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.
Spring forward, fall back. Tonight is the night for most people in the U.S. to set their clocks back an hour before they lay down to sleep, because at 2:00 am tomorrow Daylight Saving Time officially ends for 2014.
We don't expect any iPhone-level catastrophes. Places like the U.K. and Spain and even parts of Mexico have already set time back in the past week, so any sort of time-space shift wonkiness that will affect huge numbers of folks with Androids should have already been noticed. Yes, Alex and Richard have been living in the future for a week now. They claim it's glorious — we have jetpacks now. Not really.
In fact, the vast majority of us will need to do nothing to get our Android devices on the new time table. Your clock, your calendar, and other apps that use or report the correct time should move over just fine on their own at 2:00 am your local time.
Auto Awesome photos and videos are somewhat enigmatic to many, due in large part to the usually random way that they're picked and gussied up by Google. There's animated (Motion) Auto Awesomes, there's collage (Mix) Auto Awesomes, and then there are Movie Auto Awesomes. And while they'll show up on any device on their own, only the lucky users on Android can make them on command.
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.
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