If you get bored easily then you will probably quickly find yourself bored with the UI of that shiny new phone you just purchased. No worries, you can quickly give your device a fresh look by installing a custom launcher and some custom icons. The "Focus" icon pack by developer "Kevin3328" will give your device that new feeling that you are after. This set of icons is designed to appear as if they are rendered in the lens of a focused camera. Just imagine staring at your favorite app icons through the view finder of a DSLR. This is what you get with the focus icons. Each icon includes a thick, circular, raised border. The logo of the icon pops off the background and cast a light shadow. These icons really appear to hover over your screen. You will need to be running a custom launcher such as Nova, Apex, ADW, Smart, Action, or any other launcher that utilizes the app filter system.
The icon pack includes a comprehensive dashboard which will make applying these icons a breeze. It also includes a custom wallpaper gallery with 5 unique wallpapers, icon mask which allows every app icon in your drawer to be themed, 325 hand themed app icons, and more. This icon pack will only set you back a cool $1.50. Head to the Play link below for the download.
Via Play Store
Team Gummy has just released their milestone 2.0 build to multiple devices. The latest build comes with several new features as well as plenty of performance and speed optimizations, and bug fixes. Milestone 2.0 introduces "Gummy Dark" which is a blacked out theme for the Gummy Rom. The option for Gummy Dark is built right into settings so you can toggle on and off this dark blacked out theme. Lock Screen Notifications and Active Display are also new in Milestone 2.0. You get all the information you need and fast with the Active display and Lock Screen Notifications. We are all pretty familiar with the Pie launcher by now. Gummy now includes this very popular navigation setup! App options gives you all the source built app settings you need. Status Bar and Quick Settings allows you to customize your battery, clock position, quick settings tiles and more. There are plenty more features that come with the Gummy Rom. In fact there are far too many to list here.
Development continues with on the Verizon Moto X with the Krypton Rom by developer "Kryptonite". This is a SafeStrap flashable rom, and will also work on the Dev version of the Moto X. This rom is based on stock Android 4.4.2. The Rom includes a whole list of features. Krypton has been fully debloated freeing up 240mb of space. The Verizon boot animation has been removed, rom is ART compatible, pre rooted with SuperSU, Blacked out frameworks background, AOSP signal icons added, Reboot options added to the power menu, removal of Safe volume prompt, all apps updated to most recent play store version, new ringtone added, addition of Nova launcher/ adaway/ and terminal emulator, set all animations to off by default in the framework, entitlement check bypassed, and more! Head to the link below for the rom download.
Some OEM camera apps are pretty sweet. I have really been enjoying the Sense 6 camera app which includes awesome features like "selfie mode", "pan 360" (which takes some of the best 360 panorma shots i've ever seen), and some awesome extras that make good use of the dual camera like "3D effect" and the ability to select the focus of your shot. Sometimes you just want a clean and simple camera app so you can quickly take shots without putting much thought into them. The Google Camera takes quick and easy shots and includes a few creative features. With the Google camera you get Photosphere, Lens Blur for SLR like photos with shallow depth of field, Panorama mode, 100% viewfinder for max res with no dropped pixels, and an intuitive menu system that gets out of your way when you don't need it. Google has decided to make their stock AOSP camera app available for mass consumption. You can grab it on the Play Store for free! Grab the apk from the link below.
Via Play Store
Apr 17, 2014 - 1:38 PM - by dgstorm
A recent interview with AT&T's Glenn Lurie, president of emerging devices, revealed that the company plans to bring working data/LTE smartwatches to market sometime this year. According to the Lurie, AT&T already has a group in Austin, Texas, developing thousands of wearable-device prototypes. He also confirmed that AT&T is exploring the possibility of certifying third-party devices for use on their network.
According to Lurie, AT&T has always taken the stance that wearables need to evolve to become a stand alone device, not just require tethering to an existing device. Here are several quote in which Lurie shares more details,
On the subject of other wearable devices like Google Glass, Luri said,
“I think you’ll see wide-area, high-bandwidth [smart]watches this year at some point.
"A majority of stuff you’re going to see today that’s truly wearable is going to be in a watch form factor to start. If smartwatch use takes off—“and we believe it can.”
“We’ve been very, very clear in our opinion that a wearable needs to be a stand-alone device.”
“It’s one thing if I’m buying it to go out for a job, it’s another thing if I’m going to wear it everyday. Those are the things people are debating right now—how that’s all going to come out. There’s technology and there’s innovation happening, and those things will get solved.”
His perspective seems to be spot on. What do you guys think? Can AT&T shake up the industry with the first true LTE enabled smartwatches?
"I think the future is you don’t have to hit a button because the band or watch will know it’s you, the car will know it’s you, and you’ve already pre-described when you walk up to the car what you want to do. That’s kind of where we’re headed.”
Apr 17, 2014 - 10:34 AM - by dgstorm
According to a new report from marketing research firm, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, T-Mobile's campaign to shakeup the mobile industry is finally having a noticeable affect on consumer numbers. Their report indicates that T-Mobile had the fastest growing marketshare of any carrier last quarter. This was the third highest overall share in the market with only 15%, but this is up from 13% in just the previous quarter.
In contrast, Verizon remained flat at 35%, while AT&T lost marketshare, shrinking from 29% in the previous quarter to 28% in this one. T-Mobile wasn't the only winner here. Sprint's marketshare grew marginally from 8% to 9%. CIRP cofounder Mike Levin attributed this growth to the following: “Both T-Mobile and Sprint have led the market with novel and disruptive offerings, and consequently seem to attract new customers.”
As we have seen from previous reports, Both Big Red and AT&T have been coming out with slightly more competitive rate plans and special offers. It seems probable they have been paying attention to these numbers as well and are slowly stepping up to do something about it.
Apr 17, 2014 - 10:21 AM - by dgstorm
There are hints from Samsung themselves that the Galaxy Note 4 will get a major redesign. Yoon Han-kil, senior vice president of Samsung's product strategy team, was recently interviewed by Reuters. He had some interesting things to say regarding future Samsung mobile products. Here's a quote with more of the details,
Yoon points out something that many of us have been seeing in the mobile market for the last year. Even your friendly staff here at DF HQ have noticed the diminishing consumer interest in high-end mobile devices. It's getting to a point where consumers have less and less reason to upgrade to the "next big thing" because each new device is only incrementally better than the last.
Slowing growth in the high-end smartphone market has been a source of consternation for manufacturers like Samsung and Apple amid intensifying competition from Chinese upstarts like Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and Lenovo Group.
"The slowing high-end market is indeed a concern for most manufacturers," Yoon said.
"But we're trying out a lot of new things like wearables, convergence with home devices and cars. I think there'll be synergies here some day and it'll eventually help us increase premium product sales longer term."
In the meantime, Samsung is hoping multiple variations of its flagship products will hit as big an audience as possible, while Apple sticks to the premium segment.
Apple is said to be preparing two devices with larger screens, at least one of which is expected to launch in the latter half of the year.
Yoon said Samsung was also planning to launch a new version of the Galaxy Note with a "new form factor" in the second half, without elaborating.
"Our ultimate goal is to make products that consumers really aspire to have. This is how we are trying to find a breakthrough in the stagnant premium market," he said.
Do you think Samsung can find a way to renew interest in the high-end segment by simply offering design changes, or is it going to take something dramatically more innovative than that?
Apr 17, 2014 - 9:55 AM - by dgstorm
We have a couple of interesting Samsung rumors to share with you guys today. First, there have been several reports that Samsung is working on another smartwatch, but this one will be based upon Google's Android Wear OS technology. This would mean Samsung would have three different smartwatches/wearables with three different operating systems. The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo use Tizen, the Gear Fit uses a proprietary OS, and this Samsung Android Wear watch would use Google's wearable version of Android. If this intel pans out it probably wouldn't be too surprising.
Samsung is infamous for throwing as many ideas at consumers as they can in the hopes that one of them will stick. It seems that Samsung believes in the concept of "volume sales." Regardless, from the looks of this news, it appears Samsung is not fully committing to Tizen until they can see if it can gain some market traction. Samsung would be covering their bets by offering the Android Wear watch in case it takes off more than their Galaxy Gear series.
Speaking of Tizen... the second Sammy rumor to share today may both confirm and slightly contradict the assumptions made from the first. There is a new rumor that Samsung will be releasing a high-end smartphone in June that will run only on their Tizen OS. Apparently, later on in the year a second mid-range version of the device will show up with Tizen also. This would show that Sammy is serious about testing out Tizen, but isn't quite ready to give up on Android anytime soon.
It will be interesting to see where Sammy takes this.
Apr 17, 2014 - 9:19 AM - by dgstorm
It's hard to disseminate all the info running rampant across the internet regarding the Heartbleed SSL vulnerability which has been the big media talk over the past week and a half. We mostly stayed away from the story to avoid spreading any "fear-mongering."
Still, that doesn't mean we don't want to offer some useful intel for you guys. We've been holding out so we could wait until much of the initial hype died down and something useful came along. The above infographic is precisely that. The cybersecurity experts at LWG Consulting have put together a handy infographic which gives details on which major websites/web-services we should change our passwords on ASAP. It also shows some websites that we can breathe easier about.
It's possible that this infographic isn't 100% exhaustive, but it should be a great starting reference. Many of the companies who own these websites are currently scrambling to fix the vulnerability. Some of them have already fixed the vulnerability, but the problem has been there for years, so it is best to change your password regardless.
Apr 16, 2014 - 2:39 PM - by dgstorm
We have a second great story to share with you guys today. Just this morning we featured an article of Android humor regarding a unique Craigslist add we found. A clever fellow was trying to trade his prosthetic "old leg" for an Android tablet. Beyond the humor we found in his post and the humor we added with our feature, we decided to explore this further.
Here at HQ, we felt inspired to go beyond just writing a funny story about the unusual posting. We felt compassion regarding the gentleman's plight of needing an Android tablet for his "drawing" projects, but not being able to afford it. We didn't just think of it as a charity case though, because we found his proposal to trade his old prosthetic leg for an Android tablet clever and amusing. It just so happened that we actually had an extra Nexus 7 Android tablet on hand that wasn't being used much. On top of that, we even had a spare stylus in a drawer. We thought that if anyone deserves our compassion, it would be a person with a great sense of humor too.
Because of this confluence of coincidences, we decided to follow this "rabbit hole" as far as it could go, and made contact with the "seller" through his Craigslist ad. In the end, we got to meet a kindly and enthusiastic fellow named "Alan," who was very grateful to meet us and trade his "old leg" for the Nexus 7 Android tablet. Ultimately, we traded the Nexus 7 tablet (with all necessary cords and power adapters), a stylus, and $100 in cash so Alan could download some great artistic apps from the Google Play Store.
We aren't sharing this to be exploitive, nor to "sound our own horns." We simply were happy to experience this heart-warming event and wanted to share it with you guys. The Android community is far more amazing and diverse than we realize sometimes, and it's enjoyable when the universe reminds us of that.
In the thread below we included a few pics that Alan asked us to take with him so that we could share in his joy!
Ladies and gentlemen we have drawn our winner of the Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch! We'd like to thank everyone here and on AndroidWatches.net for participating and entering this great giveaway!
The winner of the Galaxy Gear Smartwatch is...................... entry #30, dumpyloser!! Congratulations!! We hope you enjoy this beautiful smartwatch and get a lot of use out of it. Enjoy!
Apr 16, 2014 - 12:58 PM - by dgstorm
Here's the latest RatedRR tech destruction video. This time, the lucky piece of hardware which is up for execution, is the Samsung Galaxy S5. It will be meeting its maker by a firing squad of one. The weapon of choice is a doozy though, and will leave zero room for survivability for the newest Samsung flagship.
Be warned, if you don't like watching mobile tech devices slaughtered in slow-mo then you will want to skip the above video. Otherwise, enjoy the entertainment!
Apr 16, 2014 - 12:38 PM - by pc747
Google released in the play store their remote desktop app.
The app will allow you to securely access your desktop from any tablet or phone. Will this be an app you find useful in your everyday life or is this too little to late?
Apr 16, 2014 - 11:21 AM - by dgstorm
Those wacky, "always outside the box" engineers at Google have just moved even closer toward cool future tech. Two Google patent applications have recently popped up which push the envelope just a tad. One is very cool in a very practical sense, while the other is cool because it's basically the manifestation of something found in a popular anime.
The first patent app of note today is a micro camera embedded in smart contact lenses. The idea of a micro-camera hidden in contact lenses can seem scary, but the point isn't to create a super-spy gadget, it's to help the visually impaired see better. Here's a quote with a brief description,
The first thing that comes to mind here is the ability to take photos using just your eyes. If the thought of people wearing Glass in large numbers freaks you out, this would be even worse, as there wouldn't be an unsightly piece of hardware attached to frames that at least provide somewhat of a heads up.
Naturally, that possibility isn't the point. This micro camera could potentially benefit people's lives. A blind person wearing these contacts could receive an alert if there are obstacles in the way. It could prompt them when it's safe to cross a street or recognize faces and inform them, through an audio cue generated by a smartphone or some other device, who's there.
This camera would apparently have the power to replace binoculars, giving people the ability to see farther by focusing in on distant objects more clearly. In this way they could theoretically improve eyesight, not unlike traditional contact lenses. ~ AndroidPolice
The other Google patent app of interest today is an compact Bluetooth headset and earphone version of Google Glass. It bears a striking resemblance to the Scouter in the anime series DragonBall Z. At first blush, we aren't sure what specific reason there would be to have a variant of the Google Glass like this, but it's intriguing in a "Sci-Fi" way regardless.
... [Read More]
Apr 16, 2014 - 10:21 AM - by dgstorm
It turns out that Samsung may have underestimated how important 4G service is to consumers in the UK. Their Galaxy S5 just outsold the Galaxy S4 from last year by a factor of 2 to 1 in that part of Europe. The reason for that has been overwhelmingly because the UK version of the Galaxy S5 includes 4G support whereas the Galaxy S4 did not.
Here's a quote with more of the details,
What's curious is that the Galaxy S5 is actually selling better than the Galaxy S4 did in other parts of the world too. According to Yoon Han-kil, senior vice president of Samsung's product strategy team, The Galaxy S5 is "selling faster than the S4 so far." In the United States, most of the online and media consensus was that the Galaxy S5 wasn't as exciting of a launch as the Galaxy S4 last year, yet the Galaxy S4 had lower than expected sales according to Samsung's predictions.
UK mobile phone retailers Phones 4U and Carphone Warehouse have revealed that sales of the S5 were more than double that of the S4 on its first day alone. The two big street staples say that pre-orders for the new phone were "significantly" higher than its predecessor.
4G is still at a relatively early stage in Britain, but it seems the S5 has arrived at the point when it's reached wide enough coverage and hit price levels phone fans are willing to embrace.
Both retail chains are partnered with Samsung to run dedicated Samsung Experience shops across Britain and Europe, the first of which opened just in time for the S5 launch.
It turns out that the average consumer wasn't enamored by the fancy software gimmicks found in the Galaxy S4. Samsung purposefully decided to tone down on those features and instead focus on issues which are typically more important to the average customer. Features like vastly improved battery life and water-resistance are more useful to most folks. This has lead to the Galaxy S5 being a better success.
It just goes to show that finding the right balance to appeal to consumers is a challenging game that manufacturers play.
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