07
Aug
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There is a really annoying bug in Android that makes your Home and Recents buttons disappear and prevents the notification shade from working. It only happens after flashing an OS update without wiping, but since I've now run into this issue at least 3 times after updating my Nexus devices, and it's a pain to find any info on how to fix it online, it's time for a quick post.

Specifically, I just flashed the updated LPV81C L preview build on top of LPV79 (again, I did it without wiping data - just open the flash-all script and remove "-w" to do so) and observed the Nexus 5 boot into this:

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If the buttons disappear for you for the first time, you will be stumped.

05
Oct
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Last Updated: October 7th, 2013

Yesterday, I picked up my new baby - a brand spanking new Galaxy Note 3 that replaced my aging Note 2. (Update: I'd like to clarify this since a lot of people have misconstrued the "aging" comment for something it's not. My Note 2 has a screen crack and shows significant wear and tear. You may not consider the Note 2 or INSERT_DEVICE_HERE aging, but that's not what this line was about - it was about a very specific phone I was upgrading from and nothing else.) It's a great device on many fronts, as David pointed out in our extensive review, but it appears putting out solidly built products was not on Samsung's roadmap yet again.

29
Aug
Pressy-Thumb

Android phones are immensely customizable, but typically, these tweaks take place internally. We swap out launchers and keyboards like car floor mats and seat covers. We pop in widgets like an aftermarket radio and toss on live wallpapers like air fresheners hanging from the rear-view mirror. But by keeping our attention inside the car (wait, what was I talking about again?) we ignore all the external tweaks that are possible. Introducing Pressy, a Kickstarter project that wants to pop into your earphone jack so that you can take pictures and turn on the flashlight without having to unlock your device.

19
Mar
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Last Updated: October 27th, 2013

I have a confession to make: I'm obsessed with wireless portable audio gear. Bluetooth earbuds, headphones, and portable speakers excite me more than they probably should. And I'm OK with that. My wife, however, gives me "the look" every time a new gadget arrives, rolling her eyes so far up her skull she could have easily become a soap opera star or an extra on The Walking Dead. She doesn't get it - she's not a geek who loves to get to the bottom of every feature, spot every miniscule detail, and figure out if we have something special on our hands.

18
Mar
gmailtiny

Google has finally added the feature that we've been wanting since Google first started adding functionality to notifications back in Ice Cream Sandwich: the ability to archive email directly from the notification shade. Now, when you get a new email, you can choose what to do with it immediately. This is extremely handy for the chronic email checkers who would like to be able to dismiss the clutter as it comes in, rather than let it pile up later

archiiiiive

This is something that seems so obvious that when Ron reviewed Jelly Bean, the lack of buttons was a disappointment in an otherwise fantastic update.

09
Oct
music1

We can easily get caught up in the mad scramble for the latest and greatest, so it's easy to lose track of the fact that low-end smartphones also have a place in the world. For this one, we'll let you decide. Who wants a smartphone with a 3" (yes, that is three inches) 240x320 TFT display, a 3MP rear camera, an unspecified "powerful" processor and 512MB of RAM? Before you decide, I should also point out that this phone has a dedicated music button and, for some bizarre reason, the spec sheet lists a WVGA projector (9 lumens), though it seems incredibly likely that this is a mistake.

26
Sep
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Just after initially unveiling Google Play Services, Google has made the APK installable directly from the Play Store.

For those who missed the announcement, Google Play Services is an APK rolling out automatically to devices running Android 2.2+ that will allow Android apps to easily integrate with Google services like Google+. At present, the app (which is in version 1.0 "Asiago") includes components and relevant client APIs for OAuth 2.0 authentication, Google+ sign-in, and Google+ +1 buttons.

26
Jan
minimenu

We can't say we didn't see this coming. Google just announced on the Android Developer blog that the Menu button is well and truly dead, in case you hadn't gotten the memo. The post has relevant information on how to update your apps to accommodate the new changes without breaking support for devices running software older than Honeycomb (which are the overwhelming majority at the moment).

Untitled Untitled2

Left: Glorious new Action Bar.

21
Nov
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Update: Things have gone from "Looks like a weird software bug" to "Damn, this could well be a serious hardware issue". As some users had been suggesting, the problem does indeed link to use of 2G. However, it turns out that the issue can be replicated by the use of 2G even on another, proximate phone. As you can see in the video demonstration by kongzs7 below, the volume rocker keys' sensors are set off even when the phone is only at the bootloader.

05
Jul
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The title pretty much says it all, but I'll explain this quick tip in a bit more detail. All too often I want to jump into the Market on my phone and search for an app I already have in mind. However, before the search box even appears, I am forced to wait for the featured app screen to finish loading, which on slow connections can take ages.

So, rather than wait for it, just jump straight into action by pressing the hardware Search button.

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