Android M Developer Preview 2 Fixes Clock App Bug That Caused The ‘Snooze’ Button To Default To 24 Hours

It’s probably not a good idea to use beta versions of operating systems for your “daily driver” phone… or alarm clock, for that matter. When the original Android M Developer Preview landed back in May, we spotted a new version of the Clock app that allowed users to manually select a day of the week to start with. Turns out it had another “feature:” some users reported that sliding to the “snooze” function on the alarm would make the app delay the chime for 24 hours instead of 10 minutes (by default).

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Android M Developer Preview 2 Fixes Clock App Bug That Caused The ‘Snooze’ Button To Default To 24 Hours was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Send directions to device from desktop Google Maps

Google now has made it so a user of Google Maps on the desktop can send directions to his or her mobile device.

To do so:

  1. Go to Google Maps on your computer.
  2. Sign in to Google Maps with the same account on your computer and your mobile device.
  3. Search for a place.
  4. Click Send to device on the place card that pops up.
  5. Choose the device you want to send the information to.

Google Maps' Send to device function

 


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There are two more things. Firstly, you can’t send a place to your mobile device if you’re using Maps in Lite Mode. In order to turn it off should you have it on, go to the desktop version of Maps and click the main menu in the top left. You will see an option to disable it. Lastly, make sure you have version 9.11.0 (the latest as of this post) or higher of the app.

Source: Google Maps Help via Android and Me

The post Send directions to device from desktop Google Maps appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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OnePlus 2: What We Know and What We Don’t

oneplus-one-logo-ah-1-2

Well, everyone, the OnePlus 2 is upon us. In preparation for its much-anticipated reveal on July 27 at 7:00pm Pacific Time, several OnePlus staff have taken to reddit, answering questions from reddit users for almost two hours about the upcoming and anticipated OnePlus 2 Android phone.

For those that didn’t pay much attention to both the fame and notoriety surrounding this phone’s predecessor—the OnePlus One—let’s take a brief moment to review before jumping into the OnePlus 2.

OnePlus One

In April 2014, the Chinese startup, OnePlus, announced and launched their first phone, the OnePlus One. Hyped as a “flagship killer“, the One sported a Snapdragon 801 CPU, 3GB RAM, 5.5″ 1080p IPS display, 13MP camera with a Sony IMX214 sensor, and LTE, all wrapped up in a magnesium shell with a 3,100 mAh battery. Oh, it was unlockable and rootable like a Nexus device, shipped with CyanogenMod out of the box (now replaced by the in-house OxygenOS), and it cost only $299 or $349 for 16GB or 64GB storage, respectively.

For some context:

  • Its Snapdragon 801 CPU is shared by the Sony Xperia Z3, LG G3, Samsung Galaxy S5 (US variant), and 2014 Moto X (though clock speeds vary by device).
  • Its camera sensor is shared by the Nexus 6, and is an upgrade of the IMX135 used in the LG G3, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and 2014 Moto X (though different lenses and software result in significant real-world performance differences).
  • It has as much RAM as the Xperia Z3, LG G3, and more than the Galaxy S5 and 2014 Moto X
  • Its battery is larger than the LG G3, Galaxy S5, and Moto X.
  • It cost substantially less than all other flagships.
  • It was easily unlockable, rootable, and flashable, unlike most non-Nexus devices

All this in early 2014. Sounds too good to be true. So what’s the catch?

Well, the problems started almost immediately from the time the phone was announced. Everyone wanted to get their hands on one, but the thing is… you couldn’t just buy one. Phone purchases were by invite-only. The general public couldn’t actually buy one until April of this year. There were other issues, too—like initial quality (which OnePlus has been working hard to improve). And if you did have problems, OnePlus wasn’t and isn’t known for their customer service (as a startup based in China, they’ve had difficult meeting customer service needs for their global customers—though they’re working hard to improve).

OnePlus 2: What We Know

So the OnePlus One had potential to be a real carrier-killer, but it had some issues and fell short. In many aspects, OnePlus’s first phone was a moonshot—they aimed high, but they were in a bit over their head and fell short. Maybe OnePlus has learned from their mistakes, and their next phone will be even better?

That’s the hope. And that’s where there’s so much hype.

So, what do we know about the OnePlus 2?

In truth, we know… a lot, actually. There is plenty of speculation based on leaks, and there are plenty of promises, and sometimes it’s hard to tell fact from speculation. But confirmed facts are aplenty.

CPU

We know that the OnePlus 2 will be using a Snapdragon 810 CPU.

Some of you might be thinking, “Hey, isn’t that the CPU that suffers from overheating and throttling?Yes, it is. But OnePlus has promised that the OnePlus 2 “meets the industry standard for phone temperature,” even after “hours of use” and “rigorous testing.” They also announced that they worked with Qualcomm engineers to integrate the newest version of the chipset (v2.1) into the phone, which is “cooler than ever,” and they use both thermal gel and graphite to disperse heat. So while we might know that the OnePlus 2 is using a SnapDragon 810 v2.1, we can only speculate as to whether it will suffer from overheating and throttling problems. We are promised, however, that the phone will run “cooler than ever.”

RAM

We know that the OnePlus 2 will come with 4GB LPDDR4 RAM.

That’s a lot of RAM—more than this year’s Galaxy S6, LG G4, Xperia Z3+, or HTC One M9. The only other players in this class are the Asus Zenfone 2 (4GB) and Lenovo K8 (4GB).

Battery

We know that the new phone will have a 3,300 mAh battery.

That’s a bigger battery than most other flagships on the market—Xperia Z3+, Galaxy S6, LG G4, HTC One M9. It’s even bigger than that in the Galaxy Note 4.

ROM

We know that the phone will ship with a new version of Oxygen OS based on AOSP 5.1 Lollipop.

OnePlus is committed to Oxygen OS—their own fork of AOSP and alternative to Cyanogen OS—and they have an impressive team of people working on it. OnePlus is “very excited” to show off the new features and improvements they’ve made to the OS since its last release, and they claim to have very worked to tailor the OS specifically to the SnapDragon 810 v2.1, optimizing for power, agility, and temperature.

Whether the new phone will be easily unlockable, rootable, and flashable, is a matter of speculation. But, given OnePlus’s history and work with Cyanogen, despite Oxygen OS being the new “official” ROM, it’s nearly inconceivable that regular updates of CyanogenMod and other custom ROMs won’t be forthcoming—or even directly encouraged.

USB Type-C

We know that the OnePlus 2 will be one of the first flagships with a USB 3.1 Type-C port, behind LeTV’s Le 1, Le 1 Pro, and Le Max.

There’s not much to say, here. USB Type-C is the future. It’s reversible, it’s faster, it carries more power, it’s more versatile, and it’s quickly becoming the unified port of the future. It’ll do everything from powering your next phone or laptop to, in combination with Thunderbolt 3 (which will piggyback on the same port), potentially connect an external GPU to your computer.

Price

We know that the price of the OnePlus 2 will be “less than $450.”

This is much higher than the original OnePlus One ($299–$349), which was a major selling point. Though the OnePlus 2 will still be much cheaper than any of this year’s flagship devices, last year’s flagships can be had for cheaper. That means that the OnePlus 2 is going to need to solidly outperform last year’s major phones—like the Galaxy S5, LG G3, Xperia Z3, and HTC One M8—on all fronts to stay relevant.

Screen Size & Physical Size

We know that the OnePlus 2 will be physically smaller than the OnePlus One, which had a 5.5″ screen.

We could speculate that the OnePlus 2 will cut down on the bezel while keeping the screen size the same (5.5″).

Security

We know that the OnePlus 2 will have a fingerprint scanner.

OnePlus announced that the new device will ship with a fingerprint scanner on their forums, and that it will save up to five profiles.

Networks

We know that there will be two global versions released: a US GSM and a Europe GSM model.

“US GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz WCDMA: Bands: ½/4/5/8 FDD-LTE: Bands: ½/4/5/7/8/12/17
Europe GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz WCDMA: Bands: ½/5/8 FDD-LTE: Bands: 1/3/5/7/8/20″

So that’s good news for US AT&T and T-Mobile customers. Verizon, however, will not be supported.

Wi-Fi calling on T-Mobile will not be initially supported, either, but there is promise for the future.

“The OxygenOS team is working to bring [T-Mobile Wi-Fi calling] to the OnePlus 2, but it’s very likely that this will arrive after the launch via OTA.”

Lastly, besides the two international versions, there will be a third version released. It’s most likely that this will be a model designed for the Chinese market, but that is speculation.

Customization

We know that the back will be removable.

OnePlus has confirmed that there will be five swap covers available at launch. The company has also said that they’ve learned a lot from their experience trying to manufacture StyleSwap covers for the OnePlus One, and they are working to prevent repeat problems on the OnePlus 2.

We can certainly speculate, from some of their early OnePlus One promises, that we’ll see a lot more options for the OnePlus 2—such as the fabled denim and kevlar covers, in addition to bamboo and possibly leather.

One thing that a removable back does not mean, however, is that the battery will be removable. Way back around the time the original OnePlus One was announced, the rationale behind the choice of a non-removable battery for that phone was explained.

“The decision was clear for us. A removable battery would have meant adding a protective layer to the motherboard as well as extra circuitry, resulting in a smaller battery (2500mAh, 20% less battery juice!) or a significantly thicker phone.
With our configuration, the battery will last long enough to get even the most active users through an entire day of use without adding bulk to the overall build and design.”

Given that the OnePlus 2 will be smaller than the OnePlus One, a removable battery seems unlikely at this point. This is merely speculation—but then, so is any other discussion about removable batteries. We simply don’t have any facts about the battery other than that it will be 3,300 mAh.

Invites

They’re back. We know that the new phone will initially be invite-only, just like the OnePlus One.

This is a contentious issue. Like the OnePlus One, this phone is highly-anticipated, and demand will undoubtedly exceed supply—déjà vu.

What Don’t We Know?

As the mantra goes, there are things that we know that we know, and things that we know that we don’t know. We’ve spent all this time discussing what we do know, so now it’s time to learn what remains a mystery.

Storage Space

We don’t know what kind of storage space the OnePlus 2 will ship with. The original One had 16 GB and 64 GB versions, so it’s probably safe to speculate that we’ll see versions greater than or equal to that. Judging from this comment on reddit, however, a 120 GB version is probably not in the works.

Camera

We don’t know much about the camera. We do know that it is a priority for the OnePlus team, however, and that there are “a bunch of things that set [the camera] apart.”

The OnePlus co-founder recently mentioned in their reddit AMAA that they hired an engineering firm in Taipei with a lot of ex-HTC engineers to work on the camera for the OnePlus 2. The OnePlus One used a Sony IMX214 sensor, which while technically superior to what was used in the LG G3, underperformed. So, a lot of the issues with camera quality come down to the hardware design and software algorithms. We’ll have to wait and see what the first hands-on reviews say about the camera to see if OnePlus’s engineers in Taipei have delivered a miracle, or not.

Capacitive buttons

We don’t know anything about the buttons that will be used for the navbar. On the original OnePlus One, there were two options: you could either have software buttons at the bottom of your screen like a Nexus device, or you could use capacitive buttons built-in to the black bezel at the bottom of the phone.

For the OnePlus 2, however, the only discussion about the navbar is this cryptic comment:

“We have a solution in place that will satisfy everyone.”

Build Quality

We don’t know much about the build quality of the new OnePlus 2, but the reviews of the original OnePlus One, with its magnesium shell, were generally positive, provided you weren’t one of the several percent of owners that had issues.

The co-founder of OnePlus has stated that he’s particularly proud of the progress they’ve made on build quality for the OnePlus 2, however, so this is something to keep an eye out for in the first hands-on impressions.

Screen Resolution & Display Type

We don’t know anything about the screen resolution (FHD, QHD, 4K) or display type (IPS or AMOLED), and OnePlus isn’t interested in leaking those details before the July 27 announcement.

So, in summary, there is a lot that we know about the OnePlus 2, and there is a lot that we, as of yet, do not know. Just like the OnePlus One, on paper, the OnePlus 2 will almost certainly look like a flagship-killer. Like in the past, however, the success of this phone is contingent on OnePlus’s ability to manufacture enough phones to fulfill demand, as well as its ability to do so while maintaining consistent quality and decent customer service.

Keep your eyes peeled on July 27. It should be an interesting day.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 5 rumor roundup (updated 7/11)

samsung galaxy note 4 ui aa 13

The first half of 2015 has concluded and we have seen some amazing devices hit the market. Among the best are the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, the HTC On M9 and the LG G4, but let’s not forget there is more to come. As it goes with every year, another herd of important smartphones are to reach store shelves during the later half of the year. Some of them just as important as the typical flagships we mentioned above, if not more.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is one of the most anticipated phones year after year. We could say this series gets most of the credit for the “phablet” movement, so it is definitely an important device to keep in mind. It’s also a handset that happens to be held upon the highest industry standards and Samsung rarely disappoints. Many of us actually prefer the Galaxy Note devices over the Galaxy S series, as they are released later in the year and tend to offer a better build and newer generation specs.

samsung galaxy note edge unboxing (4 of 19)

Samsung’s popular supersized smartphones are usually released between September and October. The day when we should finally see it in stage is coming. We are getting ready to take it all in and bring you the best content once the phone is announced and released, but the world keeps spinning until then and we know the rumor mill is not about to stop turning. The leaks have started trickling in, which means we are starting to get a gist of what the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 will be all about. Are you ready? Let’s go through every single murmur that has hit our feed.

Design

While the Samsung Galaxy Note series has always differentiated itself from the Galaxy S smartphones in terms of aesthetics and build, this year it’s imperative that they follow a similar design language. Samsung’s numbers keep going down and most of the credit is given to the fact that their design and build quality has always been inferior to main competitors. Pure popularity is no longer working for Sammy!

With the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, Samsung takes the team back to the drawing board and manages to do wonders. Their flagship phones are now made of quality materials like aluminum and glass, which makes the new handsets feel like jewels resting in your hand (at least compared to those crappy things they used to make). While previous generations of the Galaxy Note line-up have done pretty well with their plastic builds, Samsung really can’t back-pedal and downgrade when making the Samsung Galaxy Note 5.

Galaxy Note 5 image from Tencent

Galaxy Note 5 image from Tencent

Thankfully, it seems Samsung is in the right path to making yet another amazingly-built smartphone. A recent image from Tencent showed us what the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 could look like once finalized, and it pretty much looks like an over-sized Samsung Galaxy S6… yet it does have its differences.

This image looks quite gorgeous, but we must say this is probably not what the phone will look like, even if it will likely have its similarities. We would put more faith on the video @OnLeaks recently leaked, which showcases a CAD design (also of anonymous origins). Now this one literally looks exactly like an overgrown Samsung Galaxy S6, except it happens to have a spot for the S-Pen.

According to the digital model, the phone should measure 123.44 x 77.31 x 10.2 mm, suggesting a large 5.7-inch display. Really, at this point that size is only a little larger than usual. The contrast is not as polarizing as it used to be, and some devices (like the Nexus 6) easily beat it. The phone is also not as thin as the Galaxy S6, but it’s not supposed to be. Keep in mind the Galaxy Note 5 should represent power and functionality, not exactly glamour.

Italian tech site HDBlog then used these CAD design to create some renders of what the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 could look like. Here are the results:

samsung galaxy note 5 render hdblog (1)

samsung galaxy note 5 render hdblog (2)

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 2 and/or Galaxy S6 Edge Plus?

I think we can all agree those Edge devices are here to stay. It will be along time before we see a flagship Samsung device launch without its Edge counterpart, and I am willing to bet my money on the fact that the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 won’t be coming to market alone. Hell, they may be launching more than one over-sized smartphone!

Rumors point towards a very interesting change in strategy. It’s said the upcoming Note device with an Edge display will come with a screen that curves around both sides, much like the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. This is corroborated by some of the names the device may have, which include monikers like Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, Samsung Galaxy S6 Note and the less exciting Samsung Galaxy Note Edge 2 (or 2nd gen). This is where it gets confusing, because they could all be the same, but there’s a slight chance the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus is a completely different device than the upcoming Note Edge successor. We say this because the rumored specs are contradicting and all over the place.

samsung galaxy note edge review aa (10 of 26)

To be honest, it is refreshing to see Samsung doing away with the actual functionality in the Edge display. The Galaxy Note Edge was innovative and very different, but its Edge features simply didn’t offer enough features and had very little support from developers. It’s better to leave the edged screens as a purely aesthetic factor.

The name isn’t the only change we might see, though. For once, it seems like the Edge version won’t be on par with its brother device (Galaxy Note 5) in terms of power and performance. More on this in the specs section.

Display

There’s different beliefs revolving around the Samsung Galaxy Note 5’s screen. It was previously believed Samsung was testing both 2K and 4K displays, going way above today’s QHD standards. More recent reports now state the phone could have a QHD Super AMOLED display (2560x1440p) measuring as much as 5.89 inches.

samsung-galaxy-s6-edge-plus

Specifications

The rumored specs are not very solid, but we know the new Note Edge successor could have a Snapdragon 808 processor, 16 GB of internal storage, that lovely S-Pen, a 16 MP rear camera and an 8 MP front-facing shooter. This is very interesting, because this hardware is awfully similar to the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus specs we have been hearing about, making is believe these two monikers could belong to a single device.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus is said to come with either a 5.4, 5.4 or 5.7-inch display. It will be powered by Android 5.1.1 and sport a Snapdragon 808 processor, 32 GB of internal storage, a 16 MP rear camera, a 5 MP front-facing shooter and a 3000 mAh battery (there were also rumors of a possible 4100 mAh battery).

usb-type-c-3

One very important rumored feature the Galaxy Note 5 is said to have is the inclusion of a USB-C connector. This would make the Samsung Galaxy note 5 the first mainstream Android smartphone to come with the latest-generation USB, which is a pretty huge deal.

Also a huge deal is the rumor of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 getting rid of expandable storage support. And considering the new design elements, we will likely also see the removable battery go out the door. We know this will play a huge part in your decision to buy the next Note!

Camera

We don’t know much about the camera aside from the fact that it should be a 16 MP shooter with OIS (optical image stabilization). There’s also said to be an 8 MP (or 5 MP) camera in the front. This is not much to go by, but knowing Samsung they won’t skimp out on these cameras. They should be nearly as good as the camera the Samsung Galaxy S6 offers, at the very least.

Oh, and don’t expect the camera bump to go away. All leaked images show it.

samsung galaxy s6 edge aa 5

Software

If there is one thing the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 will have too much of, it will be software features. This is no average phone. It is called the “Note”, after all, and it is optimized to do just that – take notes. You will find your usual S-Pen features, including Action Memo, Smart Select, Screen Write, handwriting recognition and more. Not to mention the many other features Samsung usually offers, including like S Voice and Multi Window.

Of course, we also expect the Samsung Galaxy Note to come with the latest version of Android, which is Android 5.1.1 (there will likely be a newer one when the Galaxy Note 5 is released).

Release date

For years now, Samsung has released its new Note models during the IFA Electronics show, which is normally held in the month of September. But if a new report from The Wall Street Journal holds any water, we may get a taste of the new phablet(s) a month earlier than expected.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, WSJ claims that Samsung will move up the launch of the new Note products several weeks to mid-August to provide some breathing room between the Note 5’s launch and the unveiling of Apple’s next flagship devices. As is the case with other iPhone launches, Apple’s smartphone announcements tend to take up a ton of media/consumer attention. This is certainly a smart move on Samsung’s part, especially because Apple announced the iPhone 6 Plus a mere six days after the Note 4 launched.

Wrapping up

It’s a bit hard to give you any concrete ideas, because rumors are all over the place right now. They often contradict themselves and many of them are likely incorrect. This conglomeration of confusing information makes us wonder if there really are more diverse versions of the Note/S6 Edge in the works. Maybe there will be a Samsung Galaxy Note 5, a Galaxy Note Edge 2 and a Galaxy S6 EdgePlus? Who knows! For now we can only tell you to keep taking it all in, and to keep your eyes and ears very open. We will do the same and let you know more about the Galaxy Note 5 as additional details emerge. We are sure they will.

In the meantime, go ahead and hit the comments to tell us what you would like to see one the Samsung Galaxy note 5. I am really hoping for a full metal and glass body. I am also quite excited about the inclusion of a USB-C port. How about you?!

Samsung-Galaxy-TabA-9.7-11

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Dumping Old PROMs With New Hardware

[ijsf] recently came across a very old synthesizer from a defunct West German company. This was one of the first wavetable synths available, and it’s exceptionally rare. Being so rare, there isn’t much documentation on the machine. In an attempt at reverse engineering, [ijsf] decided to dump the EPROMs and take a peek at what made this synth work. There wasn’t an EPROM programmer around to dump the data, but [ijsf] did have a few ARM boards around. It turns out building a 27-series PROM dumper is pretty easy, giving [ijsf] an easy way to dig into the code on this machine.

The old EPROMs in this machine have 5v logic, so [ijsf] needed to find a board that had a ton of IOs and 5v tolerant inputs. He found the LPC2148, which has a nice USB system that can be programmed to dump the contents of a PROM over serial. Interfacing the PROM is as simple as connecting the power and ground, the address lines, data, and the signal lines. After that, it’s just a matter of stepping through every address according to the timing requirements of the PROM. All the data was dumped over a serial interface, and in just a few seconds, [ijsf] had 32768 bytes of ancient data that made this old synth tick.

Filed under: classic hacks

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XDA Picks: Best Apps of the Week (July 4 – July 11)

xdaappsoftheweek

Apps are at the front and center of any smartphone experience, and with over a million apps on the Google Play Store and new apps being submitted to our forums every day, staying up to date on the latest apps and games can be a hassle. At XDA we don’t discriminate apps – if it’s interesting, innovative, original or useful, we mention them. The XDA Portal Team loves apps too, and here are our top picks for this week.

 

Tuber: The YouTube Companion [FREE]

tuberMany of us just want to quickly watch our YouTube subscriptions — and nothing else. Sponsored or recommended videos can not only miss the mark, but the fact that in order to get to our subscriptions we are first presented with what many would  rather not see is annoying. Tuber is a YouTube client that fixes that, as it takes you to your subscription feed off the bat — with a pleasant and efficient interface to boot! There were easy ways to mimic this on the official client, but this is an app solution that will most likely remain stable and functional throughout time and updates.

Play! Playstation 2 Emulator [BETA]

 

play!As our devices get more powerful, we not only expect to play the newest games, but also older gems too. That’s what projects like Dolphin are trying to achieve, and in the past couple of years they have made great advancements in optimization. Play! brings Playstation 2 emulation to Android… though it’s not perfect just yet. Most games – particularly 3D games – will net you a laggy experience. That being said, this is early development, and we are featuring it for our love and respect for technology, old games and hard work. You can join the testing community or get the APK directly. Early alpha, remember!

Star Wars App [FREE]

starwarsSince there will surely be some Star Wars fans in here, we know many will appreciate this app to keep track of Star Wars developments. This app allows you to get instant notifications on big announcements such as news about the upcoming movie and the latest trailers. You can also read content from the official Star Wars site and access exclusive interviews. Behind-the-scenes featurettes, quick updates, augmented reality camera features, quick games and more. The Force Closes are strong with this one though, but if your device is compatible you will enjoy it.

Hooks – Alerts for Everything [FREE]

 

hooksHooks allows you to set custom alerts for events or updates that you might care about, straight to your notification tray. There are over 1 million alert choices, but you can also choose from over a hundred channels to create your own. You can get updates of sport scores, new albums, video game releases, and even the weather (but you surely have an alternative for that by now). If you love saving time, this is an app to check out.

Material Comic Viewer [FREE]

 

material comic viewerThis is an offline comic book reader app with a beautiful and simple Material Design interface. It’s quick and efficient with support for cbr, rar, cbz and zip files and image folders. You can also load content from cloud services, and everything you’d expect out of a good comic reader is in here: folder support, sorting, info generation, immersive mode, favorites and more. There is not much else to say — it’s just a nice app with a nice look, and while there are many ways to read comics on Android already, this one has enough charm, color and polish to deserve a look (and read).

Notable Updates:

  • Google Search can now give you “did you mean…” corrections in search suggestions. This is different from other platforms where the correction appears in the results, not the suggestions.
  • Google Maps v9.11 let’s you hide UI elements and you can share My Maps (not my My Maps, your My Maps, I mean).
  • You can now send directions from Google Maps on the desktop straight to your Android device. Considering it’s much easier to browse maps on a desktop computer than on a phone, many will enjoy this.
  • Google Messenger v1.4 brings location sharing, fast scrolling, new sticker support and more.
  • Play Books v3.5 gets a needed visual refresh in the main panels, and a new way to discover books you might be interested in.

That is it for this week. We hope that you might have found some of these apps as interesting, useful or entertaining as we did. Whether you are a student, a developer, a designer or a gamer, Android has you covered. We will try to reflect that each week with a variety of picks to spark your interest, and if you see (or publish!) any new apps that you think are worthy of a feature, be sure to send us a tip and we’ll give it a look. Until next time!

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[Deal Alert] Grab The Album ‘Nina Revisited: A Tribute To Nina Simone’ For Free On The Google Play Store

nina simoneEvery so often the Google Play Store makes previously paid movies, TV shows, and music albums free tor a limited time – add them to your account during this window and you can keep them forever. The latest album to get this treatment is Nina Revisited, a compilation of songs honoring pioneering African American singer Nina Simone. Her career spanned five decades, and her style mixed jazz, American standards, pop, and gospel, making her one of the most unique vocalists of her era.

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[Deal Alert] Grab The Album ‘Nina Revisited: A Tribute To Nina Simone’ For Free On The Google Play Store was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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New Mobile VR Headset Beginning To Make Waves

IonVR

VR (“virtual reality” for the acronym-challenged) is an old concept dating back to 1950’s Sci-Fi, which involves replicating for the user an environment which simulates their physical presence in worlds, whether real or imaginary. Sega, yes that Sega, came out with one of the first VR headsets in 1991, and there have been many over the years who have tried to usher in the virtual world to no avail. Much of the issue stemmed from the lack of supporting technology which has severely limited the positive experience for the user. All of that is beginning to change, and it’s happening quickly.

By now, if you’ve spent any time in the mobile or uber-geek world, you’ve probably heard about Oculus and GearVR. In many respects, they are both sides of the same coin: both are proprietary in their usage. GearVR is a mobile-powered headset (requiring a Samsung Note 4 or S6 as its screen) with Oculus optics, and Oculus is the full package but requires a wired connection to a high-powered computer to drive the technology. As a result, both are high-priced options for VR with at least $800 needed for GearVR (Note 4/S6 + GearVR), and $350 for the Oculus DK2 (Rift not available for purchase until Q1 2016) plus a relatively recent computer with high-end graphics, memory, Windows 7/8/10, etc. Of course there are other options (HTC and Valve’s Vive VR, LG’s VR, Google Cardboard, etc.), but all have their user-adoption issues and technology limitations.

Enter a new player, IonVR.

Hailing from the relative obscurity of Boise, Idaho, this new headset has begun to make a lot of waves in the VR world. Everyone who so far has been able to experience the IonVR, from Patrick Moorhead, in his Forbes article, to Robert Scoble, via his candid interview at Sun Valley, Idaho’s Tech on Deck 2015, have been singing its praises. In a world where skepticism about new technology is beginning to grow, companies are scrambling to get in line to check out this new VR offering.


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Some Of The Most Interesting VR May Have Not Even Been At E3 http://t.co/XwRCsfKeRe #VR #VirtualReality #Gamedev http://pic.twitter.com/CVLsjrckxq

— Patrick Moorhead (@PatrickMoorhead) July 3, 2015

This VR headset for your mobile phone is the one that won’t make you sick. https://t.co/GvxP3bppdt Tech blew me away.

— Robert Scoble (@Scobleizer) July 10, 2015

The IonVR is an OS-independent, device-independent offering which allows anyone with a mobile device screen size of 4.6″ to 6″ to be able to experience VR content, regardless of mobile OS. No need to be tethered to your high-powered computer; no need to choose between Android or, gasp, iOS; no need to purchase a specific handset; no need to experience motion blur or VR sickness; and able to use with glasses. That sort of thing is easy to promise, but hard to deliver – and IonVR does. Coupled with XDA’s legendary Senior Recognized Developer Chainfire at the helm for software development, and some amazing, yet-to-be-announced VR software, the IonVR is the best at what it’s displaying versus the competition. With pre-orders currently underway, the price rumored to be the same or less than GearVR (without the hefty initial hardware cost), and delivery expected for Q4 2015, the IonVR is really poised to take the VR world by storm and XDA will be right there with it.

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MLB.com At Bat Version 4.3 Adds Support For Android Auto, All-Star Game And Home Run Derby Viewing, And More

imageBaseball fans, are you ready for the All-Star Game?!? Probably. I mean, it comes every year, and unless it happens to come to your city, it all pretty much plays out the same. But if you’re the kind of fan who subscribes to MLB.com At Bat so that you never miss a single game of your beloved Braves, it’s probably a big deal – big enough that you’re excited for the yearly update to the Android app in order to watch it.

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MLB.com At Bat Version 4.3 Adds Support For Android Auto, All-Star Game And Home Run Derby Viewing, And More was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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