Styluses at the ready, Google Handwriting Input offers an alternative to the default keyboard
Despite the wide range of customisable keyboards available to Android users, typing into your touchscreen using your thumbs is still an imperfect way to send a message. There is help at hand though, as Google has released an app that converts your handwriting into text and can be used for everything from texting to inputting web addresses.
It works with a stylus or your fi nger and can be handy for people who find typing out messages a little bit too fiddly. There have been a fair few apps that have tried this, but Google Handwriting Input stands apart from them due to its recognition of even the worst handwriting. Using the same technology as the recent Android Wear update, this app can also recognise hand-drawn emoji.
Read onto find out how to activate Google Handwriting Input, use it in your everyday life, and deactivate it if you want to switch back to traditional typing for a period of time.
With a leather-clad case, eye-watering display and incredible 2TB microSD, could the LG G4 be the Android phone of the year?
With only a few exceptions, this year has seen some very middle-of-the-road phone launches. The Samsung Galaxy S6 was quite a dramatic departure from previous models, but it was still doing its best to imitate Apple. The HTC One M9 is almost indistinguishable from the One (M8), except it comes in more colour options and has dropped the awkward parentheses in its title. Meanwhile the Xperia Z4 was so much like the Z3, Sony changed its name to the Z3+ outside of Japan. Even some of the more ‘out-there’ Androids, like the curvy LG Flex 2 and dual-screen YotaPhone 2, were only minor upgrades on there predecessors and didn’t offer any real innovation. Into this monochrome world of mediocrity, enters the LG G4 like a technicolour tornado. With a distinctive leather case, colour-rich Quantum IPS screen, 16MP shooter and a 2TB microSD slot, LG is right to call its new flagship ‘the most ambitious phone of the year.’ But is that a good enough reason to buy it?
Heaven for leather
The first thing you notice about the G4 is its unique leather-clad back. We were big fans when the Moto X experimented with different types of backplates, including bamboo and leather, and we applaud LG for doing the same. The leather feels warm and comfortable to hold and quite distinct from your everyday plastic phone. This reviewer much preferred it to the leather used for the LG Watch Urbane, which felt cheap in comparison. However, the downside is that it is more prone to scruffs and scrapes.
Android M Development Preview allows you to choose between light and dark backgrounds
Not everyone was a fan of Android Lollipop’s shift to bright white menu screens, and it appears Google have taken this on-board for Android M. Phandroid reporter Derek Ross shared this screenshot on Google+:
Not only is the screenshot dark, but it shows a Theme option listed in Developer options allowing users to choose between light and dark interfaces. However, this new dark theme appears to be limited to the system for now and doesn’t apply to any Google apps.
Via: Derek Ross
Android M announced at Google I/O as well as Project Brillo and the family friendly Google Play Store.
Android M Developer M is available now
Android M was the headline announcement at Google I/O 2015, bringing with it a more personalised approach to app permissions. When the update is rolled out, expected some time in the autumn, users can now grant certain permissions and not others, with access to certain parts of your phone records only available when you attempt to use a function that requires it. This will stop app developers asking for blanket permissions that may be required for the app to run but not the particular areas you are using it for. Android M will also improve the user experience when clicking on links to the web or other apps.
Explore foreign countries, the ocean and even the moon with Google Cardboard and shot your own VR videos with new GoPro Jump camera
Having been one of the stars of last year’s Google I/O, Google Cardboard has made a comeback with Expeditions and Jump projects.
Expeditions is a synchronised Google Cardboard system in which a teacher can take an entire class to the same location through the magic of virtual reality. This could revolutionise classroom teaching.
Jump allows a creator to change raw footage into VR footage. Google has worked out how to do this and will open up the system to anyone. They’ve partnered with GoPro, which will build and sell a Jump ready camera that will shoot footage that can turn video feeds into a virtual reality, stereoscopic video.
Google announce new features to make the Play Store more family friendly and safer for kids to use
Powers has shown Android users how the Google Play Store in a family friendly way.
The Family Star will be added to family friendly content as well as age rating. Searches are filtered so they are safer for kids to browse.
New parental controls and stronger rules on In App Purchases are also a new feature, as are character based searches so, if you are a fan of Dora the Explorer, you can easily find apps related to her.