Google Play Music. Spotify. Rdio. Tidal. There is no shortage of music streaming services that not only provide an extensive music selection, but also have good if not great Android applications so you can benefit from their catalogue everywhere you go.
The problem with most of these services is their availability. If you live in the USA, you can have your pick among any of them and there's little argument over the value of a $10 combined Google Play Music Unlimited and YouTube Red / Youtube Music subscription. But stray farther and things become less clear. American (Northern, Central, and Southern), European, and Southeast Asian countries are usually among the first supported by many services, but African, Middle Eastern, and plenty of other Asian nations often have limited options and even fewer good ones. Read More
Maps are symbolic by their nature, but that doesn't mean that those symbols can't be user friendly. Ride-sharing company Lyft seems to have applied that principle to the custom maps in its Android application. The latest app update adds new features to the map you use when searching for a ride - now the little car markers on the map will be colored the same as the real-world car that picks you up, and the direction the car is facing as it travels is reflected on the map. Read More
Shortly after ISIS-affiliated gunmen killed over a hundred people in multiple attacks in Paris on Friday evening, Google allowed users of its Hangouts chat platform to make free VOIP calls to France from anywhere. Later this weekend American telecom companies have followed suit. Carriers Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint are allowing their customers to call French telephone numbers without incurring international calling charges, and Skype is allowing free SkypeOut (VOIP-to-standard phone number) calls into France. Read More
By now most orders for the Nexus 6P have been delivered, or at least getting close. If you haven't tried unlocking the bootloader yet, it might come as a surprise that the 'fastboot oem unlock' command no longer works. Attempting to use it with the Nexus 6P fails with a message that it is an unknown instruction. Don't worry, this doesn't have anything to do with drivers, and it isn't a fluke. Google had Huawei replace the oem command in the Nexus 6P bootloader with the new flashing command. Here's what it will look like:
fastboot flashing unlock
fastboot flashing lock
fastboot flashing unlock_critical
fastboot flashing lock_critical
fastboot flashing get_unlock_ability
There are two levels of unlocking: normal and critical. Read More
The TENAA is China's state telecommunications certification authority (Telecommunication Equipment Certification Center is the English translation), roughly analogous to the FCC in the US or Anatel in Brazil. And like those organizations, the TENAA posts certifications and test results on its website, periodically allowing nosy jerks like yours truly an unauthorized preview of upcoming gadgets. Today's special is the HTC One X9, a new phone from the Taiwanese manufacturer, which has some very clear photos and a short list of specs on the organization's consumer website portal. Read More
Xposed Framework is a modification for root-level users that allows them to apply a wide series of mods and tweaks to a variety of Android releases and skins. It's become a popular alternative to full custom ROMs, especially for users who only want one or two tweaks to their devices instead of a full transformation. The creator of Xposed, who goes by "rovo89" on XDA-Developers, posted a new version for Android 6.0 Marshmallow this afternoon after a brief tease earlier this week. Read More
So the LG Watch Urbane 2 LTE is available now from Verizon and AT&T, and we've had one in the house for a little over a day now. Since I've had some time to kind of run through it and see what it's all about, I figured this was as good a time as any to share some initial thoughts. So here we go.
First off, it's pretty thick. Like, a lot thicker than my current smartwatch — the Sony Smartwatch 3 — so I was a little worried about putting it on for the first time. You know what, though? That worry was really for nothing. Read More
There are a plethora of in-ear sports Bluetooth headsets for sale on Amazon, but if you want great sound and quality, it's hard to beat the Jaybird X2. I haven't had a chance to use them myself, but I know Artem loves his set.
The biggest reason I've hesitated in picking up a pair is the price. $180 bucks is a lot to drop on a set of headphones, even when they are as good as these. Well, the temptation has grown a lot stronger today because Amazon just dropped the price by more than $50 to $126.25. That's getting pretty dang close to my impulse buy territory. Read More
The CyanogenMod team continues to expand its selection of builds for its aftermarket ROM, and today no less than four new devices are being added. Those would be HTC's 2015 flagship One M9, Lenovo's budget-oriented ZUK Z1, NVIDIA's SHIELD Portable (the original one with the attached controller), and the SHIELD Tablet.
As usual, CyanogenMod arranges builds by codename: the M9 is "himaul," the Z1 is "ham," the SHIELD Portable is "roth," and the SHIELD Tablet is... "shieldtablet." Huh. All four devices are currently on nightly builds of CyanogenMod 12.1 (Android 5.1), and may or may not be added to the more stable releases as they come. Read More
Turn-based games are perfect for mobile platforms. The fact that they're essentially paused after every move means you can play in bits and pieces throughout the day. That same relatively slow pace means that the disadvantages of touchscreen controls are erased, and in fact the UI can be optimized for taps and swipes. If the rest of the game is designed well (particularly to account for a smaller screen), a turn-based game on a phone has the potential to be more engaging than a console or PC equivalent. Read More