It's that time of year again. The world's largest electronics companies are sending representatives to the annual Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, and for gadget lovers like us, that means we'll get our first look at some of this year's biggest upcoming flagship smartphones.
Rumor Roundup: BlackBerry's Flagship, Codenamed Mercury, Will Sport a Physical Keyboard & Aluminum Chassis
Once a giant in the world of mobile phones, BlackBerry has since fallen into obscurity, due in large part to the rise of Android and the iPhone. Sales were so low that BlackBerry announced it would stop making handsets, ultimately giving TCL global rights in December 2016 to manufacturer devices using their brand name, software, and services. Out of this new partnership, a new flagship has arisen—codenamed Mercury—with hopes to push the BlackBerry brand to heights the PRIV fell short of back ...
If you're tired of fumbling with the Control Center every time you need to turn off your iPhone's LED flashlight, you'll be happy to know there's a faster way. Using a simple trick that was discovered by Redditor 49599066, you can actually toggle your flashlight off in less than a second in iOS 10.
Rumor Roundup: Moto G5 & G5 Plus Slated to Have Water Repellent Coating, Fast Charging & Android Nougat
With Mobile World Congress right around the corner, the 2017 smartphone season has officially begun. We've heard plenty of rumors that Lenovo, the company who owns Motorola, would be debuting successors to last year's wildly-popular Moto G4 lineup in Barcelona at MWC, but now, that's been all but confirmed.
If your phone has an AMOLED display, it doesn't waste any battery to power black portions of the screen. This is because the individual pixels that make up an AMOLED screen emit their own light, which means the backlight you'd find behind a traditional LCD screen is not present. In other words, showing a full-screen black image on an AMOLED phone is like turning your display completely off.
The Pixel and Pixel XL both use AMOLED screens, which are noted for their deeper blacks and sharper contrast ratios when compared to traditional LCD panels. However, AMOLED displays still have one fairly major downside, and that's the fact that they're vulnerable to screen burn-in.
After about six months of testing, Facebook has decided to start rolling out a new feature on mobile that automatically plays sound for videos in your News Feed, thanks to "positive feedback" from test users. As far as I'm concerned, they have been testing with the wrong users, because auto-playing sound is by far worse than auto-playing videos ever could be.
Google's own devices have always been the first to get new Android features—but unlike the Nexus series, this year's Pixel phones have a handful of exclusive tweaks that were never intended to trickle down to other devices once the newer Android version rolled out to them. These Pixel exclusives include the Google Assistant, a new launcher, and, of course, a unique set of on-screen navigation buttons.
There's a lot of conflicting information out there when it comes to the best habits for charging a smartphone's battery, so let's clear some of that up right off the bat. Lithium ion batteries (the type used in most modern electronics) start to lose their ability to hold a charge over time, and the two biggest factors that contribute to this are excess heat and overcharging.
If you're ever in a major accident or have a bout with acute onset health problems, first responders will need to know as much information about you in order to provide proper care. For this reason, paramedics and firemen have been trained to search a subject's cell phone to find ICE (in case of emergency) contacts that know your allergies, blood type, and other vital details.
Long before Apple and Android became household names, Nokia dominated the mobile industry. The Finland-based company was one of the first to develop smartphones, and their classic N95 with 2G "high-speed" internet connectivity was declared the "best smartphone ever" by some in 2007. Outside of the US, before the iPhone became all the rage, owning a Nokia phone was a status symbol akin to wearing a Rolex or Omega watch.
Android is Google's project, so of course you can see the search giant's fingerprints all over the operating system. Aside from the obvious user-facing apps, there's Google Cloud Messaging, Google Connectivity Services, and the much-maligned Google Play Services running in the background, to name a few.
While music may not technically be a "universe language," it is the one language listened to by all. There are over 1,500 music genres today—rap, classical, rock, jazz, trap, hip-hop, house, new wave, vaperwave, charred death, nintendocore... and the list goes on. And if you're like most people, you now probably listen to the majority of your music on your phone.
Now that Android Nougat lets you add your own custom Quick Settings tiles, your pull-down menu is probably getting a lot more crowded than it used to be, with all sorts of new and useful toggles. But the trouble is, you can only add up to nine entries before your Quick Settings tiles spill over into a second pane that you have to access by swiping, and that's not exactly "quick."
Android is a highly customizable operating system. Sometimes, we use these capabilities to add core functionality or streamline the user experience, but there are other times when customization is just about having fun and making your smartphone's interface more enjoyable.
Considering that Google makes Android, it's rather strange that the operating system doesn't have a baked-in solution for doing a reverse image search. Sure, you can long-press pictures in Chrome to search for other instances of a photo, but it's not possible with pictures you find in other apps, or photos you've downloaded to your phone.
Almost every Android device comes with a Google search bar embedded directly into its stock home screen app. But Google search is available in so many different places on Android that having this bar in your launcher is almost overkill. On top of that, Google recently changed the logo overlay to a more colorful one that may clash with your home screen theme, so there's plenty of reasons to dislike this feature.
Cell phones—particularly smartphones—are inherently bad for privacy. You've basically got a tracking device in your pocket, pinging off cell towers and locking onto GPS satellites. All the while, the handset's data connection ensures that tracking cookies, advertising IDs, and usage stats follow you around the internet.
The widget system on iOS leaves a lot to be desired when compared to Android's offering, but that's not really Apple's fault. The system is there, we just need some good widgets to really get the most out of it, so it's up to developers to create some awesome apps that work with the home screen and lock screen widget panels on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
If you have a long commute, it only makes sense to catch a bit of shuteye while you're headed to work on the train or bus. The only problem with this is that, if you're napping a little too hard, you might end up oversleeping and missing your stop when the subway pulls into your station.
Your smartphone is pretty much with you every single day (every single moment for some people), so it's only a matter of time before it slips out of your hand and breaks or you spill coffee all over it. For some of you, it has already happened, perhaps even multiple times.
How To: Get CyanogenMod's 'Caffeine' Feature to Keep Your Screen Awake Longer at the Press of a Button
Sometimes it's the smallest feature in your smartphone that makes the biggest difference in user experience. Take screen timeout, for instance. You can probably think of plenty of times when your handset's display blacked out while you were in the middle of something. You could have been cooking with a recipe on the screen or looking at chords while you learned a new riff on your guitar.
Life hasn't been very good for LG this past year. The mobile division of the Korean electronics giant has now posted five straight unprofitable quarters, including a $389.4 million loss in Q4 2016, thanks in large part to weak sales of its flagship, the modular LG G5.
Nintendo's first ever game for Android has finally touched down (unless you actually count the abomination that is Miitomo). Fire Emblem Heroes, a classic turn-based RPG optimized for mobile gaming, has come out for Android and iOS in Australia, Europe, and Japan, and is due out in North America and other worldwide locales very soon. Due to Nintendo's staggered release, the game isn't available to us in the United States at the time of this writing, but fret not—there's another way to downloa...
The YouTube app for Android doesn't exactly offer the greatest user experience. For one thing, it opens to an arbitrary "Home" tab instead of your subscriptions, so you see a list of what YouTube thinks you want to watch instead of your favorite channels. In addition to that, videos are loading at a mere 144p playback resolution for many users lately, which is downright terrible quality.
Emoji, emojis, smilies, or smileys—whatever you want to call them, those little yellow icons have firmly implanted themselves in the human lexicon. However, just like with localized languages and dialects, emoji can be very different from one another depending on the device or operating system you're using.
For years now, Xiaomi's smartphones, as well as any phone running Xiaomi's MIUI ROM, have had a subtle feature that makes the interface look all the more refined: Rounded display corners. But now, LG and Samsung are reportedly getting in on the rounded corners craze, as the upcoming Galaxy S8 and LG G6 have both been tipped to feature a subtle curve at the corners of their screens.
Android has separate volume levels for various system sounds like incoming calls, notifications, alarms, and media. This means that when you want to adjust volume levels for just one of these categories, you usually have to press the physical volume rocker, tap a button to expand the volume menu, find the category that you want to adjust, then finally raise or lower the volume.
The iPhone has a handy feature called AssistiveTouch that lets you quickly adjust volume, lock your screen, rotate your display, and even navigate through the phone's interface using a virtual home button. In a way, it's a lot like the on-screen navigation bar that you'll find on some Android devices, but with a lot more functionality, and bundled together in a floating bubble interface.
One of the biggest things that differentiates Android from iOS is the app drawer. Instead of the operating system just tossing all of your app icons into a cluttered heap on your home screen, most can be tucked away neatly in the app drawer, which, in essence, is very similar to the Windows Start menu.
Android apps check your system locale settings to determine which language they should display. For the most part, it's a seamless experience—except for those times when an app has not been translated into your language of choice, in which case the app will usually default to English.
If you have multiple Bluetooth accessories, Android's volume system can be pretty annoying. For one thing, most phones reset to a "Safe Volume Level" every time you reconnect a pair of headphones, which means you'll probably need to turn up the volume once or twice a day. But even if your phone doesn't exhibit this obnoxious behavior, you might want your car's Bluetooth connection to be louder than, say, your home stereo or your wireless earbuds.
According to a study done by internet provider Tencent, a whopping 27.44% of Android users root their phones. With over 1.4 billion Android devices out there, that works out to somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 million rooted phones and tablets. In other words, there may very well be more rooted Android devices than there are Americans, so root nation is an important demographic that deserves being catered to.
Video chatting has become an important factor in the overall smartphone experience. Even just a few years ago, 37% of teens were making video calls on a regular basis, and that number has surely grown. 85% of households with infants have used video chat apps to call relatives in other cities, and it's been shown that toddlers can create bonds and learn from visual cues in video calls.
Kodi, formerly known as XBMC, is one of the most versatile media players available. With it, you can play virtually any internet and media file in a large variety of formats, and it can be used on practically every single operating system out there, including iOS 10. Kodi, an open-source software, was originally designed to connect to your TV so you could control your media from up to ten feet away, and the core functionality still shines today. All of this is what makes Kodi so popular today...
Android's notification system is quite robust, especially now that Google added bundled notifications and quick reply features to Android 7.0 Nougat. However, things can still get quite cluttered when you have several unread messages, which fills your status bar with icons and makes your notification tray take up half of the screen by itself.
With smartphone makers ditching the headphone jack in the hopes of a truly wireless future, we're having to rely on Bluetooth devices like earbuds and headphones more and more. But the downside here is that these devices aren't physically connected to your phone in any way, which makes it way too easy to leave an important accessory behind.
Super Mario Run was released for iOS on December 15, 2016. Even though it debuted as a "free" app, almost all of the playable content was hidden behind a ridiculous $10 unlocking package. Despite coming with such a hefty price tag and receiving a two-star rating on the day of its release for iOS, Android users are still very much interested in giving this game a whirl.
Many Android users woke up on January 10 to discover that their phone's performance took a nosedive overnight. Battery life is draining fast, overall performance has been sluggish, and devices seem to be overheating for no apparent reason. Not to worry, this isn't happening because of something you did.
HTC, known well for its HTC One series of flagship devices, released one of its best smartphones to date in 2016. That phone, the HTC 10, was met with near-universal praise from tech blogs and YouTubers—however, the sales numbers didn't quite match the hype, and HTC ended up posting a net loss of $133 million in the quarter that followed the phone's release.