While Google want to dominate the emerging markets with their Android One line, a new breed of high-specification, low-price budget phones are coming out of China and heading west
While Google want to dominate the emerging markets with their Android One line, a new breed of high-specification, low-price budget phones are coming out of China and heading west. Is it curtains for premium handsets?
With the increasing power and resources of the Chinese mobile phone industry, are we witnessing a basic shift in the market? Will this new breed of Chinese start-ups alter how the likes of Samsung, Apple, HTC, Nokia and the rest do business? Or is the fuss over the new batch of Chinese smartphones so much hot air? But what a fuss! The new Chinese designs are offering very high specifications for such a low price point that industry observers are getting very excited.
One such company that is firmly in the headlines is OnePlus, a new company founded in China by former engineers from the technology manufacturer, Oppo. One of them is Peter Lau, a former vice president at Oppo, a company known for manufacturing high-end consumer devices such as smartphones and DVD players. He is the brainpower behind OnePlus.
Hbernate background apps so they don’t waste your battery
One of the realities for Android ownership is that when you have a lot of applications installed on your device, it can adversely affect both battery life and overall device performance. The simple reason for this is that even when you are not using an app in the foreground, there may be background services running or the app and itssoftware may be active in the background.
If you have a rooted phone, Greenify can be used to cleverly resolves this issue by completely hibernating background apps so that they no longer consume any resources. Here’s how to use it:
Download apps for your LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live in the new Android Wear section.
For those who have already pre-ordered either the Gear Live or G Watch, you’ll be happy to know that you can now find a new section dedicated to Android Wear apps.
As well as the official Android Wear app (that looks fantastic by the way), there’s also the likes of IFTTT, Contacts+ and Banjo.
The current selection is small, with around 20 or so apps available, but their are plans to launch more and more in the upcoming months.
Can Sunrise Calendar beat Gmail to become the best Android calendar app? Read on to find out.
While the Play Store isn’t exactly short of third-party calendar apps, including some very stylish creations, none of them offers that much extra functionality over the basic Google Calendar default. Created by two former Foursquare designers, Sunrise Calendar takes a more radical approach, aiming to change the way we think about a mobile calendar app, while also syncing with a web app available via the Chrome Web Store.
The key selling point is the way Sunrise integrates with so many external services, pulling in all sorts of data so that it’s all available for you within the one app. As well as bringing in standard calendar events from Google Calendar and iCloud, it will show Facebook events and birthdays, Foursquare check-ins, Evernote reminders and TripIt travel itineraries (including tickets and reservations). It can even add local concerts by bands tracked in Songkick and reveal the latest tweets of event attendees.
More business-related functions include LinkedIn photos and info, tasks from Producteev and Asana, plus GitHub milestones for software developers. The one glaring omission at the time of writing is Exchange support (as featured in the iOS app), although this is in the pipeline.
LG’s G2 became quite the unexpected hit with its innovative rear-mounted buttons and tiny bezels. Can its big brother repeat the feat?
If you like your phones on the big side (we don’t want to say ‘phablets’, but you know what we’re talking about…) then your choices are somewhat limited. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has been the one to have up to now, with commendable efforts by HTC in the form of the HTC One Max and Sony with the Xperia Z Ultra. After the good but not exceptional original G Pro, LG is back with another shot at the format with the G Pro 2. Is it the new king of the hill?
At 5.9 inches, the new device has a larger screen than the Note 3, matching HTC’s One Max. All of the devices have a full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution, which is common to all flagship devices at the moment – the forthcoming G3 will likely be the first device from a major manufacturer to make the push to Quad HD (aka QHD – 2560 x 1440). A Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU is paired with 3GB RAM, again matching the Note 3 while besting the Snapdragon 600 found in the One Max, which is starting to look a little ‘last generation’ now. 16GB or 32GB of storage is onboard, expandable via micro SD, wireless connectivity is as exhaustive as you’d expect with dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and LTE support. Imaging comes courtesy of a 13-megapixel rear camera with Optical Image Stabilisation and a 2.1-megapixel front camera.
From a design perspective, LG has very much opted for a common design language when the G Pro 2 is compared to its smaller G2 sibling. The two key elements of the design – the expansive screen with tiny bezels on the front and the innovative button placement – are immediately apparent and the former comes courtesy of the latter. By moving the buttons to the back, LG reduces the space needed around the screen allowing for an ultimately smaller device with a screen that really ‘pops’ as you use it.
Samsung are adding to their library of Android smartphones with 4 new budget devices.
Samsung is set to add 4 new devices to its range of Android smartphones, with each being touted as an affordable handset. Check out the specifications for each new device below.Samsung Galaxy Core II 4.5″ TFT display (480×800) 1.2GHz quad-core processor 768MB RAM 4GB storage (expandable to 64GB) 5-megapixel rear camera, VGA front 2000mAh battery Weight: 138g Dimensions: 130.3x68x9.8mm Samsung Galaxy Ace 4 4″ TFT display (480×800) 1GHz dual-core processor 512MB RAM 1500mAh battery 5-megapixel rear camera, VGA front Weight: 123.8g Dimensions: 121.4×62.9x11mm Samsung Galaxy Young 2 3.5″ HVGA TFT display (320×480) 1GHz single-core processor 512MB RAM 1300mAh battery 4GB storage (expandable to 32GB) 3-megapixel rear camera Weight: 108g Dimensions: 109.8×59.9×11.8mm Samsung Galaxy Star 2 3.5″ HVGA display (320×480) 1GHz single-core processor 512MB RAM 1300mAh battery 4GB storage (expandable to 32GB) No 3G network support
For news about these and phones and more, make sure to check out Android Magazine.