As part of the unveiling of Android 4.2 yesterday, Google introduced a brand-new input method on the stock Android keyboard called "Gesture Typing." Basically, it's Swype. If you don't know what Swype is, check out this video. Basically, you drag your finger to type instead of tapping. Here's Google's version in action:
While I'm not a fan of the Swype-style typing, a lot of people do seem to love it, and it's cool that Google is now providing a tertiary input method (alongside normal typing and voice typing) on the stock keyboard.
That's a lofty claim, isn't it? Isn't there a new "next generation" every year? Well, to answer that last question, not always. But technology is evolving at such a rapid pace in the mobile world that we can scarcely buy a phone today without something better coming out a month later. And today, just days from Samsung's announcement of the next Galaxy phone, everyone is watching with bated breath to see what comes next.
An Android phone is like a Leatherman Tool. It does a lot of things - without a doubt, a triumph of function over form. Android is the world's most versatile mobile operating system, the most tweakable, the most adaptable, and the most fully-featured. It just does more than any other comparable product out there. But if Android is a Leatherman, the iPhone is the basic Swiss Army Knife - compact, simple, iconic, and good enough for the vast majority of people, even if it does do a little less.
Take a look at the top tier of Android phones right now and you might notice something. They all kind of look the same. Black front fascia, large touchscreen, minimal waistline. Boring, right? Well that's just the way things are going. Alternatives to the slate way of living are becoming increasingly rare, which puts the HTC Desire Z with its hardware keyboard in an intriguing light. With its metallic accents and suave grey pallet, the Desire Z cuts a different path.
After I've finished unboxing the HTC EVO 4G that Google gave out at the Google I/O conference, I started playing with the phone and noting down things that are different from other phones, things that are interesting, and things that bug me.
Note that this is not meant to be a full review - the bullet points are just my first impressions after 2 hours of use. Think of this post as a mini hands-on review:
The first thing you notice is the screenTHE SCREEN.
LineageOS is the most popular custom ROM in existence, and the project prides itself on bringing newer versions of Android to unsupported devices. However, Lineage has been a bit slow to roll out a version based on Android 10 — the Pie-based ROM was already available by this time last year. Thankfully, the next major version of LineageOS seems to be just around the corner.
I still remember when we used to bicker over iPhone vs Symbian, before Android took over the second part of that argument. I also remember when Xenon vs LED flash was the most controversial discussion in the smartphone world for several years - some of you may have been toddlers when that started. And I remember when apps weren't a thing, when 3G was the hottest novelty, when we thanked our lucky stars because companies stopped using massive proprietary charging and earphone ports, and when a smartphone with a 2.8" display (Nokia N95 8GB) counted as monstrous. Nowadays, we feel cheated when the second back lens in a phone doesn't bring a lot of improvement, or when the display's color shifts at an angle as if everyone is side-glancing at their phones all the time, when a device has a MicroUSB port and not USB-C, or when it takes a fraction of a millisecond longer for a swipe to register.
I spend my days writing about technology, and I spend much of my remaining time playing with it for fun. Consequently, I have a lot of nerdy stuff that's become integral to my life, and maybe you're interested in what it all is. It's been almost two years since I did a "what we use" post, and a lot has changed. My preferred phones are different, of course, but I've fallen deep down the mechanical keyboard rabbit hole, too. Events have also conspired against me to require that I build a new desktop computer. Here are all the things (mostly keyboards) that I can't live without.
We were all a little concerned to see the Nexus program come to an end, but Google assuaged our fears with the 2016 Pixel phones. They weren't the prettiest devices on the market, but the Pixels showed what was possible when Google got serious about making a phone. These devices had terrific cameras and consistently fast performance—even to this day the Pixel and Pixel XL are robust experiences. They were not perfect, though.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are a chance for Google to address some shortcomings from last year while keeping the things that worked. Google has done that for the most part.
Welcome to the roundup of the best new Android applications and live wallpapers that went live in the Play Store or were spotted by us in the previous week or so.
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Looking for the previous roundup editions? Find them here.
Paralign - Aligning Thoughts
Today's roundup is presented by Paralign - Aligning Thoughts from Paralign.me. Finding like-minded individuals can often be a difficult task. This is especially true when you want to reach out, but are wary of the judgment of your peers.