While Android is likely your go-to for mobile technology, the desktop-and-laptop world is still largely dominated by Windows machines. If you fall into that category, you've probably heard about this big update to Windows by now. There's a lot to like about Windows 10, including the price tag if you're running a fairly modern version of the OS. If you're wondering how this update will affect your day to day usage, particularly the Android parts, we've assembled this handy guide for you.
Spoiler alert — it's actually pretty good.
Chrome apps and notifications work great
If you rely on Chrome notifications to keep you informed without having to pick up your Android phone, or you rely on Hangouts and Gmail on Chrome for Windows daily, you'll find little about the experience has changed in Windows 10. Google has been supporting Windows 10 for quite a while now through the Insider Preview, so there's no need to worry about waiting for things to function. You can update today and everything will work as expected, including Chrome Remote Desktop.
The only thing you'll want to do out of the box is avoid activating Cortana if you have no plans on using Microsoft's voice service. The combination of Cortana notifications and Google Now notifications in Chrome can clutter your screen in a hurry, not to mention the additional notification tones. Alternatively, you could give Cortana a shot for yourself and see if your like it more than Google Now, especially once it is officially available on Android.
Better device detection, better sync options
While the All Google All The Time folks are big on the cloud, a good ol' fashioned microUSB cable and an OS that actually knows what you're connecting to it are great. Windows is usually good enough about accessing USB mass storage modes for Android hardware, but Windows 10 takes things a step further.
Device detection and driver installation is greatly improved, and the new Microsoft sync options are a gentle reminder that Microsoft apps are out there if you're not totally invested in Google. Even if you never use Microsoft's sync tools, the improved device detection and driver installation is great for quick video pulls and confirming the hardware you're playing with when busting out the Android SDK to poke around.
The days of Xbox One Smartglass being the same on Android as Windows are likely over
Microsoft did something incredibly cool with its Smartglass system, allowing users to take control of their console through whatever gadget they were using. As a quick remote control it's great, but as a second-screen platform Smartglass and a Nexus 9 make for an incredible combination. The best part was you got the same experience on every platform, and it worked well. Unfortunately, with Windows 10 that is unlikely to remain true for particularly long.
Xbox One Smartglass isn't going away, but Windows 10 is moving to the Xbox One app. It allows users to do a whole lot more, including stream games from your Xbox One to your Windows 10 computer. As incredible as this is, there's no way this functionality is coming to Android. With the Xbox One app taking center stage and fewer companies placing a focus on second screen experiences, you can expect a noticeable feature discrepancy between Android and Windows in the future.
If you live in certain parts of the parts of the Southeastern U.S., chances are your cell service is down. All four major carriers are currently experiencing outages across parts of Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and southern parts of Indiana.
Moto G orders are beginning to arrive, and I just got mine. Of course I stopped everything and opened up the box to get it all in order, and I'm already pleased.
I liked the 2014 version of the Moto G, so I'm a little biased. And that's OK — people who blog about phones on the Internet are allowed to like things. I just want to say it up front. Anyhoo, I've been listening to all the gushing from the guys and gals who went to see the announcement live and walked out with a Moto G of their own, and have had high expectations. It's like neckbeard Christmas up in my office.
After dropping in my AT&T SIM card and a 64GB SD card (no issues, regardless of Motorola's 32GB maximum on the spec sheet — and Phil's got a 128GBer in his) and setting things up with my Google account, I'm sitting here scrolling through the app drawer, opening all the settings and touching all the things and I see why everyone who has one of these things loves it.
It's fast and fluid. More so than those phones that cost $500 more. It's not doing a bunch of stuff, so I get why it's faster, but still — it's nice to see something this responsive. That might change when I load it up with apps, and maybe then it'll be a more fair comparison. But out of the box, it's a better experience than just about any phone you can buy from your carrier.
I'm in love with the app drawer. Specifically, that it's only two pages and not chock full of shit like you see from others. No AT&T family navigator. No Sprint Zone. No T-Mobile TV. No Verizon Whatever. Even better, no unnecessary junk like multiple note-taking apps or extra browsers or other apps nobody wants or uses. I've got an FM radio app, an app to help migrate settings and media from another phone, and the Moto app to adjust settings for things like Moto Assist and Moto Display. And every one of them can be disabled and out of my sight if I so choose. Of course Google Play is a tap away if I want to add anything I feel is missing. The only "bloat" here are the Google apps that many of us will never use, and they too can be disabled.
The screen's a little small coming from the Nexus 6, but I'm not complaining. It was hard to get used to the gianticness of the Nexus 6, and I already love the way the Moto G feels in my hand and in my pocket. Will 720p bother me when I need to waste some time with a game or watching a video or two? Maybe. It's been awhile since I've used any phone with a lower resolution for that sort of thing. I can say that it looks great for $200. I wasn't expecting a screen as good as Samsung's latest, so I'm not disappointed.
I'm going to carry my little green Moto G as my daily driver. Jerry's personal phone, if you will. I'm pretty sure I'll find things about it that I don't like. Nothing's perfect. We're going to use and abuse the Moto G here at AC, and we'll tell you the bad things as we come across them. For now, I'm just happy to have a little Moto in my pocket again.
August 4 is President Obama's 54th birthday, and if celebrating presidential birthdays is your cup of tea, Google Play Music has your back. To celebrate the occasion, you can now listen to a custom radio station on Google Play Music made up of some of President Obama's favorite songs.
Link Bubble, the rather unique web browser for Android, has received its largest update yet, as developer Chris Lacy says goodbye to the app. The update brings a number of big changes to the browser, one of them being an all-new Material Design overhaul. In addition, the update brings support for HTML drop down elements, colored toolbars, custom domain redirects, and a bunch more.
The way your phone analyzes your face to unlock has changed since KitKat, and it's been for the better.
Through the last several years, face unlock has received several small updates but because of the way it worked and its unreliability to unlock your phone, many users chose not to bother with it. When Android 5.0 Lollipop was released, Face unlock was rebranded to Trusted face and was added to the list of Smart Locks. Trusted face is finally at a stage where it is good enough to enable on your device so that you too can unlock your phone or tablet just by looking at your device.
The PLAYBULB Garden provides unique lighting features for any special spot in your yard.
Since our first hands-on with the PLAYBULB Rainbow Light, we've had a chance to check out the rest of Mipow's fancy lighting lineup. The outdoor option we're looking at here is the PLAYBULB Garden — a solar LED light that stakes claim anywhere outside you see fit for novelty nighttime lighting. Included with the Garden are 2 monopods that can be fitted together for extra height if needed. Snap that into place underneath, stick it in your preferred location, and let the sun do the rest.
Those of us who have either the HTC One M8 or this year's M9 overnight were greeted by a slightly odd notification — an apparent advertisement for the upcoming "Fantastic Four" movie. When expanded, the notification appears at first to just be an advertisement. And on one hand it very much is. Look a little closer, though, and it's clearly labeled "Fantastic Four Theme." If you missed that (and I did the first time, even though I knew what I was looking for), tap through and you'll find yourself in HTC's (pretty excellent) themes app, with the opportunity to download the new "Fantastic Four" theme. So is it purely an advertisement? Or a promotion of HTC's own apps and services? Both, of course.
And this is either the worst thing to ever happen in the history of smartphones, or a non-issue, depending on your predisposition for outrage.
Google is hosting a Chrome Dev Summit on November 17 and 18, which is an event for developers to meet with Chrome engineers and fellow developers. The event, which is being held in Google's Quad building in Mountain View, CA, will also be livestreamed for developers who are unable to make the trip to attend.
The expansion of Google's Android One program is still continuing as Thailand becomes the latest country to join. The i-mobile iQ II will be the country's first device. Featuring a 5-inch HD display, along with an 8MP rear camera, and 2MP front-facing camera, the iQ II is a 4G-compatible phone.
Viber's latest update brings along with it increased sharing functions, easier video calling and much more. The update, which is now available, also brings more payment options to the app, making it even easier to purchase credit for using the app.
Some watch faces are built to catch your eye, others to supply all the info you could possibly need at a glance, and yet others are filled with more options than you can shake a stick at. Pujie Black Watch Face tries to go for all three, and manages to do it well. This app is really more like several watch faces in one, with its wide array of options for you to choose from. It's well designed, and made to be customized.
If you've ever craved enough customization options that you could get lost for an hour then the Pujie Black Watch Face for Android Wear is probably right up your alley. With all of it's many customization options, you can tweak just about everything about the face.
The watch face has an understated look, but packs plenty of information. You get an analog, and digital display of the time down to the second. Above the digital time readout is the date. Below it you have three information indicators. Each one gets an icon, and the three displayed by default are the battery lives of both your smartwatch and smartphone, along with a readout of the weather.
While the design of the face is pretty awesome, it's also entirely customizable. Everything from the color of the face, to the style and font of the numbers, to how the date is displayed, to what information is displayed through your indicators. Thankfully your options are broken down into several tabs; Analog Clock, Digital Clock, Calendar, Indicators, Background, Tick Marks and Numbers, and Miscellaneous. Style, Format, and Font are your most common options across all the tabs, but they have exclusive options as well.
You get a preview of all your changes to the face before you export them to your smartwatch, which makes it easy to make sure things look the way you expect them to. When you are finally ready to set a custom face you just need to save it, and then export it. To do this just use the buttons at the top left of the app. On the other hand, if all these options are a bit daunting, then you're still in luck. The Pujie Black Watch Face comes with no less than 14 different preset faces for you to choose from already on your phone, or there is the huge Pujie Wear community over on Google Plus.
Pujie Black Watch Face is an absolutely fantastic watch face to use. With all of it's options, you can easily change and tweak things so that this face changes to suit your needs. With custom colors, or a palette you can get to precisely what you want. With access to the additional custom faces on the Pujie Google Plus community, it has hundreds of options for you to take advantage of. So is Pujie Black Watch Face already your favorite, or will you be trying it now? Let us know what you think.
You'll be surprised how much schoolwork you can get done on a Chromebook, and appreciate the cost savings at the same time.
Chromebooks have proven to be an extremely valuable tool for schools teaching younger children that want to introduce them to technology, but they have also shown to be a great go-to machine for young adults heading away to college. Whether you're going to a big school on a full-time basis or are just getting started with a smaller program, you'd be surprised as to how much of your college work you can get done with an inexpensive Chromebook rather than a full-fledged laptop running Windows or OS X.
If your school is one making use of Google Apps for your .edu email address as well, Chromebooks can be even more of a no-brainer considering the deep integration with Google's services. And depending on your choice, you could stand to save a huge amount of money going with a Chromebook for your laptop rather one running any other operating system. Read along to see our picks for the best Chromebook to take to college this year.
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