Earlier today, Connor shared with you the Facebook Home launch news in This Week in Android’s recap. The new launcher should be available to some Android devices on April 12th, and its still unclear whether it will include all functionality — like chat heads and the notification tweaks — or just the launcher and app drawer.
This leaves me rather perplex. On the one hand, it’s interesting to see someone taking a different approach to the Android home beyond widgets and launching apps. On the other, you might not benefit from the full experience unless you have dedicated hardware like on the HTC First.
Besides, it’s still Facebook, which means that the experience will be reliant on your friends. If you have awesome friends who travel, throw parties and are always doing something interesting, then you’ll probably love Facebook Home. But if your “friends” are just high-school acquaintances who post duckfaces, flood you with not-so-adorable kid photos, and chronicle every meal they eat, then you probably won’t enjoy Facebook Home as much as Zuckerberg wants you to.
Will you give this new launcher a try? Or are you not the least bit interested in having Facebook as your home?
March was Customization Month on Android.Appstorm. Throughout the whole month, we shared with you all of our knowledge when it comes to personalizing your Android device. We wanted you to be able to design a homescreen like these with little effort.
There were tutorials about custom ROMs, themes, launchers, fonts; example usages for MultiPicture Live Wallpaper, UCCW and DashClock; awesome HD wallpapers, beautiful icons, and more — much, much more.
When we set out to plan this Customization Month, we wanted to bring you the best tutorials and roundups, without repeating our previous posts, or interrupting our regular coverage of Android apps and reviews. Did we succeed? Did you find this series helpful?
It’s Customization Month on Android.Appstorm! Throughout March, we plan to share with you all our tips, tricks, apps and resources to help you improve your phone or tablet experience and make them suit your style.
One of the new features introduced in Android 4.2 was the ability to add widgets to the lockscreen. For a long time, this feature remained underutilized, with a few apps adding support for it but not many really harnessing its power.
Enter DashClock, a widget that can be added to the lockscreen and offered an open API to allow third-party apps to build extensions for it. DashClock opened a whole world of customization to Android users, as we finally had a customizable widget that didn’t limit us to one app or one notification.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 was officially unveiled this week, and Connor covered most of the nitty gritty details in today’s This Week In Android. As a Galaxy S3 owner, I was looking forward to the event, and rather intrigued to see what my reaction would be.
Prior to the announcement, I told myself that the only “valid” reason for me to sell my still mint S3 — that I bought for almost $600 last September — and buy an S4 is the presence of a dual-SIM slot. Any other reason, I argued with myself, would be weak succumbing to new gadget lust rather than genuine improvement to my usage.
While I was rather disappointed to see that the dual-SIM S4 version seems to be a China-only variant, I was almost as equally relieved to find that my S3 is still quite relevant. It will get some of the software updates that the S4 has, it’s still one of the most popular smartphones on the planet and will be even more now that its price will drop, and it looks almost the same as the S4, meaning that I won’t feel silly being a phone geek yet carrying outdated hardware.
However, that’s not to say that the S4 is any disappointment in its own. The amount of better hardware that Samsung has managed to cram into the same footprint is impressive, the camera is better, the battery is bigger, and the processor and RAM have been bumped. Samsung also managed to add an InfraRed blaster and temperature and humidity sensors.
On the software side, Samsung distanced themselves from Android once again, adding more proprietary features. And while we could argue about the downsides all day, it all comes crashing when you’re a geek and know how to install Custom ROMs. I currently run my S3 with AOKP — a stock Android ROM — but I can also switch to the default Samsung ROM, or to a Samsung ROM that’s debloated and made to look like stock — Foxhound for instance. I would venture out that you’d be able to do the same with the S4, which means that you could either dip yourself into the Samsung services, or ignore them and stick to what you already use.
And eventually, the fact of the matter remains that Samsung will sell millions of Galaxy S4s. Will you be one of the buyers? Vote in the poll, and let us know your thoughts about the new Galaxy S device in the comments.
In today’s This Week In Android installment, Connor pointed out that Android 4 — including ICS, Jelly Bean 4.1 and 4.2 — is now installed on more devices than Gingerbread, the previous king of Android versions.
It was bound to happen at one point, as more and more devices get released or updated with the new Android versions, and old devices stop being used. For example, I have 4 Android units, 2 of which are on ICS and 2 on Jelly Bean. There’s no more Gingerbread in my life.
But what about you? Please vote in the poll, and make sure you enter multiple selections if you have several devices.
Calling all Android customization addicts, this month we’re dedicating half of our posts to making your phone look and behave in harmony with you. Whether you’ve only changed a wallpaper before but would like to learn more, or you’re a customization veteran, we have something tailored for you.
From custom ROMs to widgets, themes, launchers, icons, wallpapers and more, March on Android.Appstorm.net will be an epic month of gorgeous content to help you add back that sparkle to your old phone, or make your new one even more original.
So fasten your seat-belts, get your batteries charged, and prepare your thumbs and indexes. It’s going to be a fun ride!
For a couple of years now, it has been quite apparent that form factor innovation has stalled in the mobile industry. Big candybar touch devices are the norm, with no sliders, clamshells, qwertys or any of the other wackier designs in sight. But that seems to be changing — or at least there are companies that are thinking outside the box again, most of them employing “dual screens” to innovate and step away from the touch slab.
First there’s Asus and their Padfone lineup with the new member being the Padfone Infinity. It allows you to dock the phone into a bigger screen, transforming it into a tablet and letting you enjoy your content on a bigger screen. Then there’s the YotaPhone that keeps the candybar form factor but slaps an e-ink display on the back for lower power consumption on notifications and reading. And last, there’s the NEC Medias W that puts two touchscreens next to each other in a clamshell design, which is useful to run side-by-side apps, emulate a tablet UI with different fragments on the two screen, or simply put the keyboard on the second screen.
What do you think of these dual-screened devices? Are they interesting enough that you would consider buying them now? Or would you rather wait for the more established manufacturers to embrace them?
If you’re anything like me, you get easily irritated by all the Picasa Albums that appear in your Gallery. Thanks to Google account sync, and to the fact that every image you post to Google+ somehow ends up creating its own album on Picasa, your Gallery looks like a never-ending string of albums that contain one or two images each thanks to Picasa.
If all you’d like when you open the Gallery is to see the photos that are actually stored on your device — and the SD card if you’re using it — then follow this walkthrough to get rid of all the Picasa albums.
This week saw the announcement of HTC’s flagship device for 2013: the HTC One. As Connor covered in today’s This Week In Android recap, the One sports a mind-boggling display density — 468ppi, which is leaps beyond the 300ppi standard that Apple introduced for “Retina” displays. But that’s not the only significant feature of the One.
Aside from the now obligatory processor and RAM bumps, the One features a new UltraPixel camera with optical image stabilization that captures a lot more light than a regular mobile phone camera. It also comes with dual front speakers for a sharper and louder sound, a built-in InfraRed port that allows you to remote control your TV, and packs it all in a full metal body with glare and scratch-resistant glass.
On the software front, there’s BlinkFeed on the homescreen that pulls data from your important services and sites, and Zoe that brings your Gallery to life by making any photo you capture into a 3-second video with 20 separate frames.
HTC is definitely hoping that this will be the One device to save it from the downward sales and marketshare spiral it’s been in over the past year. But will all of it be enough to make the One your One phone? Alright, no more puns. Wait, One more! OK, I’m done.