's doing and waiting for it to be convincing before I dipped my toes and grabbed the S3. I liked the rounded design, even though everyone criticized it. I loved the powerful hardware too, but I hated TouchWiz. It took me two weeks to get fed up, root the phone, flash a custom recovery, and start trying different custom ROMs that removed some of the bloat and smoothed the experience. Read More
A very long-awaited update to Google Fit began rolling out earlier this week, but it seemed to focus almost entirely on improvements to the Wear micro-app while the main app was all but ignored. As it turns out, that was a mistake. A fresh update to the app started rolling out yesterday and it brings the rest of the features that were intended for this release – and what a list of features they are.
Note: Everything here was about to be part of a teardown, but the update stole that thunder. Read More
We've already talked about Doze in Android M a few times. That's a system-wide state that keeps your phone or tablet in deep sleep when it's not being used. App Standby is a distinct feature that works to keep individual unused apps from gobbling up power in the background. Depending on how many apps you install on your phone, this could be a bigger deal than Doze. Read More
Doze is one of the more interesting features of Android M, and also potentially huge for the platform. Google has said again and again that the new version of Android would improve battery life, but they might have actually done it this time. Doze puts apps into deep sleep when the device isn't in use to save power, and Google's developer docs explain exactly how this will work. Read More
One of Google's big projects for Android M is battery optimization. It's doing this by implementing a new Doze mode that puts unneeded apps into an ultra low-power state that keeps them from doing too much in the background. While this should all work smoothly on its own, it turns out you can go into the settings and fiddle with things.
Have you ever wondered why the blacks on your Samsung phone look so, well, black? Ask your nearest videophile, and he or she will tell you that it's because AMOLED screens emit no light from pixels when they're assigned to draw the "black" color. It's black because the pixel is almost literally turned off. By the same token, an AMOLED pixel displaying black will also draw almost no electrical power. So AMOLED phones with black wallpapers or black-themed apps can, at least theoretically, boost their battery life significantly.
That's the principle behind Pixel OFF, a new tool available in the Play Store. Read More
When we hear about smartphone advancements, usually it revolves around cramming more pixels onto our screens or beefing up our devices with even more powerful processors. Yet in this move to take everything mobile, where are the bigger batteries?
Dyson, the company that makes that cool-looking fan you picked up the other day, wants to help change things. The hand dryer-producer has invested $15 million in Sakti3, a Michigan-based company whose battery technology potentially has a higher energy density than the Lithium ion batteries powering our smartphones and Dyson's handheld vacuums.
No, it doesn't run Android. Yes, it's still relevant. Read More
If battery life is the most important factor of a new phone purchase, there's probably no better bang for the buck than the BLU Studio Energy 2, even at its normal price. Cameron gave it a decent recommendation in his hands-on post a couple of months ago. Shoppers who are in the market for a mid-range phone that lasts more or less forever can pick it up from Amazon with a significant discount. The phone's price dropped by $50, bringing the total down to an impressive $129.99. Read More
Google introduced the power saving mode in the last developer preview, and it seems to work the same this time with one notable exception—orange. Lots of orange. When you activate power saver mode, your status bar and nav bar will turn orange and stay that way until you shut off power saver.