(This is a preview of the article from Android Advices Click on the Title to read the entire entry.)
from Android Advices http://ift.tt/1G1zISy
(This is a preview of the article from Android Advices Click on the Title to read the entire entry.)
Motorola’s been on a roll with good news lately, pushing out goodies like Android 5.1 for the DROID Turbo and the Verizon Moto X (2nd Gen.). Now Moto’s got even more exciting stuff to share.
First up, AT&T’s Moto X (2nd Gen.) is starting to get Android 5.1. That’s according to Motorola’s David Schuster, who says that the Android 5.1 update for the AT&T Moto X is now available for pull. If you’ve got a Moto X (2nd Gen.) on AT&T, you can check for the update by heading into Settings > About phone > System update.
Meanwhile, folks that don’t yet have a Moto X (2nd Gen.) — or those that’d like to add another to their arsenal — can now get a discount on a leather-backed model. Motorola is offering free upgrades to the red leather rear cover through Moto Maker. Adding a leather back to the no-contract Moto X typically cost $25 extra. The promo will run through 11:59 am ET on July 7, so you’ve got plenty of time to take advantage of the offer.
After initially releasing a statement that the Huawei Ascend Mate 2 wouldn’t be updated to Android KitKat, the company was quick to go into damage control, later telling users they’d be skipping KitKat and jumping to Lollipop directly. Early this month, Huawei was looking for a few good beta tester to test early builds of Lollipop on their devices, but only for members of their forums.
Today, Huawei is allowing anyone with the Huawei Ascend Mate 2 (model number MT2-L03) to update their device to Android 5.1 Lollipop along with EMUI 3.1 — you just have to manually download and flash it to your device. Huawei says that you’ll first need to be coming from software versions V100R001C00B126 or V100R001C00B148 before you can update, so make sure and double check.
Just be forewarned, Huawei is calling this “Android L Preview” so expect bugs (don’t worry, you can always downgrade back to Jelly Bean if you experience any issues). Steps for manually flashing — as well as the download link for 5.1 on the Mate 2 — can be found below.
Download: B309 (Android 5.1 Lollipop)
Most modern Android devices feature a file manger these days and, although basic, they can usually do a decent job in allowing you to move around, share, delete and generally keep a handle on your on-board files.
However, third-party file managers can come in handy with functionality that can not only supplant the default option but go much further. ES File Explorer is one such app. Downloaded upwards of 300 million times in its existence, it’s certainly a popular choice, and I wanted to see exactly what it could do.
At its heart, the free — and ad-free — ES File Explorer is a fully-featured file manager that gives you control over your locally stored media, documents and more as well as anything on your SD card or cloud storage provider of choice. But the app also has some neat extra features like an app manager, plus cache cleaner and task manager, that make it a more compelling choice.
You get all the basic features you expect from a file manager — the ability to cut, copy, paste, delete, move and rename files. You can select multiple files at once to perform these actions, which makes for a really quick way to move a bunch of data from one place to another. There’s also the ability to compress and decompress ZIP files and unpack RAR files, should you need to. You can tap on individual files to view them, each opening within the ES File Explorer app — even video and music files, although the built-in player is very basic — and some file types like text can be edited without leaving the app. For anyone that’s used a desktop file system, using ES File Explorer will be pretty straightforward as the files within folders metaphor is its basis and you can even adjust how files/folders are shown to your tastes, customizing icon size and sorting order.
Adding cloud accounts is as easy as logging into them. There’s support for Amazon S3, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Google Drive, SugarSync and more and once you’ve set up your cloud storgae accounts, you can view, edit, and move files in the exact same ways as your local files. This makes it really easy to move large amounts of data from your device to the cloud, all from your phone or tablet. ES File Explorer also functions as an FTP and WebDAV client meaning you can manage files on FTP, FTPS, SFTP, and WebDAV servers just like you manage files locally. It’s advanced and technical to set up but if you need it, it’s possible with ES File Explorer.
To round out the feature set, ES File Explorer also throws in an app manager that allows you to categorize, backup and bulk uninstall apps as well as a cache cleaner and task killer — including home screen widget — that make sure your phone’s available RAM isn’t constantly being sucked up by a particular app of system function.
The features are impressive but I found the overall UI is a little confusing and a lot less friendly than some alternatives, especially at first. It takes some time to get used to how the app works and I’d like see some effort to reduce the learning curve. There are a lot of menus and sub-menus and little in the way of a tutorial. There’s a help article in the app’s settings, but you’re on your own up front. ES File Explorer understandably assumes a level of technical knowledge if you have gone out of your way to download an app of this kind, but I think some more clear guidance would help a lot.
What ES File Explorer offers is a comprehensive suite of features for managing all manner or files — local, network or cloud — as well as tools to maintain the performance of your Android device all in one package, reducing the need to install multiple apps for these purposes. The UI can be a littler overwhelming, particularly for less experienced or less tech-savvy users, but once you’re up and running, ES File Explorer could become your one-stop shop for managing files.
Check out ES File Explorer on Google Play where it can be downloaded for free.
It’s been a busy week for Android users looking to get their Android 5.1 fix. The HTC One M9, DROID Turbo, and Galaxy S6/Edge have all seen updates to Android 5.1 across various carriers here in the US. Joining fellow Android devices in the 5.1 winner’s circle is now the Moto X 2nd Gen, which is now officially receiving Android 5.1 Lollipop on AT&T.
Don’t worry about AT&T’s support page. It’s kind of a mess right now. Aside from showing the Samsung Galaxy S4 on the header, it also incorrectly states the update is for the original Moto X 1st Gen. As you can see from the updated software version — 23.16.2.victara_att.att.en.US att — it actually references the Moto X 2nd Gen (Victara). The update is pretty sizable at about 508MB, so make sure you’re on WiFi before pulling it.
It was barely last week that Android 5.1 hit all Moto X (2nd Gen) Pure Editions, followed by the Verizon version only last night.
Back in May, Google announced an update to Google Fit that allowed users to track their fitness goals and history, even adding a handy Android Wear watch face to help users stay on top of things. Today, Google Fit Lead Product Manager Angana Ghosh announced a handful of new Fit partners not only adding Fit support to their wearables, but bringing additional data to the SDK.
Endomondo, Garmin, the Daily Burn, the Basis Peak, and the Xiaomi miBand are Fit’s latest partners. With new Fit support, users can now store workout sessions and activity data when using those wearables on their Android device. Others include LifeSum, Lose It!, and MyFitnessPal who bring nutrition data like calories consumed, protein, carbs, fats (even vitamins and minerals) for developers to tap into using the History API in the Fit SDK. A new sleep activity is also headed to the Fit SDK thanks to Basis Peak and Sleep Android.
Again, all this data is now accessible to any developer to incorporate into their own apps. For instance, based on meals written to Google Fit by other apps, Runkeeper can now display a Google Now card reminding users to “work off” meals they’ve just eaten. It’s like one big happy family of fitness services and data working together to help keep you in shape.
For those that like beta testing new software, Google mentions that Instaweather has recently integrated Google Fit into a new Android Wear watch face currently in beta. You can try it out by joining the Google+ community here and following the links therein to download the beta version of the app.
For more info on integrating the Google Fit SDK into your own app, check out the developer page here.
Being able to broadcast live on the internet is nothing new, but a new crop of streaming apps (and the fact our internet connections are getting faster all the time), have meant that there has been something of a resurgence in live video in recent months.
Live streaming your life (or ‘life-streaming’ if that’s your bag), be it day-to-day goings on or extra special events, is all the rage at the moment with apps like Meerkat and Periscope blowing up almost overnight. Given the current penchant for sharing, it’s understandable that we’d want to broadcast exciting or interesting moments in our lives via video and current mobile tech allows us to do that really well.
Live in Five is an app from AVerMedia that plugs into YouTube to offer live streaming via Google’s own video platform. The the free app’s premise is simply allowing you to begin a live broadcast on your YouTube channel as quickly as possible. The benefit of using your YouTube channel is that your videos are automatically saved post-broadcast too.
It’s simple to use. When you first open Live in Five you’ll be required to log in with the Google+ account that is linked with your YouTube channel and you’ll then be prompted to go into the settings of your YouTube account in order to enable the Live Stream feature if you haven’t already. Once you’ve completed the initial set up, broadcasting live to your YouTube channel is as easy as hitting the big blue button.
As far as features go, Live in Five is pretty simplistic but that also makes it easy to use with just a few on-screen settings. When you start a live stream, you’ll be given a 5 second countdown (hence the name) before your stream begins. You can use the rear- or front-facing camera for the video and toggle between them with a tap during a steam. Viewers do not need to install Live in Five and instead tune into your broadcast via the YouTube apps for Android and iOS or on the web.
You can share a link to your live stream from within this app via all the usual social apps as well as SMS, email and the like. While broadcasting, you’ll see the number of live viewers and the thumbs up or down you have received coming in.
Across the top of the screen, or left if you’re filming in landscape mode (recommended for YouTube consumption), you’ll see in-video settings for the volume of your microphone, turning on or of the LED flash, and a panel for setting the broadcast title and video quality.
The video quality of your stream will be dependent on the strength of your internet connection. On LTE or fast Wi-Fi, this shouldn’t cause any problems but on 3G connections or slower you might see some buffering and pixelation. By default, Live in Five automatically adjusts the bitrate based on your connection to keep the video as smooth as possible, or you can manually set the bitrate and resolution. I had a couple of issues where the video stream was delayed somewhat, by up to 10 seconds or so, when my upload speed as poor. But the better your connection seemingly the shorter this delay is.
Videos can be set to Unlisted, Private or Public, determining who can access the stream and the resultant YouTube video. Whichever setting you pick at the start of your broadcast will be the setting used when the video is saved to your YouTube channel, although this can be altered later.
The real advantage to Live in Five is this direct integration with YouTube. Other apps like Periscope and Meerkat require you to have that app installed to view the video live or are limited in their features on the web. They also make it a little more difficult to export your video and upload it to YouTube — not to mention their emphasis on portrait video for mobile. If you’re after a ephemeral live video that is only to be enjoyed on device and in the moment, maybe that’s just fine. But if you’d like to make your live stream available to watch later, something like Live in Five is better suited.
One negative aspect of the app in comparison to other streaming apps is the lack of live comments. While viewers can comment on your live stream if you’ve enabled it in your YouTube account, there is seemingly no way for the broadcaster to see those comments via Live in Five. Other apps allow this type of interactivity which is especially good for Q&A type videos.
However, Live in Five makes it easy to pick and start broadcasting live. The UI is simple and self- explanatory, and its integration with YouTube makes it well suited to live broadcasts that are worth saving for later. It lacks in some areas — viewer interactivity in particular — but is an easy way to capture and share a live moment.
Tomorrow afternoon is when the automatic OTA downloads should start hitting handsets, with a good chunk of users seeing the update by tomorrow evening. If you don’t want to wait, you should be able to head to Settings > About Phone > System Update to manually snag the update by the evening as well.
Android 5.1, Lollipop, will bring a host of welcome changes to the Droid Turbo — ones that Turbo owners have been waiting a long time for. If you use a Turbo, once you receive the update let us know what you think in the comments below.
The first month of summer is already coming to a close. Can you believe it? In the past month there was tons of Android news, but also new Android apps. If you’re busy enjoying the summer weather you may have missed a few of the best apps that launched this month. We have compiled a list of the biggest and best apps to launch in June. Grab a lemonade and check it out. You might find a few new apps to try.
Adobe launched a slew of new apps for Android this month. Photoshop Mix is a slimmed down version of Photoshop for mobile devices. It’s basically just another photo editor app with filters and cool effects, but a little more hardcore. [Download]
Adobe Brush CC allows you to create brushes that can be used in Photoshop or Illustrator. You can create brushes from scratch, or by taking photos of objects. The brushes automatically sync to the Creative Cloud. [Download]
Adobe Color CC is a color picker app that allows you to get colors from photos and sync them back to the Creative Cloud. If there is a color in the real world that you love you can easily bring it into the digital world. [Download]
Adobe Shape CC lets you create vector drawings from the photos stored on your phone. The vector graphics can then be used in Photoshop and Illustrator. [Download]
It took a while, but Amazon finally brought a dedicated Cloud Drive app to Android. With this app you can easily access all of the photos, videos, and files you have stored in your Amazon account. It also comes with a free 3-month trial. [Download]
Everyone has some sort of cloud storage account these days, and a lot of us also have some sort of streaming music subscription. What if you could combine the two? CloudPlayer allows you to play music from your Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive accounts. It has offline playback, Chromecast support, and lossless audio. [Download]
In a few months, Stephen Colbert will finally take over The Late Show on CBS. They’ve already started ramping up the promotion for the show, which includes the new Colbr app. You can use the app to watch videos and listen to podcasts. [Download]
Don’t you hate it when someone else used their phone to take photos and then never shares them with you? The Facebook Moments app is the solution (unless you already just upload all your photos to Facebook like a normal person). The app groups photos by event and person so you can quickly share them. [Download]
If you’re a die-hard sports fan you’re always on the look-out for more news about your teams. With Fanly you can read all the news in one place. Stories from over 2,000 sources are aggregated into the Fanly app. There’s also social feeds and video highlights [Download]
Google’s never-ending quest to bring stock apps into the Play Store continues with the Clock. This is the same Clock app you can find on Nexus devices, but now Google can easily update it. It includes alarms, timers, stopwatch, and a world clock. [Download]
In Android Lollipop, Google made a major change by introducing “Heads-Up” notifications. Many Android fans were upset by this change. HeadsOff is an app that disables the new Heads-Up notifications and restores the old ticker text in the status bar. [Download]
Touchscreen input has come a long way, but there is still a lot more to be improved. Inputting+ aims to fix that by adding shortcuts for undo, redo, and find & replace on touchscreen keyboards. When you’re typing a bubble will pop up with the shortcuts. [Download]
Kitchen Stories offers aspiring and seasoned chefs alike the opportunity to hone their cooking skills and discover delicious new recipes and cooking inspiration. The recipes are easy to make and come with beautiful pictures, step-by-step photo instructions, and how-to videos. [Download]
Kodi (formerly XBMC) is a popular open-source media player that works on nearly every platform, now including Android. The app is a hub for your local media and streaming media from many services. It’s highly customizable and easy to use on TVs. [Download]
Medium is an up-and-coming publishing platform. The app offers a simple editor to write your own stories, and a modern and clean interface for reading other stories. If you’re looking for a nice place to host your own blog, Medium is a good option. [Download]
Portal, from the makers of Pushbullet, isn’t super exciting or some new concept, but it is simple, and it is fast. It works by transferring files over your local WiFi network, so you don’t have to deal with shoddy connection and server speeds. [Download]
Pounce is a shopping app that lets you snap a photo of any item and then instantly identify it, find it at a favorite store, and buy it. It’s a lot like the “Firefly” feature on the Amazone Fire Phone, but you don’t have to buy a crappy phone to use it. [Download]
Editing videos on mobile is still something that not many apps have perfected. Redub attempts to fix the problem by keeping it simple, but removing the limits that other “simple” video editors impose. You can edit your own videos with filters and effects, or remix publicly available videos. [Download]
Shoot makes it easy to send a big batch of photos or a large video directly from your Android device to your friends. It doesn’t matter what device they use or which network they are on as long as they can scan a QR code. Just select all that you want to send and a QR code is generated for you to share. [Download]
Sometimes you just don’t have time to watch a full video. You just want the best part, and in a GIF. Siz creates a strip of GIFs made with the highlights of videos. No more wasted time looking randomly for the interesting parts of the video. [Download]
Ticklr is a lot like the aforementioned HeadsOff app. It disables the new Heads-Up notifications and restores the old ticker text for notifications. It adds custom colors and settings for individual apps. [Download]
You know what dogs really need? Tindr. You never thought about that? Well, someone else did. Tindog is like Tindr, but for dogs to make new friends. You can chat with other dog owners and set up play dates. It’s a little bit insane, but also kinda cool. [Download]
Touchless Chat will allow you to send hands-free messages in many messaging apps including SMS, Hangouts, Whatsapp, Facebook Messager and more. It extends the functionality of the built-in Google Now voice actions. [Download]
Vessel is a subscription service that aims to compete with YouTube. For $3 a month you get access to the entire library of content, which includes many YouTubers and celebrities. You can watch the content before it appears on YouTube. [Download]
What was your favorite app from June? Did we miss any great apps from the last 30 days? Let us know in the comments below!
Yesterday, Motorola teased the Android 5.1 update for the Motorola DROID Turbo yet again, letting us know once more than it was coming. The tweet more or less signaled the soak test which officially kicked off yesterday, according to Motorola Software Product Manager David Schuster. While soak tests usually mean that a full rollout is right around the corner (providing no serious bugs are found during this time), they’re limited to a select few of users from Motorola’s product forum.
The real question on everyone’s mind is when we — as in us regular folk — will see that sweet update hitting our DROID Turbos. We still don’t have an exact date, but Schuster did mention that if all goes well, we can expect a full roll out as soon as this week. Remember, it took barely 3 days for the Moto X’s Android 5.1 update went from soak to full deployment. With all that DROID Turbos have had to suffer through (the Turbo is still on KitKat, mind you), we can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel.
For a look at all that’s new, check out Motorola’s official changelog for the Motorola DROID Turbo right here.
Late last year we saw Half-Life 2: Episode One hit as an exclusive for the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet after Half-Life 2 and Portal arrived as exclusives on the SHIELD Portable. Suffice to say that Valve and NVIDIA’s SHIELD line are simpatico, and so it comes as no surprise that today we have Half-Life 2: Episode Two arriving for the newly launched NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV.
Half-Life 2: Episode 2 ($8), like the previous Half-Life ports, are exclusive to SHIELD devices, and I’m guessing those of you that clicked through and have read this far are familiar with the game. It’s exactly as you might remember it, and in my brief time with it, it plays smoothly on the SHIELD. That’s not terribly surprising given that the game was originally released in 2007, but the game is still a blast, and if you have never played it before, it is worth downloading. If you opted for the 16GB SHIELD then this might be the one that motivates you to take advantage of that microSD slot as it’s a 4GB+ install.
That’s just one of the new titles joining the lineup today, though. There’s also Q.U.B.E: Director’s Cut, Never Alone and Funk of Titans.
Q.U.B.E: Director’s Cut ($10) is a physics-based puzzle and platformer game in the same vein as Portal. You are guiding your character through a…wait for it…cube-filled environment and you are able to control colored cubes with the special gloves that you are wearing. If you enjoy Portal, you should really check this game out because it scratches that same itch.
Never Alone ($15) is a game that I missed when it was originally released on PC last year, but it was a huge hit and has lots of “Best of 2014” accolades to prove it. It’s a platformer that has you playing as a child and a fox making their way across the frozen tundra, switching between the two depending on the skills required. It can be played alone or in local co-op if you have two controllers. The game looks absolutely beautiful and was created in partnership with the Iñupiaq, an Alaska Native people whose stories inspired the game.
Last up is Funk of Titans ($5), another platformer with a somewhat unusual spin on Greek mythology. You are playing as Perseus, although that’s just the window dressing for a pretty standard platformer.
With the exception of Funk of Titans, these are the kind of games that SHIELD needs to win over skeptics that an Android TV can deliver an outstanding gaming experience. There are over 100 titles in the SHIELD Hub now and over 200 titles available in Google Play for the SHIELD. It’s not going to replace a console for a hardcore gamer yet, but for a casual gamer there is plenty here to keep you going.
The next device expected to be released in Samsung’s newer A series of phones is the incredibly thin Galaxy A8. And thanks to a YouTube video uploaded today, we now get to see the device live in action.
Expected to launch with a 5.7-inch 1080p display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor, 16GB of built-in storage, 2GB of RAM, a 16MP rear-facing camera, 5MP front-facing camera and Android 5.1.1, the Samsung Galaxy A8 should be out any day now. The device has already stopped by the FCC, and with leaks like today’s video, we know production quality units are floating around in the wild.
The Galaxy A8 won’t come with the same level of specs as other Samsung flagships, but it will feature a more premium design and build quality. It’s not like the specs are bad by any means, but we have to imagine the Galaxy Note 5 is going to make the A8 look like quite the mid-range handset. Check out the hands-on video of the Galaxy A8 below, and let us know what you think in the comments.
When it comes to Android phones, software has always been a hit or miss game. Some devices ship with software experiences that are polished, refined and honed to near perfection. Others can come with software that leaves us shocked that anyone approved it. With flagships, the software becomes as important as the hardware, as customers expect a high-quality experience in both areas.
The LG G4 has top-notch hardware, but its software is surprisingly average. I hesitate to call it bad, because it’s not. The software of the G4 is fast, fluid and quite complete. Yet it’s not something that leaves you with a feeling of having used great software. Instead, it feels like software that would be more at home on a good mid-range device.
In the past, LG has always placed a heavy emphasis on animations and having plenty of options for them. That approach hasn’t changed with the G4. The UI is still heavy on animations, feeling almost gaudy at times. While animations are a very good thing when used properly, LG has taken the great animations from stock Android Lollipop and added onto them with their own animations that don’t mesh well.
Blending is large part of the problem with the LG G4′s software. LG has worked to incorporate elements of Android’s material design but has also placed its own fairly heavy skin on top. Together, the two create a lukewarm experience that feels unsure of itself. The notification tray, for example, features the same second swipe down for quick settings, yet the selection tray for quick settings looks like it’s straight out of LG’s KitKat UI on the G3.
The app menu is another area that feels stuck in the past, with LG still incorporating the widget menu as a tab in the app menu, something that was noticeably dropped in Lollipop. Many of LG’s apps feature elements of material design, such as the floating action button, but they’ve been tweaked in a way that makes them extremely middle of the road, not leaning too far towards being custom or stock.
Middle of the road is a good way to describe the software on the G4. When LG created it, it seems as though the company was split on how to advance the design from KitKat to Lollipop. That in mind, it drew elements from both and put them together into a software that doesn’t quite feel new, but isn’t polished enough to pull off that classic feel that other UIs like HTC Sense have.
LG played it safe with the software on the G4, which turned out to be the wrong move. With last year’s G3, LG completely revamped its software to create something that was far better than its past attempts. To keep its momentum up, LG needs to keep experimenting. It needs to keep taking risks. A functional software only counts for so much if its looks are lacking.
Check out some screenshots below.