Tag Archives: Android

How to tell your Android device you’re tethering from a portable hotspot and save data

Data caps are a real thing now and the concept of unlimited data is a thing of the past. While manufacturers have realised this and implemented settings that restrict downloads/streaming to WIFI, there still exists room for improvement.

image

Fortunately for Android users (at least ones on the newer versions) Google has added a setting where you can tell the device that the ‘WIFI’ connection you’re on is actually a portable hotspot, so it shouldn’t go crazy downloading Play Store updates or anything else that will consume copious amounts of data.

Continue reading How to tell your Android device you’re tethering from a portable hotspot and save data

Must Know HTC One Tips & Tricks

The HTC One packs a quad core Snapdragon 600 chip, 2 GB of RAM, an incredible 1080p 4.7″ IPS display  and runs Sense 5.0, a new iteration of Sense that trims down the UI to a very large extent, while not taking away too much from the default Android experience. With its premium aluminium construction, there is hardly anything you won’t like about this device.

HTC One Tips Tricks

The HTC One is definitely one of 2013’s top smartphones, and as is the case with most devices these days, there are features that are obvious and then there are some that take a bit of finding. Over the last few days that I have been using the HTC One as my primary device (review coming soon) I have come to learn a few nifty shortcuts and tricks that every HTC One user should know.

If you can’t see the video embedded above, hit this link to go to YouTube. If you’d like to see some of these tips & tricks in text instead of video, read on.

  • How Use The HTC One To Create Video Highlights Of Pictures & Video Taken On Another Camera: Details here.
  • Capacitive Buttons: Because the One only comes with two capacitive buttons, instead of the 3 button default Android setup, the home key has some added responsibilities. A long press of the key launches Google Now, while a quick double tap, ala iOS, launches the multitasking app switcher. From there you can kill apps by simply dragging them off the screen.
  • Screenshots: Taking screenshots is very easy, just hit the home button and the power key simultaneously and a screenshot will be saved to the gallery. The One also has the ability to take screenshots while a video is playing. So if you want to quickly grab an image, just tap the screen once while the video is playing and hit the camera button that appears. A 1920 x 1080 screenshot will be saved to the gallery.

Must Know HTC One Tips & Tricks

  • Homescreen Setup: By default, whenever you press the home button the first thing you’ll see is Blinkfeed. There is no way to turn Blinkfeed off, but fortunately you select another homescreen to be the default screen. To do this, pinch the homescreen and you’ll be presented with the following screen. Now choose the homescreen you want to set as the default by pressing down on it and dragging it to the ‘Set As Home’ option that appears.

Must Know HTC One Tips & Tricks

  • Jump To Top: Very hand for long lists, wherever you are to quickly jump to the top, hit the notification bar once. This works in all sorts of lists – Contacts, Blinkfeed, Music Player and so on. 
  • Secure Inbox: If there are certain messages that you’d best keep from prying eyes, the HTC One has you covered. Long press on the message you so wish to hide, and select the move to Secure Inbox button. Then when you wish to goto that message, choose ‘Secure Inbox’ from the list and enter your password. Note: The password is set the first time you enter the Secure Inbox.

Must Know HTC One Tips & Tricks

  • Two Finger Scrolling: Scrolling with two fingers on any list displays the corresponding alphabet as you scroll along. Great when you want to stop at a particular letter in say, the Contacts app. In the messages app, a two finger scroll results in the dates being displayed as you scroll along.
  • Bluetooth Remote for the Camera: A bluetooth headset can act as a remote for the camera. Mount the One of a tripod and be part of the shot. Makes you wonder why didn’t anyone implement this earlier.
  • NFC & Usage: Buried in the settings menu under the ‘More’ heading is a toggle for NFC, turn it off if you’d like to save that every bit of battery life. The Usage option lets you restrict and monitor the amount of data your device is using. You can also keep tabs on your cellular minutes and text messages. Very handy if you don’t have unlimited data.

Must Know HTC One Tips & Tricks

  • App Gallery: By default, the Sense UI displays a grid of 3 x 3. Thankfully you can change this to 4 x 5.  Also present is an option to hide certain apps completely. So all the operator branded junk that you never open can now easily be removed from sight. Also, you can list apps alphabetically, or by the date they were added. You can also have a custom setup if you like.

Must Know HTC One Tips & Tricks

  • Power Saver: The HTC One has a power saver mode, use it. It throttles the CPU, reduces the brightness, makes the data connection goto sleep for small intervals, and turns vibration off. Based on experience, just letting the phone throttle the CPU and suspend the data connection makes a lot of difference. Enjoy that screen, don’t skimp on the brightness.

Must Know HTC One Tips & Tricks

  • Stop Google Play from auto creating shortcuts: If like me, you hate it when an app is automatically added to your homescreen the moment you installed it, this tip is for you. Goto Google Play settings and uncheck the auto-add widgets button.

Must Know HTC One Tips & Tricks

  • Gracenote Integration: Thanks to its Gracenote integration, the One automatically adds album art to the music you’ve copied to the device. That’s not all, it will even pull the lyrics down from the Internet and display them – synchronised.

Must Know HTC One Tips & Tricks

  • Unresponsive/Reset: If the HTC One ever hangs, or becomes unresponsive you can’t really pull the battery out. The way around that problem is holding the power button down for 10 seconds. The phone will reboot and hopefully your problem will be fixed.
  • Changing Shortcuts in the Dock: You can change the default apps in the dock, and even add folders. However, this cannot be done from the homescreen and you’ll have to be in the app drawer to make changes.

In addition to these, there are a ton of other must know things – Zoes, Video Highlights, IR Blaster for controlling the TV. Which ones are your favourites? Sound off in the comments section below!

Nokia Chimes In On Google’s Motorola Acquisition While Its Share Prices Shoot Up

We’ve heard from the major Android manufactures on what they feel about Google’s Motorola Mobility acquisition, but it would be interesting to hear what Nokia has to say about this. After all, pre Feb 11 Nokia was contemplating putting its eggs in the Android basket. Lets look at their official statement:

“This further reinforces our belief that opportunities for the growth of Nokia’s smartphone business will be greatest with Windows Phone. This could prove to be a massive catalyst for the Windows Phone ecosystem. Additionally, with our respective intellectual property portfolios, Nokia and Microsoft are working together to build and nurture an innovative ecosystem that benefits consumers, operators, developers and other device manufacturers.”

Nokia seems to believe (hopes?) that Google’s owning Motorola would drive a wedge between them and players like HTC and Samsung who already make Windows Phone devices. May be if Nokia had gone the Android way, then Google would’ve cross licensed Nokia’s treasure trove of patents and have not needed to buy Motorola Mobility, but then again Google wasn’t willing to cut Nokia a special deal so may be Nokia would’ve repaid them in the same coin and asked for a pretty steep price.

Meanwhile, Nokia’s stock has risen by over 12.5% since the news of Moto’s acquisition first broke. This looks like a recognition of how undervalued Nokia’s stock is and the rise is perhaps being fulled by speculation that Microsoft might just follow in Google’s lead and buy Nokia. It could also mean that the market seems to think that today’s deal might just benefit Nokia and its Windows Phone decision.

Nokia’s statement also underlines Nokia’s strong patent portfolio, which combined with Microsoft is as strong as any. Infact, even without adding Microsoft’s patents into the mix, Nokia has already forced Apple to pay up in a licensing deal.

[via: TIMN, ZCJ]

Google Buys Motorola: Creates An Android Licensee That’s First Among Equals

In a very interesting development, Google has just announced that it will be acquiring Motorola Mobility, the handset and tablet division of the company for a cool 12.5 billion dollars. As you can probably guess the primary driver for Google was its inherent lack of patents and Motorola’s 17,000 patents with another 7000 in the pipeline were too good to pass. Motorola will be run as a separate business and will remain an android licensee and Google promises that there will be no change on how Android is run.

Google Buys Motorola: Creates An Android Licensee That's First Among Equals

While this will provide some cushion for Android manufactures who were getting sued left, right and center, it will also sow a seed of distrust. While Google may still be calling Motorola just another Android licensee, make no mistake it will be the first among equals and that cannot make Samsung, HTC, Sony Ericsson or LG happy. While all of these companies has put its game face on and given a public hurrah! to the deal, I wonder how they actually feel.

“We welcome the news of today’s acquisition, which demonstrates that Google is deeply committed to defending Android, its partners, and the entire ecosystem” Peter Chou, CEO, HTC.

“I welcome Google’s commitment to defending Android and its partners” Bert Nordberg, President & CEO, Sony Ericsson.

“We welcome Google’s commitment to defending Android and its partners” Jong-Seok Park, Ph.D, President & CEO, LG.

“We welcome today’s news, which demonstrates Google’s deep commitment to defending Android, its partners, and the ecosystem” J.K. Shin, President, Samsung, Mobile Communications Division.

In the conference call following the announcement, Google did make it clear that rights to make the next Nexus device are still up for grabs for all partners and that Motorola would also participate in the bidding process just like Samsung or HTC. The current winner for the Nexus lineup was selected last Christmas, so we’ll only know the real outcome of this deal when its time for the next Nexus.

At the end of the day for Google, a large part of the 12.5 billion was mainly spent for patents, but it would be foolish of them not to effectively utilize the newly acquired hardware arm of theirs only for set top boxes, but for cutting edge smartphones as well. This represents a huge challenge for them, as no one has really successfully licensed a platform and competed with licensees, all at the same time. A slight hint of favoritism could push Samsung and HTC towards Windows Phone and that’s certainly not what Google is hoping to achieve.

The deal still needs to clear regulatory hurdles across the world, but once that happens it will be definitely be a very interesting time in Android’s growth story.

Different Tack Is An Interesting New Twitter Client For Symbian^3

An all new Twitter client has just hit Symbian^3 devices, called Different Tack, the application use a never seen before UI to help you manage Twitter on your mobile phones. The idea behind the UI is to let you see what’s hot with just a glance and browse through your tweets with a notch of your thumb.

Once you login, you will see a wheel with all the different options, one of which is browsing your timeline. Tapping on any of the pokes takes you in, with the upper portion of the screen serving as the display. You rotate your thumb below to see the tweets fly across above. To go back, simply tap the center.

Different Tack Is An Interesting New Twitter Client For Symbian^3 Different Tack Is An Interesting New Twitter Client For Symbian^3

Once you have a particular tweet on display, the options below change to the usual reply, retweet, favourite, Direct Message and so on. Again, tap the center button to exit and continue browsing other tweets.

Different Tack Is An Interesting New Twitter Client For Symbian^3 Different Tack Is An Interesting New Twitter Client For Symbian^3

The developers call the app, a ‘brain friendly’ Twitter app, and have gone on to demo the app in the following video.

Different Tack is free on the Ovi Store for a limited while and does offer a new approach to Twitter on Symbian devices, which admittedly don’t have a wide selection of great Twitter clients. The application does take a little time to get used to, but can be fun to use. I have been playing with Different Tack over the last few hours and I am not sure it will become my default Twitter client, but I still recommend you give it a spin. Its free afterall!

The developers plan on releasing Android and iOS versions in the coming weeks, making it one of the few apps to debut on Symbian first.

Alien Dalvik Will Let Android Apps Run On MeeGo & Maemo

A very promising press release hit my inbox today morning, the Myriad Group has announced Alien Dalvik, a solution that will let users take advantage of applications made for Android devices on their MeeGo smartphones. According to the press release, Alien Dalvik ‘enables the majority of Android applications to run unmodified, allowing application store owners to quickly kick start Android application store services by simply repackaging Android Package (APK) files’.

Alien Dalvik Will Let Android Apps Run On MeeGo & Maemo

The best part about the solution is that Alien Dalvik applications will appear as native and can be seamlessly installed on devices, as you can see from the demo video below, they appear just as any other native Maemo app would.  Myriad Alien Dalvik is slated to become commercially available later this year on the MeeGo platform with support for other platforms to be announced in the coming months.

The press release only mentions MeeGo, however the demo video has been shot on the N900, running Maemo 5 and other documentation also mentions it, so chances are N900 owners might get some love as well. Alien Dalvik will also be demonstrated publicly for the first time on the Nokia N900 at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona from February 14th-17th at the Myriad hospitality suite located at The Avenue, Stand AV91.

Myriad claims that the Alien Dalvik solution will let Android apps run on non Android smartphones with the same speed and performance as they would on a native Android device. ‘A very tight integration to both the Android SDK and the MeeGo SDK (QTCreator) makes it very easy to modify, package and test applications. Most Android applications can run unmodified as the vast majority of Android APIs are supported and tight integration with the QT framework leads to a seamless user experience.’

The bottomline is, if the solution can do what it claims and Nokia can churn out a great looking UI for MeeGo, people will stop their demands for a Android or WP7 device from Nokia.