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Most Android users have installed, and uninstalled, dozens of launchers in an attempt to improve or personalize their devices. A lot of these users find that a cool launcher skin can cover up an outdated OS interface, but can slow down the device. This is a shame as Android lends itself so well to customisation and launcher modifications — as evidenced by our epic coverage of the different available options in our Customization Month.

With KitKat installations climbing every hour, a lot of space and processing power on Android devices will be freed up for a better, more robust launcher that truly ticks all the boxes. MyColorScreen’s Themer is trying to be that launcher.

The company has just announced the launch of the app’s public beta onto the Play Store. Before this, it had been in private beta and required an invite code and direct download from their website. Users running Android 4.1 and up should find their devices supported. Let’s take a look at the launcher and the amount of customisation it permits.

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How much do you love Android? Do you love it so much that you’d like to use it all the time, even when you’re sitting at your PC? This might be taking the idea of being an Android fanboy a little too far, but there are lots of reasons why you might want to have Android running on your PC.

Just as you may emulate a second copy of Windows in a virtual environment for testing purposes, so you can do the same with Google’s mobile operating system. Not all that long ago I looked at how this can be achieved with VirtualBox and a freely downloadable ROM, but now I have another more impressive and stable option to share — Genymotion.

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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.

Until a couple of months ago, I had never cared about backing up any of my SMS messages before resetting my phone or flashing a new custom ROM. However, I recently started receiving important work-related messages on my phone and got worried about losing them. I spent a few hours looking for a background solution that would save my messages, let me search them, and that would be easy to set up after every reset. Another requirement was for the app to look a little bit more modern than if it were designed in the Android Froyo days. Unfortunately, such an app didn’t exist at the time and I gave up on the search, opting instead for using mysms with its Evernote backup option — which was very intrusive and less than ideal.

However, a few days ago, my good friend Ricky Cadden suggested SMS Backup+ and although I had dismissed the app before because it looked like it was stuck in the Eclair days, I decided to take another look and lo-and-behold, it was updated to fit right at home on any post-ICS device, and it supported Whatsapp backups as well! I have been using the app ever since and I’m quite satisfied with its performance and reliability.

In this how-to, I will explain how I set up SMS Backup+ to save all my communication to Gmail. It should help you use the app for the first few times until you are familiar with its different configurations.

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One of the great benefits of using an open operating system like Android is the ability to customize it the way you want. You can change the default font to your favorite one, use a third party launcher and even install a new skin on your device without much trouble.

Android also allows you to select the application that should complete an action for you. Indeed, if there are several applications that can, let’s say, play music files, Android will ask you which one you would rather use, be it for this time or all future files. In this post, we will show you how to select these applications and how to undo this selection to reset your default apps.
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As someone who works with apps daily, researching, reading, testing and writing about them, I sometimes lose sight of what’s important: apps are personal, customizable, and adaptable. Your choice of apps on your device, the different settings you pick to personalize them, and how and when you use them remains a very individually-oriented experience.

Then I remember Todoist, and how I took a seemingly simple task management app and transformed it into the most efficient inventory and order system for my pharmacy. The adaptation to my needs is so complete that I forget, almost all the time, that this was a task app to begin with. Below is my story with Todoist, told as a reminder that when you take a powerful app and use your imagination a little, you can make it work any way you want it to.

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For the longest time, I have been annoyed by the state of my contacts on Android. Between college and family, France and Lebanon, my Android.Appstorm contacts and my pharmacy suppliers and customers, I had over 800 contacts that were almost impossible to manage. Then I decided to set aside a few hours one day and go through them all on Google Contacts, managing duplicates and groups, deleting contact details that I didn’t need anymore, and so on.

Now that my contact list is as pristine as possible, I still find myself with the odd duplicate every now and then. Merging these duplicates should be a straightforward process on my phone but unfortunately, most contact apps on Android — whether the default Android People app or the alternatives made by Samsung or LG or HTC — don’t offer a simple duplicate searching and merging option. Enter Merge+, the easiest and fastest way to merge duplicates on Android. Here’s how to use it.

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With 4.2 Jelly Bean, a new function was introduced to Android called Daydream, allowing you to set a pseudo-screensaver when your device is charging. From using your phone as a night clock or your tablet as a photo frame, Daydream is a convenient feature that we have already explored along with several useful apps.

However, I keep running into people who either don’t know what Daydream is, or think it’s a gimmick with little value. When that happens, I like showing them Daydream with DashClock on my phone. Suddenly, the benefits of Daydream become apparent to them. In the following post, I’ll explain how to make DashClock your Daydream app and why you should do it right away.

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I remember when I first started using IM applications, a long decade ago, how excited I was by the presence of emoticons. Instead of typing long sentences, you could convey a lot of feelings in one character, and given that I’m the kind of person who uses facial expressions extensively in real life, emoticons felt like the most authentic written-form translation of my speech.

Prior to Jelly Bean, Android users were left in the cold when it came to emojis. Only a few third-party applications like Whatsapp or Google Talk supported them within their own confines. But if you received emojis from a friend’s iPhone through SMS or on Twitter for example, you were faced with a square placeholder. Thankfully, the situation has changed with Jelly Bean, and now Android can not only read emojis, but it can also write them. Here’s the complete guide.

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It used to be the case that PC users had the choice of installing Windows or, if they were feeling adventurous, a version of Linux. This is still true, but it is now also possible to install OS X without owning a Mac and virtualization means that you can do all of this alongside your main operating system in a virtual computer.

This being Android.AppStorm, you may well wonder what virtualization has to do with your phone or tablet. Well, how would you feel about the chance of installing and running Android on your PC? Using a free copy of VirtualBox and the information in this guide, you can run a fully functioning – and legal – version of Jelly Bean on your computer.

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