Samsung’s woes doesn’t seem likely to end any day as another device has caused an evacuation in Louisville.Louisville Metro Arson Capt. Kevin Fletcher told news outlets that the device overheated Wednesday morning and began to smoke, which led Southwest Airlines to evacuate the plane before it departed for Baltimore.
Android’s USB debugging feature may sound scary but it’s not as complex as it may seem. USB debugging is basically just a way to allow an Android smartphone to transfer information to and from a computer. Below we tell you what exactly it is and how you can use it.
What is USB debugging?
As the name suggests, USB debugging relates to the act of tracking bugs via USB. Traditionally, Android app developers would use this process to test software and find problems using the Android Studio development kit on a computer. Nowadays, it is used by both developers and Android users to assist in tasks such as installing a custom recovery, rooting a device, installing a new ROM and more.
How do I enable USB debugging?
To enable USB debugging, you first must enable the ‘Developer options’ menu in Android (if you haven’t already). Here are the complete steps:
- Go to the settings of your device by pulling down the notification shade and hitting the ‘cog’ icon
- Scroll down to ‘About phone’
- Tap on ‘build number’ about 7 times until you see a message saying Developer options are activated
- Hit back and you will see the Developer options menu appear at the bottom of the settings page
- Tap on it and scroll down until you see USB debugging; press it and hit ‘okay’ to enable it
If you have a device which is running Android 2.3 or earlier, here are the steps to follow:
- Open the settings
- Tap on Applications (sometimes called Apps or App Manager)
- Scroll down until you find the Developer options
- Tap on this and enable USB debugging
Now you’re all set, USB debugging has been activated. You will now be able to install custom ROMs to your Android device, or even use your smartphone remotely if you have broken the screen.
Backups are indispensable. Whether it’s a backup of your Android smartphone, your photo albums or your laptop PC, backups come in at just the right moment to save the day. There is nothing worse than losing everything on your phone or computer and realizing you never backed anything up. So here are a few methods for making an Android backup.
MobiKin Assistant for Android
You should always back up your data as you never know when you might accidentally delete something valuable. Losing precious data can happen not just when you lose your phone. It could also happen when you perform updates or clean out your files to save space. Whatever the reason, you should keep your data backed up.
Now with MobiKin Assistant for Android, backing up your data has never been easier. You can ensure you never lose your contacts, text messages, apps, photos, music, videos and more. It safely exports them to your computer in their original format and retains the quality of your data.
Getting started on keeping your data safe with MobiKin is fast and simple and once you’ve downloaded the software you can back up your data with just one click. Let MobiKin do the work and you’ll enjoy the peace-of-mind of having your data secured.
If you are a PC owner just follow this link to get started.
If you own a Mac, follow this link.
Follow the few steps after downloading and your data will be safely backed up and your phone will have more free memory.
As you probably know, Google is more than willing to help keep all your apps and data safe. If you go into your phone’s settings, you’ll find a section called Backup & Reset. In here you’ll find an option for backing up your data, including Wi-Fi passwords, preferences and app data. All of this will be tied to your Google account, which you can set to automatically restore when you re-install an app.
App backup (for non-rooted phones)
There are plenty of useful backup solutions in the Play Store. Some for specific purposes like backing up your text messages and others for an all-in-one backup. Easy Backup & Restore is a free app that lets you back up your contacts, call logs, text messages, calendars and bookmarks.
Easy Backup doesn’t back up your photos, music, videos or documents. These are very easy to back up yourself though using a USB cable and your computer: just locate the appropriate folders on your phone in a Windows Explorer window and copy and paste the contents to your computer.
How to back up everything on Android with Easy Backup & Restore
1. Download Easy Backup on your Android device.
2. When you launch the app, you’ll be asked if you want to create a backup. Tap Yes.
3. You’ll then see a bunch of check boxes next to the things you can back up: SMS, MMS, call logs, calendar, bookmarks, dictionary and contacts. Make your selections and tap OK.
4. You’ll be asked for a save location for your backup. Make your selection and tap it.
5. If you select a cloud service you’ll have to sign in. If you select SD card you’ll have to confirm the directory.
Alternatively, you can choose another option like Gmail. To do this, you just need choose Gmail from the options and send your information there. Remember though that you may need to send your data in segments due to restrictions on volume.
6. You’ll then be asked to give the backup a file name. The date and time is the default. If you have multiple devices you might want to modify the file name to include the device you’re backing up.
7. You’ll then see a progress page when your data is being backed up. Once completed, you’ll get a pop up window with a summary of what was backed up.
8. If your phone is rooted, you can also back up your apps and app data. If not, you can still tap on the Apps Tools tab in the main menu and create a backup of the APKs on your phone. APKs are like an .exe on a computer: it’s the program or app package. If your Google settings are enabled to back up your app data and settings (outlined above) you can use this option to back up the apps themselves and Google’s backup to save the settings and data in the apps.
9. Just check the boxes next to the apps you want to save and hit Backup at the bottom.
10. When you want to restore your apps or data, just hit the Restore tab. You’ll be prompted to set Easy backup as the default SMS app. You can change this back once your backup has been restored.
11. Select the backup you want to restore and tap it. You’ll see a pop up with details of what will be restored. Tap OK and you’re done.
12. Restoring your apps is slightly different. Go back to Apps Tools in the main menu and tap the Archived tab.
13. You can check off the APKs you want to restore, then tap Install at the bottom.
14. You’ll then see the permissions screen for each app, like you would with any new app you install.
App backup (for rooted phones)
If your phone is rooted then there is no better backup solution than Titanium Backup. Titanium Backup lets you back up absolutely everything on your phone. The complete backup can be restored at any time and you can set up scheduled backups so you have a regular snapshot of your Android phone’s contents.
Backups can be performed without even closing the apps you’re currently using and they can be saved as flashable zips. Titanium also lets you transfer files between the SD card and your phone with the utmost ease.
How to back up everything on Android with Titanium Backup
1. Download the Titanium Backup app on your rooted Android.
2. Start the app and grant it root privileges. You’ll be asked to read some disclaimers and so on (this is a good idea).
3. You need to have USB Debugging enabled on your phone.
4. In Titanium you’ll see three tabs. One is an Overview tab with information on your device, the second is Backup/Restore where all the fun stuff takes place and the third is for scheduling regular backups.
5. Go to the Backup and Restore tab. You’ll see a list of your phone’s contents along with icons that indicate whether or not they have been backed up. Triangular warning signs mean you have no backup and smiley faces are pretty self explanatory.
6. If you want to back up your system data or apps, tap the little document with a check mark on it at the top. This will take you to the batch actions list.
7. You can then tap Run next to whatever action you want completed. If you want to back up your apps, tap Run next to Backup all User Apps and if you want to back up your system data tap Run next to Backup all System Data.
8. Titanium will then go through the process of creating your backup. This may take a while.
9. Once completed, your backup will be labeled with the date and saved. You can also create an update.zip file to be flashed through recovery if you like, or you can restore through Titanium itself.
10. To restore in Titanium, just go to the Batch Actions screen again and scroll down. You’ll see options under the Restore setting for the actions you completed earlier: in this case, Restore all apps with data and Restore all system data.
11. Tap Run next to the actions you want to restore.
12. You’ll then have the option to restore everything you backed up or just some sections of it. Make your choices and tap the green check mark in the top right-hand corner.
Helium is a great tool for creating a complete backup without root access. You install the Helium app on your phone, grab the desktop version as well and pair the two. Once you’ve made the connection, you can do Titanium-like backups without needing root access. You simply tell Helium which apps and data you want to back up and away it goes. The Pro version lets you schedule automatic backups and store your backups in the cloud.
How to install Helium on Android and PC
1. Download the Helium app on your Android.
2. Install Helium on your PC.
3. Connect your Android to your PC with a USB cable.
4. Enable USB Debugging on your Android.
5. You might be asked to switch your USB connection type to PTP (camera mode).
6. You’ll be prompted to accept your computer’s RSA key.
7. You’ll see a green check mark in the Helium window on your PC, letting you know that the connection has been made and Helium backups are now enabled.
8. You’ll see the same message on your Android. You can now disconnect your Android from your PC.
9. Note that if you turn your Android off you’ll need to reestablish the connection between Helium on your phone and on your PC.
How to backup Android with Helium
1. On your Android you’ll see you have two tabs in Helium: Backup and Restore & Sync. The first tab lets you choose which apps you want to back up by placing a check mark next to them.
2. If you want to save all your apps, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. You will see a summary of your backup choices as well as the option to Select All.
3. You can choose to backup everything (apps and data) or just the data (which is faster). In the latter case, if you restore your backup at a later date you’ll simply have to manually reinstall your apps. Note that there are some apps Helium can’t back up. They are listed at the bottom.
4. The slide up window is also where you hit the Backup button. When you hit Backup you will be asked where you want to save your backup: internal or external storage or a cloud service (Pro version only).
5. In the Restore and Sync tab you can connect a cloud service for storing and accessing your backups. You can also access saved backups on your internal memory or connect with your other devices.
6. When you make your selection you may be prompted to ensure you have no password set for full backups, or to enter your device’s PIN or password if you are encrypted. Once you’ve done this the backup will complete.
7. When it comes time to restore your backup, simply open the Restore & Sync tab and locate your backup. You can also connect to the Helium sever for PC downloads.
If all of this sounds way too complicated, simply connect your Android phone to your PC with a USB cable, open a Windows Explorer window and navigate to your phone. Here you will see a bunch of folders including photos, videos, music and documents.
Just go into each folder and copy/paste the stuff you want to save onto your computer for safekeeping. This is a pretty handy thing to do even if you have other backup solutions at hand, because there’s no such thing as too many backups. But if you want to retrieve it at a later date then you’ll need to get back on your PC.
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Chances are that if you use Facebook today (and those chances are high because Facebook just passed over 1.2 billion active users), you have heard all the hype about the Facebook Messenger App. Users are now being forced to download the separate Messenger App if they want to use messaging through the Facebook app itself for mobile. Not only is that a burden, but Facebook asks for more permissions than the average app in order for you to be able to download the app and, let’s be honest, the permissions are a little frightening when you start looking into them
So, should you be worried about your privacy if you download the Messenger App? Should you not? What do the permissions actually mean and why does Facebook need them? Is Facebook the only app with these “invasive” permissions? This post hopes to answer all that.
I want to start with reacting to a video that I’ve seen shared around social media. In it, two news anchors are discussing the recent Facebook Messenger App and how many users are worried that Facebook is crossing the line and invading everyone’s privacy. Then, they refer to a “Tech Expert” named Anthony Mongeluzo who talks about how Facebook can use the permissions that you agree to in order to “use your recording device and your camera device on your phone without even telling you“. Also, he states that if you text someone that you want something (such as a “Nike Fit Band” as he refers to it), that Facebook will start popping up ads for “Nike Fit Bands”.
NONE of this is true! Nowhere in the permissions does it say that it can use your camera or microphone at any time. Furthermore, if you text someone that you want something, ads will not start popping up on Facebook for that item. If anything, it will be using the cookies within your browser and the pages you’ve visited to give you “relevant” ads. This “Tech Expert” Anthony is a sad excuse for an expert. He refers to the WhatsApp Messenger App as “What’s Up App” and calls Nike FuelBands “Nike Fit Bands”. Just because you heard it from a “news source” online does not mean it’s true. The media loves to scare people because it causes buzz and causes their story to get out there and people to listen.
Secondly, let me get this out there.
If you have the regular Facebook App downloaded, you already have agreed to nearly all the permissions that the Facebook Messenger App requests!
Yes you heard that correctly. The regular Facebook app (not the Messenger app) uses nearly all the same permissions as the Messenger app does (and even more).
Don’t believe me? Check this out (click on picture for full size):
In the above pictures, you’ll see screenshots of the Facebook app and the Messenger app’s permissions (with some overlap) laid out side by side. After reading through them, some of them stand out as being pretty scary if you’ve never looked into these before (some are listed below).
Messenger App Examples:
- directly call phone numbers
- receive, read, and edit your text messages (SMS or MMS)
- take pictures and videos
- record audio
- change network connectivity
Facebook App Examples:
- directly call phone numbers
- read your text messages (SMS or MMS)
- take pictures and videos
- record audio
- change network connectivity
- read/write call log
- read calendar events plus confidential information
Notice that many of the permissions are the same, except the Facebook App has even more permissions (and more scary looking ones at that). After all, the Facebook App is a full blown social networking app whereas the Messenger App is just a messaging app so it makes sense that the Messenger App has less permissions.
If you read all the permissions, you’ll notice that the ONLY permissions that the Messenger App requests that the Facebook App doesn’t is in the SMS category. Instead of just having read your text messages (SMS or MMS) like the Facebook App, the Messenger App requests permissions to receive text messages (SMS or MMS), edit your text messages (SMS or MMS), and send SMS messages.
Why does Facebook need these permissions?
Well, Facebook came out with a new help page on their site within the past few weeks to help explain to users what the permissions are used for specifically for the Messenger App. However, there was already a help page out there for the regular Facebook App.
See these links:
- Messenger App Help Page – Why is the Messenger app requesting permission to access features on my Android phone or tablet?
- Facebook App Help Page – Why is the Facebook app requesting permission to access features on my Android?
Some examples Facebook provides as to why they need those permissions (can also be found in the links above):
- Read your text messages (SMS or MMS) – If you add a phone number to your account, this allows us to confirm your phone number automatically by finding the confirmation code that we send via text message.
- Take pictures and video – This permission allows you to take photos and videos within the Messenger app to easily send to your friends and other contacts.
- Record audio – This permission allows you to send voice messages, make free voice calls, and send videos within Messenger.
- Directly call phone numbers – This permission allows you to call a Messenger contact by tapping on the person’s phone number, found in a menu within your message thread with the person.
- Read calendar events plus confidential information – This allows the app to show your calendar availability (based on your phone’s calendar) when you’re viewing an event on Facebook.
Another thing that is important to note — An application needs permissions in order to get its features to work. I have even developed some basic Android apps in the past for fun that required some of these permissions. For example, if there is a button within your application that allows the user to take a picture or video, the developer needs to require permissions to take pictures and videos along with the permission to record audio. Otherwise that button is useless because it won’t do anything. Simple as that.
Is Facebook the only app with these “invasive” permissions?
Absolutely not. This is something that you would think is common sense, but apparently it’s not. There are plenty of other apps out there that use many of these same permissions.
Here is a list of most of the “invasive” permissions listed above that the Facebook and Messenger App use along with other popular apps that use those same permissions:
- directly call phone numbers
- receive, read, and edit your text messages (SMS or MMS)
- Also used by:
- AVG AntiVirus Security (all of them) – 100,000,000+ downloads
- WhatsApp Messenger (only receive and send SMS messages) – 500,000,000+ downloads
- Skype (only receive SMS and read SMS/MMS) – 100,000,000+ downloads
- Snapchat (only send SMS) – 50,000,000+ downloads
- Vine (only send SMS) – 10,000,000+ downloads
- Also used by:
- take pictures and videos
- record audio
- read/write call log
I think you get the point. In my research, the app that surprised me the most was AVG AntiVirus Security. It requested nearly all the same permissions as the Facebook Messenger App except for a couple. Yet, I don’t see everyone up in arms about their privacy when they download AVG… quick! Somebody tell the media. Perhaps they can make a video to scare everyone about it.
Should you be worried about your privacy with the Facebook Messenger App or no?
The answer is NO! The point I’m trying to make with this post is that… you shouldn’t be any more worried about your privacy than you were before the Messenger App became mandatory in order to access your messages through the regular Facebook App.
Why? Because it uses almost every single permission that the regular Facebook App uses. Not to mention, based on the number of downloads listed for the other popular apps above, chances are that you use at least one of those apps and those apps use many of the same permissions as the Facebook Messenger App.
If you truly still believe that Facebook can “access your recording devices at any time”, well guess what, you agreed to those same permissions with the regular Facebook App, or WhatsApp, or Skype, or Snapchat, or many other apps.
The bottom line…
Is that Facebook is using the information they gather about each individual user so that they can sell that information to third-party companies. This is how Facebook monetizes the data they receive. Without it, they wouldn’t be in business. Not sure how your data is used? You can poke through the various categories on the Facebook Data Use Policy page or just go straight to “Information we receive and how it is used“.
The part we should be worried about is the fact that, regardless of any permission that any app could ever ask us, much of online Internet data (whether that be Facebook chats, websites visited, pictures sent, etc.) goes directly to the NSA because apparently we all need to be tracked. But that’s a whole other conversation…
Still not convinced and want alternatives?
Easy. You don’t have to download the Messenger App. You can access your messages via the desktop version of Facebook Or… you could just use another messaging app! There are plenty out there — WhatsApp, Kik, Skype, etc.
We’ve all experienced a Google Play Store problem at some point. Whether it’s an error message when downloading apps, or the Play Store simply won’t open, we have the solutions. Here’s what you can do when the Google Play Store doesn’t work for you.
Here are some steps to take
Download and install the latest Play Store APK
.Check your date and time settings
.Clear the Google Play Store cache
.Clear out your Play Store data
.Clear data and cache on Google Play Services
.Install the latest version of Google Play Services
.Reset your Google account on your device
.Check your disabled apps
.Disable your VPN
.Enable Download Manager
.Uninstall previous updates
.Perform a factory data reset on your smartphone
Check your date and time settings
Google checks your Android smartphone’s date and time for the Play Store. If the store does not find a time then it could cause some issues. Google’s servers could have a tough time syncing with your device and cause your Play Store to act up.
To fix this issue, you need to go into your the Settings in your Android device. Under System you should see Date and Time. Tap on this and you will see whether your phone is on the Automatic date and time provided by your network. If it isn’t already then you should toggle it on.
If your device is on automatic and your Google Play Store is still not working then you should manually set the date and time. You first need to turn Automatic date and time off. Then start by entering the date and time with as much accuracy as possible. If this doesn’t work, don’t worry, there are still many more solutions for getting your Google Play Store up and running again.
Clear the Google Play Store cache
In some cases, you can get the Play Store going again by just emptying the cache. The cache is a storage area that temporarily holds data so it can be quickly retrieved without needing to be reloaded. This could solve your problem and emptying it is easy.
First go in the Settings from your smartphone’s home screen. You should then go into your Apps or Application manager, it depends on your device. From there you should either be able to scroll down and hit Clear cache or you might have to first go intoStorage then Clear cache.
Once this has been completed, go back into your Google Play Store and see if your problem has been solved. If not, you should try one of the other solutions here.
Clear out your Play Store data
Deleting your data from the Play Store is similar to our first tip but erases quite a bit more. It sets the app back to square one and gets rid of your saved information, hopefully including whatever glitchy data was causing the problem.
Remember, when you do this your files, settings, accounts, databases and other information will be erased. You should make sure you have the log-in information for the account as it will be taken off the Google Play Store account.
To get started, head into your Settings and find the Apps or Application manager. From there you should be able to scroll down toClear data or go into Storage first then Clear data.
Clear data and cache on Google Play Services
It is possible that Play Store problems could stem from issues with Google Play Services. If Google Play Store is the heart of your Android device, then Google Play Services is its soul. Play Services is the mysterious background process that allows apps to communicate with different parts of your device, enabling them to sync, send push notifications and so on.
If clearing the cache and data in your Google Play Store didn’t work then you may need to go into your Google Play Services and clear the data and cache there. Doing this is easy.
You need to go into your Settings and hit Application manager or Apps. From there, find the Google Play Services app (the puzzle piece). Depending on your device, you should be able to tap the Clear cache button or you might need to go into Storage first then hit Clear cache. If that fails to solve the problem, come back to this page and hit Manage space or Manage storage then tap Clear all data.
Install the latest version of Google Play Services
Another thing that may help is to download and install the latest version of Google Play Services and the Google Play Store. The most current version of the software is likely to be the most stable, so it’s useful to keep it updated.
Firstly, you need to make sure your Google Play Store is up-to-date. Go into the Google Play Store app and hit the menu button (three lines in the top left hand corner of your screen). From there tap Settings and under General you should be able to see when your Google Play app updates. Tap Auto-update apps and ensure that Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi is checked. Now, make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi.
Getting the latest version of Google Play Services is much more difficult and too long to mention here. Read our tutorial here for a detailed explanation on how to get the latest version
Reset your Google account on your device
We’re now coming to the slightly more drastic solutions. If your Play Store app still isn’t working, then you may need to refresh your Google account on your Android device. This will mean your Google account on your entire phone will be reset and not just in the Google Play Store. Make sure you know the account(s) before you start this. You could lose the entire account if you’re not careful.
Settings and tap Accounts. Now you need to tap the Google account you want to remove, then tap the menu icon (three dots at the top right) and tap Remove account. Do this for every Google account on your device.
Now you need to re-enter your Google account. Go back into your Settings and tap on Account again. The only thing you should see is Add Account. If you see an account then you forgot to remove one. Tap Add Account and follow the on-screen steps to re-add your account.
Check your disabled apps
Many apps need other apps in order to function properly. This is especially true when you’re dealing with system apps such as the Google Play Store. If you recently disabled an app that could be your problem. Luckily, this is easy to fix.
Go into your Settings and Application manager or Apps and scroll to the bottom. This is where disabled apps end up. If you see any disabled services, just go into these and hit Enable and see if that helps.
Disable your VPN
Having a VPN is a great way to get all your favorite media outside your geographic location. You can even use a VPN to install an app in the Play Store of another country. But your VPN could be causing you problems with your Google Play Store in the region you’re currently in.
If you have a VPN enabled on your Android device you should disable it. Go into your Settings and tap More or More networks depending on your device. Hit VPN and toggle it off.
Enable Download Manager
There is a chance that the Play Store will stop working if your download manager is disabled. If this is the case, the solution is simple.
Go into your Settings and tap either Apps or Application manager (depending on your device). You should either see all of your apps or you might have to choose All. From there find Downloads or Download manager and hit this.
You should be able to see if Download manager is disabled. If it is then you’ll see a button marked Enable. Simply tap this button to switch Download manager back on. If all you see are buttons for Force Stop and Disable (possibly grayed-out, as seen below), then Download manager is not disabled and you can rule this possibility out.
Uninstall previous updates
Generally, when you have a problem with an app you can just uninstall it and then reinstall it. Well that works for some apps, but the Google Play Store is a system app on your Android device. What you can do instead is uninstall previous updates to the app and this might help your problem.
You first need to head into your Settings, tap either Apps or Application manager, and you should either see all of your apps or you might have to choose All. From there find the Google Play Store and tap Uninstall updates.
If your Google Play Store is still not working then you need to go back and reinstall the updates. From there head down to our last solution.If you’re still facing problems after
Perform a factory data reset on your smartphone
having tried all of the above, then you may have little choice but to do a factory reset. This is a drastic measure and there are consequences. All of your data will be lost. So you should perform a complete backup beforehand.
Once your data is backed it’s time to do a reset. Go to your Settings and tap Backup & reset. Now, make sure the Back up my data slider is on. Tap Back up account to select which account you want your data backed up to. Ensure you have access to this account.
Once you’ve done this, go to the Backup & reset menu and tap the Factory data reset button at the bottom. Confirm that you want to do this, and your phone will be as it was when you bought it. Your data will be restored when you log back into your Google account.
Did these solutions work for you? Do you have any other advice to get the Google Play Store working again? Let us know in the comments.
This is by far the longest battle ever in the tech world.Here are reasons why Android fans believe it is better than IOS
Devices… devices everywhere!
There is something for everyone on the Android platform. The sheer variety of Android smartphones from manufacturers like Samsung, HTC, Sony, Motorola, LG, Huawei, ZTE, and others is staggering. You can get a compact phone, something with a huge touchscreen, a stylus, a rotating camera, an edge screen, or even a physical keyboard such as found on the Blackberry Priv. Niche demands like dual SIM are catered for, and the flagship devices are on the cutting edge when it comes to specs. There’s also features you just can’t get with Apple’s devices, like microSD and removable battery. Yes, some Android manufacturers have moved away from offering these extras, but the nice thing about options is there are manufacturers that still do.
The same story exists largely for the tablet market too, with all sorts of different devices from the Pixel C to the Nexus 9, Xiaomi’s tablets, Honor’s tablets, Samsung Note tablets, and the list goes on.
Attracting a huge range of manufacturers and giving them license to run amok in terms of imagination has resulted in the widest variety of devices on any platform, even blurring the line between smartphone and tablet. Compared to the limited iPhone and iPad lineup, Android represents choice on a grand scale.Sure, Apple has a few sizes to offer, but size is really the only differentiator there. The iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, for example, have pretty much most of the same specs with the main difference being screen size and resolution. The same general argument applies to the iPads, even though there are more choices than with the smartphone counterparts.
Prices to fit your needs
This naturally follows on from the first point on our list. A wide variety of devices with different designs and specs means that Android has something for you at just about any budget. The exclusive nature of Apple’s products is in stark contrast to the inclusive nature of Android. Almost anyone can afford an Android phone. It might not be all-singing and dancing, but there are solid budget options that give people a true smartphone experience.
This is even more true in 2016 than it was when we first created this list in 2013. Not only do you have the Moto G line, but there’s the Honor 5X, a variety of BLU devices, OnePlus X and OnePlus 2, and even low-cost flagships like the Moto X Pure Edition and Nexus 5X. In contrast, the iPhone and iPad are prohibitively expensive for many, but a budget Android device doesn’t need to cost much more than an old feature phone. And if you can afford to spend somewhere in the $150 to $300 ballpark, you can find a handset that gives a near flagship-level experience with just a few concessions in order to keep pricing down.
Affordability has been a key driver for Android dominance worldwide and it continues to be. If you want premium devices that match and surpass the iPhone or iPad then you can find them, but if you want a budget device, then Android is really your only choice.
One of the strong points of Android has always been the level of customization it allows. While Apple wants to keep control of default apps in order to maintain a homogenous software and hardware experience, Android lets you pick your own level of customization. This extends all the way from simple things like live wallpapers, to alternative keyboards, to custom ROM installs.
Detractors will always say only hardcore geeks care about this level of customization, but at the shallow end of the pool this isn’t true. Plenty of iOS users loved it when Apple started allowing third-party keyboards and basic widgets, and that on its own is proof that this flexibility is what people want.
Some manufacturers are even allowing complex hardware customization. Motorola has Moto Maker, LG has replaceable leather back plates, as does Xiaomi. Those are just a few examples of something Apple will never do for you. Consider yourself lucky to have champagne gold and rose gold available… that is pretty revolutionary for Apple.
Android’s widgets have long been a feather in its cap compared to the static rows of icons you find in iOS. Even Microsoft saw the advantage, developing the Live Tiles system for Windows Phone. Widgets are still a major advantage for Android over iOS. Simply put, you can see all of the information you want at a glance on your home screen without having to fire up an app.
And yes, we know Apple introduced widgets last September. Have you seen those things? They are very limited and live only on your notification area. Not the same! Android still wins here.
You can argue iOS does multi-tasking all you want. And it’s true, you can do multiple things at once by switching apps back and forth, but that doesn’t even come near to the level of multi-tasking some Android phones offer.
Take Samsung as an example, which introduced multi-window long ago, in which you can view multiple apps at once. Plenty of other manufacturers have also been doing this for years, even if we will admit this is one area where stock Android lags behind.
Meanwhile, Apple is playing catch-up by adopting similar features, a change that took place in 2015. Most of Apple’s multi-tasking features also remain limited to the tablet realm for the time being, however, and by the time they really bring it to the next level, it’s fairly likely that even Google’s “stock” vision for Android will offer some form of multi-window navigation.
Grab an iPhone, sit next to another iOS user and compare your home screens. Oh wait, they look exactly the same! That’s not the story with Android.
If you want control over how your Android smartphone or tablet looks then you’ve probably tried out a custom launcher. You can choose from a wide variety of custom launcher apps in Google Play and tweak everything from your home screen layout, to your page transitions, to effects and even gestures. There’s no risk involved with launcher apps and you can really open up a world of possibilities.
A launcher also is good for those instances where you love a handset but maybe aren’t so keen on the manufacturer’s custom interface. A launcher goes a long ways in these kinds of situations. And if you are the kind who enjoys the freedom of Android but actually lusts after the looks afforded by iOS or Windows — there’s even launchers that help you achieve a similar look and feel.
You can actually replace the software that came with your device with a custom ROM if you want to. This is essentially installing a new operating system and many Android users do it because their carrier or manufacturer is slow to upgrade to the latest version of the Android platform, but you may also do it for better performance or to gain access to some add-ons or tools. This is definitely the extreme end of Android customization and you need to exercise a little caution to ensure that you don’t run into trouble. That said, as long as you can follow a tutorial and your device is supported, the benefits can be enormous.
Hell, there’s even ways to install completely different operating systems on some Android devices, such as Ubuntu, Firefox OS, Sailfish, and the list goes on.
Some years ago we discussed why Google and Android will prevail over Apple and iOS, and this specific topic is still one of the main reasons. Android devices integrate seamlessly with Google’s array of services. People are increasingly using their mobile devices to go online and Google is king of the web. Google Docs, Gmail, Google Drive, Google Maps, Google Music, Google+, Google Chrome…the list goes on, and Apple and iOS are not keeping up.
Sure, many Google services are now in iOS, but that deep level of integration simply isn’t there. And this is an important factor, because most of us use one or two… or three or 10 Google services. You want these to work seamlessly, and Android offers that.
This stands out from the crowd of Google services and, while the excellent voice search has been rolled into the Google iOS app, there are elements of Google Now that you can only enjoy on Android. When we look to our technology to push things forward and offer real convenience boosts to daily life, the predictive and pre-emptive nature of Google Now as it seeks to fulfill your desires before you think to search, could be truly revolutionary.
Whether Google Now is better than Siri or not continues to be subjective, though. This is still a matter of preference, but here at Android Authority we believe Google Now is more straightforward and to the point, which is something we all look for when finding the right digital assistant. With Marshmallow, there’s also plenty of new functionality making its way over, such as Google Now on Tap
More free apps and games!
It may be a double-edged sword, but you can’t escape the fact that there are more free apps and games on Android than there are on iOS. Sometimes ports of the same apps that carried a price tag on iOS are free on Android. There also seems to be a greater willingness to pursue the freemium or ad-supported model.
Sadly, this may be, at least partly, down to piracy concerns and, while more hits are being ported across, the ability to earn more from iOS development still means more high quality, premium apps and games release on iOS first. Android continues to dominate and we have seen a change here, but it remains one of Android’s biggest challenges.
The industry moves fast, and so does Android
Bugs, lag, an ugly interface, a lack of apps – Android’s weaknesses have been systematically dealt with by a determined development team. The Android platform is unrecognizable compared with the first release and it continues to improve and evolve at a faster pace than the competition.
That big user base and the wide range of manufacturers producing Android devices can only drive further improvements to greater heights. While iOS stagnates, paralyzed by the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” school of thinking, Android continues to innovate and improve at a faster rate. Think about it. Android adopted NFC first, as well as fingerprint readers, and retina scanners, and mobile payments, and higher definition displays. The list goes on.
What’s important to you?
We’d love to hear why you think Android is better than iOS. Are your motives for choosing Android covered above or did something else attract you to the platform? Conversely, for those rocking an iPhone, what’s keeping you from Android — is there a specific feature, updates, etc? Post a comment and let us know.
Android Police says that Google already had Huawei in mind to manufacture the Google Pixelphones that are now being made by HTC. The smartphone blog says it had a conversation with “people familiar with Huawei’s operations” which gave them, and now us, an inside look at what went down behind the scenes between Google and the Chinese smartphone maker, Huawei.
When Google brought Huawei onto the Nexus project to make the Nexus 6P, initially, Google told Huawei that the phone would be sold in all four major carriers. This immediately caught Huawei’s attention, as the company had been looking for the best way to enter the US market. Now, while the Nexus 6P was compatible with all four major US carriers’ networks, not one of them actually sold the Nexus 6P.
In addition to the promise of being sold in all four carrier stores across the country, Google also agreed to collaborate with Huawei and spend hundreds of millions of dollars to advertise the Nexus 6P. Google made the first promise with Huawei a bit too early, as its talks with the carriers didn’t make it all the way through. Perhaps carriers didn’t want to bother with another Nexus phone as the Motorola-made Nexus 6 (which did sell through all major US carriers) perhaps didn’t meet carriers’ sales expectations.
Shortly after the launch of the Nexus 5X and 6P, Huawei was approached again by Google about its plans for the year’s portfolio. Google wanted Huawei to build the Pixel phones, but Google’s condition was that the phones would be Google-branded. At this moment, Huawei was like: ‘um, no’ and immediately ended negotiations with Google. This is where HTC came in and won the bid instead.
Huawei still hasn’t found that entry-point for the US market that it’s looking for, the Honor 8smartphone unfortunately didn’t meet expectations and there are even reports of Huawei laying off most of the Huawei US team just a few weeks after the initial sales for the Honor 8. Ironically, the Pixel phones would have been a great entry-point for Huawei at this point in time. Although the Pixel phones would be Google-branded, it would have given Huawei a better chance of selling phones to US carriers in the near-future as the manufacturer of those smartphones.
The source reports that Huawei’s relationship with Google “remains strong”, with ongoing collaborations that include a previously rumored tablet to be manufactured by Huawei. There are also reports of Google soliciting companies (including Huawei) to build a mid-range device for mid-2017 sadly there’s no other information about the latter.
Today, we have several messaging chat apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Telegram, Hike, WeChat, Line, and Google Hangouts. Recently, Google launched its messaging chat app, Allo for Android and iOS platforms that makes it one more to the list of already existing messenger apps. It is being pitted against the already established giants like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Snapchat.
So, how is Google’s Allo different from other messenger apps? The thing that differentiates Allo from other messenger apps is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to help user conversations. Allo’s biggest asset is its integration with Google Assistant, the company’s conversational new virtual aid that can answer questions and make suggestions.
With the introduction of Allo, how would it fare against the messaging veterans like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger? Is it really better than WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger?
Let us check out the differences between all the apps:
Google Allo: With the backing of AI, Allo’s chatbot, Google Assistant offers its users brilliant web search facility and smart intuitive replies. Allo supports a feature called Smart Reply that pops up canned responses to incoming messages so users don’t have to spend time typing their replies to every message they receive. You can pull the Google Assistant in the middle of a chat, ask it to look up restaurants close by, or movie timings for later in the evening, or just play a game with the Assistant.
Google Allo also packs a lot of emojis and stickers that they can use to express themselves or add to conversations. The app gives users the ability to comment and scribble on photos and videos (Android only) before sending them along and has 25 sticker packs that were developed in collaborations with artists from around the world. Along with Gboard on iOS, a user can also send GIFs on Allo.
There’s also an Incognito chat mode for end-to-end encryption and the chats disappear after sometime. However, a user can make changes to the expiration time for each message in this Incognito mode. Groups chats are also supported on the app and a user can send an SMS for free to those who don’t have the Allo app. These replies from an SMS also come inside Allo.
Drawback: Google has decided not to encrypt any of the conversations that people carry on with Allo, making them easier to intercept and read. Google is apparently storing chats on its servers and not encrypting conversations because that makes it easier for Allo to learn from previous conversations, which in turn raises privacy concerns. Also, Google Allo doesn’t support file-sharing like WhatsApp or Telegram yet.
WhatsApp: WhatsApp Messenger’s biggest advantage is that it’s end-to-end encrypted by default, which means that your messages cannot be read by a third-party by WhatsApp or even Facebook. Once the message is deleted, it is gone forever. WhatsApp also supports voice-calling on the app itself. You can upload files from third-party apps like Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive into your WhatsApp messages, as it supported by them.
According to the latest Android Beta files, WhatsApp has plans to bring stickers, scribbling on photos, etc. very soon. WhatsApp is integrated with Siri in iOS, and the voice-assistant can send messages or make voice-calls directly on the app. WhatsApp is also planning to launch services on the app and you will soon have your bank or airline messaging you on it.
Drawback: In a big policy change recently announced by WhatsApp, it will start sharing information with Facebook, which is its parent company. A user has an option to opt out of this feature. Although no information will be ‘posted on’ Facebook, other information like device used, phone number, etc. will be shared with the social media giant in order to improve ads on the website.
Facebook Messenger: With over 1 billion monthly users, Facebook Messenger app already supports voice and video-calling feature. A user can also sync their mobile number with the app, and give it access to their SMS app as well. The app will automatically show all your Facebook friends in the contact lists. However, any requests from people who are not on your friends list end up in a separate ‘Message Requests’ folder on the app. A user has the option of accepting or declining these requests.
The app also supports GIFs, stickers as well and you can even scribble on photos before sending to them to someone. Facebook is also betting on chatbots for Messenger and looking to incorporate more services inside the app.
Drawback: End-to-end encryption is not included in Facebook Messenger by default. However, it has a separate Secret Conversation mode which does so and the messages will get deleted after sometime. This has yet to roll out. Similar to Google Allo, regular conversations in the app are not end-to-end encrypted. Also, the chatbots have so far not been a great success.
Snapchat: The app that has gained reputation as a “sexting” app allows teens to exchange user-generated photos, texts, videos, and calls — both audio and video. On the messaging side, Snapchat allows you to send stickers, pictures, photos, make video calls to your friends on the app. Snapchat has everyone’s interest from drawing on photos to face filters to Stories and Messages that disappear after 24 hours.
Snapchat allows users to share stories with a bunch of followers, and videos (up to 10 seconds) immediately. You can edit videos as you shoot them to add annotations, emojis, text, even a face filter as you’re recording it live. A user can also follow other important Snapchatters and see their stories as they post them. The recently added Discover feature keeps avid users up to date on current news and pop culture events.
Drawback: Not everyone can figure out the Snapchat app due to its complicated design, and it takes a while finding all the new features. Also, Snapchat is not end-to-end encrypted and messages are stored on the company’s servers for 30 days before they are deleted.
The world’s leading smartphone makers just can’t stop copying each other. While the company has certainly improved its image over the past few years, Samsung is likely most famous for being an Apple copycat. After all, the company was sued repeatedly by Apple for stealing its technology and designs. And as we all learned, things got so crazy at one point that Samsung even created a 132-page internal document to help its engineers copy the iPhone pixel by pixel. Of course, Apple is hardly innocent in all this. The iPhone maker has aped plenty of features from Android in recent years, and it probably never would have made iPhones with large displays if Samsung hadn’t paved the way.
So what’s the latest feature Apple ripped off from its top smartphone rival Samsung? Apparently, Apple was jealous that Samsung’s exploding Galaxy Note 7 is stealing some of the iPhone 7’s airtime, so it built an exploding smartphone of its own. Behold:
All joking aside — and before other sites catch wind of this story and go crazy with it — this clearly appears to be an isolated incident, at least for the time being.
The image above was posted by Reddit user “kroopthesnoop” on Wednesday, and it shows a matte black iPhone 7 Plus that certainly looks like it exploded. Unlike Samsung’s somewhat widespread Galaxy Note 7 problem that was due to a battery defect, however, this iPhone exploded while in transit, according to the phone’s owner. When he received the iPhone he ordered and took it out of the box, this is what he found.
Details are scarce for the time being. “Something happened between the factory and delivery,” is all the phone’s owner had to say in his thread on Reddit. Apple hasn’t commented publicly and neither has UPS, but one or both companies will likely have to investigate the matter when the phone’s owner contacts Apple for a replacement.
UPDATE: The phone’s owner has posted more photos, several of which can be seen below.