Motorola's Moto G5 Plus came out not too long ago. Meeting with positive reviews, it kept the crown as the king of budget phones. It packs in a lot of good specs for a low price point, which is a well-known hallmark of the G series. As seems to be the company's trend lately, Motorola has released the kernel source code for the capable device.
There isn't really an easy way to run Android applications on the desktop. There are virtualization tools like AMIDuOS and Bluestacks, but those run Android apps inside a fixed window and can be slow at times. Anbox is a new project, currently in the Alpha stage, which aims to run apps alongside your normal desktop applications - as long as you use Linux.
Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu linux distribution, has been trying to make a dent in the mobile market for years. Back in 2012, it developed a feature that allowed phones to dock into full Ubuntu PCs, similar to Samsung DeX. That eventually evolved into Ubuntu for phones and tablets, a mobile OS specifically designed to work as as phone and portable PC.
What is this witchcraft? DeskDock, now available on the Play Store, allows you to share your computer's keyboard and mouse with your Android device. If you've ever used Synergy, it's very close to that.
What's the point of something like this, you may ask? The primary use the developer provided was to make Android development much easier. With this tool, you could work on an application on your computer, push it to your device, and test it without your hands ever leaving your keyboard. But there are plenty of other potential uses as well - you could use your Android tablet as another monitor to watch media on, for example.
The idea of a smartphone that magically turns into a full PC has been something of a pipedream for a while now. Motorola tried it with its Atrix laptop dock, Canonical is trying something similar with its Ubuntu Unity phone OS that can dock into a monitor. Even Microsoft is giving it a go with Windows Phone devices that can dock into a slimmed-down ARM Windows environment. The latest attempt with an Android base comes from "Maru OS," the brainchild of developer Preetam D'Souza.
My first computer was an old laptop with a dead battery and a dial-up modem. It ran Windows XP, but I didn't have the money to buy expensive software like Microsoft Office or PhotoShop. I discovered OpenOffice.org, AbiWord, and GIMP. I used Firefox, Thunderbird, and Pidgin.
Back then free cloud services weren't yet around, and I didn't have a strong enough Internet connection even if they were. Without an understanding of what open source software was, such applications gradually formed the majority of what I used. When I later went to college, I embraced Linux, and my appreciation for open source software grew.
João Dias, also known as joaomgcdon the Play Store, is one of those developers who are never, ever, content with the current capabilities of modern smartphones. He wants them to be more powerful, respond to more commands, allow more interactions, all from more interfaces. His AutoVoice app has been available for a while, allowing you to harness the OK Google interaction scheme to automate plenty of new actions and issue commands that Google's default algorithms don't yet understand.
Now AutoVoice is getting a lil' sister app, an AutoVoice Chrome extension for your Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. Thanks to it, you can perform the same actions on your phone, but while sitting at your computer (or from another phone too), like taking screenshots, sending messages, hanging up on calls, and more. João has made a demo video to show you the possibilities.
SoundSeeder takes a bunch of Android devices lying around and turns them into a poor man's sound system by syncing audio playback across all of the phones and tablets so that they pump out tunes in unison. The app hit the Play Store in two parts last year, but now everything's bundled up into a single package. Not only that, it's now ready to shed its beta tag.
As you can see in the screenshots above, this release gets the app ready for Android Lollipop. Not only are there material elements sprinkled throughout the UI, there's a new navigation bar, a landscape mode, and support for tablets.
As the latest update to Android looms ever closer, we've got our eyes peeled for anything that may hint at what's to come. While most of that information comes to us through leaks or hidden surprises, sometimes it will try to hide in plain sight. Over the last few weeks, an increasing number of codecommits have been made to the android-3.10 branch of the kernel/common project. As you might be able to guess from the names, kernel/common is the codebase from which every device kernel is eventually derived. The existence of a 3.10 branch in AOSP is pretty solid evidence to believe we will see a version of Android running on it soon.
The Chromecast add-ons just keep coming, don't they? The latest tool to take advantage of Google's dirt-cheap media streamer is called Fling, from Plano, Texas developer Leon Nicholls. Unlike most of the tools from Koushik Dutta and others, this one expands Chromecast's desktop streaming powers. The Fling Java tool streams local video and audio files directly to Chromecast, and uses the popular VLC media player to transcode the ones that Chromecast doesn't support.
Chromecast can only stream a Chrome tab from a desktop out of the box, but Fling uses the Java Runtime Environment for quick and dirty direct streaming.