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How to convert your GSM HTC One M8 into a Google Play Edition

How to convert your GSM HTC One M8 into a Google Play Edition

The HTC One M8 is a great phone, even with HTC’s Sense 6 – some would even argue that it is better and, offers more than Vanilla Android that comes with a Nexus device, but, there is also a vast majority of people who will disagree and would love a pure Android experience with the M8. However, at nearly $700 a piece, not everyone can justify spending that amount on a phone. Not when you can upgrade to the same phone for $99 down with your regular carrier.

For those of you who want the Nexus experience on your GSM M8, the guys over at XDA have put together a tutorial to make it as seamless as possible. Head over to the original thread to see how you can have the GPE experience on your HTC One M8.

 

Google’s Android One Program Will Rid Phones of Bloatware

Google’s Android One Program Will Rid Phones of Bloatware

We recent wrote about the rumored Android Silver program for flagship Android devices. In a welcome move, Google has now announced a similar program for low-mid tier Android phones at its annual Google I/O event in San Francisco. It will follow a model much like the Nexus devices where the software updates will come directly from the Mountain View company.

Android One allows Google to set cost-effective hardware standards for OEM’s to manufacture. The software will come directly from Google and this, combined with the hardware standards, will benefit the consumer. The main benefits being that you will no longer have bloatware on your phone from OEM’s and that Android will be able to keep a uniform look and feel among a host of different devices. These devices would probably be in similar ilk to the Moto G and the Moto E.

android-one-1

The Android One program is aimed mainly at emerging markets and Google is initially teaming with Indian manufactures Karbonn, Spice and Micromax. Its not launching in the US just yet, with carriers proving to be a major barrier to direct software updates. Are you a fan of this new vision of the Android OS? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!

Samsung Galaxy S5 – Google Play Edition – Where is it?

Samsung Galaxy S5 – Google Play Edition – Where is it?

Its fair to say that Google Play Editions are a popular device choice, not just for Android purists, but for a lot of user who do not want to deal with manufacture skins and carrier bloatware, AND still want a premium device with the best specs on the market. Hence all the more puzzling when you consider that the Galaxy S5 has been out for a few months now, with no sign of a Google Play Edition model. It was Samsung that kicked off the whole Google Play Edition (GPE) trend with the Galaxy S4 and was swiftly followed by the HTC One. HTC continued its GPE trend support when it announced the HTC One M8 GPE (which is available in the Google Play Store).

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 2.46.13 PM

 

It may be a sign of things to come from Samsung – who have already moved to Tizen OS on their smartwatches (although they did release their Gear Live watch running the new Android Wear OS). Samsung’s focus has always been on its own services, from its TouchWiz Android skin, to its S-services (most of which are not as good as what comes on stock Android AND take up resources on your devices). Perhaps its cockiness on Samsung’s part, being the biggest Android manufacture, or might just be waiting for Android L to be finalized before it does a big reveal.

Whatever the case – I know of a good few people that would love to get their hands on a GPE Galaxy S5.

Nokia Launches a New Predictive Android Launcher

Nokia Launches a New Predictive Android Launcher

Predecting your next moves seem to be where a lot of new Android launchers are heading. Nokia has just joined that foray and launched its own Android launcher called Z Launcher. This is all very interesting since Microsoft, who have their own mobile OS, just bought Nokia.

The Z Launcher has a very minimalist feel to it and does not support widgets for now. Its in limited beta for now and you can sign up here to test it out (it only supports a handful of devices at the moment). It “predicts” what you will use at a particular time/situation and will have the apps float on the home screen. Nokia have released a short intro video that you can watch below.

 

Android Silver: Google’s Answer To Manufacturer Bloatware

Android Silver: Google’s Answer To Manufacturer Bloatware

Google’s Nexus program has been very successful over the past few years, to say the least. The Nexus program gives you a flagship phone at a decent price, but most of all, it comes with Vanilla Android, without any manufacture or carrier add-on software. They are also the first devices to get updates directly from Google. A lot of manufacturers have their own version of Android running on their phones, which results in delayed updates since they have to re-skin and test every new updated released from the Mountain View company.

It has recently been reported that Google will replace its Nexus program with a new one called “Android Silver”. However, unlike the Nexus program, which had Google working directly with a single manufacture for a Nexus device, Android Silver is more along the lines of a set of hardware and software standards set by Google. Any manufacturer can take part in the program, as long as their devices meet the standards set by Google, it will be considered and sold as an Android Silver device.

Why Android Silver

Unlike the rigidly-controlled iOS, Android is highly fragmented since its hardware ranges from low-end, cheap devices, to high powered flagship devices with excellent build quality. Top this off with manufactures adding their own UI over the stock Google version, and you have a myriad of devices running several different versions of Android. Google’s answer to this fragmentation is Android Silver – which is essentially a “seal of quality” that signifies premium build quality, hardware and a unified Android experience (and hopefully fewer bloatware apps). It is Google’s way of telling a consumer that by buying a Silver device, they are getting an excellent premium device with an uncluttered Android experience.

This is all good news for the consumer, as it means a wide range of reasonably priced high end devices that are updated year after year. According to a recent leak by @evleaks, LG will be the first manufacturer to release a Android Silver device later this year. It will reportedly run an all new 64-bit Snapdragon 810 processer and will be on the Sprint network, though there is no word about exclusivity at the moment.

What are your thoughts on the new Android Silver program? Do you believe it is Google taking too much control over the Android experience?

Tips & Tricks on How To Improve Battery Life On Your Android Device

Tips & Tricks on How To Improve Battery Life On Your Android Device

We’ve all had that dreaded feeling when you look at your phone and you see a little pop-up telling you that you only have 10% battery remaining. You don’t have a charger in sight and still have another 4 hours to push through before you can get your hands on a charger.

Here are some tips, tricks and strategies that will help you improve the battery life on your device.

1. See what is draining your battery

Go to Settings > Battery on your device to see an organized list of what apps/services are using the most battery life.

2. Turn OFF unnecessary settings and signals.

LTE, WiFi and GPS are great things, but you probably do not need all of them to be on ALL THE TIME. Location based apps are constantly refreshing in the background and will drain your battery quickly, even when you are not using your phone. You can use the settings panel to turn off these signals when you don’t need them

3. Turn OFF automatic brightness

It’s great that your phone senses ambient light and adjusts the screen brightness according to it, but most of the time, this is just draining your battery. Turn it off and manually adjust the brightness to about 65%, this setting would suit most people in most situations for the majority of the time. Most new phones do not need their screen to be on full brightness unless you are outdoors or in direct sunlight.

4. Remove Apps running in the background

Go to Settings > Apps and swipe to the left to see a list of apps that are currently running. You can click on apps that you do not need and stop them (NOTE: some are essential apps and might freeze your phone if you try to stop them from running).

5. Remove live wallpaper and unnecessary home screen widget.

Some phones might come preloaded with widgets on the home screen, they are just sitting there drawing power and removing the ones that you don’t use can help manage your battery better. Same can be said for live wallpapers – they look great but also draw a lot more power than an background that is static.

6. Signal Strength

Weak signal strengths will make the phone work harder to stay connected, which means using more power. If you are in an area where know signal is an issue (hiking etc), turning your phone to airplane mode will definitely help preserve battery life

7. Battery Cases or Portable battery packs.

If you don’t mind the extra bulk, battery cases can go a long way to increasing your devices’ battery life – in some case even doubling the battery life. If the extra thickness is not for you, potable battery packs usually pack even more power than battery cases and are small enough to carry around in your jacket pockets.

How to speed up your android phone

How to speed up your android phone

In the early days of the Android platform, smartphones like the G1 were painfully slow and clunky. Handsets struggled to open apps, freezes were expected, and crashes were regular occurrences. Fast forward to 2014, and Android is an entirely different story.Google’s code has enjoyed years of optimizations and processors and other components have improved dramatically. Even most low-end and mid-range Android phones run smoothly in most normal situations now.

Sometimes, however, things slow down. It can be incredibly frustrating — even more so than it was back in Android’s early days, because back then it was the norm. Now, users expect a more fluid experience and when they don’t get it, it’s frustrating.

But thanks to Android’s open nature, there are often simple little tweaks that can be made in order to speed things up.

Though it is easily one of the best mobile browsers out there, Chrome for Android can sometimes be a source of aggravation for Android users. Particularly when many tabs are open at once, the app tends to get a bit choked up. As a result, pages load slowly and scrolling can get choppy.

Fixing the issue couldn’t be easier.

As noted in a post on Reddit and then picked up recently by Wired, users can quickly and easily increase the amount of RAM that the Chrome app can utilize. By default, the app can only access up to 128MB of RAM and then things start to bog down. High-end and even mid-range Android phones now have plenty of RAM though, so if you’re a heavy Chrome user, there’s no reason your experience has to be so limited.

Simply open a new tab, type the following string, and tap Enter:

chrome://flags/#max-tiles-for-interest-area

Then, in the menu that pops up, change “128″ to either “256″ or “512.” Now tap theRelaunch now button and you can enjoy smoother sailing — and smooth scrolling — in your Chrome browser.

Bloatware: What is it?

Bloatware wasn’t invented with the Android phone, but Android phone manufacturers and cell phone carriers have really taken advantage of it. Bloatware is all of the extra software applications that come pre-installed on your Android (in addition to vanilla Android)–it can include any kind of application but some of the most notable examples are carrier apps and/or trial apps that you have to pay for after a certain time to keep using it. At best these apps can simply be taking up space on your phone, or at worst it can be running in the background without your knowledge and drain your battery. 

Bloatware on the Samsung Galaxy S5

Bloatware on the Samsung Galaxy S5

Most Android phones come with useless software/apps that are pre-installed by the device manufacturer and/or your carrier (looking at you Samsung and Verizon). This is what we call “bloatware” and it takes up valuable storage space on your device and drain your battery by running discreetly in the background.

 To give you an example, we’ve made a list of software that comes pre-installed on a brand new, carrier-neutral, Samsung Galaxy S5. Ready?

  1. 1. Samsung Touchwiz

  2. 2. Samsung S-voice

  3. 3. Samsung account

  4. 4. Samsung Books

  5. 5. Samsung Cloud Data Relay

  6. 6. Samsung Cloud Quota

  7. 7. Samsung Games

  8. 8. Samsung Hub

  9. 9. Samsung KNOX

  10. 10. Samsung Link

  11. 11. Samsung Music

  12. 12. Samsung Push Service

  13. 13. Samsung SBrowser Bookmark SyncAdapter

  14. 14. Samsung Smart Scroll

  15. 15. S-Health

  16. 16. Download Booster

Samsung has also stated that the S5 will come with $200 worth of apps pre-installed on the device, which would add to the above list significantly. The fact that the 16GB Galaxy S5 comes with “only” 10.7GB usable storage shows you the full extent of valuable storage space that bloatware takes up. Adding to the already extensive bloatware list from the device manufacturers, cellular carriers have gotten into the mix with their own pre-installed apps. Some of these apps are downright impossible to remove and cause havoc with your battery life.

Sprint Takes A Stand Against Bloatware

Sprint Takes A Stand Against Bloatware

Sprint recently announced that HTC EVO 3D users would be able to uninstall bloatware from their phones–no rooting required. Sprint plans on continuing this practice with future mobile phone releases, giving Android users hope of a bloatware-free world (at least on Sprint).

[image via AndroidAndMe]