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Android’s future is with us, not Google, according to Cyanogen CEO

Posted by wicked January - 25 - 2015 - Sunday Comments Off

andy_cid_picture1

Many things in our world splinter into a variety of subsects. Some of which are political parties, Protestant denominations, and Linux distributions, which includes Android. They all have something in common with that from which they derive, but all claim superiority in some fashion.

Kirt McMaster (CEO of Cyanogen Inc.) recently spoke to a crowd gathered at The Information’s Next Phase of Android event, to say that a new dawn is coming to the Android distribution and the daybreak will show Cid standing triumphant over Andy.

kirt_mcmaster_picture1McMaster is no stranger to saying outlandish things. He’s called Google tyrannical and he’s gone on record stating that Samsung doesn’t have a clue when it comes to designing a mobile operating system.

To be clear, McMaster doesn’t want to get rid of Android. The Seattle-based company’s CyanogenMod is nearly entirely based off of Google’s Linux distro. Rather, he wants his company to be Android’s new overlord. McMaster feels that he would be a more magnanimous ruler than Google has been.

During the time of Android’s inception, Google set out to create a free mobile operating system that was open-sourced and available to all. This is the reason why we see it on so many different smart devices created by a variety of OEMs like Samsung, Sony, HTC, etc. This is also why we see its presence in such a huge range of third party ROMs, which is in fact where Cyanogen got its start.

Over time, Google has been more than aware that it has lost a great source of revenue by making Android free. During the past few years, in an attempt to rein in some control and profits, Google has tightened its clutches around the Android kernel and has forced OEMs to include the next best thing Google has to garner some income: its suite of Google apps must be included on every Android device.

McMaster offers a different vision for Android’s future. He gives Google Now as an example of what an app can truly do if given complete access to the very core of Android, and wants to offer the same ability to third-party app developers.

He goes on to state: “We’re making a version of Android that is more open so we can integrate with more partners so their servicers can be tier one services, so startups working on [artificial intelligence] or other problems don’t get stuck having you have to launch a stupid little application that inevitably gets acquired by Google or Apple. These companies can thrive on non-Google Android.”

While his statements with regard to third-party apps being acquired by Google are profoundly naïve, it would be interesting to see what app developers could do if they were able to offer a program as integrated as Google Now currently is.

McMaster further delved into the possibility of opening up many more app stores to consumers. Among those stores, he hopes to see a Cyanogen app store setting up shop in the next couple of years.

Cyanogen has also been busy lately creating partnerships with a variety of app services and companies. Most noteworthy is its relations with OnePlus, which runs CyanogenMod straight out of the box.

Additionally, and also appearing at the same conference, is its work with Nextbit’s Baton, a cloud-based service desiring to bring a more unified experience to consumers who use multiple smart devices. Its CEO, Tom Moss, was also candid with reporters about Android.

Further reading: Early Android employee says that Android and iOS likely to maintain status quo

Google and Cyanogen have had a peculiar relationship. Just last year, it was rumored that Google attempted to purchase Cyanogen, but both companies were unable to reach a final agreement. Also, Google removed Cyanogen’s CyanogenMod Installer application from the Play Store back in 2013.

Could McMaster be serious about wanting to remove Google from the Android picture? Or is this all smoke and mirrors in some secret attempt to get Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo to want them again?

 

Source: Android Authority via The Information

 

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Android customization – send Android notifications to your computer using Pushbullet

Posted by wicked January - 23 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

Pushbullet Test Notification Nexus 7 Chromebook

We took the time last week on our Android customization series to talk about Google’s tool to help you locate and secure a missing Android device. Android Device Manager is one of the easiest to use and most supported options around, we hope it helped you find or secure your missing device.

This week, we want to look at how to push notifications from your Android device over to your computer using one of our favorite productivity tools, Pushbullet.

Pushbullet is an app and service than can be used to push things between your Android devices and computers. Website URLs, files and more are on the list, be sure to check out our previous coverage of Pushbullet to see it all.

Before we get started

Get it on Google Play ButtonAs mentioned, Pushbullet is an app and a service, to follow along today you will need to install the app on your Android device, Pushbullet is free in the Google Play Store.

Next, you will need to install the Pushbullet program (beta versions for Windows and Mac), or one of the available browser extensions onto your computer. Chrome users can head to the Chrome Web store here.

Finally, for best results, you are going to want to log into Pushbullet with your Google account. You’ll need to use the same account on both Android and your PC, so choose wisely.

Send Android notifications to your PC

Because there are two sides to the project, we’ll have to break things into two parts. We’ll start on your Android device before we dive over to your computer.

Set up Pushbullet on Android

Pushbullet Android setup

The first time you open Pushbullet, you will get a side scrolling overview of the app, plus a persistent ‘Sign in with Google’ prompt at the bottom. If you are still on board, go ahead and sign in with Google to get started.

If this is your first time through, Pushbullet will immediately prompt you to turn on Notification access. Follow the on screen steps or skip forward and see below.

Pushbullet Android Settings

Once inside Pushbullet, swipe in from the left, or hit the triple-line menu button in the top left, to access the main menu. You will see the option to turn on Android/PC notifications right here, or hit Settings for more options.

Tap to turn on Show my notifications on my PC.

This takes you to the Notification Access settings of your device, where you will need to grant Pushbullet access to your system notifications. Simply tap the check box and confirm by hitting the OK button on the popup screen.

As mentioned, go ahead and play with the remaining settings, such as sending notifications only over WiFi or fine tuning a specific list of apps that can send notifications. Whenever you are ready, we are now going to head over to your computer.

Set up Pushbullet on your computer

We will work with the Pushbullet extension for the Chrome browser today.

Pushbullet Web Notification Settings

Once installed, head into the options for the Pushbullet extension.

You will find the Notifications tab, head into it.

Inside Notifications you will see a few options. Configure everything as you see fit, but be sure to turn on the first option – Show my phone’s notifications on my computer.

As far as getting things to operate, this should about do it for you. Go ahead and give it a try.

What’s next

Pushbullet is capable of so much more than simply displaying your Android device notifications on your computer. Instead of trying out just any old notification, be sure to try out an SMS message. Unless you’ve turned things off in the settings, you’ll be able to respond to that Text message right from your computer.

Pushbullet Web SMS reply

You may have also seen and heard that Pushbullet operates as a Plugin for Tasker. This allows you to find all sorts of creative ways to push information, including notifications, to all of your enabled devices. This also allows you to use Pushbullet to trigger Tasker Tasks on your Android device. If you recall a couple weeks back, we sent SMS messages to Tasker to turn on our home-grown security tool, you may find Pushbullet to be a more elegant method of doing this.

Finally, Pushbullet offers one more point of entry. Head on over to the Pushbullet website and log in with your account. You will gain access to all un-deleted pushes and be able to fire stuff to your other connected computers and Android devices.

Pushbullet Web Send interface

At this time, just for fun, I am using the Pushbullet website on my laptop to turn on the flashlight feature on my phone. I will leave it to you to imagine what possible reason I would have for setting up this Tasker project, but it works quite well.

Bonus

Pushbullet users can now subscribe to our new Android customization Pushbullet channel to receive an alert when we bring you a new tool, tip or trick.

Next week

I hope that you are enjoying seeing your Android notifications on your computer screen, we thought that would make for a handy Android customization to add to your world. Next week, we’d like to continue looking at ways to handle SMS from your PC with a mini app-shootout.

Do you use Pushbullet, or do you prefer another method of getting Android notifications to your computer screen?

Ara Configurator: the app for building your Project Ara modular smartphone

Posted by wicked January - 15 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

project_ara_picture1

Google created quite the news day today with regard to Project Ara.  Talk Android had previously discussed some of the information released today when Google released the Project Ara MDK 0.2 a few days ago. We knew the new prototype would be called the Spiral 2, that there would be an Ara Manager app, the Greybus protocol was mentioned briefly, and we talked about the Ara module marketplace.

Today, Google branded the module marketplace as Ara Configurator, which will be your one-stop shop for customizing and purchasing your Spiral device’s modules. Additionally, this will be the location for customizing the modules’ shells, which are the plastic covering the back of said modules. The shells feature all those pretty designs on the modules’ backside that you see in the Project Ara photos.

Very similar to Motorola’s Moto Maker (or Nike’s NikeID, whichever you have more experience with), the Ara Configurator will feature a step-by-step process for customizing your Ara device. It will not be limited just to the modules, though, as you will be able to select from an assortment of chassis (dubbed as endoskeleton). And if you’re wanting to skip getting your hands too dirty with all of this customization, Ara Configurator will feature pre-assembled devices based on what activity you plan on associating the device with most (i.e. gaming or photography).

You can read more about the latest news surrounding Project Ara by checking out these stories on Talk Android: Project Ara team shares more details about Spiral 2 modular smartphone and Google to bring Project Ara devices to Puerto Rico first.

Source: The Verge

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Samsung introduces Penvatars, brings ability to customize the S Pen’s pointer

Posted by wicked January - 9 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

samsung_penvatars_picture1

If you’re an owner of a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, or its Edge variant, you may have noticed that when you hover your S Pen stylus slightly above the screen, a pointer appears (similar to a PC’s mouse cursor). Cursors aren’t generally known to illicit much excitement from people, but Samsung is hoping to bring a smile to your face by announcing Penvatars.

Penvatars is the name Samsung is giving to its upcoming app for S Pen wielders and it will allow you to customize those pointers. Most likely the only devices that will support this app will be users of the Note 4 (or the Note Edge), with added support for older devices possibly later on.

Featured heavily in Samsung’s demo of Penvatars are Marvel Comics characters, like Nick Fury and Thor. This team-up is mostly likely related to the partnership between Samsung and Marvel with regard to the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron movie showing in theatres this coming May.

For continuing coverage of CES 2015 by Talk Android, click here.

Source: Samsung

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Android customization – Device security, intrusion detection using Tasker

Posted by wicked January - 9 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

Tasker Intruder security detection photo capture

Last week in our Android customization series, we looked at clearing device cache and wiping out the somewhat overloaded photo thumbnail cache on your Android device. These actions will be valuable if you follow along today.

Today we are looking at creating custom device security using Tasker, the idea is simple, we’ll show you how to make your device take a photo of any person accessing your phone. As a bonus, we’ll make sure the device location is saved in the name of the image file.

Before we get started

Get it on Google Play ButtonTo follow along today, you’ll need to have Tasker installed on your device. Tasker is $2.99 in the Google Play Store. Further, you are going to want to have a device with a front facing camera, but we can get by without, if you need.

Keep track of who is accessing your Android device

Let me explain again what we are up to, we are looking at security here today. We want to capture an image of anyone that turns on the display of your device. Then we save the current GPS coordinates, as well as the date and time, as a part of the image file name.

Tasker Intruder Security Front Cam

Let’s do this. Open up Tasker and head to the Tasks tab. We will start by creating a variable that includes the device location, then we’ll take the photo.

Create a new Task, name it concisely and uniquely, I’ll call mine “SecurityPic“.

Tap the “+” button to add a new Action.

Tasker Intruder security Task variable set

Select Variables.

Select Variable Set.

In the Name field, create a local variable to the GPS coordinates. I entered “%securegps“.

In the To field, tap the label icon and look for Location, or just enter “%LOC“.

Tap the system Back button to save and exit.

Truth is, only storing the GPS location in the variable is a bit of a waste. I used a variable here so that you can easily include more information in your save file. Tasker will cover the date and time, but you may add battery level, keylock status, and so much more.

Tap the “+” button to add your next Action.

Tasker Intruder security Task take photo

Select Media.

Select Take Photo.

Under Camera, choose Front.

Under Filename, tap the labels icon and choose your location variable. Or just enter it manually, mine was “%securegps“.

Under Naming Sequence, choose Chronological. This is where it adds the date and time.

De-select the check box to turn off Insert In Gallery.

Select the check box to turn on Discreet. This makes it so that the photo app does not display on the screen, taking the photo in the background.

Feel free to change the Resolution if you desire.

If you see the option called Flash Mode, I suggest turning it off.

Hit the system Back button to save and exit, then hit it again to exit out of the Task.

Tasker Intruder security Tasks overview

Now that we have our Task in place, we need to decide how and when to use it. That is a simple decision based on the goal of our project today. So, head on over to the Profiles tab so we can set the trigger for our picture taking Task.

Tap the “+” to add a new Profile.

Name it uniquely and concisely, I called mine “SecurityCam“.

Tasker Intruder security Profile Display

Select Event.

Select Display.

Select Display On. (You could select Display Unlocked, if you suspect your device is being accessed by someone who knows your unlock code/pin/pattern.)

Tap the system back button to save and exit.

From the list of available Tasks, choose your security cam Task, mine was called “SecurityPic“.

That is all there is too it. From here on out whenever your device is turned on (or unlocked) your device will take a quick snapshot of the user accessing it. These photos will be saved in the DCIM/Tasker folder. So be sure to head in there frequently to clean out, if needed.

What’s next

This is obviously not a great Tasker Profile to have running full time, unless you like to see hundreds of awkward photos of yourself, so we should look at creating a trigger to turn on the Profile when needed.

For these purposes, I would like to use a SMS trigger. This really should be a tutorial all its own, but let’s do it.

Tasker Intruder security SMS Task start Profile

Create a new Task, name it something like “StartSecurityCam“. Create your task, hit the “+” button, choose Tasker -> Profile Status, tap the label icon beside Name and choose your SecurityCam Profile. Set Set to On. You’re finished here.

Tasker Intruder security Profile SMS

Create your Profile, name it as needed. Select Event -> Phone -> Received Text. Although you can mess with the details here, I would recommend simply entering a secret code into the Content field. Keep in mind that if your phone is lost and in the hands of an intruder, they will see this message, so enter something truly unique and inconspicuous. I have entered “Is this HAL?

Hit the system Back button to exit out, then choose your “StartSecurityCam” Task from the previous step.

What you do now is turn off the SecurityCam Profile. When your device is lost, stolen or you suspect someone is tapping into it behind your back, find a service or another phone to send yourself a text. Be sure to enter the exact phrase entered above. When your phone receives the SMS, the SecurityCam Profile turns on and pictures begin snapping away of the person touching your phone.

Tasker Intruder security SMS starts Profile

You could also look at having your device automatically send a discreet return SMS that includes the GPS coordinates of your phone, to help find it if it is not where it should be. While it is not as easy to send the captured images of your culprit, if you make sure the folder auto-uploads images to a service like Google+ or Dropbox, you will have the date, time, GPS coordinates and a picture to take to law enforcement, or otherwise recover your phone.

Next week

Did we go overboard today with creating a security cam in our Android customization series? I hope not, and I hope that this project saves you some grief over a missing or compromised Android device. Next week, we would like to continue with the idea of recovering a lost phone – besides the lock screen contact info tutorial we had a while back, Google themselves have a tool for you, called Android Device Manager. We’ll be walking through how to set up Android Device Manager on your device, and how to use it from the web.

Do you use any similar type of security measures for your Android devices?

Android internal Storage clear cache

Last week on our Android customization post, you got to play with image files and change up your wallpaper on your Android device. After messing with all those image files, you may be finding that your internal storage space is strangely low, so we should try to fix that.

There are many things you can do to clear up the internal storage of your Android device. Uninstalling apps, deleting files, moving apps and files to your microSD card, if you’ve got one, are all great places to start, and when things get really bad, you can always perform a full system reset.

Before you go so far as to wiping your entire device, there is something else you might try, clearing your system cache.

Before we get started

We do not require anything special today, clearing system cache can be done right from your Android operating system. As always, you’ll find that we are working on a vanilla Android device, your device may have slightly different steps, but it should offer the same functionality.

Why should you clear your system cache

Let us start with a basic understanding of what your system cache is exactly, and why you might not want to clear it. Cache files on an Android device are a collection of all of the images, videos, text files and more that are required to display things like web pages, advertisements and more.

You may have noticed that the very first time you load certain apps or web pages it takes much longer to do so than the next times you load them. This is where cache comes into play. That first time around, the images and other elements have to be downloaded from the internet, or extracted from compressed app files or even have to be manually generated on the fly, as with photo thumbnails. These files are then saved into your system cache, so the next time around your app or webpage can pull the file from a local store, which makes it load much faster.

For the apps and web pages that you frequent, cache is a wonderful tool. But what about all those images for those web pages that you will never visit again, social media posts that you’ve already read or files for apps that you’ve uninstalled? They take up valuable space on your device, and it’s probably a good idea to make them go away.

How to clear your system cache

Android clear system cache

Don’t fret, clearing system cache is easy. We’ll start out by heading into your main system Settings.

Choose Storage.

Choose Cached data.

In the popup confirmation box, choose OK.

That is all there is to it.

As you might imagine, this cleared all cache on your device, so the next time you start up your apps and websites they may take an extra little bit to reload the elements into cache again. This is OK, just remember to come back here again as frequently as needed to clear things up again.

Selectively clear cache per app

If clearing cache for everything on your device is too invasive for your needs, Android offers a method to clear cache on an app-by-app basis.

Android clear app cache

In your main system Settings, tap on Apps.

Tap on each app that you wish to clear cache.

Tap on the Clear Cache button.

It can be very time consuming to go through your entire list of apps, clearing cache for each as you go, but if it is worth the hassle for you, it is great that the option exists.

What’s next

You’ll find that many apps can handle their own cache settings. Myself, I have both Dolphin browser and ES File Explorer automatically clear their own cache each time I exit the app. If you’ve been following me for long, I am sure you can imagine that my image thumbnail cache for my screenshots folder gets pretty big in no time, having ES clear that cache automatically is a life saver.

However, there are certain system app cache that do not get cleared with the above steps. The absolute worst offender in my experience, your camera/photos cache.

To clear your camera/photos cache, which I try to do after every couple hundred pictures taken, or photos viewed in the Photos/Gallery app, you’ll need a file explorer installed that is capable of viewing hidden files. Of course, I turn to ES File Explorer, but you should be fine with your app of choice.

Android photo thumbnail cache

Head into your files, look for DCIM, then .thumbnails. I usually just go ahead and delete all of the files in here, but you may wish to transfer them to SD card or other as a backup, just in case. Either way, you can see that my Christmas day photos on the phone ran up a thumbnail cache almost 600MB. Since I have removed the photos from the phone for sharing and further processing, I don’t need these cache files at all. Delete!

Next week

With all this extra space now available on your Android device, we will use next week’s Android customization post to load you back up again. How would you feel about a little home-grown device security? I’d like to show you how to use Tasker to discreetly take and store a photo from the front camera of your device every time an intruder turns on your display.

Are there any other hidden cache or thumbnail stores on your device that you regularly delete?

Happy New Year!

How to change notification sounds on your Android device

Posted by wicked December - 27 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

Change Notification Sound Android Settings

Notification sounds can be a lot of fun to play with and a great way to embrace Android customization. From having your device proudly announce “You’ve got mail!” through to video game noises, catch phrases from your favorite movie and snippets of your favorite song, if it can be stored as an audio file on your device, it can be your notification sound. But, how do you change it?

In this tutorial for our beginning Android users, we’ll find out.

Changing your notification sound can be done in a number of ways. Android has built-in tools to handle the setting, which we’ll be showing you today, or you can install one of many apps dedicated to the cause.

The important thing here, which I am sure we’ve all learned at one point or another, be sure to choose an appropriate sound for your needs. It is funny when we see someone on TV make a fool of themselves in public or at work because of an inappropriate choice in ringer or notification sounds, but I doubt you want to be that person in real life.

Change notification sound

Changing notification sounds is quite simple and the process is nearly identical on all version of Android out there. Today’s imagery is from a vanilla Android 5.0.1 Lollipop device.

Change Notification Sound Android

Start by heading into your main system Settings.

Find and tap on Sound and notification, your device may just say Sound.

Find and tap on Default notification ringtone your device may say Notification Sound. If this option is grayed out on you, it may be blocked when your device is in vibrate/silent mode, or Priority mode, just turn your volume back up to continue.

Choose a sound. This is the fun part, start tapping on each sound to hear it in action.

When you’ve chosen a sound, tap on OK to finish.

As you’ve seen, the above steps only let you choose a notification sound from the device’s built-in options. If you have your own audio file that you wish to use, you will need to employ a third party app to continue.

Using your own media files as a notification sound

This is where the sky is the limit. Using your own custom chosen media files as a notification sound is a marvelous customization for your Android device. We’ve already looked at this quite a while ago, I say a refresher is in order.

There is a long list of apps that will help you here, a few of them you might not expect.

If you are looking to take a clip of a music file, you’ll want to look at some of the many ringtone or .mp3 snippet apps like Ringtone Maker. If you don’t know what you want yet, you’ll want to use a discovery service, like Zedge. But if your file is all ready to go, look toward your file explorer for a potential solution.

Change Notification Sound Android ES File Explorer

In these parts, ES File Explorer is a preferred file explorer by many. Among all the other things this app can tackle, operating as a media selector is one of them. If you have ES File Explorer installed, you will have seen the option to us the app when you tapped on Default notification ringtone above.

ES File Explorer does not let you sample the files, it simply activates the file you tap on. However, once you choose the file, it registers as a notification sound and will be available to choose from the default Android sound chooser.

Changing your notification sound can be fun, what is the craziest notification sound you’ve ever used on your Android device?

Christmas Ornaments

After you worked through some of the ins and outs of Android 5+ Lollipop’s new Priority mode in last week’s Android customization post, I promised we would keep things super simple this week. We are heading back to one of the most core of Android tweaks, changing your Homescreen wallpaper.

Changing wallpapers is a tutorial for the beginning Android users out there. If you’ve already got the hang of this, be sure to at least check out our free collection of Christmas and winter themed wallpaper at the end of the article. They are not entirely special, just a little piece of my world for you.

As always, we are working from a vanilla Android device, your chosen Launcher may offer a slightly different set of steps, but the idea remains the same.

Before we begin

You do not need anything to get started today. Android, and the various manufacturers and Launcher apps, have a decent collection of wallpapers built right into your device. However, if you are looking for a truly custom look, or have a specific image that you would like to use, now would be a good time to copy it into the internal storage or microSD card of your device.

How to change your wallpaper

I hope to floor you with how easy this is.

Set Wallpaper

Find an empty space on your Homescreen and long press.

On Android 5.0+ Lollipop, you will jump right into a Wallpaper chooser menu, on previous versions of Android, and most other Launchers, you will see a menu with a few options, including Wallpaper.

Once inside Wallpapers, you can simply select the desired image from the default set and tap Set Wallpaper.

Done.

Set Wallpaper from file picker

If you would like to use your own photo, tap the Pick Image tile to launch the file chooser, navigate to your image and tap to set.

Another alternative is to find an image on your device using a file explorer, or in your Google+ Photos cloud storage using the, you guessed it, Photos app. In the menu of a photo, select Set as… then choose Wallpaper.

Live Wallpaper

Don’t be fooled into thinking that Live wallpaper require any extra steps to put in place. A live wallpaper is a very unique and fun thing to use, bringing animations and even touch interaction to your Homescreen background. However, as I am certain you had seen in the screenshots above, all you need to do is select Live Wallpaper in place of Wallpaper in the steps above, then simply choose a design and save.

What’s next

There are not a great many things we can look at doing here. Wallpapers are pretty simple to add and change and a wonderful way to change the look of your device. That said, the hardest part sometimes is finding that perfect wallpaper, perhaps one of these one of the images below will work for you. As previously mentioned, these are not premium images made by a professional, just a few pictures from my own collection, I hope you enjoy.

Live wallpapers are actually Android apps, not just images, so you’ll need to scour the Google Play Store to find new options.

Lastly, there are apps and systems out there that can hook you up with great wallpapers. One of the top options is an app called Muzei. Muzei will automatically refresh your wallpaper on a daily basis, pulling from a database of famous works of art. Info on the art is included, if you want to know more about the piece.

Next week

Next week on our Android customization series is another day to celebrate, as it will be the first day of 2015! Nothing rings in the new year for your Android device like a factory reset, so we’ll… I’m kidding. You don’t want to have to completely reset your device on a day like today, so we’ll look at a quick trick that will clear some storage space and possibly speed up your device – we’ll look at clearing your device cache.

What do you say, have any awesome Christmas/winter themed wallpaper that you’d like to share?

Merry Christmas! (If you do not celebrate Christmas, please simply take this as a greeting and best wishes to you and yours.)

Smart Unlock App Brings Trusted Devices Feature To Non Lollipop Devices

Posted by wicked December - 23 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Smart_unlock_picture1

Are you envious of the Trusted Devices feature introduced in Lollipop? Not content to wait until your OEM updates your phone to Android 5.0? Good news, everybody, XDA recognized developer, hazex, has recently released an app to the Play Store that can bring this functionality to any Android device running 4.1 and above. Furthermore, if you’re shy of rooting your device, this app will not require you to be rooted!

Hazex and his company, Loading Home, not to be one-upped by Google, are also adding in the ability to add WiFi routers to your list of trusted devices. So even if you’re running Android 5.0, you may want to check out this app simply for that feature. Check out the rest of this article after the break for the app’s link to the Play Store, plus some added information if you’re not quite sure what the Trusted Devices feature is.

Trusted Devices is a feature found on the latest Android OS that let’s a device disable the secure lock-screen should certain user-approved conditions be met. A Bluetooth connection to a device like a smart-watch, for example, can be added to your list of Trusted Devices. When your watch is connected to your smartphone or tablet, Trusted Devices will recognize the connection and disable your lock-screen. Please note that it is the connection itself to the smart-watch, not the smart-watch alone, that’s what is added to your list of Trusted Devices. So if the connection is broken, the lock-screen comes back.

Another option is using the GPS of your device to set a secure location, like your home. If you get outside of your trusted location, the lock-screen re-engages.

These types of connections create what’s referred to as a geo-fence for your device. A geo-fence is a term used to describe fencing in your device based on proximity to an area or connection. Should your device wander too far from the perimeter or connection, the lock-screen re-engages. There are some programs and apps out there, like those offered by Avast, that will completely lock-down your device and report it missing should it get outside of the fence; however, so far as I know, Avast only uses GPS. Trusted Devices, on the other hand, merely turns the lock-screen back on.

Note: Be advised that Hazex has said there’s been some bugs with regard to Samsung’s Galaxy devices, mainly due to TouchWiz being, well, TouchWiz…

If you’d like to follow Loading Home, check out their Twitter page here. The Smart Unlock app is free for 7 days, then costs a $0.99 purchase to use the app after that.

qr code
Google Play Download Link

Source: XDA Developer Forums

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Android customization – Android Lollipop Priority mode and Interruptions settings

Posted by wicked December - 19 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Android Lollipop Priority Interruptions

Last week in our Android customization series we took our fist look at a manufacturer specific feature, LG’s Guest Mode. The feature allows you to lock down your device so you can securely hand it over to someone to play with, it has its limitations, so be sure to check it out before you put it to use. This week, we’d like to look at a new set of options in Android 5+ Lollipop that allows you to, if nothing else, automate your device to be silent at bed time.

The feature is listed under the header Interruptions in your Sound & notifications main Settings. We’ll be looking at this on a device running Android 5.0.1 Lollipop.

Before we get started

The best thing about today’s project is that it does not require any fancy software to continue. Perhaps that is incorrect, with the somewhat slow roll out and relatively new release of the latest version of Android, that’s Android 5.0 and Android 5.0.1 Lollipop, many devices do not yet have the required OS.

If your device does have a stock Android 5+ Lollipop release, you are ready to go.

Android Lollipop with Google logo

Creating a sleep mode with Android 5.0.1 Lollipop Interruptions settings

Before we show you the required steps to continue, allow us to discuss exactly what Priority mode and Interruptions are and how they work.

As most of you are well aware, Android previously required you to manually adjust your audio settings, specifically your ringer and notification volumes, when you needed times of silence, like while you are sleeping, or at work (or both.) We have taken the time in the past to work with Tasker to automate these settings based on a set schedule, and now Android wants to do it for you, too.

Google has made it simple to get started with Priority mode. You have undoubtedly seen the option to turn on Priority mode, which you can quickly access by pressing your volume rocker buttons to change your ringer volume. You are presented the three options of None, Priority and All, along with your standard volume slider.

When Priority mode is turned on, only a certain set of notifications are allowed to fire through to disturb you. This brings us back around to that Interruptions section in Settings, which allows you to control what falls into the Priority category, and what is left silent during your sleeping hours. Let’s get started.

Configure Interruptions

Android Lollipop Priority Interruptions settings

Head on into your system Settings.

In the Device section, tap on Sound & notification.

Tap on Interruptions.

Now you get to make some decisions. The idea is to leave When calls and notifications arrive set to Always interrupt during your normal day. Then, use the Downtime settings to automatically go into Priority mode.

I have chosen for my Priority mode to only allow calls through, leaving Events and reminders as well as Messages silent. In the next section, I have configured it so that those incoming calls are only from my Starred contacts. Again, all notifications come through during daytime hours, but only calls from my starred contacts come in when set to Priority mode.

Automating the process is handled in the Downtime settings at the bottom.

Android Lollipop Interruptions settings

Tap on Days to set your required silent days. The wording is a bit confusing, asking for the days that silent mode starts, not the days that is should be on, if that makes sense. So, if you choose Monday to Friday, your device may wake you at 3am on Monday morning, because it is not set to go silent on Sunday night.

Tap on Start time and End time each to configure your bed time and wake time.

That is all there is to setting things up. Be sure to remember your way in here, if you are like me, you’ll be back soon to tweak things regularly until it is perfect. For example, I was awoken before my alarm this very morning by a wrong number, which is when I changed to allow calls from starred contacts only.

What’s next

As you have seen, the Interruption settings allow for just one set of on/off times. This means you will still need to take action to handle things completely. You could manually turn Priority mode on/off easily enough by pressing your volume button then choosing Priority, just remember to turn it back to All when your meeting, nap or movie is done.

Guess what? Tasker is once again your friend. Having just rolled out an update that includes the ability to set the Priority setting to one of the three options. Now, you can either use the system to control one set of silent times, or just go all out and use Tasker to do it all.

Android Lollipop Priority Interruptions none

One last word of warning, be aware that the None option of the Priority notification settings in Android 5.0.1 Lollipop also turns off the alarm. That’s right, not even our old Tasker alarm project works now, but don’t worry, I’ll go back and update it for you soon.

Next week

We have a bit of a special opportunity next week in our Android customization series, it will be Christmas day. This is the perfect time to head back to the basics of Android with a little refresher on how to change your Homescreen wallpaper. Perhaps we’ll be able to hook you up with some holiday themed wallpaper while we’re at it.

How is Android Lollipop’s new Priority mode working out for you?