Phandroid » Featured http://phandroid.com Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:46:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The spookiest Halloween apps & games http://phandroid.com/2014/10/23/halloween-apps-games-android/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/23/halloween-apps-games-android/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 19:34:57 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=151505 gingerbread-zombie-painting

Android and Halloween go hand-in-hand, from its candy-themed operating systems fit for trick-or-treating to a great selection of apps and games filled with gore-y good fun. Whether you are looking for a last-minute costume idea, carving your pumpkin, or looking for a few scares, here are our top ticks.

Creep out your costume

pulsing-zombie-brains-mask-digital-dudz

If you’re still searching for the perfect Halloween costume, we have the app for you. Digital Dudz is a free app offering animations that can transform a boring costume into the talk of the party. Designed to match up with a set of pre-fab costumes, shirts, and masks available for sale through the app as well as the Digital Dudz site, the free animations can also be creatively paired with your existing Halloween getup. If you are feeling really crafty, you can DIY a custom shirt or mask for any number of shifty eyes, beating hearts, or oozing wounds available via the app for a true fright.

Bonus: Digital Dudz extends its usefulness through the winter holidays with animations perfect for that tacky sweater-themed Christmas party.

zombie-droid

If dressing up isn’t your thing, you can still spook your friends and families by going full zombie…with the aid of your smartphone, of course. The Dead Yourself app uses your smartphone’s camera to transform you into the living dead, no zombie bites necessary. With gore and guts inspired by the hit TV show The Walking Dead the zombie apocalypse is coming to a social media feed near you.

jack-o-lantern-watch

For a more subtle take on Halloween flair, accessorize any costume or outfit with your Android Wear-powered smartwatch and the glowing Jack-o-Lantern Watch Face. The orange glow of this eerie pumpkin face really brings out the spirit of the season.

Carve the perfect pumpkin (or avoid the mess entirely)

pumpkin-carving-ideas

Come Halloween time we often take pumpkin carving for granted, overlooking the ghastly reality that the process involves gutting the gourd, scraping out its insides, and slicing into its face with a knife fit for Michael Myers. Respect this autumnal sacrifice by putting a bit of time and effort into creating a pumpkin masterpiece. With the Pumpkin Carving Ideas loaded on your smartphone inspiration is only a few taps away, including a wide selection of pre-made patterns and stencils.

pumpkin-flashlight

You’ve finished carving your great pumpkin, but can’t find a candle. Here’s a trick for getting that spooky glow: download Jack-o-Lantern Flashlight, a flashlight app that doubles as a safe, flame-free method of illuminating your creative carvings. As a bonus, this one makes a great seasonal flashlight app to guide the way while trick-or-treating with the little ones.

pumpkin-maker If you prefer to avoid the mess or if you would like to practice your ideas before committing to pumpkin, check out Halloween Pumpkin Carver. For an option providing a bit more room for creativity (it’s been a while since we have seen a blue pumpkin) you might consider Pumpkin Maker.

Lose sleep with these scary games

murder-room

Halloween is as much about the costumes, decorations, candy, and parties as it as about giving you a reason to leave the lights on a bit longer or check twice under the bed. Give yourself a scare with Murder Room, the Android game that places you in the middle of a Saw-like scenario where you must escape the grasp of a serial killer by solving the puzzles put in front of you. The simple presentation makes the frightening ambiance of Murder Room all the more intense.

The Walking Dead game Android

If you like your scares with a bit more story, you might not want to walk away from the addictive gameplay of The Walking Dead: Season 2. This adventure title presents a whole new chapter in The Walking Dead story and confronts the player with plenty of life or death decisions along the way. Did we mention there are zombies? Newcomers might want to start with Season One, also available on Android.

To really get your adrenaline pumping visit The Abandoned School. This psychological survival horror game is in the style of the Japanese originals like Silent Hill and Resident Evil and is sure form the basis of your future nightmares.

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Everything you need to know about the Nexus 6 http://phandroid.com/2014/10/21/nexus-6-specs-release-details/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/21/nexus-6-specs-release-details/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:14:43 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=151410 Nexus(1)

Google finally made the oft-rumored Nexus 6 official. This device will go head-to-head against successful tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6 Plus. There has been a lot of discussion about the size and price of the Nexus 6, which makes it a very interesting device. Later this month the “Nex-six” will go up for pre-order and ship out in early November. Before you grab that credit card, this is everything you need to know about the Nexus 6.

Nexus 6 Specs

nexus-6-domino

Android fans love specs, and the Nexus line attracts the most passionate Android fans. That makes the specs of the Nexus 6 all the more important. Motorola has absolutely decked out the Nexus 6 with every high-end spec you could want. It has a big, beautiful high-resolution display, the newest and most powerful processor on the market, a big camera, and a juicy battery. Here’s a quick rundown of the important specs.

  • 5.9-inch 2560×1440 QHD AMOLED display (493 ppi)
  • 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805
  • Adreno 420 GPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32/64 GB of storage
  • 13MP rear, 2MP front-facing cameras
  • Dual front-facing speakers
  • 3220mAh battery

The other hardware to consider is the overall design of the device. If you liked the look of the new Moto X you will like the look of the Nexus 6, and vice versa. Around the edges of the phone is a metal band, while the back is a dark blue or white plastic. Yes, it only comes in blue or white, but the blue is very dark. It’s a fairly boring design, like most of the Nexus devices.

Lollipop, lollipop, oh lolli lolli lolli

Lollipops

The Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 are the first two devices to come with Android 5.0 Lollipop. The biggest feature of Lollipop is the brand new Material Design language. This is the first time since Ice Cream Sandwich that Android has received a major face-lift. All the last remnants of the Tron-esque design have been removed in favor of a flatter “material” look. Lollipop also introduces tons of gorgeous new animations.

Google Material Design multiplatform

Material Design is the most easily noticeable feature of Lollipop, but there is a lot more going on. Other big changes include a brand new way to deal with notifications, redesigned multi-tasking, battery saver mode, Android Smart Lock for connected devices, user profiles, guest mode, new quick settings, and much more. Check out the full changelog here.

The other thing to consider about Lollipop and the Nexus 6 is timely updates. Since this is a Nexus device you can expect to get the latest and greatest from Google before anyone else. Nexus devices get the latest version of Android immediately. No waiting around for carrier approval (hopefully) or OEM tinkering. If being on the latest version of Android is important to you the Nexus 6 is a must-have device.

Size Matters

Nexus 6 Hero Image Cloud White LARGE

The Nexus 6 is a large phone. I don’t need to tell you that. The size of the Nexus 6 has been a topic of much debate, and for good reason. Everything I’ve mentioned up to this point in the article doesn’t mean much if the phone is too big for you. The only way for you to know that is to hold it in your hands, but since you can’t get one right now we have to explore other options.

Here is the Nexus 6 compared to some devices that you may have at your disposal. Is it too big for you? See for yourself.

Nexus 6 vs Galaxy S5 Nexus 6 vs HTC One M8 Nexus 6 vs iPhone 5S Nexus 6 vs Note 4 Nexus 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus

Configuration Options & Pricing

Nexus 6

Now that you know everything about the Nexus 6 it’s time to decide if you should buy one. The Nexus 6 will be available to pre-order on October 29th for $650 or $700 from the Google Play Store. It will also be available from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and Verizon. Carrier pricing is unknown at this point, but we expect something around $200 with a new contract. The Nexus 6 comes in two colors: Midnight Blue and Cloud White. You’ll be able to choose 32 or 64GB storage options.

That’s the story for Google’s latest Nexus device. It has nearly everything that Nexus fans have wished for in a device: powerful specs, big display, a good camera, and carrier availability. Will that be enough to make the Nexus 6 a mainstream device? Only time will tell. Will you be buying a Nexus 6? What are your thoughts on the size? Be sure to hit up the Nexus 6 forums to chat about this new device with fellow Phandroids!

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Hands-on: Android 5.0 Lollipop new apps and features [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2014/10/18/hands-on-android-5-0-lollipop-new-apps-and-features-video/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/18/hands-on-android-5-0-lollipop-new-apps-and-features-video/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 19:46:37 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=151375 Android 5.0 Lollipop DSC07203

Earlier this afternoon, Google released the final Android L Developer and although it’s not the “final” stable version we’ll see rolling out to Nexus devices in the coming weeks, it does give us a pretty damn good idea of what to expect. Of course, we couldn’t resist the lure of Lollipop and the Material Design therein, so once again, we flashed the system image onto our trusty old Nexus 5.

We were surprised to find a while lot has changed from the previous L Preview, with loads more polish and features than last time around. To understand exactly what we’re talking about you’re going to have to see for yourself. Check out our fairly lengthy hands on video above or full written portion down below.

New Setup Wizard app

Android 5.0 Lollipop Setup app 1

Android’s Setup Wizard app is usually one of the more tedious parts about the OS. You’ll simply sign into your Google account, opt in or out for a few things and you’re on your way to pure mobile bliss. If you happened to be using the same device (whether or a replacement or coming off a fresh factory reset), sometimes all your previously downloaded apps will begin downloading from Google Play Store — other times they wont. It’s always been a hit or miss and there was no real way to actually manage what was being restored. You just signed in and hoped for the best. Well, Android 5.0 Lollipop looks to change all that with the new and improved Setup Wizard.

Android 5.0 Lollipop Setup 2

Setting up a new phone is a lot easier thanks to the new Tap & Go feature which will import your account information from one device to another over Bluetooth connection. Simple tap the two NFC enabled Android devices together and you’re on your way (see video). Of course, the old method of simply typing in your Google user name and password manually still exists, but it’s not nearly as fun.

Also new is a real-life restore utility that allows you to choose a device you’d like to restore from (any device still linked to your Play Store account) and the ability to select all or individual apps from that device as well. It’s been a long time coming and whether you upgrade once in a blue moon or you’re constantly flashing new ROMs, just about everyone can appreciate Lollipop’s latest feature. Thank you, Google. Thank you.

76% more polish, animations, and Material

Android 5.0 Lollipop lockscreen homescreen

Whereas the last Android L Developer Preview was a barebones Android L experience, this newest Android 5.0 Lollipop Developer Preview is now much more polished, bringing 76% more Material animations (we calculated it). The lock screen now has some sleek new animations when accessing the phone and camera shortcuts, the notification area finally has a “dismiss all” button, the launcher folders and app drawer have Google Search like circular animations when opening, and even the recent apps area has gotten some sprucing up with a now persistent Google Search widget. Oh, and recent apps are no longer wiped after a reboot, which is pretty darn nice.

New Settings: Battery saver, Screen pinning, Trusted devices, Priority notifications

Android 5.0 Lollipop Settings app

In the new Lollipop Preview, the Settings app is also getting a little bit of love, sectioned off with a more card-like UI for 4 categories: wireless & networks, device, personal, and system. There’s also a host of incredibly useful new settings. Let’s take a look.

Android 5.0 Lollipop Interruptions settings

In a setting called “Interruptions,” Google has added the ability to assign which type of notifications you would like to interrupt you — all, priority, or none — and for how long (also accessible in the volume slider). You can even set specific days and times when you’d like to turn off notifications (during the work day, or evening hours), allowing only priority interruptions and/or calls from starred contacts, or anyone in your contacts.

While alarms and event reminders are by default “priority” notifications, keep in mind Android 5.0 allows other 3rd party apps to set their own priority level and you can even do this yourself in the new “App notifications” setting.

Android 5.0 Lollipop Smart lock

Lollipop gets even better with “trusted devices,” a feature we’ve seen OEMs implement in their own versions of Android (like Motorola). Essentially this allows users to bypass lock screen security when connected to specific “trusted” Bluetooth devices like a smartwatch, Bluetooth speakers, or car stereo. When no longer connected to these trusted devices, your phone will activate it’s lock screen security again.

Google actually ups the ante in Lollipop by not only allowing trusted Bluetooth devices, but trusted faces (face unlock) and trusted NFC tags as well. This could prove useful if you stick an NFC tag in a vehicle dock for easy access The provides an NFC tag example Google provides for trusted NFC tags is perhaps one you stuck onto a vehicle dock or whatnot. Whether you use it or not, there’s nothing wrong with extra options and the fact that this will come standard in all devices running Android 5.0 Lollipop — love it.

Android 5.0 Lollipop Battery saver

We already saw the battery saving feature in the previous L Preview, but for this new build, the notification and navigation bars now turn orange when activated. This lets the user know that 1. it’s not meant to be used all the time, 2. performance may suffer as a result of slower CPU, and 3. you should probably charge the phone soon.

When enabled, it can be turned off easily via the notification tray so you wont have to go fumbling around in the settings app again.

Android 5.0 Lollipop Screen pinning

One of our favorite new features comes by way of Screen pinning, which can lock someone to a specific app in the event they need to borrow your phone to make a call or shoot off a text message. In order to get it up and running, it will first need to be enabled in the Settings app by selecting Security > Screen pinning.

Once enabled, you can “pin” the most recently used app from your recents screen in which case the app can only be exited by pressing both the back and recents button at the same time. While that would only keep a child locked into an app, if you have a password or PIN set on your lock screen, you can lock down Screen pinning by either of those methods as well. Genius.

Hidden Easter Egg

Android 5.0 Lollipop hidden game Easter Egg

Every major Android release, Google “hides” an fun little Easter Egg inside the Settings app (About phone > Android version). For Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google went all out, including a full on Flappy Bird clone inside the OS. Pressing the version number 5 times activates phase 1 of the Easter Egg, while tapping on the lollipop image then long pressing it fires up the game. We have to say, it’s pretty much spot on with equal pull-your-hair-out difficulty as the original. It’s not something Google had to do, but we more than appreciate the gesture.

Android 5.0 Lollipop DSC07199

This was just a quick list of some of the new stuff we’ve noticed since diving into the new Android 5.0 Developer Preview and is by no means exhaustive. We’ll continue digging up new stuff in the coming days but in the meantime, if you’ve noticed anything new or have a favorite new feature of your own, feel free to shout it out down below. Cheers.

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15 Lollipop songs to blast in celebration of Android 5.0 [VIDEOS] http://phandroid.com/2014/10/18/android-lollipop-songs/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/18/android-lollipop-songs/#comments Sat, 18 Oct 2014 16:40:29 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=151389 We assumed it all along but Google has finally bestowed the “Lollipop” name upon Android 5.0. Following that up with the Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and Nexus Player, Android fever is in full force. What better way to celebrate than with Lollipop themed jams while you dig into Android 5.0?

Go forth, make playlists, create ringtones, and share your Lollipop love with the world (and in the comments).

15) Alexandra Stan – Lollipop “Param Pam Pam”(2011)

14) Maejor Ali ft. Juicy J, Justin Bieber – Lolly (2013)

13) Dada ft Sandy Rivera & Trix – Lollipop (2007)

12) BIGBANG & 2NE1 – Lollipop M/V

11) MIKA – Lollipop (2009)

10) Aqua – Lollipop (Candyman)

9) Pawan Singh – Kamariya Kare Lapa Lap Lollipop Lagelu

8) Lil Wayne – Lollipop

7) Framing Hanley – Lollipop

6) Millie Small – My Boy Lollipop (1956)

5) Leslie Gore – Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows (1963)

4) Burl Ives – The Lollipop Tree (1950)

3) Bad Manners – My Girl Lollipop (1982)

2) The Lollipop Guild – Wizard of Oz

1) The Chordettes – Lollipop (1958)

And finally… what will inevitably become the Android 5.0 Lollipop theme song, replayed over and over until Android M comes out.

BONUS
The Chordettes may have made the Lollipop song famous, but they didn’t create it. That credit goes to Ronald & Ruby who debuted the song in 1958.

Ronald & Ruby

And let us just leave you with this…

This all begs the question… which Lollipop song is best?

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13 things every Galaxy Note 4 owner should do http://phandroid.com/2014/10/17/galaxy-note-4-first-13-things/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/17/galaxy-note-4-first-13-things/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 17:00:53 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=150789 note-4-air-command
If this is your first Android phone, see our Android Getting Started Guide

So you finally bought the  Samsung Galaxy Note 4 after reading our glowing review. You’ve gloriously ripped it from the box like King Arthur and the Sword in the Stone, booted it up, and completed the installation steps. Now what? There’s a good chance you don’t know where to start… don’t worry, you’re in good hands. Here are the first 10 things you should do with your Galaxy Note 4.

1) Prepare for disaster

Most people never take the time to prepare in advance. Then down the road, when disaster strikes, they furiously look for ways to find a lost or stolen android phone, praying some evil doer doesn’t capture their device, gain access, and use it for nefarious purposes. This terrible feeling of panic can be easily averted… it just takes a little planning.

We know you want to dive into your new device, but trust us, it’s worth spending a few minutes to protect this expensive little gadget that holds lots and lots of private and sensitive information. Here’s what you should do (right now):

Enable Android Device Manager
This is your #1 tool in moments of crisis, but you have to set it up in advance! Simply download Android Device Manager to your Note 4 and you’ll be able to locate your phone at all times, reset your lock screen PIN, and even remotely lock and erase all data on your account.

android-device-manager-help

  • Open the app on your Note 4
  • Select it from the drop down (listed as SM-N910 or something similar)
  • Tap “Setup Lock & Erase”
  • Make sure “Remotely locate this device” and “Allow remote lock and erase” are both enabled (and activated)

android-device-manager-ring

If you lose your phone, simply use your computer to login to the Android Device Manager website where you can force your phone to ring loudly for 5 minutes, lock it up, and/or erase everything!

Add Password Recovery Options
Your Android Phone is tied to a Gmail account. If you get locked out of your device (by incorrectly attempting screen unlock too many times) and/or happen to forget your Gmail password, you’re in trouble. This Google Account is the key to everything. Make sure you’re able to recover or reset your password in an emergency. To do that, visit Google’s Account Recovery Options and enter a phone number, alternate e-mail addresses for recovery, and security question.

Secure your lock screen
Trust us when we say you want to password protect your phone. Head on over to Settings > Lock Screen > Screen Lock and choose one of the options (Swipe, Pattern, PIN, Password, Fingerprint). Keep in mind that you’ll need 2 hands available to unlock with Fingerprint accurately on a consistent basis. I’m a big fan of  Pattern Lock. But if you don’t want to lock your screen every. single. time. adjust the “Secured lock time” setting that will keep it unlocked for up to an hour before it locks again.

We’d also suggest you tap on “Show information”, enable it, and tap on “Owner information” at the bottom. Enter your name and e-mail address here; should a good samaritan find your device, they might just be your savior and shoot you an e-mail to return it. You could also list your phone number and check your voicemail remotely.

2) Update your apps

The new phone you just bought was built months and months ago. Since then it’s likely the apps that come pre-installed on your phone have had important updates. The Google Play Store lets you easily update these in addition to automatically updating your other apps in the future.

Visit the Google Play Store, press the menu at the top left (or swipe from the left), tap settings, Auto-update apps, and choose “Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only”. Make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi and watch your system apps, and any you have installed, update all at once!

play-store-auto-download-apps

Once all your apps are updated for the first time, you may wish to adjust this setting:

  • We’d recommend NOT choosing auto-update at any time. If a huge app update happens to become available while you’re out and about, you might find yourself way over the limits of your data plan, costing you a pretty penny. Stick with Auto-update over Wi-Fi only unless you have truly unlimited data.
  • We enjoy seeing when apps have updated, learning what’s new, and then testing those new features in the app. If you like keeping a handle on the latest Android stuff, you probably want to as well. Just select “Do not auto-update apps” and you’ll be notified when new versions of an app are available. If you have lots and lots of apps this could get pretty tedious, but you can always revisit this decision down the road.

And don’t forget to download Phandroid News and Forums for Android!

3) Remove Flipboard Briefing

If you’ve already been flipping through your Galaxy Note 4, you’ve likely noticed the news page on the far left home screen titled “Briefing”. It’s slow, it’s buggy, it’s not very customizable, and we think it’s an all around nightmare. We suggest you remove it, and thankfully that’s an easy thing to do.

flipboard-briefing-turn-off

To remove Briefing:

  • Hold down the multi-tasking button or pinch your home screen
  • Tap “Home Screen Settings” on the bottom right
  • Uncheck the “Flipboard Briefing” box

Ah, much better.

4) Customize your Home Screen

It seems there are endless options on the Galaxy Note 4, so organizing is of supreme importance, and that all starts with the home screen. This consists of a few key elements that we should talk about separately.

note-4-home-screens

Customize your Dock Apps - the bottom row of icons can hold up to four apps plus your “Apps” tray and these are visible from every home screen. You’ll want to put your most used apps here: for me that’s Phone, Gmail, Chrome, and Voice Search, but for you that may be different. To change these simply long press on any icon and drag it into the dock. If you’ve already got 4 it will swap with the app icon you drag onto.

Put a folder in your Dock – I no longer need Voice Search in my dock (you’ll see why soon) and lately I’ve been messaging like crazy, but with a wide variety of apps. To put a folder containing many apps into your dock, simply create the folder elsewhere on your home screen and drag it into your dock afterwards. You can create a folder by long pressing on an app icon and dragging it to the top left of your screen onto “Create Folder”. Add more apps to the folder by dragging apps on top of the folder or opening the folder and pressing the “+” sign to add them in bulk. Then drag the folder into the dock and you’re practically Otis Redding!

Make S Note and Action Memos easily accessible –  the only way you’re going to learn the magic of the S Pen Stylus is if you put them within the flow of your daily routine. You don’t need to put them smack dab on your primary home screen to accomplish that- if you’re already going through the trouble of unsheathing the S Pen, what’s one little swipe to the left or swipe right ?

We recommend reserving the screen directly to the left and right of your primary home screen for S Note and Action Memos respectively. This doesn’t have to be permanent, but at least try it out for a solid 2 weeks- it’ll help you learn the Note 4 features like a boss.

  • Clear those screens of all their apps by long pressing and dragging to “Remove” in the upper right.
  • Long press on the blank screen and select “Widgets” at the bottom
  • Swipe to and tap on the S Note Widget
  • Long press on the 4×2 S Note List Widget and drag it to the top of your empty screen
  • You’ll see a dot on the top and bottom of the widget- drag the bottom circle to the bottom of the screen and release to make a full page S Note Widget

You’ll now see all of your S Note notebooks in a beautiful bookshelf of sorts and have access to all the S Note features from one screen. But don’t forget those Action Memos! After clearing the other screen for action memos you can:

  • Create an action memo by pulling out your S Pen and tapping “Action Memo” from Air Command
  • Scribble down a note
  • With your S Pen, touch and hold the thumbtack, dragging the newly created widget to your open screen
  • Resize the Action Memo as you see fit

Congratulations, you’ve set yourself up for success. This will help you learn the S Pen and all it’s great features much more easily. Now… didn’t I tell you I’d explain taking “Voice Search” out of my dock?

5) Ok Google Everywhere

If you haven’t been using Android’s voice commands, you’ve been missing one of it’s best features. Like many devices, you can setup your Galaxy Note 4 to respond to “Okay Google”, instantly launching a Google Search with Google Now… but that’s not all. First seen on the original Moto X, the Galaxy Note 4 is one of the only other devices you can set to hear “Okay Google” commands from any screen… even your lock screen!

You can set this up by going to:

  • Settings > Language and input > Voice Search > “Ok Google ” Detection
  • Check all 3 boxes
  • Train the voice recognition by saying Okay Google 5 times (say it a bit differently each time to improve accuracy)

As if Googling stuff by hand wasn’t easy enough!

6) Never lose your S Pen!

If the Galaxy Note 4 didn’t have the S Pen it’d just be… well, a better version of the iPhone 6 Plus. But with the S Pen it’s so much more. The Note 4 has a a safe and snug little place to secure the S Pen, but every time you unsheath the stylus, you risk its demise. Whether misplacing it, leaving it behind at Starbucks, or just outright losing the darn thing, we want to avoid its absence at all costs.

note-4-s-pen-alert

Head on over to Settings > S Pen > S Pen alerts and make sure it’s selected. It’s truly a life saver. If your pen is detached and you walk away from it, you’ll be alerted with a loud noise, vibration, and pop up message reminding you that you’d better fetch the darn thing. We would also recommend checking off “Disable pen detection” because it saves battery and seems redundant.

7) Optimize access to settings

Samsung makes changing settings on the fly a breeze with the Galaxy Note 4 but a few quick changes will make your life even more convenient. Start by going to Settings > Tap the 4 squares icon > Tap the pencil icon > drag and drop the quick toggles you want to appear in the notification try by default.

customize-note4-settings-

Note that the main quick toggles, where you see Wi-Fi/Location/Sound/Screen Rotation/Bluetooth above left- that list scrolls horizontally. It’s not obvious, but give it a try.

Two other improvements to settings you’ll want to initiate:

  • Adjust the settings to one long list instead of tabs. It’s much easier to digest. From the Settings screen tap the 3 dots in the top right, “View As” and select “List view”.
  • You can pin your most used quick settings to the top by tapping the same three dots, selecting “Edit quick settings”, and checking the boxes of your favorites.

Now you’ll have quick and easy access to making on-the-fly adjustments to your device whenever the need arises.

8) Enable Tap and Pay

Android devices have used NFC for mobile payments for years, but now that Apple has finally gotten on board with their own version – Apple Pay – we’re likely to see adoption rates by retailers skyrocket. You can already make tap and pay payments at places like Starbucks and 7-Eleven, but we’re guessing it’ll soon spread like wildfire- so get with the program. Start by enabling NFC in Settings > NFC.

tap-and-pay-nfc-google-wallet

You can set up Tap and Pay with ISIS, but we prefer Google Wallet, so first you’ll need to download Google Wallet from the Play Store. You may find it easier to update all your credit card and contact information with a laptop, so if that’s the case, follow the instructions on the Google Wallet website (click sign in at the top right).

Once you’ve successfully connected a credit card and are ready to rock, open the Google Wallet app back up and you’ll see one of the above 4 screens. Just tap “Set up tap and pay”, then press “Tap and pay unavailable”, select “Yes” to make it your default, and BOOM you’re ready to go on a Tap and Pay shopping spree!

If you’ve never used Tap and Pay before, you might be intimidated to try it for the first time in the store with a bunch of people surrounding you. Don’t be… people won’t bite and there is nothing wrong with asking for help and telling people you’ve never tried it before. But it’s really easy. You’ll do it once and be like “Wow… it’s that easy?” Here are the simple steps to actually use Tap and Pay:

how-to-use-tap-and-pay-android

Now you’re well on your way to blowing the huge fortune you’ve amassed, all from the convenience of your trusty Galaxy Note 4.

9) Speed up performance

If you’re a stickler for speed, you might get irritated with TouchWiz at times. There just so happens to be a secret hidden option to give your device a little boost. You’ll need to become a developer for the day, but it’s much less scary than it sounds.

note4-remove-animations

  • Go to Settings > About Device > Build Number and tap the “Build Number” row 5 times
  • This will reveal a “Developer Options” setting just above “About Device”- Enable it
  • Tap “Window animation scale” and set to Off
  • Tap “Transition animation scale” and set to Off
  • Tap  “Animator duration scale” and set to Off

The default is usually 1X, so even lowering this to .5x should speed things up a bit.

10) Improve Battery

The Note 4 has a pretty reliable battery, but we’re always looking for ways to extend our battery life. Of course you’ll want to know about the Power Saving Mode found under “Power Saving” and located just below “Battery” in your full settings list. Adjust what does and doesn’t turn off when you enter the mode and then add Power Saving Mode to your quick toggle settings. Now, whenever you’re not actively using your phone, toggle Power Saving Mode on and greatly extend the life of your battery.

note4-power-saving

This will help you manually trigger your phone to conserve power, but you should also sift through the rest of your phone’s settings to ensure that you don’t have battery intensive features turned on, especially ones you’re not even using… so let’s make sure you don’t.

11) Tweak your settings to perfection

It’ll take you a LONG time to go through all of the Galaxy Note 4 settings, but enabling and disabling certain features could make or break your personal experience with the device. Below we’ve listed a number of settings we feel are rather important, identified how to find them, and provided our suggestion/explanation.

  • Multi Window (ON) – one of the best Note 4’s best features… this is a MUST! We recommend turning “Open in multi window view” off (it gets annoying) but keeping Pop-up view shortcut off.
  • Wi-Fi Smart Switch (ON) – this will automatically switch your phone between mobile networks and Wi-Fi to optimize performance
  • Passport (ON) – when Wi-Fi is enabled, this will automatically search and connect to public networks like Starbucks and Panera without havingto enter a login and password
  • Motions and gestures (OFF) – these aren’t that helpful and suck up battery life. If you’re going to turn any on, make it Mute/Pause and only select “Turning device over”
  • Smart Stay (ON/OFF) – if you’re looking for more ways to save battery, turn this off, otherwise it’s a pretty neat feature to keep your screen on while you’re actively using your phone
  • Touch sounds and Keyboard sounds (OFF) – there is nothing more annoying than hearing someone rapidly texting with every little button generating annoying click sounds. Do the world a favor and turn these off in your sound options
  • Blocking mode (ON) – the mobile equivalent of putting a Do Not Disturb sign on your hotel door knob but giving your favorite people a room key

These are a few of our top choices, but in reality, it would serve you well to take a gander through all of the Galaxy Note 4 settings to see what’s available. It will help you learn your device inside and out, making the next 1 or 2 years you spend with it much more blissful.

12) Download the best Note 4 apps and games

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is an incredibly unique device with its multi-tasking capabilities (Multi Window FTW!) and S Pen functionality. There are some apps and games out there that do an especially awesome job at integrating with Note 4’s experience. Here are just a few of the apps you may want to take for a spin:

Have more suggestions for apps and games that work especially great on the Note 4? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add them to the list!

13) Explore Galaxy Note 4 Forums for more

What’s the best place to get help, tips, tricks, support, suggestions, and information about the phone you have? From other people that also have that phone! That’s why Android Forums has become such a great resource and our Galaxy Note 4 Forums are especially awesome. Feel free to browse as a guest or sign up for a free account to begin posting (and you’ll see less ads!).

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Everything you need to know about the Nexus 9 http://phandroid.com/2014/10/17/nexus-9-specs-release-details/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/17/nexus-9-specs-release-details/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:51:17 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=151196 nexus-9-tabledThe newly announced Nexus 9 is available for pre-order today, but what’s the hype over the latest Google slate all about? Here’s a primer on the newest member of the Nexus family — the first Android device to launch with the Lollipop update.

Hardware & Design

Nexus-9-fanned

The Nexus 9 (designed and manufactured by HTC under the Google’s guidance) offers a compromise when it comes to size, but it doesn’t compromise when it comes to its spec sheet. An 8.9-inch display equates to a form factor with a smaller footprint than a 10-inch slate but more screen real estate than 7-inch options. This best-of-both-worlds approach should appeal to a wide range of users. A thickness of 7.9mm and weight of 425g (WiFi model) make for a light and portable device.

We mentioned that HTC and Google didn’t cut corners when it came to hardware. Here’s the spec highlights for the Nexus 9:

  • 8.9-inch IPS LCD (2048×1536, 4:3 aspect ratio)
  • NVIDIA Kegra K1 (64-bit dual-core Denver CPU @ 2.3GHz)
  • Kepler GPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 8MP rear, 1.6MP front-facing cameras
  • 6700mAh battery

The Nexus 9 also features front-facing HTC BoomSound speakers (as well as 3.5mm headset jack), dual microphones, MIMO WiFi 802.11ac, and LTE connectivity options. Google promises battery life of up to 9.5 hours for media playback and WiFi browsing with standby times of up to 30 days.

Android 5.0 Lollipop & Timely Upgrades

Lollipop-Forrest-Cropped large

The Nexus 9 will be the first device to ship with Android 5.0 Lollipop. The operating system update is best known for its visual overhaul dubbed Material Design. Material Design aims to create a familiar but custom-tailored interface across Android devices, allowing users to seamlessly transition from their smartphone to tablet to smartwatch and even TV with the new Nexus Player. Material Design relies on responsive animations to create visual feedback to interface interactions, creating a more tangible experience that feels intuitive and natural.

Other improvements include enhanced notifications and multitasking as well as a new battery saver feature to squeeze every last minute out of a waning charge. The Nexus 9 takes advantage of Lollipop’s capability to allow access to Google Now voice commands even when the display is powered down. User’s simply speak and their tablet responds.

Under-the-hood improvements include Project Volta, again focused on improving battery life, and the transition to the new ART runtime. ART replaces the Dalvik runtime that has long been a part of Android and promises better application speeds and an overall performance boost.

Because the Nexus 9 is a Nexus device, it will not only be the first to launch with Lollipop but it will also be first in line to receive future Android updates. With a direct line to Google, updates will push to the Nexus 9 as soon as they are available. Carrier and manufacturer interference will not slow down the process. When Android 5.1 is ready, Nexus users will receive it before anyone else.

Media Machine

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The Nexus 9’s abundant power and efficient Android 5.0 operating system make it the perfect device for reading, web browsing, streaming video, gaming, and more. Access to the Google Play Store gives puts over 1 million apps and games, a huge library of books, and nearly endless music and movies right at the users fingertips. Entertainment options on the Nexus 9 are nearly endless.

The N9’s 192-core Kepler GPU promises desktop-grade graphics and the 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 is future-proofed for the next generation of mobile software. The dual BoomSound speakers provide immersive audio for movies, games, and music alike.

Keyboard Dock

nexus-9-keyboard

A separate keyboard dock will be available for the Nexus 9, doubling as a productivity tool and stand for hands free entertainment. The dock features magnetic attachment and a folding design that allows users to position their Nexus 9 at the perfect angle for work or play. The full-fledged keyboard turns the N9 into a potential replacement for a laptop when it comes to tasks like document creation, email, and more.

Configuration Options & Pricing

The Nexus 9 is available today for pre-order in a variety of configurations via Best Buy, Amazon, and the Google Play Store. Pricing starts at $399 for the WiFi-only model with 16GB of internal storage. The WiFi model with 32GB sells for $479. A WiFi + LTE version with 32GB of storage is available for $599. All options will be available in one of three colors: lunar white, indigo black, and beige.

Retail availability begins November 3rd. Pre-orders are expected to arrive on or before that date.

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Apple’s new iPads vs Nexus 9 & Samsung Galaxy Tab S http://phandroid.com/2014/10/16/ipad-air-nexus-9-galaxy-tab-comparison/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/16/ipad-air-nexus-9-galaxy-tab-comparison/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 18:08:38 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=151207 Apple has announced a pair of iPad updates today, refreshing both models from last year with the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. The two devices don’t change much in terms of design from the previous models, but a few key upgrades promise to once again make Apple’s tablet offerings the talk of the town.

Before we get swept up in another round of Apple hype, let’s breakdown how these slates really stack up against the best Android has to offer. We compare the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini head-to-head with the newly announced Nexus 9 by HTC and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S line.

iPad Air 2 vs Android competitors

Air 2 N9 Tab s

Apple’s iPad Air 2 picks up where last year’s model left off, packing plenty of punch the lightest and thinnest tablet (437g, 6.1mm) we have ever seen. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S, which launched earlier this year, gets close at 6.6mm (467g). The Nexus 9 is the odd man out with a thickness of 7.9mm, a measurement that is still nothing to scoff out. The N9 is the lightest of the tablets at 425g.

Display

With tablets seeing plenty of use as media devices, the display is without doubt one of the most important hardware elements to consider. The iPad Air, Galaxy Tab S, and Nexus 9 are all in the ballpark of 10 inches and all feature resolutions in excess of 1080p Full HD.

The Nexus 9 straddles the line between the large and mid-size tablets at 8.9 inches. It’s 1536×2048 resolution equates to a pixel density of 281ppi across its surface area. The Galaxy Tab S offers the biggest display option at 10.5 inches. Its Super AMOLED display slightly edges the IPS LCD of the Nexus 9 with a resolution of 1600×2560 and a pixel density of 288ppi. The iPad Air 2 sits in the middle with its 9.7-inch Retina display, an IPS screen touting a resolution of 1536×2048 and a pixel density of 264ppi.

Processing Power & Battery

Between the Nexus 9, iPad Air 2, and Galaxy Tab S, there is plenty of processing power to go around. Each device is supported by a SoC from a different manufacturer, and each has its own advantages.

Apple’s latest offering features the 64 bit A8X. The A8X is a iPad-tailored version of the A8 processor that debuted in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus last month, a dual-core chip that has been tested to reveal clock speeds around 1.4GHz (Apple does not reveal detailed figures for its processors). The chip also includes an M8 coprocessor for handling motion sensor inputs and promises improved graphical capabilities.

The Nexus 9 relies on the NVIDIA Tegra K1 chip, a quad-core chipset clocked at 2.3GHz. This chip also includes a Kepler DX1, which comes with the claim of offering desktop-grade graphics on a mobile device. The Nexus 9’s processor suite is supported by 2GB of RAM.

The Galaxy Tab S comes in two flavors. Some regions have access to the tablet with an Exynos 5420 octa-core processing, but most will see the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 variant. That device sports quad-core 2.3GHz processing and Adreno 330 graphics and 3GB RAM.

The iPad Air 2 features a battery that promises up to 10 hours of use (Apple did not reveal a specific capacity). The Galaxy Tab S features a 7900mAh battery that offers up to 11 hours of multimedia use. The Nexus 9 features a 6700mAh battery.

Fingerprint Scanner, Camera & Other Features

The latest generation of iPads are the first to feature Apple’s Touch ID technology, allowing users to unlock their devices with a fingerprint and provide additional security for supported apps and services. The Galaxy Tab S offers a fingerprint scanner with similar capabilities, though it has been known to be slightly more finicky than its Apple competitor. The Nexus 9 does not include a finger scanner.

All devices feature rear and front facing cameras. The iPad Air 2 sports a 8MP rear camera and 1.2MP front-facing camera, while the Nexus 9 and Galaxy Tab S both feature an 8MP rear shooter and 1.6MP and 2.1MP front-facing sensor, respectively. All are capable of capturing 1080p HD video in addition to hi-res still photos.

All three devices feature dual-antenna MIMO WiFi for enhanced connectivity and improved data speeds. The three devices all also offer LTE-enabled variants to take advantage of mobile data over a cellular network.

Software

While two of our devices run Android and only one runs iOS, all three offer different software experiences. Chalk this up to the inclusion of Samsung’s TouchWiz interface on the Galaxy Tab S (based on Android 4.4 KitKat) and the debut of Android 5.0 Lollipop on the Nexus 9. The new lineup of iPads sports iOS 8, Apple’s latest update to their mobile platform.

The differences between the Galaxy Tab and Nexus 9 are mostly surface level — core Android features like widgets, multitasking, and access to the Google Play Store remain the same. The N9 does benefit from new features introduced in Android 5.0 including its Material Design interface (a new design language geared at unifying the Android experience across devices) as well as improved notification controls and a new battery saver mode.

iOS 8’s differences are a bit more drastic. Users still have access to features like multitasking and over a million apps via Apple’s App Store, but widgets are refined to the notification shade and other core differences exist in how iOS functions versus Android. Apple made a point of emphasizing continuity features that allow users to easily move from smartphone to tablet to Mac, enabling text message and voice calling support across devices paired with a connected iPhone.

Android Lollipop boasts some continuity features, but Google has focused on media. Users can start a movie or video on one device and pick right up on another, including televisions thanks to the new Nexus Player.

iPad mini 3 vs Android competitors

Mini 3 N9 Tab s

Apple also unveiled a new edition of their iPad mini, a device featuring an 8-inch display. This tablet perhaps best compares with the Samsung’s smaller Galaxy Tab S, the 8.4-inch edition, but the Nexus 9’s 8.9-inch form factor is still an option for those looking for a slightly smaller slate.

The iPad mini 3 features a 7.9-inch Retina display at 2048×1536 resolution and 326ppi. The Galaxy Tab S 8.4’s Super AMOLED display measures 8.4 inches with a pixel dentist of 359ppi. Specs for the iPad mini and Galaxy Tab S 8.4 are otherwise identical to their larger counterparts.

Availability & Pricing

The iPad Air 2 will be available starting at $499 for a 16GB model, identical pricing to the equivalent Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 model. The iPad mini will retail starting at $399, a price point that again matches the Samsung Galaxy Tab S at the 8.4-inch level. The Nexus 9 will retail for an identical $399 for a 16GB model.

The Nexus 9 will go up for pre-order on October 17th with official availability beginning November 3rd. The new iPads will also be available for pre-order starting October 17th and ships next week. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S is currently available from a variety of retailers and carrier partners.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Review http://phandroid.com/2014/10/15/samsung-galaxy-note-4-review/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/15/samsung-galaxy-note-4-review/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 20:08:37 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=150696 note-4-android-robots-phandroid

Oversized smartphones, endearingly referred to as phablets, were once seen as outrageous monstrosities procured by only a select few in a niche crowd. The poster boy for the large form factor has long been Samsung’s Galaxy Note. Now in its fourth iteration, it has developed a large and loyal following while Samsung has diligently crafted and honed the product, simultaneously helping define the category.

Competitors have followed, most notably Apple, who have finally arrived on the scene with the iPhone 6 Plus in hopes of stealing Samsung’s thunder. Worse things could happen: they’ve also drawn mainstream consumer attention to larger screened phones as a whole. With a four year head start, does the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 retain it’s rightful place atop the smartphone elite? That’s the question we tackle in this comprehensive review.

Design & Build

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has finally matured, ditching the cheap plastic wrapper from previous Notes and replacing it with a premium aluminum frame that a device of this caliber deserves. Despite growing slightly – it’s millimeters larger and grams heavier – it feels more compact and sturdy than ever, assisted by a more sleek, refined, and polished design than it’s predecessors.

note-4-typical-pic-phandroid

The faux leather back? It’s still there, but it looks much more seamless and realistic, and gone is the leather stitching that formerly bordered the exterior shell. Some may still complain about the plastic back, but Samsung has done a much better job masking the material, and the fact remains that this choice allows for a removable cover providing access to additional memory, a battery, and SIM card.

note-4-back

Rather than a solid colored front face with a slight brushed look, Samsung has opted to embed subtle black stripes across a dark grey face. Better or worse is arbitrary, but it does create a weird effect where it overlaps with the illuminated backlit capacitive buttons.

The Note 4 also trades some of its straighter edges for graceful curves, partly for visual appeal but also to improve structural integrity. The corners of the phone flare slightly on the left and right, providing reinforcement for drops and accidents. Stronger curves around the headset jack, USB port, and S Pen add a nice touch.

note-4-curvier

Samsung has nudged the volume rocker and power button down a tad, which won’t be noticeable to most, but could make reaching these ever-important assets with one-hand a little easier. They’ve also been given some contour and silver lining to fit Samsung’s new premium theme.

As a Note 3 owner who doesn’t use cases, I found the plastic chrome wrap to be pretty susceptible to scratching, wear, and tear. At least on the surface, the Note 4 seems like a more resilient device, but it’s hard to know how 1 year of use will treat its decor. Scuffing up this beauty would cause much more heartache.

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You’ll also find that the speaker has moved from the bottom of the Note 3 to the back of the Note 4. This may seem like a step in the wrong direction, but a tiny bump on the speaker grill creates the smallest of gaps when laid flat, allowing audio to escape and vibrate. The sound on the Note 4 is loud and full enough to make it a non-factor, but I must admit that I’ll miss cupping my hand around the edge of the phone to aim the audio my way when watching videos. The only thing better here would be front facing speakers.

The Galaxy Note 4 is a gorgeous Goliath, taking everything that was right about the Note 3 and graduating it. From the looks of it, the Note 4 is like the teenage boy whose parent’s already loved him, but are now proud to finally see him become a man. Now let’s find out what that man is made of…

Hardware & Specs

Considering the Galaxy Note 3 was already an industry front runner, Samsung had a tall order to impress consumers with spec improvements. Although there are no shocking surprises in the Note 4, the device improves in pretty much every area possible, taking great hardware and making it greater.

The show stopper on the Note 4 is it’s screen- a 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display that is an absolute beauty. For those wondering, Quad HD means it can display four 1280 x 720 HD images on the screen at once! That’s possible due to a resolution of 2560 by 1440, an improvement most naked eyes won’t be able to fully appreciate. I’ve often maintained that Samsung makes the most gorgeous displays and the Note 4 is the most gorgeous of the gorgeous.

galaxy-note-4-screen-phandroid

We’re not the only ones who think so: according to DisplayMate not only does the Note 4 have the highest resolution of any smartphone on the market, it also has the brightest display, incredible scores in power efficiency, great performance at various viewing angles, accurate color profiles, and the list goes on. We can’t say enough good things about the Galaxy Note 4 screen. But if you want to know more, see for yourself.

The Note 4 is powered by a 2.7 GHz QuadCore processor with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal memory (expandable by MicroSD), immediately making it one of the most powerful devices on the market. That power is supported by a 3220 mAh battery, giving it the juice necessary to get the typical user through a full day. Not that it matters, but the Note 4 battery is an interestingly skinny shape compared to the typical mobile phone battery.

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As expected, the Note 4 also has an upgraded camera, both front and rear. In addition to increasing the rear camera from 13MP to 16MP and front camera from 2MP to 3.7MP, Samsung has added some software features to improve the experience. It’s also got all the connectivity features you’d imagine including 4G, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1, USB 2.0, MHL3.0, IR Blaster, Accelerometer, Gyroscope and beyond.

Two noticeable additions to the Galaxy Note 4 are a fingerprint scanner and UV sensor, the former of which was introduced with the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the latter of which is brand new. Integrated with S Health, you can now read UV levels directly from the sun to determine recommended skin protection.

These bells and whistles are nice additions to the Note 4, but there are also noticeable absences from the spec sheet and other upgrades we’d hoped to see but didn’t, namely the backtracking from USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 and lack of IP67 weatherproofing found on the Galaxy S5.

The only real advantage of USB 3.0 over 2.0 is enhanced data transfer speeds, something approximately twelve people will miss. Although USB 3.0 also offers quicker USB charging when connected via laptop, that benefit is completely overshadowed by other improvements Samsung has made to the Note 4’s battery life (more on that later).

The lack of a water resistant body is the most disappointing non-upgrade of the Note 4, but it’s difficult to be too critical of this decision. The feature itself is relatively new to the Galaxy line, competing devices in the same class don’t have the feature, and let’s not forgot that the Note 4 has one huge difference that would make water proofing it a much more difficult task: the S Pen.

Next: S Pen Stylus

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Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 & other top Android flagships [CHART] http://phandroid.com/2014/10/15/nexus-6-vs-samsung-galaxy-s5-htc-one-m8-galaxy-note-4/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/15/nexus-6-vs-samsung-galaxy-s5-htc-one-m8-galaxy-note-4/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 16:49:43 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=151036 Nexus 6

The long-awaited arrival of the Nexus 6 is finally here. Like previous Nexus devices, the 6th Nexus comes with a lot of hype. It has been leaked and rumored tons of times over the past few months. Today we can finally call it official. Of course, the Nexus 6 is not the only big Android phone in the world. As per usual we’ve put the Nexus up against the best devices on the market right now. Let’s see who wins!

The Phablets

nexus 6 phablets

The Nexus 6 is a very, very big phone. So big that it doesn’t even fall into the “phone” category. With a giant 5.9-inch display it would only be fair to compare the Nexus 6 to the top phablets. Right now there are two other obvious choices for people who require a giant screen: the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, and the iPhone 6 Plus.

Display

The Nexus 6 has the biggest display and the highest resolution among the phablet group. Resolution is very important with such a large display. The Note 4 and iPhone 6 Plus displays look great, but the Nexus 6 should look truly remarkable.

Power

In terms of horsepower, the Nexus 6 joins the Note 4 as one of the few devices with the Snapdragon 805 processor. This quad-core beast can run up to 2.7GHz. Apple doesn’t like to give specific specs, but you can bet the 805 blows the socks out of the Apple A8. “She’s fast enough for you, old man.”

Camera

This is the one area that the other devices may have the Nexus 6 beat. The iPhone 6 Plus only has a 8MP camera, but it’s arguably the best on the market. The Note 4 has a 16MP shooter and equally as impressive photos. The Nexus 6 has a 13MP camera, but Motorola cameras are usually not the cream of the crop.

The Phones

nexus 6 phones

The Nexus 6 may be shaped like a tablet, but it is indeed a phone. We would be remiss if we didn’t put it up against the likes of the Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, etc. Though, we do have to wonder, have Google and Motorola sized themselves out of this market? Phablets are cool, but the majority of people still rock the devices in this chart. Let’s see how they compare.

Display

The Nexus 6 mops up in display size, but surprisingly these phones put up more of a fight when it comes to resolution. The LG G3 matches the Nexus 6’s 2560×1440 screen resolution despite having a 5.5-inch display. The displays on all of these devices look great.

Power

The Nexus 6 stands head and shoulders above this crowd when it comes to processor. The S5, One M8, Moto X, and G3 all run the Snapdragon 801, while the Nexus 6 sports the shiny new 805. It packs a mighty punch.

Camera

There’s not much else to say about the camera that we didn’t say above. You can expect the Nexus 6 camera to perform on the same playing field as the new Moto X. In this chart that puts it below the Galaxy S5, One M8, and maybe even the LG G3. We’ll have more in-depth analysis of the camera once we get it.

***

What do you think about the Nexus 6? In terms of specs alone it beats all of these devices in almost every category. However, specs are only part of the story. We’ll have the rest of the story when we put it through its paces in our full review.

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Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 available early November, first devices to run Android Lollipop http://phandroid.com/2014/10/15/nexus-6-nexus-9-announcement/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/15/nexus-6-nexus-9-announcement/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 16:24:17 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=151029 As expected, Google has today officially announced via a blog post the availability of the long-rumored new entries to their Nexus line. The Nexus 6 smartphone and Nexus 9 tablet will be available for purchase in early November with pre-orders starting later this month. The pair will be the first devices to ship with Android Lollipop (the now-official name of the operating system update previewed at this year’s Google I/O).

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The Nexus 9 is HTC’s first Nexus Tablet and their second Nexus device following the original Nexus One. It succeeds the 2013 edition of the Nexus 7 and will serve as a replacement for both that tablet and the larger, pricier Nexus 10 by Samsung, by all appearances. Its specs include:

  • 8.9-inch, 1440×2048 display
  • NVIDIA Tegra K1 processing (quad-core 2.5GHz Cortex-A15)
  • ULP GeForce Kepler graphics
  • 2GB RAM
  • 8MP rear and 1.6MP front-facing cameras
  • 6700mAh

The tablet is offered with two storage options: 16GB and 32GB. A folding keyboard case/stand will be sold as an optional accessory.

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As for the Nexus 6, the handset could be considered the first phablet to enter the Nexus line, featuring a display measuring an inch larger than last year’s Nexus 5. Manufactured by Motorola, it’s design will be immediately familiar to anyone who has seen a Moto X or Moto G. Its specs:

  • 5.96-inch, QHD (1440×2560) display
  • Snapdragon 805 processing (quad-core 2.7GHz)
  • Adreno 420 graphics
  • 13MP rear and 2MP front-facing cameras
  • 3220mAh battery

The Nexus 6 will also benefit from Motorola’s Turbo Charge technology, promising 6 hours of battery life after only 15 minutes on its charger. It will be available in both 32GB and 64GB options.

The Nexus 9 goes up for pre-order on Friday, October 17th with full retail availability beginning November 3rd. The Nexus 6 will go on pre-order later this month and launch in early November and will be available unlocked or with carrier support from Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular. Specific pricing for both devices has not been announced.

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[Update: Costs $99] Google announces Nexus Player, the first consumer-ready Android TV device http://phandroid.com/2014/10/15/nexus-player-info/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/15/nexus-player-info/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 16:19:52 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=151041 nexus player 4

Alongside announcements for the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 this morning (as well as confirmation that Android 5.0 will be Lollipop) was a revelation of a new device we hadn’t heard of. It’s called the Nexus Player, and it’s the first consumer-ready Android TV set-top box available with Google’s latest big screen platform. Android TV can be seen as a new platform, of sorts — it’s pretty much Google TV done right. As such, the idea of this set-top box isn’t new but the execution of it is fresh and exciting.

As you’d expect, its primary uses are streaming video, music and photos through apps and Casting, and Google’s also putting a pretty nice emphasis on games. It’s an ASUS made unit that looks to be built quite well at first glance. The internals aren’t anything to sneeze at by a set-top box’s standards, either.

The Nexus Player features a 1.8GHz quad-core Intel Atom chipset, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, HDMI-out at up to 1080p, microUSB 2.0, 802.11 ac WiFi with 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 4.1 and more. It comes in at about 235g and its diameter is 120mm with depth of about 20mm. In other words, this thing certainly won’t be taking up much space on your home entertainment stand.

nexus player 2

Other points of emphasis for Google are seamless transitions (so you can pause on the big screen and pick back up on your phone or tablet) and effortless search (pressing a microphone button and simply speaking your content into existence). It sounds like everything you’d expect from a Nexus device — nothing outrageous, but does what it’s intended to do very well.

nexus player controller nexus player remote side nexus player remote nexus player

The Nexus Player will be available starting November 3rd, though you can pre-order one starting October 17th (that’s this Friday if you haven’t been keeping up). No pricing information just yet, but we will be keeping you updated on everything we can dig up throughout the day!

[Update]: Looks like Google is targeting a $99 price tag for this thing, which is about par for the course for a set-top box these days. The $35 Chromecast might seem like a better option for folks who don’t need the extra oomph the Nexus Player provides, but this certainly deserves a look at $99.

[via Google]

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Google officially announces Android 5.0 Lollipop http://phandroid.com/2014/10/15/google-officially-announces-android-5-0-lollipop/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/15/google-officially-announces-android-5-0-lollipop/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 16:17:16 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=151046 Lollipops

If you were betting on “Lollipop” as the name for Android 5.0, it’s time to collect your winnings. Google has officially announced Android 5.0 Lollipop. Google previewed Lollipop (then known simply as Android L) back at Google I/O. The Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and Nexus Player will all be the first devices to come with Android 5.0. Current Nexus devices will receive it in the coming months.

So what’s new in Android 5.0? The obvious new feature is the Material Design language that was shown off at I/O. It’s a completely new look and feel for Android. New colors, icons, and animations remove the last remnants of the Tron-esque ICS design. The multitasking menu has been completely revamped, and it now includes tabs from Chrome.

Under the hood Android Lollipop brings over 5,000 new APIs for developers. Most of these APIs are geared toward making devices work better together. Lollipop also adds new notifications controls, a battery saver mode, trusted Bluetooth connections, and even guest user modes. We’ll see 5.0 on the new Nexus devices first, followed by current devices in the coming weeks. Are you excited?

[via Google]

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Tips & tricks every Moto 360 user should know http://phandroid.com/2014/10/14/moto-360-tips-and-tricks/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/14/moto-360-tips-and-tricks/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 20:55:44 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=150128 Moto 360 chris

The Moto 360 has been a roller coaster of emotion since it was announced back in March. First, the hype was insane as we all drooled over the round design. As the wait for official details dragged on the excitement slowly died, but then it ramped back up when the device went on sale and quickly sold out. Early reviews talked about terrible battery life, which killed the excitement once again. But now, after a big software update, all problems seem to have been fixed. There has never been a better time to buy a Moto 360.

Whether you’re just getting on the Moto 360 train, or have been riding it for a while, there are some handy tips and tricks you should know. Are you getting the most out of your Moto 360? It’s time to find out!

Quickly access the Settings

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Getting to the settings menu on an Android Wear device can be tedious. If you don’t want to say “Open Settings” aloud, you have to tap the watch face and scroll down to “Settings.” Motorola has built-in a much easier shortcut. Simply press and hold the physical button found on the right side of the device and settings will open.

Swipe to mute, check battery, and hide cards

360 battery date mute

Getting notifications is the main purpose of having the Moto 360, but that doesn’t mean you always want to be bothered. For example, if you’re in a dark movie theater or a quiet church you should mute the device. To do so just swipe down from the top of the display until you feel a vibration. You’ll notice that this is also a nice way to check the date and battery level.

When the 360 is muted all of your notifications and cards are pushed below the watch face instead of overlaying. You can still swipe up to see them. If you want to show off your watch face or keep notifications private this is a handy trick.

Remotely monitor battery life

Moto Connect 360

Battery life has been a hot topic for the Moto 360, so you’re probably keeping a very close eye on it. In the previous tip we told you how to quickly check it on the watch. If you’re charging the Moto 360 you can check on the battery level from another room. Install the Motorola Connect app and pair it with your watch. Now you can see the battery level from inside the app.

Blacklist certain apps from showing notifications

mute apps

As we mentioned above, getting notifications is the main purpose of the Moto 360. Annoying notifications that you get on your phone are much more annoying when they pop up on your wrist. Luckily the official Android Wear app lets you decide what apps can display notifications on your watch. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Install Android Wear from the Play Store
  2. Pair your device
  3. Tap the setting icon in the top bar
  4. Tap “Mute app notifications”
  5. Tap the “+” button and select any app you don’t want to see notifications from

Choose default apps

360 defaul apps

One of the main ways to interact with the Moto 360 is using your voice. In order to make this experience quick and seamless Google asks you right up front to choose default apps for certain tasks. Open up the Android Wear companion app and you will see a list of commands and the corresponding app it will use.

Android Wear will automatically know if an installed app can perform one of the commands. For example, on my device I can “Take a note” with Google Keep, Wunderlist, or Trello. Go through the list and choose the apps you want to use. If there isn’t an app available for a certain command you will see a grayed-out Google Play icon, which brings us to our next thing to do.

Silence phone notifications when watch is connected

With notifications popping up on your wrist you probably won’t want to keep feeling your phone vibrate in your pocket. There is nothing more annoying than all of your devices buzzing and making noises at once. The official Android Wear app has a setting that allows you to silence your phone when a watch is connected. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Android Wear app
  2. Tap the setting icon
  3. Tap “Silence connected phone”
  4. Select “Alert on watch only”

Disable lockscreen when watch is connected

Moto 360 DSC06941

A shocking amount of people don’t use any form of security to protect the contents of their phone. The only reason why is because it takes a few extra seconds to enter a pin or trace a pattern. What if your phone was smart enough to know when it should ask for a password? With a Moto 360 and an app called Delayed Lock you can do exactly that. When your watch is connected you won’t be required to enter a password or pattern to unlock.

  1. Install Delayed Lock and open it
  2. Check “Delayed Lock enabled”
  3. Check “Admin permission granted” and select “Activate” on the next screen
  4. Select which type of lock screen you are using
  5. Swipe to the right and tap “Bluetooth”
  6. Check “Any Android Wear device”
  7. Tap “add all paired devices”
  8. Swipe away any devices you don’t want

Find your phone

find my phone

Everyone loses their phone at some time or another. Find My Phone is an essential Android Wear app that allows you to use your Moto 360 to locate your lost phone. Just make sure you download the app on your phone before it gets lost. Now you can launch it from your watch whenever you can’t find your phone. It allows you to tap a giant button to make your phone ring and vibrate obnoxiously until you find it. Very simple, but very handy.

Make a custom watch face with Facer

One of the coolest things you can do with the Moto 360 is make your own watch face. An app called Facer allows you to create anything you can imagine. We put up a thorough guide for making analog and digital watch faces with Facer. Be sure to check it out for more information, or watch the video above for a quick look at what you can do.

Place hand over screen to turn off

This might be the simplest tip on our list. If you want to turn off the display on your watch just simply place your whole hand on top of the display. That’s it.

Prevent screen burn-in

360 charge

A few Moto 360 users have reported screen burn-in from the charging screen image. The burn-in leaves an outline of a circle from the charging indicator. Obviously this is something you want to avoid, and the ever-reliable Android developers have a solution. Slumber for Android Wear replaces the standard charging screen with a blank black image. You won’t be able to see the charging progress, but we already told you how to check that with your phone.

Protect against dings and scratches

Moto 360 screen

A watch is much more susceptible than a phone to dings and scratches since it lives on your wrist. All day it’s out in the open with zero protection. One door jam or brush up against a wall and you could have a nasty scratch on your precious device. If you want to protect your Moto 360 against these threats you can do so for about $2 worth of screen protectors. It’s a very easy way to prevent something that could ruin your watch. Check out our quick guide.

Hide the Google Fit steps card

google fit

One thing you should do, if you’re easily annoyed like me, is disable the Google Fit steps card. Within the first 10 minutes of using the Moto 360 I swiped this card away over a dozen times. It just won’t go away. Checking steps is cool, but I don’t need to see it all the time. Luckily you can disable the steps card, but the option is buried. Here’s how to find it:

  1. Tap the watch face
  2. Scroll down and tap “Start”
  3. Tap on “Fit” from the list of apps
  4. Scroll all the way to the right
  5. Tap “Show step card” so it says “Off”

***

With these tips and tricks you will get the most out of your shiny Moto 360. Android Wear devices have a lot of hidden features, but hopefully we’ve uncovered them for you. What is your favorite tip or trick from our list? Let us know if you have found any cool tips or tricks that you use with your Moto 360!

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What we know about the Nexus 6 http://phandroid.com/2014/10/14/nexus-6-specs-expectations/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/14/nexus-6-specs-expectations/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:37:41 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=150880 nexus 6 shamu render leak

Android fans are eagerly anticipating the launch of the Nexus 6, Google’s latest Nexus smartphone, which is expected to be officially announced tomorrow, October 15th. As the excitement reaches a fever pitch for this highly-anticipated handset, let’s step back and take a look at what we know about the device so far and what we expect to come as part of Google’s official announcement.

As the name suggests (following a pattern set by previous devices), the Nexus 6 will feature a display with a footprint bordering on 6 inches, making this the first “phablet” in the lineup. While its predecessors included devices from HTC, Samsung, and LG, the Nexus 6 will be the first Google flagship manufactured by Motorola.

Nexus 6 Specs

nexus 6 render leak

The Nexus 6 might end up as the most powerful Nexus device to date — should the rumored specs pan out. There’s reason to believe they will, as leaks over the past several months have been fairly consistent in this regard. As an impending launch draws near, we’re getting an even better picture of what to expect. The Nexus 6’s impressive hardware is said to include:

  • 5.9-inch, 2560×1440 (QHD) display
  • Snapdragon 805 processing
  • 13MP rear camera, 2MP front-facing
  • 3GB RAM
  • 3200mAh battery

The Motorola-made device is also expected to feature a bit of technology that debuted with the new Moto X: Turbo Charge. Turbo Charge on the Nexus 6 could deliver an 8-hour charge in only 15 minutes.

The common speculation is that Motorola originally developed the phone that would become the Nexus 6 as a phablet offering to compliment the Moto G and Moto X. We might expect a device that borrows heavily in terms of design and hardware from these options, and leaked renders suggest it will bear more than a passing resemblance. This includes a set of front-facing stereo speakers (as seen on the Moto G) but likely won’t extend to the customization options present in those Motorola-branded handsets.

Android L

android l devices

The most recent buzz suggests the Nexus 9 will launch alongside the Nexus 6 and feature more prominently as the flagship device of Google’s next Android update. Android L will still be a major element of the Nexus 6, however, and come installed out of the box.

The launch of the Nexus 6 should coincide with the unveiling of an “official” name for the next iteration of the Android OS — signs point to Lollipop — and the handset will be privy to all that the new version will offer. We learned at this year’s Google I/O that features of Android L include the new Material Design interface, improved multitasking and notifications, and under-the-hood improvements with Project Volta (for better battery life) and ART (an improved runtime that replaces Dalvik and should offer increased application performance).

Google has been slowly refining Android L as developers have had ample time to beta test the latest software. What will come installed on the Nexus 6 will be the first official public release of the operating system, but users can expect future updates to further enhance software capabilities. The Nexus 6’s position as a member of the namesake Nexus line means the phone will receive these updates as soon as they are ready to ship from Google, often months before they reach other third-party Android handsets.

Low-key launch?

google nexus devices

Ever since a hurricane quashed Google’s plans to launch the Nexus 4 in style we have seen the tech giant resort to the considerably more low-key launch strategy of sticking to a blog post to announce their latest Nexus advancements. All signs point to the same being the case this year, with Google expected to unveil the Nexus 6 (and Nexus 9) with Android L on their company blog this week. October 15th is the target, a date that may or may not have been influenced by Apple’s decision to host an iPad-themed event on October 16th.

The announcement may not include immediate retail availability. At least for the Nexus 9, the plan appears to be a pre-order starting October 17th followed by a November 3rd  release. There is a good chance the Nexus 6 could follow the a similar or identical timeline, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Google has other plans. Given rumored hardware, we might also expect the Nexus 6 to come with a higher price tag than previous Nexus devices. We might again look to the Moto X for guidance, which suggests the N6 will cost no less than $499 unlocked.

One thing is certain: if the Nexus 6 sees similar demand to what previous entries in the Nexus line have experienced, the handset could land on backorder almost immediately. Those interested in buying will want to jump early if they hope to receive their device as part of the first round of shipments.

What are you hoping for?

The Nexus 6 is no secret by any means, but Google has been known to slip in a few features undetected for a launch day surprise. What are you hoping for in the Nexus 6? Do the rumors add up to a device you are eager to get your hands on? With only mere hours to wait until our curiosities are satisfied, our attention is turned to more pressing issues: will you be buying the Nexus 6?

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Android Wallpaper: Sweet Caffeine http://phandroid.com/2014/10/11/android-wallpaper-coffee/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/11/android-wallpaper-coffee/#comments Sat, 11 Oct 2014 16:00:43 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=150748 coffee walls

See past editions of Android Wallpaper

Scientists say water is one of the essential things for life, but I would argue caffeine is just as important. Coffee is one of the most popular delivery mechanisms for caffeine. Stop by a Starbucks on a weekday morning before the 9-5 work shift and you’ll see how vital it is to human life. How many important things have been created because of the driving force of coffee? Too many to count.

Coffee is a powerful drug. The aroma alone can wake some people up. Do images have the same effect? That’s what we’re trying to find out this week with some coffee wallpaper! For your sleepy Saturday morning eyes we have five HD wallpapers that will look great on your homescreen. To get one of these wallpapers on your phone, tablet, or even PC, simply tap or click on the image to see it at full resolution. The long press or right-click to save the image. Let us know which one is your favorite, and be sure to share a screenshot if you use one of these wallpapers! Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

Push new Android Wallpaper to your Android device with our Pushbullet channel.

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coffee-cup

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coffee

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