Five for Friday: Apps to make your photos beautiful
Without question, documenting our lives from our smartphones has become so commonplace that we forget when we actually had to use film just 20 years ago. Some of you have probably never used a film camera, and are used to endless photos that you never have to delete.
We take pictures of our hikes, cats, dogs, bunnies, babies, flowers, scenery, food, and the list goes on and on. For the photos we choose to share there are tools available to make them even better with simple edits. We have selected five powerful and easy to use photo editing apps you can use on your Android smartphones and tablets.
Without further ado, here’s five Android apps you should consider right now if you like to make your photos look spectacular. We’ll let you know some of the main details as to what you can expect, but trust in knowing they are all excellent.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
- Photo details just one, two-finger tap away.
- Unfortunately suffers from some laggy input.
- “Flick to rate” – rate your pictures from 1-5 stars with a vertical swipe.
- Extremely varied array of options; more fine-tuning than any of the other apps in this list.
Adobe Photoshop Express
- Adobe ID support.
- Lots of frames and trim to choose from.
- Manual red-eye correction – select the red eyes, and they vanish like magic.
- Blemish correction – works like a dream. Very impressive.
- Option to “view original” – handy for the times you’re making a lot of changes all at once.
- Collage Creator – tons of layouts to choose from, built into the app.
- Text Additions – add captions to your photos with ease.
- Lots of frames, lots of editing options.
- Best interface of the bunch. Completely swipe-based, very smooth.
- Perspective options – unique to this app.
- Manual modifications using brushes – also unique.
- As with the others, many vignettes and filters.
Adobe Photoshop Mix
- Remove backgrounds and mix photos.
- MUST log in with an Adobe ID.
- Only basic editing tools. More about picture modification.
- Ability to combine two different photos with ease.
The post Five for Friday: Apps to make your photos beautiful appeared first on AndroidGuys.
Potential Project Ara modular smartphone benchmarked
A post on GFXBench could show some of the features of Google’s Project Ara modular smartphone, said to feature two separate storage modules.
The apparent specs sheet appearing on the benchmarking website may simply be detailing a prototype build of the modular smartphone, but it makes for an interesting read nonetheless.
According to the document, Google’s Project Ara device runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and features a 1920 x 1080 touchscreen display. Although the benchmark lists the screen at 13.8-inches, this might be a mistake. 13.8cm converted to inches is around 5.4-inches, which is obviously more realistic for a smartphone screen.
Another theory is that the benchmark is detailing a Project Ara tablet, although there’s been no word from Google that such a device is in the works.
Interestingly, the benchmark lists two different storage figures at 10GB and 25GB, which could mean that the smartphone was equipped with two separate storage modules during testing.
The device is running on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor and Adreno 430 GPU, offering 2.7Gb of memory.
In terms of camera power, the document mentions a 0.3-megapixel back camera with autofocus technology, face detection software and flash. It doesn’t support HDR image capture, however. The front camera is listed at 4.8-megapixels.
Other features mentioned for the potential Google gadget include an accelerometer, Bluetooth, NFC, a pedometer, a barometer and a compass.
Whether or not we’re looking at the actual specs of Google’s Project Ara smartphone remains to be seen, but the document spotted on GFXBench certainly has us excited. It looks like we’re edging closer to the day where we can build our smartphones at home with all the ingredients we choose.
Come comment on this article: Potential Project Ara modular smartphone benchmarked
The Wirecutter’s best deals: A Vizio smart TV and more!
This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a buyer’s guide to the best technology. Read their continuously updated list of deals at TheWirecutter.com.
You may have already seen Engadget posting reviews from our friends at The Wirecutter. Now, from time to time, we’ll also be publishing their recommended deals on some of their top picks. Read on, and strike while the iron is hot — some of these sales could expire mighty soon.
Vizio M43-C1 43-inch Smart LED TV
Street price: $550; MSRP: $600; deal price: $498
This matches the best price we’ve seen on this TV, which was set during Black Friday sales. We saw this price a couple times around then, from both Costco and Amazon, but haven’t seen it drop since.
The Vizio M43-C1 TV is our pick for the best TV around $500. Chris Heinonen said, “The Vizio M43-C1 offers the darkest blacks, the best contrast ratios, five HDMI inputs, superior daytime performance, and Ultra HD resolution for the best overall package.”
Jaybird X2 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
Street price: $144; MSRP: $180; deal price: $128
This isn’t quite the lowest price we’ve seen on these headphones, but it comes within $3 of that mark. We haven’t seen them drop this low since the holidays. This deal is for the Alpha color headphones, but you can also get the Ice and Midnight models for just $1 more.
The Jaybird X2s are the runner-up pick in our guide on the best wireless exercise headphones. Lauren Dragan said, “They are light, they stay put, they sound fantastic, they have a lifetime warranty against sweat damage (which, if you sweat through one pair of headphones a year, can really add up!), they charge pretty quickly (around 2 hours), they have a nice case, and you can wear them several different ways, depending on what works for you.”
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 Digital Camera
Street price: $750; MSRP: $900; deal price: $700
While this isn’t as good as the eBay deal (down to $600) we posted back in December, this is the best price it’s ever been at Amazon. Except for eBay, this camera has stayed firm at $750 pretty much everywhere. This $50 drop from street price makes for a good discount.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 is the upgrade pick in our guide on the best superzoom camera. Amadou Diallo said, “The Panasonic FZ1000’s sensor is four times larger (and several times better) than the one in our main pick. Spending the extra money on this model gets you shallower depth of field, less image noise at high ISO settings, and a lens that lets in a lot more light. You do have to settle for a rather limited 16x zoom range, though.”
DeWalt DCBL790H140V MAX Lithium Ion XR Brushless Blower
Street price: $332; MSRP: $370; deal price: $295
This is the best price we’ve ever seen on this model, beating the previous low by $12. This is the first time it has dropped below $320 in almost a year.
The DeWalt is the portable pick in our guide on the best leaf blower. Doug Mahoney said, “It offers power comparable to that of our corded picks, and with a 22-minute run time, it has twice the stamina of the four other cordless models we tested. We also liked its pro-grade durability and beefy design; it feels tougher than the other cordless (and corded) models we tried.”
Deals change all the time, and some of these may have expired. To see an updated list of current deals, please go to The Wirecutter.com.
Twitter explains its handling of ISIS-linked accounts
One way ISIS has distinguished itself from other terrorist organizations is its use of social media to spread news and recruit followers. Now, following Google and Facebook, Twitter is revealing info about what it’s doing to stop extremist groups from using the service to get their messages out. According to a story tweeted by its @Policy account, since mid-2015 Twitter has already banned some 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts. It’s also increased the size of its team reviewing those reports, and turned spam fighting tools against the groups to help filter out related accounts that pop up.
Since mid-2015, we have suspended over 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts. Read more here: https://t.co/FQJeOTtPLz
— Policy (@policy) February 5, 2016
Tweets by @TrustySupport!function(d,s,id)var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s),p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id))js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+”://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js”;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);(document,”script”,”twitter-wjs”);
Source: Twitter Blog
This is apparently the front of the HTC One M10
Later this month, Samsung and LG will be hosting events in Barcelona during MWC 2016 while HTC skips the conference to launch the One M10 at a later date. The reason for this is that HTC needs to be in the spotlight all on its own and avoid being overshadowed by two of its biggest competitors. So, until we finally see the company announce the handset, we’ll have rely upon leaks and reports to get an idea of what the One M10 will offer. Evan Blass, who exposes devices rapidly and accurately, revealed yesterday that the handset won’t have the annoying logo-stamped black bar below the display like the One (M7), One (M8), and One M9 did. But now we know what the front of the next One installment should look like.
Blass returned today to share an image of the HTC One M10 roaming around in the wild.
The image (seen above) shows the front of the One M10, which, yes, does heavily resemble Apple’s iPhone. We see that the black bar is indeed gone and a fingerprint scanner is integrated below the display. And that would align with a previous report that the handset will have a home button similar to the ones found on Samsung’s devices. It seems HTC is going to ditch on-screen buttons and stick with a somewhat physical home button, solving one of my biggest complaints regarding the HTC One A9.
Display size seems reasonable, likely assuring everyone that it won’t be above 5.5 inches. Sources say the display will measure 5.1 inches and have Quad HD (2560×1440) resolution.
Other specifications for the One M10 are said to include Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor with 4GB of RAM, an Adreno 530 GPU, and 32GB of internal storage.
Again, don’t expect the One M10 at MWC 2015 in a few weeks because HTC wants to go solo with an event that should be scheduled for March or April.
Source: Evan Blass (Twitter)
Come comment on this article: This is apparently the front of the HTC One M10
Apple says the iPhone-breaking Error 53 is a security measure
If you’re an iPhone owner who hasn’t had a run-in with the dreaded Error 53, consider yourself lucky. The error — which usually forces iPhones with replacement screens or home buttons into a boot loop after attempting a software update — was widely considered a bug until Apple cleared things up in with The Guardian earlier today.
“We protect fingerprint data using a secure enclave, which is uniquely paired to the touch ID sensor. When iPhone is serviced by an authorised Apple service provider or Apple retail store for changes that affect the touch ID sensor, the pairing is re-validated,” Apple said. “This check ensures the device and the iOS features related to touch ID remain secure. Without this unique pairing, a malicious touch ID sensor could be substituted, thereby gaining access to the secure enclave. When iOS detects that the pairing fails, touch ID, including Apple Pay, is disabled so the device remains secure.”
Apple tacitly admitted that its exchange with The Guardian was a little jargon-heavy by releasing this new, official statement.
“We take customer security very seriously and Error 53 is the result of security checks designed to protect our customers. iOS checks that the Touch ID sensor in your iPhone or iPad correctly matches your device’s other components. If iOS finds a mismatch, the check fails and Touch ID, including for Apple Pay use, is disabled. This security measure is necessary to protect your device and prevent a fraudulent Touch ID sensor from being used. If a customer encounters Error 53, we encourage them to contact Apple Support.”
So, fine, that’s fair — Apple’s concerns about an ersatz Touch ID sensor compromising an iPhone’s security aren’t off-base. The bigger issue comes into play when the phone’s owner tries to restore or update the software — that process triggers “additional security checks” that seem to flag the hardware change and trigger an Error 53. Most of the reports on Apple’s support forums and hobbyist sites like iFixit maintain this is when their devices get stuck in a boot loop, which seems downright crazy. Why doesn’t Apple just refuse to authorize the update and let the phone continue working (sans Touch ID, of course)?
Apple’s statement concludes with a note for customers who encounter an “unrecoverable” Error 53 to contact Apple support, but since the third-party hardware installation that caused the error also violates Apple’s warranty, the only way out seems to involve lots of currency. Even more concerning is how this issue seems to pop even when damaged phones haven’t been repaired by a stranger. The Daily Dot’s Mike Wehner has probably the most-cited case out there — his iPhone 6 Plus fell into the Error 53 pit after weeks of intermittent Touch ID spottiness, prompting to him to present it to puzzled Apple Store employees for an eventual replacement. While he was unlucky to get hit with the issue in the first place, at least he an Apple Store nearby that could help out — that’s certainly not the case for many other affected users.
[TA Deals] Get an understanding for Arduino with this guide (92% off)
Getting into programming and automation is tough. There’s no denying that. Arduino, one of the most popular platforms for beginners to try, isn’t all that easy either. But it doesn’t have to be difficult if you learn the right way. On Talk Android Deals, the Arduino Step-by-Step: Your Complete Guide package went up with a hefty discount. It offers hours of content and a mound of material to allow you to test yourself and make sure you understand everything. The potential outcome is that you’re directing basic robots and other smart tools upon spending less than $20.
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Come comment on this article: [TA Deals] Get an understanding for Arduino with this guide (92% off)
MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Lifetime Plex Pass
For this week’s giveaway, we’ve teamed up with Plex to offer one MacRumors reader a chance to win a lifetime Plex Pass that provides access to all of Plex’s premium features.
Plex is a media server and personal content library for TV shows, music, movies, and photos. It’s designed to organize personal media collections, allowing videos and music to be streamed to TVs, iOS devices, Macs, and more, both locally and remotely. With Plex, you can download the media server to your Mac, store your content in a folder, and then stream it directly to an iOS device or the new Apple TV via the Plex app.
Plex is especially useful for those of you with a fourth-generation Apple TV, which is the first Apple TV to officially support the Plex service. Check out our walkthrough of how it works below:
Plex is free to use, but unlocking all of its features requires the Plex Pass, priced at $4.99 per month, $39.99 per year, or $149.99 for a lifetime. A Plex Pass includes access to Gracenote Music Magic and Vevo Music Videos, both of which enhance your music collection through playlist creation and added music videos.
It also enables Mobile Sync features, Plex Home for managed accounts, and Cloud Syncing options to sync content from the Plex Media Server to a cloud storage provider. Other Plex Pass features include Camera Upload, access to Trailers, and early access to new Plex apps.
One MacRumors reader will win a lifetime Plex Pass through our giveaway. To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winner and send the prizes.
You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page. Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older are eligible to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.jsThe contest will run from today (February 5) at 11:15 a.m. Pacific Time through 11:15 a.m. Pacific Time on February 12. The winner will be chosen randomly on February 12 and will be contacted by email. The winner has 48 hours to respond a before a new winner is chosen.
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Need an Uber? Ask Alexa
Need to order a ride from Uber but don’t want to bother taking your phone out of your pocket? You’re in luck.
Uber has integrated its API with Alexa, the brain behind Amazon Echo. Just say “Alexa, order me an Uber” or “Alexa, ask Uber to get me a car” and soon, one will show up at your door. Other variants of that phrase will work too, Uber said, but those are a good place to start. You can also ask “Alexa, how far away is my Uber” and your Echo will tell you when to expect your ride.
To sync Uber and Echo, set your Echo’s location in the settings of your Echo app. Then, in the skills section of the app, enable the Uber skill and link your account. Bonus: If you’re new to Uber, use the code 15Alexa to get $15 off your ride.
Uber is hardly the first service to integrate with Echo. Spotify recently came to Echo and Ford announced at CES 2016 that it was going to integrate Echo into some of its vehicles. Alarm.com has also announced that it would be using Echo for its smart home control.
Come comment on this article: Need an Uber? Ask Alexa
Slow down, Apple: Perfect your iOS apps before moving to Android
Apple CEO Tim Cook let an intriguing bit of news slip earlier this week at a town hall meeting with the company’s employees. Apple Music for Android was apparently just a first step: The company is considering bringing more of its software and services to Google’s mobile OS.
It sounds a little crazy, as Apple’s message for decades has been how well its software and hardware work together. But both Google and Microsoft are infiltrating iOS with their own excellent apps, pushing many of Apple’s services to the side. Cook may feel he needs to fight back and bring more Apple apps to Android — but he first needs to make sure the company’s software runs better on its own hardware than it currently does.
It’s a refrain you’ve likely heard already. Many of Apple’s apps and services have become too buggy to recommend using full time, or they’re entirely outclassed by what Google offers. Raise your hand if you have a folder on your iPhone full of native Apple apps you never use … yup, that’s a lot of you. Now raise your hand if you use iCloud email, iCloud Drive or the default iOS Notes or Reminders apps instead of third-party options like Gmail, Dropbox, Wunderlist, Evernote and so on. Not nearly as many of you are raising your hand this time.
I don’t want to wax hyperbolic and say that Apple’s software is irrevocably broken and not worth using. I actually use nearly all of its services pretty extensively, and when they work well they are absolutely better at working across multiple Apple devices than a lot of third-party options. ICloud Calendars, Notes, Reminders and even Apple’s email app with iCloud Mail work fine if your needs are basic, and the way they integrate between iOS and OS X is a killer feature. But, true to form, there isn’t a lot of customization or flexibility there.
Apple’s apps have become either too bloated and complex or too basic with key features missing.
And if the app isn’t too basic, it’s too overwrought and complex. The greatest examples of these problems are illustrated in iTunes, which has grown into an unwieldy, bloated monster doing too many things at once, and Apple Music, which is powerful but not terribly intuitive. The company’s new Photos app for the Mac and corresponding iCloud Photo Library for iOS are more examples; once you take the time to figure out how they work, they’re a solid, sometimes excellent solution. But at first glance, understanding how your photos are backed up and synced through iCloud is not at all clear.
Then there are the bugs. I frequently have an infuriating time making AirDrop work. My first experience with the company’s new Music Memos app led to song sketches disappearing and reappearing at iCloud’s whim. And too often I find that the App Store isn’t downloading updates for me, even though I have auto-update turned on. None of these are dealbreakers per se, but I wager that most iOS users have their own list of bugs that pop up from time to time with no apparent explanation.
That’s not to say that the competition is perfect, either. No software works flawlessly all the time, and Apple does a lot of things right. Continuity and Handoff between the Mac and iPhone are great features, and iMessage for Android would be an absolutely killer app. But it would be even better if Apple tightened up its software ship first. I get excited every year when Apple shows off upcoming iOS and OS X updates at WWDC, but things rarely play together as well as they do in the company’s expertly managed demos.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t an upside for Apple here: Cook is clearly looking at the success Google and Microsoft have had bringing their services to iOS lately. Microsoft has been unable to get people to buy its phones, but under CEO Satya Nadella, the company now offers Office, Bing and even Cortana on the screens people use the most — that’s iOS and Android. And for years now Google has put nearly all of its often-excellent services on Apple’s platforms. (The less we talk about the one notable exception, the abominable Gmail for iOS, the better.)
Apple might try the “put your apps where everyone is” strategy that Google and Microsoft have used.
Historically, Apple has resisted this strategy, refusing to bring its software to platforms it doesn’t control. ITunes and now Apple Music have been the notable exceptions, and both served an obvious purpose. ITunes for Windows helped accelerate iPod sales, and the dominance of the iTunes Store eventually made it easier for everyone to buy an iPhone back when you needed iTunes to manage your phone. And mobile is probably the most important place a streaming service needs to be; not having Apple Music on Android would make it near impossible to compete with Spotify.
The case for bringing other services to Android is a little murkier, but basically it comes down to the same “put your software where users are” strategy that Google and Microsoft already follow. Android won the market-share battle, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. But having access to services like iMessage, the iCloud suite, the iTunes Store and Apple’s new photo-syncing solution would make using an Android phone with a Mac (or an iPad) a lot easier. And Apple made it clear last week that it will rely on its growing services business to drive revenue in the months to come.
If Apple can simplify its more complex apps while adding a few features to its more basic offerings, a cross-platform Apple app suite would be a lot more appealing. There’s a middle ground that the company has had a hard time hitting lately in software design and functionality. But if it can get back there, Apple will have a chance of making some inroads on Google’s home turf.