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Samsung Allows You To Disable Bloatware Apps

Samsung Allows You To Disable Bloatware Apps

In what seems like a “Finally!” moment, Samsung now allows you to disable the stock bloatware apps that come with its flagship Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. While its not as good as being able to delete and get rid of the apps completely, disabling them means that they will no clutter up your app drawer/home screen and won’t be using up valuable RAM. Bloatware has been a constant complaint over the years for Samsung phones and it seems that the company has finally given in to popular demand.

Disabling apps works in the same way as you would uninstall an app that you might have installed at some point. Follow the steps below to disable default Samsung apps

1. Open your app drawer and tap the EDIT button on the top right – you should see a small “minus” bubble in the top corner of all the apps.
samsung bloatware

2. Select the app you want to disable and tap DISABLE in the popup menu (you can always enable it later if you change your mind)
3. If the app you want is within a folder – select the folder and then select View Apps in the drop down menu that pops up.

Thats it! You’re done!

What does Google’s new Android M bring to the table?

What does Google’s new Android M bring to the table?

Google just introduced the newest iteration of its Android Operating System, Android M, during its 2015 Google I/O keynote. While the keynote mentioned that Android M mainly centered around optimizing the operating system, the update also came with a host of new features. The updates included Google Maps, Google Photos, Android Wear, Google Now, Android Pay, app permissions and a bunch of other smaller updates.

Google Maps
You could already save offline maps in the Google Maps app, but you could not do a whole lot more if you did not have any service (other than look at the map and scroll around). With Android M however, you can now get searches, reviews and information and turn by turn directions while you are offline. There was an onstage demo to show-off all these features and it seemed to work seamlessly.

Google Photos
To a lot of people, this could possibly have been the biggest update. Google announced a new Photos app that can auto-backup an unlimited amount videos and photos (photos up to 16MP and videos up to 1080p). The new Photos app also organizes all your photos in a timeline and can group sets together by location. This organization of photos can be searched using keywords like “beach” or “snow” or “dog” to bring up relevant photos that match your search query. The app looks good, very similar to iOS’s photos app. The new Google Photos is available on Android, iOS and desktop.

Android Wear
Android Wear got a bunch of new apps, including Uber and Spotify. The update now makes Android Wear screens stay on at all times, even while you are in an app. It uses low-power black and white display mode to save battery. This means that apps like Maps can stay on the screen at all times so that you can quickly glance at directions. Android Wear is also getting a new app launcher.

Google Now
Google Now might arguably have the best voice search and integration out there, certainly better than Siri and Cortana currently. Its is now getting even better with a new program called Now on Tap. Now on Tap incorporates Google Now throughout the phone so you can use it to bring up relevant information while using apps like email, messages or a web browser. The on-stage demo showed how you can use Now on Tap while reading an email about a movie to bring up relevant information about the movie.

Android Pay
Google Wallet did not go as well as Google hoped, and is now evolved into Android Pay, which is Google’s answer to Apple Pay. It works similarly to Apple Pay, using NFC to pay for items and purchase terminals. Android Pay is said to come pre-installed on phones from AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile and should run on all phones running Android KitKat (4.4) and higher.

App Permissions
Android M brings a welcome update to how Android handles app permissions. In the past, you were given a list of permissions that the app required when you installed a new app. That setup is now changed to show you fewer permission categories and permissions will only be asked when the app requires a approval for something (like accessing contacts or the camera) – very similar to how iOS has been handling permissions for a number of years.

Android M is currently in beta testing, and developers can get a developers preview image for the Nexus 5 and 6 phones and the Nexus 7 tablets from Google’s Developers Portal to test the new OS.

 

OnePlus One Finally Gets CyanogenMod 12Ss

OnePlus One Finally Gets CyanogenMod 12Ss

It’s been a long time waiting, but the OnePlus One is finally CyanogenMod 12s. It hasn’t officially arrived yet, but the founder Carl Pei announced on Friday that the update will be rolling out in the next few days, as it “just passed certification” according to Pei.

oneplus one

Although the OnePlus One already has a Lollipop variant of its own in OxygenOS, CM 12S is expected to give it a fresh variant to CM fans.  However, CM 12S is said to maintain most of the original features of the OnePlus One, will come with definite advantages like optimized software, battery life and overall lack of bloatware.

Samsung Cuts Down On Bloatware With Its New Galaxy S6

Samsung Cuts Down On Bloatware With Its New Galaxy S6

Samsung just announced its latest flagships, the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge, to much acclaim at World Mobile Congress 2015. In a change of pace, Samsung seems to have put design first for the new Galaxy line – continuing its use of premium materials like metal and glass form its Galaxy Alpha series. The S6 features an aluminum chassis with Gorilla Glass 4 on the front and the back. Along with its streamlining of physical features, they have also cut down on its customization of TouchWiz. Samsung have commented on the new Lollipop TouchWiz as being cut down and lighter on system resources – claiming that there are 40 precent less features on the S6 than there was on the S5.

Overall, TouchWiz looks much the same, since most people would just hide the unwanted bloatware in the app drawer anyway, but hopefully the trimming down of features will help with battery life and improve lag. The new TouchWiz is based on Android Lollipop and retains the notifications and crisp animations that come with stock Android. As far as the rest of the phone, it features a 5.1-inch QHD Super AMOLED display that runs on a Samsung octacore Exynos CPU with 3GB RAM and will come in variants of 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of internal storage. The S6 also features a 16-megapixel front and back cameras, a heart-rate sensor, integrated wireless charging and a new payment feature called Samsung Pay (integrated with LoopPay which was acquired by Samsung recently).

The Galaxy S6 is probably the best designed Samsung phone to date, with its use of premium materials and trimming down of bloatware. Expect this to be a nice comeback to the huge hits that were the Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Google Quietly Updates Android To Lollipop 5.1

Google Quietly Updates Android To Lollipop 5.1

Google announced on Feb 4 that the Android One program is expanding to a 5th country – Indonesia – after successful launches in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Google’s partnership with local manufacturers to build optimized devices that are able to run Android has seen a fairly warm reception so far.

However, arguably the bigger news is that these newer devices will be shipping with Android 5.1 Lollipop, coming after Android 5.0 launched in November 2014. It is not known exactly when Google will start pushing the update to current devices, but it does not look like a major release, so it might be over the next few weeks.

  • The unofficial changelog from Android Pit lists the following improvements:
  • Silent mode added
  • General improvements for system stability
  • Improved RAM management
  • Improved battery management
  • Fixes for crashing apps
  • Fixed issues with wireless connections
  • Fixed problems with OK Google functions
  • Fixed problems with Notifications
  • Fixed sounds problems experienced by certain devices
  • Changes in the Material Design color palette
  • Other improvements and changes

 

 

Cyanogen Announces Official Support for Android One Devices

Cyanogen Announces Official Support for Android One Devices

Cyanogen, the popular developer of Android ROMS, has announced official support for Android One devices. The budget handsets now have official support for CM 11 builds based on Android KitKat 4.4 with an official update to Lollipop based CM12 being actively developed.

There have been unofficial ports of CM11 for Android One devices since October 2014, but the ports often had some major bugs, some of which prevented users from using cellular data and the dual-SIM slots. Those issues have since been fixed, but it is always a welcome sign to have official support. This CM11 release should work for all Android One devices, since they all use very similar hardware, Cyanogen has released a unified ROM for all devices.

The Cyanogen team mentioned this in their release:

This release represents a few firsts for us. Not only are these the first Android One devices and first official release of CM for these devices, the Android One device is the first ever officially supported Mediatek device. Mediatek (MTK) devices have been notoriously difficult for the developer community to complete fully functional bring-ups, and this marks a milestone in that effort.

 

Leaked Screenshots of Lollipop running on HTC Sense 6

Leaked Screenshots of Lollipop running on HTC Sense 6

Android Lollipop has been out for just under 2 months now and we’ve already seen it be adapted by LG for its LG G3 (although in limited numbers at the time of writing). HTC made a promise that their phones would get the Android L update within 90 days of launch. It hasn’t been 9 days yet, but back in November we saw a few screenshots of an HTC One M8 running Sense 6 and Android 5.0 with its material design.

HTC-6

 

This time, we have more images of an updated Sense 6 running Android 5.0. The interface is not far removed from that HTC users are used to seeing. It does seem to have a bunch of new animations from the new version of Android and the new quick-access screen to see notifications and multitasking interface. There are also a few screenshots showing a new “easy mode” that seems likely to be a mode for new or less tech-savvy users.  Overall, Sense 6 looks like an a welcome update and is treated with a nice dose of Material Design and animations. HTC’s 90 day promise means that this update should be rolling out to users around February 2015 – here’s hoping!

AT&T Nexus 6 comes with carrier branding

AT&T Nexus 6 comes with carrier branding

There was some confusion last week when there were supposed leaks of an AT&T Nexus 6 with an AT&T logo on the body. No one was quite sure what to make of it since Nexus devices have traditionally come without any carrier branding. The purpose of a Nexus device was to give the user an unmolested experience of Android. That may be changing with the Nexus 6.

att-nexus 6

Some XDA-Developer forum members have reported that they received their AT&T Nexus 6’s with carrier branding on the back panel along with a modified boot animation that shows AT&T’s logo. The rest of the device and its packaging was similar to other Nexus 6 un-boxings.

This could be a turning point in the Nexus lineup of devices, since there is only one Nexus device that works across all five major U.S carriers and, as mentioned before, previous iterations of the Nexus Devices usually came with no carrier branding and factory unlocked. This new trend could mean that the Nexus devices follow other brands into the carrier features and bloatware realm – which is a sad thing to think about. There will probably be ways to rid the Nexus 6 of the extra branding and any bloatware (no confirmation yet), but the beauty of a pure Android device straight from Google seems to be going up in flames.

OnePlus One Pre-Orders will go live at 11am ET on Nov. 17

OnePlus One Pre-Orders will go live at 11am ET on Nov. 17

If you’ve been keeping up with the OnePlus One news over the last year, then you’d know that it is next to impossible to get your hands on one. Between their “invite-only” purchase policy to a server crippling per-order window MONTHS after its official launch, frustrated buyers have been left looking at other phones. If you are one of those buyers, you have another chance to get your hands on of next week.

OnePlus is holding another order event for their flagship on November 17th. As with the last event, the per-order window is only open for 1 hr and will begin at 11 am EST. However, interested buyers can pre-fill all their billing and shipping info ahead of time so that you will simply have to click the pre-order button on the day. Hopefully this will ease the load on servers and will not be a repeat of their last attempt at pre-order.

OnePlus One says”
“If we have the items in stock, we’ll ship immediately. If we don’t, your order will automatically convert to a pre-order. What is a pre-order, exactly? During the ordering process, you’ll receive an estimated shipping time. When you complete your order, we’ll reserve the payment, but you won’t actually be charged until your order ships. So, if you change your mind, you can forfeit your spot in line and cancel your order at any time before it ships. If you get ahold of an invite at any time during this process, you can use it to upgrade your pre-order and receive immediate shipping.”

Billed as a flagship killer, the OnePlus One has impressive specs and a very reasonable price and has seen a lot of chatter and favorable reviews since its launched. Their limited availability and their “invite-only” sales tactics have come under heavy criticism from the tech world. That said, the OnePlus One is still a lot of phone for a reasonable amount of dollars and definitely one of the best for its lack of bloatware. Are you going to pre-order the OnePlus One?

Google is going to fix email with Inbox

Google is going to fix email with Inbox

Google announced Inbox on October 22nd. In its essence, Inbox tires to make your life easier by organizing your emails better and lumping them into groups of similar items – very similar to what Gmail does currently with primary, social, promotional and updates categories. The difference is that Inbox manages to make look really good – you can thank the new Material Design for that. Inbox has got plenty of Material Design going for it.

As with a lot of new Google services, Inbox is invite only for now – good luck trying to hunt one down. It is available as an app for Android and iOS and as an extension for the Chrome browser, which means there is no real web version at the moment. The first thing you notice about Inbox is how good it looks. It really looks amazing, thanks to Material Design, and animations are nice and crisp. Functionality is changed, “archive” is now “done”. You just swipe one way to be “done” with the email (which will archive it).

inbox-inside

Emails are bunched into bundles – think of bundles like the current labels, but better and more flexible. Archiving items will still keep them in the bundle and it is said that Inbox will learn and improve its “bundles” the more you use it. There is also a snooze function – you can swipe the email left to “snooze” the email and have it pop up at a later time if you don’t want to deal with it at this very moment. The quick action button is a nice feature to have – it will give you a “compose email” shortcut to your frequent contacts along with a compose email from scratch option.

There is an element of getting used to the flow of things with Inbox, its not perfect, but its a new and exciting direction that Google is trying. I’m sure it will be refined a lot before it hits the masses. You can try your luck and email inbox@google.com to see if you can score yourself an invite.

Good Luck.

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