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11 months ago

How to get that perfect blurry Christmas light look from your Android camera


Have fun with the camera on your phone, especially during the holidays.

We've all seen those incredible photos where the background is a series of soft, blurry lights that come together to form the iconic Christmas tree. The truly great versions of these photos are usually taken with very nice professional cameras, but you can also get this effect with the camera in your Android phone. With all of the great cameras on phones running Android this year, there's more than a couple of you out there looking to take these photos whenever the opportunity arises.

Here's a quick tutorial on capturing these photos with your phone, and the apps that will help make it easy.

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11 months ago

How to personalize your Android phone with themes, launchers, and more!


Every Android user has a theme on their phone. They just don't know it yet.

It's true. Even if you don't know what icon packs or launchers are, if your phone has a home screen on it, it's got a theme. Android users don't have to live in their app drawers: they can choose how their phone looks and functions. They can use widgets to interact with apps without opening them. They can use custom icons to theme or obscure the apps on their phone from prying eyes. They can even use gestures and contextual data to help their phone adapt to where they are and what they're doing.

So, what are Android themes and how can you get started with one?

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11 months ago

How to check data usage with Google OnHub


Sometimes you need to know how much data you're using on your home network, or how much a single device is using out of the total. With Google's OnHub routers, it's easy.

Like most everything else about the OnHub "ecosystem" (yeah, I'm tired of that word, too) you do this right from the Google On app. So grab your phone, fire up the Google On app and let's see how it's done.

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11 months ago

How to set a Priority Device in Google OnHub


Most modern routers and other home networking equipment allow you to set a specific connected device to have a higher priority than other devices on the network. This means that bandwidth is reserved for this particular device, and it won't have to wait in line while other requests are being served.

Google's OnHub routers support this, and they call it a Priority Device, and it easy to set one for a specific amount of time.

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11 months ago

Pixel C keyboard shortcuts

Pixel C keyboard

Google's Pixel C tablet has a couple really good keyboard options available for it. They're surprisingly spacious for a mobile typing mechanism, and the keys have a pretty good feel to them.

But one way Google got the keyboards to be as good as they are was to do without some of the less common secondary functionality. Some symbols have been moved. And others are missing altogether. And so you'll want to learn some keyboard shortcuts on the Pixel C.

Then there's the matter of navigating Android itself. There's no trackpad on these keyboards, so you'll have to lift your hands from the keys and peck at the screen more than you might like. Or, you can once again use some Pixel C keyboard shortcuts.

Google has a good cheat sheet that's worth taking a look at. But here are the Pixel C keyboard shortcuts we think you need to know above all others:

For navigating Android

  • Home — Search + Enter
  • Back — Search + Backspace
  • Recent apps — Alt + Tab (same as it ever was)

Missing symbols

  • Brackets — Use three dots + o for left bracket [, three dots + p for right bracket ]
  • Back slash — Three dots + equals =
  • Escape — When would you use this? We don't know. But it lives at three dots + 1

Default apps

Android sets defaults for a number of applications types — default browser, email client, messenger, etc. And there are keyboard shortcuts for launching them, which can be handy. Those shortcuts are:

  • Browser — Search + b
  • Search Search + l
  • Contacts — Search + c
  • Email — Search + e
  • Messenger — Search + t
  • Music — Search + p

Pixel C

Google Store

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11 months ago

Using manual video controls on the LG V10


You'll find that everyone has an opinion when we talk about which Android phone is the best. That's a good thing, because it means we have plenty of choices to consider when we're spending that money we work so hard to make. One thing that most people can agree with, though, is that the LG V10 has one of the best cameras on any mobile phone you can buy today.

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11 months ago

Snap Video on the LG V10 is easy and a lot of fun


There are a lot of ways to take a few short video clips and build them into something better. We first saw the concept from HTC with their Highlight feature, and since we've seen companies like Motorola and Google do the same. LG uses what they call Snap Video on the V10, and it's another awesome camera feature that's easy to use and is a lot of fun.

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11 months ago

Direct Share makes it even easier to share to your contacts in Android


Direct Share will be a great way to decrease steps between actions, eventually.

No other mobile OS handles interactions between apps quite as well as Android. With the release of Android 6.0, Google took this idea and went one step further. We use dozens of apps every day, several for communication. Instead of sharing everything to everyone every time, it makes a lot of sense to make it easy to share something with a single person, especially someone we communicate with on a regular basis.

The function is called Direct Share, and it makes it incredibly easy to share something from just about any app directly to someone you talk to on a regular basis. Here's how it works.

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11 months ago

Get your phone ready for The Force Awakens with these great Star Wars themes


The Force is strong with these themes...

It's almost here. We've already got our tickets ordered. We've watched the original trilogy a dozen times. Some of us already have placeholders in line outside the theater. Because if there was ever a time to pay someone to stand in line for you, this is it.

Here at Android Central, we're excited for The Force Awakens, but since not all of us can buy Star Wars edition Droid Turbo 2s, we're going to help you with the next best thing: Star Wars themes for the phone you're already rocking.

Here's what you'll need to assemble your theme:

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11 months ago

How to turn off 'app suggestions' in the Google Now Launcher

Google Now Launcher app suggestions

Google introduced a new app drawer style in the latest version of the Google Now Launcher — coinciding with the launch of Marshmallow — that now scrolls vertically, and has a set of so-called "app suggestions" at the top of the app drawer. It's supposed to smartly place apps at the top of the drawer based on how, when and where you use them ... but most of the time, it can just be annoying.

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11 months ago

How to use the LG V10 video camera's directional audio feature


The LG V10 has multiple microphones (three, actually) to help focus on the sound you you want to capture when you're recording video. The combo of one pointing towards the front, one pointing towards the rear, and another used to try and filter out background noises is common, and it generally works well in most cases. But LG takes it all one step further with directional audio control.

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11 months ago

What you need to know about Chromecast Audio groups


Groups are now possible with Chromcast Audio, but setup can be a little tricky.

Google's audio-only addition to the Chromecast lineup this year seemed a little lackluster at first, but a recent update adding higher quality audio and the ability to group multiple Chromecast Audio together has elevated the accessory to a must for folks with multiple speaker setups in the home.

As is often the case with new software, there's a few things you need to know in order to get everything up and running in your home or office.

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12 months ago

How to turn off Google Now on Tap and go back to the old Google Now

Google Now on Tap settings

So you're using Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and now the novelty of Google Now on Tap has worn off. Maybe it doesn't find that much useful information for you, or you just don't trigger it that often. You'd rather just have a long-press of your home button send you to the old Google Now interface instead.

Well thankfully, you can do just that — here's how you get it done.

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12 months ago

Android screenshots just got a whole lot easier, for some


Folks love sharing them some screenshots. And Google's just rolled out a new way to take them and share them, but with a few caveats.

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12 months ago

How to setup and use keyboard shortcuts on the BlackBerry Priv


The BlackBerry Priv has a physical keyboard. You probably know this by now. But when you get down to the nitty gritty, a physical keyboard is just a bunch of buttons, and when using the right software, you can do a lot of things with buttons. The BlackBerry launcher has that software baked in, and you can set shortcuts to do things like toggle your Wifi or Bluetooth, set a destination for navigation or send an email or text message to a specific contact.

That's pretty cool, and worth a closer look.

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