If you’re like most people who use social networking, odds are you would like to post to multiple sites and accounts at once. The process of copy and pasting your text and posting it on different sites can get monotonous very quickly. Polarbear Beta for Android is here to help with that problem.
This app is very simple. Connect your accounts, type out what you’d like to post, and select which social networks you’d like to post to. The complete list of supported services are: Twitter, Facebook profiles, Google+ profiles, LinkedIn profiles, Facebook pages, Tumblr, Blogger, and App.net. The best thing about it is the new UI update that was just released today, making the app is now more functional than ever before.
Other rival apps (specifically Buffer) are nice, but they don’t allow posting to Google+ profiles, which we would like to see eventually.
Not so fast! This app is special. Since the app is still in beta, there is no direct Play Store link. Here are the instructions on how to get it on your phone:
- Click here to become a tester through your Google+ profile +https://play.google.com/apps/testing/air.com.polarbearbeta.android
- Click the download link at the bottom to install the app from the Play Store
- Install it from Google Play
If you don’t want to take these steps, you could download the apk directly from the Google+ page. If you’d like more information on Polarbear, visit the Google+ page, here.
The post Share content on multiple social networks at once with Polarbear Beta [App of the Day] appeared first on AndroidGuys.
The Boost Max aims to give users a premium phablet experience with a small price tag.
Do you remember when smartphones were upwards of $500? Some still are, like the Samsung Galaxy S4, Note 3, and the HTC One. Recently in the United States, prices of handsets have gone significantly down, allowing more and more users to purchase their phones outside of a 2-year agreement.
In turn, the phones that have a cheap off-contract price are selling like hot cakes, and more and more manufacturers are trying to join the US market. ZTE certainly doesn’t have much presence in the United States, but they’ve made a recent effort to change that with the ZTE Boost Max.
It can be found for $299 on the Sprint MVNO Boost Mobile, weighing in as one of the more expensive “premium” phones that the prepaid carrier offers.
Recently, the bar has been set pretty high for budget smartphones. The Moto G, Moto X, and Nexus 5 are prime examples of premium handsets for a very cheap price tag. Can the Boost Max rival the price of the Moto G, while offering a great phablet experience like the Galaxy Note 3? Find out in our review below.
When you first read the list of the specifications, you might not be interested, at all. But remember: this phone is relatively inexpensive, and ZTE obviously has to make money on it, so try giving them the benefit of the doubt.
With it’s 5.7-inch, 720×1280 IPS LCD display, the Boost Max houses a 1.2GHz dual core Snapdragon 400 processor, 8GB of on-board storage, and 1GB of RAM. It has an 8MP rear-facing camera, a 1MP front-facing camera, and a non-removable 3200mAh battery. It also has Bluetooth 4.0 LE, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, and 4G LTE.
If you’re looking for the most positive part of the phone, look here. The look and feel of this phone is well-built and beautiful. With the brushed metallic back and the matte-finished top and bottom portions, it is a really good-looking device. But don’t read too far into the metallic back of the phone – it’s only plastic. It’s easy to see why ZTE made that material decision, given the $299 price point.
The button layout on the Boost Max is a little different from what most people are used to. The power button sits on the right edge, along with a physical camera button. The left side holds a microSD card slot and the volume rockers. You’ll also find a micro USB port on the lower-left side – this makes it a bit awkward to hold while charging. This is definitely a two-handed device, so you’ll find yourself bumping into the charging cable more than you might like.
It also has capacitive navigation buttons – back, home, and… a menu button – one design aspect that we wish would just go away.
The top matted portion covering the camera snaps off to reveal a SIM card slot, while the rear portion holds a single speaker. It’s decently loud, but very tinny. When playing media without headphones, there are a few fixes for poor audio quality, due to ZTE’s custom software. (We’ll revisit this in the software section).
The display on the Boost Max could be better, but arguably not, solely because of the price tag. It has a 5.7-inch, 720×1280 IPS LCD display. Viewing angles are fine, and we weren’t able to see any pixelation anywhere on the screen. We did, however, find one major flaw – whites aren’t white – they’re very visibly off-white. Tainting almost every screen we viewed, this is the major downfall to what is otherwise a beautiful display.
Probably the most unappealing part of the software is that it ships with Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. This is a very old build to be shipping on a smartphone that was released in January 2014. Though Boost informed users that they intend to push Android 4.4 KitKat sometime in 2014, that is a very vague description. This is one of the sacrifices we wish didn’t make it to the Boost Max.
The phone offers a near-stock Android experience, while only throwing in a few minor design changes. The homescreens and app drawer don’t stray away from the “stock” look. The only changes they made in the user interface are the lock screen, notification tray, and the quick settings. There are, of course, a huge amount of custom apps. Most of them are from Boost and can be uninstalled very easily.
ZTE also opted to throw in some surprisingly useful features. The main feature being a multi-window clone called Smart Viewer. Hold down the back button to pull up a list of apps, and drag them to one half of the screen. Smart View lets you mute one window at a time, which we found to be very useful. On the Samsung’s Multi-Window feature, only a handful of apps are compatible for some reason. On Smart Viewer, any installed app can be used.
We did experience a good amount of lag in odd places. This mainly happened while accessing Chrome, Google Search, YouTube, or Smart Viewer. Sometimes, the webpage we were trying to load would take more than a minute to fully show. The amount of lag we came across hinders the otherwise positive experience with the software.
Now, to talk about audio quality. The speaker, though very loud, has some EQ issues. It’s a bit like listening to music in a tin can, but Boost hopes to change that with their Dolby Digital Plus EQ app. We actually found this to be very useful, though a bit cumbersome. If you use it frequently, it’s easy to get the best sound possible out of the given hardware. However, if you frequently switch between podcasts and music, revisiting the app over and over to change sound modes gets old very fast.
The overall software experience was just… okay. You can tell ZTE tried, but due to the processor and other hardware slumps, it fell a bit short.
The battery life on this phone is tremendous. With it’s huge 3200mAh battery, we failed to drain it in an entire day. Stand by time was great, only draining 1% overnight, while connected to the Boost network. Watching hour-long HD videos on YouTube and streaming music from Spotify barely brought the battery down to 70% in a few hours. If you’re a normal-heavy multimedia consumer, you should have no qualms with the battery.
The only factor that remotely drained the battery was the the Boost network. Even though we had some trouble in this area, you should have no problem making it through much more than a day of use.
The Boost Max’s 8MP rear-facing camera is good at times, and horrible at others. There aren’t many things to nit-pick about it, considering the price. Shutter speed is normal, and focusing didn’t cause us any problems. They’re not perfect, but they’ll do.
We did have a lot of trouble with color. Colors are washed out and dull, no matter the lighting conditions. Also, the hardware shutter key isn’t a two-step button, so you’ll find yourself with a lot of blurry photos if you try to focus beforehand. We found ourselves better off just using the on-screen shutter key.
If you hope to get a decent camera on a budget phone, you could certainly do worse. But that doesn’t mean it’s particularly good, either.
If you’d like unlimited everything (minutes/messaging/data) on Boost Mobile, plans begin at $55. If you pay your bill on-time, your plan shrinks by $5 every month, until it’s as low as $35. This is definitely a good incentive to move over to Boost, but is the Boost Max good enough to keep people on the network?
The Boost Max tries to offer as much as it’s competitors, but ultimately falls short in some important areas. Most of our experiences can be summed up with a, “This feature is nice, but…”.
ZTE’s Smart Viewer is a great addition, adding functionality and innovation to the size of the device. But it’s buggy and slow, and that made us not want to use it. The look and feel of the device is beautiful. It has a nice weight to it, and it offers a loud speaker and a hardware camera button. But the speaker is tinny, and the camera button makes it difficult to keep your focus.
All things considered, if you’re on Boost Mobile, and absolutely have to stick with it, you could do worse than the Boost Max. It’s the best option for someone who wants a phablet experience, but doesn’t want to break the bank. If you’re in the market to purchase a new phone off-contract and you don’t mind the screen size, buy a Moto G. It has better software, hardware, and is two-thirds the price.
If the Boost Max was $200, I would recommend it immediately. It’s a bit slow, but offers a beautiful look and feel, while giving you the experience you’re looking for. But for $300, I have a difficult time recommending this one.
The CHIL Notchbook is a quality case worth updwards of $50 but costing only half of that. The leather feels great and really has a “premium” design about it. You’ll find that it’s light, padded, and protective – three things we look for in a tablet case.
The cutout for your hand seems a bit gimmicky at first, but the more I’ve used it, the more useful it becomes. The case feels high quality and looks professional. It has a built in magnet for auto sleep/wake when the case is opened of closed.
The main complaint I have is that the frame around the screen cuts it a bit close. Performing actions from the top, sides or bottom (such as pulling down a notification shade) requires slightly more effort than without the case and the magnet that keeps the notch flap in place. Keep in mind that I’m reviewing the 2012 Nexus 7 variant of the case, so this issue may not exist for other models depending upon how each device is made. For this case in particular, when the magnet moves on or off of the back of the device it likes to trip the magnetic sensor in the tablet and shut your screen off. As you can imagine, this can be pretty frustrating when you’re trying to read.
The only other quibble is more due to the construction of the tablet, but the volume and power buttons aren’t as available as I’d like them to be. Every time I attempted to change the volume or take a screenshot I found myself fumbling around and guessing at which button I needed.
If you watch a lot of Netflix or YouTube on your device, the stand mode is really great; both simple and sturdy.
All-in-all, at the price point, I’d recommend this case to most people depending on your needs.
Win a Chil Notchbook!
Thanks to the fine people at CHIL, we also have a Notchbook case for the 2013 Nexus 7 to give away!
How to Enter: In the comments below, please tell us why you love your Android device so much.
When does this mighty fine Giveaway end? Well, you must enter this giveaway contest by Wednesday, March 12 (11:59PM PST)
Winners will be picked at random and announced in an update to this post.
What if this giveaway is over and I’m still interested in a CHIL Case? You can find out more information about purchasing a CHIL Notchbook Case for your tablet by visiting CHIL’s website. Enter “AndroidGuys” in the promo code for 15% off your purchase, which lasts until April 15.
Incipio, one of the more popular brands in the mobile accessory space, has been putting out products for many Android smartphones. Some products have even passed through here; check out our reviews of the various HTC One cases. We recently had a chance to review the Incipio ATLAS Ultra-Rugged Waterproof case for the Samsung Galaxy S4.
The case is made up of four layers which provide superior defense against shock and drops all the while remaining lightweight. One of the best things about this case is that it’s really slim, yet it’s waterproof, dustproof, shockproof; thanks to Tempered glass, rigid Plextonium Polycarbonate, supportive TPU, and shock absorbent silicone. It’s a mouthful to be sure, but they combine to create quite the protective shell for your device.
For a rugged case, the ATLAS Ultra-Rugged Waterproof case is quite good looking. It’s quite easy for a rugged case to end up making your phone look like a brick but this is not the case with Incipio’s design. Your phone stays relatively slim yet it feels solid as a rock.
While there are a lot of good things about this case, there was one issue that really bothered me. Sure, we use phones for all purposes (browsing, messaging, emailing,etc) but the most vital feature is making and receiving phone calls.
We found that with this case on our Galaxy S4 our callers complained of not being able to hear us loudly or clearly. Moving it closer to your mouth and speaking loudly helps, but it’s not our natural tone. Yes, we could go with a Bluetooth headset or hands free device, but that’s another product and more money. Perhaps the model we tested did not have a complete cutout for the microphone. We’ve not run into this issue with other Incipio products so we’re willing to bet this is an anomaly.
Also note that if you have a screen protector on your Galaxy S4 you might run into issues with display sensitivity and touch response. We had one in place ahead of our review and found that the screen did not respond to our touches quite like we hoped.
Generally speaking this was not Incipio’s best work but we still found it to be a better than average unit. If you work in a field where protection is a must (or if you are Bear Grylls) then this case will keep your Samsung Galaxy S4 clean as a whistle. And dry as a bone.
The post Review: Incipio ATLAS Ultra-Rugged Waterproof case for Galaxy S4 appeared first on AndroidGuys.
When posting on social networks, sometimes you need to watch your character count per post. And in the past, Google has been there to provide a decent solution, goo.gl. Up until now, it has only been available by navigating to the site. Well, the Android app is finally here, and it does just about everything you could ask.
First, you need to sign in with your Google account to use the service. The interface should be familiar if you’ve ever used it previously. Paste your long link in the text box, and there you have it – a shortened link.
You can choose to open the link in the browser, copy to your clipboard, or share. And you can do all of these from the handy notification it gives you, as well.
For many, this may be a download-and-forget type of app. However, it’s very well done and convenient.
The post Popular Google URL Shortener released on Android [App of the day] appeared first on AndroidGuys.
Recently I got my hands on the Aerb 3in1 Smart Multimedia Dock and usually I am kind of skeptical about using off brand docks that claim to have a lot of functionality. Usually you have to jump through hoops to get a device to work, but yet the Aerb Dock is as easy as they come. I plugged in my peripherals (mouse and keyboard, HDTV, and micro usb charger) and your device becomes alive on your screen to do whatever you want. My wife thought this was the greatest way to play Candy Crush, but hey whatever floats your boat. Alright, lets break this thing down.
What we got: Aerb Smart Multimedia Dock
- 2 x USB 2.0 (keyboard/mouse, external storage)
- 1 HDMI Out (TV/Monitor)
- 1 micro-usb (for charging and data transfer if plugged into computer)
- 4 built in rubber feet to hold the dock in place
- Won’t work with a thick case, but a very very thin case would
- Charges slow, but that’s not the real reason we are using it
- No audio out for speakers, but can use your TV’s HDMI to push through your system
I ended up plugging mine into my TV at home and connected with a wireless keyboard and mouse. This allowed me to have one extra USB, so I slapped on an external hard drive and everything worked as it should. I played movies from the external hard drive and they were crisp and clear running at 1080p.
It is useful to download “Rotation Locker”, which is free, to put your screen into landscape mode and keep it there. That way your entire screen is used by the TV and not just the middle of it.
The device is nice to have when you have friends or family over. Instead of them huddling around to see a new app or pictures, you can display it on the big screen, with great picture quality.
Reigning in at just under 25 bucks, this is a dock that holds its own and gives the factory Samsung Smart dock a run for its money. If I had to choose between the two I would go with the Aerb hands down. You’re getting the same functionality but minus the extra USB port and audio out, but for 50 bucks more it’s not worth it to me.
The post Aerb 3in1 Smart Multimedia Dock for Galaxy Devices Review appeared first on AndroidGuys.
Modern smartphones are often judged by their ability to hold a charge, and are regularly criticised for just how long you have to have your device plugged into the wall. With smartphones becoming more feature-rich with bigger screens and better cameras, the charge is becoming an increasingly difficult manufacturing challenge to master, with phone makers often left with a trade-off between a bigger battery and keeping the device small.
uNu have addressed the battery concerns associated with modern smartphones with their Unity Battery Case for the Samsung Galaxy S4. The case has a built-in battery so effectively doubles the capacity and life of your Samsung Galaxy S4.
The uNu Unity Battery Case for the Samsung Galaxy S4 is a relatively simple design and comes in 3 parts. First there’s the battery which fits into your device and your existing battery hooks into. Your device then sits in a new bezel with a new back and it all clips together very well.
This is your new device – encapsulated in a protective casing encompassing two batteries. Access to all the ports is retained, and easily too. Charging is exactly the same as normal, since your old battery hooks into the new one so they feed off each other, which means both get charged simultaneously, and I didn’t even notice an increase in charge time, despite charging two batteries.
The uNu case is very well made, with the Galaxy S4 sitting nicely in the case with very little movement. If anything it was too snug, as it took some force and wiggling to actually get the device into the case.
And then comes the biggest factor with the case, and it was always going to be the killer feature. It’s not the design, or whether it makes your battery last longer, or even if it’s aesthetically pleasing. It’s just how much fatter does it make your nice slim Galaxy S4.
Obviously you’re effectively doubling the width of the device by adding another battery, and my initial reactions out of the box was that I didn’t like it. I bought the Galaxy S4 actually over the HTC One because I liked how it felt in my hands and the thinness of the device was a major plus point. To completely compromise this is a big deal, but surprisingly after only around an hour of use, I now actually prefer the feel of the device in the uNu Unity Case.
The uNu Unity case has a natural curve to it, which makes it extremely nice when sitting in your hand. By adding that additional thickness to the device, it oddly makes it feel more usable. The Galaxy S4 is thin, I mean really thin, and sometimes that can compromise usability by making it seem fragile. By adding a centimetre or two to the thickness it makes the device feel more solid – something I really liked about the case.
Naturally as well as the increased battery life, which we’ll get onto in a moment, it adds alot of protection to your device.
With such an increase in the thickness of the device, you want a hell of a lot of added functionality for that compromise, and the uNu Unity Case certainly delivers. The battery life is simply incredible. It is now 20:00 and I have had the device on since 06:00 this morning. During that time I have been playing Spotify for the 4 hours travelling I do, plus GPS whilst navigating Google Maps and playing Ingress, together with all the syncing going on with my Gmail and Facebook etc. and it’s still sitting at 56%.
I can deal with a few extra centimetres for that kind of result.
With these track results, you’d be looking at easily 2 days of heavy use before charging, and probably close to 4 days on light use. Those sorts of figures in a modern day smartphone are just unheard of, so uNu really knocked it out of the park here.
Of course, to accompany this, you have the added protection it physically gives your device, which is a nice peace-of-mind to have.
I have been pleasantly surprised by the uNu Unity Battery Case for the Samsung Galaxy S4 as I am someone who usually doesn’t entertain the idea of such a case, simply because I like the slim profile of my device. However, I have been completely turned by just how nice the uNu case feels to hold, and also the benefit adding another battery gives. I can finally not worry about staying next to a socket on the train ride home incase I run out of juice.
The uNu Unity Battery Case for the Samsung Galaxy S4 is available for $69.95, and I promise you it will certainly impress you.
The post uNu Unity Battery Case for Samsung Galaxy S4 Review appeared first on AndroidGuys.
Dashclock Widget creator Roman Nurik is back with a beautiful live wallpaper for your Android phone.
The appropriately named Muzei (or “museum” in Russian) sets a piece of art or custom photo as your phone wallpaper, rotating every night. The default setting adds a slight blur effect to the painting, blending in nicely with whatever you have on your homescreens. If you double tap an empty space on anywhere on your homescreen, it will toggle the blur, turning it back into a full-fledged piece of artwork.
The wallpaper hasn’t even been in the Play Store for more than two days, and it already has upwards of 50,000 installs. Seeing as how it is so popular already, we are going to take a look at just how great it is.
The big feature in this app is the “Featured Art” section. This rotates famous pieces of artwork as your wallpaper, chosen by Nurik and his fiancé. The rotations usually happen at around 9PM ET every night and so far we’ve seen work from Vincent van Gogh and Georges Seurat. There are definitely a lot more to come.
If classic artwork isn’t your thing, you can always choose custom photos to rotate every few hours. You can select entire galleries or just a handful of your favorites.
When I take pictures from my phone, I take a lot at one time. I tend to come back to the gallery and choose the best one, and leave all the others to be forgotten. The custom photo selector is a subtle way to remind you of pictures you once forgot about. Take a look at the original compared to the one with the blur effect.
It’s not a very good photo… at all. But with the slight blur effect that Muzei uses, it doesn’t look half bad. I almost want to go as far as saying that bad quality photos aren’t nearly as annoying to keep in your gallery anymore. Try this feature out – you’ll probably love it.
Openness seems to be a common trend in Nurik’s app design philosophy. For anyone who hasn’t yet tried Dashclock, the app comes with a basic set of useful extensions by default. The API is open to other developers, so they can create their own extensions. So far, before hitting the two day mark in the Play Store, Muzei already has countless extensions.
Some of the notable extensions so far are Reddit, APOD, and 500px. Muzei seems to have a bright future already, and let’s hope it’s as popular as Dashclock has grown to be.
This app is new… very new… so we are definitely going to expect some bugs. There have already been a few reported issues, but nothing that would completely turn anybody away from using it. And actually, Nurik has already addressed many of them, pushing out an update to the Play Store. We’ll have to see as time passes, but so far there haven’t been any huge issues.
You should download this.
This is usually the part where we review what we liked and didn’t like about the app. But I’m not going to do that. Muzei is too young to gripe about any substantial bugs, especially because it doesn’t have many at all. This app is gorgeous, and is filled with a huge amount of customization options. It’s still very early in the process to make any suggestions or improvements, but what I do know is this - If you want a beautiful and customizable live wallpaper for your phone, the Muzei Live Wallpaper is for you.
The post Muzei Live Wallpaper: The best live wallpaper we’ve ever used appeared first on AndroidGuys.
Rocket Robo is a side-scrolling puzzle game that you should download right away.
Every once in awhile a new game hits the Play Store, and the amount of work that went into making it blows you away. This is definitely one of those.
You play as a little robot sent out by an elderly tinker to collect stars to bring the light back to the night sky. You can touch the screen and tilt to fly around each world, dodging obstacles and collecting stars and secret treasures. The robot is really easy to maneuver, and the levels are diverse enough to make it an interesting experience. There are three different worlds in the game, and each one is pretty lengthy, so you won’t be bored anytime soon.
The graphics in this game are beautiful. They remind me a bit of Little Big Planet for the Playstation, with obstacles that are made from everyday objects. Once you get a bit further in the game, the levels become more diverse and complicated, and still really beautiful to watch.
This is quite honestly the best part of the game. It’s a little nontraditional compared to the type of game you’re playing, but it works. it keeps you engaged, and that’s what it’s there for.
The game includes a small story line, accessed through the main menu. It’s cute and it’s fun, and it gives you quite a bit of back story about the little robot. Most other games would just send you in to battle without telling you what you’re doing.
Should I buy it?
All in all, Rocket Robo is a difficult one to pass up. It’s 99 cents in the Play Store, and well worth it. Bad Kraken Games needs to keep making games like this, so 99 cents isn’t too much to ask, is it? Download it below, and play your heart out!
According to The Wall Street Journal, the next time you search for a chicken dinner on Yahoo you could be served up a Yelp review for the best bird in your hood. According to the paper’s source, Yahoo CEO Marisa Mayer announced a partnership that would surface Yelp reviews and listing in Yahoo’s search results, during a meeting Friday. Little else is known of the deal.
While the struggling internet company continues to see revenue fall, its latest earnings report revealed that search revenues for Q4 2013 were up eight percent over the same quarter the year before. The company is clearly still invested in its bread-and-butter, but it’s also made a push into content, signing names like David Pogue and Katie Couric to lead new news initiatives. During her CES keynote earlier this year, Mayer, who previously led search at Google, underlined Yahoo’s commitment to search, revealing it added 869 partners, and conducted 600 related experiments in 2013.
Filed under: Internet
Source: The Wall Street Journal