Hangouts for Android version 5.0 is rolling out to some users now, and it brings... nothing new in the way of features that we can find, actually. We do know this version is supposed to fix the broken animated GIF support that was an annoyance in Hangouts 4 (confirmed: they're fixed), but otherwise, you probably aren't going to notice much. There appear to be some very slight animation changes here and there, as well as a brief splash screen that pops up when the app opens to the main conversation view that wasn't present in the previous version (4.2). Read More
The Note 5 is like the Note 4, but newer. Actually, while that introduction would generally be true, this year's model received the drastic redesign Samsung introduced with the Galaxy S6. Bye bye plastic and microSD card slot, hello glass and... no microSD card slot. Read More
Amazon's Gold Box deal today includes a ton of flash memory from Crucial and Lexar. However, most of it is of little relevance to Android devices. I mean, unless there's a phone or tablet with a 2.5-inch SATA drive I'm not aware of. What you can get are these Lexar microSD cards. They're up to 66% off. Read More
The ZTE AXON Pro arrived in the US on August 1st, and similar options appeared elsewhere last month, giving smartphone buyers a chance to own a 5.5" screen with a Snapdragon 810 and 4GB of RAM for $450. Now the manufacturer has launched a smaller version of the device, the ZTE AXON Mini, in China. It's joined by the AXON Watch, which doesn't come with Android Wear. And while it's not available yet, ZTE announced that the larger AXON Max is on its way.
The AXON Mini is smaller, not small. You still get a 5.2" display, one that will offer pressure-sensitive touch. Read More
Marshmallow's first developer preview may have been released several months ago, but we're still discovering lots of little new enhancements and features. In Android 6.0, the battery history chart now displays separate bars for both camera and flashlight usage, in addition to the usual bars for things like GPS and WiFi. If you don't see them yet, it's likely because you haven't used either since you last charged your device, which is the default behavior for almost every other bar in the chart.
Reddit may or may not have its official Android app ready any time soon, but third-party developers are still more than willing to pick up the slack. BaconReader, one of the most popular Reddit client apps, has just been given a major update. The 5.0 release includes a much-belated Material Design user interface adjustment and no small amount of other changes, both user-facing and behind the scenes. Here's a quick comparison of the older version to the spiffy new Material Design layout: Read More
HTC needs a hit. Desperately. According to ComScore they held less than 4% of smartphones in the US in the second quarter of this year, and IDC's worldwide statistics didn't even record the company, lumping it in with "others" and presumably rating it well below Lenovo's 4.7% marketshare. The leaks of the HTC (One?) A9, also known as the Aero, indicate that the company is hoping a slim, stylish, and undeniably derivative design are going to help it win new customers with its next major release.
The latest set of leaks come from Twitter, where OnLeaks posted a series of photos of what appear to be a near-finished version of the phone in black, though it's labeled as a dummy unit. Read More
Since the Snowden leaks began back in 2013, there has been a justifiable increase in public scrutiny of the US federal government's attitudes towards surveillance and information access. So when President Obama voiced the opinion that encrypted files should be accessible to law enforcement (presumably via some kind of backdoor or exclusive decryption method), privacy advocates joined security experts in a nationwide groan. Thankfully the administration seems to have changed its tune nine months later.
According to a report by Reuters, White house spokesman Mark Stroh said that the administration is no longer looking to introduce encryption-weakening legislation to Congress. Read More
Check the YouTube app on your phone or tablet, user interface aficionados - you might spot something new. Like the other official Google apps have been doing for a while (quite a while), YouTube is getting a pull-to-refresh animation for relevant pages. It doesn't seem to be tied to any particular version of the app or of Android, and in fact we've only seen it active from one reader so far, so it seems like it might be a server-side switch.
The animation allows users to scroll up to the top border of the interface and beyond on the Home tab, channel pages, subscription pages, and more, with the familiar circular arrow icon indicating a refresh. Read More
Despite some interesting tablet hardware in the earlier days of Android, French manufacturer Archos hasn't had anything notable to show for several years. Perhaps that's why the company is jumping into the small but growing niche of ultra-secure cell phones, like the Blackphone and the Turing Phone. Archos has partnered with SIKUR (read: Secure), a vendor of encrypted company-focused communications apps, to create the GranitePhone. It's available to purchase today for a whopping $850.
Thanks to the GranitePhone's Android-derived "Granite OS," basically everything on the device is encrypted, even the custom homescreen that eschews a conventional grid layout for a modified version of the SIKUR inbox. Read More