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2 weeks ago

Kick off your weekend with $1 movie rentals and $5 purchases at Amazon

6

Team Thrifter is back again, this time with some great deals on Amazon movie rentals and purchases ahead of Prime Day!

Before you know it, we will be in the midst of the Prime Day madness, but before that, we should all take some time this weekend to sit back, relax, and watch a movie. Amazon's latest offer brings $0.99 rentals and $4.99 purchases to Prime members. The deal, as you'd expect, doesn't cover the company's entire library of titles, but there is quite a mix available on both the rental and purchase end of it.

Some of the titles include:

Rental

Purchases

There are a lot more titles available for both rent and purchase, so you'll want to check out the full lists to see if anything else may be of interest for you. If you've yet to stream anything from Prime Video on your television before, Amazon is also offering a $10 credit when you do for the first time.

See at Amazon

Prime Day 2017 is coming! Follow along with Thrifter's live blog to discover the best deals first!

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2 weeks ago

Google News & Weather app gets a Material redesign and some spitshine

8

Good news for Google News (& Weather)!

This week's app update has given Google News & Weather an update that lets it better match the Google News website and better match other Google apps like Google Now and Google Home, brightening things up and cleaning the busy sections drawer a little. It's not a huge overhaul, but it is a welcoming to see Google updating apps for consistency.

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2 weeks ago

People are taking the OnePlus 5 'jelly' problem a bit too seriously [Update]

52

Don't look too hard.

Update: The offending Tweet has been deleted, and a OnePlus representative confirmed to Android Central that "the Twitter post does not reflect our official stance and has since been deleted." You can see the original below, but as I made very clear, I think the issue is being terribly overblown and this post was not meant to be taken too seriously.

I feel for OnePlus these days, despite the opaqueness with which it is approaching the latest not-scandal involving the OnePlus 5. Almost immediately after launching in late June, some people began noticing a "jelly" effect on the phone's Optic AMOLED display while quickly scrolling through the phone's various screens, such as on a web page or a Twitter feed.

OnePlus acknowledged the visual curiosity, but said in a quote to Android Central and other outlets that all was functioning normally:

The OnePlus 5 uses the same level of high-quality components as all OnePlus devices, including the AMOLED display. We've received feedback from a small number of users saying that at times they notice a subtle visual effect when scrolling. This is natural and there's no variance in screens between devices.

XDA-Developers, for its part, began perpetuating a theory that due to a lack of space near the top of the phone's housing, thanks to its newly-installed dual camera system, the AMOLED display was actually inverted, which causes this "jelly" effect. OnePlus denies that this is a problem, and has instructed its customer service representatives to reinforce that claim at every opportunity.

This is one typical response:

In a now-deleted tweet (text below), one OnePlus CSR gave a bit of a different angle to the story.

https://twitter.com/OnePlus_Support/status/883047144021798912

Indeed, what the person is implying is that it is not the screen, but our perception of the screen — nay, our physiological makeup entirely! — that is to blame here. In other words, you better get used to "seeing" the OnePlus 5 with your eyes closed. 😂

(Or, more likely, it is a poor translation and we shouldn't take it, or this post, seriously. Just use your OnePlus 5 and love it, k?)

I am by no means suggesting that if the 'jelly' effect bothers you, you shouldn't take it seriously, but to imply, as some people are, that the issue completely ruins the phone experience — well, I think that's taking things a little too far.

OnePlus 5

OnePlus

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2 weeks ago

Top 8 things to love about the BlackBerry KEYone

27

The BlackBerry KEYone is a workhorse, and it's proving more popular than even we thought it would be. Here's why.

Listen, I know you're tired of hearing this over and over again, but there's a reason so many people are excited about BlackBerry Mobile's new phone, the KEYone. Yes, the keyboard is obviously the main selling feature, but it's just part of what makes the phone so interesting. And after years of mediocre BlackBerry hardware, I'm truly excited about the future of the brand, even if it is under the supervision of another company entirely.

Here's why.

The software is as clean as it gets

OnePlus and BlackBerry are the two companies developing Android software that mainly gets out of its own way and just lets Google's vision for the operating system shine through. Better yet, the changes they do decide to make are thoughtful and congruent with their phones' particular advantages.

The KEYone's excellent Nougat software wouldn't have been possible without the excellent work BlackBerry did with the Priv and the DTEK series, and BlackBerry proper — the Canadian company — is still in charge of building and maintaining the software for the KEYone. That's good news for a bunch of reasons, especially when you think about the other parts of the software experience that the company contributes.

The included apps are actually great

BlackBerry Hub. Calendar. Contacts. Tasks. Boring apps done well. The truth is that BlackBerry needed to build out its own suite of productivity apps because it wanted compatibility and continuity with many of its existing backend services, and while these are very much Android apps, they'll be familiar to anyone who's used a BlackBerry device in the past.

I've said it many times before: BlackBerry is one of the few companies that puts care into the Android software it builds, and even though you may no longer use BBM, you'll find yourself happy to spend some time in the company's other apps.

The launcher is thoughtful

Icon packs and swipe-up widgets may be taken directly from one of our favorite third-party launchers, but I have to give BlackBerry credit where it's due: it's appealing to its core enthusiast user base over here. Not only that, but the launcher is extremely smooth, and it's actually available through the Play Store, making it, like Hub, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks and others, upgradeable over time. And BlackBerry has improved the launcher since its inception.

The BlackBerry Launcher also supports one of the most BlackBerry things of all: the classic red star symbol on an icon to indicate when there's a waiting notification. It's a subtle change and one that Google is implementing more cohesively in Android O, but BlackBerry's version is robust and works really well.

The camera is better than I expected

I didn't really think the KEYone would, for its price, have a flagship-level camera, but that's exactly what you get. While it lacks the HDR+ mode of the Google Pixel, it shares the same Sony sensor, and it performs extremely well in almost every lighting condition. For a phone with a keyboard, you may think the camera would play second fiddle in importance, but even if you get the KEYone for its most notable feature, the excellent camera is a wonderful bonus.

The keyboard really is amazing

I had an opportunity to type on a large number of older BlackBerry devices for a TV segment recently and found the KEYone's hardware keyboard to stand up pretty well. It's not quite as perfectly sized and shaped as the Bold 9900 or the Classic, but it's close, and easily the best on Android.

In fact, I thought I wouldn't even want to type on a hardware keyboard again, but after a few days of using the KEYone as my primary device, touch typing became, once again, second nature.

More than that, though, the keyboard is smart, and even if you're not really into the idea of typing on a physical keyboard, its other features, like flick typing for autocorrect and home screen shortcuts accessed by holding down one of the keys to launch an app or a shortcut. The whole system works really well, especially when you combine it with the flexible launcher. I didn't think I'd use the shortcuts on a daily basis, but here we are months later and I have all of my favorites memorized and ready to go.

Battery life is ridiculous

This has come up again and again with this phone: the KEYone lasts seemingly forever. It's not just get-you-through-the-day battery life either; it's "I don't have to think about my battery", which is pretty astounding on a device that you use all day, every day.

Part of that is owed to the Snapdragon 625 in the phone, but other areas, like the seemingly well-optimized software (the stability and performance of which has improved immensely through a series of software updates) and the relatively low-resolution LCD screen, contribute to the lengthy uptime. And yes, the Snapdragon 625 may not be the most powerful chip on the market, but it has proven, at least on the devices on which I've used it — the KEYone, the Moto Z Play, the Huawei Nova Plus — to be more than capable of running your life.

It's built like a tank

Yes, Zach from JerryRigEverything was able to dislodge the display from the casing pretty easily, but from what I've seen, that issue doesn't affect the overall durability of this metal-clad workhorse. I've dropped this thing many times, by accident and on purpose, and it's come through the abuse relatively unscathed. More than that, the soft-touch rubberized back has worn extremely well compared to many of the metal- or glass-backed phones I've used in recent memory, and I think BlackBerry Mobile made the right decision bucking the trend in this case. The phone may be a bit thick, but thanks to its relative narrowness, it's still quite usable in one hand.

It's just... different

Here's, I think, one of the more divisive parts of the KEYone: it's just different from anything else you'll use in the smartphone space right now. If you're tired of the same ol' rectangle, moving to a more unconventional design will get you noticed — for better or worse — when you're using this thing. And based on how difficult it is to find a KEYone right now, on either Amazon or Best Buy, where the company sells the phone unlocked for $549.99 USD, I'd say that the "distinctly different" tagline is working.

See at Amazon


BlackBerry KEYone

Amazon Best Buy BlackBerry Mobile

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2 weeks ago

Slip this thin 10000mAh power bank into your pocket for just $15

12

Our friends at Thrifter are back again, this time with a slim portable battery that puts 10000mAh of power into your pocket for less!

We continue to demand more and more out of our phones these days, and that means battery life sometimes takes a hit. No one wants to sit attached to a wall all day to keep their phone charged, and luckily you don't have to. Aukey has recently released a new 10000mAh dual-USB portable power bank that is super slim, and right now you can pick one up for just $14.99 with coupon code AUKEYPB8, a savings of $5. This power bank is 14mm thick, which is less than twice the thickness of a Google Pixel.

You can charge two devices at the same time using the cables of your choice, and at 10000mAh of capacity, you'll be able to charge most phones and tablets anywhere from 2 to 4 times per charge of the power bank. The side of it has four LEDs to show you how much power is left at a glance.

See at Amazon

Prime Day 2017 is coming! Follow along with our live blog to discover the best deals first!

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2 weeks ago

Amazon Echo Look: Can it help the fashion hopeless?

1

Can this sausage-like Amazon Echo make me a better (OK — decent) dresser? It really depends on what you give it to work with.

Fun fact: Everyone cares what they look like. Even those of us who don't admit it at least take a passing interest in the clothes we wear. Maybe it's just a couple seconds of "OK, I think this looks good." Or maybe it's a couple minutes standing in front of the closet in the morning.

But do I really care enough to let the likes of Amazon help me dress a little better?

Enter the Amazon Echo Look. It's the fourth member of the Echo line (including the not-actually-named-Echo Tap) and is the first (but not only) one to sport a camera. In fact, the camera really is the star of the show.

But let's back up a bit. This sausage-shaped plastic doodad is, first and foremost, an Alexa device. It's got four microphones and a rear-facing speaker and does all the stuff we've come to love from Alexa. It answers questions. (To varying degrees of effect.) It controls any of your connected devices. This isn't as robust a device as the other Echoes. Don't bother trying to play music through it — your smartphone might well do it better.

No, the Echo Look is all about going through your closet.

Amazon Echo Look

If you really care about what you wear and want to keep track of when you wore it, Echo Look can help.

Pair up the Echo Look app (it's separate from the regular Alexa app) and you're quickly walked through things. Stand in front of the Echo Look after dressing (or before — your call) and say "Alexa, take a picture." It snaps the snap and logs your outfit. From there you can leave yourself notes about what you were wearing, if you wish. So you've got a good record of what you wore, when you wore it, and how you looked. You can shoot video, too, to see what the backside looks like.

The real fun starts to come in when you compare one outfit to another. Amazon says it's using algorithms (middle-out, no doubt) and even human expertise to figure out what looks best on you. It also asks you to weigh in on what you think looks best, the better to learn your own personal style.

Echo Look compare

How well it works really depends on what you give it to work with. Color and style matters, of course. But I got the feeling the pose did as well. (It's also smart enough to figure out when you've swapped in someone else.) I didn't always agree with the conclusion, but I kinda dug the idea, at least.

More impressive was just how easy this all was. The four LEDs that ring the camera lens are ridiculously bright (seriously, don't look right at them) and do a really good job of lighting the scene, even in my dark bedroom. (In fact, the camera struggled when I had things more properly lit while filming this video.) The app is nicely set up — it works exactly the same on iOS as it does on Android — and shows just how well Amazon has made its products for anyone to use. Not just nerds.

I didn't always agree with the conclusion, but I kinda dug the idea, at least.

What it hasn't done is made me want to care about fashion anymore. It's just not my thing. And so Echo Look definitely isn't the Alexa device for me.

And even if you are someone who cares about clothes as much as some of us care about computers, you're still going to have to commit to using the Echo Look every day in order for its $199 price tag to make sense. It's definitely a niche product, with a more limited use case than the newer (and only slightly more expensive) Echo Show.

But on the other hand, maybe that's just the price we pay for fashion.

Enter to win this Echo Look

OK, so the Echo Look definitely isn't for me. But that isn't to say that it won't serve one of you out there quite nicely. So let's give it away!

Use the widget below to enter to win. Full details are at ModernDad.com/contest.

Win an Amazon Echo Look from Modern Dad!

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2 weeks ago

Galaxy S8+ with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage is getting a much-needed price cut in India

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Samsung is rolling out its first price cut to the Galaxy S8+ variant with 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage.

Samsung introduced the Galaxy S8+ variant with 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage last month in India, and the company is now offering a 5% discount to those looking to pick up the phone. The device launched at ₹74,900 ($1,155), and is now available for ₹70,900 ($1,090).

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2 weeks ago

Xiaomi will unveil MIUI 9 in China on August 16

1

Next major version of MIUI will be showcased on August 16.

Xiaomi will unveil the next version of MIUI on August 16 in China. The company recently published a list of devices that will receive the Nougat update, but as of now, there's no mention if the update will bring MIUI 9 or if Xiaomi will roll out a Nougat-based verison of MIUI 8, like what we've seen with the Mi 6.

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2 weeks ago

OnePlus 5 camera tips and tricks

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OnePlus 5

The best camera is the one you have with you — but the photographer is important, too.

The OnePlus 5 has a capable camera, but as is the case with any other camera it can get better when you learn its quirks and features. Those possibilities are increased by its dual cameras that give you different resolutions, lens apertures and focal lengths — plus the software-enhanced Portrait Mode.

To get the most out of your OnePlus 5's camera, follow these tips and tricks.

Turn on the camera quick launch

This is the simplest tip and one that every can benefit from: turning on the camera quick launch shortcut. Under Settings then Buttons you'll see an option to press the power button twice to launch the camera. With that enabled, you'll always have the camera to hand without having to unlock the phone and launch the app manually.

It's hardly a new thing, but we're happy to see it here. You should use it to make sure the camera is available at a moment's notice.

Mix it up with both lenses

The simplest benefit of the OnePlus 5's dual cameras is that you have two different focal lengths to choose from with the tap of a button. But you shouldn't just think "am I shooting something near or far?" when choosing — both cameras have their benefits, and not just in terms of distance.

The main lens still takes the best overall photos, but the second lens gives a unique look.

Use the main lens when you want the highest-quality photo in general. The 16MP sensor has larger pixels and the lens has a faster aperture, letting in more light and giving you a crisper overall shot. This is particularly true for indoor or low-light shots, where the secondary camera just doesn't get the job done.

Use the long lens for a tighter field of view and unique perspective. The lens is about a 40mm equivalent, which is great for all sorts of shots because it's close to the human eye in terms of its field of view, without being so long that it feels like a telephoto lens. It's great for street scenes or shots where you want the focus more on an individual part of a photo rather than the whole view.

Portrait Mode isn't for every type of scene

With Portrait Mode just a swipe away in the camera app, it may be enticing to start using it for every photo you take. For as fun as it is to play with, Portrait Mode just doesn't work for every type of scene — it's best used in specific scenarios to get the strongest effect. Here are some tips:

  • Pick scenes with a clear, defined foreground object: Portrait Mode works best when there's a single object to focus on and blur the rest — like a person, or a flower, or a cup sitting on a table. It doesn't work well with a mixed scene with several potential primary focal points.
  • Get close to your subject: Portrait Mode just looks weird when you take a shot of an open, expansive area. Step closer to your subject, preferably 2 to 4 feet away from the camera. This way the subject fills a large portion of the scene, leaving less to be blurred in the background.
  • Try a few different shots: Portrait Mode is good, but it's not perfect. Try a few different shots with different focal points, and be sure to let the camera indicate "depth effect" in green in the viewfinder before shooting.

By choosing wisely when you use Portrait Mode, it'll give you the best effect and it won't feel forced or overused. Your Instagram followers will thank you.

The main lens is still good for macro

With both the long lens and Portrait Mode available, it may be enticing to use both of them to take those sharp, close macro-style shots. But oftentimes you'll find the primary camera is actually best for close-ups of delicate objects.

Don't just assume that Portrait Mode's faux bokeh is the best way to go.

With an f/1.7 aperture, the 16MP main camera can often provide the blurred background "bokeh" look common in macro shots better than Portrait Mode can do synthetically. And even though it has a 24mm equivalent focal length, its auto focus system is actually really good and capable of focusing even when you get in tight to an object — you can get within 4 or 5 inches.

The primary camera is also just downright sharper than the secondary lens, and that characteristic is even more on display when you're taking a macro photo that shows off the details of your subject. So next time you go to shoot a macro, consider trying the main camera first.

Resist the urge to digitally zoom

Having a roughly 40mm focal length on the secondary lens is nice because it gets you that much closer to a far-away subject than the main lens. But if you see something far away you need to reach out even further for, you may be enticed into thinking you should just digitally zoom. Even though the second camera has an ample 20 megapixels of resolution to work with, that's not that much runway for digitally zooming before things start to look bad.

1x zoom2x zoom4x zoom8x zoom

The same scene at 1x, 2x, 4x and 8x zoom.

Things start to get pretty grainy and unsightly at about the 4x zoom level, even though the camera will technically let you slide all the way to 8x. So yes, the long lens and 20MP resolution give you some wiggle room — but this is still a small sensor with limited capabilities, and you should respect that. You'll always get better results by zooming with your feet; just walk toward your subject whenever possible!

Dabble in Pro Mode

OnePlus 5 Pro Mode

Most of us will just shoot in auto mode and be happy with the results, but it's worth noting that the "Pro Mode" is just two taps away in the camera app. With Pro Mode turned on, you'll be able to tweak everything imaginable, not unlike the DSLR or mirrorless camera you may be familiar with. Even the interface changes, giving you more advanced options like a horizon line and histogram.

In Pro Mode you can manually set your exposure, focal point, shutter speed, white balance and ISO — and if you know how these work, you can get some great results. Once you lock in some settings that you expect to use often, you can save them as a preset to jump back to later. The camera app also saves RAW files if you choose, which can take things to another level when it comes to editing after the fact. Pair Pro Mode with a tripod, and you could get next-level photos out of this thing.

OnePlus 5

OnePlus

img { width: 100%; height: auto; } .devicebox ul { display: table; margin: 0 0 10px; width: 100%; } .devicebox ul li { background: #f7f7f7; margin: 2px 0; padding: 4px 15px; } .devicebox ul li:hover { background: #fff; } .devicebox ul li:before { display: none; } .devicebox p ~ p { line-height: 1.25; } .devicebox p:first-of-type + p { padding: 15px; } .devicebox a.buy-link { border-radius: 5px; display: inline-block; font: 14px/31px "Proxima Nova Extrabld",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; text-align: center; } .devicebox a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:link, .devicebox a.buy-link:active, .devicebox a.buy-link:visited { background: #37B5D7; color: #FFF; } .devicebox a.buy-link:hover { background: #2694B2; text-decoration: none; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { content: "\e61e"; font: 40px/0 "ac_iconset" !important; margin: 0 3px 0 -8px; vertical-align: middle; } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { /* div:not(.columns-3) excludes help menu content */ .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p img, .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .article-body-wrap > div:not(.columns-3) > *:first-child:not(.sticky-wrapper) .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 660px) { .devicebox h3 { text-align: center; } .devicebox ul, .devicebox p { display: block; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 660px) { .devicebox { padding: 20px 0 25px; } .devicebox .video { float: left; margin: 0 30px 0 0; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox h3 + p { bottom: 37px; display: block; overflow: hidden; position: absolute; top: 60px; width: calc(100% - 375px); } .devicebox p img, .devicebox p > img { position: absolute; top: 50%; transform: translateY(-50%); } .devicebox p:nth-child(n+3), .devicebox ul { box-sizing: border-box; margin-left: calc(100% - 345px); width: 340px; } .devicebox p.list-head { margin-top: -5px; } } @media all and (min-width: 1025px), all and (max-width: 800px) and (min-width: 661px), all and (max-width: 500px) { /* 2x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(even) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:last-of-type:nth-of-type(odd) { width: 100%; } } @media all and (max-width: 1024px) and (min-width: 801px), all and (max-width: 659px) and (min-width: 501px) { /* 3x buy buttons */ .devicebox a.buy-link { width: calc(100%/3 - 10px/3); margin: 0 5px 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-of-type(3n):not(:nth-last-of-type(2)) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:only-child { width: 100%; margin: 0 0 5px 0; } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1), .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link { width: calc(50% - 2.5px); } .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(2):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link, .devicebox a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(4):nth-of-type(3n+1) ~ a.buy-link:nth-last-of-type(odd) { margin: 0 0 5px 0; } } @media all and (max-width: 800px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } } @media all and (max-width: 500px) { .devicebox { margin: 0 0 30px; max-width: none; width: auto; } .devicebox a.buy-link:before { display: none; } } .page-admin .devicebox {max-width: 350px;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe {position: relative; height: 0; padding-bottom: 56.9%;} .page-admin .devicebox .video_iframe iframe {width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;} /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/

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2 weeks ago

How to install the Android SDK on Windows, Mac and Linux

Android SDK

Everything you need to get started with the Android SDK, and everything you need to know about installing it.

Most of us will never need to install the Android SDK. The reason why is right in the name — Software Development Kit. It's built for people writing Android apps who need tools to work with Android from a computer.

But those tools can also be handy for folks wanting to do some more advanced stuff. Stuff like manually updating software or rooting their phone. Fastboot and ADB are vital if you're into "hacking" at the Android software. And Google provides it free for everyone.

What to choose?

There are two ways to get a working set of Android tools on your computer. The easy way is to just install Android Studio. Everything needed to run and use the Android command line tools is part of Android Studio, as well as a way to keep the tools updated. While it's designed for folks who want a complete development environment and includes a code editor, Android emulator, and compiler, you can use just the command line tools and never open the rest.

If you're not afraid to get your feet wet, you can install just the SDK components outside of Android Studio. Installing them is easy (they're inside a zip file) but setting up your computer to use them isn't a straightforward process.

Manually installing the Android SDK

SDK downloads

Download the SDK direct from Google by clicking here. Scroll down a bit and find the section marked "Get just the command line tools" and save it somewhere easy to get to, like your desktop. We'll be extracting it to a better location in the next step.

The file you downloaded is compressed. You'll need to be familiar with compressed files — and how to extract them — to go any further. If you're not, stop here and spend the time to learn about them.

Extract your compressed file into the following location:

  • Windows: The root of your C: drive
  • OS X: Your home folder
  • Linux: Your home folder

Rename the extracted folder to "Android". This will make the rest of this guide, and your time with the SDK, much easier.

Prerequisites

Java

You'll need a working version of Java to run the SDK components. For most things you'll be doing with the SDK both Open Java and Sun Java from Oracle (yes, that Oracle) will work.

  • On a Mac, it's pretty easy because you'll already have it installed unless you uninstalled it. If you did, install it again — you should know how.
  • On Windows, head to the Oracle website and download the correct version (32- or 64-bit) for your computer. Again, if this gives you any trouble stop what you're doing and learn a bit more about your computer. If you can't install Java, maybe you're not yet ready to use the Android SDK.
  • On a Linux computer, you'll also need to install Java. You can find x86 and x64 binaries for Sun Java from Oracle at their website. OpenJDK also works for most things you'll need to do with the SDK.(OpenJDK is now bundled with Android Studio which includes the SDK as well as a development environment) and you'll find complete instructions to get it installed at the OpenJDK website. If you need more assistance or want to use a package manager to install Sun Java, you'll need to refer to the documentation for your particular distro.

Linux users will also have to make sure they have some 32-bit libraries installed if they are running a 64-bit version of the operating system. If you're using Ubuntu or another Debian variant, install ncurses5 and stdc++6 through your terminal:

sudo apt-get install lib32ncurses5 lib32stdc++6

If you're using a different flavor of Linux, find the correct packages for ncurses5 and stdc++6 and install them.

Setting your PATH

Windows 8 PATH

The PATH variable in your computer's operating system tells it where to look when you want to run a command from a terminal or the command line. For example, to run the adb command you either need to type and provide the complete path — ie the folder adb is actually in, inside the SDK folder — or have the location set in the PATH variable itself. It's a bit confusing, but the good news is that doing it is easier than explaining it.

For these directions to work as written, you will have to have extracted and renamed the SDK download folder as mentioned above, and to the correct location for this tutorial.

On Windows

Unless you're still using an older version of Windows, you no longer can set the PATH in the autoexec.bat file or autoexec.nt file. You'll need to update the system Environment Variable settings instead. Here's how it's done on a Windows 10 machine:

  • Hit the Start key on your Keyboard.
  • Start typing the words Environment Variables.
  • As you type, you'll see the choice to Edit the system environment variables. Choose it.
  • In the Environment Variables window, select the PATH line item in the User variables for (your user name) section, then click the Edit button.

Add the full path to the Android SDK tools and Android SDK platform-tools folders in the edit box, separated by a semi-colon. It should look something like this:

C:\Android\tools;C:\Android\platform-tools

For older versions of Windows, refer to the documentation that came with your computer for assistance on setting the PATH. And, again: If you've installed your SDK somewhere other than \Android, you'll need to adjust accordingly.

On a Mac

OSX PATH

You can set your PATH variable on a machine running OS X in your bash profile. Doing so is easy, and is all done in one file.

In your Home folder is a file named .bash_profile. Open it with any text editor. Never touch the .bashrc or .bash_profile files you might find in the /etc directory!

You may see a blank file, or it may be full of other information. All we need to do is add a couple lines to the top of the file:

export PATH="$HOME/Android/tools:$PATH"

export PATH="$HOME/Android/platform-tools:$PATH"

(Did we mention that if your SDK is in another location, you'll need to adjust things accordingly? Good.)

Save the file, and reboot your computer so the new PATH is sourced properly.

On Linux

Setting the PATH on a Linux computer is almost the same as on a Mac, you just edit a different file.

Using your favorite text editor, open the ~/.bashrc file. It will probably exist and have multiple entries. If you get an error that the file does not exist, simply create a new file and save it as ~/.bashrc when finished.

You'll want to add the following two lines to the END of the .bashrc file:

export PATH="$HOME/Android/tools:$PATH"

export PATH="$HOME/Android/platform-tools:$PATH"

Save the file, and close the terminal window. Open a new instance of the terminal and type this command:

source ~/.bashrc

Your session will reference the changes you made and the SDK will be in your PATH.

Wrapping it up

Using adb

You should now have a working set of Android command line tools and be able to do things like flash the latest factory images or manually update your phone with a zip file. And because you did it yourself, you have what you need to fix it when things go wrong.

Good luck and have fun!

Updated July 2017: with the current methods and instructions, and new download locations.

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2 weeks ago

Xiaomi ships 23.16 million smartphones in Q2 2017, an uptick of 70% from Q1

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Xiaomi sees record shipments in Q2 2017 as YoY revenues from India climb 328%.

Xiaomi announced that it shipped 23.16 million smartphones in Q2 2017, making it the best quarter ever for the Chinese company. The company faced a slowdown in sales last year over supply constraints, with CEO Lei Jun announcing a series of broad changes at the end of last year. It looks like the "recalibration" has worked, as Xiaomi noted a 70% uptick in sales from Q1 2017.

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2 weeks ago

Sony's next Xperia flagships could ship with Android O

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Xperia XZ Premium

Latest leaks suggest Android 8.0 may run on a pair of Snapdragon 835-powered Sony flagships.

Sony may be among the first manufacturers to ship a new phone with Android O, if new details leaked through benchmarking app AnTuTu are to be believed. The unconfirmed info paints a picture of an unconventional Sony handset with the model number G8441.

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2 weeks ago

Samsung forecasts record-breaking profits for the second quarter in a row

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Samsung is set for its best-ever quarter.

Samsung's stellar performance in 2017 is set to continue into the second quarter. After recording the best-ever first quarter earnings earlier this year, the company is now forecasting that Qits Q2 profits will be the highest recorded in its history. Samsung posted profits of $8.8 billion on revenues of $44.7 billion in Q1 2017, and the manufacturer is now estimating it'll make a profit of $12.2 billion on sales of $52 billion in Q2.

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2 weeks ago

Honor 9 review: The best phone for less than £400

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Honor 9

The Honor 9 isn't perfect, but it is a great all-rounder that makes high-end performance and design more affordable than ever before.

The quick take

The Honor 9 is a fantastic affordable flagship with a beautiful design, fast performance and dependable all-day battery life. At this price point, the biggest thing you'll miss from more expensive handsets is a reliable low-light camera.

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2 weeks ago

OnePlus 5 India review: Moving up in the world

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OnePlus 5

OnePlus delivers a phone with a lot of potential, but you're not getting as much value as previous generations.

OnePlus built its business model on selling phones at near-manufacturing cost. By operating exclusively online and relying on word-of-mouth marketing, the brand managed to cut down on the overhead that comes from maintaining an offline distribution network, passing on the savings to customers instead. That resulted in phones with top-notch specs that undercut "true" flagships by a significant margin, making OnePlus a favorite with the enthusiast segment.

The OnePlus One launched in India for ₹21,999 back in 2014, and the OnePlus 5 is now retailing for ₹32,999 for the 6GB version. To be fair, the price has been increasing with every generation: the OnePlus 2 debuted at ₹24,999, the OnePlus 3 started at ₹27,999, and the OnePlus 3T for ₹29,999.

As the company matured over the last three years, it has started targeting a wider set of consumers. OnePlus now counts Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan as its brand ambassador in India, and the company is also taking out ads and billboards around the country to aggressively promote its latest flagship. All of that factors into the overall cost of the phone.

However, OnePlus isn't the only company offering enticing specs in this segment. Huawei is aggressively targeting the Indian market and has launched the Honor 8 Pro in the country, and LG is offering a series of discounts on the LG G6 to make it more competitive. Read on to find out if the OnePlus 5 is still the best phone in this category.

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