Nexus launch day is a cutthroat time when mere moments can make the difference between a speedy shipment and weeks of waiting. While quickly comparing the Nexus 5X and 6P to decide which one to order, many have noticed that the 6P lists an RGB notification LED, but the 5X doesn't. Well, we've confirmed there's an LED on the 5X too. How? We bothered Google VP of Engineering Dave Burke via email. He was kind enough to explain what's going on.
January brought us the yearly madness that is CES, but that doesn't mean much in terms of software. The biggest news is probably Microsoft's continued expansion into multi-platform support for its biggest software sellers, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and now even Outlook. Google has been uncharacteristically quiet so far in 2015, aside from updating its current stable of apps.
It's been possible to use Microsoft Exchange mail accounts on Android for years, but never exactly in an ideal or intuitive way. Microsoft is changing that thanks to its new multi-platform approach, releasing something we never thought we'd see a few years ago: a first-party Outlook email app.
The Nexus 6 is a confounding beast. This big phone doesn't have tap to wake functionality, but it does have ambient screen mode. This way of displaying notifications as they come in might be the reason there's no LED notification functionality built in. There is, however, a physical LED.
Out of the box, you probably don't give your phone or tablet's LED notification light all that much thought. It glows, sure, but that's just one more way of conveying information otherwise relayed via a sound or vibration. Well, if you take control of your LED and color-coordinate your apps, then you can get that little light to convey quite a bit. And if you want to do this, Light Flow is going to be one of the best recommendations you get.
With the 3.50 update, Light Flow is now ready for Android 5.0. It should run properly, and thanks to a visual refresh, it should look right at home as well.
While certain manufacturers are removing LED flashes from high-end smartphones (we're looking at you, Sony) Samsung is improving theirs. In a lengthy blog post on Samsung Tomorrow, the South Korean company posted technical specifications and photos on five new OEM flash modules, some of which use new techniques for brighter and wider flashes.
To be honest, the whole post is pretty dry, mostly talking about size and power improvements. But the devil's in the details: while singing the praises of the new wide-angle 3432 1.8t module with an integrated reflector, the post mentions the following:
Of the latest LED mobile offerings, Samsung’s new reflector-integrated flash LED ─ the 3432 1.8t (FH341A) delivers over 165 lux at 1A and a minimum CRI (Color Rendering Index) of 80, assuring quality photos in daylight and at night.
Knight Rider may have starred David Hasselhoff, but it was his autonomous car that stole the show. This Pontiac Trans Am could talk, had bulletproof glass, and, most distinctively, featured a prominent set of red lights on the front for eyes. Two decades later, we still can't cram most of KITT's functionality into a car, but a new Indiegogo project can help us replicate what matters most, those distinctive LED lights. Rollin' Eyes accent lights, customizable via an Android app, promise users the ability to make their cars flash and flicker with all the personality of a vehicle packing more of a brain.
Have a KitKat device? If so, you've made the leap to the latest version of Android faster than most other people. That's the fun part. You've also jumped to Android 4.4 before most apps. That's the not so fun part. While older apps are generally stable and compatible, sometimes an update is in order to iron out the kinks. Thus a new version of Light Flow is now available that makes the app more compatible with Android 4.4 and the Nexus 5.
What does this entail? Well, now the app that lets users customize their phones' LED lights is better able to handle the Hangouts/SMS integration that KitKat rolled in.
Light Flow is the kind of app that best showcases Android's sensibilities: esoteric, amazingly customizable, and downright impossible on other platforms. The popular notification manager for devices with LED indicator lights has just had a big update to version 3.8, most notably bringing support for the popular NinjaSMS texting app. NinjaSMS users, make sure you're running the latest version of both apps, and enable Light Flow in the settings menu.
Other changes to Light Flow include a tweaked notification system, in which persistent notifications are more, well, persistent. Devices running older versions of Android will have to do without persistent notifications, for reasons which the developer does not list.
Anyone that has ever spent any length of time with an e-ink based e-reader like the Kindle or Nook can attest to their uselessness in dark spaces. Now it looks like Barnes and Noble is going to be taking a crack at fixing that shortcoming of e-readers in an effort to gain some traction in its battle against Amazon. Leaked signage points to an updated Nook Simple Touch with a front-lit screen, and it might be here sooner than you think.
Barnes and Noble will apparently be calling the technology GlowLight, and if you don't like the name, tough. The retailer is going to be pushing it as a major feature of its Android-based e-reader.
Team iLuminate, one of the most visually impressive and creative dance troupes who just happened to win be one of the finalists in America's Got Talent last year, recently joined Labrinth in this stunning performance at the Sony Xperia S party. There really isn't much to say here - just watch:
I've been a huge fan of iLuminate, and while this isn't by far their most original performance, it was still quite a treat. Plus, Labrinth isn't so bad either.
As a bonus, here are some videos you absolutely need to watch: