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26
Jul

Microsoft working on customized Android launcher called Arrow Launcher


microsoft arrowIt’s been pretty clear that Microsoft would rather work on building apps and services for Android and iOS instead of pushing their own Windows Phone platform lately, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Windows Phone lacks a decent market share, so if Microsoft wants people to use their services, they’ll have to continue to rely on other platforms. Samsung’s partnership with Microsoft for bonus OneDrive storage and preloaded Microsoft apps is a pretty good indicator or this.

While Microsoft already offers apps for some of their own apps, like Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, and all kinds of other things, their next step looks to be creating a standalone launcher for Android phones. The launcher, called Arrow Launcher, sticks to Microsoft’s design language pretty closely, although in its early stages its seriously lacking any customization, which is a big selling point for many Android launchers.

Arrow Launcher features three home pages, which you can’t increase of decrease. The left most screen offers a quick look at your contacts, the middle screen shows your frequent and recently accessed apps (and no, you can’t change those), while the far right screen exclusively features Notes and Reminders. It’s a little constricting, but it’s simple and effective, which seems to be what Microsoft is good at.

Swiping up from the bottom of the launcher opens a dock where you can set a few custom shortcuts and have access to your app drawer, and Microsoft has built in automatic wallpaper changing with Bing integration. That’s the extent of customization, though; no icon packs or changing icon sizes or anything else you’ll find on the vast majority of third-party Android launchers.

Arrow Launcher is currently in closed beta on Google+, so you can request access if you’re interested in trying it out.

The launcher seems pretty cool, even without all the customization options we’re used to. This is probably a better approach for Microsoft instead of just making a copycat launcher and slapping their logo on it. It might also be a hint at Microsoft adopting Android for their upcoming smartphones, but take that one with a grain of salt.

source: Microsoft News

Arrow Launcher Beta

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26
Jul

HTC ‘Hima Aero’ allegedly heading to AT&T


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Things are not going too well over at HTC. The Taiwanese company is shipping fewer devices, delaying new hardware, and losing money at a rapid pace. Chairwoman Cher Wang has had to apologize to shareholders for its slumping performance. As Wang hinted, HTC will seemingly have a flagship coming this fall to try and prevent any further damage.

On Twitter, Evan Blass noted that a device known as ‘Hima Aero’ is on its way to AT&T. This is likely going to be the flagship that comes in to potentially give HTC the holiday season it so desperately needs. A Quad HD (2560×1440) display and ground-breaking camera technology are among the specifications for this phone.

Source: HTC Vietnam, Evan Blass (Twitter)
Via: Phone Arena (1), (2)

Come comment on this article: HTC ‘Hima Aero’ allegedly heading to AT&T

26
Jul

Benchmarks for Verizon’s Galaxy Note 5 appear online


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Today, alleged benchmarks for the Verizon variant of the Galaxy Note 5, SM-N920V, have come out.

The benchmarks indicate that the phone, which is running Android 5.1.1, will indeed come with Samsung’s Exynos 7420 processor, the same processor found within the Galaxy S6. The single-core score came to 1418 and the multi-core score was 4399 points. This is interesting because despite having 4GB over the Galaxy S6’s 3GB of RAM, it has a benchmark score slightly lower than its older sibling the Galaxy S6.

Do note that this may not be the actual device and just be a unit for testing. In the past, Samsung saved its Galaxy Note devices for IFA in Berlin; however, this year, the company may jump ahead and reveal the Galaxy Note 5 on August 12.

Source: Geekbench
Via: Phone Arena

Come comment on this article: Benchmarks for Verizon’s Galaxy Note 5 appear online

26
Jul

5 things we want to see from the OnePlus Two!


One of the breakout devices of last year was definitely the OnePlus One and the Chinese company behind it, OnePlus, came out of nowhere with a limited budget to become a widely recognised manufacturer.

The handset certainly wasn’t perfect but now, 15 months later, the company is set to launch its successor and based on some leaks and teasers, it’s certainly fixed a few of the flaws with its predecessor. We’ve already been treated to some of the hardware and camera information, but what else should we expect from what could be this year’s flagship killer?

Here are 5 things we want (or hope) to see from the OnePlus Two:

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Easier Availability

Although the OnePlus One had fantastic specs at an affordable price for most users, the handset wasn’t readily available to buy. OnePlus introduced the concept of the invite system to buy its handset but its mis-calculation on the expected demand for the handset meant its inventory was considerably smaller than the number of people wanting to buy it.

As a result, invites were in limited supply with an entire after-market trade set up for people desperately wanting to buy the handset. Folks were paying more for an invite than the phone was actually worth, and the company even announced a marketing blunder requiring ladies to send in photos of themselves to skip the invite process. Even with that said, the demand from consumers was still there.

The company has already confirmed that they’ve learnt from their mistakes and the OnePlus Two supply will be considerably larger; 30 to 50 times larger at launch than the OnePlus One was in fact. At the same time, we’d like to see the handset have wider shipping options and if the company can make the handset more available in the US and Europe, it may live up to its billing as 2015’s flagship killer.

More Software Features

One of the biggest decisions in the OnePlus One was the choice to partner with Cyanogen for the software, although this partnership ended in a rather messy divorce. Although its partnership with Cyanogen did deliver a fully functional software experience, the public falling out resulting in OnePlus hiring its own team to develop its own version of Android.

Based on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop, the new Oxygen OS was in stark contrast to Cyanogen Mod (and the CM12 update based on the same version of Android) as it was essentially stock Android with a few UX tweaks and feature additions. While the switch from CM to OxygenOS did result in a lot of customisation options being removed, it delivered impressive speed, performance and a clean experience that appeals to most power users.

Many of the developers behind the popular Paranoid Android custom ROM were hired by OnePlus to deliver its software experience and while the initial feature set was certainly barebones, we’re expecting the company to deliver many more software features in its latest OS. The company has teased that Oxygen OS on the OnePlus Two will deliver plenty of new features – including some that won’t be available on other Android phones until Android M – and given the developers behind OxygenOS, we can’t wait to see what they have in store.

Design

Like other affordable devices, the OnePlus One didn’t have the outstanding design you might see from a much more expensive design but the handset was definitely unique and had a certain appeal. The Sandstone Black version of the handset had a lovely two-tone finish while the white version looked stylish and appealing to boot.

Alongside the handset itself, OnePlus teased us with its unique StyleSwap covers, allowing you to add finishes like Bamboo to your handset after you’d already bought them. One of its other issues (which we’ll touch on below) reared its head however as just a few months later, the covers were cancelled due to Quality Assurance issues.

OnePlus One in video

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In its blog post announcing the cancellation however, the company did confirm that it had recognised some of the flaws in both the handset release mechanism and the cover design and as a result, the StyleSwap covers would be back with the OnePlus Two. With so much demand for the StyleSwap covers but so little supply, we hope that OnePlus will make the covers available at launch with enough supply to satisfy likely demand.

Improved Camera

On paper, the OnePlus One camera was certainly impressive as it offered a 13MP fully capable snapper but while images were fine, they were often soft and noisy when used in less than ideal lighting conditions. The phone maker then rolled out an update that bought the new Clear Image feature, which captured a burst of 10 photos and stitched them together for a cleaner, higher-resolution image.

Read more: OnePlus Two camera details revealed by MKBHD

With the OnePlus Two we want to see OnePlus make improvements in both the hardware and the software. With the less than perfect images captured in low light, the addition of Optical Image Stabilisation should help improve handling of light. Improved post-processing of images would also mean richer, less noisy images that deliver the overall picture quality found on the big flagships; the Galaxy S6 / S6 Edge and the LG G4.

Better Quality Assurance

Being a Chinese manufacturer, OnePlus has done exceptionally well to sell millions of handsets despite the stigma that is commonly attributed to Chinese OEMs but it has run into one large issue; Quality Assurance. From reports of DOA (Defective/Dead on Arrival) units to a tint issue with the display on early handsets and the handset overheating, the reliability of its first smartphone certainly left a little to be desired.

With the OnePlus Two, its crucial that the company manages to nail the reliability so even early units do not have defects and the initial online feedback is positive. As its first device, customers tolerated any issues with the OnePlus One but a failure to deliver better reliability of the OnePlus Two could see customers lose faith in the company.

The OnePlus Two will be powered by Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 810 processor, which has been the subject of much speculation about whether it overheats or not, a claim that Qualcomm has vehemently denied. With the original OnePlus One overheating, the company certainly needs to ensure that its power and resource management handles the temperature of the handset to prevent it overheating and applications force closing.

Read – OnePlus Two Benchmarks Caught on Video

With any mass produced device, there will inevitably be units that may have slight defects but dealing with these is where a company can truly earn its customer loyalty. When people have had issues with their OnePlus One handsets, many have reported that OnePlus wasn’t fast in its willingness to help resolve the issue and this is where the company needs to work.

Every product will have problems – these are intricate pieces of complex technology at the end of the day – and as long as OnePlus is quick and helpful in resolving any issues that do arise, it will still have a stellar handset in the OnePlus Two.

OnePlus Two – What do we know so far?

That’s what we hope to see from the OnePlus Two but what do we know so far? There have been plenty of rumours – both unofficial leaks and confirmed details from OnePlus itself – and we’ve even been treated to a render of what is purportedly the handset.

Ahead of the launch on July 27th, our very own Jayce recapped all the rumours and information we’ve got up to date in our OnePlus Two rumour roundup, which you can see below.

Don’t miss: OnePlus Two rumor roundup

Remember, we’ll be going hands on with the OnePlus Two in less than 48 hours to deliver you the very best hands on videos and coverage of all things OnePlus Two! What do you think of the OnePlus Two and the information we have so far? What do you want to see in the OnePlus Two? Let us know your views in the comments below guys!

Now read – Most Anticipated Smartphones for the rest of 2015 

26
Jul

Super QuickHook game swings by the Google Play Store


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Need a good dose of mobile gaming for the weekend? Worry not, for developer Noodlecake Studios has released Super QuickHooks on Android; it is packed with enough action and addiction to keep you entertained for hours on end.

Super QuickHooks is actually quite an old mobile game. It was released back in 2010 for iOS, and fans have been hoping to see it hit the Google Play Store since then. I suppose sometimes it really is better late than never… but 5 years? Give us Android users some love!

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The game is fast-paced and very entertaining. It consists of “conquering Eagle Mountain” by using a grappling hook to swing your way through ice caverns, volcanic caves, meadows and other rough terrain. In a way, it does seem like a more elaborated, Flappy Bird-like game. It’s not easy and will definitely keep you on your toes.

Super QuickHooks is much more complex than most direct competitors, though. It consists of 24 levels with multiple paths and even hidden areas. Furthermore, the character and equipment can be upgraded, so the game certainly has its RPG elements. You can even ghost race your friends and enter infinite avalanche mode.

Don’t let that pixelated resolution scare you! Syuper QuickHooks is fun and very well-developed. The only downside is that you will have to spend a few bucks if you want to swing your way around for hours. This title costs $2.99, but it is very well worth it if you are into this style of games.

Super QuickHooks hasn’t picked up too many users just yet, but will probably do soon. Especially considering its reviews are great, and mostly come from people who loved the game on their iOS devices. Are you buying?

Download Super QuickHooks from the Google Play Store

26
Jul

Microsoft Arrow Launcher for Android now in private beta (APK download)


arrow-launcher

There’s a plethora of great Android launchers out there (here’s a list of our favorite), but very few of them come from large companies like Microsoft. Though the Redmond giant is one of Google’s biggest competitors, they are proving to be much more platform friendly by creating a new Android launcher.

The application goes by the name of Arrow Launcher, and it is currently under private beta. As you can expect, not everyone has access to it just yet. You can get your hands on it a couple ways, which we will describe later in the post. For now, let’s just tell you what this new launcher is all about.

My experience with the Arrow Launcher

Let’s start by telling you this is no simple Metro UI clone or anything of the sort. In fact, I would have never guessed it was made by Micrososft if I had no knowledge of the project. The tech company is putting effort into making a launcher that is optimized for the Android experience and simplifies your usage. In fact, this looks nothing like what Microsoft usually does with its own software.

The launcher is simple and aims to put all your relevant content front and center. It won’t be the best product for those who get a kick out of customizing their experience in every single way, as you can barely make any changes to it, but that is part of the beauty of Arrow Launcher. You install it and forget about it.

What Arrow Launcher can offer is a very simple and clean interface that will help you avoid unnecessary steps just to access your applications, contacts, messages and other content. The main home screen is nothing but a full board of apps that you are likely to use.

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The launcher’s home page compiles your usage data and groups your apps in two sections: “Recent” (1 row) and “Frequent” (3 rows). This makes it incredibly easy to find your most relevant applications, and it should dynamically change as your habits evolve. In the time I have been using it, I hardly find the need to go into the app drawer.

Swype to the left and you will similarly find your recent and frequent contacts. The system does mix calls, messages emails and emails in this section. Alternatively, navigate all the way to the page on the right end and you will be met by a Notes & Reminders section, where you can organize your errands as you wish.

That’s it for home screens. No hassles or complicated pages – just the bare necessities. Now, let’s turn to the dock. This part of the launcher is definitely among my favorites, because it’s where you will have the most choice. The user can literally drag the dock up to display a whole other section with recent contacts, a few option buttons and an extra set of dock shortcuts. These can be edited and customized to show whichever apps you prefer, just in case the frequent and recent ones are not always on point.

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Furthermore, the app launcher is amazingly simple to use. All your applications are alphabetized and it’s a breeze navigating through them by swiping up and down (the traditional way). It’s also possible to drag your finger through the letters on the right side in order to more easily navigate through your long list of apps, or you can simply perform a search on the top area.

Conclusion

This pretty much embodies what this launcher is all about. It’s so easy it’s almost ridiculous, but that can be a good thing for those who don’t want to deal with spending time working on their launchers. Users have to sacrifice customization to get quick access to everything, though. It’s not your traditional launcher; I would probably say it’s most closely related to Nokia’s Z Launcher style.

I will continue to use it for a few days, so you can go ahead and ask me questions about it in the comments. So far I can say I like its functionality, but the geek in me believes it leaves much to be desired in customization matters. I like keeping tight control on how my UI is organized. Arrow Launcher is for those who want a “smarter” launcher that can do the heavy lifting for them.

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How to get Microsoft’s Arrow Launcher

As mentioned above, Arrow Launcher is not public just yet, but it’s not necessarily hard to get your hands on it. There are two ways to test Arrow Launcher.

  1. Request to be added to the Arrow Launcher Beta Google+ community.
  2. Download the APK file and manually install Arrow Launcher.
26
Jul

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Mini gets spotted by blurrycam






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As inevitably as there is a Galaxy S device released by Samsung, there is always a Galaxy S Mini release to follow. Today, we are apparently getting our first look at the smaller version of the Galaxy S6, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Mini, and well, there’s not much to tell in the photo apart from the fact it looks very similar to the Galaxy S6. With no point of reference, we can’t really say how much smaller it is than the Galaxy S6, but history tells us we’d likely be looking at a device in the 4.5-inch region. Check out the photos that were included in the leak below:

Samsung Galaxy S6 Mini
Samsung Galaxy S6 Mini
Samsung Galaxy S6 Mini
Samsung Galaxy S6 Mini

Based on previous Mini devices from Samsung, we can expect to see significantly scaled down hardware for an accordingly shrunk premium price. What’s interesting is that the rumours are pointing at the Galaxy S6 Mini being announced sometime in August – it just so happens that Samsung is apparently going to have an event to announced the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus in August, so we can probably expect the Galaxy S6 Mini to make an appearance there too.


What do you think about the Samsung Galaxy S6 Mini? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Phone Arena

 

The post The Samsung Galaxy S6 Mini gets spotted by blurrycam appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

26
Jul

Twitter is erasing stolen jokes


Twitter on a Galaxy S6 Edge

Hang around Twitter for long enough and there’s a good chance that you’ll see people rehashing jokes that clearly aren’t theirs, whether they’re spam bots or less-than-original friends. You might not see that copy-pasted humor for much longer, though: Plagiarism Is Bad has noticed that Twitter is deleting and hiding rip-off joke tweets due to reports “from the copyright holder.” While the causes likely vary, freelance writer Olga Lexell says that it’s because she genuinely depends on Twitter for a living. She’s field-testing jokes, and would rather not have others claim them as their own.

The deletions could do some good for a social network where it’s all too easy to pilfer text instead of retweeting. However, it also raises the potential for copyright abuse. Lexell notes to The Verge that Twitter usually scraps offending tweets without asking follow-up questions — it’s not clear just what research the company is doing to verify that the copyright claims are legit. After all, it’s possible for someone to swipe content from other sites and pass it off as a Twitter first. We’ve reached out to Twitter to learn more. Here’s hoping that the company is diligent, since you probably don’t want to see your witty remarks pulled down simply because they’re vaguely similar to some earlier saying.

Filed under: Internet

Comments

Via: The Verge

Source: Plagiarism Is Bad (Twitter)

26
Jul

Photos of the Motorola Moto G (2015) box leak


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Pictures of the upcoming Moto G (2015) have leaked showing the device in its retail box. The specs of the device written on the back of the box are also shown in the photos, confirming that the new Moto G will come with a 5-inch 720p display, sport a quad-core 1.4GHz CPU (Snapdragon 410 SoC) and be water resistant. Apparently, the Moto G comes with a pair of extra back covers, such as the blue and green ones shown above. The screen protector also confirms that the device will have a dual micro SIM functionality. Finally, the back of the box says that the Moto G will have IPX7 protection, making the device water resistant.

Official specs and other details of the device will be officially confirmed during Motorola’s event this Tuesday.

Source: HelloMotoHk (Facebook)
Via: Phone Arena

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26
Jul

OnePlus’ releases app for viewing the launch of the OnePlus 2


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On Monday, OnePlus will introduce its next flagship phone to the world. This won’t be a typical announcement because the company is going to utilize virtual reality for the debut of the OnePlus 2. Through the OnePlus Cardboard app, people can stream the launch event as it happens. OnePlus claims that this is the world’s first product launch in virtual reality; however, people without a viewer to insert their phone into can still witness what OnePlus has coming. Everyone is welcome to attend using the official OnePlus 2 Launch app.

Will you be watching? The event starts at 10:00PM ET on July 27.

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Play Store Download Link

Source: OnePlus

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