Call it the home team advantage. Google, as the adoptive father of the Android platform, has a lot of facilities when it comes to preferring its own apps over those from third parties. This doesn’t mean you can’t unlink your device from its software, though to completely root out all traces of Google you’ll need patience, caution, and the willingness to make a few sacrifices. Here I share my experience trying to block all Google apps on an Android device.
Android Nougat is already walking amongst us – at least for people who use a compatible device. Unfortunately loads of users of even relatively modern phones haven’t gotten the update to version 7.0, meaning the only way to get some of the new features is by installing external apps or using other tricks. (Or installing unofficial ROMs, but that’s another story.) In the meantime, here’s a summary of everything you can install on your device to make it look like Google Pixel, with the best graphics from Android Nougat (which they say are something like the Second Coming in terms of excitingness).
Way back in 2014, the brilliant young minds at Google launched Chrome Remote Desktop, the free service that allows you to send a signal to your desktop PC from any Android device. Tactile hand gesture recognition, real-time control at the time these features were near groundbreaking. It was even able to use your data plan instead of relying on plain old WiFi. Although there are several alternatives, this option is as easy to use as it is comfortable to set up. Best of all – even today in 2016 – it’s still getting updated. The latest version 53 just added audio streaming among its playback capabilities.
One feature that Facebook Messenger established, and which also keeps thousands off of the Lite version, is its chat bubble feature. But actually there are loads of apps out there capable of integrating this notification system into any instant messaging chat client like WhatsApp and Telegram, for instance Flychat.
It’s the million-dollar question, the one you ask your ‘techie’ friend about, the missing link for that low-end Huawei you gave your mum for Christmas, the words you whisper to your reflection every morning in the mirror: WHY IS MY PHONE RUNNING SO SLOW? Time marches inexorably on for electronic devices – the fault of the ever more demanding software that sucks the useful life out of your phone in a million ways. But still, we can fight to keep this from happening. Here’s how.
We’ve blogged here before about Unified Remote, a super interesting app to control your PC from an Android. You can use it to, for instance, make your touchscreen serve as a mouse, use a virtual remote to control a media player, or even browse through your local file tree. That said, though initially designed for use with WiFi or Bluetooth networks, you can set it up to use your 3G connection so that, among other things, it can turn your PC on and off or restart it from anywhere.
If you’re following us on Twitter, you’ve probably read us tweeting about Soft Launches more than once and that may have left you scratching your head. If you aren’t familiar with this term, a Soft Launch is an increasingly popular publishing strategy for new software. Essentially, it consists in publishing an app for a reduced and limited geographical area, before the official global launch. That way, developers can check bugs on their apps and polish anything related to its future distribution. If you’re waiting for an app on Google Play due to it only being available in a regionally blocked area; APK distribution completely bypasses these limitations for you, as long as the file itself isn’t blocked regionally. That way users can install and run soft launched apps without any geographical restrictions.
The blocks started out being temporary, but Niantic Labs has now cracked down on people who use tricks and cheats in Pokémon GO to the point of announcing permanent bans in the app. There are lots of reasons you might get your account suspended – and obviously in certain cases you might not really deserve it. Luckily, there’s a form you can use to ask for your account back.
Admit it – you’re already spending half your day glued to your smartphone. So why not use it as a tool to learn to program? This is the first thing you’ll read when you open the Dcoder, Mobile Coding Platform. This super interesting tool helps you learn to program in different languages based on a series of challenges that have you writing code right from your device.
The Olympic Games in Rio 2016 are starting on August 5th, lasting 16 days with 10,000 participants from around the world who’ll be competing in over 28 different sporting events. Just like with Euro2016 and the Copa America, we’ll be following all the action from our smartphones.