Recent Articles | Android Central

Shop: Insanely Cheap Wireless Plans | Chromebooks: Asus Flip | Acer R13

Headlines

6 months ago

Traveling with Allo? You can swap SIMs without logging out

13
Allo + travel

You can activate Allo on your normal number and still use a local SIM for data.

In addition to being linked to your Google account, Allo is tied to your main phone number. That makes things tricky if you use multiple devices — unlike Hangouts, there's no easy way to use it on multiple phones at the same time right now. And the phone number tie-in might seem to make things difficult for travelers too — specifically being stuck on one phone number with the associated roaming costs when traveling abroad.

Fortunately, there's a simple workaround.

Read more and comment

 
6 months ago

Allo is now available from the Play Store!

119

Google's smart messaging app Allo is finally becoming available to the public. The app is now available on Android and iOS. Announced back at I/O 2016, Allo is the first app to integrate Google Assistant, a chatbot that leverages the company's machine learning and AI smarts to provide answers, suggest replies to conversations, retreive your travel information, and so much more. Think of it as an evolution to Google Now.

Read more and comment

 
6 months ago

Google Trips wants to be the only app you need while traveling

21

Google has released a new app to the public that takes its Gmail inbox-reading machine learning prowess and applies it to travel.

Dubbed Google Trips, the app consolidates all of the travel data Google has collected from Gmail (with your permission) and arrays it in an easy-to-understand way, with offline support for those times you don't have cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity.

The app takes what Inbox and Google Now have been doing for some time — deciphering the automatic emails you get from booking sites, travel agents, and other sources — and adds personalized recommendations for what the company calls the "top 200 cities in the world." These include local tourist hotspots, restaurants and "local gems," consolidating them into a full day's tour that can be followed offline.

The app has been in beta since April, and as a result feels extremely polished and well-designed. From a recent trip to San Francisco, for example, it pulled in my flight and hotel data as well as any places I'd saved in Google Maps. It also described local customs, shopping districts, and any other essential information such as available of taxis and how to navigate the public transit system.

Trips can be as automatic or customized as you want, depending on how much time and investment you want to put into it. You can also add one location in a city and have Trips fill in nearby attractions based on that manual input — very clever if you know you have one or two things to hit but don't have a full day planned.

While much of this information is available through various Google services already — Gmail, Inbox, Maps, and Google Now — it's nice to see an app like Trips that, for the avid traveler, will fill in any of those blanks.

Read more and comment

 
6 months ago

Google Photos update simplifies sharing, launches new automatic creations

13

It's now even easier to share from Google Photos to anyone, no matter what.

Google Photos

Google Photos already does a great job letting you share photos, videos and albums, but with its latest app update things are getting even simpler. Now when selecting photos to share, you can bypass the idea of sharing to a specific app and just send to specific people instead — the share sheet will now just have a "To:" field where you can type names, email addresses or phone numbers.

Read more and comment

 
6 months ago

Exploring the world of Adult VR apps [NSFW]

79

How do I find the best adult VR apps?

The last couple of years have represented the time when VR became accessible to the people. From Google Cardboard to the popularity of the Samsung Gear VR just a few weeks ago, we've seen experiences that can take us around the world, right to the Avengers Tower. For some of us though, there has been a lingering question, is there adult content for VR floating out there on the internet?

Plenty of folks have been wondering about adult content for VR out there, and how well it was done. So I took it upon myself to hunt it down, and let everybody know whether it's worth your time — and money.

Read more and comment

 
6 months ago

Best fantasy football apps for Android

68

Football season is back, baby!

The kickoff to the 2016 NFL season is rapidly approaching, and from office leagues to public leagues, we're sure there's a lot of you looking to get in on the fantasy action. We've gathered up our favorite Android apps to help you dominate this year's fantasy football draft (and hopefully, the season that follows it)! You'll find plenty of options here, each letting you drill down into player statistics, latest news, and updates to your draft.

Note: these apps are for season-long fantasy football, not daily fantasy sites like FanDuel and Draft Kings.

Updated: This article has been refreshed with the latest information as of September 2016.

Read more and comment

 
6 months ago

Action Launcher's September update brings rumored Pixel phone features

48

It's September, which means another update to Chris Lacy's excellent Action Launcher, our favorite third-party launcher.

This month, Action Launcher offers a set of features that are rumored to be coming to the upcoming Pixel phones when they are expected to launch next month. Many of the improvements, such as swiping up from the dock to reveal All Apps, have been built through leaks and off-hand experiences.

The full change log is below:

  • Integration of Nexus Launcher's rumored All Apps drawer. Swipe up on the dock to reveal All Apps.
  • Two new Nexus Launcher inspired style folder types!
  • Add tinted dock background.
  • Customize the colors of All Apps, folder icons and the dock background via Quicktheme.
  • Add caret (^) page indicator.
  • Add Google "pill" widget.
  • Add date widget.
  • Many miscellaneous bug fixes.

I've been using the September update on my Moto Z for a month or so in beta form and have to say it is one of the most easily-recommended launcher experiences on Android, period.

Download: Action Launcher (free)

Read more and comment

 
6 months ago

BlackBerry brings whole productivity app suite to more Android phones

43

Last month, BlackBerry announced they would be bringing their Android apps such as the BlackBerry Hub, Calendar, and Password Keeper to even more Android users through a new subscription offering called Hub+.

Now, they have announced an expansion of that access adding even more of the productivity apps to the mix.

Read more and comment

 
6 months ago

Google's September security update has three patch levels

81

Google has broken the security patches down even further to make it easier for manufacturers.

For more than a year now, Google has been addressing security on Android through monthly updates. These updates are provided to Google's partners 30 days before being released to Nexus, Pixel, and Android One hardware in hopes that all of Android can be more secure every month. Despite these efforts, many Android phones still lack regular security updates. September 6th marks not only a new month for Google's security patch program, but a new step in further simplifying the security patch so more phones and tablets can remain up to date.

September's security patch levels will look like this:

  • 2016-09-01 — patches for a pair of Critical remote code execution vulnerabilities, many serious Elevation of Privilege vulnerabilities, several Information Disclosure vulnerabilities, and a pair of Denial of Service vulnerabilities all within Android itself.
  • 2016-09-05 — Everything in the 2016-09-01 patch, as well as patches for several kernel related Elevation of Privilege vulnerabilities, many Qualcomm driver-related vulnerabilities, and Elevation of privilege vulnerabilities found in other third-party drivers.
  • 2016-09-06 — Everything in the 2016-09-01 and 2016-09-05 patches, as well as a fix for a Critical Elevation of Privilege vulnerability in the kernel shared memory subsystem and a fix for a vulnerability in a Qualcomm networking component.

Obviously the September 6th patch level will make your phone or tablet the most secure, but breaking up the patches into specific categories like this makes it easier for many manufacturers to release something. Google's report reminds everyone that there have been no reported cases of active exploits using any of the vulnerabilities fixed in these patches, but these are all still incredibly important additions to Android itself and should be installed as soon as possible. If you have a Nexus, Pixel, Android One, or BlackBerry Android phone you'll see this update arrive shortly through and Over the Air update. If you'd prefer to install that update on a Nexus right now, you can find the images on Google's Developer Site.

For every other manufacturer, we'll have to wait and see which patch level is offered in their update!

Read more and comment

 
6 months ago

The best way to use a Lucky Egg in Pokémon Go!

How do I gain an extra level or two in a hurry in Pokémon Go with your Lucky Egg?

As you start to reach Level 9 or higher in Pokémon Go, you'll start to see a Lucky Egg or two in your Items list. These can also be bought from the Shop, but no matter how you get one you need to use them to their fullest possible extent. A Lucky Egg will double all of the XP you get for 30 minutes, so you want to spend that time wisely. There are a couple of strategies floating around for getting the most out of Lucky Egg, but this one seems to work best so far.

Read more and comment

 
6 months ago

The end of Nexus: This year's Google phones to forge new path

470
Chrome Android statue

The 'Nexus' brand is going away, but the biggest deal here is the large change in software experience that will accompany the new branding.

This year's Google-branded Android phones will not use the "Nexus" name, Android Central understands, indicating a hard break from the past six years of flagship devices for the company. The widely expected HTC-built handsets — referred to as "Nexus" phones in recent online leaks — will instead come to market under a different brand name, according to several people familiar with Google's plans.

Read more and comment

 
7 months ago

What you need to know about DT Ignite, the hidden bloatware your carrier may have installed

104

What the heck is going on with this app called DT Ignite?

Right about now, half of us are ready to jump to the comments and start hollerin' about DT Ignite, while the other half is scratching their heads wondering what we're talking about.

We're talking about a piece of carrier bloatware named DT Ignite. It's an application written by Digital Turbine (thus the DT part) that's used to pre-load other applications onto your phone. Some folks are having issues with a recent Verizon HTC 10 update and DT Ignite re-enabling itself or running after it's been disabled, but the app itself is not new. And yes, it's something you would never install yourself and is bloatware in any and every sense of the word, but it's not the demon some make it out to be.

As mentioned, DT Ignite is used to install other apps onto your carrier-branded phone. While people tend to point fingers at Verizon when talking about it, DT Ignite is used by a good number of carriers — AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, US Cellular, America Movi, Deutsche Telecom, Vodaphone, Singtel, Cloudphone, MTS and more according to the Digital Turbine website.

Some folks seem sure that the technology is licensed to Sprint for the Sprint Zone app, but I can't find any evidence either way. Folks using Rogers are also saying they see DT Ignite installed, but the company is not listed on DT's page. Not all phones from these carriers have DT Ignite installed, but many — including the Galaxy S7 that most people are buying — do.

People tend to point fingers at Verizon when talking about DT Ignite, but is used by AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and carriers in Europe and Canada

About those Verizon HTC 10 update bugs some people are saying they see — we've heard three different issues:

  • DT Ignite re-enables itself after the recent 1.82 update. This may be expected behavior if a new version of the app is installed. Just disable it again.
  • DT Ignite hides from the App Manager after the 1.82 update. It doesn't — you have to show system apps in the App Manager to see it.
  • DT Ignite runs intermittently in the background even if disabled after the 1.82 update. Only a few people are seeing this bug. This isn't normal behavior and more troubleshooting is needed. Or just reset your phone and let DT Ignite do its thing again, then start uninstalling and disabling.

Carriers use DT Ignite to install the apps they want you to see when you set up your phone for the first time or after it's been factory reset. It also can spam your notifications with ads for suggested apps at any time. You also agreed to allow it to do both when you clicked accept without reading during setup. It doesn't install any apps on its own after the initial setup, but it does run in the background.

Why it sucks: It installs apps you don't want using your monthly data allotment to do it. It also spams your notification bar with ads for apps like Soda Crush.

Why it doesn't suck: Soda Crush doesn't have to be pre-installed to get you to know it's there.

We agree that having an application that can install crap you don't want is not a good thing. Not at all. But the alternative is worse. DT Ignite has one very redeeming property: using it is better than the old method of installing this crap into your system partition where you can't remove it. And while we hate having it, we have to remember that we agreed to it being there.

The good news is that once it's done doing its setup shenanigans, you can disable it. If you head to the App Manager section of your phone settings and allow it to show system apps (look in any menus or overflow areas) it's right there where you can click the button to shut it down. And that's the first thing you should do after you're done uninstalling the apps it randomly dropped onto your phone.

We can wave pitchforks and bundle kindling as we rail against carriers and shoddy practices like this, but the fact remains that we keep buying phones with this sort of thing installed. If you just can't deal with DT Ignite or any other bloatware app, you should stop buying carrier phones. If you want or need to buy carrier phones, you should accept the fact that it happens and will continue, then judiciously uninstall or disable them and stop worrying about it.

Read more and comment

 
7 months ago

Pokémon Go: Common problems and fixes!

 Common problems and fixes

Pokémon Go is shockingly popular. But it's not the most stable app at the moment.

With tens of millions of players hitting the game, there are bound to be a few issues — particularly when the game relies on your phone's internet and GPS connections, as well as Niantic's servers.

Rather than have you track down things all over trying to fix issues, we've rounded up common Pokémon Go problems, and some solutions to fix them!

Read more and comment

 
7 months ago

How to capture amazing video on your Galaxy phone

8

How do I capture better video on my Galaxy phone? With a little help from these tools!

Almost anyone, regardless of age or skill level, can play around with experimenting and shooting video on their Galaxy device.

With the help from some tools, a couple of simple tips, and some editing apps, you can turn your phone videos into some beautiful, memorable visual masterpieces. Plus, shooting video with your Galaxy is a blast because of its wide selection of toys and gear, room for creativity, and overall ease.

Shooting professional-looking video with your Galaxy phone is better than you think, so here's what you need to get started on your next mobile Hollywood blockbuster!

Gear

Just like someone who shoots professionally, you need some decent gear to capture the best quality video. However, because we aren't shooting anything too terribly intense, there's no need to break the bank or purchase crazy expensive equipment (unless you really really want to).

There are many inexpensive options available out there to bump up your overall Galaxy video quality, and the best part is you can choose to use one piece of gear, or all of them at once!

These are a few pieces of video equipment to consider using while shooting with your Galaxy phone.

External Lenses

External Lenses

Similar to a DSLR camera, switching up your lenses can change what your videos look like, how they feel, and the overall quality of your clips.

With the help of an external lens, it's easy to get creative and shoot your subject at different angles. You'll be more likely to do something unique with a fisheye, wide-angle, macro, or any other external piece rather than just your standard Galaxy camera. All you have to do is attach the lens, aim, and start recording.

Depending on the type of lens you're looking at shooting with, the prices can vary. Some can cost as little as a couple of dollars online (with decidedly low quality), while others can go up to $500+ for more serious phone videographers.

At the end of the day, the way you shoot will also influence the type lenses you buy. If you're looking to shoot more still, calmer videos, then magnetized or clamp-based lenses may be a great idea; if you're looking to shoot video that's a bit more fast-paced and intense, then you'll have to spring for a set of lenses that attach with a case (or even maybe find one that's waterproof).

Check out the XENVO Premium Lens Kit as a high-quality, reliable first lens option that won't leave you bankrupt.

See at Amazon

Tripod

Tripod

If you're looking to keep your shots steady and even, then using a tripod with your Galaxy is a must.

It doesn't matter if you're trying to capture a time lapse video, or attempting to get the perfect angle for your Instagram post, a tripod keeps your footage looking crisp and clean, taking your video from "Obviously shot on a Smartphone" to "Woah!"

Tripod types vary depending on the size of camera it's meant to mount, so it's unnecessary to spend a ton of money on something that specifically holds a larger DSLR or a video camera.

Smaller, less rigid tripods that move, twist, and bend in all directions work extremely well in tight spaces and weird positions, making them the best for shooting with your Galaxy phone as you can get the most creative results. You can pick up something like the JOBY GripTight GorillaPod to get the intended result.

As a bonus, smaller tripods that bend are also easier for storage, so it's great for shooting video on the go.

See at Amazon

External light source

External light source

Whether you're taking video of a friend's party, shooting action-packed skateboarding stunts, getting a timelapse at the lake, or anything in between, there's probably going to be room for an external light source to amp up your video quality.

Even though your Galaxy phone's flash produces quite a bit of light, it may not work while recording video. And although you can use the recording option in tandem with some flashlight apps, this can unfortunately oversaturate the image and wash-out the video if you don't have control over how much light is let in.

An external light is a great piece of equipment for recording video because there are plenty of options to pick from depending on the type of video you want to shoot. For example, the Universal Dimmable cell phone light is a great option if you're looking to brighten up your photos without jumping through any hoops.

There are more durable ones for action-packed videos, or simple LED lights for interviews, and with lights like these you can typically adjust and control the flood of light that you let into frame so nothing looks too washed-out.

See at Amazon

Microphone

Microphone

If you're just looking to film fun little montages or music videos, a microphone isn't a necessary piece of gear to have — your phone's mic will do just fine. But if you're looking to talk to people on camera and have every syllable picked up on audio, or record crystal-clear ambient sound, then looking into a portable microphone for your Galaxy phone might be a great option to consider.

Microphones can give some incredible sound quality to videos, even if the footage isn't 100% top-of-the-line: people watching videos can't stand barely-intelligible audio. Even though most modern Android phones have numerous microphones, having something like a case attached, or even the way you hold the phone, can cover the holes, severely distort the sound quality.

While microphones for video and DSLR cameras can be a few hundred dollars, you can find some compatible microphones for your Galaxy online that won't be too terribly expensive. The Rode Videomicro Compact microphone is under a hundred dollars and makes sound clear as crystal!

Keep in mind that while you're shooting video, the microphone will add some weight to your phone, so shooting with a tripod or a stabilizer might be a great option to keep your footage steady and pro-looking.

See at Amazon

Gear bag

Gear bag

Keeping your items stored can make sure that none of your gear gets damaged as you're moving around and shooting. Whether you're spending a lot or a little on video equipment, you want it to be working properly when you find the perfect shot.

You can either opt for a large, bulkier gear bag, or something a bit smaller depending on what you use to shoot.

If you're just shooting with external lenses, then a smaller roll-like bag, like the Photojojo Photographer's Pouch, could be good at keeping everything separated and neat, but if you're shooting with various tripods and lights, you might want something a bit bigger.

There are tons of options to pick from, but the key is to find something compartmentalized. Keep in mind that all this gear isn't as gigantic as DSLR gear, so even using DSLR bags designed for lenses that have multiple sections may be a good idea for hauling you Galaxy video equipment.

See at Photojojo

Shooting Tips

The ability to capture decent video is something most smartphones are capable of nowadays.

The difference between a cool video and an amazing video usually has way more to do with the person holding the camera, and the cool thing about people is they don't require a software update.

With that in mind, here's a couple of quick tips for shooting video on Android.

Vertical Videos

There's no nice way to say this, so I'll just come out and say it: if you're holding your phone vertically while recording video, you're doing it wrong.

The video you capture in portrait looks terrible to anyone watching the video, because the video doesn't fill the screen and makes enjoying the video you captured much more difficult. Any chance you have to turn your phone landscape to record video, you should absolutely do so. The resulting video will look much better, especially if you upload to services like YouTube for the world to see.

It's also worth pointing out that if you start recording a video vertically and rotate your phone to horizontal in the middle of recording, the video will not rotate with you. Instead you'll get something that is entirely unwatchable, because not only will the video be vertical but it will also be sideways.

Know when to use 4K

Lots of modern Android smartphones let you crank up the video resolution to 4K, and while this is an incredibly cool way to future-proof your videos by making sure the quality stands up to the test of time there's a few things about 4K that can cause problems for you.

Not only is recording 4K video incredibly expensive as far as processing power and local storage goes, but most of the first and second generation 4K-capable Android phones sacrifice things like video smoothing and stability for that higher resolution. This means 4K recording by someone with shaky hands or an attempt to capture something moving especially fast can actually wind up looking worse when recording in this higher resolution mode.

The best way to be sure your videos are going to be the best is to test out things like 4K before you go to capture something important, and be aware of the limitations found in whatever device you are recording with.

Be quiet

Whether you're running after something to catch a video of it, or you're just a loud breather all the time, it's important to be aware of how the sounds you make affect the video you are recording.

Shouting at someone on the other side of a Baseball field while holding a camera three feet from your face, for example, is a sure-fire way to cause everyone watching your video to cringe. It's not just shouting, in fact when you record something in a quiet place your Android camera could easily pick up on the sound of you breathing and focus on that instead of whatever you are recording.

It's not an easy problem to solve unless you are aware it is happening, and the easiest way to do that is to just pay attention to the sounds you are making and your proximity to the camera.

Settings

Every Android manufacturer does things just a little differently, and on top of that there are plenty of apps out there to take things even further with photos and videos. Being aware of what your app is capable of sets you up to record even better videos, as well as new kinds of videos that you never thought would be fun to capture.

The video settings menu for your camera app is your friend, and through it you could find yourself capturing 4K videos with laser focus, slow motion videos of your friend getting thrown in the pool, or even HRD video when you're in a place with questionable lighting.

The end result is better videos for every occasion, which isn't a big deal until you pull your phone out to capture that perfect moment. Use your settings, and have fun with your video!

Editing Apps

After shooting video on your phone, you'll want to be able to edit together your footage without exporting it to a computer.

Some editing programs are quite expensive, but you can edit creatively straight from your Galaxy phone screen without much hassle as long as you have the right apps to work with.

Here are a couple of editing apps that go hand-in-hand with shooting video on your Galaxy!

FilmoraGo

FilmoraGo is one the best option you have for smoothly editing through the footage you've captured with your Galaxy. One, because it's easy to follow along and understand the app's instructions, two, because the app has an incredible amount of creative options, and three, because it's just a great, overall video-editing tool!

After selecting the video clips you would like to string together, Filmora will give you little tips as your go throughout your editing process. If you think this is annoying, you can turn the option off when you first start compiling your video.

The variety of themes within the app give the user a ton of fun creative control, and if you didn't want to waste your time doing step-by-step editing, popping on a theme is a great alternative. You can pick from themes like fashion, 80's, winter, Chaplain, and much more.

With FilmoraGo, you can also get a bit more detailed with your video editing, adding in colored filters, titles, overlays, and more, all while editing the speed, the volume, and the length of specific clips.

Overall, FilmoraGo is a really fantastic, easy to use app that makes editing from your phone not only simple and headache-free, but also super fun! You'll soon be playing around with your settings, finding weird ways to splice clips together, and figuring out all the ways to turn your Galaxy videos into true Hollywood blockbusters.

Download: FilmoraGo (free)

VivaVideo

Slap a filter on it, add some music, and edit to your hearts content with VivaVideo, an unique Instagram-like video editor for your Galaxy phone!

The theme option is particularly great if you want some flashing editing and transition effects along with a couple of colored filters and some funky music. The great thing about VivaVideo is the wide variety of options that come along with the app, including themes that cater to country life, romance, pop art, retro, and more.

You can also add music to your Galaxy videos, or choose to keep the music going underneath your video from the theme you pick. With VivaVideo, you can even add special effects to your video, along with transitions, text, filters, and stickers to make your final product truly unique.

The worst part about VivaVideo? The watermark in the lower right corner. While the app is free to download, it costs $2.99 to be able to export your video without a watermark, and $3.99 to remove the watermark, remove the video duration limit, and get rid of all those pestering ads on the app.

Download: VivaVideo (free)

Triller

Sometimes you want to shoot great interviews or more serious moments with your Galaxy device, but other times you want to have a little fun and make montages and music videos.

Triller is a really nifty video editing app worth checking out that combines social media with video-making creativity!

After picking out a song from your library or the recommended music from Triller, you get to throw a filter on your video and customize the look of your clip. Then just angle and begin shooting to record your mini music video. The music will begin playing out loud so you know exactly what lyrics and music to follow along to.

While Triller seems a bit barren compared to other video editing apps for your Galaxy device, the thing that makes it truly unique is the social media and sharing aspect. Like apps like Vine and Instagram, you can post your video straight to your feed to have it seen by others around the world. You can also view other people's videos and get inspiration for creative storytelling ideas from them.

Download: Triller (free)

What do you recommend?

Is there a tool, tip, or app that we missed that can make shooting pro video with your Galaxy phone easier? Let us know what you use to shoot in the comments below.

Read more and comment

 
7 months ago

How to fix Google Now Launcher on the Galaxy Note 7 after using Secure Folder

24
How to fix Google Now Launcher on the Galaxy Note 7

Samsung's Secure Folder gets in the way of Google's launcher.

Google Now Launcher is one of the most popular third-party launchers out there, but it unfortunately doesn't always play nicely with the Galaxy Note 7. It turns out that Samsung's KNOX security platform causes issues with Google Now Launcher when both are in use. That actually shouldn't be a surprise if you've used the Galaxy S7, Note 5 or S6, either — this longstanding issue has annoyed plenty of people over multiple generations of phones.

We have a couple of tips to hopefully get them both working together, though. Let us show you what you can do about it.

Read more and comment

 
Show More Headlines

Pages