For my money, one of the greatest improvements brought about from the smartphone revolution is the advent of visual voicemail. No longer do we have to slog through dial menus or trudge through every single message to get to the next. We can just look at our messages, right there on our screens, organized neatly like emails or text messages.
One of the most common complaints about the Nexus line of devices is that they don't have expandable memory.
Losing your phone is a much bigger ordeal today than it was just 10 years ago. Our smartphones carry with them lots of sensitive data that, in the wrong hands, is capable of being used for identity theft and fraud.
Android Lollipop has an awesome feature called "Battery saver" mode that reduces power consumption through various tweaks in order to squeeze in an extra hour or two of standby time when your battery is running low. It does this by disabling background processes as well as location services and transition animations, so the phone is essentially running at half-throttle.
The majority of Android web browsers carry a "desktop mode" feature that makes mobile websites look like normal computer versions. Mobile versions are designed to work faster and more efficiently on smartphones, but sometimes the desktop version looks better on large displays or has additional features not included in the mobile one.
Google Keyboard, which comes pre-installed on Nexus devices (and is available for all others from the Play Store), is one of the most functional keyboards currently available for Android. With features like gesture-based typing, next-word prediction, and even text expansion macros, it's a very capable form of text input.
Increased battery life is easily one of the most sought after improvements to a device and often drives intrepid users to root their phones, flash new ROMs, and try out experimental kernels.
Practically every kid in the '80s would rush home after school to put in some time on the first-gen Nintendo before their parents got home. Games like Super Mario Bros. and Super Smash Bros. were synonymous with fun times, and to this day, call up a wave of nostalgia amongst Generation-Xers.
When I got my first smartphone, it didn't take long before my friends and I created a game that we liked to call "Paste-Send." You see, instead of having to use T9 to type out text messages, the touch-based interface made copying and pasting incredibly easy. So that meant we could copy a piece of text, then paste it into text messages in rapid succession to text bomb the annoyed recipient. It was all in good fun, of course, and it usually evoked a stream of swear words from the guy on the oth...
It's time. You've experimented with apps from the Play Store, you've switched your lock screen, and maybe you've taken different launchers out for a spin. If, throughout your tinkering, you've found yourself chanting, "More. More. Give me more!" then now is the time. It's time to root.
One of the best things about the Nexus line of devices is the ease with which one can achieve root. Plug your phone into your PC, download a couple files, type a few commands, and you can be rooted within 30 minutes. No muss, no fuss, no carrier-locked bootloaders.
Every phone has its issues and quirks, and the Nexus 5 is no exception to this rule. One of the most common troubleshooting questions asked by its owners is "Why does my Nexus 5 keep shutting off or restarting?" where the device suddenly decides to reboot or power off randomly on its own.
The Google Calendar app hasn't really changed much over the years. As a pre-installed staple on most Android devices, the interface is definitely lacking in some areas. Google knows this, and has plans in the pipeline to completely revamp Calendar's UI alongside Android 5.0's official release.
If you've ever attempted to report a bug to a developer, no doubt you've heard the response, "Get a logcat." This is infinitely important to a developer because of the fact that a logcat captures a full report of every command that was recently executed on your Android device, and it allows them to see exactly where something went wrong.
Not too long ago, we told you about a new feature within Android KitKat that allowed for video recording directly from the screen of your Nexus 5. Though functional, the method was a bit clunky and involved hooking your phone up to your computer and sending over an ADB command to start the recording.
Many Nexus 6 owners, myself included, have already started to experience the dreaded burn-in issues that often come with AMOLED display technology. These displays are different than your typical LCD screen in that each pixel emits its own light instead of using a backlight, so this leaves AMOLED screens more susceptible to issues with dim or unresponsive pixels.
Stock Android is a great experience, and it's probably one of the biggest reasons that people purchase a Nexus device over other Android phones. Without carrier or manufacturer modifications to the core software, the entire user interface feels a lot more clean and snappy, and this also means that developers encounter fewer compatibility issues when creating flashable ZIPs and custom ROMs.
When it comes to theming your Android device, it's the little things that matter most. Whether you're tweaking your navigation buttons or changing the color of system menus, no theme is complete until even the smallest element matches the rest of your color palette.
Android uses a set of permissions that apps can request to perform certain actions, and you're notified of these permissions each time you install an app. The problem here is the fact that you aren't given any built-in way to deny apps these permissions (although Danny just showed a workaround for this).
Losing important data is the modern-day equivalent of misplacing your wallet or keys. We have tons of vital information stored in our digital worlds, and losing any of it can be devastating. But if you've accidentally deleted something important from your Android device, there's still hope.
The Nexus 6 is one of the few devices on the market that sports a 1440p "QHD" display. This means that the amount of pixels displayed is higher than almost any other smartphone, which sounds great on the surface, but is not without its drawbacks.
Some apps have a nasty habit of ignoring your Android's auto-rotation settings and locking the display into either portrait or landscape orientation.
If you find yourself switching between Android devices frequently—for instance, your Nexus 6P and a Samsung tablet—you've probably noticed how the button placement can be different. Normally, it's back, then home, then the recent apps button, from left to right. But Samsung devices have this backwards, which can lead to frustration when muscle memory kicks in and the back button isn't where you expect it to be.
Google's new camera app has a highly innovative and unique feature dubbed Lens Blur, and the most interesting thing about it is not necessarily what it does, so much as how it does it.
Google Play Music is one of the best cloud music services out there. Without ever paying a dime, you can upload as many as 20,000 songs to Google's servers, then use the app on your smartphone to stream these songs without taking up any of your storage space. And if you're willing to shell out $9.99 a month, you can even play songs from the massive All Access library.
As much as app developers would like to simplify things with icons and visual cues, text is still a huge part of a smartphone's interface. Much of our media consumption is text-based, and while Google's Roboto font is a beautiful typeface, a little variety here and there certainly wouldn't hurt.
Emojis, smilies, emoticons—whatever you prefer to call them, these fun little guys can bring a text-based conversation to life. If you're worried that someone's sarcasm meter might be broken, just toss in a wink at the end of your message. Or perhaps you can't quite put your sentiment into words, but one of these little graphics suits the moment perfectly.
Chrome's Incognito Mode is a great feature for folks that don't want their browsing history tracked. When it's enabled, Incognito Mode makes sure that all cookies and cache that are saved while you're browsing are deleted as soon as you leave a webpage.
Straight out of the box, the Nexus 5 is an awesome device, but even it can be faster with better battery life. Luckily, one of the things that makes it so awesome is that there are tons of developers creating mods for it, since it runs stock Android by default. When it comes to gaining speed and better battery life, flashing a custom kernel is the way to go.
If you've been keeping up with anything Android these days, you've no doubt heard about a little dandy called Xposed Framework kicking around. Xposed, by XDA developer rovo89, is a framework for Android devices that lets you easily modify your stock or custom ROM.
Google has finally released the next version of the world's leading operating system—Android 6.0 Marshmallow. This latest iteration isn't as much of a visual overhaul as Lollipop was, but it packs in more new functionality than almost any update before it. Awesome features like Now on Tap, granular permissions control, and a deep sleep battery-saving feature called Doze round out the highlights, but there is far more to it than that.
When the Nexus 5 was released, a new version of Android came along with it called KitKat. In the 4.4 update were some fancy new UI elements, one of the most noticeable being the translucent decor. By that, I mean the status and navigation bars being semi-transparent.
Back in August, Google introduced Android Device Manager. This new service allowed you to locate, lock, or wipe a lost or stolen Android device from either a companion app or a web interface. Effectively, this is the "kill switch" that legislators are clamoring for.
You may not always be connected to the internet, but if you're anything like me, your thirst for web content is insatiable. Whether you're on an airplane or stuck in an area with no reception, having some offline content stored on your Nexus can definitely save the day.
One of Android's strengths when compared to other mobile operating systems is its ability to set third-party apps as the default handler of certain file types. Instead of being stuck with pre-installed system apps when it comes to opening files and links, you're free to choose a better-fitting alternative.
Android automatically clears entries in your call log after 30 days. While this might be fine in most cases, sometimes you need to find a number that called you more than a month ago. Or perhaps you want to keep detailed records for business purposes, and 30 days just isn't long enough.
Deep down at the core of Android lies the system kernel, which serves as a bridge between software and hardware. Custom kernels can be installed in place of the stock offering, and these are generally optimized for better performance or increased battery efficiency.
Over the years, we've probably all complained at some point about Android's lack of an "Undo" feature. When you're typing something out, there are times when you might want to go back a step.
Android Marshmallow was recently released, and as we've grown to expect, a root method was quickly made available to devices running the brand new operating system. Legendary root developer Chainfire has stated that he's working his way towards retiring from the scene, but he still had enough left in the tank to quickly publish an update to his popular SuperSU root method.
Back in March, Samsung partnered with Slacker Radio to create a streaming service called Milk Music. For those of us who don't own a Galaxy device, this news was a non-starter, as it was exclusive to Samsung's flagship line of phones and tablets.