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LastPass Password Manager now supports Edge for Android

by Surur

 

Snapchat’s troubles are proof that app creators can’t treat Android as …

2a55e_shutterstock_265909964-840x560 Snapchat's troubles are proof that app creators can't treat Android as ... Shutterstock
A few weeks ago, Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, announced its financial results for the third quarter of 2017. They were, in a word, bad. Snap admitted it had signed up just 4.5 million new Snapchat users for that quarter, well below its estimates.

During its financial report, Snap announced plans to launch a major user interface overhaul of the Snapchat app, in order to make it easier to use and hopefully get more people to download and try its social network. That UI revamp started rolling out last week to a small set of users, and more will be able to get it in the coming weeks.

Another part of Snap’s third quarter financial report didn’t get as much media attention, but is perhaps more important in the long run. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel admitted that the company needed to “accelerate the adoption of our product among Android users”.

There’s tons of evidence to show that the app’s Android port was given less attention than the iOS version. As a recent article in Odyssey, the Android version of Snapchat got many of its cool features well after debuting on iOS, including face filters, the ability to record videos and more. Sometimes it took months before a feature on iOS made its way to Android.

Therefore, Spiegel stated that over the next year the Snapchat development team would focus its energies on developing an all-new Android version of the app, which he said would be built “from the ground up.”

Snap, and Spiegel, have woken up to the fact that Snapchat can no longer treat Android as a second class citizen.

Presumably, this means that the new Android Snapchat app will not have any code shared with the current version. The new version, like the recent UI reboot, will be tested in selected markets before rolling out over the coming year. He stated that early results to help improve the performance of the current Snapchat Android app has already resulted in “significantly more Android users added than iOS users in September.”

“We wish we had done this sooner,” said Spiegel.

How to use Snapchat on Android

Snapchat’s issues show that app companies and developers who concentrate their efforts on Apple’s iOS platform instead of developing on Android could be missing out on tons of new users. Snap, and Spiegel, have now woken up to the fact that Snapchat can no longer treat Android as a second class citizen.

Android users have been through this before

2a55e_shutterstock_265909964-840x560 Snapchat's troubles are proof that app creators can't treat Android as ...

The situation with Snapchat and its consistently poor treatment of Android is nothing new, though. Many apps released first for iOS before making their way to Android phones. Nintendo launched its first mobile game, Super Mario Run, for the iPhone and iOS in December 2016, before finally launching it on Android over three months later in March 2017. Since then, the company wised up and launched its next two mobile games, Fire Emblem Heroes and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, on Android at the same time as on iOS.

Other developers still seem to be fine with launching apps and new features first on iOS before they decide to grace Android with their presence. Most recently, we learned that HQ, the highly popular live trivia game show app, which launched on iOS months ago, could finally be available for Android before the end of the year. HQ has become a huge hit on just iOS, but we have to wonder how much bigger it would have been at this stage if the developers also launched an Android version at the same time.

The Android ecosystem is too large to ignore

2a55e_shutterstock_265909964-840x560 Snapchat's troubles are proof that app creators can't treat Android as ...

On the surface, it’s easy to see why app developers would want to concentrate on iOS in favor of Android. There are only a few models of Apple’s iPhone and iPad out in the wild, which makes it easier to design apps that run well. IPhones and iPads also sell extremely well. There’s no doubt that iPhone sales dominate the entire smartphone industry, in terms of one single brand. A recent study from Statista showed that in Apple’s fiscal 2016 year alone, it sold over 211 million iPhones.

However, having one smartphone brand that outsells all the others does not mean that there is not competition out there. Its biggest competitor, to no one’s surprise, is Samsung. Its lineup of Android-based phones, including its high-end Galaxy S and Note series, plus its many lower-end handsets, have allowed the company to ship hundreds of millions of smartphones each year. Depending on which research firm you believe, Samsung and Apple have been switching positions as the number one shipper of smartphones worldwide and in the US over the past year.

2a55e_shutterstock_265909964-840x560 Snapchat's troubles are proof that app creators can't treat Android as ... Kantar

More importantly for this discussion, the high sales of the iPhone cannot compete with the entire Android ecosystem as a whole. According to the most recent Kantar Worldpanel data, the share of Android smartphones is much higher than iOS in all of the markets it follows. Indeed, the only country where iOS is even close to Android is in Japan, and even then Android’s share is 55 percent, compared to iOS, which sits at just under 45. Even in the U.S., where the iPhone is massively popular, the current market share of iOS is over 32 percent, while the Android share is over twice that, at more than 66 percent. As Neil Patrick Harris’ character, Col. Carl Jenkins, said in the classic film Starship Troopers, “It’s simple numbers; they have more.”

We will also point out that the Android ecosystem allows for much cheaper phones to be made and sold, which is a big help in extending the platform to emerging markets. Indeed, in developing countries, Android phones are much more prevalent, thanks in part to the availability of phones more affordable than the iPhone.

“It’s simple numbers; they have more.”

Companies like Snap, who have previously put Android app development on the back burner in favor of iOS, have finally started to figure out they need to make Android development a real priority.

Hurdles for iOS-Android app developers to overcome

2a55e_shutterstock_265909964-840x560 Snapchat's troubles are proof that app creators can't treat Android as ...

As it is with many such problems, sometimes its not as easy to port iOS apps over to Android. Much has been written about how the Android OS platform itself is fragmented, with lots of different versions of the OS running on thousands of different smartphones and tablets. Apple’s total hardware and software control over iOS allows it to minimize that kind of fragmentation. Thus, it’s natural that Android app development can run into issues when developers have to make sure their app can run on lots of different OS versions, and on everything from phones costing anywhere from $50 to over $1,000.

However, there are certainly lots of third-party tools available to make the transition from iOS to Android easier. Companies like Microsoft-owned Xamarin offer lots of tools and resources that make cross-development of mobile apps simpler. If Snap uses tools similar, it would need to start with that tool and use it for both the Android and iOS versions. It won’t help much if the iOS version is created using Apple’s development languages like Objective-C or Swift.

There’s also the fact that Google is trying to make it easier for smartphone makers to update their handsets to the latest version of Android. While it’s still in its infancy, Project Treble is supposed to separate code from a device’s manufacturer from Android itself, which could help a lot with OS fragmentation in the future. That could also make Android app development easier.

Final thoughts

Snapchat’s surprising decision to admit that it didn’t do a better job of making the app better for Android users should be a rallying cry for all developers who put iOS first. Even though making Android apps can be more difficult, the benefits of a larger audience and ecosystem far outweigh those initial problems. Hopefully this will be the beginning of a new trend for the Android platform as a first-class in the world of app development.

How do you feel about app developers short-changing Android in favor of iOS? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

7 Best Android Video Downloaders | Download From Youtube And Other Popular Websites

Although Youtube allows some of its videos to be saved offline, using any third-party services to download YouTube videos is against their terms. Youtube Terms Of Service explicitly mentions that you should not download any content unless a download button or link is shown by YouTube on the Service for that content.

So, if you desire to download a video that you uploaded, or if you don’t find the Youtube official app convenient, there isn’t any official YouTube downloader in the Play Store. However, there are numerous third-party offline and online downloaders that aid in capturing video stream from YouTube. Here, we have compiled a list of 7 Android video downloaders that will help you to download videos from Youtube and numerous other video sharing websites, free of cost.

By default, Android blocks installation of apps that are not from Google Play Store. So before you proceed any further, you need to enable app installation from other sources. To allow it, go to Settings Security. Tap on “Unknown sources.” A warning will pop-up. Press OK.6e27b_Screenshot_20170921-140839-min-576x1024-min-576x1024 7 Best Android Video Downloaders | Download From Youtube And Other Popular WebsitesNote: The apps that we have compiled in this list are not from Play Store. Do not be misled by ads and pop-ups on the download websites that may harm your device. It is advised to download the apps from their respective official sites or trusted third-party app stores. Make sure you comply with Youtube’s Terms of Service before downloading content from Youtube.

7 Best Android Video Downloaders For Youtube And Other Websites.

1. Videoder

Videoder is a powerful YouTube video downloader for Android. You can choose from various sites to download the videos, such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc. It allows streaming and downloading of videos in all formats available. You can easily choose from any quality you prefer, and can also share the video from within the app. The app is customizable and comes with an impressive UI. It helps you with a faster downloading speed and also packs different themes, night mode, built-in video player, etc.

6e27b_Screenshot_20170921-140839-min-576x1024-min-576x1024 7 Best Android Video Downloaders | Download From Youtube And Other Popular Websites

Videoder is not available in the Play Store, but you can download the app for free from its official site and install it on your phone. It has no in-app purchases but contains ads. However, you can remove the ads if you buy the Videoder Premium plugin from Play Store.

How to download YouTube videos on Android using Videoder

  • Open YouTube in the app.
  • Search for the video.
  • Tap on the download button and select the download link that pops up. You can choose the video format you want and also download the video in MP3 format.
  • Alternatively, you can share a video on Youtube app to Videoder and the download link will pop-up.

Download Videoder 

2. TubeMate

TubeMate is an excellent third-party Android video downloader app. It has an elegant interface which is easy to use, and you can download videos from multiple video sharing sites. It comes with a built-in browser where you can access the sites you want. You can download the video from the preferred site.

6e27b_Screenshot_20170921-140839-min-576x1024-min-576x1024 7 Best Android Video Downloaders | Download From Youtube And Other Popular Websites

TubeMate also offers you the option to choose the quality and file format of the video before downloading it. The downloaded videos are stored in your phone memory automatically. You can opt to download Youtube videos in MP3 format too, but it requires an additional video to MP3 converter app. Overall, TubeMate is an excellent video downloader for Android, but you have to deal with a lot of advertisements which keeps popping up now and then.

How to download videos using TubeMate

  • Open the app and visit the video-sharing site.
  • Pick your desired video from the search results. TubeMate will prompt you for the quality of the video you want.
  • After selecting the quality and resolution of the video, you can tap the download button.
  • You can also share videos to Tubemate from the Youtube app to view a download link.

Download TubeMate

Also read: 6 Best Android Video Player Apps

3. KeepVid

KeepVid is one of the best Android video downloaders. This video downloader can download YouTube videos with faster speed compared to other video downloaders and also enables users to download videos from 27 other video sharing sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.

6e27b_Screenshot_20170921-140839-min-576x1024-min-576x1024 7 Best Android Video Downloaders | Download From Youtube And Other Popular Websites

KeepVid has a very easy-to-use interface. It allows users to download HD videos up to 4K resolution and also has a built-in video and audio player. You can even download Youtube videos as MP3 without any external plug-in.

How to download YouTube videos on Android using KeepVid

  • Open YouTube in the app and search for the video.
  • Select the video and tap on the blue download button beneath the video player
  • Select the quality of the file, and your video will be saved automatically.

The app is entirely free and does not contain in-app purchases or malware. However, it displays ads and to remove it you can buy the premium version.

Download KeepVid from its official site.

4. Snaptube

Snaptube is one of the trustworthy video downloaders for Android. It has a user-friendly interface which is organized by popular sites, popular videos and categories. You can also perform a Youtube search directly from its search bar.

6e27b_Screenshot_20170921-140839-min-576x1024-min-576x1024 7 Best Android Video Downloaders | Download From Youtube And Other Popular Websites

Snaptube also acts as a fast Android YouTube downloader, and you can choose the quality of the video before downloading it. You can also share the downloaded videos on Facebook, Twitter, etc. from within the app. The downloaded videos are saved automatically in your device storage, and you can also view the downloaded files organized into music and video categories.

How to download YouTube videos using Snaptube

  • Open the app and select the YouTube mobile site from its Homepage.
  • Search for the video in the YouTube search bar.
  • Select the video and tap on the red download button displayed on the right side of the video.
  • Choose the quality of the video, and your video will start downloading.

You can download the Snaptube application from its official site. It is available for free with no in-app purchases but contains ads.

Download Snaptube

5. InsTube

InsTube is a superb YouTube Downloader for Android. It can also download videos from other popular sites like Instagram, Twitter, Vimeo, etc. The app is a reliable one and delivers fast downloading speed.

6e27b_Screenshot_20170921-140839-min-576x1024-min-576x1024 7 Best Android Video Downloaders | Download From Youtube And Other Popular Websites

You can choose the quality of Youtube videos before downloading it. You can even share the YouTube videos from within the Youtube app to InsTube. Moreover, InsTube is highly-customizable, you can add bookmarks and also create private space to hide any video if you desire.

How to download videos on Android using InsTube

  • Launch the app and visit your desired website.
  • Search for the video you wish to download and tap on the desired video.
  • Tap on the red download button and choose the quality of the video.
  • Tap on “fast download” and your video will start downloading.

The only drawback of the app is that you have to deal with ads that keep popping up, and there is no way to remove the ads.

Download Instube from its official site.

Also read: 10 Best Android Video Chat Apps For 2018 | Free Video Calling Apps

6. VidMate

VidMate is a remarkable Android video downloader app. The app is very reliable to download YouTube videos. You can look for files based on different categories such as movie, music, tv show, or directly search for any files from its Search-Bar.

6e27b_Screenshot_20170921-140839-min-576x1024-min-576x1024 7 Best Android Video Downloaders | Download From Youtube And Other Popular Websites

VidMate provides you with a fast video downloading speed, but you can also customize the rate and select the preferred download location within its download settings. Additionally, the app includes a built-in video player, music player, and you can also create an encrypted space within the app to hide videos.

How to download YouTube videos on Android using VidMate

  • Launch the app and tap on the YouTube mobile site in the app.
  • Search for the video you want to download and tap on the red download button on the content.
  • Select the quality of your video and tap the “Download” option. Your video will start downloading.

Download VidMate

7. YT3 Youtube Downloader

It is a very simple Android YouTube video downloader where you can download YouTube videos in MP3 and MP4 formats. It has a user-friendly interface which is quite easy to operate. A preview button lets you have a peek at a song before you download it.

6e27b_Screenshot_20170921-140839-min-576x1024-min-576x1024 7 Best Android Video Downloaders | Download From Youtube And Other Popular Websites

It allows faster downloading speed and everything that you download will get saved in the Download folder. Moreover, it shows lyrics as you listen to music. Also, you can download either low or high-quality video. This app downloads music and videos only from Youtube.

How to download YouTube videos using YT3 Downloader

  • Open the app and search for the video you want to download.
  • Select the MP3 or MP4 download file option which is shown on the right side of the video. You can also have an audio preview before you download it.
  • You can also share a video from Youtube app to YT3 downloader to download it.

Download  YT3 downloader for Android.

Did you find this list of best Android video downloaders to be helpful? Share your views in the comments.

Also read: 8 Best Android Cleaner Apps : Boost performance, Clean Junk Files And Improve Battery Life

Android App Display Size Getting Proper Fix For Chromebooks

2e154_bugReport-1024x514 Android App Display Size Getting Proper Fix For ChromebooksWe reported in early November about a bug affecting users who wanted to adjust the default Android App display size settings. The issue that was discussed then is still an issue, but it seems that there is an official fix on the way.

The Current Issue

As a recap, the issue that is plaguing Chromebooks at the current time is the inability for Andoroid Display Size settings to actually stay in place when set by the user. All it takes is an orientation switch (landscape to portrait mode) and your Android Display settings will return to their default settings.

For some users like myself, this isn’t a huge inconvenience. For others (as we’ve seen in the comments to the original article and in the bug report), this is a pretty big issue.

Honestly, for anyone using an Android app that requires any length of reading, I can absolutely see the frustration, here.

What’s Happened Since The Article

You can look at the bug report and see what has happened since the original article was written. In a nutshell, the issue is getting attention and being actively worked on. As is usual in these situations, the feature in question (Android Display Resizing) has begun disappearing in the Beta and Dev Channels of Chrome OS. As it is being disabled and/or hidden behind a flag, users are getting anxious about what is happening. The developer active in the bug report has this to say about the feature’s disappearance and development:

The display settings is behind the developer flag. It’ll be re-enabled in m65 (temporarily) while we’re working on fixing issues and improving features.

Please understand that this isn’t the feature that we worked on. (and this option did not exist in previous version of Android)

While this may look working for you, that’s not necessarily true for others. (We’ve already found several issues). Our goal is better, smooth integration so that you don’t have to worry about the difference.

We have a (not finalized) plan how to make this available so please stay tuned.

So, in summary, it looks like this feature was exposed by mistake and a proper fix is on the way that will not use Android’s settings and instead will rely on Chrome OS’ native scaling to adjust all Android app display sizes.

So, if you are in Dev or Beta and have lost the setting from your Android Settings menu, don’t fret: it will return.

We don’t yet have a firm release date for the fix, though, so it is hard to say how long the current implementation will stick around. I hope to see it stay put until the proper fix via Chrome OS’ settings is in place.

Shop Chromebooks On Amazon

For what it is worth, it seems there are some serious issues (more than just the lack of the setting sticking around after orientation changes) with the current state of things, so there is no work being put into fixing the current setup. Though it will take a little bit to get straightened out, for most users, a proper fix that gets users up and running as expected, out of the box is a much better long-term solution.

Now we wait.

The new Hull Daily Mail app for iPhone, iPad and Android is here – and it’s free

The Hull Daily Mail has a new app which will deliver the latest news, sport and what’s on information directly to your mobile phone.

Designed for iPhone, iPad and Android, the app allows you to get the very latest news from Hull with updates on breaking stories, traffic alerts and the latest sport news.

And it is completely customisable, meaning you can tailor exactly what news you see and when.

You can also choose to receive notifications about breaking news, your favourite sports teams and news that’s happening in your area.

The new Hull Daily Mail app is here

It’s the best way to follow all the latest goings-on in Hull and East Yorkshire.

Digital editor Jenna Thompson said: “It’s really exciting that our new app is here to give our readers another way of getting all the latest Hull news, sport and details of what’s going on in the city.

“It is so simple to use and easy to customise to get the news you want – and it’s completely free.

“Our notifications will also keep people up to date with any breaking news from across the area.”

The app will keep you up to date with:

  • The top news stories across Hull, Beverley and the East Riding
  • Breaking UK and world news
  • The latest Hull City, Hull FC and Hull KR stories
  • Traffic and travel news
  • Event listings and what’s on guides
  • Restaurant guides and reviews

How to get the app

You can get all the latest news and sport on the Hull Daily Mail app

So what are you waiting for?

You can download the new iOS for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or the Android version from Google Play.

It is completely free to download.

BlackBerry officially kills off its first Android phone; the Priv will no longer receive security updates

BlackBerry’s first Android phone, the Priv, will no longer be receiving any security updates, according to the Canadian mobile maker. Also announced at the same time was a trade-up program for users still using the Priv or a BlackBerry 10 device to upgrade their devices to the BlackBerry KeyONE at, hopefully, a discounted price.

d9906_Image101-380 BlackBerry officially kills off its first Android phone; the Priv will no longer receive security updates

BlackBerry Priv.

However, BlackBerry has claimed on its blog that they will still continue to provide software support in case a serious security vulnerability is detected for the Priv. BalckBerry also said that all warranty obligations of the device will also be fulfilled.

The Priv was announced in India back in 2016 for a price of Rs 62,990. In our detailed review, we mentioned that the phone was a ‘feature-packed Android smartphone with some BlackBerry bits’. You can check out the review here.

The phone has a  5.4-inch dual-curved WQHD Plastic AMOLED display and is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 featuring a hexa-core, 64-bit processor and Adreno 418 GPU clocked at 600 MHz. The phone has 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage, which is upgradable to 2 TB via a micro-SD card. It also had a 3.5 mm headphone jack, which is something that has to be mentioned separately nowadays (sigh).

The Priv has a BlackBerry keyboard which slides out from under the display. This physical keyboard gives the user full-screen content along with capacitive-touch features, such as a trackpad. The phone has an 18 MP dual-flash Schneider-Kreuznach certified camera on the back. The Priv was launched with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It packs in a  3,410 mAh battery, which was claimed to give up to 22.5 hours of battery life.

 

Snapchat finally realizes that ignoring Android was a disaster

by Anmol

 

Elbit Systems develops new Android-based rifle smart-scope

After years of research, development and testing, Elsec, a division of the Israeli-based Elbit Systems, is releasing a new and improved rifle scope that enhances accuracy.

 

 

The “XACT” is a new rifle scope for sharpshooters and snipers. It is based on Android software and broadcasts a live feed of what the soldier sees through his sights to his commander and comrades.

 

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d49d9_821670701000100980555no Elbit Systems develops new Android-based rifle smart-scope

 

The scope is based on the company’s pre-existing technology, but its updates turn it into a “smart scope” of sorts.

 

The system interface is similar to that of a Smartphone and is considered especially efficient, as a senior commander sitting in a war-room or command post can observe and decide which fighter will carry out which task in accordance with tactical and situational conditions.

 

d49d9_821670701000100980555no Elbit Systems develops new Android-based rifle smart-scope

d49d9_821670701000100980555no Elbit Systems develops new Android-based rifle smart-scope

 

Whether sitting in a distant ambush or at close-range combat, the live stream a soldier gets can be viewed through his comrade’s scope or via a small tablet in the hands of his commander via Bluetooth or secure Wi-Fi.

 

d49d9_821670701000100980555no Elbit Systems develops new Android-based rifle smart-scope

 

d49d9_821670701000100980555no Elbit Systems develops new Android-based rifle smart-scope

 

The scope works by thermal imaging and is primarily meant to be used at night, but some models also include a daytime scope that can be clipped on to an M-16, Kalashnikov, Tavor or a sniper rifle.

 

The scope does not use cooling nor does it make use of light from the stars as in older night vision models. It can therefore be used in totally dark spaces such as tunnels and windowless rooms.

 

d49d9_821670701000100980555no Elbit Systems develops new Android-based rifle smart-scope

 

Both warm and cool objects are clearly visible through the scope to the soldier, allowing him to determine for instance whether a terrorist’s parked car has been idling for long or has just arrived.

 

d49d9_821670701000100980555no Elbit Systems develops new Android-based rifle smart-scope

 

The scope is considerably lighter than current night-vision models used by the IDF, and its battery lasts about eight hours. It can also record to an extractable memory card and the contents can be downloaded to a computer for later viewing whether for investigative, intelligence or tactical reasons.

 

For riflemen, the scope’s range is 300-600 meters and even better for sharpshooters. The sniper version allows target identification of up to two kilometers.

 

d49d9_821670701000100980555no Elbit Systems develops new Android-based rifle smart-scope

 

d49d9_821670701000100980555no Elbit Systems develops new Android-based rifle smart-scope

 

The product is already on the market and was purchased by the Australian military. The price, tens of thousands of shekels, depends on the quantity purchased.

 

At the Elbit/Elsec factory in Sderot, where hundreds of models are produced a month, production includes four stages: hundreds of small parts are connected by hand; Android software is uploaded to each device; all the parts are integrated; and quality assurance testing is carried out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

OnePlus 5T Review: The Best Android Phone for $500 | WIRED

Have you ever arrived at a party, looked around, and realized you’re totally underdressed? It’s a panic-inducing moment. This nightmare scenario happened to OnePlus earlier this year. Its OnePlus 5 had the brains to match any competing Android device, but next to phones like the Galaxy S8, LG G6, iPhone X, it looked, well, dowdy. With thick, squared off bezels and an eyesore of a home button, it was so last season.

For four years, OnePlus has pinned its entire identity to the idea that it sells the phone with the highest specs at the lowest price. Instead of paying $850+ for a fancy phone from the likes of Google or Samsung, you can buy a nearly identical, slightly off-brand OnePlus for $500 or less. It was the phone those in the know would recommend to save a few hundred bucks and still have a brag-worthy device. But you couldn’t brag about the OnePlus 5, especially after some bugs plagued the device.

Since it only makes, well, one model at a time, OnePlus made a smart decision: It regrouped. Five months later, it’s back with the OnePlus 5T, a replacement phone that’s fashion-forward and ready to strut.

Like one of Stefon’s hot new clubs in NYC, the OnePlus 5T has it all: a 6-inch HD Super AMOLED screen, 6 or 8GB of RAM, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor (the best Android chip you can find), 64 or 128GB of internal storage, an anodized aluminum unibody, a fast-charging 3,300 mAh battery, a headphone jack, a comfortably-placed rear fingerprint sensor, two (yes two) SIM card trays, 16-megapixel front and rear cameras, and an extra rear camera for depth effects and low-light shots.

Like the LG V30, Pixel 2, Moto Z2 Force, Galaxy Note 8, iPhone X, and more, the OnePlus 5T is a superphone no matter how you slice it—its only weakness is the lack of full waterproof protection (it’s “splash” proof) and won’t let you add MicroSD card storage.

An Endearing Phone

My first day with the OnePlus 5T was surprising, and a little enchanting. After groggily re-logging into every service I use one night, I set the standard alarm and went to bed. Hours later, I woke up thinking I had entered a majestic forest, complete with birds chirping and a harp player plucking me from a restful sleep with a smooth melody. It was the Spring alarm sound that greeted me. I imagine Snow White woke up feeling the same way each morning, minus the oddly-tempered male dwarves. It made for a good laugh, and was pleasant enough that I’ve left it on. Every day, I now wake up to the sound of harps and birds chirping. It’s lovely.

The 5T is as pleasant as a plus-size phone gets. Though the 6-inch screen is half an inch larger than the bulkiest iPhone, the curved aluminum body is lean. It contoured to my palm nicely, with an easy-to-reach power button on the right and volume rocker on the left. Above the volume key is a useful great 3-setting slider that lets you turn the phone on silent (vibrate), ring, or Do Not Disturb. The specifics of each are tweakable in the Settings menu.

The fingerprint sensor is speedy and located on the back, in the perfect spot for your index finger. Unlike more expensive phones like the Galaxy S8, it isn’t sitting dangerously close to the camera either; there’s no mistaking when you put your finger on it. OnePlus has also added a rudimentary version of Apple’s FaceID, but it’s not reliable—just stick with a fingerprint or passcode.

My favorite feature of the OnePlus 5T is easy to take for granted. Instead of using your pinky to brace the phone and stretching your thumb way up to the tip-top of the screen, you can swipe down anywhere on the home screen to bring down the quick settings and notification menu. Take a stroll through the Settings menu and you can turn on the ability to swipe down on the fingerprint sensor to bring down that notifications menu. This small addition, along with Android’s swipe up apps menu, makes most everything on the phone reachable with one hand.

OnePlus has packed its OxygenOS (a lean interface running on top of 2016’s Android 7 Nougat) with fun customization trinkets like double tapping the screen to wake, long pressing various buttons do to perform new actions, drawing shapes on the screen to open apps, double clicking the power button to open the camera. Deep in Settings, you can find other gems, like a Gaming Do Not Disturb mode or the ability to install two versions of the same app, so you can have two accounts. All that’s missing is the ability to shake the phone in different ways to open apps, like a Motorola phone.

Camera Quirks

Perhaps the bigwigs at OnePlus read WIRED’s OnePlus 5 review, but the camera on the 5T performs better in low light. The main 16-megapixel camera takes snappy, well-focused, clear shots (most of the time). It doesn’t match the new iPhone or Pixel 2 cameras in quality under tougher circumstances, like balancing shadows, but the added 20-megapixel camera improves night shots, which appear to be less mushy and noisy than they were on the 5.

Every phone camera has unique personality traits and this one is no exception. The OnePlus likes to make the world ever so slightly softer… or orange. Several times, pictures I took out a window looked like they were shot an hour before sunset, and indoor sometimes lights looked more incandescent, even when they’re LED or fluorescent. It led to a relaxing, inviting look in many photographs, if you like a camera re-interpreting the world for you. If you don’t, by swiping up in the camera app, you can turn on full manual mode and tweak settings to your heart’s delight.

Since the OnePlus 5T has a twin-camera setup standard, you can also add faux depth effects around your subject. Like many competing handsets, it’s hard to get the effect to work flawlessly but it’s nice to have anyway.

The 16-megapixel front camera produces shots with more detail than your typical 5-megapixel selfie cam, which is great since I know I’m not alone in using it a ton. If you’re backlit by anything bright though, it tends to light your face well, but blow out bright areas in the background. Oddly, OnePlus also mirrors selfies by default. This means you’ll look as beautiful as you do in the mirror, but to everyone else, you’ll look backward. You’ll also want to uncheck the face beautifying feature, which smooths out imperfections in your face by default.

Cheap, But Not ‘Cheapo’

With battery life that extended through a full day and most every perk a high-end Android phone can have in 2017, the OnePlus 5T is a remarkable comeback. It comes unlocked and works on every U.S. carrier (outside Verizon and Sprint), and you can choose between two packages: $500 for 64GB of storage and 6GB of RAM, or $560 for 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage. If you have the cash, I recommend you drop the extra $60 since there is no MicroSD slot, but either of these models are fantastic.

There is a strange bug in OxygenOS that won’t let you stream HD videos in apps like Netflix, but OnePlus has promised a fix. My 5T has already received one update in the time I’ve had the phone. Hopefully a fix, security patches, and updates like Android 8 Oreo will come in the months ahead, though OnePlus has a spotty record with updates, especially when compared to the Google Pixel.

If you want the best, but don’t want to spend the most, the OnePlus 5T is right up there with the fanciest Android phones money can buy, all for hundreds less.

Top 5 Chinese Android Phones 2017 from GearBest reviewed by Top 10 Xiaomi Gadgets

GearBest (GearBest.com) is a well-known e-commerce shopping mall in the world, especially in the American and European market, Recently, the tech website of Top 10 Xiaomi Gadgets has introduced the Best 5 Chinese Android Phones 2017.

“Cheap Chinese devices from resellers like GearBest can always provide nice choices of Chinese Android Phones for many users. If you must have MacOS, a Chinese machine running Windows or Linux obviously isn’t the same. But if all you want is a small, stylish laptop, you might be in luck. Here are the Best Chinese Android Phones 2017.” The editor of My Money Tips states.

Here are the details of the list:

NO. 1

OnePlus 5 4G Phablet 5.5 inch OxygenOS Snapdragon 835 16.0MP + 20.0MP Dual Rear Cameras

Click to check price.

OnePlus 5 is a cost-effective phone that comes with fingerprint sensor and is equipped with dual rear-facing cameras. It comes with most of the features we’ve come to expect from a smartphone, including 64GB ROM storage, 2.5D Arc FHD screen and decent cameras. You are certainly treated to an excellent user experience.

NO. 2

Huawei Honor 9 4G Smartphone International Version

Click to check price.

Huawei Honor 9 4G Smartphone 5.15 inch Android 7.0 Kirin 960 Octa Core 2.4GHz 4GB RAM 64GB ROM 12.0MP + 20.0MP Dual Rear Cameras Touch Sensor. It appears that Huawei will be able to dethrone Samsung from its position in the world in the coming months. Honor 9 makes it look pretty plain. This phone has a multi-layered structure that reacts to light, making its body shine. In sunlight, eye-catching gradients streak across its back.

NO. 3

Blackview S8 4G Phablet, Full Screen 4GB RAM 64GB ROM 8.0MP + 0.3MP Dual Front Cameras

Click to find more.

If you’re looking for a new flagship device and don’t want to break the bank, Blackview has the perfect phone for you with a lot of 2017’s most-coveted features and an irresistible price.

NO. 4

Xiaomi Mi 6 4G Smartphone

Splash resistance on Mi 6 only supports temporary and limited amounts of water exposure. Mi 6 does not support prolonged submersion in water. Mi 6 is not IP67 certified and liquid damage is not covered under warranty. Do not soak or attempt to use Mi 6 underwater. In addition, splash resistance on Mi 6 may be reduced over time with wear and tear. Do not charge Mi 6 under wet conditions.

NO. 5

AGM X2 4G Phablet 64GB ROM

AGM X2 is a unique device, counted as a rugged device it holds features on par to a high-end smartphone with some of the latest specs added into it. AGM is a pioneer level manufacturer of Travelling Mobile phones they are known for bringing latest mobile technology to help customers use them under toughest environment.

The editor state that this month’s list is slightly different than the one we shared last month, the OnePlus 5 still leads the race and is followed by some compelling smartphones from Huawei, Honor and Xiaomi, all of which have made the list this time around. If people want to import phones from China directly, they can go to GearBest and find more.

About Top 10 Xiaomi Gadgets

Top 10 Xiaomi Gadgets (Top10XiaomiGadgets.com) is a technical blog under TVBMA talking about Xiaomi Gadgets including Xiaomi Phones, other electronic gadgets, tech knockoffs, and more. The team of Top 10 Xiaomi Gadgets is the folks working hard to provide in-depth reporting, commentary and a daily dose of Mini PCs and other electronics news for readers worldwide.  

Media Contact
Company Name: Top 10 Xiaomi Gadgets
Contact Person: John
Email: info@tvbma.com
Phone: 1-530-395-2035
Country: United States
Website: http://www.top10xiaomigadgets.com

The second Android Oreo Beta update for the OnePlus 5 is now rolling out to users: Here are its top features

OnePlus has announced that the second Android 8.0 beta update is now rolling out for OnePlus 5 beta users. The company has claimed that the new update comes with various new tweaks and feature improvements over the previous beta build for Android Oreo.

352c1_OnePlus-5-review-380 The second Android Oreo Beta update for the OnePlus 5 is now rolling out to users: Here are its top features

The OnePlus 5. Image: Tech2.

The changes include a fix in the launcher that deals with widget and shortcut issues alongside UI improvements on the camera app. The Files Manager now has f4v format support and the company claims to have improved the speed of deleting large files. Other features include a better Reading Mode, vibration feedback improvements, a Bluetooth audio fix, Android security patch updated to November and other general bugs and stability improvements.

You can download the beta build from here. However, since these beta builds are not always stable and can cause data loss, download it at your own risk. To download the beta version you also have to be part of the OnePlus Open Beta Program, for which you can refer here. A word of caution, however, if you migrate to the open beta OTA, you will no longer receive the regular Official Stable OTAs.

OnePlus had recently rolled out the OxygenOS 4.5.15 for the OnePlus 5 with the October security patch and general bug fixes. The company had announced during the unveiling of the OnePlus 5T that the Oreo update for OnePlus 5 should arrive by December-end.

Android Circuit:New Galaxy S9 Leak Disappoints, Surprise Nokia Flagship, Impressive Pixel 2 Upgrade

Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes Samsung’s Galaxy S9 leaked design, a dual SIM S9 variant, a new Nokia flagship leaks ahead of CES, Google’s AR stickers arrive for the Pixel 2, how many Essential phones were sold, Synaptics new fingerprint reading technology, Grammarly arriving on your mobile keyboard, and Google Lens bringing more AI smarts to your phone.

Android Circuit is here to remind you of a few of the many things that have happened around Android in the last week (and you can find the weekly Apple news digest here).

New Galaxy S9 Echoes Galaxy S8 Style

Anyone expecting a massive update to Samsung’s Galaxy  S flagship handset should get ready for disappointment. According to the latest leaked reports the Galaxy S9 makes some small changes to the design, but fundamentally the S9 is going to look rather like the Galaxy S8 with a bit more screen, a bit less bezel and a slightly better positioned fingerprint scanner at the rear.

The new details show the rumored design of the Galaxy S9, and it is as iterative as expected. That means the curved long edges of the screen are still present, minimising the side bezels impact. The top and bottom bezels are reduced from the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 designs, offering even more frontal space for the screen.

The rear of the device shows not only the camera housing, but a repositioned sensor that is likely the fingerprint scanner. Although Samsung is still hard at work on an under-screen fingerprint reader, the technology is not yet ready for arguably the device that is key to the company’s financial year. So staying with the rear-mounted sensor is the only smart decision for the S9.

More details here on Forbes.

97b2a_960x0 Android Circuit:New Galaxy S9 Leak Disappoints, Surprise Nokia Flagship, Impressive Pixel 2 Upgrade

DJ Koh, president of mobile communications business at Samsung, speaks about the new Samsung Galaxy Note8 smartphone during a launch event (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Second Galaxy S9 Variant Leaks

Samsung also appears to be testing a dual SIM variant of the Galaxy S9. That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise given the current handset specifications and the love of dual SIM handsets in the BRIC countries, but once more it looks like the western handsets will miss out on this useful feature.

This would not be the first time that Samsung has tested out different configuration of a smartphone before committing to one specification for the launch event. The Galaxy Note 7 had different variants available around the world, both of which had been tested in Europe prior to the public release of the phablet.

That Samsung is testing out a variant of the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus handsets should not come as a surprise. The real surprise would be if the dual-SIM variant makes its way out of the Chinese market into the wider world. Much as I’m sold on the utility of dual SIM handsets (easily found in the UK through handsets from OnePlus and WileyFox, to name two), there seems to be a reluctance by networks to bring dual SIM handsets to the mainstream in western markets. Perhaps there’s to much revenue from roaming fees while travelling around Europe and flitting between countries?

More here on Forbes.

Updated Nokia 6 For CES?

CES 2017 saw HMD Global spring a surprise with the announcement of the Nokia 6 for China, it’s first Android smartphone. With CES 2018 coming up next month, will the Finnish start-up look to pull the same trick? There’s an expectation of new devices for China directly after the Las Vegas event, so why not mark the one-year anniversary with an update to the mainstream handset?

At this point last year the company debuted some basic feature phones with the promise of more smartphones to come. A few weeks later, half way through CES, HMD Global revealed the Nokia 6, an Android-powered smartphone destined initially for the BRIC territories that announced the return of the Finnish brand name to the smartphone market.

As CES 2018 draws ever closer, it looks like the Finns are preparing a similar strategy to last year. The recent certification of a new model points to the Nokia 6 (2018) edition being made ready for a launch in China.

More thoughts here on Forbes.

Ewan Spence

Nokia 6 (photo: Ewan Spence)

This Is The AR You Are Looking For

Google continued to push its AR capabilities this week with the release of AR Stickers to the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL handsets. It’s not perfect, you can see the joins, but when it works the results are stunning, as Cameron Faulkner reports:

Starting first with the hardware, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are specially tuned for AR, meaning these stickers load quickly, run smoothly, and better yet, they blend right into your environment in a realistic manner thanks to its AR Core smarts at work. That means the lighting, shadows and detail seen here, even early on, are the best that we’ve seen yet in the still-fledgling AR space.

No doubt the AR efforts will expand out from the current ‘exclusive to Pixel’ level they are at as more data and feedback is gathered. Read more at TechRadar.

BlackBerry Priv, the company’s first Android phone officially dead; Monthly updates to cease

The BlackBerry Priv – the first Android smartphone ever announced by BlackBerry has now officially reached its end of life. The Canadian smartphone manufacturer has announced that the smartphone will no longer get any more monthly security updates. However, the company will continue to offer support for critical security vulnerabilities and will also honour all current warranties. The Priv was an important handset for Blackberry and marked the end of their own BB10 operating system.

BlackBerry has also announced that it will introduce a trade-up program for current Priv customers as well as those who are using outdated BB10 and BBOS devices soon. The trade-up program will allow them to conveniently upgrade to a modern BlackBerry such as the KeyOne or Motion, hopefully at discounted prices.

BlackBerry said in a blog post – “When we introduced our first Android device more than 24 months ago, we committed to delivering 2 years of monthly software updates for the Priv. Having now stepped outside the original 2-year window, we will no longer be delivering monthly updates for the Priv moving forward,”

Also Read: BlackBerry says Priv will not get Android Nougat

BlackBerry launched the Priv in India in early 2016 at a ridiculously high price of Rs 62,990. The Priv has since received numerous price cuts. The Priv came with an all-plastic build but was characteristic BlackBerry in that it came with a hardware 4-row QWERTY keyboard. The phone employed a slider mechanism wherein the keyboard stayed put underneath the main display at all times unless needed. A gentle slide out from the lower end of the screen pulled out the keyboard for all intends and purposes.

Hardware specs on the Priv included: a 5.4-inch Quad-HD AMOLED display with a 1440×2560 pixels resolution, a 1.8GHz hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor with Adreno 418 GPU and 3GB RAM, 32GB of internal storage (expandable). The phone packed in an 18MP rear-facing camera with f/2.2 aperture lens and Schneider-Kreuznach optics. The camera was aided by Optical Image Stabilisation, phase detection autofocus and dual-LED (dual tone) flash. There was also a 2MP camera on the front.

The single-SIM phone ran Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out-of-the-box and came with BlackBerry’s own secure and productivity modifications up top. The Priv came with a non-removable 3,410 mAh battery with support for Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 technology.

Assistant’s ‘Hey Google’ hotword now more widely available on Android phones

Over the past month, users have noticed that the “Hey Google” hotword is no longer limited to Google Home. For some, the command is recognized on Android and works to invoke Assistant. Today, this feature is now more widely rolling out.


4d44e_CI_NSwitch_Console_02 Assistant's 'Hey Google' hotword now more widely available on Android phones

Nintendo Switch

This evening, several more Android users have received a notification from the Google app telling them that “Hey Google” is now available as a hotword. Tapping the notifications starts the training process to “Teach the Assistant to recognize your voice.”

Notably, this setup now includes “Hey Google” as one of the two phrases that users are asked to repeat. Users alternate between “Ok Google” and “Hey Google” twice. Once finished, phones now respond to the latter command.

Previously, this specific two hotword setup was reserved for setting up a Google Home device. However, as of this evening, the old three phrase “Ok Google” setup is no longer available, even when setting up the hotword directly from the “Phone” device section of Assistant settings.

Users who have not received the notification should still head into Assistant settings to retrain their voice model. On version 7.17 of the Google app, we’ve found that the “Hey Google” training is already available even for those who haven’t received the alert.

The text throughout settings in Assistant have yet to be updated to reflect how “Hey Google” is now an accepted command, only listing “Ok Google.”

Of course, this will inevitably lead to confusion as many have reserved the “Hey Google” command for separating between invoking their phone and smart speaker. However, the choice is a welcome one.

4d44e_CI_NSwitch_Console_02 Assistant's 'Hey Google' hotword now more widely available on Android phones 4d44e_CI_NSwitch_Console_02 Assistant's 'Hey Google' hotword now more widely available on Android phones 4d44e_CI_NSwitch_Console_02 Assistant's 'Hey Google' hotword now more widely available on Android phones 4d44e_CI_NSwitch_Console_02 Assistant's 'Hey Google' hotword now more widely available on Android phones

Dylan contributed to this article


Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

Xbox party chat is coming to Android and iOS

Microsoft has started testing Xbox party chat in the company’s Xbox mobile apps for iOS and Android. The beta Xbox app for Android is available immediately with the party chat support, and you can sign-up to test party chat on iOS using Microsoft’s form.

Party chat inside the Xbox mobile apps lets you voice chat with friends on Xbox Live, similar to the Discord mobile app. It’s a useful feature if you’re not near your console or PC, or even if your headset isn’t working correctly on those devices. Microsoft typically brings beta features to its main Xbox apps within a few months, so it should be available to both the regular iOS and Android apps shortly.

Cheetah Mobile’s Android launcher is the first to feature Microsoft’s Cortana

Voice-activated assistants are all the rage. Apple has Siri, Android has Google Assistant, Samsung has Bixby, and now Microsoft’s Cortana has found a mobile partnerCheetah Mobile. You may recognize Cheetah as the company behind apps like Clean Master, but Cortana lives inside its CM Launcher for Android, which replaces the pre-installed app launcher on your phone. It’s the first time Cortana has been integrated into a mobile launcher app.

Adding Cortana gives CM Launcher voice-controlled features powered by Microsoft’s artificial intelligence and voice recognition system. For example, Cortana can be asked to make calls, read out news, create and manage events, translate text, and perform web searches. Cortana will also speak out to make sure you remember things to do, help out with recommendations, and more. It’s only the start of the relationship between Cheetah Mobile and Microsoft, with the promise of more features being added to CM Launcher in the future, some of which will be exclusive to the app. Beyond that, other Cheetah Mobile apps will benefit from Cortana’s help too, with Cheetah Keyboard mentioned as a possible candidate.

Although this is Cortana’s first appearance in an Android launcher app, both Microsoft and Cheetah Mobile have been working on artificial intelligence for some time. In April of 2016, Cheetah Mobile pledged a $50 million investment toward developing A.I. in its apps, and has since opened a research and development center in Silicon Valley, where the team works on A.I. and machine learning. It uses A.I. in everything from the News Republic app to its mobile advertising platform. It has also heavily invested in Chinese A.I. firm OrionStar, which provides voice technology for smart speakers, including one produced by Xiaomi.

Cortana on her own is available for Android, too. Microsoft’s stand-alone app features the assistant and provides a similar degree of functionality to Cheetah’s app, but without replacing the launcher on your phone. Microsoft’s strategic vision references artificial intelligence several times, highlighting its importance to the company, along with plans to put A.I. into its own apps and services, many of which were discussed at the dedicated A.I. Summit event in San Francisco this week.

The Cortana version of Cheetah Mobile’s CM Launcher is in open beta at the moment, with a final version due in January next year, but you can still try it out now. Download and install CM Launcher, then register to be a beta tester, and wait for the updated version to arrive on your phone. CM Launcher with Cortana is available in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and Australia. Just be warned, CM Launcher really changes the look of your Android phone, and if you only use the free version, there are ads to support it.




Snapchat’s troubles show that neglecting Android is a recipe for failure

6d933_shutterstock_265909964-840x560 Snapchat's troubles show that neglecting Android is a recipe for failure Shutterstock
A few weeks ago, Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, announced its financial results for the third quarter of 2017. They were, in a word, bad. Snap admitted it had signed up just 4.5 million new Snapchat users for that quarter, well below its estimates.

During its financial report, Snap announced plans to launch a major user interface overhaul of the Snapchat app, in order to make it easier to use and hopefully get more people to download and try its social network. That UI revamp started rolling out last week to a small set of users, and more will be able to get it in the coming weeks.

Another part of Snap’s third quarter financial report didn’t get as much media attention, but is perhaps more important in the long run. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel admitted that the company needed to “accelerate the adoption of our product among Android users”.

There’s tons of evidence to show that the app’s Android port was given less attention than the iOS version. As a recent article in Odyssey, the Android version of Snapchat got many of its cool features well after debuting on iOS, including face filters, the ability to record videos and more. Sometimes it took months before a feature on iOS made its way to Android.

Therefore, Spiegel stated that over the next year the Snapchat development team would focus its energies on developing an all-new Android version of the app, which he said would be built “from the ground up.”

Snap, and Spiegel, have woken up to the fact that Snapchat can no longer treat Android as a second class citizen.

Presumably, this means that the new Android Snapchat app will not have any code shared with the current version. The new version, like the recent UI reboot, will be tested in selected markets before rolling out over the coming year. He stated that early results to help improve the performance of the current Snapchat Android app has already resulted in “significantly more Android users added than iOS users in September.”

“We wish we had done this sooner,” said Spiegel.

How to use Snapchat on Android

Snapchat’s issues show that app companies and developers who concentrate their efforts on Apple’s iOS platform instead of developing on Android could be missing out on tons of new users. Snap, and Spiegel, have now woken up to the fact that Snapchat can no longer treat Android as a second class citizen.

Android users have been through this before

6d933_shutterstock_265909964-840x560 Snapchat's troubles show that neglecting Android is a recipe for failure

The situation with Snapchat and its consistently poor treatment of Android is nothing new, though. Many apps released first for iOS before making their way to Android phones. Nintendo launched its first mobile game, Super Mario Run, for the iPhone and iOS in December 2016, before finally launching it on Android over three months later in March 2017. Since then, the company wised up and launched its next two mobile games, Fire Emblem Heroes and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, on Android at the same time as on iOS.

Other developers still seem to be fine with launching apps and new features first on iOS before they decide to grace Android with their presence. Most recently, we learned that HQ, the highly popular live trivia game show app, which launched on iOS months ago, could finally be available for Android before the end of the year. HQ has become a huge hit on just iOS, but we have to wonder how much bigger it would have been at this stage if the developers also launched an Android version at the same time.

The Android ecosystem is too large to ignore

6d933_shutterstock_265909964-840x560 Snapchat's troubles show that neglecting Android is a recipe for failure

On the surface, it’s easy to see why app developers would want to concentrate on iOS in favor of Android. There are only a few models of Apple’s iPhone and iPad out in the wild, which makes it easier to design apps that run well. IPhones and iPads also sell extremely well. There’s no doubt that iPhone sales dominate the entire smartphone industry, in terms of one single brand. A recent study from Statista showed that in Apple’s fiscal 2016 year alone, it sold over 211 million iPhones.

However, having one smartphone brand that outsells all the others does not mean that there is not competition out there. Its biggest competitor, to no one’s surprise, is Samsung. Its lineup of Android-based phones, including its high-end Galaxy S and Note series, plus its many lower-end handsets, have allowed the company to ship hundreds of millions of smartphones each year. Depending on which research firm you believe, Samsung and Apple have been switching positions as the number one shipper of smartphones worldwide and in the US over the past year.

6d933_shutterstock_265909964-840x560 Snapchat's troubles show that neglecting Android is a recipe for failure Kantar

More importantly for this discussion, the high sales of the iPhone cannot compete with the entire Android ecosystem as a whole. According to the most recent Kantar Worldpanel data, the share of Android smartphones is much higher than iOS in all of the markets it follows. Indeed, the only country where iOS is even close to Android is in Japan, and even then Android’s share is 55 percent, compared to iOS, which sits at just under 45. Even in the U.S., where the iPhone is massively popular, the current market share of iOS is over 32 percent, while the Android share is over twice that, at more than 66 percent. As Neil Patrick Harris’ character, Col. Carl Jenkins, said in the classic film Starship Troopers, “It’s simple numbers; they have more.”

We will also point out that the Android ecosystem allows for much cheaper phones to be made and sold, which is a big help in extending the platform to emerging markets. Indeed, in developing countries, Android phones are much more prevalent, thanks in part to the availability of phones more affordable than the iPhone.

“It’s simple numbers; they have more.”

Companies like Snap, who have previously put Android app development on the back burner in favor of iOS, have finally started to figure out they need to make Android development a real priority.

Hurdles for iOS-Android app developers to overcome

6d933_shutterstock_265909964-840x560 Snapchat's troubles show that neglecting Android is a recipe for failure

As it is with many such problems, sometimes its not as easy to port iOS apps over to Android. Much has been written about how the Android OS platform itself is fragmented, with lots of different versions of the OS running on thousands of different smartphones and tablets. Apple’s total hardware and software control over iOS allows it to minimize that kind of fragmentation. Thus, it’s natural that Android app development can run into issues when developers have to make sure their app can run on lots of different OS versions, and on everything from phones costing anywhere from $50 to over $1,000.

However, there are certainly lots of third-party tools available to make the transition from iOS to Android easier. Companies like Microsoft-owned Xamarin offer lots of tools and resources that make cross-development of mobile apps simpler. If Snap uses tools similar, it would need to start with that tool and use it for both the Android and iOS versions. It won’t help much if the iOS version is created using Apple’s development languages like Objective-C or Swift.

There’s also the fact that Google is trying to make it easier for smartphone makers to update their handsets to the latest version of Android. While it’s still in its infancy, Project Treble is supposed to separate code from a device’s manufacturer from Android itself, which could help a lot with OS fragmentation in the future. That could also make Android app development easier.

Final thoughts

Snapchat’s surprising decision to admit that it didn’t do a better job of making the app better for Android users should be a rallying cry for all developers who put iOS first. Even though making Android apps can be more difficult, the benefits of a larger audience and ecosystem far outweigh those initial problems. Hopefully this will be the beginning of a new trend for the Android platform as a first-class in the world of app development.

How do you feel about app developers short-changing Android in favor of iOS? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

How to Legally Install Unsupported Android TV or NVIDIA Shield Games on any Android Device

If the launch of the gaming-oriented Razer Phone tells us anything, it’s that there are companies out there ready to take Android as a gaming platform seriously. But even if you spring for a high-end Android device like the aforementioned Razer Phone, the OnePlus 5T or the Pixel 2 XL, you’re not likely to find more than casual games like Asphalt 8, Temple Run 2, Clash Royale or Pokémon GO on the Google Play Store.

That’s not true of every Android device out there, though. In fact, NVIDIA’s Shield line of devices (which are powered by Tegra system-on-chips, just like the Nintendo Switch gaming console) have access to lots of blockbuster games, including Borderlands 2, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Resident Evil 5. And thanks to a partnership with Nintendo in China, the list recently grew to include classics such as New Super Mario Bros. Wii and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

NVIDIA Shield-compatible games are optimized for Nvidia Shield devices, ostensibly, and they’re only available from NVIDIA’s app marketplace or the Android TV section of the Play Store. But there’s nothing technical preventing other devices from running them. With a little know-how and elbow grease, you can download and install Shield and Android TV games on non-Shield devices. As long as said devices are powerful enough to run them, they’ll work almost flawlessly. The best part? Root or other modifications are not required!

A disclaimer first, though: We can’t guarantee that all Shield and Android TV games will run on all Android devices. Since they’re meant for the Shield TV, your smartphone or tablet might lack certain required APIs and features. However, there’s no harm in trying out and reporting the results in the comments!

Thanks to /u/blackman9 for originally uncovering this method!


How to Legally Install Android TV or NVIDIA Shield Games on any Android Device

For this tutorial, we’re going to use an application called the Yalp Store. It’s basically a third-party client for the Google Play Store that allows you to download apps directly as APK files, update your existing apps, and, if you’re rooted, update and install apps in the background. The Yalp Store, which is recommended for Gapps-less ROM setups, is completely open-source, safe to use, and available from F-Droid’s.

38b61_feature1 How to Legally Install Unsupported Android TV or NVIDIA Shield Games on any Android Device

Source: softwarepen.wordpress.com

Once you’ve configured the Yalp Store, you’ll need to sign in with your Google account in order to access your purchased games and download them on your phone, or to purchase new ones. If you don’t own the NVIDIA Shield TV or other Android TV device, try following these steps:

  • Go to the app settings.
  • Navigate to the option “Pretend to be a different device”.
  • Select the NVIDIA Shield TV.
  • Untick “Delete APK after installation”.
  • Search for a free application or game in the Yalp Store.
  • When prompted, select the option “Log in with your Google account” and enter your credentials.
  • Download any application or game.

This will associate a phantom NVIDIA Shield TV with your Google Play Store account alongside your real Android tablets and smartphones. It’ll also allow you to buy and download NVIDIA Shield games. Here’s how:

  • Log into the desktop version of the Google Play Store.
  • Search for the game you want to buy.
  • Since you already “own” a Shield TV, you’ll be able to buy and download the game.
  • Once you’ve purchased it, go back to the Yalp Store.
  • Search for the game you just bought using your account.
  • Download and install it.

If you own an NVIDIA Shield TV, then the process is a lot easier: Just purchase a game from your device (or search for a game you already own), go to the Yalp Store on your phone, and download it.


Explanation

What the Yalp Store does is pretty simple. For starters, it simply crawls through the Google Play Store, gets APK files using either a pre-configured dummy account or your own personal account, and downloads those APK packages to your phone. What you’re doing is simply spoofing our device as an NVIDIA Shield TV or other Android TV device, buying the games you want, downloading the APKs of those games (which are made for the same hardware architecture as your phone, ARM) and installing them. And while some games might not work flawlessly, they were purchased legally  — there’s no piracy involved.

Games like The Talos Principle, Grim Fandango, and The Walking Dead S03 have been reported to work fine on Android phones. Your mileage may vary with some of bigger, more demanding title like Borderlands 2, but we encourage you to try them out and let us know in the comment section.

Android Circuit: Disappointing Galaxy S9 Leak, Pixel 2’s Impressive Upgrade, Surprise Nokia Flagship

Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes Samsung’s Galaxy S9 leaked design, a dual SIM S9 variant, a new Nokia flagship leaks, Google’s AR stickers arrive for the Pixel 2, how many Essential phones were sold, Synaptics new fingerprint reading technology, Grammarly arriving on your mobile keyboard, and Google Lens bringing more AI smarts to your phone.

Android Circuit is here to remind you of a few of the many things that have happened around Android in the last week (and you can find the weekly Apple news digest here).

New Galaxy S9 Echoes Galaxy S8 Style

Anyone expecting a massive update to Samsung’s Galaxy  S flagship handset should get ready for disappointment. According to the latest leaked reports the Galaxy S9 makes some small changes to the design, but fundamentally the S9 is going to look rather like the Galaxy S8 with a bit more screen, a bit less bezel and a slightly better positioned fingerprint scanner at the rear.

The new details show the rumored design of the Galaxy S9, and it is as iterative as expected. That means the curved long edges of the screen are still present, minimising the side bezels impact. The top and bottom bezels are reduced from the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 designs, offering even more frontal space for the screen.

The rear of the device shows not only the camera housing, but a repositioned sensor that is likely the fingerprint scanner. Although Samsung is still hard at work on an under-screen fingerprint reader, the technology is not yet ready for arguably the device that is key to the company’s financial year. So staying with the rear-mounted sensor is the only smart decision for the S9.

More details here on Forbes.

938f3_960x0 Android Circuit: Disappointing Galaxy S9 Leak, Pixel 2's Impressive Upgrade, Surprise Nokia Flagship

DJ Koh, president of mobile communications business at Samsung, speaks about the new Samsung Galaxy Note8 smartphone during a launch event (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Second Galaxy S9 Variant Leaks

Samsung also appears to be testing a dual SIM variant of the Galaxy S9. That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise given the current handset specifications and the love of dual SIM handsets in the BRIC countries, but once more it looks like the western handsets will miss out on this useful feature.

This would not be the first time that Samsung has tested out different configuration of a smartphone before committing to one specification for the launch event. The Galaxy Note 7 had different variants available around the world, both of which had been tested in Europe prior to the public release of the phablet.

That Samsung is testing out a variant of the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus handsets should not come as a surprise. The real surprise would be if the dual-SIM variant makes its way out of the Chinese market into the wider world. Much as I’m sold on the utility of dual SIM handsets (easily found in the UK through handsets from OnePlus and WileyFox, to name two), there seems to be a reluctance by networks to bring dual SIM handsets to the mainstream in western markets. Perhaps there’s to much revenue from roaming fees while travelling around Europe and flitting between countries?

More here on Forbes.

Updated Nokia 6 For CES?

CES 2017 saw HMD Global spring a surprise with the announcement of the Nokia 6 for China, it’s first Android smartphone. With CES 2018 coming up next month, will the Finnish start-up look to pull the same trick? There’s an expectation of new devices for China directly after the Las Vegas event, so why not mark the one-year anniversary with an update to the mainstream handset?

At this point last year the company debuted some basic feature phones with the promise of more smartphones to come. A few weeks later, half way through CES, HMD Global revealed the Nokia 6, an Android-powered smartphone destined initially for the BRIC territories that announced the return of the Finnish brand name to the smartphone market.

As CES 2018 draws ever closer, it looks like the Finns are preparing a similar strategy to last year. The recent certification of a new model points to the Nokia 6 (2018) edition being made ready for a launch in China.

More thoughts here on Forbes.

Ewan Spence

Nokia 6 (photo: Ewan Spence)

This Is The AR You Are Looking For

Google continued to push its AR capabilities this week with the release of AR Stickers to the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL handsets. It’s not perfect, you can see the joins, but when it works the results are stunning, as Cameron Faulkner reports:

Starting first with the hardware, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are specially tuned for AR, meaning these stickers load quickly, run smoothly, and better yet, they blend right into your environment in a realistic manner thanks to its AR Core smarts at work. That means the lighting, shadows and detail seen here, even early on, are the best that we’ve seen yet in the still-fledgling AR space.

No doubt the AR efforts will expand out from the current ‘exclusive to Pixel’ level they are at as more data and feedback is gathered. Read more at TechRadar.

BlackBerry Priv Will No Longer Receive Android Security Updates

The BlackBerry Priv was announced in September 2015, and pre-orders began shipping in November of that year. BlackBerry pledged to keep it up-to-date for at least two years, and now that the time’s elapsed, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company says it’ll no longer push security updates to the device.

“When we introduced our first Android device more than 24 months ago, we committed to delivering two years of monthly software updates for the PRIV,” Alex Thurber, Senior Vice President of Mobility Solutions at BlackBerry, wrote in a blog post. “True to our word, we fulfilled this commitment though in truth, the PRIV’s built-in security posture had little need for many of the updates we delivered in conjunction with partners such as Google and Qualcomm […] Having now stepped outside the original 2-year window, we will no longer be delivering monthly updates for the PRIV moving forward.”

But BlackBerry’s not leaving Priv owners out in the cold. Mr. Thurber said that the company will continue to fulfill all warranty obligations and work with partners to fix critical vulnerabilities. In addition, it’ll soon introduce a trade-in program that’ll allow current BlackBerry Priv, BB10, and BBOS device owners upgrade to the BlackBerry KeyOne or Motion.

The BlackBerry Priv generated a lot of buzz when it was unveiled to the public. It was the first smartphone released by BlackBerry that used Android instead of BlackBerry OS, but the company’s foray into the Android market didn’t last long — BlackBerry signed a licensing agreement with TLC in 2015 that’d see the Chinese smartphone maker produce BlackBerry-branded smartphones.

The DTEK50 and the DTEK 60 were the first fruits of BlackBerry’s partnership with TCL, and BlackBerry was apparently pleased with the results — it ended up dropping out of the smartphone manufacturing business altogether. It’s focused on enterprise software, instead, and has since licensed its brands to other companies around the world.


Source: BlackBerry