Amazon are set to take on Google for control over your TV with the $39 Amazon Fire Stick TV
It’s been just over a year since Google released the Chromecast. Since then the device has sold in its millions and has largely been without any real competition, until now. Following up on the launch of their Fire TV set top box, Amazon has now announced their plans for the Fire TV Stick.
The dongle will plug directly into your TV via HDMI and enable users to access content from a plethora of services; including Netflix, Prime Instant Video and Twitch. Although the content on offer is largely the same between both devices, the Fire Stick is noticeably more powerful than Google’s offering. The Fire Stick includes a dual-core processor, 8GB of storage and 1GB of RAM. It also ships with a dedicated remote, instead of having to solely rely on your smartphone.
Amazon are currently taking pre-orders for the Fire Stick TV for $39, which will be shipped on November 19th. Existing users of Amazon’s Prime service will be able to pick up the Fire Stick TV for just $19.99.
Add a PIN code to your pictures, music and more
With the emergence of cloud storage, developers have been keen to implement new ways users can safely secure files both stored within the cloud and internally on a device. There’s been everything from password systems to account vaults that all work well, but none are quite as easy as Andrognito. The app uses a three-layer encryption service so that only users with a specified PIN can gain entry to certain files, while also catering for nearly every type of file you could encounter when using your Android phone or tablet.
If your device does fall into the wrong hands it’s no problem, as the app has a unique fake vault feature, which will send users to a fake vault that can be created, with your sensitive data still remaining completely safe. It’s an incredibly useful set of features and in this tutorial we’ll show you how by using Andrognito, you can safely secure your internally stored files and point out some of its other amazing uses as well. —
For even more tutorials, make sure to check out the latest issue of Android Magazine.
How to use Unclouded to free up space and make your Drive and Dropbox accounts a little bit neater
If you’re anything like us, sometimes you’ll use your cloud storage accounts to dump something, then never bother coming back to it. Whether it’s a bunch of screenshots you needed for a project or a document that you wanted to work on using a different device, cloud storage accounts can easily become cluttered with files and folders. That’s where Unclouded comes in. It’s an easy to use file manager that shows you which files you’ve accessed recently, and which you haven’t touched for a couple of years. It shows if you’ve got any duplicates, and lets you empty your trash with a tap.
In this tutorial we’ll show you how to use the app to clean your Dropbox and Drive accounts. Most of the steps work in the free version of Unclouded, but if you want to delete files you’ll need to buy the premium version. It’ll only set you back £1.15, and if you’re a big cloud storage user it’s definitely worth it.
The most affordable Kindle Fire yet looks to compete against the mighty Nexus brand
What is the perfect size for a tablet? Some would say 7-inches, while others would 10-inches is best for them. Amazon’s latest budget tablet, the Fire HD 6 is just 6-inches, which for a tablet is certainly on the small side. Although the small size of the tablet will please some users, the Fire HD 6 is surprisingly chunky and still not quite small enough for one-handed use. The largely plastic exterior does feel well made and robust, but adds some considerable weight to the frame of the device.
Look around the device and you’ll only find a few ports available to users. At the top of the tablet lies both the 3.5mm audio jack and microUSB, but there are noticeable omissions of a microSD and micro-HDMI port here. The sole speaker on the Fire HD 6 sits at the bottom of the tablet and offers great clarity for songs, when you’re not covering it up with your fingers that is and a miniscule camera sensors on the front and back are the other noticeable additions.
Amazon’s latest version of the Fire OS, Sangria, is in full force on the Fire HD 6, and is a noticeable improvement over previous versions. The smaller frame of the tablet helps keep Sangria running nicely throughout, although we would have liked to see a beefier processor than the dual-core offering used here. However, for the £79 price tag Amazon has set for the Fire HD 6, it’s a fairly standard cutback to make. If you’re an avid user of all things Amazon, then you’ll find the Fire HD 6 a pleasure to use. Every form of media is covered here and while the Amazon App Store is still light years behind that of the Google Play store, most of the essential apps are present. If you’ve not previously invested heavily in Amazon’s ecosystem before, however, then the Fire HD 6 is going to be a device that frustrates. The lack of any real third-support is disappointing, but something that Amazon is keen to fix.
Can Motorola stake their claim as the premier Android manufacturer with the revamped Moto X?
We loved the original Moto X. It outperformed the competition, had a nice design aesthetic and provided all the fundamental features that today’s smartphone users require, proving to be one of the best devices of 2013. After garnering feedback, Motorola are back for another stab at the flagship pie with their second version of the Moto X.
This time around Motorola has opted for a metal frame and a more noticeable curved back than its predecessor. A combination of the two offers a distinct premium feel to the device, while not being too heavy or awkward to hold for prolonged periods of time thanks to the overall thinness of the phone. The metal frame includes only a couple of distinct ports, with a 3.5mm jack and microUSB port placed at the top and bottom of the device respectively. Both the volume rocker and power button have a nice raised feel to it and have been finished with a nice rough pattern. Around the back you’ll find a large camera sensor and familiar Motorola branding. It’s a device that won’t really leave you gasping for air in amazement in the looks department, but it just looks and feels like a premium handset that should please all but the fussiest of Android users.
We’ve always loved Motorola’s intent on providing a stock Android experience and that trend continues here. Android 4.4.4 runs without any issues thanks to the Snapdragon 801 processor, but this time around there is a suite of surprisingly helpful Motorola apps. Migrate helps you transfer files when moving from iPhone to Android, Moto is an average voice search system, while the Help app is fairly self-explanatory. Via the settings menu, users can also find Motorola Connect, a great service for viewing text messages on your desktop computer, as well as the Tap & Pay feature for those intrigued by wireless payments. Apart from that, the device is yours to fill with whatever you like. 16GB of internal storage is fairly standard and although the lack of any expandable memory options is disappointing, cloud storage options are plentiful.
The little computer running Android’s big-younger brother, Chrome OS
As Android users we’re already fully embracing the online future, our data ever present on all our connected devices. This extends to the Chrome browser as well, with bookmarks and web history shared across PC, laptop and smartphones if you have them set up properly.
The HP Chromebox, one from the most recent batch of Chromebox releases post this year’s I/O, uses the Chrome browser as a base to take this one step further by having your entire desktop on one of these interconnected devices with all your information instantly available. While it was a rocky start for ChromeOS and Chrome hardware, it has really matured over the past couple of years and the HP Chromebox includes some of the best lessons learned.
Firstly, the hardware design is very important for a Chromebox and HP get it spot on. It’s a small, light device that is perfectly portable for wherever you need to set up your office or workspace. Once there it supports the necessary standards for you to then actually work with it, such as the ubiquitous HDMI port and DisplayPort that hooks into TVs and most modern monitors, along with conveniently located USB ports on the front for your input devices.