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1 month ago

Google Fit makes it easier to see your daily stats with new design

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Google Fit, the company's fitness tracking app, has recently received a pretty sizable update. Included in the update is a new look that helps show all your daily stats at once, an easier way to see how your weight is trending and more.

You'll be able to see how you compare to other users in your area and even set more detailed goals.

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2 months ago

Best Android lock screen and lock screen replacement apps

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Best Android lock screen and lock screen replacement apps

What's the best lock screen app for Android?

For most folks, the standard Android lock screen is just fine. For some, however, it's not quite customizable enough. For those people, there are lock screen replacement apps that allow you to tweak the way you see the time, notifications, the layout, and much more.

Here are a few of our favorites.

ZUI Locker-Elegant Lock Screen

ZUI Locker

ZUI Locker has over 240,000 5-star reviews in the Google Play Store and it's definitely the best of the best Android lock screen replacement apps.

You can download all sorts of themes that include a time widget, weather widget, wallpaper, and more (or less, if you prefer) or you can use any of the stock wallpapers and themes available right in the app. Customize your lock screen the way you want that's best for you.

The best feature of ZUI Locker is the Control Panel, á la iOS. You just swipe up from the bottom of your lock screen and many of your most-used settings are there for you to control without having to unlock your phone.

You can turn on/off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular data (requires you to unlock your phone), control brightness, enable Flight mode, and, best of all, turn on the flashlight (as an Galaxy S5 user, this is a godsend!). You can also quick-launch apps from the Control Panel, and you have your choice of which apps and how many are in your panel.

If you're looking for a versatile and customizable lock screen replacement app with really useful functionality, then ZUI Locker should be your app of choice.

Download: ZUI Locker-Elegant Lock Screen (free)


AcDisplay

AcDisplay

If you yearn for a simple, minimalist look for your lock screen, AcDisplay is the lock screen app for you. It features a flat black background with the time and date, and that's it. Notifications show up as app icons alone — tap 'em and unlock your phone and away you go.

The downside is that AcDisplay isn't a true lock screen replacement app, so it doesn't work unless you have the app open. If you're someone who likes a clean phone and hates apps left open, then steer clear. It also doesn't presently support pin or pattern verification, so you phone can be unlocked with just a swipe.

If you like a clean lock screen that shows the bare necessities and aren't concerned with locking your phone, then AcDisplay is perfect for you. Just be aware that AcDisplay becomes a device administrator, so if you ever want to uninstall it, you'll first have to deactivate it in your settings.

Download: AcDisplay (free)


Start Lock Screen

Start Lock Screen

Start Lock Screen is essentially a start screen on your "lock" screen. "Lock" in quotes because this app doesn't replace your lock screen; it actually just masks your home screen, so your Notification shade is still fully accessible.

This is truly a lock screen app for those who need quick access to their phone at all times. That means your phone isn't totally locked and therefore not as secure as some folks may like.

If you prefer the convenience of quick-launching apps without having to poke around your home screen, then Start Lock Screen is your solution. You just tap and hold the lock and app categories pop up, featuring all of the apps that apply. For example, there's a messaging apps category wherein you can just tap an app such as Hangouts, and be taken right into it.

If you're all for accessing your phone right out of your pocket but still want some separation from instant total access, then Start Lock Screen is a very capable middle man.

Download: Start Lock Screen (free)


Echo Notification Lockscreen

Echo Notification

Perhaps the prettiest lock screen app on the list, Echo Notification Lockscreen is a smooth, streamlined lock screen replacement that categorizes your notifications so you can quickly see what's important. You can even snooze notifications so you'll be reminded of them after a while.

The two main categories are Priority and Social, and there are already predetermined apps divided among these camps, but you can go into Echo's settings and change them around at will. So if Facebook notifications are a priority to you, you can make sure they're noted under that category.

There are only three stock wallpapers available, one of which happens to be a boring gray background. But the others are high quality, and you can always add in your own photos.

Echo offers swipe, pattern, or PIN security, and out of all the apps on this list, seems to behave the best, i.e. it works all the time.

If you want a very straightforward lock screen replacement app without all the bells and whistles that others have, but also want your notifications organized for you, check out Echo Notification Lockscreen.

Download: Echo Notification Lockscreen (free)

Locker Master

Locker Master

Locker Master is another pretty lock screen replacement app with a plethora of free wallpapers to download.

If you'd like to intricately personalize your lock screen, down to the layout, font, wallpaper, and what information is shown, then Locker Master is the lock screen replacement app for you. You can add text, the time, your battery percentage, and more to your lock screen, all while controlling the color of each widget and the look of each widget. There are myriad font and style options to download for free, allowing for limitless possibilities unlimited.

Locker Master can be a tad on the buggy side (like any lock screen replacement app), but it will definitely sate the appetite of the customization beast that lives inside you.

Download:Locker Master (free)


Lock Screen - Iphone Lock

Lock Screen - Iphone Lock

OK, so right of the bat, yes, the developers aren't capitalizing iPhone properly — who knows why. In any case, if you made the switch from iPhone to Android and still need to wean yourself off iOS, this app makes your lock screen look just like — HOW DID YOU GUESS?!? — an iPhone lock screen.

Sarcasm aside, this lock screen replacement app actually works quite well, aside from taking a few seconds to engage and the occasional flash of your home screen when you manually wake up your phone.

Your notifications will only show in your Notification bar, but you'll have full access to your Notification Shade when your screen is locked, so this app acts as more of a home screen mask than a true lock screen.

If you're missing your iPhone lock screen, then Lock Screen - Iphone Lock is the lock screen app you've been pining for.

Download: Lock Screen - Iphone Lock (free)

What do you use?

Do you use a lock screen or lock screen replacement app on your Android device? Sound off in the comments below!

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2 months ago

Microsoft's Arrow Launcher for Android adds Office 365 document access

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Microsoft has released version 2.0 of its Arrow Launcher for Android. The update allows users with an Office 365 subscription to access and read any documents they have stored without the need to open an Office app.

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2 months ago

Night mode shows that Twitter's finally serious about its Android app

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A smart transition takes things from white to black, but still keeps the app easy to read.

For a long time — OK, a long time insofar as Twitter is concerned — the conventional wisdom was that the powers that be cared only about you tweeting from Twitter's website, and apps be damned. The official app was long outpaced by third-party offerings, at least until Twitter began to choke out those apps by limiting the number of users they could top out at.

Things are different now. And that's no more apparent than with the recent addition of a dark "night mode" in the official Twitter app.

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2 months ago

Google Keep now creates automatic topics for searching through notes

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Google Keep has received a small but useful update that makes it easier to organize your notes by topic. The app now automatically generates topics for your notes, such as food, books, or travel. So Keep might put a to-do list with the word 'trip' in it under the 'travel' section, or a recipe under 'food'.

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2 months ago

Note-taking alternatives now that Evernote is more expensive

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Now that Evernote is raising prices for its Plus and Premium plans — and limiting the free basic sync to just two devices — perhaps you're in the market for a new note-taking app.

Well, we've used more than a few around here. These are the note-taking apps that keep us taking notes, day after day.

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2 months ago

PlayStation Vue app now streaming on Android devices

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The PlayStation Vue app is now officially available for Android phones and tablets. Sony recently announced that it would be releasing the app and held to its word. Vue is a streaming service that lets you watch movies, TV, sports and more without a cable subscription.

From the app's description:

PlayStation™Vue is a new TV service with live TV, movies and sports, without a cable or satellite subscription. Now available on Android Mobile. Download the app and sign-in with your Sony Entertainment Network account to get started. Available nationwide.

If interested in trying out the service, you can start a free trial now to check it out. After the trial there are a few different subscription plans, ranging from $40 to $55 per month. You can get started with the PlayStation Vue app on your compatible Android device now. Are you excited to see this, or are you content with your current streaming setup?

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2 months ago

Yahoo Sports gets a new look, live video, and more

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Yahoo has launched a complete refresh of its sports app, offering people a brand new design and a new set of features, such as personalized favorites, alerts, and scores. The app also features a variety of video content, including access to Yahoo's free MLB Game of the Day live.

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2 months ago

Facebook's latest News Feed change will prioritize posts from friends

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Facebook has announced it will be making more changes for its News Feed in the coming weeks. Posts from friends that Facebook users care about most will be placed higher in the News Feed with this change.

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2 months ago

Evernote hikes up prices, limits free users to two devices

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Evernote has announced that it will increase the prices for its Plus and Premium tiers, while limiting the sync functionality for Basic users to two devices. Under the new pricing plan, Plus users have to shell out $3.99 per month (up from $2.99) or $34.99 yearly, and Premium users will have to pay $7.99 per month (from $5.99) or $69.99 annually.

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2 months ago

Slack brings replies to your wrist with Android Wear support

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Work chat app Slack has been updated for Android, bring along support for Android Wear and more.

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2 months ago

OnePlus 3 update coming with reworked RAM management, sRGB color mode

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OnePlus 3 RAM management

A small tune-up is on its way to your OnePlus 3 soon.

Now a couple of weeks removed from the launch of its latest phone, OnePlus is working to push out a maintenance update with a handful of tweaks to the OnePlus 3 — and while it doesn't bring any giant changes, there are a couple things of note. We've been testing the latest OTA in pre-release form for about a week, and while OnePlus won't commit to a date for releasing the new software to all customers we can expect this patch to roll out soon.

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2 months ago

How to hide your porn browsing habits on Android

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Nothing on the internet is really private, but you can keep your Android from saving a trail of where you've been.

We all use our phones differently. While some of us are Twittering and buying socks on Amazon when we're online, other folks are looking at other stuff. And they might not want anyone else who could be using their phone to see the things they have looked at. We don't judge (nobody should, really) but we can help.

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2 months ago

Best e-book reader apps for Android

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Ebooks

Which e-book reader apps are best for Android?

Whether you want to bring your entire collection to the beach with you, or you want to re-read the Song of Fire and Ice series in digital form on the morning train to work, there's a great reading app for Android available for you. Here are our favorites.

Google Play Books

Google Play Books

Chances are, this app came pre-installed on your Android device, so why not check it out? It's really not too shabby, and you get to stay within Google's ecosystem.

Google Play Books gives you access to a vast book store. Some of the books are free. You'll also find some textbooks, although we'd like to see the textbook selection improve in the future. You can read books offline, use a dictionary to look up unfamiliar words, and have your notes and place in the book saved across multiple devices through your Google account.

Download: Google Play Books (free +IAP)

Moon+ Reader

Moon+ Reader

The free version of Moon+ Reader is a solid eBook reader. It has control gestures and the ability to set it so pages will automatically turn themselves. It is very customizable, so you can set whatever font type, background color, etc. you want. It also provides some interesting stats, like how many words you've read per minute on average.

Plenty of file types are supported, like .epub, .zip, .html, .mobi, and .txt and also includes several Open Publication Distribution System (OPDS) catalogs. pre-loaded with free books to download. You can also add your own catalogs.

Moon+ Reader Pro gets rid of the ads and adds important features such as support for .pdf files and optional password protection when opening the app.

Note that while it will read .mobi (Amazon Kindle) files, it will not open Digital Rights Management (DRM) protected Kindle books.

Moon+ Reader is the app you want if you already have an extensive library of books in multiple formats that you want to organize and access through a single app.

Download: Moon+ Reader (free)

Nook

Nook

Barnes & Noble offers a selection of books, newspapers, and magazines in its Nook app. Of course, Barnes & Noble would like you to mostly buy stuff from them, but they've also made it possible to add your own .epub and .cbz files to the app.

It's pretty easy to adjust font size, brightness, line spacing, etc. You can bookmark your place, too, and sync your position (and your library) across any devices to which you have this app installed.

Another benefit with the Nook app is that it allows you to create multiple profiles, so your entire family can use it without your kids stumbling upon your racy book collection.

Download: Nook (free +IAP)

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Kindle

Don't have a Kindle? No worries — you can shop the Amazon Kindle Store and read Kindle books on your phone or tablet with the free Kindle app from Amazon.

Amazon has a vast library of Kindle books — some are even free to download. You can also take advantage of Amazon Prime and find some textbooks as well. You're able to customize fonts, margins, line spacing, and organize the books you've downloaded into collections so that it's easier to find the book you want to read

Another benefit is that lots of local libraries will actually lend you copies of books via the Kindle app. Click here for more information on finding the nearest library that supports Kindle.

Download: Amazon Kindle (free +IAP)

FBReader: Favorite Book Reader

FBReader

FBReader: Favorite Book Reader is a basic e-book reading app that gets the job done. Its User Interface (UI) is nothing fancy, but for a completely free app that has zero, count them, zero ads, it'll do just fine.

Features-wise, it's no slouch, offering the ability to change the background color of the book and flip pages by using the volume up and volume down buttons on your device. Of course, you can customize other things, as well, like font size and type.

You can get books from Open Publication Distribution (OPDS) catalogs, such as Free Books Hub and Smashwords, and you can manually add your own. It's compatible with plenty of different file types, like .epub, .doc, .html and .rtf and lets you add books from your device's storage and/or SD card. However, it will not open Digital Rights Management (DRM)-protected files

Download: FBReader (free)

Universal Book (UB) Reader

UB Reader

Universal Book (UB) Reader is a basic e-book reader with a polished user-interface (UI) that supports .epub and .pdf files — even ones protected by Digital Rights Management (DRM).

You can add content from your device's storage or SD card, or you can download books, both free and paid, via the Feedbooks store.

The only knock on this app is that it won't let you add additional e-book catalogs from which to download content. However, since it's one of the few e-book readers that can open DRM-protected files, this may not matter to you.

The free app does have ads, but they are minimal — a simple banner at the bottom of the page and the occasional full screen ad without sound. You can get rid of the ads by purchasing the Premium edition via an in-app purchase for $4.99. The Premium edition also has some additional features, such as a text-to-speech option, the ability to password-lock individual books, and more.

Download: UB Reader (free +IAP)

Cool Reader

Cool Reader

Cool Reader is an absolutely cool reading app because it is free and and has no ads anywhere. It supports most e-book formats, such as .epub, .fb2, .txt, .rtf, .tcr, .html, .pdb, .pml and .mobi, but will not open files protected with Digital Rights Management (DRM).

You can add books from your device or you can grab fresh content via its pre-loaded Open Publication Distribution System (OPDS) catalogs such as Feedbooks, Project Gutenburg, and Internet Archive.

Download: Cool Reader (free)

Aldiko Reader

Aldiko Reader

Aldiko is simple and clean. It's easy to switch between night and day mode and alter text size and margins just by tapping on the screen when you're reading. You have access to the Feedbooks Store, and you can also add your own custom catalogs. Oh, and you can also import your own .epub and .pdf files with this app.

Expect to see some banner ads on the free version. Get rid of the ads, gain widgets, and the ability to highlight and write notes on .epub files by upgrading to the paid version.

Download: Aldiko Reader (free +IAP)

The bottom line

There are a lot of e-book readers available for Android users. Some of them only let you get books from one source, while others allow you get them from multiple sources, and even to curate your own library.

You might miss the smell of fresh ink and pressed paper, but at least all of your books will be in one convenient place in whichever e-book reading app you choose..

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2 months ago

VPInput lets you quickly bounce between your PC and LG phone

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LG has announced a new app for its G4, G5, and V10 smartphones that wirelessly connects them to your PC. Called VPInput, the app allows you to control your phone using your PC's mouse and keyboard.

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