There are many to-do, task-keeper, and other list apps available for your Android device. The biggest differentiators between these options is seem to lie in two main areas:
Interface/input: How easy, intuitive, and creative can an app make it for you to want to initially, and (more importantly) continue to manually input new tasks into it.
Intelligence/Reminders: How consistent and persistent can an app be in reminding its user to complete their tasks, without being intrusive and therefore a put-off.
Lifetracker is an app that believes it has found a solution to both of these issues, and in a lot of ways, you could say they’ve attempted this with a common concept. That concept is “context”. More on this in a bit.
Lifetracker doesn’t fancy itself a ‘task list’ per se, but rather a more intelligent app that “helps users manage their free time and achieve meaningful life goals through the unique artificial intelligence prediction algorithms“. It comes to us from the developer PDNA Ltd; it’s an app that’s safe for all ages, though the more routine schedule you have the more useful you will find this app. Again, more on this in a bit.
The developer has made getting started a very easy effort. First off you simply download from the Play Store. Upon installation and opening the app for the first time you are asked to pair your Lifetracker profile with an email address of your choosing. Then you are greeted with a few simplified tutorial screens, showing you how to add a task, tweak completion times, and mark it with one or more “contexts”.
These contexts are key, and one of the cores to Lifetracker’s approach to its interface. Let’s finally address just how Lifetracker does what it does.
To provide the intelligence it is advertising, Lifetracker uses three primary ‘context’ features:
The aforementioned “contexts”. In this reference, think of it as a ‘work context’.
Using [my term here], “best times” for task completion, in lieu of more traditional due dates. In this reference, think of it as a ‘time context’.
Using [again my term], “best place” for task completion. In this reference, think of it as ‘location context’.
First off, what is a “context”? It’s essentially a tag you apply to a task that relates to a certain part of your life, such as work, rest, hobbies, etc. You have to apply at least one context to a task, but are free to apply more than one if appropriate to you.
Secondly, what is a “best time”? Instead of a due date (I have to get X done by Y day & time), Lifetracker asks you instead for an optimal/best-possible time to complete the task.
Using these two contexts, Lifetracker then takes a novel (though quickly growing in familiarity) approach to its task tracking. It uses its version of artificial intelligence, employing varying and proprietary algorithms.
Example: As a user, when you are about to commence a certain task on your list that you’ve already created, you press the ‘play’ button on that task. When complete you click on the check mark, clearing it from you view. Lifetracker analyzes the task title & associated tag (‘work context’), and also the day, time, and task duration (‘time context’).
The app then uses this info for following tasks you input; any tasks with similar tags and completion dates/times will be used by the app in deciding when to “nudge” you, by way of notifications, to remind you that now would be a good time to work on that task.
The app learns the places, days, and time frames when you tend to work on tasks tied to a certain context/tag, and uses this knowledge to keep you on task!
What We Liked
The app interface is a very clean take on task input. Text is minimal, and the colors are a good mix of subtle but business-like. Tasks appear almost as Google cards in their look & feel.
The main interface screen has minimal but useful options for sorting your existing tasks (by date created by optimal completion time, and by tag). There’s also a toggle to hide these sorting options and sticking with the current one, to gain a bit more screen. Nothing is really missing that feels missed.
As far as performance, the app does a good job in notifying the user based on past performance. If you’ve logged completion time for a particular tag or generally work on a task at a regular day or time of day, you will be nudged by Lifetracker to get back at that task when that time comes around again.
What Could Use Improvement
While the app is very good at what it does, I tend to question how useful this app is, as it (in my opinion) overlaps at least once calendar/task/note-taking app you likely already have on your device.
You already have the capacity to log your to-do’s and view them, and more importantly, view them relative to all your other meetings, appointments, and other life events.
To fully use Lifetracker, you may have to input tasks redundantly, once to show in relative to your overall life schedule (see #1 above), but again so Lifetracker can provide the smarter learning & “nudging” to keep you on track (a calendar item can oh-so-easily be swiped away into oblivion…).
Also, it would seem as though the AI would be useful provided the user’s workflow is rather consistent and his/her life is fairly routine. I’m boring and routine, so it worked great for me. But if you complete tasks on a “swing-shift” basis, I don’t see the notifications being able to keep up with your crazy lifestyle.
Lifetracker is a polished and intuitive app that is best used to complete the want-to-do tasks in life, where time spent completing, finishing, and improving would be better spent that plopping down in front of the TV.
Where I see Lifetracker being best utilized is in one of two ways:
As a supplemental task app, for those “want to do” items, like practicing yoga after the kiddos are in bed, checking in on family members, practicing a musical instrument, or perhaps developing a writing habit. Stuff that doesn’t fit into your already-crammed schedule, where it will almost certainly get lost.
Taking the smarts that Lifetracker leans on, and using that as an integral part of a calendar/task app, to supplement the hard-definition meetings with these softer, want-to-do tasks.
I’m all for smart and useful apps, but I’m even more for installing and managing fewer of them on my devices.
If you’d like to learn more, there is a decent FAQ page on the developer’s website.
Download Lifetracker here.
Samsung is partnering with two designer watch band companies to offer custom bands for the new Gear S3 line.
Strap Studio and SLG Design are now offering leather and canvas bands between $29 and $109 depending on the style, color and material, compatible with both the Gear S3 Classic and Frontier.
Of course, both watches are compatible with any 22mm band, irrespective of material or color, but these bands were designed to fit with the specific lug shape of the oversized smartwatch. In his review, Android Martonik said that the Gear S3 was great at doing a lot, but had the potential of putting off people with smaller wrists:
Samsung is walking the line of alienating a large portion of the population who just want a smaller, simpler smartwatch that gets the basics done, looks nice and fits on those with average-sized wrists. There’s no doubt that Samsung is doing the most out of any company with a single wrist-bound wearable, but is it trying to do too much?
While these designs may not overcome that issue entirely, some of them are certainly fashionable enough to tip certain buyers over the edge.
The bands are available through the companies’ websites in all countries, and through Samsung directly in Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico.
Right now you can pick up two of Aukey’s dual-port car chargers for just $12 with coupon code AUKCARCC, which is a savings of $5. Each charger has two USB ports to plug in the cable of your choice, and each port offers 5V 2.4A of its own for maximum charging speeds. It also has built-in safeguards to protect your phones and tablets from overheating, overcharging, and receiving excessive current.
All you have to do is add two of the chargers to your cart and then use coupon code AUKCARCC at checkout for the savings.
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Samsung and Apple are still fighting it out in the U.S., and the country’s top court has just ruled in the Galaxy maker’s favor.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in Samsung’s favor in its ongoing design patent war with Apple, throwing out an earlier ruling that Samsung would have to pay the iPhone maker $399 million for infringing on its design patents, and giving Samsung a chance to win back some of the damages awarded to its rival. The justices voted 8-0 that Samsung’s patent infringement could only affect a component of an infringed product — i.e. the iPhone’s distinctive appearance — and not the sum total of its parts.
The ruling gives Samsung another chance to win back $399 of the $548 million awarded to Apple. That figure has already been whittled down on appeal from the $930 million originally awarded in 2012. Samsung argued that the infringing parts in certain Galaxy phones played a small role in its products’ success, and thus it shouldn’t have to hand over all of its profits from these devices.
As Reuters reports, the argument centered on the definition of “article of manufacture” in U.S. law, and whether it related to the entire product, or just specific components.
Apple urged the Supreme Court to affirm the appeals court’s ruling because Samsung presented no evidence that the article of manufacture in this case was anything less than its entire smartphone as sold. Samsung, meanwhile, said that it did not have to present such evidence.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, writing for the unanimous court, said that the patent law is clear. The term “article of manufacture is broad enough to encompass both a product sold to a consumer as well as a component of that product,” she wrote.
The case will now return to a lower court to calculate the (new) portion of profits that Samsung must pay Apple.
There’s a lot to see in the Galaxy S7’s biggest update so far.
The Android 7.0 Nougat upgrade for the Samsung Galaxy S7 + S7 edge — currently in testing through the Galaxy beta program — is the most comprehensive update yet for Samsung’s 2016 flagship. In addition to giving the GS7 its first Android platform update, the Nougat beta gives us our first look at Samsung’s next-gen UX, which is loaded with new features.
There’s a lot to see, and because we’re dealing with non-final software, things may change between now and the day the final OTA hits. Nevertheless, we’ve rounded up the features you need to know so far. Check out our top ten:
1. Everything looks different!
Gone are the days when you’d have to buy a new phone to get an updated UI. Nougat on the Galaxy S7 looks radically different to what you may have become used to on Marshmallow. Samsung has completely moved away from circular settings toggles and the blue-green accent colors of previous phones. Instead, it’s all about bright whites, condensed fonts, subtle light blue accents and
App icons themselves have also been tweaked, bringing them in line with what we first saw on the Galaxy Note 7 — what’s sometimes called the “Grace UX” — with a focus on rounded rectangles and more clearly defined shapes.
The result is an interface that seems much more refined than anything we’ve seen before from Samsung. That’s most evident in the redesigned Settings app — the rat’s nest of menu items has been pared back significantly, and shortcut sections at the end of each main settings menu easily allow you to jump to related options.
2. New notification + quick settings
Alongside the well-known notification changes in Android 7.0 — notifications now behave basically as they do in stock Nougat — Samsung’s new interface overhauls the quick settings area.
Your five most prominent quick toggles sit up top at all times, then swiping down reveals a grid of extra options, which can be scrolled through horizontally and rearranged to your liking. Samsung also gives you the option to change the location of the brightness toggle, and customize the grid layout — 3×3, 4×3 and 5×3 are the current options.
Quick Connect has been changed too. Right now this toolbar, which can help you manage paired gadgets, shows up when headphones or speakers are connected. From here, you can choose where audio is routed, and easily disconnect from devices.
The notifications area has seen the most changes throughout the GS7 Nougat beta so far, so it’s possible we may see further tweaks and refinements as the update approaches stable status.
3. Put troublesome apps to sleep
Samsung’s power management options continue to look for less-used apps and stop them from using power in the background. But now you can manually “sleep” certain apps from your home screen. Simply long press on an app and choose “put to sleep.”
From there, it won’t use power in the background, or receive updates when it’s not open.
Manually “sleeping” individual apps isn’t something you should normally have to worry about. But it could help tame more power-hungry apps in some situations.
4. Multi-window has been overhauled
Multi-window — a staple Samsung feature for many years — is supported at the platform level in Android 7.0. And that means you’re able to use split screen and pop-up view in the vast majority of apps, not just a select few.
And the UI for using multi-window has changed a bit too — now it’s a sort of hybrid between the stock Android way and the Samsung way. You can still jump to split-screen mode by tapping the icon next to any supported app in the Recents menu, or dragging it upwards to fill the top portion of the screen. Alternatively, you can long-press the recent apps key. From there, you can control the split between apps just like any other Android 7.0 phone — drag the divider between them — and Samsung also lets you easily close one of the apps, or swap their position.
For pop-up view — Samsung’s windowed mode — you can drag a supported app to the middle of the screen in the Recents menu, or swipe inwards from the top-left corner when the app is full-screen. From there, it’s easy to drag a windowed app around, minimize it down to a floating icon, send it full-screen, or close it entirely.
Scaling in windowed apps has also been improved, so that when an app is in windowed mode it won’t simply be rendered at full size and shrunk down. Instead, you can now rearrange apps into windows of any aspect ratio, with menus, text and other visuals dynamically filling the available space.
5. Blue light filter
A feature of Android 7.1 on the Pixel phones, as well as Apple’s iPhone and many others, blue light filter mode allows you to reduce eye strain at night by giving the display a warmer hue. (In theory, that’s supposed to make it easier to get to sleep when using your phone late at night.)
By default, it’s available in the quick settings menu, and long pressing on it allows you to control just how yellow the screen becomes, or set a daily schedule for the feature. (For example, you might want it to activate automatically at a certain time every evening.
6. Performance Mode
Samsung has taken a much more granular approach to performance and battery options in Nougat. You’ve still got regular battery-saving modes, including a “maximum” power-saving mode that completely disables many of the phone’s higher functions.
The “Performance Mode” takes this a step further, giving you four presets to choose from, and a shortcut to switch in and out of the top “high performance” mode in the quick settings area.
Here’s how things break down:
- Normal: 1080p, video enhancer on, game launcher on, game tools on
- Game mode: 1080p, max brightness, game launcher on, game tools on
- Entertainment mode: 1440p, max brightness, video enhancer on, UHQ upscaler on
- High performance: 1440p, max brightness.
7. Device Maintenance
Battery and storage settings now live in the new “Device Maintenance” section, which encompasses performance modes, RAM and security settings. So to find out how much space you’ve got left, or how view your estimated battery life you’ll need to tap through a few more menus.
The Device Maintenance area, a continuation of the Clean Master integration seen in earlier Samsung phones, gives you a score out of 100 based on all five of these areas — battery, performance, storage, RAM and security — and gives you a big friendly button to press to “fix” issues that might be slowing your phone down. For example, on our device, the it detected around 1.6GB of cached data which it deemed “unnecessary.” It doesn’t go into any great detail on exactly what you’re clearing out though, so you mostly just have to trust that it knows what it’s doing.
The Device Maintenance tool can do the same for RAM, stopping some apps from running in the background. (In our case, it suggested Twitter and Gallery, bizarrely.)
8. A more useful Always On Display
Like on the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung’s Always On Display becomes much more useful on the Galaxy S7 with Nougat. The Always On Display can now show notifications from all apps, in addition to the date, time, battery level and calendar appointments, depending on how it’s configured.
The inclusion of third-party apps here is the most important addition — some of the other features were already included in a separate update for the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. You may still prefer to turn this feature off to save power. But with its increased functionality in Samsung’s latest software update, there’s a stronger argument for leaving the Always On Display… well… on.
9. Display and resolution scaling
Samsung included a “condensed mode” in the Galaxy S7 on Marshmallow, letting you see more on screen by increasing the display density. With UI scaling being supported at a system level in Nougat, you now get more fine control over this. There are three “screen zoom levels — small, medium and large — and on the Galaxy S7 edge the “small” option gives you a Google Pixel-like zoomed-out view, with more items visible in Gmail and other apps.
In addition, you can also directly control the phone’s screen resolution — running at a resolution lower than the native Quad HD (1440p) can save a small amount of battery power. The default is now Full HD (1080p) if you’re setting things up from scratch, and although the difference isn’t entirely noticeable, you may want to manually set it to Quad HD to make the most of the GS7’s impressive SuperAMOLED panel.
More: Galaxy S7 display scaling options on Nougat
Finally, icon borders — squircles (or “square circles”) — are back! By default, the Galaxy S7 on Nougat encloses icons in a rounded rectangular border. This sometimes gives the UI a more cohesive appearance — for instance, many apps like Twitter just use their normal icon inside a rounded rectangular cutout. Other apps, like the Play Store, place a white icon on a white frame, which looks a little weird. (We’ve been here before with Google’s circular icons on the Pixel.)
Love ’em or loath ’em, it’s easy to switch squircles on and off in the Display settings menu. It is interesting, however, that they’re enabled by default this time around.
Galaxy S7 owners, what do you want to see in the Android 7.0 Nougat update? Shout out down in the comments!
- Android 7.0 Nougat: Everything you need to know
- Will my phone get Android Nougat?
- Google Pixel + Pixel XL review
- All Android Nougat news
- How to manually update your Nexus or Pixel
- Join the Discussion
Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge
- Galaxy S7 review
- Galaxy S7 edge review
- U.S. unlocked Galaxy S7
- Should you upgrade to the Galaxy S7?
- Best SD cards for Galaxy S7
- Join our Galaxy S7 forums
We’ve got the tricks to help you get the most out of your Samsung Gear VR.
If you’ve just gotten your Samsung Gear VR then you might be wondering how to get the most out of your awesome new VR headset. If that’s the case, then have no fear. We’ve got a few tips and tricks to help you optimize your experience it, and enjoy it as much as possible.
Just keep reading for all the details!
Read more at VR Heads!
Look, a couple hundred bucks is a lot of money to spend on a doorbell. I get it. But the Ring Pro has absolutely been worth it. The Pro is the best of the best, and I haven’t once regretted buying it.
If you don’t want to drop that much cash, also check out the original Ring. It’s a little bigger and the camera’s not quite as advanced, but it’s still an excellent product — I used it for many months.
And installation is remarkably simple. If you’ve ever swapped out a light socket or installed a ceiling fan, it’s that simple. (Basically if I can do it, YOU can do it!!!) But if you do need help, they’ve got some kick-ass tutorials.
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- Check out the Ring Pro
- Check out the Ring
- Check out the Chime
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Running a small business? An Android Wear watch could be the perfect companion — and lifesaver.
Running a small business and keeping up with calls and keeping up with texts and keeping up with email and calendar events can be a ridiculous task, especially if you’re having to pull your phone out of your pocket every two minutes.
An Android Wear-powered smartwatch is a great way to keep in touch with all aspects of communication while focusing on the job at hand and growing your business. Here are the ways an Android Wear smartwatch can help your business run like a well-oiled machine.
Never miss an alert
Investors may very well be the backbone of your current enterprise. If you keep anyone waiting too long, you may be seen as unprofessional, even though you’re running a business and have a million other things to do.
When your notifications are on your wrist, they’re much harder to ignore or miss. For one, if your wrist is in view, you’ll catch the screen out of the corner of your eye. For another, loose pants pockets are the death of vibrational alerts. If you’re on your feet all day, you might not feel anything.
Get call, text, email, calendar, and other notifications on your wrist with a smartwatch.
Use awesome business tools
There are great apps for Android Wear that help you with productivity, discreet messaging, and more.
For example, there’s an Android Wear app for Evernote, which is an awesome note taking app that you can trigger with “Ok Google, take a note”. That way, when you’re in the throes of creativity, you don’t have to fiddle around and whip out your phone — just speak into your smartwatch, dictate your note, and know that it’s saved for later when you need it.
If you only carry a phone and don’t want to miss alerts, you might have your phone’s volume cranked. If you’re in an important meeting and your phone goes off, you bet your bottom dollar that you’re gonna get the evil eye from at least one person.
Having all of your notifications sent to your wrist means discretion, since you’ll feel the vibration, but it’s not one of those awful audible “vvvvmmmmmm” sounds that make us all instinctively check our own phones. Better yet, instead of rudely pulling out your phone and checking while talking to someone, you can casually glance at your wrist to make sure it’s not pressing. (Just don’t make it look like you’re bored and checking the time.)
You’d think an interactive screen on your wrist would be a major distraction, but it really isn’t. Think about it — if you’ve only your phone on you and it goes off, you have to root around in your pocket for it, pull it out, unlock it, fail the first time and have to try unlocking again, and you’re screwed if you open to the home screen instead of the app that notified you, because then it’s like looking in the fridge when you’re bored — why am I here and what was I doing?
Having a quick notification on your wrist saves time because it’ll vibrate, the screen will turn on, you can review the notification, deal with it if it’s pressing, or just swipe it away and go about your business.There’s no Facebook or theChive to distract you.
Monitor stress levels
Running your own business is hectic and likely very, very stressful, especially if you’re starting from the ground up.
Heart monitors in Android Wear smartwatches can help you keep track of your health and give you alerts when things just don’t seem right. You can use awesome health apps to keep all your data in order, too!
Yeah, yeah, it’s 2016, acceptance this, judgement-free that, whatever. You go to a business meeting, and potential clients or investors are sizing you up as soon as you walk in. If you don’t look the part, some folks might dismiss you right away.
Many Android smartwatches look quite sophisticated and it’s often said that a great timepiece makes or breaks an outfit. And if you pair your watch with the right band, then you’re really cooking.
Look the part, feel the part, and go in there and nail it.
More: The Best Android Wear Smartwatch
What’s on your wrist?
Are you a business owner who relies on their Android smartwatch? Which watch do you have and how does it make your life easier? Let us know in the comments below!
The Trump transition team has invited a number of tech industry leaders to New York next week for a roundtable discussion. USA Today reports that Reince Priebus, Trump’s chief of staff, Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, and advisor Peter Thiel are engineering the December 14th summit.
This will be an interesting meeting given Trump’s thorny relationship with an industry that snubbed him at every turn during the election. Trump’s relationship with Apple is especially contentious ever since he called for a boycott of the company when it refused to build a backdoor into the iOS security system for the FBI. Trump’s ambivalence to net neutrality and vigorous opposition to immigration, which the industry relies on to recruit top flight talent from around the world, aren’t helping his case either.
Peter Thiel, Trump’s advisor and hype man, is only slightly better off. He sits on Facebook’s board of directors and holds considerable sway within the company. However his backing of the candidate that will be the next president — not to mention a personal vendetta against Gawker Media which shuttered the news outlet earlier this year — has not won him many fans in the progressive bastion of Silicon Valley.
“Most of Silicon Valley is moving from the ‘surprised and in denial’ phase to accepting the change that’s coming,” Semil Shah, of venture capital firm, Haystack Fund, told USA Today. “Some of that change, such as immigration, creates anxiety and uncertainty. Some of that change, such as potential for economic stimulus at a national level, gives some folks business confidence.”
The invited tech executives will likely be looking to extend olive branches and build bridges with the incoming administration. However, if this meeting goes anything like Trump’s previous overtures to television and print media, it will not end well. Remember, Trump doesn’t build bridges, he builds walls. Or at least claims to.
Source: USA Today
It feels like we’re getting a new Samsung Galaxy S8 rumour every day lately, with more and more leaks divulging what the upcoming phone will feature. We’ve even heard fresh news to suggest the upcoming smartphone will feature dual stereo speakers made in collaboration with Harman following Samsung’s recent acquisition. The latest rumours revolve around the charging port and the display.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Edge: What’s the story so far?
Sammobile has cited reliable sources that say the Galaxy S8 will come with a USB Type-C port for charging and audio. The Galaxy Note 7 also used USB Type-C for charging, but because that met its untimely demise, Samsung is keen to continue to offer the technology with next S-series.
Sammobile also claims it knows for sure that there will be no 3.5mm headphone jack on the S8 either. It’s a similar move to what Apple did with the iPhone 7 and some Chinese smartphone manufacturers are doing with their devices. While it could be considered a disadvantage initially, not being able to use your current headphones without an adapter, there are benefits to losing the traditional headphone jack.
By removing it, Samsung will be able to make the Galaxy S8 thinner and install a larger battery. It will also mean the Type-C port can output digital audio which should in theory provide better quality sound to your ears.
We heard back in September that Samsung was looking to develop its own bespoke headphone jack, but that now appears to not be the case.
Fresh rumours surrounding the display of the S8 have surfaced as well. Until now, it’s been widely accepted that the S8 will come with a 4K display, but Sammobile has once again cited reliable sources that claim it will in fact feature a 2K display like its predecessor, but it will be of a higher quality.
The screen of the S8 is said to have over 3,500,000 more pixels than the Galaxy S7 Edge, but keep the same 2560 x 1440 resolution, which should deliver a sharper image that will work well with virtual reality headsets.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 to launch in March and come with 5.5-inch 4K display?
- The Samsung Galaxy S8 could give you super sharp selfies
- Samsung Galaxy S8 could feature a bezel-less OLED display
- Samsung’s getting its own Siri rival, a personal assistant called Viv
With no native 4K content available for smartphones at the moment, a 4K display on the S8 could have been a bad move on Samsung’s part, as anything displayed on it would have to be upscaled, which would affect the overall quality and drain battery life. Sticking with a higher quality 2K display, coupled with a possible larger battery, is a much more appealing proposition.
It’s highly likely we’ll see the Samsung Galaxy S8 unveiled at Mobile World Congress in February 2017 and it’s certainly shaping up to be one hell of a phone.