It’s the last month of the year and the time when companies refrain from pushing new products or ideas to avoid being neglected in the midst of the holiday rush. But over on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, entrepreneurs are fearless and confident, launching new projects and hoping to get your attention with their innovative products.
In the following post, I will take a look at the most original projects that you can pledge for this month, then list others that are also worth looking at. Read on to discover them all, and keep in mind that, as with any crowd-funded project, you have to exercise your better judgement and no outcome is really guaranteed.
I am an Android customization addict and, to be honest, even the word “addict” is an understatement. Two months ago, I would have told you that there should be AA meetings for the kind of compulsion that I had. I kept hundreds of folders of iconsets ready in my Dropbox account, I mastered the dark corners of UCCW and Minimalistic Text, I spent hours every week on MyColorScreen, and even maintained a Google+ photo album as a visual history of the different homescreen designs I have made since 2010.
But most importantly, I installed Nova Launcher on any Android device I had in my hands for more than an hour, and enjoyed tinkering with every single setting the app allowed from gestures to grid layouts and more. Then I got an invite code to join the Aviate Launcher Beta, installed it on my LG G2 and … well, life wasn’t the same anymore. I haven’t had the impulse to switch back from Aviate to Nova in more than six weeks, I haven’t felt the need to change my icons either, and given my history with Android customization, this is the geeky version of a personal miracle.
In the following post, I’ll explain how Aviate won me over from Nova — and Apex, ADW and all their brethren — and why it squashed my urge to tinker with my homescreens every couple of days.
This week rings the start of the holiday season and the shopping ordeal that comes with it. From Black Friday to Cyber Monday to the Christmas presents, everyone will be running around against the clock trying to find the best deals and gift items.
Last year, we covered some great apps for last-minute holiday shopping, but as Android grew and garnered more apps over the past twelve months, many new and cool contenders rose up, so it’s time we added more apps to that list.
It’s almost Christmas time and as you prepare for the holiday shopping spree and start feeling the giving spirit of the holidays, it might be a good idea to help crowd-fund some cool projects and offer a contribution for gadget enthusiasts like yourself who have original ideas and want to turn them into real products.
In the following post, I will take a look at the most original projects that you can pledge for, then list others that are also worth looking at. Read on to discover them all, and keep in mind that, as with any crowd-funded project, you have to exercise your better judgement and no outcome is really guaranteed.
While the first few years of the tablet’s life as a new consumer product category were rife with various screen sizes as the market was still being established and our demands and habits weren’t as well understood and stable as they are now, manufacturers have currently gravitated toward two different sizes or segments of tablets: the 7″-7.9″ small and compact one, and the 9″-10″ bigger and more couch-oriented one.
That left the whole 8″ bracket of the spectrum almost untapped, which is exactly where LG decided to focus their first tangible effort at the tablet market. At 8.3″, the G Pad sits comfortably in the middle between the two segments, but does that make it an ideal one-size-fits-all tablet or a neither-this-nor-that tablet? I’ve had the G Pad for review for a few days, and I tried to answer that question.
Over the past two years, I have transformed into an online shopper. Not only did I discover that some eBay vendors deliver to Lebanon — where I currently live — but I also came across Borderlinx and their shipping services, and I fell for the excitement of Indiegogo and Kickstarter product backing.
As my habits changed, I tried manually tracking my payments and shipments, but I soon had to give up as it was too much work. I eventually resorted to simply hoping I wasn’t paying a lot instead of using personal finance apps, and relied on good ol’ Google Now to track some of my shipments while manually checking the ones that Now didn’t smartly detect.
But I was recently introduced to Slice, an app which sole purpose is to simplify the life of people like me, who shop online quite frequently. Not only does it keep track of how much I’m spending online and organize my purchases by type and vendor, it also notifies me when any of my purchases is shipping and lets me track its progress. The app also just got updated with a fresh tablet-optimized interface, making it my ultimate shopping companion.
For almost two years now, I have owned both an Android phone and tablet but I have almost never felt like the two devices were working together. Notifications plague them both and still don’t get dismissed from one after I’ve checked them on the other, I have to install third-party apps to get notified on my tablet of new SMS and calls on my phone, and there doesn’t seem to be any kind of smart communication between both devices.
Well, that was my opinion until yesterday. I was given an LG G Pad 8.3 review unit and I saw something called QPair on it. It took me a while to figure out that I needed to manually install the app on my own LG G2 to get it to work, but once that was done and the initial setup completed, I was pleasantly impressed. QPair is what I’ve dreamed should happen when I switch between using my phone and tablet. It is not perfect, but it is the most seamless integration I’ve seen so far between two separate Android devices.
For the past couple of months, my biggest technology dilemma was whether I should get the LG G2 or wait for the Nexus 5 to be released. I had previously had an LG Optimus 4X and I wasn’t at all averse to LG’s Optimus UI, but I had also tried the Nexus 4 and I recently purchased a Nexus 7 so I knew the advantages of a pure Android experience.
As fate would have it, I won the LG G2 at the launch event in my country, and I have been using it for over two weeks as my main device. The screen, the camera, the battery life, the processor and speed,… everything about the phone is mightily impressive and the best of Android at the moment — and probably for months to come. But I’m not the first person to say that.
The opinion discordance comes into play when you mention LG’s Android skin, with some reviews calling it the G2′s Achilles heel. For as many mobile enthusiasts who appreciate this skin, there is an equal amount who dislike it and I have seen it described with a lot of colorful adjectives from “a poor man’s Touchwiz” to “cartoony”, “rainbow-like”, “tacky”… So for once, I would like to dispel the misconceptions about this topic. Join me after the break as I tell you why you shouldn’t dismiss LG’s Android skin so quickly.
After the snafu that Blackberry went through when trying to release Blackberry Messenger (BBM) on Android and iOS a couple of weeks ago, the company corrected the mistake this week and re-released the apps with a little caveat: you have to stand in line and wait for an invite to be able to use the service. Putting aside this little hitch in the process, BBM is alive and doing relatively well on Android.
Whether you have never used the Blackberry platform before or you’ve just recently decided to leave it and move to Android, BBM is a valid communication method you can now use to interact securely with your friends, family and colleagues. Here’s everything you need to know about setting it up and using it on Android.
Custom ROMs are one of the most appealing features of the Android platform for knowledgeable and techie users. However, if you don’t spend your time browsing XDA-Developers’ forums and following every changelog of every nightly update from every ROM, you might find yourself quickly confused and overwhelmed by the choice.
We’ve previously tried to explain to you How to Find Custom ROMs for your Android Device, but the truth of the matter is that even a ROM’s official site sometimes fails to show you the most significant features it carries. So how are you supposed to easily pick which ROM to install?
The answer to that question has long evaded me, as I kept bookmarking page upon page of featureset and changelog, and even resorted to some quick spreadsheets to “simplify” my decision making. That’s why I was more than ecstatic to see this post on Reddit’s r/android page.
In it, the user going by the name wamen_noodles — whom I have already added to my heroes list — links to his personally crafted set of infographics that detail the features of 6 major AOSP-based ROMs: CM10.2, AOKP, Paranoid Android, Carbon, SlimBean and the newcomer, OmniROM. The graphics are superbly done, with gifs and minimal text to explain every feature of every ROM. I will be bookmarking these and checking them for months to come, and I suggest you do the same. No amount of explaining and reading can help you understand these ROMs’ options as simply and efficiently as what you will see here.
So head over to wamen_noodles‘s Reddit post, check the infographics out, and give him a big warm hug — or in Reddit lingo, upvote — for his trouble.