Multitasking has traditionally been one of Android's strengths. As the first mobile operating system to introduce true multi-process management, it even took things a step further after version 4.0 by dedicating a button to your recently-used apps.
When it comes to smartphones, we can sometimes get a little carried away with the "smart" aspect of it all. Things like apps, games, and softMods take center stage, and we can almost forget that the device also functions as a phone.
The biggest complaint I hear about Android Lollipop is the fact that the new Priority Mode notification system has effectively killed off "Silent Mode." Sure, you can still put your phone on vibrate, but that's not truly silent. Selecting "None" as your notification mode isn't a perfect solution either, since no notification icons will be shown in your status bar and your alarm will not go off in the morning.
The Nexus 5 has a known issue with its display. Affecting all models from the first manufacturing run and most models thereafter, this display issue is easiest to notice on something with a white background. A yellowish tint, most noticeable when compared to other devices, seems to emanate from the Nexus 5's screen.
CyanogenMod continues to be the most popular custom ROM for a good reason. Their team of developers always stay on top of the latest trends, and ensure that their software is packed with nice tweaks and awesome features. One such feature is an audio equalizer that allows you to fine-tune your device's various sound outputs. It's got a great interface, and works with any app that calls on Android's default audio mixer.
Update: June 19, 2014 Android 4.4.4 has been released, fixing a small security bug in 4.4.3. The factory images have already been made available to all current-generation Nexus devices, and I've linked them out below. This does not affect the process depicted, you can still use these same steps to bring your device up to date with this latest release.
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.
Ask a thousand Nexus owners why they chose their device over an iPhone, and after getting an earful of Apple hate, you will likely hear a clear pattern in their responses, namely, the freedom to customize their phones.
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.
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.
For many people, the two main advantages of buying a Nexus device are prompt updates and the ability to root without much hassle. But in a cruel twist of fate, these two features are almost mutually exclusive, since OTA updates will refuse to run on rooted devices.
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.
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.
Just about every softMod requires some kind of reboot. Whether it's because something in the System UI was changed, or because a ZIP needs to be flashed in custom recovery.
Google has already issued a few updates to Android 7.0 Nougat. There aren't many headlining features, as these minor updates are mostly bug fixes and performance improvements. But there's a few security enhancements as well, so staying up-to-date with the latest patches is important for a number of reasons.
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.
Surely you've heard of the wildly-popular custom ROM CyanogenMod, right? As the longest-tenured third-party firmware for Android devices, CM has been able to maintain its popularity by supporting a wide array of devices and offering many customization options.
The Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P have identical camera hardware—in fact, both use one of the highest-end camera sensors ever put into a smartphone. The only real difference between the cameras on Google's latest flagship devices is that the 6P natively supports electronic image stabilization (EIS) whereas the 5X does not.
If there's one gripe I have with Android Lollipop, it's the new volume menu. When Priority mode was introduced, the stock volume panel was revamped to accommodate it, and somewhere along the way a bit of functionality was lost.
If you're a fan of double-tap to wake gestures, you're going to love the newest app from ElementalX developer Aaron Segaert. On supported kernels, it allows you to associate custom apps and activities with each of the wake gestures you've set up, which will immediately be launched even with the screen off.
There's a known issue affecting some Nexus 5 users where the speaker volume is fairly low. This could be attributed to a manufacturing defect, which you could possibly fix with a hot needle, but if your built-in speakers and headphones seem muted, don't take your Nexus apart just yet.
With Geohot's Towelroot allowing us to root our Nexus devices in under a minute without ever leaving Android, many of you are probably enjoying all of the Gadget Hacks that root access has unlocked.
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.
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.
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.
Some apps have a nasty habit of ignoring your Android's auto-rotation settings and locking the display into either portrait or landscape orientation.
You have a cool picture that you want to show someone, but when you hand your phone over, they start swiping through all of your photos. Surely, you've encountered this scenario before. I definitely have.
When you're actively using your phone, a certain amount of battery drain is to be expected. But, if your device is just sitting in your pocket draining its battery, that's when you need to take action.
On-screen navigation buttons offer many distinct advantages over physical buttons—they can change orientation along with your device, they're capable of visually morphing to indicate secondary functionality, and the user experience is more consistent when buttons and app elements require the same amount of force to press. Add to that the fact that they're far less likely to fail and can be themed or even switched out altogether, and it's hard to come up with an argument in favor of physical b...
One of the many perks of being a Nexus user is that Google bakes in all sorts of goodies for use on its dessert-themed OS. From an easily unlocked bootloader, to a smooth and well-crafted "stock" UI experience, to being one of the first devices to receive updates straight from Mountain View—team Nexus is the team to beat.
A rooted Android device means we're on our way to some truly amazing customization options. But there may be a few steps left to completing that journey, and a major one is installing a custom recovery.
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.
It didn't take long at all for developer Chainfire to sort out a root method for the new Android 5.0 Lollipop. After handling a few issues with changes to the SELinux kernel module, Chainfire pushed out an update to his popular SuperSU root app.
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.
It used to be easy to hack tethering—root your device and install a third-party or modded tethering app. But snuck in amongst the changes in Android 4.3, a new data-monitoring service of sorts made its debut. There used to be a time when your data connection was yours. You paid for it, so you were free to use it for whatever you wanted. Unfortunately, those days are long gone.
It's really amazing how much you can do with root access on an Android device. From various themes to porting exclusive funtionality from other devices, the power of Superuser privileges is truly awesome.
As Matias Duarte and the team over at Google's Android Design department ready their wares, they've given us a preview version of the upcoming "L" release of Android to try out.
If you're one of the millions of people who use the WhatsApp service for messaging, you've probably noticed a recent propensity that the app has had for adding buttons to its interface. Two such buttons have made their way into the message thread screen, cluttering up the interface with functionality that is a tad bit redundant.
Android 5.0 has a killer new feature that should make securing your device easier than ever. It's called Smart Lock, and it essentially lets you bypass your secure lock screen when you're in a "trusted environment." This means that if you're connected to a known Bluetooth device or near a pre-programmed NFC card, you don't have to bother entering your pattern, PIN, or password.
The Nexus 6 uses an Ambient Display notification system that was heavily inspired by the Active Display feature on the Moto X. Essentially, the device shows a black-and-white version of the lock screen whenever you receive a new notification or pick the phone up. This is all made possible by the N6's AMOLED display that doesn't have to waste any battery to power black pixels on the screen.