Posts by Joe Levi

Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.

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    In software development there are many different stages of release. Working backwards, most customers use a "final release". As bugs are found in this version of the app, they're patched. When a significant amount of patches are issued, they're usually rolled up into a "Service Pack". Before that version is released to the public, it's run through various different test releases. At each stage, features are completed, bugs are fixed, and performance and stability are improved upon. A "milestone" version is released each time a set of bugs are fixed or features are completed. These are ...

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    In our last episode we talked about the glass that covers our smartphone screens. Today we're diving into the types of displays under that glass, the pros and cons of both types, and which you'll want in your next smartphone or tablet. Touch Screens Screens recognize touch by one of two technologies: resistive or capacitive. Resistive touch screens all but require a stylus or similar device be used to register accurate touches. These are the types of screens that we had back in the Palm, Newton, and Windows Mobile days. They're not terribly expensive to manufacture, but they aren't that ...

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    Project Tango is an undertaking by Google's Advanced Technology and Projects group (ATAP), formerly a division of Motorola, with the "goal of giving mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion". On the surface that sounds academic and boring, but start to peel away the layers and start looking at potential applications. and some amazing things come to mind. Currently Project Tango is just that, an internal project being worked on by a group inside Google. It doesn't stop there. According to Google's Johnny Lee, the ATAP-Project Tango Team has been working with ...

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    Android L is still a Developer Preview, nothing is set in stone, and who knows what might change before we see a final release later this Fall. In the meantime we're seeing some interesting tidbits surface regarding how the new OS will function, and some pretty significant changes that might be coming. Currently, when you go to the Play Store to download an app, you're presented with a laundry list of permissions an app may ask for. Based on most people we've talked to, the consensus is that users will typically accept everything just to continue past the screen and get on with the ...

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    Android L is still very much a developer preview, but there's one thing power users have been missing more than anything else: Root. With Chainfire away at Google I/O, development on this front slowed to a crawl. Lucky for all of us, Chainfire is back and has updated SuperSU to version 2.01. If you'd like more information about this version of SuperSU, head over to Chainfire's post. Some have claimed that this new version of SuperSU contains the ability to auto-root your Nexus 5 or 2013 Nexus 7. Unfortunately, this is not the case. However, rooting your Android L-powered device isn't ...

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    The HTC One mini 2 is what its name implies, a miniature version of the flagship HTC One M8 - at least it tries to be. That statement carries a lot more than one might surmise. I've previously talked about how people assume and expect a "mini" version of a similarly named flagship to be a miniaturized version of the same -- and are disappointed to discover that it is not. The same is true of the HTC One mini 2 -- except for the disappointment. The HTC One mini 2 is an aluminum-clad smartphone with a super-premium feel, running a great build of Android, and has amazing built-in sound. ...

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    The notification tray in Android holds a wealth of information that's available at a glance. We're not talking about the notification "shade", which can show quick toggles, interactive notifications, and so much more. No, what we're talking about is the bar that runs across the top of your screen. Right now my notification tray is telling me that my Bluetooth radio is turned on (but nothing's connected to it), that my WiFi is connected (with full-bars), that I'm in "airplane mode" (to keep my LTE radio turned off), that my battery is full, and what time it is. That's on my 2013 LTE Nexus 7 ...

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    Google recently released a Developer Preview of its latest version of Android: Android L. Though it's not final code by any stretch of the imagination, we wanted to see how it compares to Android 4.4.4 KitKat - the latest official release of the operating system. We headed over to Google's "L Developer Preview" page, downloaded, and installed Android L build LPV79 to our Nexus 5 (there is also a build for the 2013 Nexus 7, though only for the WiFi version). From there we spent half a day using it as our daily driver, hunting through the various screens to try and find differences and ...

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    Google introduced us to the next version of Android at Google I/O 2014 yesterday: Android L. Unfortunately, we won't have an official release of until "later this Fall", but we were promised a Developer Preview. This morning that preview landed, and we decided to go hands-on. We loaded it up on our Nexus 5, booted up, and took it for a spin. Click play to see what we found, and what you can expect from Android L. Make sure you watch all the way to the end to get a good look at the new boot animation.   If you'd like to give Android L a go on your own device you'll need to be running ...

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    As we've had the opportunity to review devices manufactured by various OEMs, an interesting trend has begun to surface: OEM skins are getting lighter-weight, and a distinctive and bold color scheme has been evolving. We've reviewed the HTC One M8, the One mini 2, and the Desire 816. All of them run modern versions of HTC's Sense UI, and all feature very similar distinctive and bold color theming. We just spent a week with the ASUS PadFone X which runs its own "skin" on top of Android. It too features distinctive and bold colors inside its apps. LG's devices, despite having their own ...

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    Coming in right before Google I/O 2014 kicked off, search-engine giant Yahoo! got into the Android launcher game by releasing its app - Aviate Launcher - out of beta and into the Play Store - no special invitation needed. In the past, launchers focused on widgets, wallpapers, and making icons for your apps look good, with slick transitions between homescreens. Recently, however, that seems to be shifting. We just saw Nokia's new launcher (which is in a very limited pre-beta and won't run on rooted phones). It promises to learn how you use your device and show you the apps that are relevant ...

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    I'm very much an advocate of wearable technologies. Some of them go overboard, I'm not talking about Locutus of Borg with cybernetic implants and a funky eye-laser thing. I'm not even talking about Google Glass (though it does have a certain je ne sais quoi about it). Wearables come in all different categories, from augmented eyewear to devices that monitor your vital stats for health monitoring. Some count steps or even heartbeats. Others check your temperature or even your oxygen saturation. While those all have their place, the kind of wearables I'm talking about are an improvement on ...

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    Not long ago we had the opportunity to share our experiences with a unique device: the Asus PadFone X. If you haven't checked out our full review, make sure you find out why we call it "a beginner's flagship with a tablet in the box". Just like most of our reviews, we get our hands on the device, we run it through its paces, we write up our thoughts, and move on to the next device. This one was "different" and we wanted to give it a little bit more than just a normal review, because it's anything but a "normal" device. The PadFone X is a smartphone. It's also a tablet. Add on it's ...

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    OnePlus is the Cinderella story that wasn't. A company poised to break all the rules launched a marketing campaign that encouraged everyone to "Never Settle". With a tagline like that, expectations ran high - but it didn't stop there. OnePlus took an interesting approach, making end-users like you and I feel like the device was being crafted just for us. In the end, it looks like this was based more in marketing spin than in reality. Nonetheless, it bootstrapped the genesis of the company and its premier device. Next, apparently wanting to avoid any opening-day rushes (and the associated ...

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    One question I get asked more than all the others is "what do you have on your phone?" Sure, people wonder what phone I have, who my carrier is, how much I pay for my plan every month, what my favorite accessory is, and a whole slew of other things, but eventually it all comes back to that singular question: what does Joe the Android Guy have on his phone? Over the last month I've switched between the Nexus 5, the Asus PadFone X, HTC Desire 816, HTC One mini 2, HTC One M8 harman kardon edition, and even the Moto X - and that doesn't include tablets and wearables! Each of those devices has ...

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