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4 months ago

How to enroll in the Android 7.1.2 Beta Program

40

How do I sign up for the Android Beta Program?

If you're eager to try Android 7.1.2 and have an eligible Nexus or Android One device, the Android Beta Program is for you.

Like many big software projects, Android is made better by open beta testing. As part of Google's new maintenance release schedule, we'll see scheduled periodic updates outside of any bug or security patches and major version changes. The latest beta is for Nougat 7.1.2 and begins in January 2017. But if you're willing and able to run beta software on your phone, you can sign enroll in the Android Beta Program and get the first taste today!

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4 months ago

How to make your Android look like a BlackBerry

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Ain't no theme like a BlackBerry theme!

I've shown you how to make your phone feel like a Nexus, a Windows Phone, even an iPhone. Next up was BlackBerry, but in all honesty, some things just can't be replaced and replicated. Don't get me wrong, there are a few tweaks that bring back a little of that old BlackBerry magic — and I'm gonna share them with you — but there's no magic icon pack or launcher that just pulls it together into a real complete BlackBerry theme.

That's a testament to BlackBerry's unique design — and its (sometimes painful) simplicity.

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4 months ago

What do I need to jump from the Big Four to an alternative carrier?

33
Mint LTE

Making the change to an alternative carrier can save you money and give you better service, but you need to know a few things before you do it.

When you port out your number and switch away from one of the Big Four to a carrier that might work better for you, nothing is hard. You either click a few buttons online and enter a few details or make a phone call from someone else's phone and a person on the other end clicks their buttons. But it's not something you want to go in blind and learn from regretful mistakes. Trust us, we've been there.

The good news is that you already know what you need to do and only need to ask yourself the right questions. We can help. Here's a list of the things you need to get sorted before you make the jump.

A phone

OnePlus 3

Some alternative carriers will sell you a new phone, but most likely you don't need one. The phone you're using now will probably work!

You need to know what type of network and what frequencies your phone supports. That information might be on the box or papers that came with it, but if you don't have those Google will help. If you don't understand what you're seeing there, a quick question in our forums will get you squared away.

Take that information and check it against the network details for the carrier you want to use. You'll find those online at their website or you can give them a quick call. If things match, you're golden.

If you love the phone you have now you can find a company that gives you the right service for it.

You might need to get your phone unlocked if you bought it from the phone company you're using now. That's something they will do for you as long as you've met certain requirements like paying the bill for a set number of months. If you've paid the phone off or finished the contract, they'll help you. If for some reason they can't or won't, there are literally hundreds of third-party phone unlocking services online. Check the reviews and pick one and you'll be good to go in short order.

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If you want to buy a new phone, you want to buy one that's unlocked and has the right network frequencies and bands. The people selling you the phone can help or a quick online search has the answer. We've got a few suggestions ourselves.

More: The best unlocked phones

Check the coverage

What works well for me might not work well for you. Every carrier has a map that shows their network footprint. Find it and give it a skeptical look.

Be cautious if you're on the fringe of coverage or there are any fancy modifiers like carrier-partner or anything but the words LTE or 4G when you're looking at the map. And be sure you're looking at the data coverage map, not the voice calling coverage map.

If you're in the middle of coverage with no big gaps on the map, you're probably good. If not, don't be afraid to look at a different carrier.

How much data will you use and how many minutes do you need?

An independent alternative carrier will have more options when it comes to buying service. That's how they can be profitable — they buy a LOT and break it into chunks to resell to us.

Look at your last couple of phone bills and see how many calling minutes you used and how much data you used. Give yourself a little slack and pick a plan that gives you what you need and doesn't have you paying for stuff you're not using.

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If you end up not buying enough, you can always add more at any time and adjust for next month. If you choose too much, you can choose less next month. That flexibility is one of the benefits of moving away from the big companies.

You need a little bit of tech-fu

Mint Network

Don't worry, you don't need a lot of tech knowledge, but you will need to know a couple things about your phone.

You'll need to know what size SIM card you need and how to change it. Your manual has all this information or Google does. Your new phone company will be happy to sell you the correct size SIM card as long as you let them know what you need.

You'll also need to know how to program the new network into your phone. Things might work when you insert a new SIM card but sometimes not everything works correctly. This is because you need to set what's called an APN.

Programming your phone for a new network

Changing your phone's network programming to work on a new carrier isn't difficult, you just need to know where to get started!

We've got you covered. You can learn a little bit more about what an APN is and how to set one up for your new carrier so you'll be up and running in no time.

What is an APN, and how do I change it?

APN's for the bigger carriers are already set, and the phone will pick the one that's the closest match to your new service. But to get things like MMS or full speed LTE up and running usually requires you to enter a few lines through the settings. It's easy if you have a little guidance, which you'll find at your phone company website. If in doubt, hit our forums for help.

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Make sure you have a fallback plan

It might be tempting to pay the last bill from your old carrier with a wheelbarrow of pennies while letting the world know what a rip-off they are, or even thinking they can stuff it and stiffing them on that last payment. But don't do it.

You can't go back if you burn the bridge. You never know how new service from a new company will be until you try it. If it's unacceptable, you'll want to switch back while you explore other options so you're not without a phone.

That's hard to do if you went out in a blaze of glory. Anyways, the people working at the store aren't the people who are ripping you off every month so be nice. Tell them how they can save money by switching!

Changes can be turbulent soemtimes, but with a little thought switching phone companies doesn't have to be!

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4 months ago

What is an alternative mobile carrier?

50

Alternative mobile carriers are often cheaper and just as reliable as the networks they rely on.

Alternative carriers abound around the world, and are becoming an increasingly reliable source of low-cost connectivity in the U.S. Also known as an MVNO, or Mobile Virtual Network Operator, these alternative operators are often no-frills, and cost less than the incumbent networks on which they operate.

What is an alternative mobile operator?

The idea behind an MVNO is simple: instead of spending the billions of dollars building an entirely new nationwide network, companies enter into deals with the incumbent providers in a particular country — in the U.S., that's T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint — to resell access to their networks. These often come in the form of contracts, where the smaller companies will buy space on the network — voice, messaging and, of course, data — at a heavily discounted, bulk rate, and sell it to you, the customer, for a profit.

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This benefits everyone in the equation: the incumbent gets a bunch of money upfront to invest back into its business, or give to shareholders in the form of dividends; the alternate provider gets to sell access to the network at a lower cost to the incumbent while still making a profit; and you, the user, gets to purchase access to a high-quality, fast and reliable network at prices lower than those incumbents.

Such a market only works when there is robust competition in the wireless market, which increasingly exists in the U.S. and is extremely common across Europe, where the market was built with alternative providers in mind.

So what's the big deal?

Alternative providers don't often have the financial resources to build their own networks, which is why they purchase wholesale acces to the companies that do, like the ones mentioned above. But because these smaller companies don't have the overhead of maintaining a network — the virtual in the term MVNO — they have more flexibility to provide service at lower costs.

Because these smaller companies don't have the overhead of maintaining a network, they have more flexibility to provide service at lower costs.

For people looking just to connect to a network without all the frills and fringe benefits that come with a contract, these are great options.

The other thing is that MVNOs are usually aimed at single account holders — most eschew the share or family plan model of the larger incumbents — or specific demographics that may not be hit directly by the Big Four. In other words, alternative carriers are exactly that: meant to capture the customers remaining in the margins, or those looking to pay bottom dollar to avoid the often-superflous frills — T-Mobile Tuesdays come to mind — that are, many times, built into the cost of the plans of the incumbents.

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Some alternative carriers, such as Cricket Wireless and Boost Mobile, are owned by the Big Four themselves — AT&T and Sprint, respectively — which allows the major incumbents to get ahead of any customers who want to leave by offering them a simplified, often discounted alternative that keeps them in the network.

More than one network

But many alternative carriers don't just use one network. We've talked many times about Project Fi, which works with Google's Nexus and Pixel phones to make service incredibly easy and convenient. Well, Project Fi does't just connect to one network; it connects to four — T-Mobile, Sprint, U.S. Cellular in the U.S., and Three in the UK — deciding between the top one dynamically depending on the coverage.

Instead of spending the billions of dollars building an entirely new nationwide network, companies enter into deals with the incumbent providers in a particular country.

That's another advantage of these virtual operators: they can negotiate great deals with a number of carriers, and thanks to the beauty of the SIM card, give customers the best option wherever they are.

Fewer phones

Finally, one thing to keep in mind about alternative networks is that the companies often don't offer the latest and greatest smartphones. In fact, they often don't sell phones at all. That's because they don't want the hassle, and the overhead, of having to stock expensive devices they may not use. That's where unlocked phones come in.

If you're savvy enough to buy a phone that you know will connect to the network of a particular carrier, you can save big money over the same two-year period a phone is usually paid off when on a big carrier.

Your turn

Are you subscribed to an alternative carrier? If so, which one, and why? We're really curious, so let us know in the comments!

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4 months ago

How to set up Kodi profiles

0

Your family can have their Kodi their way. It's as easy as setting up some new Kodi profiles.

Your kids want to watch something on your Kodi system, but you're not so keen on filling up your add-ons list with child-friendly channels. That's fine, because just as you can with popular services like Netflix, you can create profiles for your kids to keep their stuff separate.

The process for creating Kodi profiles is not immediately obvious, because it's not exactly user-facing. But it's also not very difficult, as long as you know where to look.

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4 months ago

App Shortcuts on Nova Launcher: A little taste of Nougat

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Shortcuts are cool

App Shortcuts are cool, if you can get them. Problem being most can't.

App Shortcuts — the little dropdown menu of shortcuts sorted into specific activities — came with Android 7.1 rather than 7.0, and haven't been widely implemented in the 4 months since it started rolling out in the Android 7.1 developer preview. It's half Force Touch, half gestures on steroids, and all awesome when implemented properly. There's just a few problems with getting it implemented properly: we need more devices that can use App Shortcuts, and we need more developers who are willing to enable it.

That's where Nova Launcher comes in.

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4 months ago

How to manage Chrome's Autofill feature

9

Chrome's Autofill feature remembers typos, too. Good thing editing is so easy!

Having the Chrome browser remember your details when filling out forms on the internet can be handy. Most times when you sign up for any service or buy something online, you'll need to enter the same information each time and a secure way to enter it all at once saves time and means fewer errors. But it's only a good thing if all the info is correct.

Thankfully, changing the data stored for Chrome's Autofill feature is simple. So is turning it off completely if you would rather not have this information about you — including your credit card numbers — stored in the cloud.

When you first enter information about yourself, Chrome can save it if you have the Autofill feature turned on. The information it saves ranges from the relatively harmless to the sensitive, including credit card information, as mentioned above. Here's a list of what gets saved when you're using Autofill.

  • Name
  • Organization
  • Street address, including city, state or province, ZIP/post code, and country
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Credit Card information

Your name and address are tied to credit card data in Chrome's Autofill settings or can be data from Google Payments. We think Google Payments is a better place to store your Credit Card information, including the associated name and billing address, but we'll include instructions for managing it through Chrome for completeness' sake.

Autofill data is in the cloud, not on a device. You always need to be aware of what data you're saving and where you're saving it when it comes to your personal information.

You can add, edit, or delete Autofill information at will through Chrome, both on your phone or from a desktop version, like the one you find on a Chromebook. Because the data is stored in your Google personal cloud, the information is the same across all instances of Chrome you're signed into. That's another good reason to make sure you sign out when you're finished on any computer you share with other people.

How to change the Autofill data through the desktop version of Chrome:

  1. Open the settings menu and scroll down to Advanced Settings. Click to open them.
  2. In the Passwords and Forms section, click the Manage Autofill settings link.
  3. To add an address, click Add new street address.
  4. To add a credit card, click Add new credit card.
  5. To edit an existing address or credit card, hover over its entry and click Edit.
  6. To delete an address or credit card, hover over its entry and click Delete.
  7. Click Done when you're finished.

You're unable to change addresses stored in Google Payments through Chrome's settings. To edit one of these, follow the same procedure and then sign into Google Payments in the new tab that opens.

Changing your Autofill data on the Android version of Chrome is almost the same. You'll need to open the settings and tap the Autofill forms entry to find your existing data or add new data. Once open, you'll see the same data as the desktop, displayed in a single scrolling list for a better mobile view. Add, edit, or delete your data the same way as mentioned above.

Turning Autofill off

If you don't want Chrome to hold your data and fill out forms, it's simple to turn the feature off. You might want to do this on some devices and not others, and in that case, you need to look at how to select exactly what to sync between devices.

Read: How to choose what you sync on Chrome across devices

To turn Autofill off in the desktop version of Chrome go to Settings > Advanced Settings > Passwords and Forms and uncheck the box labeled Enable Autofill to fill out web forms in a single click.

To turn Autofill off in the Android version of Chrome tap Settings and then Autofill forms. Tap the switch at the top to toggle it to the off position.

Questions?

Let us know in the comments below, or ask Jerry in our forums.

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4 months ago

Using an Android watch with multiple Google Accounts

4
LG Watch Sport

People with multiple accounts have some extra steps in Android Wear now.

Where previous versions of Android Wear acted as an extension of your phone, anything running Wear 2.0 is designed to work like it's a standalone Android device. A big part of setting up this experience is moving your Google Account over to the watch from your phone.

This is a fairly trivial thing to do with a single account, but if you use multiple Google Accounts on your phone and need information from multiple accounts to live on your watch, there're a few new things you're going to need to know about using Android Wear.

What does it mean to use multiple accounts on Android Wear?

Android Wear

When you move more than one Google Account to the watch, each becomes an option for Google's core services in Android Wear. For starters, it means you can install apps as either of your accounts from the Google Play Store app on the watch. Like the Play Store on your phone, this affects how you manage your apps, as well as where paid apps live when you buy them. Only one account exists at a time in these Wear apps as the "primary" app, allowing you to switch back and forth as you need.

It's important to make sure you have the right account set as your default.

The good news is notifications works seamlessly once you've moved your accounts over. If you get a notification from an account that isn't set as primary, you still receive it like you would any other notification and can interact without needing to manually switch between those accounts. This setup is a little more complicated than what was previously available for Android Wear, but it gives you a lot more flexibility and control regarding the notifications that show up on your watch and the things you can do with apps on your watch.

A good example of why you would need to switch accounts on a regular basis is Google Assistant. Even with multiple accounts available on your watch, you only want to use Assistant with a single account. Additionally, Assistant settings on your watch can only be adjusted on the phone with whatever account you currently have enabled on the watch. Since Google pulls data from the account you currently have selected, it's important to make sure you have the right account set as your default.

How to switch accounts on Android Wear

Most Google Apps on your phone have the ability to quickly switch between your Google Accounts. Watch apps aren't quite as functional, especially those that have not been updated to Android Wear 2.0. For all of Google's core functions, including Assistant, the default account is whatever you currently have enabled in the Play Store on your watch. This means, in order to set the correct Assistant for your watch, you need to have that account set on the Play Store.

Making the switch is simple.

  1. Go to the Play Store on your watch.
  2. Swipe down to access the Play Store settings.
  3. Tap the Accounts icon, and whichever account has green text next to it is the default account.
  4. To switch accounts, tap the account you want as the default, and you'll be returned to the Play Store.

Anything connected to Google on your watch will now use that account as the default.

Questions?

Let us know in the comments below!

Android Wear

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4 months ago

How to set an alarm on Android Wear 2.0

9

Is it easy to set an alarm in Android Wear 2.0? Absolutely!

Buzz! Buzz! That's the sound a smartwatch makes as it's buzzing you awake. You can set up your Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch to do the same by following these directions. Take note these directions only apply to the smartwatch, and not your Android smartphone. You'll have to set that alarm separately.

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4 months ago

How to stream music from your phone in an older car

37

Upgrading your car stereo capabilities on the cheap.

Story time: I've got an older car, a 2001 VW Jetta, that still runs great but lacks some of the modern amenities that I would prefer to have in my car. Most notably, my car stereo still prominently features a cassette deck along with FM/AM radio.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure this setup was out of date back in 2001.

I'm well past using physical media for my music, so I needed to find a way to transmit the music from my phone to my car stereo. Ideally, I'd want a car stereo with a touchscreen and support for Android Auto — though I would easily settle for Bluetooth connectivity, or at the very least an AUX input in a pinch — but that would typically require either buying a new car or investing in a new car stereo that is also compatible with my 16-year-old Volkswagen. Neither of those options sound cheap or easy, so I turned to car accessories to help me out.

As a quick fix, I picked up a classic cassette to AUX adapter, which served its purpose well and wasn't too cumbersome despite dealing with the red wire. Unfortunately, the harsh nature of Canada's winter was none too kind to that wire, and it's now time to upgrade… but again, I'm still in no position to buy a new car or get a new car stereo.

Instead, here's my guide to connecting your phone to your car stereo on the cheap.

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4 months ago

How to delete an app from Android Wear 2.0

0

Easily delete apps from Android Wear with just a few taps.

Android Wear 2.0 may have bundled in more features than you could bargain for into one tiny little operating system, but in some instances it's helpful to have certain features when your phone is too far to grab.

Delete an app from Android Wear 2.0

  1. Swipe down and tap Settings.
  2. Scroll up and tap Apps.
  3. Scroll down to the app you want to remove and tap it.
  4. Tap Uninstall.
  5. Tap the checkmark to approve the changes.

And now, you're one app less!

Android Wear

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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4 months ago

Why do new phones ship with older versions of Android?

81

New phones shipping with outdated versions of Android isn't too surprising. The reasons? Release cycles, and Benjamin Franklin.

This summer, you'll see phones sold — expensive phones — that have older versions of Android. Brand new phones that cost hundreds of dollars and are the best models available. They will be on shelves beside other brand new phones that have "old" software on them, too. And not just models that have been available for a while, but just-released devices that we have heard about and are waiting to buy. For some, that can be frustrating. But there is a reason, and it's pretty simple.

It's known as opportunity cost. The idea behind opportunity cost is that all resources must be used efficiently. These resources could be monetary, but they also include things like time or any other corporate benefit. We're all more familiar with the idea the way Ben Franklin expressed it: "Remember that Time is Money."

It's no secret that most phones that run Android aren't using the latest software. The main reason is that it's not an easy task to keep phones updated because of Android's software licensing, and nobody involved in making your phone or the software on it wants things to change. Many of those same reasons apply when we see brand new shiny phones that have old software on them, too.

Building an operating system is hard and you can't change the platform in the middle of doing it.

Google only makes Android for the products they sell. They allow companies like Samsung or LG to build their own operating system based on Android any time they like because of a liberal software license. That's why Android became the dominant operating system so quickly, and it's also why your phone probably has an older version of Android, and has ever since you bought it.

It's not cheap to build and test an operating system. Sometimes it's comparatively easy; think of BlackBerry's Android phone and how they are patched on time every month when Google releases a security bulletin. The new code was designed to be merged into existing code, and all a company using it needs to do is check the parts they have changed compared to the download Google provides. Actual changes to the Android core are another matter, and even a bump from 7.0 to 7.1 can prove challenging. And expensive.

Software cycles versus hardware cycles

Samsung is likely going to show us a Galaxy S8 in late March. It may run Android 7.0 or it may run 7.1. The chance that it will be running 7.1.1 (the latest official version) is very slim because that particular version wasn't ready when Samsung was finalizing the software the way it wants it to be on the S8. And that's not going to be a big deal. It will be running Android Nougat and have the same application support as Google's Pixel. Phones that release near the beginning of the year are usually all like this and will only be a point or two behind.

Those point releases are nice but not critical. 7.1 is still just fine.

This becomes more of a problem for phones that come later in the year. Android gets its yearly platform update every autumn. Recent versions have had a beta testing cycle so we get to see them a few months before. But companies can't build their software based on beta code so any phone in late stages of production before the Android platform update will be a full platform version behind. That can have major implications when it comes to security and app compatibility.

In both cases, the time it would take to stop production and update the software before selling them would directly affect the amount of money a company makes from selling them. Companies that make things like phones exist only to make money.

Nobody at Samsung or LG or anyone else wants you to have old software on your phone. But because they have to do the updating themselves, it takes time. And time equals money.

Android Nougat

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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4 months ago

How to change keyboards on Android Wear 2.0

11

It's the stuff of dreams — a keyboard on your tiny watch face.

In all seriousness, it's nice to have a backup input method when Android Wear is having trouble understanding your commands. Android Wear 2.0 comes with built-in keyboard input capabilities, so you can tap or swipe around to reply to messages. And if you have other keyboard apps installed, you can switch to those as default input method, too.

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4 months ago

How to track your sleep with Android Wear 2.0

10

Easily track your slumber with Sleep as Android.

How can you track your sleep patterns with Android Wear 2.0 if it doesn't come with a built-in sleep tracker? And why doesn't Android Wear natively feature sleep tracking abilities the way that most fitness bands do?

Unfortunately, I don't have the answer to the second question, but I can help you with your sleep tracking conundrum—especially if the smartwatch you brought home doesn't offer its own sleep tracking app. Try Sleep as Android on for size. It's a full blown sleep tracking app for your smartphone that actively listens as you sleep to determine whether you're sleeping well or hardly at all. The app also offers Android Wear sleep tracking functionality, as well as synchronization with your Google Fit account, and though the wearable app is merely a switch to turn on your phone's sleep tracking feature, it's better than using nothing at all.

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4 months ago

How to customize your avatar in Pokémon Go Gen 2

Pokémon Go has completely changed the way you customize your avatar in Gen 2. Here's what you need to know.

Along with many, many improvements, upgrades and changes to Pokémon Go in version 0.57.2, also known as Gen 2, the game has overhauled avatar customization with a new UI, in addition to a number of new styles and clothing options.

Here's everything you need to know about the new avatar customization in Pokémon Go Gen 2.

Everything you need to know about Pokémon Go Gen 2

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