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22
Mar

Even the Justice League will be jealous of these Batman and Superman themes


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Tell me … does your theme bleed awesomeness?

We’re ready to see Batman and Superman duke it out for a few hours before they team up to beat down Facebook founder lookalike Lex Luthor. They’re even bringing along a Wonder Woman we have a lot of hope for and an Aquaman that I’m gonna cheer on even if he’s not the Aquaman I’d prefer. (I’ll take as much Aquaman as I can, but could we get one with a sense of humor on the big screen once?)

While some Android phones can get Superman or Batman cases, maybe, if your phone is popular enough with casemakers, but we don’t limit our themes to a case. We’re not iPhone users, for Duarte’s sake. So we’ve assembled two themes to bring the badass of Batman to your icons, your widgets, and the rest of your home screen.

Let’s put some super in your phone.

Superman

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Superman Components:

  • Wallpaper
  • Zwart Icon Pack (Free)
  • House of El Custom Icon
  • Jack’s Music Widget (Free, $1.99)
  • 1Weather (Free)
  • KWGT Pro ($2.99)
  • SuperWidget KWGT Preset
  • Superman Ringtone
  • Superman notification
  • Launcher that supports both icon packs and individual custom icons; Sub-grid positioning (Nova) preferred, but not required
  • File manager app required for moving KWGT preset and theme elements into proper folders

Superman Theme Instructions:

Download wallpaper and set using the wallpaper picker in your launcher. Download Zwart Icon Pack (Free). Set as your launcher’s icon pack in your launcher’s settings. In Nova, it’s under Look and Feel. In Action, it’s under Display. In Apex, it’s under Theme Settings.

Download House of El Custom Icon to set as app drawer icon.

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Long-press your app drawer icon on your home screen and Edit it. Select Documents from the icon selection menu. If Documents is not available, select Gallery apps. If Documents is still not an option, select the gallery app of your choice. Find the House of El icon where you downloaded it and select it. Ensure the preview box is covering everything. In some launchers, the background is black, so you won’t be able to see anything but the white outer box. If the box is fully extended, hit Done in the top right corner. In the Edit Shortcut menu, tap Done (not needed in Action Launcher). Download Jack’s Music Widget (Free, $1.99)

Add a 4×1 Jack’s Music Widget to the top of your home screen. If your home screen grid is larger than 4 columns, stretch it to fit across the top of your screen.

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Open the Jack’s Music Widget app in your app drawer (don’t just tap the widget) to configure the widget. Set the 4×1 Widget Style to Clear. (If you haven’t already, give Jack’s Music Widget notification access so that it can see the info from your music app.) 1Weather (Free) Add a 4×1 1Weather Compact Widget to the bottom of your home screen. When the widget configuration pops up, select Transparent as the Background, White for your Icons, and either White or Black for the Accent. Tap Done in the top left corner to save the widget. If your home screen grid is larger than 4 columns, stretch the 1Weather widget to fit across the top of your screen. Download the Superman Ringtone and Superman notification to the Ringtones and Notifications folders on your device. In Settings, set man-of-steel as your ringtone and superman-dun-dun as your notification.

Now this theme looks great, but it’s missing a little superhero flair, n’est pas? So, we’re going to add some almost invisible shortcuts for Clark Kent to hide on his phone from prying eyes. To make this even easier, I’ve exported the widget as a preset that you can import and adapt as you see fit.

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Optional Super Secret Shortcut Widget:

Download SuperWidget KWGT file to the Kustom/widgets folder on your phone. Download KWGT Pro. Add a 1×1 KWGT to your home screen. (If possible, resize it to 1.5×1.5 for a little extra padding.) Place it somewhere easy to reach, but not somewhere important to any gesture controls your launcher might be using. Tap the widget to configure it. Tap the Exported tab of the Preset gallery. Select SuperWidget. Save the widget with the floppy disc icon in the top right corner. Repeat steps 1-6 for every shortcut you wish to hide on your home screen.

To Change the App Shortcut:

Open the widget in the KWGT editor Tap Superman Shortcut in the Items tab. Tap the Touch tab. Tap the Launch App box. Tap the App box. Select your desired app. You can also switch Launch App to Launch Shortcut or a media control if you want. Save the widget with the floppy disc icon in the top right corner.

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To make a Superman Shortcut more/less visible:

Open the widget in the KWGT editor Tap Superman Shortcut in the Items tab. In the Bitmap tab, scroll down to Opacity. To make your shortcut less visible, drag the slider closer to 0. To make your shortcut more visible, drag the slider closer to 100. To tilt the logo, move the Rotate slider. Save the widget with the floppy disc icon in the top right corner.

Batman

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Batman Components:

  • Wallpaper
  • Whicons Icon Pack (Free)
  • Assorted Bat Logos
  • Jack’s Music Widget (Free, $1.99)
  • 1Weather (Free)
  • KWGT Pro ($2.99)
  • BatWidget KWGT Preset
  • Batman Ringtone
  • Batwave Notification tone
  • Launcher that supports both icon packs and individual custom icons; Sub-grid positioning (Nova) preferred, but not required
  • File manager app required for moving KWGT preset and theme elements into proper folders

Batman Theme Instructions:

Download wallpaper and set using the wallpaper picker in your launcher. Download Whicons Icon Pack (Free). Set as your launcher’s icon pack in your launcher’s settings. In Nova, it’s under Look and Feel. In Action, it’s under Display. In Apex, it’s under Theme Settings. Long-press your app drawer icon on your home screen and Edit it. Select Whicons Icon pack. Scroll down to B and select the Batman icon. In the Edit Shortcut menu, tap Done (not needed in Action Launcher). Download Batman ringtone and Batwave notification tone to the Ringtones and Notifications folders on your phone. In Settings, set batman_animated as your ringtone and Batwave-one-tone as your notification tone. Add a 4×1 Jack’s Music Widget to the bottom of your home screen. If your home screen grid is larger than 4 columns, stretch it to fit across the top of your screen. Open the Jack’s Music Widget app in your app drawer (don’t just tap the widget) to configure the widget. Set the 4×1 Widget Style to Clear. (If you haven’t already, give Jack’s Music Widget notification access so that it can see the info from your music app.) Download BatWidget KWGT file to the Kustom/widgets folder on your phone. Add a 2×4 KWGT to your home screen. Resize the widget to fill the top right portion of the screen next to the cowl. Tap the widget to configure it. Tap the Exported tab of the Preset gallery. Select BatWidget.

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This will load a widget preset I made for this theme. It consists of a simple weather/clock widget and three ‘secret’ shortcuts below it. Tapping the Clock and Weather Icon lead to Timely and 1Weather, and the Three shadowy Batman Logos below lead to Play Music (top), Google Keep (middle), and Google Maps (bottom). This widget preset is fully customizable, and you will probably want to change at least a few things in it. Please remember to always Save your widget before returning to the home screen. Here’s a few of the ways you can make this widget your own.

To Change One of the Shortcuts:

Open the widget in the KWGT editor Tap the element you wish to edit in the Items tab. (For example, Batman Brave&Bold Shortcut) Tap the Touch tab. Tap the Launch App box. Tap the App box. Select your desired app. You can also switch Launch App to Launch Shortcut or a media control if you want. Save the widget with the floppy disc icon in the top right corner.

To make a Batman Shortcut more/less visible:

Open the widget in the KWGT editor Tap the element you wish to edit in the Items tab. (For example, Batman Brave&Bold Shortcut) In the Bitmap tab, scroll down to Opacity. To make your shortcut less visible, drag the slider closer to 0. To make your shortcut more visible, drag the slider closer to 100. Save the widget with the floppy disc icon in the top right corner.

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To change the Clock/Weather/Date colors:

Open the widget in the KWGT editor Tap the Globals tab. Select the deceptively-named drkgrey Global. Select your new color from the color picker. Once you find the color you like, you can set it by tapping the preview color box or the checkmark in the top right corner. Save the widget with the floppy disc icon in the top right corner.

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Now that you have these super superhero themes under your belt, show us how you make your home screen hero-worthy! Share your take on our theme in the comments below and in the forums! And when your fellow comic book fans ask where you got that sweet setup while you’re in line for Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice, tell them you got it from the good folks here at Android Central!

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22
Mar

Google Photos will now help you make new albums after a trip


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Google Photos is rolling out an update that is designed to make it easier to put recent images in new albums. Now, when you return from an event or trip, Photos will suggest new albums from photos you took to commemorate those events.

Google says:

Starting today, after an event or trip, Google Photos will suggest a new album for you, curated with just your best shots. It’ll also add maps to show how far you traveled and location pins to remember where you went—because it’s not always easy to recall the late-night diner you hit on your road trip, or which campsite you pitched the tent in when arriving after dark.

The update also adds the ability to put in text captions, along with a way to allow others to add photos to the album. Any current album can also be customized with maps, location pins, and text.

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22
Mar

HTC 10 will have an online-only launch on April 12


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HTC has announced that on April 12 it will officially unveil its latest smartphone which is rumored to be the HTC 10. This time around the company is doing an online-only unveiling, which it also did in 2015 for the HTC One A9. HTC has been teasing the phone with the hashtag “#powerof10” for the past few weeks, and now we finally know when we will see it officially. The company revealed the announcement on its official Twitter page, stating:

See what we’re obsessed about on April 12 on https://t.co/NMJMew9UvA. #powerof10 pic.twitter.com/J3ZFCALvUx

— HTC (@htc) March 22, 2016

Be sure to keep an eye on HTC’s site on April 12 to see what the company has to announce.

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22
Mar

The LG G5 can still offer good audio, even without the B&O Hi-Fi audio module


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The LG G5 may not need a Hi-Fi module, but it’s still a great option to have available.

Many of us are looking forward to seeing how well the Bang & Olufsen Hi-Fi audio module for the LG G5 performs. While not yet mainstream, high quality audio performance through the headphone jack is something phone manufacturers are starting to pay attention to, and plenty of us couldn’t be happier.

But what happens if you have no interest in buying the audio module for the G5? Maybe you’re not ready to spend the money for “better” music, or you are completely satisfied with streaming services through the speakers or headphones you already have. That’s valid thinking. For many of us, it’s simply not worth the added cost and we’re happy with the way “regular” music sounds.

If that sounds like you, the LG G5 will be just fine without buying any extra hardware.

We already talked about how any electronic device that turns an audio file into a noise — whether it be a ringtone or a song — needs to have its own audio processing hardware. If you curious about what this is all about, have a good read here. The LG G5 is no exception, and its Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor has all the hardware embedded into the system-on-chip that it needs to “create” sound from digital files. From the official specs (.pdf link):

  • 10-bit 4K decode
  • 1080p240 FPS decode
  • 4K HEVC video at 60FPS with 10-bit color
  • Simultaneous 1080p30+1080p30 inbound/outbound
  • WCD9335 audio codec
  • Hi-Fi 24bit/192kHz FLAC playback

The last two lines are what we’re interested in here. A hardware audio codec is a single device that encodes analog audio as digital signals and decodes digital back into analog. In other words, it’s both a DAC and an ADC. This is the hardware used to turn files into sounds. In addition, Qualcomm is using their own WSA8815 amplifier on the 820 system on chip. This package enables native 24 bit lossless playback at 192 kHz.

You’ll have average to good audio coming from the G5 to your headphones when used without the B&O add-on module.

It’s worth noting that not every phone with the same processor has the same audio processing hardware — for example, the Galaxy S7 has a Snapdragon 820 in some variants but could have a different DAC entirely. A manufacturer isn’t forced to use what’s bundled inside the 820, and users are reporting that they see a DSP Group DBMDX DAC and a Maxim MAX98506BEWV audio amplifier.

It’s possible that LG will use off-die parts for audio processing on the G5, but we won’t really know until people start tearing the phone apart. None of the audio processing hardware in the 820 chipset is what anyone would call “Hi-Fi” quality, even if Qualcomm uses the word in their list of specifications. And while LG doesn’t have to use what’s bundled on the chip itself for audio playback, doing so saves room on the circuit board, saves some money and decreases development costs.

All of this simply means that you’ll have average to good audio coming from the G5 to your headphones, even when used without the B&O add-on module, because the phone itself has to have capable audio hardware. If you want something with a little more quality, you can buy the B&O Hi-Fi module.

In the end, we need to remember that all of our music will play just fine unless you’re trying to play 32 bit files or files with an ultra-high bitrate that the “regular” G5 audio hardware doesn’t support. When you tap a button, your music will play. If you were dead set on playing HQ audio from your phone, you probably planned on buying the Bang & Olufsen module anyway.

LG G5

  • LG G5 hands-on
  • LG G5 complete specs
  • LG G5 CAM Plus module
  • LG G5 B&O Hi-Fi audio module
  • The G5 has an always-on display
  • LG G5 keeps the SD card, shuns adoptable storage
  • Join the LG G5 discussion

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22
Mar

Verizon, Sprint and AT&T offer free calls to Belgium following attacks


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AT&T, Sprint and Verizon have all announced that customers in the U.S. can call and text numbers in Belgium free of charge for a number of days in the wake of attacks in that country today.

AT&T stated:

Our thoughts are with the people of Belgium and our customers who have friends and family there. We’re going to credit our wireline and wireless customers for all calls and text messages to Belgium from March 22-28.”

Sprint’s CEO Marcelo Claure used his Twitter feed to announced the carrier’s plans:

.@Sprint, @virginmobileusa & @boostmobile will waive fees for customer call/texts to & from #Belgium thru March 31 pic.twitter.com/vupjfXwnv8

— MarceloClaure (@marceloclaure) March 22, 2016

Verizon’s free calling offer also includes Turkey, which experienced its own attacks a few days ago:

Wireless users will incur no charges for texts or international long distance calls originating from the U.S. to Belgium on March 22 and 23, 2016, and from the U.S. to Turkey from March 19 and 20, 2016 (applicable taxes and surcharges will apply). Home wireline telephone customers will incur no charges to Belgium from their U.S. landlines on March 22 and 23, 2016, and from the U.S. to Turkey on March 19 and 20, 2016 (applicable taxes and surcharges will apply).

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22
Mar

The Ring Video Doorbell now lets you stream live video from your home


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Ring has introduced a new feature to its Video Doorbell family, Live View. With Live View, you can use your smartphone to see and speak with whoever is at your door, whenever you want. Just open the mobile app, select your doorbell, and tap “Live View” to get started.

Right now, Live View is available for select users with hardwired installations. It is also available through the Video Doorbell, and will be available with the Video Doorbell Pro when it launches next month.

You can grab the Ring app from the Google Play Store now.

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22
Mar

HTC confirms flagship reveal on 12 April, but there’s a catch…


HTC has officially confirmed that it will be revealing its next flagship handset on Tuesday 12 April. The forthcoming device from HTC doesn’t yet have a name, although it’s believed to be called HTC 10, going under the codename HTC Perfume during development. 

There’s a catch however: this isn’t going to be a big all-singing, all-dancing launch event, instead it’s going to be a virtual reveal. The timing is set for 1pm London, 8am New York, 8pm Taipei. As it’s online, it should mean that everyone will be able to watch it.

HTC surprised many by not revealing a flagship handset at Mobile World Congress recently, instead holding fire until this later date. Until recently there hadn’t been too much revealed about the forthcoming device, but HTC started teasing details – talking up the camera and referring to the “power of 10” – while details have trickled out elsewhere.

You can expect a metal device with a chamfered rear edge and looking more like the One A9 than last year’s flagship the M9. It is said to be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, with a 5.2-inch 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution display.

We expect the HTC 10 to run on Android Marshmallow with a new, lighter, version of Sense over the top, and we think there’s a 12-megapixel camera on the rear. 

We’ve been tracking these rumours for some time, and now have a launch date to add into the mix. Mark your calendars for 12 April, and head over to read up on what to expect.

READ: HTC 10/M10/Perfume: Release date, rumours and everything you need to know

22
Mar

Best iPad Pro 9.7 cases: Protect your new Apple tablet


Apple has announced a new addition to its iPad line-up in the form of the iPad Pro 9.7. The smaller iPad Pro was revealed in place of a next-generation Air model and it brings with it a host of features, including Apple Pencil compatibility and improved cameras on the front and rear.

Despite offering exactly the same measurements as the iPad Air 2, the baby iPad Pro takes its design cues from its larger brother, with the inclusion of the Smart Connector and four-speaker setup.

It has a lovely slim aluminium build just like the other tablets in Apple’s portfolio, but that also means you’ll probably want to pick up a case for it, even if you prefer its design without one. Don’t worry though, there are a few cases out there already, some of which are minimal to keep the design traits visible, while others are more rugged to offer better protection.

We have rounded up some of the best cases for the Apple iPad Pro 9.7 that we have found so far but we will be updating this feature as more become available. If you have found any yourself that you think are particularly nice, feel free to let us know in the comments.

For now, click here to see the best iPad Pro 9.7 cases we have come across

22
Mar

The best handheld vacuum


By Liam McCabe

This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a buyer’s guide to the best things for your home. Read the full article here.

We spent a total of 65 hours researching and 22 hours testing hand vacuums over the past few years, and we think the Black+Decker MAX Lithium Flex Vacuum BDH2020FLFH does the best job at quickly picking up small spills, hitting hard-to-reach spots, and keeping your car tidy. It’s the most versatile hand vac out there thanks to its flexible 4-foot hose and a set of clip-on attachments that help it reach areas and clean surfaces others can’t. It’s one of the most powerful, too, with a 20-volt battery pulling plenty of suction for about 16 minutes of no-fade use per charge—longer than most of the competition.

How we picked and tested

Our three picks: Black+Decker CHV1410L, our budget pick (left); Black+Decker MAX Flex Vac BDH2020FLFH, our main pick (center); Eureka EasyClean 71B, a low-budget, plug-in pick for pet hair (right). Photo: Liam McCabe

In roughly 87 collective hours of research and testing, we’ve learned what makes owners of battery-powered vacuums happiest. The best models tend to have: no-fade batteries so that suction doesn’t drop off partway through a cleaning cycle, strong suction (determined largely by battery voltage), and as a bonus, the ability to clean both hard-to-reach areas and upholstery.

We used our top contenders around the house over the course of several months for tasks like picking up random tufts of cat hair (sometimes off of upholstery), cleaning bits of food and coffee grounds off of countertops or the kitchen floor, and tidying up the car after moving sports equipment and camping gear. As for our budget pick, we relied mostly on user reviews for real-world testimonials, but we also tested each contender for a couple of hours.

We also had a group of Sweethome staffers check out all of our finalists, including the budget picks, so we could get some varied opinions on how they handle and how valuable certain features and designs seem for people in different living situations.

Our pick

The MAX Flex Vac is meant to be used with two hands: one holding the main assembly, the other guiding the hose. Photo: Liam McCabe

The Black+Decker MAX Lithium Flex is the best handheld vacuum because its flexible hose and attachments help it get at more hard-to-reach spots and clean more kinds of surfaces than the competition, without sacrificing raw power. If you need a handheld to reach where your main machine can’t, or you live in a very, very small apartment and only need a small vac anyway, the MAX Flex Vac is the most capable model out there.

The flexible hose is unique among handhelds and makes it easy to clean in tight, awkward-angle areas. Thanks to a 20-volt lithium-ion battery, it has strong, consistent suction throughout its 16-minute runtime—all improvements on the lower-voltage NiCd batteries used in most cheaper competitors. And its attachments, including a crevice tool, a combo brush, and a pet hair brush, give it an extra little performance edge over other handhelds, which rarely come with any tools at all. It costs more than most handheld vacs, but given its versatility, we think it’s the handheld to get if you’ll use it in your car and around your house regularly.

Budget pick

The Black+Decker CHV1410L is a typical DustBuster-style handheld, with a better battery than most others at this price. Photo: Liam McCabe

If you think you’ll only use a handheld for very occasional tidy-ups, the Black+Decker CHV1410L is a simpler, more affordable alternative. Unlike our main pick, it has no hose so its reach is limited, it can’t really clean pet hair off your couch, and its suction is a smidge weaker than the top handhelds. But its lithium battery gives it an advantage over other hand vacs at this price, because it can sit for months on the shelf without losing its charge and its power won’t fade partway through a cleanup. It’s also the best-selling handheld vacuum at Amazon most days, where it has an excellent average rating based on thousands of user reviews.

A plug-in model for lots of pet hair

The Eureka EasyClean 71B excels at cleaning pet hair off of upholstery and carpeted stairs, but it’s not as portable as other handhelds. Photo: Liam McCabe

This isn’t quite like the other handhelds we’ve covered here, but so many people love it that we felt like we had to mention it: If you want a hand vacuum specifically for cleaning pet hair off of carpeted stairs, cloth upholstery, or even small area rugs, the Eureka EasyClean 71B might make sense. It’s a plug-in model, so it’s not as portable as our other picks, which are both battery-powered. It’s also bigger and heavier than almost any other handheld. The upside? It has a motor-driven brush roll, which is the feature that lets it pull hair off of fibers super effectively. A battery-powered model would have trouble driving a brush roll for more than a couple of minutes.

Wrapping it up

After 65 hours of research and 22 hours of testing over the past few years, we found the Black+Decker MAX Lithium Flex is the best handheld vacuum. It’s the most versatile vacuum we tested and, thanks to its flexible 4-foot hose and clip-on attachments, it can reach and clean surfaces others can’t. And at 16 minutes per charge, its battery lasts longer than most of the competition.

This guide may have been updated by The Sweethome. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

22
Mar

Google warns of Android flaw that lets attackers hijack phones


Rooting (that is, using a security flaw to gain control over an operating system) is a staple of the Android enthusiast world, but it’s also used by would-be attackers… and Google just offered a textbook example of this problem. It’s warning of a vulnerability in Android’s Linux-based kernel that lets apps get root access, giving intruders free rein over your device. And this isn’t just a theoretical exercise — Zimperium (which discovered the Stagefright bug) says it has spotted publicly available apps that make use of the hole.

The good news? Fixes are coming quickly, at least for some users. If you’re using the AOSP version of Android, you can install a patch right now. You’ll have to wait if you’re using other releases, but a fix is coming in Google’s next monthly security update, which hits April 2nd. The main concerns are that numerous Android manufacturers don’t offer those updates in a timely fashion, or stop updating devices well before their useful lifespans are over. Even if you’re running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, you might be exposed for months if your hardware maker isn’t on the ball.

Via: PCWorld

Source: Android

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