Motorola has enabled some features from the Moto app for the new Moto G 2015. We first saw these "smart" — and fully disableable — features with the original Moto X, and they have been refined to work better with newer versions of Android. To Motorola's credit, the current version provides three simple, yet powerful functions that work well — even on the "lesser" hardware of the Moto G 2015.
Taking a screenshot on your phone is one of its most basic functions, but the Galaxy Note 5 has a trick up its sleeve that helps it go well beyond a standard one-screen capture. Though you still have two simple ways to take a regular full-screen screenshot to share or keep for yourself, there's also a new option called "scrolling capture" that lets you automatically stitch together multiple screenshots into a full scrollable and editable image.
Samsung is planning to take its ongoing tussle with Apple to the Supreme Court, according to recently filed court documents. Following a rejection by the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider a decision that could see Samsung paying out hundreds of millions to Apple, Samsung is hoping to take its case to the highest court.
Research firm DisplayMate, which regularly offers its opinions on the quality of smartphone and tablet displays, has conducted its usual, and extensive, series of tests on the recently announced Samsung Galaxy Note 5. The final result of those tests has the firm declaring that the display on Samsung's latest phone is the best one made for any smartphone yet.
You might have heard that the new Samsung Galaxy Note 5 comes without Google+ preinstalled. While some are using this as more "proof" that Google+ is dead (that's another discussion for another time), in reality it's just one of several Google applications that are no longer required to be included by the folks who make our phones.
The way this whole Android thing works is difficult for some to understand. Google writes and updates Android itself, but gives the source code away to anyone. As consumers, we can get our own copy from the AOSP (Android Open Source Project) repository. Google even has pretty thorough instructions to help you build it into a fully functioning version of Android.
Phone manufacturers have access to the Android source code, too. They also get it for free. Like you and I, they are allowed to modify and change any parts they like. This is how things like the Amazon FireOS happen. And it's a very good thing.
If a phone manufacturer wants to include the Google apps suite they need to conform to a few rules
But things get a little different when it comes to installing Google's proprietary apps and services.
If a phone manufacturer wants to include the Google apps suite — things like the Play Store or Gmail (and more) — they need to conform to a few rules. Once they have done their thing to Android itself, they have to have their version tested for compatibility by Google. Once approved, they are given a package list of apps they must install.
In the past, we've seen all sorts of applications made by Google that many of us wish weren't installed. Samsung, or LG or HTC included them because they were part of the mandatory package list from Google. You either take them all, or you get none. That sounds pretty unfair, but Google never said they were fair. These apps aren't open source, nor are they part of the AOSP. If you want Gmail to be on your new phone from any manufacturer, you're also going to get other apps Google wants to be installed. It makes sense from a business standpoint, but it never felt very friendly. And it's not just Google who does this sort of thing. Apple bundles bloatware many don't want or need into every iPhone, as does Microsoft. These companies want you to see all of their services, and aren't afraid to push them on you.
Luckily, things are getting better. Recent changes to the rules phone makers need to follow to get a Google approved version of Android have allowed for certain apps to no longer be mandatory. Google Play Games, Google Play Books, Google+ and Google Newsstand now join the ranks with Google Earth and Google Keep as apps that aren't a required part of the Google applications package. They are still in the Play Store, are still regularly updated and will work just as well for those of us who want them. And this is how things ought to be. In fact, we'd like to see even more Google apps get sent packing, but still be there in the Play store for those who want them.
I don't want applications I'll never use to be preinstalled on my phone. Whether it's Google Play Newsstand, or Apple's iBooks, or Microsoft Money, these companies have an effective delivery method for folks who want to use them in their respective application stores. The less bloatware that gets tossed in my face, the better.
Of course, this doesn't stop the folks building our phones from installing their own applications. Nor does it stop the carriers from pre-installing every app they think they can make a few pennies from installing. You're still going to have apps like T-Mobile TV, Sprint Zone, AT&T Navigator and Verizon Messenger installed, whether you want them or not.
But at least you won't have to disable Google Play Newsstand, and that's a step in the right direction from Google.
Verizon will finally begin pushing the Android 5.1 update out for the HTC One M9 beginning on August 20. According to HTC's Mo Versi, HTC has received approval from Verizon to push the update, which will bring several other fixes in addition to Android 5.1.
We've picked nits here and there about little things in some of the apps that are available for Android Auto. And mostly they're issues that could be cleaned up by Android Auto itself. And we've largely let them slide given that this is a new platform for Google and Android.
But we've finally found an Android Auto app that's left us scratching our heads.
Google has pushed an update out to Google Photos on Android, bringing along some great new features. Coming along in the latest update is the ability to reorder your photos in albums, video trimming, and more.
Here's what you need to know — and what you'll have to continue waiting for — now that the next version of Android is officially official and full of Marshmallowy goodness.
Android 6.0 Marshmallow today is official. Or, rather, it's the start of being official, as these things don't actually happen all at once. In fact, the M era started back at the Google I/O developer conference in late May. And we don't yet have it all.
So here's what you need to know about the next major version of our favorite operating system. This is Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
Xiaomi held an event in India recently to launch its new MIUI 7 OS, but unfortunately there was no stream of the event. If you missed out on it, and were hoping to check out all of the announcements for yourself, you can now do so from the comfort of your own home.
If you haven't thought about picking up a wireless charger already, it's only a matter of time. They're convenient in just about every scenario, whether you're at your office desk or on the road. There's no fumbling for lost charging cables or adapters, just a clean and simple solution that only requires you to drop your Qi-compatible device on a pad, puck or dock and go about your business.
Need help choosing the best wireless charger for your device? We're here to help. Take a look at our 5 favorite wireless chargers available right here at ShopAndroid.com.
Update: Apparently that whole thing about the phone failing the drop test was a joke, according to Project Ara's later Twitter post, but apparently they are still using a new way to connect the modules together and ditching their electropermanent magnet idea.
Original story: Google confirmed earlier this week that the first market pilot for its Project Ara modular smartphone would be pushed back from late 2015 to sometime in 2016. Now a new message on the project's official Twitter account may have revealed that the reason for the delay was due in part to those smartphones failing drop tests.
This is undeniably the year of the Android camera. Over the last few months we've seen phone after phone come out with an intense focus on camera quality — to varying degrees of success — and many of the folks who use these phones every day couldn't be happier. This quantum surge in camera quality leaves a lot of folks who value the pictures their phone can take stuck between several great choices for an entirely new reason.
One of the big things OnePlus has been talking about with their latest smartphone release is how special their camera is, and how much work went into making it great. As we saw in our review, the camera in the OnePlus 2 is certainly capable of delivering quality photos. Now it's time to throw this camera in the ring with two other phones with amazing cameras, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the LG G4, to see which phone comes out on top.
For this camera comparison, each set will have the Galaxy S6 on the left, the OnePlus 2 in the middle, and the LG G4 on the right. The images in this post have been resized to 2048 x 2048 but are otherwise unaltered. Totally untouched versions of each photo are available at the bottom of the article.
The photos in this first set were taken Full Auto with the focal point determined by the camera. In this set you can see the G4 looks a little washed out compared to the OnePlus 2 and Galaxy S6, despite being the most color accurate.
The OnePlus 2 and Galaxy S6 are remarkably similar in detail for the foreground and background for this image, enough so that it's hard to call one a clear winner over the other.
This photo set is tap to focus, with Auto for all other settings. The tap point here is the five purple flowers arranged like the points of a pentagon in the left bundle of flowers, and in this instance the OnePlus 2 is the clear winner.
The colors are brighter and focal point sharper than either the Galaxy S6 or the G4. Samsung's camera is a close second here in overall quality, while LG's image gets a little grainy around the focal point.
This photo set is Full Auto HDR, with important points in the foreground and background. Once again LG manages to be the most color accurate, though OnePlus and Samsung manage to be more visually appealing with their post-processing.
Each photo shows great detail in the foreground, but the OnePlus 2 brightened the left side of the posts noticeably more than the G4 or Galaxy S6. LG is also noticeably weaker in the background details than either of the other two cameras.
Next up we have Full Auto with a ton of little things to check out. Detail is incredibly important with shots like this, and the OnePlus 2 fell flat on its face compared to the Galaxy S6 and LG G4. While the photo looks great zoomed out, there's almost no detail in the centers of the flowers for OnePlus.
LG clearly wins this round, with an incredible amount of detail all over the place. The Galaxy S6 is a close second, but not quite as clear as the G4.
An unfortunate consequence of failing to capture the appropriate detail in Full Auto is what happens when you take the same photo with HDR on. In this set you see a nice light look to all three photos, but if you look at the flower petals you see the OnePlus 2 washes out even more detail to get there.
The G4 is still the clear winner up close, but the Galaxy S6 is right on its heels.
This mural photo is another tap to focus shot with everything else set to Auto. The focal point is the green dot on the paper the old man is holding.
While each camera did a great job capturing the photo, the G4 failed to grab detail around the focal point once again. The Galaxy S6 and OnePlus 2 did a much better job grabbing all of the detail in the surrounding image, with no clear winner between them.
Lots of cameras take decent photos in perfect lighting, but low light is another matter entirely. This shot is another Full Auto in a dark room with a single light on 14 feet behind the camera.
Of the three photos, LG wins in both color accuracy and clarity. The Galaxy S6 is by far the worst here, being the most grainy and washed out for almost everything. The OnePlus 2 does a great job with color accuracy, but is still fairly grainy once you look away from the bamboo.
This next low light shot is with no lights on in the room at all, with a little light coming in through the window. Like the previous low light shot, the G4 photo is significantly clearer.
The Galaxy S6 is a blurry, grainy mess in comparison, with the OnePlus 2 sitting somewhere in the middle. The S6 captured the most light, but failed to do anything useful with it.
Last but not least, the flash on each camera is tested in this photo. Like the last photo, no lights were on in the room at the time. Tap to focus was used first, with the focal point being the red dot on the lifeguard figurine.
The LG G4 and Galaxy S6 capture significantly more light than the OnePlus 2, with LG being the most color accurate of the three.
So which camera is the best? There's no clear answer here. Each of these cameras has some clear strengths and weaknesses. The G4 does great in full auto if you're going for color accuracy, and detail, but struggles as a tap to focus camera. The Galaxy S6 works well in every environment except low light, where it struggles with clarity and focus. As for the OnePlus 2, it's a great all around camera that sits somewhere in between these two heavyweights, which is a big win for OnePlus.
It's also important to keep in mind that we're using unfinished software on this OnePlus 2. The current build is supposed to be quite close to the retail version of the software, according to OnePlus, but not exactly the same. We also know there's a manual mode coming to the camera soon, which opens the doors for even more comparisons in the future.
If you'd like to see the full resolution images for this comparison, you can do so here.
Blizzard has now confirmed that The Grand Tournament, the second expansion pack for its hit free-to-play collectible card RPG Hearthstone, will officially be released on August 24 in the US and Europe, and in Asia on August 25.
Square Enix is bringing the next game in the Tomb Raider series to Android users. The publisher revealed today that the mobile puzzle game, Lara Croft GO, will be released on Android, iOS and Windows Phone on August 27 for the price of $4.99.
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