Posts tagged with: Android Guy Weekly
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    We live in a day and age where our phones, tablets, and wearables are an integral part of our regular routine. Metal versus plastic, megapixels, screen size, battery capacity, CPU cores, RAM, storage capacity, and more all get thrown around by marketers when trying to convince us their product is somehow superior to that of their competitor. Sure, all those all important, but what do all the numbers really mean? How does each item on the spec sheet translate into value for your dollar? If you're interested in the nuts and bolts, the hardware that powers your devices, you're probably lost ...

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    I doubt you'd find anyone who'd tell you that my blood runs any color but green. I'm an Android guy through and through. That wasn't always the case: I started out as a Windows Mobile guy. Now that Microsoft has announced Windows Phone 8, how'd they do -- from an Android guy's perspective? I was a bit harsh when responding to Apple's iPad Mini announcement because it's basically just a "smaller iPad".  The announcement, however, was for a product and the OS it was running wasn't any different than what we had already seen. Windows Phone 8 is different. Sure we'll see existing ...

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    This is the first episode of our new series, Android Power User, where we talk about technology, definitions, and concepts to help regular Android users become Android Powerusers! The bootloader, in almost any computing environment (not just Android), is executable code that runs before the operating system loads and starts to run. Distilled down to its most basic function, the bootloader contains instructions to boot the operating system. Bootloaders are specific to the hardware upon which they're running which explains why every kind of phone and tablet, as well as every laptop and ...

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    We all like to get new stuff, right? Over time, new stuff turns into old stuff, and old stuff isn't cool (at least not until it's "retro", then it's cool all over again). One of the perks of being a product reviewer is the ability to play with evaluate new products and new technology -- sometimes before it's even released to the general public.  Alas, we have to send back our shiny new toys evaluation units far too soon. It's not a fair comparison While we try to be as honest and unbiased as we can about the products we review, there is one signification difference in the products we ...

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    Have you ever noticed that your Internet connection isn't as stable when you're tethered to your smartphone as it is when you're connected to a WAP or router connected to a cable? Why is that? In this episode of the Android Guy Weekly we'll cover: How cell towers keep you connected to one tower even though you may be within reach of another tower (and why that's not necessarily a bad thing) How this is especially troublesome while you're moving (like on a train or a bus) One way wireless providers could mitigate the whole "moving" problem (and why it will take a long time to implement) ...

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    Have you ever wondered why it's so difficult to transfer something from one phone or tablet to another using NFC? Isn't NFC supposed to make everything easier? I've got the answer to that question, along with a look back at another "transport mechanism" in this week's episode of the Android Guy Weekly. In the days before NFC we had IrDA Long, long ago (okay, not that long ago) we had something called IrDA that literally let you transfer stuff at the speed of light! Infrared light, to be precise... Who knew the speed of light was so slow! IrDA transfers took a long time, but with them you ...

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    What would you do if your smartphone went missing? Here's the real story of how my wife's GSM Samsung Galaxy Nexus was "stolen" -- and a bizarre turn-of events that makes me want to get new locks on my doors. Background I was an early adopter and got my unlocked GSM Galaxy Nexus before a lot of other people (I still can't thank Hashim in England enough for helping me out). It cost the proverbial arm and a leg to get it, but in this industry you've sometimes got to make sacrifices. A Pleasant Surprise My wife wasn't a fan of the large size, but she did like the new operating system and ...

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    Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is coming soon to a phone near you! Depending on how old you phone is, who makes it, and what carrier you're with it may not be coming to your phone -- but one near you, that's for sure!. Hopefully it will come to your phone, and hopefully it will be sooner than later. In the meantime, now that the source-code to Jelly Bean has hit the AOSP be ready for a whole slew of ROMs to start hitting the net! But before you get too excited, there are a few options you might want to know about. 1. Do you want to Root your phone and run a custom ROM? If you're using an "older" ...

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    Now that Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is literally days old, I've got to wonder: what's next. I know, I know, Jelly Bean hasn't even been released to the AOSP yet, and Ice Cream Sandwich is only available on a small percentage of devices, but we can still dream, and looking to the future is never a bad thing, right? But what, exactly, will be included within the next version of Android? Will it be another minor version, say 4.2, or will we see a jump to 4.5 to even 5.0? What features will we see? What improvements will be made? Hit play, and let's see if we can figure some of it out! What's in a ...

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    Wikipedia says a "point release" is a minor release of a software project, especially one intended to fix bugs or do minor cleanups (rather than add features) and implies that such releases are relatively frequent in nature. These versions differ from a "major release", which is typically a full number, and generally represents a significant change in features and is usually accompanied by noticeable modifications to the UI. Google doesn't follow this pattern exactly, instead their bug releases are generally versioned with a "sub-point", and their major versions can be somewhere in ...

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    In our last few episodes of the Android Guy Weekly we've talked a lot about processors and SoCs. We've talked about ARM-based CPUs primarily, and one of our readers, Prateek, wants to know: where is Intel in all of this? ARM is a Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) architecture. Intel is a Complex Instruction Set Computer (CISC) architecture. Android, as we know it, runs on RISC hardware. RISC is generally considered faster and uses less power than CISC. The reasons for this are varied, but one of the factors is that reducing the instruction set offloads the heavy-lifting of the code ...

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    Central Processing Units (CPUs), Systems on a Chip (SoCs), dual-core, quad-core, ARM, Cortex A8, Tegra, Exynos, OMAP... How are CPUs and SoCs related? What do all of the major SoCs have in common? What does it all this mean in the context of our smartphones and tablets? That's what we'll try and unravel in today's episode of the Android Guy Weekly.

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    We've talked about it in the past and I'm sure we'll talk about it long into the future: battery life. Today we're going to tackle the subject from another direction. Rather than talk about what you and I can do to try and extend how long our batteries last, let's talk about what manufacturers and OEMs are doing to try and maximize battery life in phones and tablets they make. Make Bigger Batteries Let's face it, we've got two competing specifications here: who can make the thinnest phone, and who has the larger capacity battery. Usually the one who leads in one spec trails in the other. ...

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    Many smartphones and tablets come with a microSD card slot as a means to expand their storage from their stock capacity up to an additional 32GB. There are many different sizes, form-factors, capacities,  and speeds to take into consideration. Not every variation works in all slots, so there are some things that you need to know before you head out and buy your card. MultiMedia Cards (MMC) Way back in the day of PDAs, if you wanted to add some extra storage to your device you had a choice: MMC or SD. MMC cards were usually less expensive than SDcards, had fewer moving parts (they didn't ...

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    Android often takes quite a bit of criticism for its "fragmentation". It's got lots of versions currently on the market, it comes in different shapes and sizes, OEMs can customize it to their liking... the sky is the limit with Android. But have you ever looked beyond the chatter and stopped to ask: Why does Google allow Android to be so open? Why the need for ICS, Jelly Bean, and OEM UIs? That's what we'll talk about in today's episode of the Android Guy Weekly!

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    Last week on the Android Guy Weekly we talked about how batteries are holding our devices back. Our CPUs, GPUs, RAM, screens, and wireless radios are getting more power-hungry, but our batteries aren't making the same technological leaps as the other components. The comments on that episode we very informative and helpful, but a single thread began to stand out from the others: What can I do to make my battery last longer. What was more interesting that the comments were geared more to the lifespan of the battery, not the run-time per charge. We'll tackle that in today's episode of The ...

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    Batteries are included inside all our smartphones and tablets, but most of us don't pay much attention to them -- not until we run out of juice. Every phone includes the capacity of its battery somewhere on its spec sheet. A Nexus One includes a 1400mAh battery and a GSM Galaxy Nexus includes a 1750mAh battery. Both run at 3.7 volts. In batteries, "pressure" is measured in voltage, the size of the jug is measured in amp-hours (or milliamp hours). If we compare electricity to water, milliamp hours (mAh), are analogous to the size of a water jug; volts (electromotive force) are analogous to ...

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    With the NFC-enabled Google Wallet app arriving on more devices, more phones coming with NFC, and batteries not getting any bigger, is is safe to upgrade your battery? Given the fact that batteries in these phones have a message on them that indicate they include NFC inside the battery itself, can you you simply swap your battery? Will doing so make Google Wallet stop working? How does all this magical NFC stuff work, anyway? We'll answer that, and more, in today's episode of the Android Guy Weekly! What is NFC? NFC, or Near Field Communication, is essentially just another transceiver ...

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    In this week's episode of the Android Guy Weekly we'll talk about technology, politics, and animal husbandry. No, really! Somehow me manage to tie it all together into a common thread, but you'll just have to watch the video to see what I mean. Operating systems and brand-names aside, when someone goes to buy a new smartphone or tablet, or install a new app, they fall into one of two groups: those who buy the product because it's what they've been told to get, and those who are more fully-informed about what they're getting and why. To tell them apart we'll call the first group "sheep" and ...

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    This week's Android Guy Weekly was delayed due to a medical emergency in the family, but the experience taught me some things about how to better prepare for emergencies and utilize our smartphones to potentially save a life. Our first tip involves using the "Owner Information" on your phone to help provide first responders information about who to contact and if you have any allergies in case you're involved in an accident or can't answer for yourself -- and addresses the problem of securing your phone with a lockscreen but still allow paramedics to see your ICE contact. Our second tip ...

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    A few viewers have written in with various questions about dual-core versus quad-core, Cortex A9 versus A15, nvidia's Tegra 3, and why relative performance between them is so different and seems to defy logic. In this episode we'll talk a little about cores, different architectures, and make some super-awesome car-analogies along the way to try to explain it all. We'll keep things high-level enough to keep the episode understandable, but will get into enough detail to keep things interesting -- and you'll find out why a 3-cylinder commuter car is sometimes more desirable than a high-end ...

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    Ads help app developers release "free" apps, but they're still able to make money through ad networks. Ads help content providers "pay the bills" so they can write content that you and I like to read, watch, or listen to. Love them or hate them, ads are what let you get your apps and content for "free". Recently, T-Mobile USA updated one of their apps and "accidentally" included the ability to push ads into user's notification bar -- a space that's supposed to be reserved for "important" information. T-Mobile later apologized, but it's got us asking, where are ads acceptable, where are ...

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    Today's topic goes way back to the PC days where OEMs would load them up with software that you didn't need, and most users didn't want. The term for this software? "Bloatware". Pocketnow reader Laurentiu sent in the following question: What do you think about built in Apps in Android devices, starting with launchers (Touchwiz, Sense, etc), daily apps like memo takers, voice recorders, email clients, Kies air and the corresponding widgets for these applications. Many refer to them as bloatware, while I find them useful and better integrated with the OS than third party apps. Cheers, ...

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    To root, or not to root, that is the question. In the past if you've wanted to do "really technical stuff" like use your camera's flash as a flashlight, synchronize your clock with a time server, or even backup your phone. You wouldn't think that you'd need superuser permissions to be able to do any of those, but you have. Later builds of the Android OS have exposed APIs, hooks that programmers can use, to accomplish the same sorts of things -- without requiring superuser, or ROOT. A lot of things still require ROOT to work correctly. The entire CyanogenMod custom ROM requires ROOT, and ...

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    In the United States phones and cellular plans are almost synonymous. You can't get one without the other, and you're generally limited to the make and model of phone depending upon your selected carrier. US carriers also offer discounted phones -- as long as you sign up for a multi-year contract with them. The phones are subsidized by the carriers in exchange for your contact with them. Is this hurting OS upgrades on those subsidized phones? That's the question we'll ask in today's episode of The Android Guy Weekly!

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