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Android Wear App Review: Command Google Now with Commandr – XDA Developer TV

Posted by wicked July - 31 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

android wear commandr

“OK Google. Make Me a sandwich.” How many times have you made this joke? Apparently we’ve done it often enough that Google made it an Easter egg.  Wouldn’t it be great if Google Now could do more complicated or useful tasks? Well, it can’t quite make you an actual sandwich, but maybe we can get it to actually toggle your WiFi! For his 100th app review, Tk has a solution for you!

XDA Senior Member RsenG2X  offers up an application that allows you expand the capabilities of Google Now! In this video, XDA Developer TV Producer TK reviews Commandr.  TK shows off the application, its uses and functionality, and he gives his thoughts of the application. Check out this app review. And of course check out the playlist of all TK’s 100 app reviews.

Be sure to check out other great XDA Developer TV Videos

The post Android Wear App Review: Command Google Now with Commandr – XDA Developer TV appeared first on xda-developers.

Samsung patents rounder smartwatch, wrist strap charging

Posted by wicked July - 31 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Clearly Samsung isn’t done yet with smartwatches, though now it’s more a question of whether it will go with more Android Wear or stick to Tizen. Whichever OS it chooses, it might already have a design in mind, as seen in new patents filed last March, showing smartwatches with less angular faces and a charging connector built into the wrist strap.

Look to our smartwatch and Android Wear tag portals for more wearable bits and bites!

Except for the watch face, the overall design of these smartwatches seem to make a return to the Galaxy Gear aesthetic, particularly the strap. This is even more apparent with the presence of a camera on the strap, something that Samsung “fixed” in the Gear 2, where the camera was relocated to the frame of the watch itself, leaving the strap free to be swapped with other colors and styles. That said, the presence of a camera clues us in that this might actually not be intended for Android Wear, as Google’s wearable platform currently doesn’t make provisions for cameras. If so, then Samsung might be going with Tizen again on this one, which will surely sour relationships between the two companies even more.

The rounder faces of these smartwatches are notable in themselves. At the moment, only the Moto 360 has, or will have, that kind of display and its usability has yet to be tested in the real world. It seems, however, that Samsung is also a believer in this circular form. That said, it seems to also have a fallback, a watch face variant that is more quadrilateral but still sports rounded corners and curved edges. How the smartwatch will charge is also an interesting point, which again could hint that this is a Tizen design. Current Android Wear devices have the charging pins located at the back. Though Samsung’s Gear 2 family follows the same convention, it is more free to change things on its own when it comes to Tizen. In this case, the pins are located on one end of the strap, which makes one wonder about the form of the actual charger itself. Hopefully it means more cumbersome cradles.


Of course, these are merely patents, which is no guarantee of an actual device, interesting as they are. Samsung is practically just calling dibs on these designs. Given its push for wearable technologies, however, it could very well make it into an actual product line. The company has also recently trademarked the name “Gear S” in the US, which could be what the rumored SIM-toting Gear Solo would be called. At the moment, there is no rumor yet if Samsung has any upcoming smartwatch in the works, but we could likely hear whispers about it this coming IFA Congress in September.

VIA: SlashGear, SamMobile

CASE Remote: Android device as wireless DSLR controller

Posted by wicked July - 31 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Even with the advent of mobile photography due to the massive improvement of smartphone cameras, there is still nothing better for old school photographers than to have a DSLR in their hands. But sometimes, lugging around and controlling that massive camera can be a pain in the neck, especially when you’re trying to get a rather difficult shot. CASE Remote wants to help solve that problem by turning your Android device into a wireless remote controller for your DSLR.

The small 2×2 device may look like the power adaptor of a Macbook but serves as the connection between your DSLR and your Android smartphone or tablet. You mount it on top of the camera using a hot shoe or 1/4 screw hole. Then you download the CASE app on your device, and you’re all set to remotely control your camera. You will get a live view of what can be found on the DSLR’s viewfinder and you can also control several settings, including focus, magnification, aperture and other parameters. You can also set it up so that the GPS will be embedded in the photo.

Once you’ve captured the image, you can now directly share it with your friends (or touch it up with your photo editor of choice) on your different apps and social networks. CASE Remote is very convenient to have if you want to take weird or difficult angled shots, macro photography, wildlife photography (you don’t really want to be up close and personal with some animals right?) and even for the time lapse effect. Their site indicates that they support Canon and Nikon DSLRs but they say that is still not the complete list, so we can expect more updates soon.

The creators of CASE Remote have already reached their target goal on IndieGoGo with over 400 backers but they opened up Round Two to try and get more people on board. They have finished mass production and plan to ship it out to their backers by next month. Then by September, they will be selling it online, so even if you didn’t back them up, you can still purchase this wireless DSLR remote for your photography pleasure.



Nokia Z Launcher sees first update, welcomes new testers

Posted by wicked July - 31 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Nokia, yes the real Nokia or what’s left of it, has just announced the first ever major update to the pre-beta version of its search-centric self-learning Z Launcher homescreen replacement. In this round, the developers have implemented a few of the most requested features and ironed out some kinks to performance and the launcher’s learning abilities.

Z Launcher tries to make it easy to find your apps, contacts, and even web searches, using drawing gestures to spell out words. However, it wasn’t so straightforward to actually manage them. This update changes that, somewhat. First up is the new ability to configure your Favorites, the four apps that appear at the bottom, via drag and drop, said to be the #2 most requested feature from users. However, the implementation isn’t exactly as obvious as you might think. You will have to tap and hold on the icon of the app, not the name, to start the process. Also note that there is only a maximum of 4 apps allowed on the Favorites. Even if it looks like the existing icons are moving around to make room for the new one, it will really just be replaced.

The other feature is the ability to hide apps from the suggestions listed on the homescreen. You can do this by tapping and holding on the name, not the icon this time, and then tapping on the hide option at the right edge. This same gesture will give users an Uninstall option when done from the full Applications list. To unhide an app, that is to allow it be listed again, go to the Applications list, look for the app, tap and hold (on the name), and select Unhide.


Z Launcher has also gained some optimizations in how it tries to learn from the habits and patterns of users. For example, now it takes into account WiFi SSIDs so that it will learn about and suggest different apps depending on the network you’re connected to. It also tries to get deeper insight into how you use your phone and your apps to be able to make better suggestions. Some people might be uncomfortable with this aspect of the launcher but, since this is part of the bread and butter of Z Launcher, they might as well look for something else.

Z Launcher is still in limited pre-beta status, but Nokia is opening the testing stage to more willing users, of course still a bit limited. Those who want to apply for the trial should take note of two requirements. The first is that you need to have a Google Account. The second is that Z Launcher currently doesn’t support root, so if you have a rooted device, better wait for the day that it will.

SOURCE: Z Launcher (1), (2)

Play Your Hits and Learn the Lyrics with NextGen Music Player

Posted by wicked July - 31 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

NextGen Music Player

There are plenty of music players for Android available in Play Store. They differ in terms of layout, functionality, and overall user experience. Paid or free, it’s totally up to you to decide which one(s) you prefer and which app(s) will make the cut.

If you are learning foreign languages or simply like to know about what artists are singing, XDA Forum Member siju2012 created a nice music player that fetches lyrics automatically and displays them on the screen. In addition to playing music and displaying lyrics, the NextGen Music Player is very functional. You can change the song by swiping horizontally. If you are planning to take a nap, you can set up the timer to turn the music off after set period of time. Downloaded lyrics one stored on the SD card, so they are easily accessible even after changing the ROM.

NextGen is an interesting position for every music enthusiast. Lyrics support will help you understand lyrics better and fully enjoy your favorite hits. You can even use your device as a karaoke display. The app currently supports English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu. In an upcoming release, siju2012 plans to implement a lock screen widget.

You can find The NextGen music player by visiting the NextGen Music Player application thread. If you want to try this app out, go there and give it a shot.


The post Play Your Hits and Learn the Lyrics with NextGen Music Player appeared first on xda-developers.

Verizon releases Kyocera Brigadier with Sapphire Shield

Posted by wicked July - 31 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

With rumours swirling about that the new iPhone will be using sapphire crystal glass for its display screen among others, it seems that another OEM has gotten ahead of them. Verizon has officially announced that the Kyocera Brigadier, which has the sought after Sapphire Shield, is now available exclusively with the carrier.

While the Japanese brand may not be at the forefront of mobile devices, Kyocera released a teaser video a few days ago showing just how tough the sapphire display really is. The Brigadier specs are not on par with most new Android phones now, but it is pretty decent. It has a 4.5-inch screen with a 720p display, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and runs on a 1.4GHz quad core SOC.

But remember that Kyocera manufactures smartphones that are for rough terrain and this one is no different as it has a lot of great ruggedisation features. It has IP68 dust and water resistance and can be submerged up to 30 minutes in six feet of water without suffering any damage. It is US MIL-STD-810G-rated which means it has protection against several environmental conditions like strong vibration and temperature extremes. But of course everyone is looking forward to the Sapphire Shield, which is “virtually scratchproof” and can even survive if you drop it screen-first onto rocks below.

Verizon is offering the Brigadier at $99 under a 2-year agreement and at $19.99/month if you want to split it into 20 payments. The price is not bad, despite the aforementioned simple specs, since you could expect to keep the phone for years due to its “rugged good looks”.

Screenshot 2014-07-31 14.43.31

SOURCE: Verizon

LG G Vista arrives with Verizon Wireless

Posted by wicked July - 31 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

After few leaked photos and details, Verizon Wireless has officially launched the LG G Vista, which comes with a 5.7-inch qHD display (960 x 540) and Android 4.4.2 KitKat. The phablet is slightly larger than the 5.5-inch LG G3, but share the similar back buttons design.

Available at $99.99 with 2 year service contract, the G Vista is powered by a 1.2GHz quad core processor. If you would like to get it without contract, the full retail price will be $399.99. Other specs include a 1.5GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, microSD card slot, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi a/b/g/n and a 3200 mAh Li-Ion battery. Although there isn’t any specific processor info on the Verizon page, the LG G Vista’s processor should be a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 according to previous leaks.

Like LG G3, the G Vista has rear key control for power and volume adjustment. There is no Laser Auto Focus and dual LED flash on G Vista. Instead, it comes with a 8 megapixel camera, single LED flash and a 1.3 megapixel front facing camera.

Along with the new minimalistic GUI with Android KitKat, LG’s unique tools like QuickMemo, QSlide 2.0, Knock Code and Mini View are available on G Vista too. Improving on KnockON, Knock Code allows you to set a pattern of taps to wake up and unlock your phone from standby mode.

Check out this page on Verizon Wireless for more info


Control Your Toast Notifications with SlicedToasts

Posted by wicked July - 31 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Android Toast Notifications

Toasts are delicious, even in their Android flavor. In Android, toast doesn’t lead to a yummy sandwich, but rather a type of notification. Google decided to use these short prompts to inform about various things that are going on. For example, you may see a toast when an application is granted a superuser access.

Despite the idea behind toast notifications being great, Google has left room for big improvements in terms of implementation details. Developers didn’t like to wait, so they started to play with such details like notifications. As a result, XDA Forum Member abellujan created an Xposed module that lets you make toasts shorter than the minimum duration and longer than their default maximum. With this module, you can also disable toast notifications entirely. It’s not the biggest Xposed module available, but it might be useful for many Android users who would like a bit more control in these common UI elements.

Since this mod is being delivered as an Xposed Framework module, you need to have Xposed up and running on your device. When everything is set, apply the module and reboot your device to see the effects.

Are you quite unhappy with your current toasts notification look and feel? If so, change it in just a few steps. You can get started by visiting the SlicedToasts module thread.

The post Control Your Toast Notifications with SlicedToasts appeared first on xda-developers.

Rotation Lets You Take Full Control of Your Device’s Orientation Settings

Posted by wicked July - 30 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

Android Screen Orientation Rotation

To be brutally honest, the native options for screen orientation in Android devices aren’t particularly extensive. Actually, it’s not extensive at all, consisting of merely a toggle to turn it on or off. For many folks, this is totally sufficient. What other customization options could you possibly have for a setting that simply turns the screen sideways? But being part of the Android OS, a lot of us also expect some of the customization and flexibility that has come to define the OS as a whole. With this said, XDA Recognized Developer and Themer Pranav Pandey has developed an app which does a great job filling in the gaps.

Simply called Rotation, the app offers a plethora of options for the screen orientation setting. Now, in addition to the basic toggle on/off option, you can also:

  • Force auto-rotate, portrait or landscape mode
  • Reverse portrait or landscape mode
  • Set certain orientation for specific, individual apps
  • Override lock screen orientation
  • Rotate apps on demand

Rotation’s features aren’t limited to these either, as it also packs in different widgets for your home screen, which let you quickly toggle different modes and such. There’s also a ‘floating head’ function that appears on top of every app, allowing you quick access to Rotation and orientation settings, and to stop service. Additionally, Rotation has a full backup and restore function in case of app failure or when you reinstall the app.

It should be noted that Rotation is technically a paid app, but with a free and fully functional trial period of seven days. Pranav Pandey however, has allowed XDA users an exclusive version of the app that allows you to reset the trial period indefinitely by simply installing and reinstalling the app.

If you would like to check out Rotation, be sure to visit the Rotation app thread for more information and download.

The post Rotation Lets You Take Full Control of Your Device’s Orientation Settings appeared first on xda-developers.

Better Open With gives more knobs when opening files

Posted by wicked July - 30 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

It’s great that Android doesn’t tie you down to a specific app for different types of files, but sometimes the default “Complete Action With” behavior is annoying, if not limited. For those who want a bit more control over this part of the Android OS, Better Open With gives you better options, including the option not to do anything at all.

The Android platform is already powerful and flexible enough that it will present you with a list of compatible apps when opening a certain file type and even lets you set the default app for that action. However, there might be cases when you want to use a different app from time to time but having to choose an app every time can also be equally cumbersome. There are also times when you click on a link or file and don’t realize that the Complete Action With window popped up. It is exactly for those situations that Better Open With was made.

When you select Better Open With as the default app for opening files, you do still get the Complete Action With window, except now you have a few more features available. For one, there is a configurable timeout that will automatically select your preferred app when you don’t do anything after, say, 5 seconds. You can also set your favorite app for each file type right from Better Open With, so you won’t have to wait for the system to ask you about it when the time comes. This gives you more flexibility when opening files but at the same time lets you be lazy and it will still take action even if you don’t.


Better Open With also has other customizations options, like choosing between light and dark color schemes to match your theme or choosing between a list or a grid view when displaying available apps. The app is completely free, comes with no adds, but is still in beta. The developer already has a todo list of upcoming features, including basic ones like sorting apps, hiding apps, or even just more supported filetypes.

Download: Better Open With on Google Play Store