The display is the most important user-facing part of any smartphone, Android or otherwise. Every time we send a message, compose an email, or play a game, we use the display for all it's worth. The folks who make our phones and tablets know this, and most Androids come with a pretty good screen — even the entry-level stuff.
Equally important is knowing the settings for that big beautiful screen. There's nothing difficult here, and most of the settings are pretty self-explanatory. Have a look at the video where we go through each and every item if the Android Lollipop settings.
In short, the 'running sync loop' part is nothing to worry about
If you're using an Android Wear smartwatch, you may have noticed a slightly different connection message appearing in your notification tray of late. In short, instead of the standard "Connected" dialog, you'll get one saying "Connected, running sync loop." For most of the AC staff, the change seems to have come about with the update to the latest version of Google Play Services (version 6.5) in the past week.
Elsewhere, users of Android Wear devices like the LG G Watch, G Watch R and Moto 360 appear to be split — some are seeing "Connected," while others get "Connected, running sync loop." So what's going on? Read on for a full explanation.
Your Google Account is important. "One login, all of Google" also means one login will not only get you into all of your services and data, it potentially could let someone else in, too. And that's why, as we've told you over and over again, you need to use two-step authentication. That way, even if your password is cracked or — god forbid — stolen, any would-be trespassers have to obtain this secondary piece of verification in order to do anything. For most of us, that second step is provided by Google Authenticator, but Google has given us another method: U2F Security Keys.
We usually like to have control, but in this case Auto Brightness is the key
It's no secret that Samsung made some serious steps forward in display technology with the Galaxy Note 4, boosting resolution, colors and brightness to the highest levels we've seen from one of its phones. The 5.7-inch QHD display is quite gorgeous in any setting, and the bevy of display modes in the settings helps you tune it to you liking. But the most mundane of settings, Auto Brightness, is one that you want to have checked if you plan on using your phone out in the sun.
If you take a gander in Google Play and look for SMS replacement applications, you'll find a ton of them. For real, I weighed them. OK, not really, but there are a lot of them. The best part? Many of them are really, really good and you'll probably want to try them out. Android's pretty cool about changing core applications, and thankfully most times it is easy to do.
There's room to improve with Play Music on Wear, but at least it's finally here
One of the primary reasons for me to get a smartwatch was for music. Not to listen from it, per se, but to control music from it. Being able to leave the phone inside while I walk my laps is still a somewhat tantalizing idea, and sometimes necessary, as workout clothes (or any other kind of clothes for that matter) for ladies like me often don't have the luxury of sizable pockets. So, with the recent updates to Play Music and Android Wear bringing this welcome change, let's see about getting these jams from our phones to our wrists — and why it doesn't work as well as we would've hoped.
It takes a few steps, but the Google Keyboard has some useful options tucked inside
Here's one of those things that's been around for a little bit, but well hidden. If you're a fan of the stock Google keyboard but would love to have a dedicated number row — particularly given the size of many of today's smartphones — you can do it. It's not just an Android 5.0 Lollipop feature, so you're able to do this on the Nexus 6 or LG G3 or HTC One or whatever.
You will, however, have to do a little digging in the keyboard settings.
Controlling how, when and why your location is being shared is important to many of us. Some have privacy concerns, others are micro-managing battery use, and some of us just don't need to broadcast where we are to the world. We get it — really, we do. Security is important, and so is maximizing your battery life.
Thankfully Google gets it, too. While they would rather you opt-in for the full Google location treatment so that their data is more robust (yet anonymized), you're able to completely control how you share your location, and when you share it right in your device settings.
The quickest and easiest way to get your point across in a message can often be a screenshot. We've seen some pretty interesting ways to take them over the years, with different swipe gestures, button combinations and voice controls ... but luckily the Droid Turbo isn't doing anything funky. Though it has hardware capacitive navigation keys below the screen, it uses the same button combination as the Moto X to take screenshots.
Just press and hold both the power key and the volume down key for two seconds and the phone will capture a picture of the entire screen. You'll then get a notification indicating that a screenshot was captured — tapping it will take you into the gallery where you can edit or share it.
Still waiting on your Android 5.0 update? Here's what's up ...
Android 5.0 Lollipop is available for your Nexus device! Sort of! But definitely! Factory images are available for flashing over fastboot. Over-the-air-update file locations are known, and we can sideload at will. Code has been released to AOSP.
So why hasn't your Nexus device actually seen an Android 5.0 update yet? And is it time to freak out?
One of the best things about Android is the way you can change core components and customize things to your liking. Keyboards are a big part of that, and there are certainly plenty of great ones to choose from in Google Play. The one thing you need to know before you can use any of them, is how to switch which keyboard is active.
Long-time Android fans are used to the nagging notification in the status bar that helps you change keyboards, but things have changed a bit in Lollipop. On the Nexus 6, for example, there's a new softkey you can use to change keyboards. We're not exactly sure how this will be handled on other phones from other vendors — especially ones with capacitive buttons like the Droid Turbo or Galaxy Note 4.
Fortunately, changing the keyboard through the settings is easy and the method should be the same for every Android.
Get the latest version of Android on your Nexus on your own terms
Nexus, the line of Android devices developed in partnership between Google and different hardware manufacturers, is a program that allows developers to get their hands on a stock Android experience. It can help them develop applications for the platform quicker and easier than if they were using a device with a manufacturer skin onboard, and that's a good thing. But no matter whether a developer or average consumer buys a Nexus, either has the benefit of sideloading software updates from Google directly.
When Google works on updates to Android, it's building them to work specifically on Nexus devices. This means when Google releases an update to Android itself, it will come quickly to the supported Nexus devices instead of having to be modified to run on devices from other manufacturers. Among Nexus updates there are fast and slow(er) ways to get the update onto your phone or tablet — we're going to show you the fast way.
Using your phone in the car in most cases is bad. Sometimes, however, it's just unavoidable. For our part, we should try to reduce distractions while driving, which is why the first part of my own driving mode includes turning off Auto-Sync, so I don't get distracted by notifications I should answer at 75 mph (god bless Texas freeways). When you get a text or call, though, it's a little harder to ignore without seeing at least who it is, especially if you're on your way to meet someone. We use a Bluetooth headset or head unit to avoid holding the phone, but that doesn't help up read the incoming call or text.
Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you the Google Nexus Player. It's one of the first devices to run the Android TV flavor of Android 5.0 Lollipop. It's a smallish puck of a streaming and gaming device. And in the few days we've been using it, it's been a hell of a lot of fun, especially considering that it costs just $99.
Our full review of the Nexus Player is coming shortly. In the meantime, enjoy this 13-minute walkthrough. If you've been on the fence about whether you wanted to drop the Benjamin on this guy, it should help you answer that question.
And if you still have more you want to know, sing out in the comments, and be sure to swing by our Nexus Player forums.
Call it by its previous name "My Magazine" or call it "Briefing" — either way some people may not want to use the Flipboard-powered newsreader baked into the Galaxy Note 4's launcher. It just takes a couple steps to turn Briefing off, though, getting you back to a cleaner homescreen setup in no time.
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