Monday, August 25, 2014

LG G2 to get G3 UI and Android L, G3 has a flaw and G Watch 2 will be round

Welcome to the LG news hour. Let me run through things super quick: LG is launching a couple new budget line devices at IFA, the L Fino and L Bello, they will also be launching a new smartwatch, the G Watch 2 or possibly G Watch R, for 'round', be careful plugging in your G3, you might crack the casing, the G2 is to get an updated UI by the end of the year and LG promises the G2 will get the Android L update into 2015.

That is a lot to digest. Let's break it down:

Friday, August 22, 2014

Control music and more straight from your Notification bar, Tasker is just that good

Are you getting tired of Tasker yet? I'm not. I let you know about a big update that pushed out recently to Tasker, it included a lengthy list of updates and new features. One of the most up front new features that is either powerful or annoying, depending on your point of view, is the ability to place up to three buttons within the permanent Tasker notification, that fire off your favorite Tasks.

Whether you like the feature, or hate it, this tutorial will help you out.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Make your music charge your phone

While most of us are struggling to keep a charge on our phones and other mobile devices, we often turn to bigger batteries, extra power sources and software power saving measures to get through our day. While all of these measure satisfy our needs, researchers in London have another approach in mind, charging a device with sound.

The premise is simple, kinetic energy is harnessed to produce electricity, we've heard about this in numerous Japanese roads and walkways, and even old wrist watches that shake to charge. Sure, the tech is a little different, but the idea remains the same, physical actions performed on an object can be converted into electricity.

In the case of Queen Mary University in London, the devices are made to be not much larger than a couple quarters in size, small enough to fit inside the average smartphone, and accepts the vibration from sounds to do all the dirty work.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Humble Bundle adds dedicated Mobile section, launches SEGA bundle to kick it off

Fans of Humble Bundle rejoice! Well, Android users that are fans of Humble Bundle, anyway.

Continuing to rock the Android world, the folks behind Humble Bundle are topping off a whirlwind tour of a new Android app and a great mobile bundle with another great mobile bundle and a full dedicated mobile section on their website.

The new bundle is called the Humble SEGA Mobile Bundle, packed with your favorite SEGA games, so mostly just Sonic the wedgehog stuff. Sorry, hedgehog. The Mobile tab on the website is really the exciting thing here, as it brings with it the promise of a continual stream of Android games, apps, books, comics, music and more.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

YouTube Music Key and Google Play Music Key to unite audio and video

It is only just a leak so far, but we have it on good authority that Google's YouTube will be launching a service called YouTube Music Key, which will be a paid subscription service to provide ad-free, curated music videos, recorded concerts and more. In addition, Google Play Music All Access is to be renamed Google Play Music Key and add 20 million new tracks to their collection.

The combined YouTube Music Key and Google Play Music Key is expected to sell for $9.99 per month. That's the same price as All Access runs for now. 

The resulting service provided here is one that is ultimately unparalleled in the media streaming world right now. Google is effectively providing a one stop shop for all of our musical desires. No longer will we have to go to Play Music to listen to tunes, then kill it off and open up YouTube to be able to catch the video for that same artist we were just listening too.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Should your car block you from talking on the phone behind the wheel?

MIT recently outlined research taking place in Brazil that can track and identify when you are talking on the phone behind the wheel of your car. The research is out of the Santa Catarina State University and is a hardware/software solution that lives in the car itself, operating completely independent of the cell phone in hand.

I think this opens a major conversation about what distracted driving laws and measures should exist.

While the general idea is that driving while using your phone is a terrible idea, vendors like Google, with their upcoming Android Auto system, are looking to integrate mobility into the car itself. Developing a custom interface that is embedded into the dashboard is accepted as a legal usage of your phone, mainly because it keeps your hands free for driving.

Friday, August 15, 2014

KeepScreen, a free tool to control your display timeout on a per app basis

Everyone loves Tasker, right? Hold on, I think I heard someone in the back say no. They think Tasker is too complicated and, well, expensive. Fair enough, over on my Android customization series on Android Authority I'll beginning to look at free alternatives for common Tasker task.

To that end, KeepScreen is quick and cheap, let's you decide which apps keep your display turned on and when to let your phone go to sleep.

KeepScreen is free, but it is really old and has had no updates in a while. It still works, and well, but if you prefer an active developer, perhaps there are other options out there for you. (Like Tasker... Sorry, I had to.)

You may know ZTE as that low-end phone maker, but they are actually a big deal!

I would like to make a confession: I knew that ZTE was a fairly large company, but I didn't realize it was this large! Fourth largest phone manufacturer around the globe is not a trivial thing, and, as a major contributor to the LTE standards that keep us connected, make for a company that we should all respect.

I had originally titled the article "Why I think you should love ZTE, and their low-end phones." Those words resound strongly for me, as they sum up my realizations in researching ZTE and all they've done for the industry as a whole.

Bottom line, ZTE is a major phone manufacturer, whether you like their gear or not, they are out there. They shipped their five hundred millionth device last year, not bad, and are getting more and more into the Android game as they move along.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Chromebook sales are up, PC sales down

Look at that, just after I go out and purchase a Chromebook of my own, sales numbers for 2013 and first quarter 2014 are hitting the web. The results are straightforward, PC sales continue to decline and Chromebook sales are on track to possibly double over last year.

Mixed into the numbers are some dramatic numbers out of the Microsoft camp, where the Surface division is reported to have accrued losses upwards of $2 billion in the last couple years.

As for the Chromebooks, they clocked in for a little over 2 million unit sales last year, not bad, but they rang up over 1 million sales in the first quarter of this year alone, on track to 4 million then?

There is no doubt that mobile and Chromebooks are taking over the majority of sales these days, these numbers only prove it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Nvidia 64-bit Tegra K1 processor information released

The next generation of mobile devices is looking to be a powerful adventure in computing. Nvidia has just released a good bunch of information about their upcoming 64-bit Tegra K1 processor. If you've been following the news, you may know this processor as the beast expected in the upcoming Nexus 8 tablet.

So, what's all the hype? Before I get into the details, let's just say that Nvidia is all but promising the 64-bit  Tegra K1 to produce PC-like performance. That's right, your next mobile device will have as much computing horsepower as a similarly spec'd laptop or desktop computer.

Best of all, all of this horsepower will be available to you requiring no more power to perform as your current Android powered phone or tablet.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Canada may soon be home to another smartphone manufacturer, Yota Devices

Like it or not, BlackBerry is not doing so well as a company and, if nothing changes soon, destined for complete failure. I am not here to suggest that BlackBerry is doomed for failure, just that they've never impressed me and have been shedding good employees for several years now.

The great news here is that Yota Devices, maker of the dual-display YotaPhone, is reportedly looking to move to town and get those good people back to work.

YotaPhone, as I mentioned, has two displays, one on each side. What you see in the image above is the second generation YotaPhone equipped with e-ink on one side and a 5-inch AMOLED panel on the other. In all other regards, this is a mid-range Android phone by today's standards, due to ship by the end of the year.

Friday, August 8, 2014

WiFi File Transfer Pro - transfer files between your computer and your Android device with no wires

When it comes to transferring files between your Android devices and your desktop and laptop computers, there are a number of great tools out there. One of my favorite, and most reliable, is called WiFi File Transfer Pro.

WiFi File Transfer Pro costs a little over $1 in the Google Play Store, but I believe it is totally worth it. There is also a free version, it has all the same functionality, it just comes with a 5MB file size limit.

I've talked briefly about WiFi File Transfer Pro before, it was covered in my brainstorming article on transferring files wirelessly, but it was slightly overshadowed by ES File Explorer and how to use ES as an FTP server.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Google will now take you to the Moon, and Mars, if you know how to ask

A long, long time ago, in a computer near you, you may have had Google Earth installed and used it to explore the Moon. Google is bringing that now to almost all of us, regardless our installed operating system and applications, through the Google Maps website. If the Moon is not enough, let's explore Mars as well.

Immediately, we dream of having street view of the planets, but the NASA Mars Rover has not yest returned enough imagery that Google can get it's hands on it for our pleasure. That's ok, there is still some amazing imagery available, you can zoom in an impressive amount in your attempts to find the perfect valley to live in.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Google improves your security, adds SSL to Chrome Extensions

Google has improved security but ensuring your connection from your Android device all the way to the browser on your computer is secured using normal HTTPS connections. Specifically, Google has added TLS/SSL to their chrome.sockets API.

You may be wondering if all Chrome extensions are secure or not, and for the most part, I think you will find that they are. Standard websockets have been in play for years, and they are fully SSL compliant. This news simply provides developers an alternative, Google-built for Google-products, tool to secure Chrome extensions.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Humble Mobile Bundle 6 is out - the best way to get great Android games and give to charity

Today, Humble Mobile Bundle 6 was launched, the bundle comes with six Android games, you get the first three no matter what price you pay, but if you pay more than the average, you'll get in on three more games, plus have access to any additional games that may be added to the bundle later in the two week offering.

Humble Bundle has a great thing going, they've been selling bundles of games, books, comics and more for a couple years now. For each bundle you purchase, you get to decide not only the price that you wish to pay, but how that money is split up. If, you wanted every last penny to go to charity, just move the sliders, but by default, charity gets some, a little goes to the developer of the game/comic/book and a tip goes to Humble Bundle themselves, just enough to keep the lights on and continue to provide us these awesome bundles.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 coming soon - Update: September 3rd is official

This could be the biggest phone of the year! Samsung looks set to launch the Galaxy Note 4 on September 3rd in Germany, just a few days before this years IFA technology fair in the same place.

Samsung has seen a major drop in sales so far this year. This may be because many users are gradually considering the world's largest phone manufacturer to be a producer of cheap plastic, knock-offs or even thoughtless devices in every conceivable configuration hoping to be everything to everyone. This poor opinion of the brand has been present in discussion around almost every Samsung device with the exception of the Note line.

Despite the original Samsung Galaxy Note taking flak for being too big, and not breaking any sales records, it was rarely spoken of with negativity. This has held through to the current Note 3, which is a nearly 6-inch device that is beloved by those that use it.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

IFTTT - If This Then That is an automation web service that has migrated to Android

IFTTT is not exactly a Tasker killer, but it is pretty slick in its own right. If This Then That is its name, and how it operates. Create recipes for your favorite online tasks and more based on a simple If This happens, Then do That. You can see an example in the image, when you post new images to Instagram, IFTTT can automatically get a copy of them into your Dropbox account.

I've spent a lot of time working with Tasker to automate many of the systems on my Android devices. I've also spent a good amount of time working with IFTTT through the web interface to streamline my online world. It is only recent that IFTTT released their Android app, introducing their own set of Android customization tools.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Google Play Store sale, games up to 85% off, magazines for half price and a Comic-Con inspired movie collection

Hurry, you can get Assassin's Creed Pirates for just $0.10!!!

It must be time for summer app sales, both Google and Amazon have apps and more on sale in their respective app stores. Google also has movie and magazine sales, but we don't want to talk about that, we want to talk about games!

First an foremost, this is the first time in a long, long time that I've seen paid apps in the Google Play Store for less than $0.99. Do you remember back in 2011 when there were $0.10 and $0.25 app sales, those were good times. That is why I am talking about this sales now, I mean, there are often sales in the Google Play Store, but this one has several games for less than $0.99, and like I mentioned, Assassin's Creed Pirates is just ten cents.

Developers: Google updated the I/O 2014 app with Material Design and you can have the source code

Instead of allowing the Google I/O 2014 app to go to waste now that the conference is over, Google has updated the app with full Material Design and Android L, and you can now download the full source code and use it as sample code for your own development.

This is great for developers that perhaps are new to Android, or just do not have a natural knack for design. Material Design, like it or not, is a very fluid and consistent experience that is meant to span your entire application, and, indeed, the entire Android operating system. I took a quick look at last month, and I must say, I think I like it.