Get quick access to key features without unlocking the screen
The lock screen is an essential addition for any device. It provides a focal point for the user and of course enables users to add a layer of security if they wish to. However, the downside to having a PIN, password or pattern is that you will need to enter this every time to get access to a device. This can be really inconvenient when a user needs access to a service on a regular basis. Android gives access to email and a range of Google services via the lock screen. Simply select from the option you want, add, and it will be ready every time you fire up the screen. Here’s how to make it happen…
Experimental software Cider brings the Apple experience to Android
Experimental software Cider brings the Apple experience to Android.
Is this the future of your Nexus 7? Cider is a new program that enables users to run iOS apps on any Android device – and have access to all their Apple content.
A day where Android users can have full access to Apple’s App Store may be with us sooner rather than later. Six students at Columbia University have developed Cider, a piece of software that enables users to access a wide library of iOS apps across their Android devices. You can watch a demo video here.
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:
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.
A chat app that needs no internet connection
The unique selling point of this basic instant messaging app is that it works even without an internet connection or mobile signal. The original iPhone app, released a few weeks earlier, achieves this by using iOS 7’s built-in multi-peer connectivity framework that enables users to chat locally via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. However, for the Android version, the developer had to employ a different technique: ‘multihop mesh networking’, which can be used to link devices, peer to peer, into large webs. The only problem is that the two technologies aren’t compatible, so Android users can’t talk to iOS users. Another downside is that unlike the iOS app, the Android version can’t send photos.
To start a chat with someone locally, both devices need to be fairly close – ideally within about 30 feet. Select the Nearby tab in the app and you can see how many users are within range and join conversations. In our tests, we discovered that indeed no internet connection was required to chat locally, although it seemed that at least one device needed to have Wi-Fi turned on to initiate the hook-up – after which the conversation could continue using just Bluetooth.
The obvious downside is that there is absolutely no privacy for chats, so anyone using FireChat nearby could potentially eavesdrop – or butt in – on your conversation. Nor is there any way to block another user. Indeed, the app’s Everyone mode (requiring an internet connection) is an unregulated chat room of 80 random users where all human life is present. On the plus side, you have the convenience of not having to log in and you can employ any username you like. In addition, at least your local chats should be safe from internet snoopers.