Today, as we expected it would, Samsung announced two new phones: the Galaxy Note 5, and the Galaxy S6 Edge+ (what a name). We were at the event and spent a few brief moments with each of the devices, got some impressions, and took some photos. So naturally it's time to talk hands-on with the Note 5 and Edge+.
If there's a main takeaway from my time handling these two devices, it's that they were what I expected. That's not a bad thing, though - Samsung has carried over the interesting refreshed design language of the S6 and S6 Edge to the new phones - the Edge+ is curved on the front, and the Note 5 is curved on the back.
A couple of months back, rumors that Google was working on a gamer-focused video streaming service first appeared. And so we waited. Now that the appropriately named YouTube Gaming is finally here, it plans to go head to head with Twitch.tv - easily the most popular such service in the world. Google has a tremendous amount of experience in the video streaming space in the form of YouTube, but it has never offered anything that was geared toward gamers. YouTube Gaming is hailed as the brand-new service that aims to fill that gap.
Currently, YouTube Gaming is only available as a beta program.
As early as last year, we began seeing quite a few references in teardowns pointing to the ability to overlay music onto videos uploaded in the YouTube app for Android, along with other features like video filters. With the wide rollout of the new YouTube UI, these advanced editing options are finally available to more people, so let's take a look at them.
'Featured,' 'Genre & Mood,' and 'On Device' are the categories you can choose when adding music. The featured section seems to be a catered list of the best generic instrumental tracks that Google has to offer.
I've never used a OnePlus One for more than a few minutes, and I've never really had much of a desire to (hey, just being honest). After hearing Artem's many horror stories about the device, seeing the slow OTA timeline of Cyanogen Inc., and being perfectly happy buying a full-on flagship phone since no-interest financing is readily available here in America, the One never really caught my attention as a product. So, I like to think I'm going into the OnePlus 2 with slightly fresher eyes here, though what that really amounts to in any substantive sense I have no clue.
Inputting+ quietly keeps tabs on all the text you write across various apps for safekeeping while bundling an undo and redo function in case you have accidentally made a change that you didn't mean to. And if you want to find and replace something, Inputting+ has your back there too. All of this is easily accessible from a small bubble (which can be turned off, made transparent, and made bigger/smaller) that floats on your screen while typing.
If you have ever had an app crash or accidental button press make you lose something you've written, I won't need to convince you that this new app is worth a shot.
It has been nearly a year since Google announced Android Auto, and it's still available almost nowhere. No car companies have built the technology into their 2015 vehicles (though some may get a software update with support later), and only a handful of aftermarket head units have the software. So what's the deal? Is it worth getting excited for? I've finally gotten my hands on one of Pioneer's Android Auto units (the 8100NEX), and here's how I'm feeling about it after a few days.
At this point, there is no real shortage of "smart" launchers in the Android ecosystem. Of course, we have to put "smart" in quotation marks, because there still is a void in terms of truly good products trying to do that. So when I tell you that Bento is a new entrant in this bustling market of context-aware launchers, you shouldn't ask, "do we need another one?" You should ask, "is this the one that will really do a great job?"
Bento is a venture capital-backed project that is in a semi-private beta at the moment. As I go over the app in its current state, it's important to keep in mind that it is not a finished product at this point and is not the kind of wide-release beta that you might be accustomed to.
We all know the perils of using a cell phone while driving. At best it's difficult and at worst it is incredibly dangerous. Still, sometimes we need to perform simple actions on our devices when behind the wheel. This basic problem has driven the development of Android Auto and various company-specific software and hardware to smooth things out. AutoMate is an Android app, now in beta, that is quite a bit easier than buying a new head unit. Rather, it delivers a cleaner, Android Auto-inspired interface designed to make on-the-road use easier.
You will probably notice that it looks a lot like Android Auto.
If there's ever been a persistent comment on Android Police in the last couple of years, it's that powerful smartphones are just too damn big these days. The Nexus 6 is gigantic, and 5.2"+ is quickly becoming standard smartphone size. Finding a good, inexpensive phone that isn't too large isn't impossible, but it's probably not as easy as it should be.
So, that's where Alcatel comes in. Yes, Alcatel has a reputation for making some of the slowest, cheapest, and least likeable prepaid phone fare here in the US, but in China and around the world, Alcatel does offer a pretty large portfolio of handsets.
These days, there are tons of way to store files. Locally, in the cloud, on the network...or any combination of those. Personally, I'm a cloud storage kind of guy - ever since Dropbox and Drive have been a thing, I've relied on them to keep everything in sync across all of my computers and mobile devices. Keeping my most-used files accessible whenever and wherever I want has changed the way I use my gear (for the better).
One area where I haven't had a lot of experience, however, is with network attached storage (NAS). Before the cloud, I loved the idea of being able to grab my data regardless of what device I was on, and I always wanted to build one up, but it's just something that never happened.