I'm pretty sure something was lost in translation between the different reviews of ASUS' more recent generations of phones and the company's software development team. Everyone has lamented the high customization of ZenUI, the software layer that ASUS has slapped on top of Android, and its endless list of pre-installed and useless apps. On our own team, different writers unanimously pointed to the software as the major drawback for the Zenfone 2, Zenfone 2E, Zenpad S 8.0, Zenfone Selfie, and Zenfone 2 Laser. So what's ASUS to do to fix that?
Add more bloat. For realsies. That's what's happening with the latest update to the Zenfone Selfie, as if the phone wasn't full of preloaded crapware already.
Battery not working correctly? Well, just defrag it! It's all so obvious now. No, but really, there's an app in the Play Store that claims to repair your battery and basically looks like a hard drive defrag program. The weird part, it's been in the Play Store for a long time and people (some of them real) rate it quite highly. This is very sad.
If you use the stock browser on the Sprint Samsung Galaxy S4, you may notice the strange button in the corner. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the Lumen Toolbar. It shipped on the S4, but Sprint is just now detailing it as part of the carrier's Pinsight Media+ mobile advertising program. You know those obnoxious toolbars that programs are always trying to cram on your PC? This is the same thing, but your carrier is doing it to you.
Just a quick tap, and the Lumen Toolbar provides "rich, unparalleled opportunities forbrand advertisers to engage Sprint customers." Emphasis added.
The FedEx man brought me a lovely little gift yesterday: The T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S II. This is the last stateside arrivalof the Galaxy S II family. The review will take a bit to get out the door, so until then I figured I'd whet your appetite with some initial impressions.
First of all, this thing is big. Really big. I have to say though, I love the design of it. It feels sturdy and very well made. Like Samsung really knows what they're doing. The plastic back has a wonderful texture to it that almost makes it feel like leather.
It's now been exactly a year (minus one day) since I published my very first editorial for Android Police, Let Android Be Android. A lot has changed since - dual-core CPUs are now table stakes for a high-end smartphone; Android has evolved from an exclusively mobile OS to a software powerhouse for phones and tablets alike; and we've been given several seminars on stretching the truth about the speed of a wireless network (yep, that would be the "4G" drama).
Sadly, one thing has remained almost entirely stagnant: the diminutive amount of vanilla Android devices on the market. In fact, it would be more than accurate to say that the skin situation has been exacerbated since my article on it last year.
Update: For those of you that thought this was too good to be true, you may be right. It turns out that most of the bloatware is still unremovable on the EVO 3D, so we'll just have to wait and see how Sprint handles this moving forward.
Yesterday we told you that all the unwanted junk bundled with the EVO 3D could be removed like any other app, a feature that no other phone/carrier had previously offered. Personally, I thought it was a fluke and Sprint would quickly release an OTA update to lock these apps in place - but I couldn't have been more wrong.
Fragmentation has been one of the biggest criticisms of the Android platform. Essentially, Google allows anybody to take the Android code and tweak it suit their own needs. This is how manufacturers like Motorola, HTC, and Samsung are able to create custom layers (MotoBlur, Sense UI, and TouchWiz, respectively) over the vanilla Android interface and how some carriers load up new phones with crapware. Although this is a price to pay for openness and customizability, a recent study indicates that 86% of developers are unhappy with the state of Android fragmentation (24% of them describing it as a "huge problem").
One of the few tech blogs who managed to get their hands on Motorola's upcoming AT&T flagship - the Atrix 4G - is, of course, Engadget. The reviewer, unsurprisingly, is the infamous cool geek and editor-in-chief Joshua Topolsky, who, from my experience reading Engadget's reviews, does a good overall job but fails to go into those details that matter to most Android users. The Atrix 4G review is exactly what I had expected, and I'm going to summarize it and save you 20 minutes reading it.
The phone is blazing fast, which is unsurprising, considering its 2 cores and 1GB of RAM.
What a day for EVO 4G ROMs! Hot on the heels of the release of Fresh ROM for EVO, another former HTC Hero ROM developer damageless, notorious for his DamageControl Hero ROM, announced his version for the EVO.
DamageControl v3.0 is damageless' and his partner TrevE's first crack at customizing the EVO and making it both faster and much more battery efficient. First, a little introduction:
I am proud to present the first DamageControl ROM for the HTC Evo!
The ROMs I release are always focused on stability, speed, and ease of use.
My partner, TrevE and I, continue to present ROMs that are easy to update through an application that is bundled with the ROM, DCUpdater (based upon cm-updater).
EVO 4G users, listen up! Flipz, the creator of one of the best custom ROMs for CDMA HTC Hero - Fresh ROM, has dropped his first version of a custom ROM for the EVO 4G a few hours ago.
The ROM is faster and more efficient than the stock ROM due to optimizations and bloatware removal (yup, the bloated apps provided by Sprint and some HTC ones are moved to the SD card and disabled!). It also comes with some visual changes.
Android 2.1 Eclair for now but will be updated to 2.2 Froyo as soon as humanly possible.
Of course, if you know Flipz, this is all just the beginning.