jeudi 30 juin 2016

Specifications Emerge of the Second HTC-built Nexus “Marlin”

The HTC “Marlin” Nexus will be accompanying the HTC “Sailfish” Nexus for being this years Nexus devices, and specs of Marlin have now emerged. The Marlin will be sporting a 5.5″ QHD AMOLED display, 4GB RAM, 32GB and 128GB storage variants, rear fingerprint scanner, 3450 mAh battery and more. AndroidPolice notes that both the Sailfish and Marlin are likely to sport the same design language and other traits, with the only differences now being in screen size, resolution and battery.



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Carrier Unlocked SD820 Galaxy S7 / Edge Available in USA… Bootloader Likely Still Unpenetrable

The Samsung Galaxy S7 and the S7 Edge are arguably among the best Android smartphones one could buy right now. Whether you like or hate the various nuances that come along with Samsung devices, like Touchwiz and locked bootloaders to name a few, there’s no denying that the phone works for the normal user and it sells well in the market. Sure, the phones would not be the best choice for a lot of people, but Android is about choice, and the S7 and S7 Edge happen to be the choice for many. Different strokes for different folks.

If you are in the USA, your choice just got a bit better. Previously, if you wanted a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge, you would be restricted to purchasing the devices from your carrier, and usually being tied to a contract or service in some way… not to mention the carrier bloat! Until now, that is. The Samsung Galaxy S7 and the S7 Edge can now be purchased in the USA unlocked, without being tied to a carrier or contract.

All the benefits of going contract-less apply to the S7 and the S7 Edge. The phone works on all carriers, and they are devoid of the carrier bloatware that we usually come to expect on carrier phones. You can purchase the S7 for $669 and the S7 Edge for $769, and your choice of store ranges from Samsung themselves to Amazon, Best Buy, eBay and even Target. Select distributors will also have access to the unlocked phones.

If you are looking to go carrier-independent and want a flagship in the upper end of the smartphone spectrum, the Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge can now be counted among your choices. If you would like to purchase them from Samsung directly, head on over to Samsung’s website.



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Android N Officially Named Android Nougat

The upcoming Android N update has finally received its name unveiling, and as the statue was revealed and added to the collection, we found out the name is Android Nougat!

What is a Nougat, exactly? From Wikipedia:

Nougat is a family of confections made with sugar or honey, roasted nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts are common), whipped egg whites, and sometimes chopped, candied fruit. The consistency of nougat is chewy, and it is used in a variety of candy bars and chocolates. The word nougat comes from Occitan, seemingly from Latin panis nucatus ‘nut bread’ (the late colloquial Latin adjective nucatum means ‘nutted’ or ‘nutty’).


What do you think about the name? Is it what you expected? Let us know in the comments!



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SwiftShader is Now Fully Open Source

Google has been using SwiftShader in Chrome since 2009, and they’re also using it in Android development tools as well as cloud services. This technology allows for 3D rendering on systems that can’t fully support hardware-accelerated rendering. This technology is now fully open source and those who are interested can access the git repo here.



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Dropbox Announces Upcoming Changes to Camera Uploads

On July 22nd, Dropbox will change the way camera uploads are handled with smartphones for basic accounts. If you want to continue with your automated camera uploads, basic customers will have to install the desktop application or upgrade to a pro account. Dropbox Basic customers will still be able to upload their camera photos, but it’ll have to be done manually.



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Design Sketches of the Rejected OnePlus Smartwatch

Before the official release of the OnePlus 3, we learned that the company was also discussing the idea of releasing a smartwatch as well. They ended up tossing out the idea so they could focus 100% on the upcoming flagship, but this week we got a look at some unique designs OnePlus was thinking about using.



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Qualcomm Optimizes Select Snapdragon SoCs for Tango

Google’s Tango AR technology can be very taxing on the CPU unless there’s a way to offload the work being done and this is exactly what Qualcomm is doing with the Snapdragon 652, 820 and future 6xx/8xx SoCs. So while older Snapdragon 6xx/8xx chips can’t be used in a Tango device, OEMs will be free to use the 652, 820 or any newer chip in the 600 or 800 series.



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Statistics of Google’s Summer of Code 2016

Google’s Summer of Code 2016 started a little more than a month ago and today we’ve reached the halfway point. Now that we’ve reached the halfway point and both mentors as well as the students have finished their midterm evaluations, Google has released some statistics about the event.



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Google Launches My Activity Page

Depending on your Google account settings, the Mountain View tech giant tracks a lot of your daily online activity. This week, the company has launched a new My Activity page that does a few things. Firstly, you can use it to revisit something you did or looked at earlier today. The page will also let you delete the usage data Google has collected about you.



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Xiaomi Mi Max Launched in India for Rs. 14,999 ($222) / Rs. 19,999 ($296)

In an event in New Delhi, Xiaomi has launched the Mi Max in India. The phone comes in two RAM+storage variants, with the 3GB RAM + 32GB storage variant with Snapdragon 650 SoC costing Rs. 14,999 ($222) and the 4GB RAM + 128GB storage and Snapdragon 652 SoC comes in at Rs. 19,999 ($296), and the first flash sale is scheduled for July 6th. The Mi Max sports a big 6.44″ FHD Display and sits firmly in the phablet category.



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Win a Bezel-Less Elephone S3! We Have Two

Lately we’ve been talking about the budget-friendly, bezel-less Elephone S3. Just $149.99 (with the current sale, or $199.99 regularly) gets you a phone that has an ultra-modern look and feel thanks to its unique zero-bezel design and metal build. It has other goodies like a Sony camera, fingerprint sensor, microSD storage, and near-stock Android Marshmallow.

We have two to giveaway, and the contest is open to all countries. To participate, just drop a comment below with two reasons why you want an S3. Be sure to check out the Elephone website to get a complete rundown of all the S3 can do. Then, in a week, we will choose two winners! Good luck.



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mercredi 29 juin 2016

ZTE Employee Hints at Unlocked Bootloader on Axon 7

One important aspect of how many users decide to buy a phone is whether or not they can root it or flash ROMs. Many users, myself included, hold the ability to root in high regards, and almost find no interest in phones if they are not able to be rooted. 

A recent phone making buzz is the ZTE Axon 7. The Axon 7 has turned many heads given its beefy specs and attractive price. As some users on ZTE’s official forums have pointed out, they value having an unlocked bootloader to develop, and the discussion was noticed by the company.

In that same comments section, ZTE employee sshasan left a reply hinting at the future availability of an unlockable bootloader on the Axon 7.

2016-06-29

Does this mean that ZTE will officially unlock the bootloaders of the Axon 7? Only time will tell, but that’s a pretty obvious hit if I’ve ever seen it. Keep a close eye on our own ZTE Axon 7 Forums for further developments.



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Google Play Store Version 6.8 Hints at Sharing Music Purchases on a Family Plan, Improved Data Pre-Loading

Google Play Store Version 6.8 is now rolling out with hints suggesting a possible upcoming change within the Google Play Music Family Plan. Currently, subscribers to the Play Music Family Plan are unable to share individual purchases among family members, as noted in the help page:

Each family member will still have separate Google Accounts, playlists, libraries, and offline content. Any content family members purchase or upload won’t be shared between family members.

During  this year’s Google I/O, we were promised the ability the share our application purchases with up to 6 family members under a Google Play Family Library. The go-live date after which every application purchase will be eligible for sharing under a Family Library is July 2nd. That date is quickly approaching, however, it doesn’t look like Google intends to only allow families to share application purchases. Indeed, much like Apple’s iCloud Family Sharing, perhaps Google will soon roll out the ability to share individual music purchases with your family members.

Disclaimer: The evidence we dig up from the APK files of an app are not definitive. Google may choose to pull these features without any indication in a future release.


Sharing Music Purchases

Admittedly, there is not a lot to go off of here. Within the latest Play Store app, there is but a single string indicating the existence of such a feature.

<string name="family_music_upgrade_text">You can share your Google Play purchases with your family group.</string>

This text will appear in a small bottom sheet/snackbar presumably after you upgrade to a Google Play Music Family Plan within the Play Store app, at least according to the family_music_upgrade_bottom_sheet.xml file. The bottom sheet layout file explicitly mentions the Family Library, so we’re hoping that Google takes a page from Apple and does indeed implement this feature.


Improved Data Pre-Loading

Previous teardowns of the Play Store app revealed that Google would begin pre-loading data to reduce network consumption by the Play Store app. With Google Play Store version 6.8, it appears that they will be increasing the amount of data cached from 20MB to 30MB.

<string name="lite_mode_settings_description_info">Preload up to 30 MB on your device, over Wi-Fi</string>

A very small, but welcome change for those people on very limited data plans. This small bump in preloaded data should help people on slower network connections to load up the Play Store as well.


That’s all we’ve found within the latest Play Store update. Stay tuned for future teardowns into the latest Google app updates!



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Sony Xperia Home Open Beta Adds Google Now Integration

The Open Beta for Sony’s Xperia Home launcher has now added in Google Now integration and support in its latest update. This makes Sony the first OEM to incorporate Google Now in its custom launcher. Google Now can be enabled from the Home settings, and can be accessed by swiping left-to-right on the home screen.



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Google is Testing Internet Speed Test Directly from Search

Google, in collaboration with Measurement Labs, is testing out a feature that will allow users to test their internet speed and latency directly from search. The search query needed is “check internet speed”, but the feature is not rolled out for all users. Microsoft’s Bing has a similar feature in place already.



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Google Maps Starts Rolling Out Multi-Waypoint Directions

Google Maps has finally been granted a long awaited feature, the ability to create a multi-waypoint route and get suitable directions. This will now allow users to travel from Point A to B with multiple pre-defined stops in between, and get the best route for it. The change is being pushed through a server-side switch, but make sure that you are on the latest Maps update to make the cut.



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Amazon Discounts the Moto G4 for Amazon Prime Members… by Including Bloatware and Ads

If you are an Amazon Prime Member in the USA, Amazon is rolling out a hard-to-resist deal for you. You can now take advantage of “exclusive pricing” of up to 50% off on two decent Android smartphones, the BLU R1 HD and the more familiar Motorola Moto G4.

The BLU R1 HD will cost $49.99 (down $50 from its $99.99 retail price) and the Moto G4 (not the Moto G4 Plus) will cost $149.99 (down $50 from its $199.99 retail price).

2016-06-29

Launch Day discount on the Moto G4 for Amazon Prime Members

The BLU R1 HD packs in a Both the phones are entry level devices, and not to be taken for offering a flagship experience as they are very clearly not meant for that. But for as low as $50, you get a working Android phone with a decent sized display and an experience that about works alright for most daily tasks. The phones are available for pre-order unlocked with no contract commitments. And if you hurry up and purchase the Moto G4 today, you get a launch-only offer of an additional $25 off on checkout, bringing the price down to ~$135!

If there are no contracts and the price is this low, where’s the catch, you ask? Glad you did, because there is one with this. The low pricing on the smartphones is made possible because of ads and bloatware, and Amazon is upfront about it. Their press release goes along as below:

The breakthrough pricing on unlocked smartphones is supported by personalized offers and ads, including deals and product recommendations, displayed on the phone’s lockscreen. When a customer sees an offer, they can tap to learn more about it or simply unlock their phone to dismiss.

The concept is similar to Amazon’s Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets, where the hardware just serves as a gateway to get you into Amazon’s software ecosystem built around product and media consumption. The hardware is subsidized for this reason, as they want you to be invested in this ecosystem, and the low pricing is made possible by offering offers and ads on the lockscreen.

The same experience is likely to be present on these smartphones, as along with ads, the phones will also be pre-loaded with Amazon’s suite of apps in addition to the Google suite of apps. If you like a lightweight-experience on your smartphone, these are certainly not the phones to buy right away.

It remains to be seen if the Amazon has done any changes to the software or hardware that would make it difficult to just flash over a stock ROM for the standard Moto G4, which should theoretically get rid of the ads and the bloatware. The bootloader situation on the phone is unknown as of now, so we would not advise to make the purchase while banking on root to be easily achievable. There’s a good chance that the phones could be hacked around, but you know what they say — Better be safe than a Verizon phone.

Nonetheless, this is a very sweet deal and should work about right for the normal consumer, or for those looking for good burner phones. Let us know in the comments if you picked up the deal!



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OnePlus Warn About Price Increases, Says Brexit is to Blame

Britain’s decision to leave the EU made headlines the world over recently as the referendum’s leave campaign won by a narrow margin. One expected result was a temporary drop in the Great British Pound and drop it did, today it has started what appears to be a slow and steady increase once again but for OnePlus the damage may have already been done.

Taking to their forums earlier today, OnePlus has warned that due to the uncertain nature of the GBP that prices may be increased to ensure they maintain their margins. Recommending that people considering purchasing a device did so sooner rather than later as they will only be providing “several days” notice in the event that the prices do increase.

“… the worrying downward trend of the GBP may make it difficult to maintain our current pricing structure in the UK. Our margins have always been thin, and our expenses are mainly in USD. This being the case, sudden drops such as the one that the Pound has recently experienced could have a direct impact on our prices.” – OnePlus

This is not the first time fluctuations in currency have influenced the price of OnePlus’ products, last year they increased their prices as the Euro dropped in value. The risk of making a loss when working with low margins is always present and while it is understandable that doesn’t mean their customers will be happy with the decision.

Read the full announcement here.

 



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Humble PC & Android Bundle 14 Announced

Humble Bundle’s 14th PC & Android bundle comes with a number of good games this month. Pay anything you want, and you will get 100000000, Badland and SPACECOM. Pay $3 or more, and you get Please Don’t Touch Anything, Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon and You Must Build A Boat. Lastly, pay $3 more than the average and you get Desktop Dungeons and Knights of Pen & Paper 2.



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LG Makes it Easier to Connect Your Smartphone to the PC

LG has just announced a new, official app that will let you connect your LG G4, LG G5 and LG V10 to your PC. With the app installed on your phone and PC, you can then control your keyboard and mouse directly from the smartphone. This app also lets you transfer files to and from both the PC and your smartphone.



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Moto G4 & Moto G4 Plus is Available for Pre-Order in the US

If you live in the United States and have been waiting for the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus to arrive, then we’ve got some great news for you. Both devices can be pre-ordered directly from Motorola as well as select retailers like Amazon, Best Buy and B&H Photo. Prices start at just $200, and will start shipping on July 12th.



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Android Pay is Now Available in Singapore

Samsung recently brought their mobile payment service to Singapore and now Android Pay has arrived there as well. Participating banks include DBS, OCBC Bank, POSB, Standard Chartered and UOB. The payment service will work at participating stores, within participating applications, as well as participating merchants.



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Exploring The Differences In Top Cloud Services

In this video I wanted to highlight some of the different features that set these cloud apps apart from each other. I have always just used dropbox and Google drive and haven’t paid too much attention to any other services. So I decided to look at the top five cloud storage solutions and pick out two unique features about each one. Here is what I discovered.

OneDrive

Microsoft’s OneDrive doesn’t have any revolutionary features from within the app. There is one feature where you can scan a document and import it as a PDF which I found somewhat interesting. The real handy feature is the integration with Windows. Your windows computer most likely already has OneDrive software ready to go. Just sign in with your email and password and you’ll have a dedicated folder, within your file explorer, to sync all of your files. This is not a separate application but rather an integrated part of your file system. As far as syncing on the desktop goes, OneDrive nails it.

cloud1

Box

The Box app comes with the “One Cloud” store which puts all of the compatible apps in one spot. You can browse through and find apps that will work nicely with your cloud storage and install them from the Play store.

The sharing options are really great in this app. Grab a link to a specific file to share with a friend. You can password protect your link and even set an expiration date. This gives you much more control over who is looking at your files and how long they’re allowed to have access to them.

cloud2

Mega

The two best features in Mega are probably pretty obvious. You’re given a massive 50GBs of storage for free and a strong encryption system that keeps your files out of the hands of any unwanted intruders. Sharing your files with the encryption is very secure. Each link you share will  require an encryption key to open. You can either send the key in the URL or send the URL without the key. This is a great feature for anyone sharing sensitive documents.

cloud3

Google Drive

You can dedicate several articles to the endless features in Google Drive. I’ll just point out my two favorite features which are the integration with Google Photos and the integration with the Google office suite. Open and edit Google Docs, Sheets or Slides from within Google Drive.

cloud4

Dropbox

Dropbox is fantastically simple to use. Setup takes only a minute or so and you’ll be syncing files across all of your devices. Compatibility is unbeatable. Dropbox is available on Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS and tons of other platforms.

When you setup dropbox on your computer it will have the same type of integration that OneDrive has. Your files will be seamlessly stacked within file explorer. The feature I use the most is the ability to right-click on a file from within the file explorer and create a link that I can share.

cloud5

Which cloud storage do you use and what is your favorite feature about it? Leave a comment below!



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Qualcomm Seeks 520 Million Yuan from Meizu in Lawsuit

Qualcomm recently went to the Intellectual Property Court in Beijing to file a complaint against the Chinese OEM Meizu for allegedly violating their patents. Meizu doesn’t use Qualcomm chips, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t be violating patents they own. Qualcomm is looking for 520 million Yuan in damages for allegedly not asking permission or paying royalties for some patents they own.



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HP Announces the Chromebook 11 G5

With the big push to get Android apps on Chrome OS devices, HP has now announced a brand new Chromebook, the Chromebook 11 G5. This device has an 11.6″ touchscreen display, Intel Celeron N3060 CPU, and is said to offer 12.5 hours of battery life. The Chromebook 11 G5 will be priced at $190, will be available through partners in July and retailers’ store shelves in October.



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Xiaomi to Add Split Screen Support in MIUI 8

MIUI 8 is going to be a big update to Xiaomi’s smartphones and we’re starting to learn about some interesting features it will receive. Along with the visual changes, the update is also said to include split screen multitasking, live screen recording, and support for fingerprint payment services. However, these won’t be included in the initial MIUI 8 update and will come later on.



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Google Releases their Expeditions App in the Play Store

Google’s Expeditions project was a way to let students take virtual field trips without ever having to leave the classroom. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to do a virtual tour of the 200+ expeditions they offer, but you can setup a second device as the “navigator” and then use your smartphone to take the virtual field trip.



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Huawei Schedules a Product Launch for September 1st

IFA 2016 is scheduled to begin on September 2nd, and will last until the 7th, with lots of electronic products anticipated to be launched. Huawei is jumping the gun and plans to announce some new phones on September 1st, the day before IFA 2016. No details on what exactly they’ll announce, but some speculate that it will be the Huawei Mate 9.



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mardi 28 juin 2016

Freedom 251, The $4 Smartphone is on Course to Reach Consumers

Introducing A New Series: Ask TK

For the past few years TK has been making videos here on YouTube and you probably already know a bit about him. He’s starting a new series here on XDA TV called “Ask TK”.

This new advice show will take your questions from either YouTube or Twitter and give you any Android related information you’re looking for. You could be wondering what the prediction is for the next big device, curious about rooting, or wondering about the best app for a specific need is. Whatever the case, TK is here to help you out.

If you’d like to post a question, leave a comment on the YouTube video. You can post your questions to Twitter as well. Tag @tkdsl8655 and @xdadevelopers and use the hashtag #AskTK so we can find you, or just hit the button below.



We look forward to hearing from you!



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An Insight Into Huawei’s Product Management and Future Plans

AndroidPit had an opportunity to sit down with the Chief Product Manager of Huawei to talk about Huawei’s product lineup and their product challenges. The article provides insight on topics such as product innovation, risk taking, rebranding and technology adoption with respect to Huawei, and how these are impacted by the market trends and needs.



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PSA: Enable Scroll Anchoring in Google Chrome to Prevent Annoying Page Jumps

There are a ton of awesome features hidden away in many Google apps that are rarely hyped up namely due to a lack of advertisement by Google. One such feature hidden away in Google Chrome’s chrome://flags page is the Scroll Anchoring feature.

Introduced back in April initially only in Google Chrome Dev v51 builds, the feature prevents your webpage from “jumping” whenever offscreen content such as ads or images are loading. I’m sure you’ve run into this issue before, it happens fairly frequently for any user who quickly jumps from one webpage to another, perhaps when reading articles with tons of images. Your only real solution to this is to patiently wait for the entire webpage to fully load before clicking on any link, but who has time for that?

Sufficiently bothered by this issue yet? If so, then head on over to chrome://flags/#enable-scroll-anchoring (paste this into your URL address bar), enable the flag, then relaunch the browser. After you’ve enabled this feature, you should no longer suffer from text reflows due to the loading of offscreen content, but as Google Chrome’s developers note your mileage may vary. If you do notice a webpage incorrectly reflow even after enabling this feature, you can report it straight to the developers by following this link.

It’s worth noting that Google may choose to can this feature whenever they want, as any feature that lives in the chrome://flags page is technically only for beta testing purposes. However, since this feature has already survived two version changes in Google Chrome Dev, we don’t expect it to suddenly disappear in the next week or so. As the stable build of Google Chrome is now on v51, all users of Chrome browser on Android can take advantage of this feature. We’re not exactly sure why this feature hasn’t been enabled by default in any build of Chrome, but my tinfoil hat tells me it’s so that you will accidentally click on advertisements.


Thanks to DaShata over on /r/Nexus6P for pointing this out!



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LeEco’s New Flagship is Rumored to Have a Dual Camera Module

It was only yesterday when we learned that Samsung would be providing dual camera modules for various Chinese smartphone OEMs. If this leaked photo is legit, it seems that LeEco wants in on this dual camera trend as well. The rear shell shows a spot for a rear- fingerprint scanner and a dual camera module with a dual LED flash right above it.



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Google Releases v3 of their Google Cast SDK

At Google I/O earlier this year, Google announced a new Cast SDK (version 3.0) and said it would be available to developers soon. This week, the company has announced this SDK is now available to all developers, and you can use it in your apps right now. The new SDK simplifies parts of the previous SDK and is said to address the major pain points.

 



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Google’s Project Bloks Helps Teach Kids to Code

Learning to code can be difficult for anyone and getting children interested in it can be even harder. Google recognizes this and has just announced Project Blocks as a way to help out. With Project Blocks, Google has made code physical and this helps to engage with kids at a much deeper level.

 



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Google Outlines Android Changes to NDK

Some things are changing with Android N and Google has been doing their best to inform developers about them before its official release. The next version of Android will require stricter requirements for writing clean, cross-platform compatible native code. In a recent blog post, Google has detailed some individual changes related to native code loading so you can avoid errors in Android N.



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Google Improves Mobile Support with TensorFlow v0.9

TensorFlow is Google’s machine learning engine and we saw the company make it open source back in November of last year. This week, Google has pushed out an update that brings it to version 0.9. This update adds support for iOS. the Raspberry Pi, and they’ve added some new compilation options.



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First Custom ROM for the Huawei Watch Released

After custom recoveries and kernels, the Huawei Watch has received its first custom ROM. Made by XDA Senior Member negamann303, the ROM is based on the MWD69 Android Wear 1.5 Update.



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Google Partners with LyricFind to Show Lyrics Directly in Search Results

Google has struck an agreement with LyricFind to serve lyrics for songs directly in search results. In the future, when users search for the lyrics for a popular song, they can view the lyrics directly on Google’s search page, without needing to open an external website.



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lundi 27 juin 2016

App Pricing Structures — Turn Your Hobby in to a Profitable and Sustainable Career

We all love Free, Open Source Software, but we must also remember that for many people the few dollars you spend on their app is their sole source of income. Spend some time in the forums or on any dev community social media account and you’ll eventually see the classic comment about the cost of 10 minutes worth of Starbucks coffee relative to the price of an app you’ll use often. They may have a point but there is far more to app pricing than just picking the right number and hitting publish.

Pricing is a very important part of your app as the subject tends to invoke strong feelings in your users, get it right and you can bring in a steady income and leave your users happy. Get it wrong and you infuriate and alienate your users and gain bad faith. In the worst cases, this bad faith can gain more attention than the app’s content. In 2010 even Gordon Brown the former Prime Minister of the UK spoke about changes to the business model for the digital edition of The Times when they introduced a paywall on top of the ad-supported revenue method. Getting it right may be difficult, but nail it and the sky’s the limit.

Customer Lifetime Values (CLTVs) are an incredibly important part of choosing a revenue method that is right for both you and your customers and is best explained as the total amount of money each of your customers will generate for you. It all comes down to three things: Monetization, Retention, and Virality. Monetization is the total each customer will contribute in terms of money, this includes purchases, ad revenue, and IAPs. Retention looks at how long you are likely to keep each customer and finally virality is how many new users each customer will introduce to your app. Strike a good balance of all three and you have a sustainable source of income. We will discuss how to calculate these values in a later article, for now, we will focus just on the methods you can implement to bring in income from your app.

Revenue Methods – Paid

The paid method like the others comes with its ups and downs. Unsurprisingly, charging to download your app is going to reduce the number of people installing your app straight away, you also have to consider the notorious “Refund” button. If your app is likely very infrequently used or doesn’t contain enough content to carry your users past that 2-hour refund deadline you could have a problem. The largest benefits of this method are the simplicity of implementing it and the larger download:revenue ratio over most of the other methods available.

With median installs of 750,000 indie app Five Night at Freddy's has generated around $1,500,000

With median installs of 750,000 indie app Five Night at Freddy’s has generated around $1,500,000

With median installs of 75K this app has generated about $1,585,000

With median downloads of 30,000,000 Minecraft has generated around $198,435,000

These apps may be extreme examples when it comes to downloads but they represent three different levels of the simplest method of revenue generation, a one-off payment for the app. FNAF, a simple app by Scott Cawthon an indie game dev and animator was virtually unheard of at its initial release. Which is likely why the game has the lowest price of the three above examples; however, 2 years, 4 sequels, and millions of downloads later the model has proven extremely effective for the developer.

FFIX is one of the most expensive commonly seen games on the Play Store and at $20.99 far surpasses other big ports on the Play Store such as Portal, Doom 3 and Half Life 2.  Charging this much for app is usually out of the question; but in this case it is likely that since the game was complete already and just had to be ported across, coupled with Square Enix’s large number of revenue streams this pricing model may indeed suit them if they do not require a large amounts of downloads, and could be aided by the veblen good effect of the app (it’s high price driving sales because “it must be good! It costs $20.99!”.

Between the two pricing models, we have Minecraft. On the upper end of what many users believe to be an acceptable price the games cross platform virality ensured downloads, the pricing could be deemed reasonable for both the developer and consumers and could certainly have been placed higher and still seen a great many purchases.

Revenue Methods – Ad-Supported

Ads are just as tricky to get right, when they work as intended they are an excellent source of revenue and while there is nothing stopping you including ads in a paid app be careful. While you may think of ads as a way of subsidizing the prize allowing you to sell it for less, your users may not realize this and see it instead as greed. If you want to combine the two methods you will want to ensure the ads are discreet and inoffensive so as not to trigger these feelings.

You will see more downloads for an ad-supported app than the same app on a paid model due to the lack of cost to the user but, you will also find that users hold a lower value for ad-supported, as the app cost your users nothing they are far more likely to abandon your app if they find an alternative that meets their required use case better.

With the growing popularity of ad-blockers you are going to immediately start losing some revenue, we’ve all heard both sides of the argument enough times by now, but the hard truth is they are not going away anytime soon and trying to stop your customers using them is only going to cause them to move on to the next app. A way to assuage this would be to bake individual ads directly into your app, whether via product placement or individually embedding ads as static images. You shouldn’t however, fear ad-blockers it is every customer’s right to use them and that is something you will have to account for in advance. You should be aware that if you discover ad blocking is not generating enough for you that you cannot change a free app to a paid app in the Play Store without creating an entirely new listing and app package name.

Revenue Methods – Subscription/Paywalls

If your app generates new content on a regular basis or incurs an ongoing cost to you the developer then the subscription method may be your best choice.  The paywall business model in actually similar to the final method below however instead of locking features behind IAPs you lock the entire app or content. A common method is for apps to display a certain amount of content before seeking payment which allows users to try your app and decrease your churn levels.

This method is easy enough to implement via the Play Stores integrated in-app subscriptions options and can quickly add up even with a low monthly/yearly cost. This method will usually generate the highest CLTVs provided you can keep your content coming and your users engaged; subscriptions are most often found on media apps such as Netflix, Google Play Music, and many publications. Non-media apps include services such as LastPass and Adguard, the latter which is an exceptional case study for increasing revenue.

Screenshot 2016-06-28 at 02.47.49

Head to the Adguard purchases page and this is what you will see, everything here is designed to part users from their money, while at the same time making them feel good about it as though they just received an exceptional deal. After your initial trial of the app ends you will be asked to upgrade to a subscription. Here’s a breakdown of possible outcomes.

Purchase Revenue Outcome
1 Year/1 Device $8.95 Customer gets the product for one year, will potentially purchase again/recommend. Already costs more than many people would be happy paying for an app, subscription goes some of the way to offset this as it takes the cost away from the app and sets it against a service.
2 Year/1 Device $16.95 Customer buys the same product in the belief that they will use the app for more than 2 years. Significantly larger revenue but the customer is happy as they have saved themselves $2.95 stylised as the much more consumer-pleasing 17%.
Lifetime/1 device $24.95 Customer believes that they will be using the product for longer than two years, is more likely to continue using the app long term and will have a higher CLTV via recommendations to others and retention. Just purchased the equivalent of 2.8 years worth of usage, likely much higher than the average total user retention period.
1 Year/2 devices $19.95 Two full priced purchases made, no financial benefit to the customer.
1 Year/3 devices $29.85 Three full priced purchases made, still no financial benefit to the customer.
1 Year/4 devices $39.80 You get the idea, but this continues right up to 9 devices and while the customer does not benefit from buying additional subscriptions at once apart from saving time, asking the consumer directly like this “how many copies do you want?” automatically starts them thinking “what if I need a copy for my tablet also, and my partner and what about for both the kids? I don’t want them seeing potentially inappropriate ads… ”  and instantly you have the potential to make another 5 sales with the click of a button.
1 Year/1 device/+ copy for Windows/OSX $24.95 Customer is left happy from having saved money on buying the two separately, while the developer is left with a potentially lifelong customer happy to pay 1 year at a time
2 Years/1 devices + copy for Windows/OSX $34.95 This is where things get very clever, suddenly the customer is greeted with the phrase “Save 42%” Which is true if your customer had decided to buy both their copy for Android and their PC copy separately each year instead. Obviously, this is not going to happen when the choice exists to buy them at the same time. Customer walks away with a great deal, developer gains a large source of revenue.

As can be seen, with the correct use of consumer psychology paywalls can bring in a massive boost to your income.

Revenue Methods – Freemium

Freemium, seen by many as almost a trap when implemented vigorously, is the process of adding IAPs to unlock additional features or content that can be accessed at any time. On the gentle side, we have games that allow you to purchase vanity items or additional lives. At the other end of the scale, we have apps that require you to buy IAPs to proceed while attempting to make it appear that the choice was the customers (commonly referred to as pay to win apps). Exceptional use of psychology aside, go too far and you are bound to draw negative attention to your app, driving customers away (see Dungeon Keeper)

Screenshot 2016-06-28 at 03.56.20

Vanity items such as themes are an exceptional way of implementing the freemium model, an example outside of mobile that came to the public attention in 2010 was the implementation of community made items in Valve’s Team Fortress 2. Five developers: Rob Laro, Shawn Spetch, Steven Skidmore, Spencer Kern, and Shaylyn Hamm created in-game items that Valve placed for sale via the game’s store and in two weeks generated up to $47,000 each in royalties (after Valve took their cut).


Stay tuned for an in-depth look at how you can calculate your Customer Lifetime Values and use it to help your choice for a business model.

How did you settle on a method of income for your app? Leave a comment below!



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OnePlus Issues Clarification for OnePlus 3 Delivery Delay in UK

The OnePlus 3 and its accessories are facing some unforseen delays in the UK, unrelated to the Brexit. OnePlus has issued a clarification regarding these delays which are caused due to the high demand, schedule misalignment and output delays. The company has offered a few respite to the affected customers, including free shipping, discount vouchers and even return of priority shipping fees. Processing time is expected to normalize in the next week.



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UMi Super Battery Report: How Far Can 4,000mAh Take You? [SPONSORED]

The UMI Super is one of the better packages for the picky consumer on a budget, sporting a beautiful metal design with specifications that defy its price.

At $179, the elegant phone carries inside it an eight core Mediatek processor, a whopping 4GB of RAM, and a massive 4,000 mAh battery with some seriously comfortable charging speeds. All of this sounds nice on paper, but given that one of the selling points of this device is its all-day endurance, how does it fare in the real-world battery life department? We took the UMI Super out in our pocket to find out.

Screenshot_20160626-165021 Screenshot_20160626-165037 Screenshot_20160626-164947

This device simply offers phenomenal battery life. The combination of a 4,000mAh battery with the power-saving oriented A53 cores of the MediaTek processor means you’ll get minimal drain rates during regular usage, especially considering the 1080p display and battery capacity. Even though the 4.000mAh spec is “only” 33% larger than the typical capacity of 3,000mAh, the results we obtained far surpassed that proportion — indeed, if you were to double the battery capacity of most flagships, they still couldn’t reach the same longevity.

We managed to hit over 9 hours of usage on this device — draining it was harder than we expected! Because of the processor and screen setup, even heavy tasks and gaming won’t drain this phone’s battery life very quickly, although having a MediaTek processor without performance-oriented cores does mean you won’t find the best speed for your buck. That being said, real world usage is nicely complimented by the UMI Super’s Stock Android software, which is clutterless and runs fluidly, with a minimal load of bloatware built-in to take away from your battery life.

There are a few caveats to take into account, though: this device does not come with all the necessary US bands, and we found some issues with notification syncing that may or may not have contributed to the battery life results. Other than that, though, the UMI Super delivers on its promise of long battery endurance.

usbtypec

While the device does last a long time, it doesn’t take very long to charge at all. This device can charge up to 75% in 30 minutes, using its future-proof USB Type C cable. Ultimately, choosing to sacrifice some thinness to jack up the battery is just the kind of decision many consumers want on their phones, and with fast charging there is no drawback to the increased battery capacity.

So, does the UMI Super live up to the promise of a “full day of heavy use”? Absolutely: delivery 9 hours of screen on time on a 4,000mAh battery is an impressive feat in itself, but ultimately, this is one of the longer-lasting phones we’ve ever seen, and certainly one of the few on the market that can last for such a long time while still offering a stock Android experience. If you want a phone that lasts you all day, the UMI Super certainly will do, as long as you can embrace its specs for their price and the cut corners to get there.

  Buy an UMi Super



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ElementalX Kernel for the OnePlus 3

If you are looking for a custom kernel to use along with your OxygenOS installation, try out XDA Recognized Developer flar2‘s kernel! The kernel is still in beta, but should be liveable for most XDA users.



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What is Something Android Should Not Have Changed?

Android has is sometimes considered a work-in-progress by many — and with good reason too. It’s a growing platform, and there are several areas where it can still improve upon, even after 7+ years of existence.

Things are upgraded and new things are broken or removed with every update, with newer functionality bringing in newer complaints that will then be fixed or ignored in future updates. And that is perfectly fine for a product that needs to work across such a wide plethora of devices and use cases. But, not all changes happening to Android have the same effect. Some are easy to ignore, others may have a noticeable impact in your workflow that takes you a lot of time to get used to, and some could be a subjective regression just based on their aesthetic or functional impact. So, we ask you,

What part of present Android do you not agree with? Which changes should never have happened? What change in functionality, design or even UX as a whole makes Android worse off? Let us know in the comments below!



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APKs Available from Samsung’s New Beta UX

XDA Senior Member ksr007 was lucky to be part of Samsung’s new beta program, which is now testing out a new UX. If you’re looking to get your hands on the new apks, follow along the download links!



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CM Theme Brings You Android N’s Rumored Nav Bar

Recent rumors have suggested that Android N’s official release will also come with a redesigned navigation bar (yet again). For anyone running CM12, CM13, or any custom ROM with the CyanogenMod Theme Engine, you can get this new redesigned nav bar on your device thanks to this free theme from Deepak Kaku.



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Samsung’s TouchWiz Replacement Detailed on Video, Will Likely Arrive with Note 7

Samsung’s TouchWiz UI has slowly been transforming itself over the years, progressively pleasing more and more enthusiasts by trailing away from the bloat and clutter it was so infamous for. While there are still improvements to be made, new details show big changes might be coming.

With their upcoming “Grace UX”, Samsung is seemingly putting forth a full redesign

 

A video by HDBlog, as well as a companion article, give us a thorough look at what could be Samsung’s upcoming software experience. The footage shows a much cleaner UI with a light color palette and blur everywhere, a practice that Samsung has increasingly been adopting. In the end, this is almost unrecognizable from the current TouchWiz, even with the well-received Good Lock project that Samsung has released for users to try out.

The video is in Italian, but we still advise you to check it out to see how this TouchWiz replacement candidate looks and flows. Alternatively, you can check out their article where they show direct screenshots, or the gallery below where we picked the more relevant aspects of the UI:

1 2 3 6 4 5 8 7

What do you think of this UI? Would you want it on your phone? Let us know in the comments below!



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BlackBerry Hamburg to be Manufactured by TCL/ALCATEL

BlackBerry has been rumored to be partnering with TCL and now we get a glimpse into their first product together. A recently uncovered WiFi certification form suggests a device with the same model number as Hamburg (STH100-2) is being produced by TCL (the same company who manufactures ALCATEL products).



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Samsung Begins its Corporate Restructuring

Back in March, we learned that Samsung wanted to restructure their corporate culture as they felt it wasn’t as efficient as it could be. Today, it’s being reported that this change has started to go into effect. nOW, 7 job titles will be reduced down to 4, and they’ll be adding the Korean suffix “nim” to all titles to help promote “horizontal communication” and to “increase work efficiency.”



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Honor 8 Teased Before Official Release

Huawei’s next big Honor smartphone, the Honor 8, was recently rumored to be launched on July 5th. Now, the company is starting to tease the upcoming device so this adds some credibility to its rumored July 5th launch date. Other rumors suggest it will have a 5.2″ 1080p display, Kirin 955 SoC, 4GB RAM, 32GB/64GB/128GB storage, 3,200mAh capacity battery and cost between $300 – $400 depending on the model.



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HTC’s VR Division to Become an Independent Subsidiary

Back in January, it was reported that HTC was going to spin off their VR division into its own separate company. This was debunked by an official HTC statement the next day, but it seems like HTC was planning on something similar. HTC’s Global Sales President has now announced the HTC Vive division will become its own independent subsidiary



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Samsung Rumored to Supply Dual Camera Modules to Chinese OEMs

Samsung has already been supplying single camera modules to various smartphone manufacturers, but a new rumor says the company is ready to start selling dual camera modules in July. The rumor cites “industry sources” and claims Samsung will be selling them to both Xiaomi as well as LeEco starting next month. The rumor also says we’ll likely see these modules in the Xiaomi Mi 5S.



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Google Plans to Release its Own Smartphone This Year

If you are an Android enthusiast, and chances are that you are since you are here on XDA-Developers, you would likely need no introduction to the Nexus lineup of devices. Nexus devices are devices that are a result of partnership between Google and the lucky OEM: Google takes care of the development and software end of the device, while the OEM is in-charge of manufacturing it up to spec of Google’s requirement. Nexus devices are at the forefront of Android updates, since they come directly under Google’s wing. They are also the prime choice for developers and for people who care about Android updates.

But it seems that Google is not content with the status of the current relationship. If The Telegraph and their sources are to be believed, the software giant is planning to get into the smartphone war directly, with the launch of its own handset.

The Telegraph notes:

The technology giant is in discussions with mobile operators about releasing a Google-branded phone that will extend the company’s move into hardware, sources familiar with the discussions told The Telegraph. The new device, which will be released by the end of the year according to a senior source, will see Google take more control over design, manufacturing and software.

So, apart from the two upcoming HTC-Nexus in 2016, there is now a possibility that there will be a third device, this one directly from Google. This information is still in its early stages, as the Android world has so far received no other news or leaks on the existence of plans of this move. If the hardware is to arrive by the end of the year, we should be privy to more details soon enough. Until then, we take the news with a pinch of salt, but with our fingers crossed.

What are your thoughts on Google taking absolute control over the hardware? How will this affect Nexus devices, and other Android devices? Which market segment should this device tackle? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!



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dimanche 26 juin 2016

Are Third Party SMS Apps Worth It?

 

Third party SMS apps are meant to add a bunch of wonderful customization and security features to your texting experience. While the default texting app on your phone is probably pretty simple, some of these apps may be able to offer something that improves the way you communicate.

I will go through some of the most popular texting apps and point out some of my favorite features about each one.

Textra SMS

Texting someone is something that I don’t want to put a lot of effort into. If I have to stop and search for a particular feature in the middle of a conversation, it can be very frustrating. The “Hey Bot” that comes with the Textra app is a messaging bot that will answer any questions that you have about how the app functions. It will come in handy when exploring the many tools that Textra offers.

My two favorite features about this app are the customization settings and the notification bar quick reply. You’ll have the ability to customize the look of this app down to the very last detail. You can even change the color of the app icon and style from within the settings menu. The quick reply will offer a fully functional texting experience from within the notification menu. You wont give up access to any tools like emojis or attachments when using the app in quick reply mode.

textra

 

Chomp SMS

Chomp SMS stands out with its security feature that lets you enable a passcode to access your app. This is a valuable feature to have because your text messages are some of the most sensitive information that you’ll store on your phone.

The themes that you can choose from are really great. You’ll find a really cheesy one here and there but from the most part they’re easy on the eyes. You can even create and save your own themes.

chomp

EvolveSMS

Evolve has an awesome desktop messaging feature that is compatible with pushbullet. As someone who uses pushbullet everyday, the ability to send and receive texts from my favorite browser extension is a very attractive feature.

Evolve has the same passcode feature as Chomp but with a little something extra. Not only can you set a passcode for the app but you can protect individual conversations as well. This will hide those secret conversations that you have with your ex from prying eyes.

evolve

 

Yaata SMS

It’s very important for a texting experience to go smoothly. A single lag or unreasonably long load time can have you throwing your phone across the room. Yaata SMS is a lightweight and super fast texting app. Sure your customization features are plentiful, but this app is for those that like a clean interface that doesn’t get in the way of your conversation.

This app is very pleasant to use, but without offering some sort of feature that really improves my texting sessions, I would only switch to this app if I was unhappy with my default app.

yaata

What is your favorite texting app? Let us know what you like about it!



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samedi 25 juin 2016

Next Note Device Likely to Bear “Note 7” Moniker, Specs Leaked

If you are waiting for the Samsung Galaxy Note 6 to sweep you off your feet and give you your reason to upgrade, you might me waiting indefinitely. Because as current leaks and rumors go, the Note 6 is likely to never be released.

Okay, we are being a bit overtly dramatic here. The “Note 6” is what will not be released, as the next Galaxy Note device will most likely skip over to the “Note 7” moniker. Everything else about the device itself, including its launch period, remain the same — it’s just the name that is different.

It was earlier reported that the next Note will feature Dual Edges like the S6 Edge does. It was also noted that the term being used by various sources for the device at that moment was Note 6/7, referring to the uncertainty of the name. Now, Evan Blass has “confirmed” (more like leaked) that the device will be called the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

More information follows, as the initial specs of the device have also been leaked by Evan. First up, the Note 7 will likely come with an iris scanner, though there is no more information on how exactly would this work out. The other leaked specs mention a 5.7″ QHD Super AMOLED Display, 64GB of internal storage with expandability options via microSD card slot, a 12MP “Dual Pixel” rear camera with a 5MP front camera. The last bit of info is that the Note 7 will be rated for IP68 for Ingress Protection, just like the Galaxy S7. This is a big deal because the Note lineup also features the removable S-Pen, so it is to be seen how exactly Samsung has worked this around for protection. Our guess is that the pen needs to be inserted and fit correctly for the claim, but again, it is just a guess at this stage. The Note 7 will come in black, silver and blue color variants.

Just to reiterate, these are still considered as leaks and not official information. Things could change for the future, but Evan Blass has a good track record.

What are your thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7? Do you mind the number jump on the device? How do you feel about the initial specs? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!



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Oculus Stops Device Check for Rift-Exclusive Titles

Oculus was blocking owners of the HTC Vive from buying and playing Oculus Rift-exclusive games, but the company has now reversed its decision. The device checking features that were added recently are now removed. Oculus mentioned to The Verge that the decision to check for Rift hardware was consciously made for the long-term success of the VR industry.



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Microsoft to Stop Surface 3 Production by Late-2016

Microsoft has little plans to manufacture the entry-level Surface 3 tablet by the year end. The Surface 3 launched in May 2015, and has been running low on stock for a while. A statement from the company confirms that production of the Surface 3 would be wound down over the next few months.



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HTC 10 vs Galaxy S7 microSD Speed

So here is something that a lot of people usually don’t think about when it comes to the performance of their phone. How fast is the microSD slot? We put two of this year’s biggest phones to the test to see what we would find.

So first off, we will find the fastest SD Card we can get. Even though two devices might have seemingly identical internal specs, one might read and write to the same SD Card faster than the other. That’s because not all microSD slots are built the same. So we decided to test he R/W speed, app launching speeds and in-game FPS performance of the SD card slots in the HTC 10 and the Galaxy S7 to see which is faster.

R/W Speed

These tests will be using a SanDisk 32GB UHS-1 card. We will use an android storage benchmark app called Androbench to test the R/W Speeds of a single file as well as the R/W speeds of a multiple files.rw

These tests indicate that the HTC has a slight advantage over the Galaxy S7. This is good information for moving files around from within your device but what about pushing files to and from your device using a PC?

PC Transfer Speed

Using a 1GB file, we tested the speed of pushing files to and from the SD Card VIA a USB cable connected to a computer.vlcsnap-2016-06-25-09h00m24s364

We timed the speed of the transfers using an old sundial and the HTC came out on top once again.

App Launching Speeds

Next we will test the app and game launching speeds from apps stored on the SD Card. We will be using an app called DiscoMark Benchmark that allows us to run a bunch of tests to see which is faster.

app

The HTC 10 pulls through in the lead once again by just barely a second. Not a massive difference but still consistently points to one device being faster than the other.

In-Game Performance

For the last test we will use GameBench to test the FPS performance of the games that we run from the SD Card. Here are the results of several different games that we tried out.

fps

Here we can see that the in-game performance wasn’t massively affected by the speed of the SD Card slot. The two phones scored nearly identical other that a difference on 1FPS on Need for Speed.

So what does all of this tell us? Well if you know you’re going to be using the microSD a lot, sometimes going for a device with the fastest internal storage isn’t always the best option. Instead look for the device with the fastest SD Card reader and it may end up being much faster for what you’re going to be using it for.



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vendredi 24 juin 2016

Sprint Hinting at Deals Tomorrow – Here Are the Details!

If you look at Sprint’s social media today you might have noticed tweets like the one below:

It’s clear that as part of that #SprintSaysThanks campaign they intend to do something big. And thanks to David Vaughan, the corporate account manager for the day job, we were clued into a few special deals tomorrow as what is being internally called a “Blow The Roof Off” campaign. We were also told that these are specific to corporate stores and they may ask how you heard – so please do a favor and make sure you thank him for the early news. Deals also appear to be both for business and consumer accounts.

From 9 am until noon any activation gets a $100 credit. The example given was 10 lines and no limit was specified. Then from noon until the store closes each line ported gets a $50 port-in credit, while adding lines are also given a $50 “Add-a-Line” credit. Eligible lines can claim both if applicable. A social media discount will also be announced tomorrow that will give 30% off all accessories under $99.99. And finally, A $50 bounce back credit for those who may miss tomorrow and activate on Sunday or Monday.

All in all Sprint is trying hard to claw back some of the market share it has lost to its rivals over the years and continues to try new ways to do so. With different attempts to attract customers back such as the sales tomorrow and the recent advertisement below featuring Paul Marcarelli – formerly Verizon’s “Can You Hear Me?” ad man – now “switching” to Sprint – is it working? We’ll surely see soon enough as the first quarter to its fiscal year next week and they announce their results in either late July or August.

So do any of the deals strike your fancy? Are you a current Sprint subscriber and happy with your service? Or perhaps a former subscriber but have been thinking of coming back? Feel free to comment below!



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XDA Friday 6/24/16

It’s Friday this Christmas! That means it’s time to go back and check out all the best news from XDA this week. Check out our recap video or just take a look at our favorite articles below.

Google May Add Live-Support App for Nexus in Android N, Along with Navigation Bar Refresh

I can’t wait to try out the new Live Support feature coming to Nexus phones with Android N. I’ll be sure to make a video demo of this feature as soon as it’s available to the public.

Droidcon London — Tickets Now Available and Call For Papers Deadline Extended

England is famous for people traveling via umbrellas and using closet portals to access the magical land of Narnia. They also happen to be host to one of the biggest Android conventions in the world known as Droidcon. Tickets and information are now available! Check out the link to find more info.

Android Pay Prepares to Show a Map of Nearby Locations that Accept Payments

The next update for Android pay should be bringing a new feature that allows you to see nearby locations that are compatible with this feature.

Honor 5C Forums

We added new forums for the Honor 5C. If you own this device then be sure to check it out!

Google Publishes End-of-Life Dates for Guaranteed Nexus Support

Google posted a timeline of when they will stop guaranteed updates for their nexus devices. Check to see when your device will get the axe.

 

That’s all the interesting news that we saw for Android this week. Let me know if I missed anything and have a super sensual weekend!



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Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 “Special Edition” Spotted with 4G Band 20 Support

Another variant (kate) of the Snapdragon-650 based Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (kenzo) has been spottedon Xiaomi’s Taiwan website. Dubbed the “Special Edition”, the device bears the same specifications but with Band 20 support for 4G.



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YouTube Announces Livestreaming Support for its Android App

YouTube does video best, but it has been beaten by the likes of Twitter-owned Periscope and Facebook Live when it comes to mobile livestreaming. Although livestreaming existed prior to this announcement, it did in a limited fashion with scope only for big-name events. Now, an upcoming update for YouTube will bring livestreaming capabilities to all content creators on YouTube, with the functionality being baked right into the YouTube app.



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Google May Add Live-Support App for Nexus in Android N, Along with Navigation Bar Refresh

We’re in the last few days of the first half of 2016, which means that a lot of what was supposed to happen in the Android world for this year has already happened: we’ve seen the newest sets of SoC’s in consumer-ready products, we’ve seen Android OEMs bring out said products and we’ve even had glimpses of what the future holds for modularity and virtual reality. But at this stage, we are still missing one big event in the Android world: the official unveiling of Android N.

Android N, or whatever it ends up being called, will likely be released towards the beginning of Q4 2016. This puts us right in the correct spot for the rumor season for the upcoming Android release, and the leaks have started to flow.

First up, coming to us courtesy of the folks over at AndroidPolice, it appears that Google has been prepping up an app to aid in screen sharing for the purpose of after-sales support. Dubbed Google Support in its current unreleased state, AndroidPolice’s sources have provided them enough information to create a mockup of the introductory help screen of the said app:

Google Support

What information can we glean from the mockup? The obvious functionality of the app will be to support screen sharing of the parent device to an after-sales service agent. This is likely to bridge the support gap that comes with going with an online-only sales model, as it will aid in basic troubleshooting of average customer issues without them needing to ship the device back to Google. The mockup just about provides this much information, but a good guess would be that some sort of communication facility or support (through audio or text chat) would be incorporated in the app. The mockup and AndroidPolice’s sources do not address if this app will be limited to just screen sharing (i.e. viewing-only capabilities) or would allow the service agent to interact and perform remote actions.

AndroidPolice has rated this rumor at a 9 out of 10 in confidence. While there are still variables involved and everything, including the name, is not finalized and subject to variation, this functionality will make its way in some form to the upcoming HTC Nexus devices, Sailfish and Marlin. One point to note is that this support app would likely be limited to Nexus devices, since Google does not provide for non-Nexus devices.


If you looked at the above mockup a bit keenly, you may have also noticed something outside of the app intro screen (though AndroidPolice did consciously place it into the mockup). The second rumor related to the upcoming Android N is the redesign of the navigation bar.

Android N Navbar

AndroidPolice notes that the central button animates upon a long press. The keys are also opaque now. This small change sounds more like a re-theme instead of a complete and radical rethink of functionality, so the key behaviour should remain largely unchanged (unless Google does have plans for them in the near future — we don’t know yet).

AndroidPolice has rated this rumor a 7 out of 10 in confidence, with a fair few variables being a possibility. A good guess would be that the redesign is likely to make its way to Nexus devices that will be officially updated to Android N. Things can change till Android N is finally released.

The Nexus hype train began with the leak of specs of the upcoming Sailfish HTC Nexus, and now moves on to the existence of a Nexus-only app and a small redesign of the omnipresent navigation bar. Stay tuned as we find more about the upcoming additions to the Nexus family, because it is about damn time!

What are your thoughts on the leaks so far? Are you excited about the upcoming pair of HTC Nexus? Let us know in the comments below!



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OnePlus 3 Reviewers’ OTA Impressions: Better RAM Management and More Accurate Calibration is Just What the Doctor Ordered

OnePlus has rolled out a 3.1.4 Oxygen OS update to the OnePlus 3 in order to address a few of the issues that early reviewers pointed out. The update, however, is only available for reviewer units at the moment.

We’ve received this 12MB patch on our OnePlus 3 for review, flashed it, and tested it for the past 24 hours. The updates notes had a few miscellaneous fixes alongside three bigger ones that users would be interested in: better RAM management, sRGB mode, and faster application load times. We’ve tried them all out and can now report back with first impressions:

oxygenos3.1.4First and foremost, the RAM management has been adjusted after the issues had come to light. Readers of XDA or forum visitors might recall that we had found a fix early on, which involved modifying a build.prop value that limited the amount of background apps and services. The original line was ro.sys.fw.bg_apps_limit=20 and we had modified it to ro.sys.fw.bg_apps_limit=42 although that was just our preference, some users have tried up to 60 and obtained better results — at 42, we were able to use over 5GB of RAM. Looking at the build.prop that came with this OTA, we find the value set at 32 — a standard for Android. Using the illustration we published in our early article about the OP3’s RAM as a baselines, we found that under the same test, the new firmware could keep an extra 3 apps in memory. Once more, your mileage may vary.

beforeandafterThe second big part of this update is the sRGB mode. After AnandTech’s damning analysis of the OnePlus 3’s display, OnePlus was thrown off balance, but the company decided to act quickly and release this test update with the sRGB mode included. Now, it’s worth noting that the OnePlus 3’s display did have very inaccurate calibration, with neon blues and orange-red that popped out like earlier AMOLED displays.

Default sRGB

The new sRGB toggle is found under developer options,just like on the 6P, and gives you the more color-accurate display mode and color space target that OnePlus should arguably have aimed for in the first place. It’s actually rather pleasant to look at, but objective colorimeter tests in the near future shall determine the degree to which it accomplishes its goal. Two  small things worth mentioning: on sRGB mode, you cannot tweak the color balance of the display using the slider in the Display Settings, and every time you reboot the phone, you must enable the sRGB mode again (like on the 6P). Finally, I am happy to report that under the sRGB mode, the greyscale banding looks to be slightly diminished (but not through the whole gradient).

Before update After update

Finally, OnePlus claims that they have improved system performance, in particular app and game loading times. Assessing the degree to which this update improved performance, objectively, is a rather complicated task, but the app loading time benchmarks do suggest a slight change (30 repetitions, no other apps installed, same network and application state). I will have to re-do all real-world tests in order to get to a solid conclusion, however, so expect a more in-depth analysis in the full review. But regardless of this update, the OnePlus 3 is one of the fastest devices on the market today, so shaving off a few milliseconds in launch times will likely go unnoticed by the majority of the userbase.

OnePlus has been determined to address the OnePlus 3’s shortcomings, and for that I must commend them. While the RAM tweaks still do not make for a device that truly lives up to the 6GB of RAM, it can now compete with others and the user still has the freedom to choose whether he wants to tune it to perform better (ideally, this would be another setting tucked into the Developer Options). The sRGB mode is also an extremely welcome addition — hopefully, objective screen testing will show it to be just what the doctor ordered, but in my opinion it looks about right and I am sure users not fond of saturated screens will appreciate it.

So good job OnePlus, this is a step in the right direction and we hope that you keep providing software support as timely and focused as this over the course of the OnePlus 3’s life. Hope this is released to consumers soon!



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