Manufacturers are always looking for clever ways to integrate necessary smartphone parts into their designs, putting buttons, ports and slots all over the place. Motorola has a trick up its sleeve with the Droid Turbo's SIM card slot, hiding it beneath the volume rocker on the side. The trick is carried over from the design on last year's Droid Ultra and Maxx, but it's just as impressive (and hidden) this time around.
Tasker does a lot. And it does even more with plugins, of which the unofficial king is AutoVoice. AutoVoice brings new worlds of functionality to Tasker and whatever device it runs on. On newer phones, AutoVoice can add to the hands-free functions of Google Now with little effort. On older phones, AutoVoice can replicate much of Google Now and its hands-free functions. And while I've covered it before, repeatedly, today, we're gonna dive a little deeper into Tasker and AutoVoice.
Moto Assist can tell when you're driving based on GPS, but there's also another clever way it can tell when you're in the car: the Bluetooth. You should be using a Bluetooth device for hands-free calling in the car, and realizing this, Motorola has included algorithms that will detect which bluetooth devices are connected while in Driving mode and will eventually turn on Driving based on the Bluetooth rather than GPS.
The top Android OEMs all offer a battery saving mode on their phones, and with Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google has it, too. No-one likes getting caught short without a charger in sight. The good news is that it's a doddle to set up and use, just so long as you know where to find it. It's easy to miss if you're not aware of where to find it.
That's where we come in. So, here's where to find it and how to use it to help extend your battery life as far as you can.
This is one of those really basic things for most folks here. We get that. But it's worth a reminder for those new to Android (hi, new folks!), and new to Android 5.0 Lollipop. And so it deserves a quick minute of our time.
Most of what you'll see in the Lollipop developer settings (at least as of the updated preview) is the same as what you'll find in KitKat. Go to Settings>About phone and hit the build number 7 times to unlock things. And most of us won't need to go anywhere near most of the options. (USB debugging really is the only one I ever need to touch.) It is worth noting, however, that you won't find an option to either use the Dalvik or experimental ART runtime. That's because (and, again, those of you in the back of the class should know this already) the new Android Runtime is the default in Android 5.0, and it's been built to run apps compiled for Dalvik as well. This is a good thing.
You'll find some new media options for an experimental HTML5 player and USB audio, some Wifi tweaks, and a few other things that frankly I have no business mucking about with.
We're all aware of the dangers of using a smartphone behind the wheel, but as they're ever more the center of our connected lifestyles there are several things it can do for you. Music, navigation, hands-free communication, for example.
The Pebble may have been a first smartwatch for many, but it was far from the first smartwatch made available to the public. And in fact, the Pebble wasn't even the first smartwatch from Eric Migicovsky. Stepping back for a moment — for those not familiar with the name — Eric Migicovsky is the founder of Pebble. Along with that little tidbit, we've got so much more information about the Pebble in that's worth knowing.
Voice over LTE is a big deal, and we're finally getting our first tastes of it
Here in the U.S., carriers are slowly starting to roll out the red carpet for Voice over LTE. If it is available in your area and through your carriers, taking advantage of the upgrade currently depends on your having the right hardware. Once you have everything you need, setting VoLTE up on your phone is very easy and well worth it.
While it's not as flashy as talking to your phone and using those admittedly cool voice actions built into the new Moto X, there's a slick little tool in the app drawer that a lot of people will find useful — Moto Migrate. It's been around since the first iteration of the Moto X, and if you talk to people who have used it, most will say it worked great. It just never caught the spotlight like the other features, because it's one of those apps you use once then never look at again.
I've been fiddling with it, and noticed a few changes (mostly good changes) so I wanted to talk about it a little bit, and hopefully folks buying a new Moto X will see how it works and get some use out of it. I did!
Join this former Twitter skeptic as he determines what makes a Twitter profile good
OK, guys, I'm going to have to be honest. I was a little intimidated when I found out I'd be writing an article like this. After all, it wasn't all that long ago that I was just shedding my Twitter skepticism. As I used Twitter more, the more I realized Twitter is actually pretty cool and has its uses. I also admitted that I still was not yet tweeting much myself. And everybody will have a different idea of what makes something "good"; it is a rather subjective term.
Still, I can sure share what I think makes a good profile. I want to hear your thoughts on the matter, too. We all have something we can learn from each other.
One of our favorite features that manufacturers and developers have brought to Android the past couple of years has been a way to set a "do not disturb" mode. When we want to get a little bit of sleep, or any sort of a rest from the constant beeping and chiming our wee electronic masters use to rouse us, it's nice to be able to set things up so that the phone will shut up, then come back to life when we want it to.
Google Wallet can be as secure as a physical card at your favorite retailers - or even more secure, considering tokenization makes cards stolen in recent hacks such as the Target and Home Depot breaches useless. But how do you keep someone else from stealing your phone to pay for stuff? How do you keep the other side of your digital wallet secure? Well, it's quite simple, and coming right up.
You just need a screwdriver, a new stick of RAM and 20 minutes to upgrade your HP Chromebox
Chromeboxes are a great inexpensive way to get another computer in the house, and with how often they go on sale you could get one for less than $150. Unfortunately if you go with the HP Chromebox you're getting a desktop machine with just 2GB of RAM, and depending on what your plans are for it that's not going to be enough.
Now this little micro-sized desktop isn't made to be upgraded per se, but thankfully at least the RAM slot is easily accessible. If you've picked up an HP Chromebox and want to make the move from 2GB to 4GB of RAM, we have the guide for you. Read along and see our step-by-step instructions for the upgrade process.
Tasker is a mighty powerful app in its own right, but I'll confess, one of its best features is the plugins that help it do even more than it could on its own. (The best feature is — and always will be — the wonderful support community that gathers around this app.) Plugins come in many sizes and shapes, but a few stand head and shoulders above the rest.
We've covered some of these before, and others will be making their first appearance. Without further ado, let's get automating!
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