I'll be blunt—it's been a long time since I've cared about the availability of CyanogenMod nightlies. It's not that I have anything against flashing custom ROMs. It's just in the past several years, stock Android has been pretty good. Even the skinned versions like HTC Sense have reached a point where I feel fine leaving them alone.
But then I got a Moto E, and only a month later, Motorola announced that it didn't have any plans to upgrade the phone to Marshmallow. Sure, it's a cheap little handset, but it's one I like very much. It's small enough to fit nicely in my pockets, it's comfortable to hold, the battery life is great, and non-Verizon models come with virtually no branding. Read More
Fuhu's Nabi tablets are meant for kids, offering up a simple interface with big icons and bright colors. Instead of pricing its hardware low enough that you don't care if a toddler breaks it, Fuhu puts in the extra effort to make sure the device holds up under a kid's fingerprints. Now it has announced a successor to the aging Nabi 2, the Elev-8. Read More
HTC has officially announced the One A9 today, with a 5" Super AMOLED 1080p display with Gorilla Glass 4, a fingerprint scanner, microSD slot, and Android 6.0 Marshmallow with a revised version of sense. This will make the A9 the first non-Nexus device to launch with the latest version of the Android OS. The One A9 will be available in 4 colors, pictures below (we're not sure which markets will get which colors, yet). It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz for the high-power cores and 1.2GHz for low-power, and is available with 16GB or 32GB of internal storage and 2GB or 3GB of RAM, respectively, though the US is only getting the 32GB version, which has an introductory price of $399. Read More
Android has long had trouble with audio latency, which has made most music creation tools unworkable on the platform. Things were vastly improved in Android 5.0 to the point that many devices achieved the low latency needed for various audio apps to function. However, not all devices are created equal. In Marshmallow, Google has added a professional audio package manager and there are requirements laid out for devices that take advantage of it. Read More
From its announcement at Google I/O to today, we keep uncovering new information and subtle details regarding the new permission system in Android 6.0. What we weren't able to know, however, was how OEMs were going to treat (or be forced to treat) this new feature. Would they be able to remove it completely? Circumvent it for their own apps? Could they abuse it to grant permissions to bloatware? Well, we now have our answers thanks to the updated Marshmallow Compatibility Definition Document.
In it, Google explains that apps that target API level 23 will have to request permissions to access certain protected features. Read More
Even budget phones are pretty good these days, but most of them suffer from an unfortunate lack of storage. 8GB seems to be the standard (with some going as low as 4GB), and that isn't helped by manufacturers' habit of including a ton of apps you might not need or want. Sony got some negative feedback for the Xperia M4 Aqua's 8GB on the base model, but it looks like they've taken it to heart: the latest update to the phone removes quite a few previously standard apps, freeing up some much-needed storage.
Xperia Blog did a pretty great breakdown on the phone's original storage situation, which left just 1.25GB of free space for users after Android 5.0 and all the included apps. Read More
Google launched the Nexus Player one year ago. It wasn't very good. Priced at $99, it was a hard sale. Now you can pick one up for half the price in big box stores like Best Buy.
Target was also offering the set-top box at that price, but now it appears to be moving units at even half that. Some folks are now finding Nexus Players at their local store priced at only $25. Read More
For a company that sells so few phones, OnePlus sure knows how to make the biggest noise with the smallest thing it does. Building on controversies propelled it to the top of many tech news cycles, but it seems that its marketing department has calmed down a little lately. The latest trick to come out of it is #TakeTheEdgeOff, a swap offer for Samsung owners. It sounds compellingly obnoxious, except that on the OnePlus scale of crazy, it's a moderately bland jab.
They're not asking you to destroy your phone, but to donate it to a charity. And not everyone can get involved, only 50 "winners" will be selected, though I'm not sure winner is the proper term when you're exchanging a Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, or Note 5, for a OnePlus 2. Read More
Few Android OEMs take their updates as seriously and as extensively as Sony does, and Marshmallow is no exception. Ever since the source code for Android 6.0.0 was released by Google, the company revealed which devices in its portfolio will get it (hint: they go as far back as the Xperia Z2), released AOSP binaries for a slew of devices including its new Xperia Z5 and Z5 Compact, and announced concept Marshmallow builds for the Z3 and Z3 Compact that are open for 10,000 testers. Now these builds are starting to roll to users who signed up for them and you have more opportunities to try them out if you own a compatible smartphone. Read More