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4 years ago

The Nexus 5 bumper case

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Here's our first look at the official Nexus 5 bumper case that's being sold by Google. Ours is in the currently unavailable "bright red" color, which to our aging eyes looks more like a DayGlo orange and should be appreciated by anyone who's ever had to do search-and-rescue on the high seas.

Anyhoo. We're not quite sure when a "case" became a "bumper case," because this guy covers everything save for the front of the phone. The case is more rigid than flexible, with the Nexus logo printed on the back. (We'll see how long that holds up.) Wireless charging still works with the case on the phone.

It's thin, but definitely makes the phone a wee bit larger. You've got cutouts for all the ports and nubs for all the buttons. The phone slips in easily enough, and it's not going anywhere once it's there. But it's also not hard to remove. 

What is difficult, however, is stomaching a $34.99 price on this thing. That's not cheap, at all.

We've got more pics and hands-on video after the break.

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4 years ago

Nexus 5 battery life first impressions: Good enough, but not great

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How does the Nexus 5's battery stand up after a few days of real-world use?

Battery life is one of those areas of smartphone performance that’s difficult to quantify. Synthetic tests rarely reflect real-world performance, and it takes time to get a feel for how a new phone stands up.

We’ve been using the Nexus 5 as our daily driver for the past few days — just about long enough to get a good idea of how the battery performs in regular day-to-day use. In a word — or two —  it’s good enough. Acceptable. OK, but not great. And certain tasks in particular seem to draw an inordinately large amount of juice from the phone’s 2300mAh reserves.

We’ll take a closer look after the break.

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4 years ago

Creating Auto Awesome Videos in the new Google Photos app

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A little bit of work and a lot of Google magic lead to wonderful results

The latest version of the Google+ app brings with it another new app on your device: Photos. That's Google+ Photos to be exact, and it's an app that gives you access to all of your pictures and videos, both on-device and online, in a single place. Along with providing a system for managing your pictures, the latest version of this app also provides an interesting way to display your art, called "Auto Awesome Videos."

Incredibly similar to HTC's "Video Highlights," Auto Awesome Videos combine your pictures and videos into an artistic short film, adding filters, cuts and some background music to an otherwise run-of-the-mill set of pics. The end result is quite impressive as well — stick around after the break and see how it's done.

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4 years ago

Using the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear on Sprint

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Network improvements and S Pen refinement make both Sprint and the Note 3 worth a closer look

Sprint graciously sent us a shiny white Galaxy Note 3 and a Galaxy Gear to evaluate, and the way the dice roll they ended up in my hands for a week or so. The last experience I had of with any phone on Sprint left me a bit nervous, but hey — who isn't excited to get some time with a new Android and a fancy smart watch to go with it, right?

So I used them both full-time for a week, and have reached two conclusions that need to be shared.

  • Sprint is getting better. A lot better.
  • I don't like big phones that run crazy variants of Android, menu buttons make me twitchy, and SD cards are for cavemen. But I love the Note 3.

Yeah, I was as shocked as anyone who knows me is. But I'm happy, too. This is going to be as weird to write as it will be to read, so let's go.

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4 years ago

Amazon thanks the FAA, reduces price of 7-inch Kindle Fire HD and HDX to celebrate

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One day only, Amazon takes 15% off the latest 7-inch Kindle Fires to celebrate FAA decision

In honor of the FAA's landmark decision to allow the use of most electronic devices during all stages of flight, Amazon is throwing a one day sale on the 7 inch Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX. The sale is limited to the U.S, and only one discount per customer, but entering the code "ThnksFAA" at checkout will net you 15% off one of the tablets, or a regular Kindle if you'd prefer. 

That takes the Kindle Fire HD 7-inch down to $118, and the similarly sized HDX down to $195. Modest savings, but never to be sneered at, especially with the holidays just around the corner. So, if you've been holding out, now might be the time to pull the trigger. Head on over to Amazon, and let us know which one you pick up if you're buying. 

Source: Amazon

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4 years ago

Switching launchers with Android 4.4's new 'Home' setting

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KitKat makes it easier to swap or uninstall custom launchers

Many of us enjoy using custom home screen launchers on our Android phones, but the process of switching between them has never been entirely foolproof. That's changed in the latest Android 4.4 KitKat, which introduces a new top-level menu in the Settings app allowing you to select your default launcher. That means you don't have to traipse into the Apps menu, find your custom launcher, then clear its defaults to change back. The new Home menu also gives you an easy way to uninstall custom launchers, by pressing the trash icon next to it.

Check out our video above for a quick walkthrough on the Nexus 5.

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4 years ago

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom Android camera gets official on AT&T

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AT&T this morning announced that the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom — an Android-powered camera with LTE data — will be available on its network starting Nov. 8. It'll run $199 with a two-year contract, or $25 a month if you sign up for AT&T Next.

The camera-phone hybrid has been around for a few months now. Here's how Alex Dobie put things in his full Galaxy S4 Zoom review:

"The Galaxy S4 Zoom's hardware is best described as a head-on collision between the Galaxy S4 Mini and the Galaxy Camera."

Fair enough. 

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4 years ago

How to add and arrange home screens in Android 4.4 KitKat

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The launcher — the app that controls how your home screens look and act — arguably is the most important part of an Android smartphone. And from the earliest devices, we've seen manufacturers and app developers diverge from Google's solution and roll their own interpretations. (To varying degrees of success, for sure.)

In Android 4.4 KitKat, Google changed things up once more adding a couple of simple but much-needed features — the ability to add home screens, and the ability to rearrange your home screens.

Oh, Google Now is still attached to the far left — that's not going anywhere anytime soon, probably. But these new additions are welcomed, and easy to get used to.

We've got your primer videos after the break.

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4 years ago

Start your week with Nexus 5, KitKat and the Greatest Android Podcast in the World!

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If you missed Friday's live recording of the Android Central Podcast, you missed more than 80 minutes of Nexus 5, Android 4.4 KitKat — and a whole mess of your questions. Fortunately, thanks to a little 21st century gramophone action, we've got the show recorded for posterity.

And we've got several choices for your listening pleasure:

Give 'er a go, folks. And thanks for listening!

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4 years ago

Moto G announcement set for November 13

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Sign up page goes live for live online announcement set for just over a week's time

Up until this point we were pretty sure the Moto G is a real thing, and today Motorola has outright confirmed that with a sign up page and an email in our inbox with a confirmed date for the announcement of the new device. Everything is set to go down on November 13, and interested parties can sign up now for the live online announcement. 

From recent leaks we're expecting the Moto G to be a more budget conscious offering in the Motorola stable, with a similar look to the Moto X but with trimmed down size and specs. A recent UK based leak suggested the Moto G might be hitting the market at just £135, which if true has us extremely interested. 

Whatever the Moto G turns out to be, we'll be following everything as it happens on November 13, so keep it locked to Android Central. 

Source: Motorola

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4 years ago

International Galaxy S3 Android 4.3 update rollout begins

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Firmware for Vodafone Ireland available, others to follow

Following recent Android 4.3 launches on the Galaxy S4, it seems it's the turn of Samsung's 2012 flagship to get the updated version of Google's OS. Reports from SamMobile suggest that the international 3G Galaxy S3 (GT-i9300) has begun receiving the update, starting with owners of the Vodafone Ireland branded version.

The update brings the Exynos-based GS3 to software version UGMJ9, which includes Android 4.3 and all its associated features, as well as Galaxy Gear support, ANT+ support, the apps-to-SD feature from the Galaxy S4 and Note 3, among other TouchWiz features. The Galaxy S3 skipped over Android 4.2, meaning there'll be a lot of new stuff to see for international GS3 owners, who'll be updating from Android 4.1.2.

If you're on Vodafone Ireland (with a carrier-branded device) you should be able to update over-the-air or through Samsung's Kies desktop software. As usual, other carriers and regions are expected to follow in the days and weeks ahead.

Source: SamMobile; via: XDA

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4 years ago

'Glass Guides' to educate new Explorers over Hangouts

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In-person-pickups of Google Glass are no longer necessary, but Google still wants to make sure you understand the $1,500 device

The still-relatively exclusive Google Glass club is set to grow by as much as 300 percent in the days and weeks ahead, now that Google's allowed the first round of Explorers to invite up to three friends to try the $1,500 wearable. But one big change is that you'll no longer have to pick up your Glass in person at an office in either Los Angeles or New York. Now, Glass will come to you. 

That presents a little bit of a conundrum, though, as Glass is still very much not a consumer product. And while it isn't all that hard to get a grip on, there's a reason why Google wanted to meet Explorers in person and give a one-on-one walkthrough.

But it turns out Google's not just shipping-and-forgetting to those of us in this new friends-and family-plan. I got a call this afternoon (5 p.m. on a Sunday — on my landline — but whatever) inviting me to do a little sit-down for my new Google Glass with an official "Glass Guide," over Google Hangouts, of course.

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4 years ago

Everything you wanted to know about disabling apps on your Android

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Pre-installed apps can sleep with the fishes if you know where to look to do it

Recent versions of the Android platform have enabled a pretty powerful little trick — the ability to put just about any app to sleep. It's one of those thing folks who rooted their phones have been able to do, but now anyone can, thanks to Android's built-in application manager.

If you're new to all this (and we're seeing plenty of new faces every day) you'll need to know how before you dive in. You could probably find a short and incomplete explanation in the user manual that came with your phone, but we've a better idea. AC Ambassador Haalcyon has written up a complete primer that will show you how to put any app into a coma, as he calls it. Take a few minutes to read through it, and you'll be ready to say goodbye to those apps you never wanted to begin with. 

You've got a powerful little box in your hands. We're always here to help you learn how to effectively use it. Jump into the forums and have a look.

[Guide] How to disable apps

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4 years ago

Sony SmartWatch2 review

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Sony’s third try at a smart watch hits almost all the bases

Sony is no stranger to the concept of smart wearables. We’ve seen the Sony Ericsson LiveView (which is best forgotten by everyone) and the original SmartWatch introduced at CES in early 2012, which was a little bit better but suffered from connectivity issues. Their latest version, aptly (yet unimaginatively) dubbed the SmartWatch 2 has a history to build on, and to try and not repeat.

Wearables are going to be a lucrative business for the right people. We all saw how the Pebble ripped through its Kickstarter goals, so the desire is out there. It will take a company that can get the form and the function just right to steal it all. Could Sony have done it with the SmartWatch 2? Sales say no, but we all know that best selling doesn’t mean best. Hit the break, have a read, and see what you decide.

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4 years ago

From the Editor's Desk: Coming up for air

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Well, that was one hell of a week.

We were in the middle of Friday's (rather epic) podcast on the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 KitKat when we reminded ourselves that just days earlier we'd been at the Samsung Developers Conference in San Francisco. So in the span of single work week we had an inaugural devcon from one of the biggest damn manufacturers of anything on the planet.

Then Halloween hit. It's kind of a thing when you have a couple young kids. 

A day later, we had the announcement of a new (and pretty major, imho) version of Android. And we had the announcement and retail launch of the Nexus 5.

And the iPad Air went on sale last week, too. Not sure yet if I need to get one — I'll probably decide I do just as soon as it's not easily available. But the initial reviews have me wanting to see just how light and thin that thing is.

Oh, and I finally got Google Glass. So, yeah. Just a few things to wrap my mind around this week.

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