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Posts tagged ‘Android’


Samsung’s Galaxy A5 has some Alpha style, but not the substance

Samsung likes to get some mileage out of its lofty design themes and plenty of people have gone gaga over the Galaxy Alpha’s subtle style, so it’s no surprise that the phone’s design DNA is being injected into other devices. SamMobile has been reporting for a while now that the Korea electronics giant has been working on a range of phones — the so-called A series — that feature some of the Alpha aesthetic, and now they’ve obtained images of the first one. It’s called the Galaxy A5, and if these reports hold true it falls very firmly onto the middle of the road. There’s a 5-inch Super AMOLED screen running at 720p up front, paired with a 13-megapixel rear camera and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chipset ticking away within the minimalist frame that may or may not actually be made of metal. Yeah, we know, it’s a bummer, but the more modest price tag that’ll almost assuredly stick to it might make the change in materials worth it.


Source: SamMobile

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Organize your life with Centrallo



I have had the great fortune to be a beta tester for a service new to Android, Centrallo. Centrallo is a cross platform organization app focused on productivity. You are given a space in which you can create lists within lists within lists. You can have an unlimited number of lists within lists to organize what matters to you.

I have used Centrallo for the past few weeks to organize what I am expected to do for various organizations. It has helped me keep my projects separate and made sure that I completed them on time.

Centrallo is a great solution for a number of different problems. It can help you take those quick notes about things that you are likely to forget, you can organize projects, and you can organize your life. Now let’s look into where Centrallo shines and where it falls short. Here is a look into why Centrallo will remain installed on all of my devices after this review is finished.


I am as scatterbrained as they come. I can forget things two seconds after they occur. With Centrallo, I can quickly type up notes about things that need to be remembered. It works great as a note taking app.

While it takes a while to get it set up, after you have a few entries under your belt, note taking becomes quick and simple. The quick add feature is perfect for this type of usage. It allows you to make a text entry, set a reminder, save a photo, make a voice note and more! Great for the forgetful types such as myself.

The app is also great for project management. I have multiple different obligations that fall under multiple different organizations. The lists in lists feature allows me to keep everything separate in an orderly fashion.

Probably the best feature a developer can provide for their app is support. In the time that I first reviewed their beta to their initial public release, a lot of additional features have been added and a lot of my gripes have been fixed. You will notice update tags after a lot of the points that I make in this post. Those are all things that the development team at Centrallo added or fixed after the initial review after they were brought to their attention.

Upcoming Features

The dark theme can be a bit much. It is dark and I personally feel it slightly depressing. At the time of this review, there is an option in the settings to change the background color, but you can’t actually change the color just yet. Centrallo has assured me that there will be additional themes added into the app, so that is something to look forward to.

Update: A lighter theme has been added in the settings. It looks just as clean as the dark theme, but with a white background base.

While the app is running great on my Moto X, I could not install it on my Nexus 7. The reason for this is that I am running the Android L developer preview. The current beta that I am using does not support Android L currently, but I was told that Android L support will be coming shortly and will definitely be ready when Android L hits full release.

Update: Android L is now supported, however, my untrained eye did not see any material design elements just yet. Hopefully those are still to come!


There are many good things to look forward to in the Centrallo app release, but there are also some things that could be improved. It is a long list, but they are very minor inconveniences that are quickly remedied.

Tips are too bloated. While it is great for starting off, there is just too much to go through. It shows off the lists in lists feature quite nicely, but it takes too much time to go through them all. It would be better if they were to just create a tutorial that pops up in the first running of the app along with an option to run through the tutorial again in the settings if it is required. This would make learning how to use the app less of a pain and get users off to a quicker start.

This leads into my next quarrel. Storage restrictions. The initial restriction makes sense. 100MB for a lightweight user free with an option to purchase more storage space for about $5 a month. However, the premium subscription only gets you 1GB of storage. There is no option for unlimited storage. Even though that I have not used even 1MB of my 100, this still doesn’t make sense to me. There will always be that heavy user that uses way more space then one would ever think possible. The premium subscription should get you unlimited storage. If I can’t touch my 100MB, then it is doubtful Centrallo will lose much by letting people have unlimited storage verses the 1GB limit.

My last bone to pick is with the user interface. The ui is clean and works well after you have played with it for a good amount of time. It takes a bit of fiddling to figure out how everything works and during that learning process, I lost a good number of my lists. Again, this is where a tutorial in the first boot up of the app would come in handy.

Lacking Features

The app has its faults, but I believe that it can be made perfect (for my usage) with a few additional features. In my opinion, these features should be already implemented. Keep in mind that I am using a beta release, so that these features might actually be in development and could be present in the final release.

Hyperlinks. Centrallo has added a very helpful feature where you can share links from your web browser to Centrallo to save the link as a listing in the app. A quick note to remember a site that will be useful later on, but not enough to bookmark it. The only thing missing is hyperlinks. You can’t just tap the link to open up your web browser. You have to manually copy the link and paste it into your browser of choice. This is an unneeded annoyance and time waster.

Update: Hyperlinks are now supported!

Another issue is the sharing feature. While you can share individual items, the recipient has to have a Centrallo account or will have to create one to receive the shared item. There should be a function where you can share whatever is saved in that particular note through text, email or social networking. An additional feature that would be great is if you could send an entire list of lists instead of the individual item through the same manner.

Update: Lists can now be shared


Centrallo is a great concept and a great app. It is important to remember that I am using a beta release, so it is not a completed product just yet. The app and service has great potential and will be a great benefit to users who need something to organize their lives. The world is a busy place and I plan on using Centrallo to help me manage my workings in this busy world.



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Need two screens on your smartwatch? Try the Oru Watch

If you have been looking for a smartwatch and thought the current watches with only one screen weren’t for you, take a look at the Oru Watch.  The Oru features a low power, always on e-paper screen on one side and a high resolution, touch screen, TFT screen on the other.  If that’s not enough,… Read more »

The post Need two screens on your smartwatch? Try the Oru Watch appeared first on SmarterWatching.

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Findery now on Android to Help Travelers Discover the World Around Them

FIndery Anroid App

For the folks who love to travel and explore, this news is for you. Discovery service Findery has officially launched their Android app, making “the Findery family” complete. Starting on the web, then launching an app on iOS in March, Android users now have access from their smartphones.

With Findery you can find “notes” hidden by other users all around the world. Literally. Along with their announcement of the Android app, they say there is a note in every country around the world.

I just downloaded the app myself, honestly a little skeptical (based on trials of other exploration-based apps) and opening it up I actually find quite a few notes located directly around me. To be fair, I recently moved to Phoenix from a small town in Los Angeles County, but nevertheless I was impressed by what I found. And that was just opening up the app. I think I’m going to hang on to this one, and see where it takes me.

If you like to discover fun tidbits about your surrounding area, or like making your traveling experiences full of exploration, then I recommend this app. You’ll never know what you’ll find.

via Findery

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Samsung introduces My KNOX app for better business security


Samsung has just launched a new App aimed at the Enterprise to enhance their KNOX mobile security offering.

The new App called My KNOX is designed to offer better protection for employees who use Samsung devices for their work.

The My KNOX App currently only works on the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Galaxy Note 4 and also requires a free Microsoft account.

In addition, Samsung is offering a tiered subscription service with KNOX that sees a free KNOX Express to offer basic security features, with a paid premium KNOX to enhance the security feature-set.

Could this be the beginning of kickstarting Android in the Enterprise?



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Minimus 360: An app for those who want a simple watch face for their round smartwatches ['Watch' This App]

There aren’t a whole lot of round watch face apps on the market just yet, and if you’re currently looking for one then it may be worth your while to take a look at the Minimus 360 app. The name Minimus 360 is pretty self explanatory; It’s an app that provides round smartwatches, hence “360”,… Read more »

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The Future of Google Now


Google Now is one of the most innovative, useful features to be released in the last few years. It truly makes your smartphone a smart phone. It provides you with information before you even ask for it. It saves you from being stuck in traffic, fumbling through your email to find your plane ticket, and even helps you remember where you parked your car. What else can Google do to make it better?

Google just applied for a patent for “active watching,” to help better pinpoint where input for a task is coming from so as to get better results in speech-to-text. What else could be in store?

I would love to see the current features be fine-tuned, and be made better. For example, currently you can search for flights right from Google Now. However, once you find one and want to book it, you have to go to the site that Google found the particular flight from and book it from there. It’d be nice if I could tell Google “Find me a flight from Phoenix to Los Angeles next Tuesday afternoon for under $200 and book it,” and it’d go ahead and do it, sending me a confirmation email afterwards. Is this the ultimate form of laziness? Maybe. But would it be cool? Absolutely! This could then tie into better usage on Android Wear devices.

Our own Scott Webster says he’d like to be able to ask “Where’s my wife?” and Google Now would show him on a map where she is (with the person’s location settings turned on for sharing). This could be useful for so many reasons, but particularly in emergencies if your loved one is lost.

AndroidGuy Mitch Montague would like to have the ability to change the phrase “Okay, Google” to anything he’d like such as “Hey Nexus.” He also wants to see the ability to change system functions, such as turning Wi-Fi on and off, exist natively in the app (considering you can currently do this by other means).

Our Cooper Le says he’d like to see offline support, to set things such as alarms or reminders without a data connection.

Rob Vanasco would like to see better natural conversation, such as Google Now asking for clarification to a question it doesn’t understand, or ask for more details to give you a better result.

Jason Lund loves Google Now, but feels he doesn’t think about it enough to use it. Some way for Google to prompt him to use it would be good.

Henry Wiygul wants inter-app communication, so that if you find a great article while in Chrome, you can ask Google to “Share this on Twitter” without leaving Chrome, similar to what Project Hera is.

What features would you like to see? Do you use Google Now on a regular basis?

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Starbucks’ shake-to-pay and tips now work on Android too

Starbucks Life!.

Love Starbucks but hate feeling left out of the shake-to-pay fun because the device in your pocket is running Android instead of iOS? Those days are over, my caffeine-craving friend. An updated version of the titular app has hit Google Play and it’s packing the aforementioned payment option as well as digital tipping. The coffee juggernaut’s rewards system is now on the payment screen too — all in time for the Seattle outfit’s declaration that autumn is officially here.

[Image credit: pgneto/Flickr]

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Via: Android Community

Source: Google Play

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Sony’s SmartEyeglass prototype makes Google Glass look chic

Sony SmartEyeWear

As Sony’s smartphone division continues to struggle, the company is working out what it needs to return to profitability. Does it concentrate on the high-end market dominated by Apple and Samsung, or does it try to appeal to customers looking to get their very first smartphone? One thing you might not expect is for the company to push forward with the release its own smart eyewear, a Google Glass clone of sorts, that connects to its devices to superimpose images, videos and text into the wearers view. “SmartEyeglass,” as it’s known, looks like a bulky pair of 3D glasses that have been modified to include a 3-megapixel camera, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, brightness sensor, a microphone and a pretty large battery pack.

Sony says that while SmartEyeglass is currently in the prototype stage, it can already connect to a range of smartphones (running Android 4.1 and up) to deliver hologram-like visuals through its lenses. The lens is just 3mm thick, 85 percent transparent and sucks up less energy thanks to its monochrome display. Unlike Google Glass, which can host its own apps, Sony wants developers to build smartphone apps that can then connect to SmartEyeglass over Bluetooth, so it’s opening its software kit today to get things started. It hopes to put the prototype hardware on sale by the end of March 2015, after which it’ll look to get it into consumers’ hands.

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Source: Sony

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Android L to offer default encryption on data, working towards making a more secure Android

Android security

Android has always suffered from a big security problem: all Android devices offer data encryption, but most users don’t know how to turn it on, or even what it is. That’s why Google is turning on data encryption automatically with the new release of Android L. The automatic data encryption aims to help eliminate sensitive case issues by keeping law enforcement out of your devices.

The Washington Post received word from Google today that they’re shifting towards a more secure operating system, mostly after government involvement in the popular Edward Snowden case. Niki Christoff, a spokeswoman for Google, explains

For over three years Android has offered encryption, and keys are not stored off of the device, so they cannot be shared with law enforcement… As part of our next Android release, encryption will be enabled by default out of the box, so you won’t even have to think about turning it on.

If the data is encrypted, law enforcement will be less-inclined to go snooping, simple as that. The data, however, will still be available to the police by means of a search warrant or court order. That being said, this is a great step forward in privacy for Google and Android as a whole. Only time will tell if this will actually help keep people from snooping.

How do you feel about your data being encrypted automatically? Do you welcome the security changes to Android L or do you think the change may be a bit too drastic?

Via: Android Police, Source: The Washington Post

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