Toggled in quick settings, new feature gives quick access to five favorite apps
In all the commotion over finger scanners, water resistance and 16-megapixel cameras, one neat new multitasking feature on the Samsung Galaxy S5 has been easy to overlook. Nevertheless, the GS5's "Toolbox" feature could be particularly useful if you're hopping between the same few apps on a regular basis. Enabled in the quick settings area, Toolbox is a floating circle with three dots that sits on top of every thing else running on the phone. Tap it and it'll expand to show up to five favorite apps, configurable through Settings > Toolbox.
We've got a quick video walkthrough of Toolbox on the Galaxy S5 up top.
The vicious cycle of rumors, upgrades and lofty expectations.
We have a problem. By we, I mean all of us. The media, the carriers, the manufacturers, and the customers. That problem is expectations, how we pump them up, and how we react when they aren't met.
The rumor cycle leading up to recent device launches has been particularly vicious. I can't tell you how many times I saw "bigger" thrown out there in anticipation of the iPhone 5s launch — and again now that the iPhone 6 is on the horizon — or how insane the rumors were of a 2K display for the Samsung Galaxy S5 (I had a 1500-word editorial in the waiting just for the occasion).
We were spoiled by the first few generations of the modern smartphone. After years of iterative developments at the hands of Nokia, Palm, and BlackBerry, Apple shocked us all with a great leap forward in the iPhone. Google soon followed with Android and partners like HTC, LG, and Samsung.
Tizen OS means it's no longer a Galaxy, but Samsung's Gear 2 offers many improvements over the original
Samsung recently announced the first Tizen-powered wearable device, the Gear 2, moving away from the Android-based Galaxy Gear. But arguably the Gear 2's software is its least noticeable change — the UI is a dead ringer for Samsung's first wearable, and it functions just the same as that device. The larger changes come in the device's physical hardware, as you'll see in our quick comparison video. The Gear 2 is slimmer and lighter, with replaceable watch straps and a built-in heart rate monitor. And the movement of the camera, microphone and speakers onto the body of the watch allows the strap to be less bulky, too.
Check out the video above, and click past the break for a comparison of the Galaxy Gear and Gear 2's internal hardware.
Selective focus, Shot & More, 4K video and Studio Mode are just some of the GS5's new imaging features
Samsung introduces not only a new 16-megapixel sensor and a revamped flash to the Galaxy S5, but also a wealth of new software features to go with them. The revamped Samsung camera app mostly does away with the big carousel of shooting modes, arranging various features in a grid layout, accessible from the settings icon. Here's where you'll finds options like photo and video resolution — the GS5 shoots at up to 16MP in 16:9, 12MP in 4:3 and video at 4K — as well as the selective focus and HDR modes. The former takes a bunch of exposures, does a little math, and then lets you choose whether you want to focus on the foreground of background. (There's also a "pan focus" option that tries to keep everything sharp.) HDR has been revamped too, giving a live preview of what HDR images will look like. Capture speeds — generally, and in HDR mode in particular — are also noticeably improved.
Check past the break for more, including a new hands-on video of the Galaxy S5's camera and imaging features!
It's been far too long since we last updated our official Android Central App — so let's do something about that, shall we? We've just pushed to our beta group a new build that tackles a number of nagging issues. They include:
Removed the (potentially) NSFW wallpaper sections from the app at the behest of many of our readers, as well as a few other app stores we submit to.
Fix for wallpaper sizing when set as desktop background.
Fix for some images being stretched in article view.
Back by popular request: You can now see how many hours or days ago a story was published.
Better handling for deeply nested article comments (no squeezed unreadable comments).
We now display inline images in article comments.
Fixed issue with article comments sometimes being unselectable, keeping folks from replaying.
Various updates for recent sever-side updates.
Fixed quote handling in forums (from new version of Tapatalk).
A reminder about our beta group: When we last updated (again, way too long ago, we know), we switched from the legacy Google Group to a Google+ Community for managing the beta updates. You can join our beta G+ Community here, and please use that channel for leaving feedback.
Thanks, and we've got more long-awaited features coming. (When? Soon!)
LG's latest mid-ranger offers similar features to its higher-end smartphones
Prior to Mobile World Congress kicking off in Barcelona LG had pretty much shown its hand with a bunch of pre-announcements. As the show got underway, another became official with the latest F-Series device, the F70.
Unlike the G-Series devices like the G2 and G2 Pro, the F70 has a more 'traditional' look with the power and volume buttons on the sides. There's also no on-screen buttons, it continues LG's previous method of a physical home button with capacitive keys either side. But, this is still very recognizable as a current LG device.
Project Ara is in the news today because of the big developers conference planned for April, but maybe the best news so far is Google's target price for the entry-level unit — $50.
Dubbed a "grayphone" the unit is pretty barebones. You have the touchscreen, a Wifi module, and the internals to run them both. Nothing more, but how much more can you expect for a measly $50?
Former DARPA director and current head of Google ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) group Regina Dugan and team have bold plans after the sale, as well. They want specialized kiosks where customers can purchase and customize their grayphones, complete with the tooling to add the needed modules.
While the goal of a $50 device may be unobtainable in the long run, Google is focused on making the product a great way to get another five billion people on the Internet instead of making the product profitable. Look for a working prototype soon, and there's talk of the retail version hitting the market in early 2015.
In this day and age of malicious apps and intrusive government surveillance, you might be wondering how to keep your data secure. You could turn to a solution like the up-and-coming Geeksphone Blackphone, with a modified version of Android and sets of secure communications services. Or you could do what the government does and turn to Boeing.
Yes, Boeing. The company that makes massive jetliners, fighter jets, satellites, and all sorts of high tech military hardware is getting into the smartphone game. Their Android-powered entry is the ominously-named Boeing Black. Because stealth.
Entering this contest is as easy as you might think: just leave a comment on this post on CrackBerry.com saying which one of those seven prizes you'd like to win. Entries are open until Sunday at midnight Pacific Time. Commenting is easy — as a member of Android Central, your Mobile Nations Passport account already logs you in to CrackBerry. Just click on over and enter away!
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