When we look back on it, 2014 may be remembered as the Summer of Android Wear. With two new flagship smartwatches due out soon, Google's been readying its mobile OS for the wearables sector.
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.
Google has a habit of starting on new projects for Android, then hiding them away if they didn't quite complete them in time for a major release. We saw this with multi-window mode last year (which is now an official Nougat feature), and this year, there was the hidden night mode setting that was easily activated.
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.
For some reason, when you're typing in landscape mode, Android extends the text input field to cover every bit of the screen that the keyboard's not occupying. This gets pretty annoying sometimes, especially with messaging apps where you might need to reference what the other person just said in order to properly form your response.
Desktop users have taken advantage of dual-booting operating systems for decades now. If your core system software is lacking in any regard, dual-booting a secondary OS can give you access to those features that you're missing out on.
The debate between physical and virtual navigation buttons and their respective benefits has been going on for a few years now. It looks to finally be settled, with the Samsung Galaxy S5 being the only current-generation flagship Android phone that has yet make the switch to on-screen buttons.
You probably already know by now that a custom Android ROM can change your user experience and give you what feels like a new OS on your device, and there's no shortage of them out there to try out.
Many manufacturers add a custom skin on top of their Android builds, but none are more widely praised than HTC's Sense UI. The general consensus among Android users says that HTC's visual tweaks are done in good taste, and the features they add are both functional and warranted.
There were over 1.2 million changes made to Android when the OS got updated from KitKat to Lollipop, but a minor front-facing modification has many users in an uproar.
Probably one of the most sought after features of the LG G2 is its "Knock Knock" capabilities. Rather than dealing with that pesky power button, you simply double-tap portions of the screen to either sleep or wake your device.
With the new version of Android due out very soon, Android 5.0 "Lollipop" has received a ton of press lately. It's all well-deserved, of course, because the new "Material Design" interface is absolutely beautiful.
The Google Now Launcher that was introduced with the Nexus 5 seems to have a lot of folks torn. On the one hand, having a home screen page dedicated to Google Now, as well as the always-listening voice search, are killer features. On the other hand, its lack of customization options like home screen gestures and variable grid sizes has some people considering switching to third-party launchers.
Android "Lollipop" introduced a ton of cool new functionality. Unfortunately, the Nexus 5 didn't get all of these features, as some were exclusive to other devices. For example, the Ambient Display function on the Nexus 6 that shows new notifications as they come in with a black-and-white lock screen. Sure, the new Nexus phablet has an AMOLED display that doesn't waste any battery to power black pixels, but it would be nice to have this feature as an option on the Nexus 5, wouldn't it?
With popular remote desktop app LogMeIn recently ending its free service, lots of Android users have begun looking for alternatives. There are some good ones out there like TeamViewer and Microsoft Remote Desktop, but today, Google released an app that makes a pretty good contender.
One of the more talked-about features of Google's new flagship device is the fact that all of the data on the Nexus 6 is encrypted by default. At face value, this certainly seems like an added bonus for the 6-inch phablet, especially in this day and age with growing security concerns abound. It's definitely something that the FBI is none too pleased about.
Yes, I know. Nexus owners aren't exactly the biggest Apple fans out there. That "Pure Android" experience was one of the main reasons we bought our Nexus devices. But give the other side some credit—the iPhone's operating system has come along way, and is still the champ when it comes to aesthetic design (at least until Material Design dethrones it this fall).
Resflux is an Xposed mod developed by Julian Paolo Dayag, aka WisdomSky, that provides users with a straightforward and functional way to customize and theme almost every aspect of the packages (apps and system components) installed on their Android device.
Keeping track of your phone's battery life can quickly become a chore. Since no one wants to get stuck without a charge, we constantly find ourselves checking to see exactly what percentage remains.
While the preview images for Android's upcoming "L" release just came out yesterday, the new firmware has already been rooted, as is standard with its openness. So if you were feeling reluctant to try Android L because it didn't support existing root methods, then you might want to reconsider.
The original implementation of Android's face unlock feature was a mess. It took too long to unlock (when it worked), brought up a huge interface that overpowered the lock screen, and maybe most egregiously, was able to be "hacked" by someone holding up a picture of your mug.
One thing almost every Android launcher has in common, from stocks to skins, is the way they handle organizing and launching apps and widgets. Tap an app icon to open the app. Drag apps together to create a folder. It's simple, it works, and it's what we know.
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.
You know what's awesome? You own a Nexus. That means, with Google's blessing, you have easier access and control over your device than other manufacturers allow. You can really dig in and do some interesting things if you root.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Some apps have a nasty habit of ignoring your Android's auto-rotation settings and locking the display into either portrait or landscape orientation.
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.
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 6 has an AMOLED screen that uses virtually no power to display black pixels. To take advantage of this feature, Google included an Ambient Display notification system that shows a black and white version of your lock screen when you get a new message. As a result, the Nexus 6 doesn't use an LED light to notify you of new incoming messages like most phones.
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.
There are so many things to love about the Nexus 5, from timely updates to newer versions of Android to a terrific blend of price and specs. But while mobile phone tech keeps churning along, battery technology isn't quite up to snuff yet, and I find myself wishing that my phone's battery lasted longer on a single charge.
At $349 off contract, the Nexus 5 has always been one of the best bang-for-your-buck smartphones on the market. In order to keep the price that low, however, Google had to pass up on some of the minor features that other flagship phones offer.
One of the most common complaints about the Nexus line of devices is that they don't have expandable memory.
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.
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.
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.
When the Nexus 5 debuted, one of its coolest features was the fact that you could say "OK Google" any time you were on the home screen to launch a Google Voice Search. This feature was ultimately made available for other devices by way of the Google Now Launcher.