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Monday, May 25, 2015

20 Best Apps For Android Users That You Should Not Miss

by Jane Hurst

Many apps are created with one thing in mind, and that is to help make your life a little bit easier.
There are thousands of apps out there though, and it can be difficult
to figure out which ones you can actually use, and which ones you don’t
need to bother with. Here are some of our favorites, and we recommend these apps for all Android users.

Notes & Lists 

1. BuyMeaPie – Grocery Shopping List 

Download link: Free | Paid

This app has more than 5 million downloads and is considered one of the most popular of its kind.
It has a smart cloud synchronization that allows users to create and
manage lists either on web app or mobile device, and sync them with a
number of devices. With this app users can also share their lists with friends and family and collaborate on shopping together.

Price: there is a free version and a paid one for $2.98.

2. Google Keep – Create Custom Notes and Lists 

Download link: Free

If you are forgetful and need to take notes for reminders, this is the app for you. Color-code all of your notes, take photos using the app, and even transcribe recorded voice messages.

Price: Free.


3. Swype – Type Fast, Swype Faster 

Download link: Free | Paid

Typing on a small device can be difficult. If you want a better keyboard option for your device, this is it. Once you get used to using it, you will find that you have better speed and accuracy with your typing.

Price: Free version and paid for $0.99.

4. Plague – Spread Information Like A Virus 

Download link: Free

You want access to information, and you want it now. That is what you will get from this app. This is a new way to share information with others all over the world. It’s like a virus. Once information is shared, it spreads from user to user.

Price: Free.

5. Link Bubble Browser – Do The Right Mobile Browsing 

Download link: Free | Paid

Don’t you just hate how much time you end up wasting browsing online? Change all of that with this app.
You can click on a link and the app will load the link in a bubble in
the background, so you can keep on browsing while it loads.

Price: Free and pro version for $4.04.

6. tTorrent – Simply The Best Torrent Downloader Client 

Download link: Free | Paid

If you download torrents, you need this app. It is a great peer-to-peer app that lets you browse and download torrents quickly and easily. It has all of the same great features as the expensive torrenting programs.

Price: Free lite version and paid version for $4.99.


7. HoverChat – Never Interrupt What You’re Doing To Answer A Message 

Download link: Free | Paid

Do you hate having to stop in the middle of something just to send a message? You won’t have to do this any longer when you use HoverChat. You can watch a movie and have a conversation at the same time, and you can customize your messaging windows.

Price: $3.99 and a free promo app.

8. Mighty Text – SMS From Computer or Tablet 

Download link: Free

Never miss a text again with this app. Even if you can’t access your phone (during meetings, classes, etc.) you can still see them on your tablet or computer. It even works with Gmail.

Price: Free.


9. Cerberus – The Best Protection You Can Get 

Download link: Free

This is an awesome anti-theft app that everyone should have.
In addition to tracking stolen devices, you can also use the app to
control the stolen devices through the website or with a text message. You can wipe all of the information from the device, lock it using a special code, have the alarm go off, and more.

Price: Free trial, and a one-time upgrade fee of 2.99€.


10. Muzei – A Living Museum For Your Android Home Screen 

Download link: Free

If you love art, this app will allow you to be able to look at some of the most famous works of art in the world. Muzei gives you wallpapers for your home screen, and you get a different piece every day.

Price: Free.

11. UCCW – Create Your Own Custom Widget 

Download link: Free

If you prefer having custom widgets for homescreens, this app will let you create them. Choose from a variety of skins, and start creating. You can decide what the widgets display, from low battery to missed calls to weather and much more.

Price: Free.

12. Cover – The Right Apps At The Right Time 

Download link: Free

This app will put all of your apps on the lockscreen, so everything is in one convenient location. It can tell when you are working, at home, driving, etc., and gives you the apps you tend to use most often for these and other activities.

Price: Free.

13. Light Flow – LED & Notifications 

Download link: Free | Paid

You can use this app to get into your smartphone’s LED to get custom
notifications, as long as your phone has an LED light that alerts you to
notifications. It will give you a special color for texts, emails, phone calls, etc., and it can even let you know when your battery is running down.

Price: Free lite version and paid one of $2.49.

14. Lux – Improve Your Phone’s Automatic Brightness 

Download link: Free | Paid


If you hate a screen that is too bright or too dark, you can use this app to change the brightness settings. This comes in pretty handy when you need more or less brightness depending on the light conditions you are in.

Price: Free and $3.80.

15. Tasker – Automate Your Android Phone 

Download link: Paid


This is another app that will let you customize your phone based on actions. You can set up customized actions for apps, time, your location, various events, shortcuts, and a whole lot more. You can even use this app to create and sell apps.

Price: $2.99.

16. Locale – Condition-Based Android Automator 

Download link: Paid


Do you want to know who is calling just by the way your phone rings? You can do this, and a lot more, with this automation app.
You can customize how your phone works based on all kinds of factors,
including your location, who is calling, battery life, and more.

Price: $9.99.


17. Google’s Sky Map – Your Portable Planetarium 

Download link: Free


Astronomy lovers will go crazy for this app from Google. Point it at the sky, and it will tell you what constellation it is pointed at. This is a great tool to help you learn more about the constellations.

Price: Free.

18. Yahoo Weather – Weather Forecasts 

Download link: Free


Always be ready for the weather by downloading this popular app. You will be able to find out what the weather is going to be like, which is great so you can know how to dress accordingly.

Price: Free.

19. Instagram – Capture And Share The World’s Moments 

Download link: Free


If you don’t already have this app, get it now. You can do a lot with your photos by using the filters, and you can instantly share your photos with friends and family.

20. VLC’s Media Player – Multimedia Player 

Download link: Free

Enjoy videos anywhere, and at any time with this app. You can watch videos in any file format. Cost: Free.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

4 things Apple should do to help kick start iPad sales

The iPhone was once again the star of the show during Apple’s second quarter of fiscal year 2015.

During the period ending on March 28, Apple sold a whopping 61.2 million handsets. That’s an all-time record for the quarter.

The iPad, however, is heading in a decidedly different direction.
Apple sold 12.6 million tablets during the quarter, which was a 23
percent drop compared to the same time frame in 2014. For the first time
since 2011, Mac revenue even surpassed what Apple made on iPad sales,
which is definitely surprising.

Infographic: Apple Posts Record iPhone Sales as iPad Sales Slump | Statista
During the conference call with analysts, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he was still optimistic about the iPad’s future:
my belief is, as the inventory plays out, as we make some continued
investments in our product pipeline — which we’re doing, that we already
had planned and have had planned for a long time — between that, the
inventory playing out, the enterprise starting to take over, I believe
the iPad is an extremely good business over the long term. When
precisely it starts to grow again I wouldn’t want to predict, but I
strongly believe that it will.
But here are four ways Apple can help to reverse the slumping sales trend.

Release the long-rumored “iPad Pro.” There’s no real
doubt that a larger, more professional-oriented iPad is coming as Cook
even slyly referenced “continued investments in our product pipeline”
during Monday’s call. But Apple needs to finally step up and release the

While the all-new MacBook is spectacular to see in person, I’ve been
holding out for a similar device running iOS. Current rumors point to an
iPad with a 12.9-inch screen and maybe even an included stylus. I would
whip out my credit card in a second to purchase the larger form factor –
and I know I’m not the only one.

Once and for all banish the 16GB storage option.
This one is simple. Profit margins be damned, Apple needs to retire the
16GB iPad and iPad mini once and for all. The cheapest tablet options
needs to feature 32GB of storage, and buyers can pay more for a 64GB or
128GB version.

Figure out where the iPad mini fits in. The iPad
mini has had an interesting, albeit short, history. Back in 2013, Apple
proudly packed the iPad mini 2 with the same internals (the A7 chip and 1
GB of RAM) as the larger iPad Air. Buyers could simply pay more for a
larger screen.

But the landscape changed dramatically last year. The iPad mini 3
offered exactly one improvement from the previous generation – a Touch
ID sensor. Everything else remained the same, and I advised friends and
family to save their money and purchase a cheaper iPad mini 2. Apple has
a decision to make – either the iPad mini line should offer similar
specs to the larger iPad Air, or it’s the decidely cheaper, less capable
little brother.

Give users more reasons to upgrade. I will happily
admit my family owns way too many iPads, four in all. But short of an
iPad Pro, I don’t see upgrading any time soon because Apple hasn’t
really added any new “killer” features to the tablet line. While I
appreciate thinner and lighter iPads, that’s not a good enough reason –
at least for me – to upgrade. I’d happily purchase a slightly thicker
iPad with better battery life or a tablet with the same Force Touch
technology as the Apple Watch.

What do you think Apple should do to help spur iPad sales?

-- AppAdvice

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The 16MP camera of LG G4 has been developed in-house


The 16MP main camera module of the upcoming LG G4
has been designed in-house. The Korean giant’s components manufacturing
arm, LG Innotek developed the high-end sensor, which is already in mass

LG’s innovative camera unit has a wide f/1.8 aperture. The latter
allows the camera to receive 80% more light than the already stellar
13MP snapper found in LG G3.

The 16MP main camera of LG G4 has been paired with an 8MP
front-facing unit, whose resolution is the highest offered by LG for a
selfie camera to date. The new front-facing camera features ultra-thin
IR filter, which keeps infrared light from entering the camera lens.

LG G4 will debut later this month, on April 28. The Korean manufacturer already confirmed that the smartphone will feature a new-generation 5.5” QHD display.

- news

Friday, May 22, 2015

Apple’s Small iOS 8.3 Updates Speak Volumes About Where It's Headed

What easier app downloads and Siri updates are really saying.

Apple siri iosApple may have finally succumbed to common sense: A reader at 9to5Mac
spotted some new settings in the upcoming iOS 8.3 software that suggest
iPhone users should get ready for easier app downloads and more
convenient voice features.

Judging by the iOS 8.3 beta, people
will be able to nix the password requirement for free downloads. The
update also points to a new Siri feature that can launch speakerphone
calls without touching the phone at all.

These feature updates
might seem incremental, but they hint at Apple’s larger play: They are
stepping stones to a future in which enjoying new Apple features and
talking to our Apple devices—on our wrists, at home and on the road—will
become second nature.

Password Play

Passwords weren’t always necessary for freebies,
but the iPhone maker inexplicably built in the requirement. Now it
appears users will be able to toggle it on or off in iOS 8.3. The beta
version, released last week, shows the setting under the new “Password
Settings” configuration page (in the iTunes & App Store settings).
Note that the change covers free apps, media or other iTunes offerings
only; there is no way to turn off passwords for paid downloads.

notes that the setting hasn’t been activated in the beta software, but
it will likely be available in the final release.

See also: Apple's Emoji Characters Will Soon Look More Like The World
The new password option joins other changes spotted in iOS 8.3, including:

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  • Ethnically diverse emoji characters
  • Two-factor authentication for Google services
  • Apple Pay for China
  • Expanded Siri support for seven new languages
  • Improved keyboard
  • Wireless CarPlay features
The latter may offer a clue as to why Apple gave Siri control over the speaker.

What The Updates Are Saying

AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety took aim at voice features—Siri, in particular—last
fall, so Apple's efforts to appease critics with a simpler hands-free
calling for drivers makes sense, especially as part of Apple’s overall
push to make its technology vehicle-friendly.

Initially, users
could only trigger the Siri voice feature by holding down the home
button. Apple eventually gave users the ability to activate it by saying
“Hey Siri” (when the device is plugged into power). Users can now place
calls this way, but they’d still have to use headphones or hold the
phone up to their ear.

By allowing speech activation for the
speakerphone, there’s no need to physically handle the device at all,
just to place a call. Ideally, that should reduce driver distraction.

The company seems to be firing on all cylinders now. Its previous iOS 8.2 software, released a couple of weeks ago, brought Apple Watch support into the fold, as well as improvements to HealthKit and other bug fixes. Apple also filed a patent for an iPhone dock that could feasibly turn into a smart home hub for its latent HomeKit initiative, and is expected to release a brand-new Apple TV with the App Store and Siri, plus a new streaming live TV service.

common thread in most cases are apps and, increasingly, voice features.
Given that, Apple's focus on these areas should come as no shock. They
all play into the windfall of Apple technologies about to head our way.
That much seems to be loud and clear.

Lead image created by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite


Thursday, May 21, 2015

5 Myths About Phone Charging Debunked

by Nicholas Garcia

Most people in this day and age have a smartphone.
This means that the majority of us have access to our social media
accounts, mobile games, news, e-mail, and more pretty much anywhere or
anytime we need it.

The problem with smartphones is that, because we use them so much, they usually run out of battery fairly rapidly. This means we all carry around extra chargers to bring to work, plug into our cars, and so on and so forth. All of this charging has, quite unexpectedly, led to the emergence of several charging-related myths. I am sure you are already familiar with a couple of them.

All that said, what is the truth about the Lithium-ion batteries powering our pocket computers? What battery-related advice should you believe, and which should you forget about? Find out below.

1. Never Charge Your Phone Overnight 

We have all likely heard this one before, and it probably emerged at a
time when battery technology was nowhere near as advanced as it is
today. The truth, according to experts like Shane Broesky , is that “leaving your phone plugged in overnight is okay to do.

Apparently,the technology regulating smartphone batteries has advanced to the point where it knows exactly when to stop feeding a charge into your device.
In other words, there is no risk of you “overcharging” your phone and
causing damage to the battery, as there are safeguards in place to
prevent that from happening.

What you do need to worry about, according to Broesky, is overheating. So, if you are going to leave your phone charging overnight, make sure you place it in a relatively cool area. Also, remove any case you may have put on it so that heat from the battery can escape in a timely fashion.

2. Let Your Phone Go To 0% Before Charging 

I don’t know where this myth came from, but I’ve seen this repeated constantly. What makes this particularly egregious is that completely draining your battery before a charge actually causes it to become more unstable .

Shane Broesky suggests instead that we keep our devices charged “between 50 and 80 percent.
In other words, you should charge your phone intermittently throughout
the day instead of waiting to perform a “deep charge” from 0 to 100

3. Any Charger, Even An Off-Brand Model, Will Work 

While it may be tempting to try and save money by purchasing an
off-brand charger for your phone, the damage it can do over time might
make you think twice.
The fact of the matter is that it is always best to use the charger
that came with your device, even if you can find another cheaper model
that still technically works.

Experts caution against off-brand chargers for one simple reason : they are “not built with safety in mind.
This means there is a far greater chance of these chargers causing a
fire, or harming your battery, than there is with your phone’s proper

4. Turning Off Your Phone Is Useless 

While it might seem like an inconvenience to physically turn off our
phones from time to time, experts suggest that we do exactly that. Indeed, one Apple Genius employee stated that “in order to maximize battery life, you should [definitely] turn off your phone from time to time.

This does not mean that you have to always shut down your phone before bed, or do it on a daily basis. That would defeat the purpose of having an always-ready-to-use smartphone.
You should, however, try and shut down or properly restart your device
at least one a week, as this has been proven to conserve your device’s
battery life over time.

5. Don’t Use Your Phone While It’s Plugged In 

As long as you are using the charger that came with your phone, or a certified replacement made by the same company, it is perfectly fine to use your phone while it is charging.

This myth does have a bit of a chilling origin, however. While it is safe to use your smartphone whilst charging it with its proper charger, it is not recommended to do so when using a third-party charger, as that may lead to the phone exploding, or worse, electrocuting the user.

While there is only a slim chance of that happening, you still shouldn’t risk it.
Off-brand, third-party chargers might be cheap, as mentioned
previously, but they don’t work as efficiently with your phone’s
battery, meaning there’s a much higher chance of it overheating and
possibly injuring  you or others during periods of extended use.

Well folks, that is about all I have when it comes to charging myths. Were you familiar with any of these? Were you fooled by a few of them previously, like I was? I’d love to hear your comments below!

Featured photo credit: Gray #3/Phil Roeder via

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Google pulls the Nexus 7 tablet from its online store

In case you were on the fence about grabbing one of Google's affordable Nexus tablets, you'd better jump off it pretty soon. The Nexus 7's been pulled from the Google Store, as spotted by TalkAndroid, and it almost assuredly isn't coming back -- especially since the Nexus 9 exists. That means if you still want one of the consistently updated 7-inch slates you'll have to hit places like Amazon
while supplies last or wallow in regret for all that could've been.
Namely, owning a tablet that (to me at least) is more comfortable to
hold than the IPad Mini 2 and is essentially just as capable.

Unless you go for the most expensive configuration -- 32GB with LTE
-- most models will run you less than half what one of Google's newer,
bigger tablets will, too. That sound you hear? It's opportunity
knocking. We've reached out to Google for additional info and will
update this post should we hear back.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dell Venue 8 7000 review: thin design, great screen, gimmicky camera

Engadget doesn't review many tablets anymore. When it comes to
Android devices, we're far more likely to write about phablets, those
supersized smartphones that for many people have eliminated the need for
a dedicated slate. Meanwhile, iPad sales have slowed, and Apple has made so few changes to its products that in some cases we actually recommend you buy the previous-gen
model to save money. Still, there are some companies that continue to
not just build tablets, but also produce interesting designs. One of
them is none other than Dell, a company whose track record includes some
sensible Windows slates, a series of forgettable Android tablets and a phablet that was ahead of its time.

Lately, though, the company has been undergoing a reawakening, with a series of striking products that includes the XPS 13 and the Venue 8 7000,
a $399 Android tablet. The Venue 8, as I'll call it from here on out,
is notable mostly for its design, marked by a stunning OLED display and a
skinny 6mm-thick frame. It also happens to be the first tablet with
Intel's RealSense 3D camera setup. All told, that combination of specs
was impressive enough to win it a Best of CES Award. But does that mean you should go out and buy one?

Venue 8 7000

Dell's flagship Venue 8 tablet is thin and well-made with a
stunning screen and long battery life. It's one of the best Android
slates you can buy, but we'd like it even more if the image quality from
the camera were better -- and if it weren't so easy to cover up the
speaker and rear lens with your fingers.


"That's a Dell?"

I can't tell you how many times I've heard that since I started using
the Venue 8 in public, and showing it off to colleagues. If you're
reading this, Dell, that's actually a compliment. A backhanded
compliment, to be sure, but high praise nonetheless. With its machined
aluminum surfaces, blunt edges and front-facing speaker setup, the Venue
8 looks like something HTC would have made back in its original HTC One phase.
It does not look like the brainchild of a company that went private so
that it could focus on making more corporate-friendly PCs.

It's actually difficult for me to say what I like best about the
design. Under duress, though, I think I'd pick the screen. What we have
here is an incredibly crisp 8.4-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 panel, slightly
larger than the iPad mini's, with a slightly higher pixel density to
match (361 pixels per inch versus 326 on the mini 3).
But the sharpness is only part of the story. The OLED display also
brings deep blacks, white whites, bright colors and strong viewing
angles. Every time I pick up an OLED tablet, whether it be the Samsung Galaxy Tab S or the older Galaxy Tab 7.7,
I find myself floored by the beauty. As a bonus, the battery life on
those devices also tends to be pretty epic. What can I say, then? It
hasn't gotten old for me -- especially since relatively few tablets even
have screens like this. I'm not sure why they're still so rare -- it's
clearly possible to build a reasonably priced OLED tablet -- but in any
case, I'm glad Dell went with the best possible option. It makes a

Last thing about the display before I move on: It's nearly
bezel-less. Other than a thin metal band about as thick as a fingernail,
it's all screen, from edge to edge. Even the black space surrounding
the screen is minimal. It's a gorgeous sight, all those lit-up pixels,
but it does at times feel a little impractical. If I'm holding the
display in portrait mode, as it was primarily meant to be used, my
thumbs cover both the metal bezel and even the black buffer space,
leaving me no choice but to block the picture with my fingers. I could
hold on at the bottom too, but that makes for some uncomfortable weight
distribution and besides, my fingers will end up covering the
front-facing speaker located below the display.

So long as I'm talking about what it feels like to hold the device,
this might be a good time to mention the Venue 8's aluminum shell. At
6mm thick, this is the world's thinnest tablet, or so Dell says, and
it's also lighter than you'd expect an all-metal device to be, at 0.67
pound. (For comparison's sake, the iPad mini 3 weighs 0.73 pound.) The
Venue 8 feels well-crafted, like someone spent a lot of time thinking
about how durable the tablet should be, or how nice it is to press your
fingers against cold, hard metal. In a word, it feels expensive.
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem someone spent as much time thinking about
the camera placement. The three cameras in Intel's RealSense setup are
housed on the rear of the tablet toward the bottom, with two of them
inside a thin strip, and one inside a wider panel along the lower edge.
If you're holding the tablet in portrait, your fingers will almost
certainly be blocking one of the lenses, which means you'll almost
certainly need to flip the tablet upside-down to take a shot.

Fortunately, all of the other ports are exactly where you'd expect
them to be. Along the left-hand side are your usual power button and
volume rocker. The good news is that because they're up toward the top,
you're unlikely to press them accidentally. The bad news: They won't be
in thumb's reach if you're using the thing in portrait mode. Ah well.
Moving on, there's a pin-locked microSD slot on the lower-right edge,
which accepts cards as large as 512GB, and which also has room for a SIM
card on the forthcoming LTE model. (My review unit was WiFi-only.) Up
front is a 2-megapixel webcam for video chats and the occasional selfie.
Last but not least, there's a standard micro-USB socket on the bottom
edge for charging and data transfer. Pretty standard stuff.


So far, I've referred to RealSense as a "3D" camera setup. The better
term might actually be "depth-sensing." In addition to an 8-megapixel
rear camera -- clearly, the main shooter -- you get two stereoscopic
720p cameras on either side, which allow the device to collect multiple
layers of depth information. So, when you take a shot in the camera's
special depth-sensing mode (this part is important), what you're
actually getting is an amalgam of several shots: one with the foreground
in focus, one with the background, et cetera. This allows you to do
some interesting things. Using Dell's included "Gallery" app, you can
adjust the focus of the shot, blurring out the background to focus on
the foreground, or vice versa. And, because the shot is broken down into
several pieces, you can apply effects selectively, too (think: sepia in
the foreground only). Think of it as owning a Lytro, except instead of a single-purpose, one-trick camera, you also get a full-featured Android tablet.


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