If you've ever used the automation app Tasker, then you know exactly how powerful the tool can be. If you haven't, suffice it to say that there's virtually nothing on your Android phone that Tasker can't automatically do for you.
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 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.
When it comes to theming your Android device, it's the little touches that count the most. That's why developer SArnab created the Android Theme Engine, an Xposed Module to theme those hard-to-reach corners of the Android System that often go untouched with other themes.
Smartphones like the Nexus 6 and those in the Samsung Galaxy Note series border on being called tablets due to the sheer size of their displays. They are essentially "phablets," i.e., devices too large to be a typical smartphone, yet too small to be a tablet.
It's hard enough to keep tabs on the battery life of one device, let alone all of the different gadgets that a typical consumer owns in this day and age. Say your smartphone is running low on juice, so you switch to your tablet only to find out that it's almost dead as well. Better hope your laptop is fully charged, right?
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.
During initial reviews of the Nexus 6, the "double tap to wake" feature was something originally slated to be present on the device, since Motorola built it and it's been a key feature of the Moto X. However, the feature was scrapped for Ambient Display, which wakes up the screen when the device is picked up or a notification arrives. So while having both could be seen as overkill, it doesn't mean we shouldn't have the option.
For some strange reason, when the Nexus 5 got its Lollipop update, the new stock system sounds were left out. These include updated versions of all of the ringtones and notifications, which Google revamped with a more mature sound that matches Android 5.0's elegant Material Design.
Google I/O is like Christmas for Android enthusiasts. Every year, this conference showcases new and upcoming features for the world's leading mobile operating system, and this year's was no different. Shortly after announcing Android M, Google released a preview version of the upcoming firmware for Nexus devices.
The act of viewing a new notification on your Nexus 5 can feel a bit clunky and cumbersome at times. When a new message comes in, you hear the notification sound, you see the LED blinking, but you can't see what the actual notification says without waking the device and opening the notification tray.
Even as a writer by trade, I'm not intimately familiar with every word in the English language. When you're typing something out on your Nexus, sometimes you think to yourself, "Is that right? Am I using the correct word here?" Then, you have no choice but to bring up Google Now and do a search for that word to make sure you're using it correctly.
One of the biggest under-the-hood changes in Android 5.0 is a new, robust Camera API. When Lollipop makes its official debut, this API will allow developers to hook into your phone's camera sensor like never before.
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 fact that we own a Nexus means we get to experience the Android interface exactly as Google intended it. But that doesn't mean we can't make a UI tweak here and there, does it?
Transition animations are an essential element of any mobile operating system. They give the user a sense of what's happening on the screen, where the apps are coming from, and where they're going.
Now that Hangouts is Android's default messaging app, it's given us a lot of cool new features. A bouncing ellipsis lets you see when the other party is typing, and an indicator shows you whether they've read your message or not. You can even answer the age-old question of "Where you at?" with a tap of a button, sending a map of your location.
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.
The flexibility within Android is pretty amazing. Unlike iOS, you can make a lot of modifications with nothing more than a download from Google Play, but to really step up your softModder game, you'll need to go a little further.
These days, our smartphones carry some very sensitive data. From banking app passwords to personal photos, there are many things on your Nexus 5 that you might not want other people to have access to.
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.
It seems like custom Google Now commands are a dime a dozen these days. With Commandr for Google Now giving non-rooted users their first taste of custom voice commands just a couple weeks ago, you may wonder why we're covering this subject again.
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.
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.
How many times have you witnessed a beautiful moment that you would have loved to capture on film, only to watch it slip away as you struggled to unlock your phone and open your camera app?
In recent months, HTC has decided to start breaking its proprietary apps out of its own ecosystem and into the Google Play Store. Along with the benefit of allowing its users to update their system apps more easily, this move also means that other folks can get a glimpse of what it's like to use an HTC device.
You don't need to be a hardcore audiophile to know that Dolby is pretty much synonymous with rich and immersive sound. While we often associate them with home theater systems, Dolby has brought their surround sound processing to the mobile phone arena with Dolby Digital Plus being offered on several Android devices.
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.
Seemingly lost in the fanfare of the numerous features and specs of the Nexus 5 were a few highly innovative and handy add-ons—a low-power step detector and step-counting sensor—useful for tracking fitness data.
Samsung catches a lot of flak for all of the "bloatware" it preinstalls on its Galaxy line of devices. Many users complain that "TouchWiz," Samsung's custom Android skin, causes lag with its overabundance of features. But some of these features can actually be pretty handy, like Multi-Window Mode or Milk Music.
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.
Deep down, Android is a fork of Linux, which is a desktop operating system that started out as entirely command prompt-based. For that reason, many system-level tasks can still be executed within a terminal emulator app.
In the past few weeks, the internet has been abuzz with nightmarish horror stories of Comcast's questionable decision-making and downright terrible customer service. The central theme of many of these disputes with the nation's largest cable provider is that without evidence, the conglomerate will refuse to acknowledge its mistake and place the burden of proof on the customer.
If you're like me, things just seem to look better when they're symmetrical. While Android's status bar icons are indeed weighted against the notifications that show up on the left side of this area, the balance still seems skewed to the right.
The attention to detail and build quality that Motorola put into the new Nexus 6 is amazing. Its curved backplate fits the hand like a glove, and fingers slide effortlessly across the rounded edge of its glass front, making the swipe gesture for side navigation menus feel more natural than ever—even for its huge, nearly six inch display.
When theming Android, it's the little touches that complete the look, making your device yours. If you're rooted, you probably know by now that there's virtually nothing you can't change the look of on Android.
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.
One of the main reasons to buy a Nexus device is the fact that they're always the first to get new Android updates. Another great selling point for the Nexus series is that the devices are amongst the easiest to root and mod. Unfortunately, though, these two features are somewhat mutually exclusive.
Buried deep in the code of many Google apps is a set of debugging options. These options, which are designed for developers to help test the way their apps interact with Google's own, are normally hidden from view.
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.