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How to Speed Up a Sluggish Android Smartphone
January 09, 2014
One of the disadvantages of retaining a phone after the expiration of a two-year contract -- as many of us do -- is that those older phones have accumulated a few years' worth of digital gunk. They're clogged up like an aging sewer on the wrong side of town. Just like on a PC, bits of app and OS code become discombobulated -- orphaned from the parent program.
How an Aging Sprint Device Can Reduce Your Android Phone Bill
January 08, 2014
In case you hadn't noticed while wandering the aisles of your local consumer electronics big-box retailer, there is an explosion of mobile virtual network operators hitting the marketplace. MVNOs are telcos that buy capacity from major operators like T-Mobile or AT&T, for example, and sell it on to you. Walmart and América Móvil's Straight Talk calling product is an example.
Setup's Sharp Edges Don't Mar TinCan's Network-Free Messaging Potential
January 03, 2014
One lesson that's easy to learn if you've been through any natural disaster is that you shouldn't rely on classic means of communications like land lines, cellphones or Internet. Capacity gets challenged; infrastructure gets destroyed. Where I live, neighbors have developed ham radio-based communications plans geared solely towards communicating in a disaster.
A World of Skins Add Beauty to the Joy of ExDialer Pro
December 27, 2013
I was banging my head against the wall the other day because the dialer on my aging Motorola Photon 4G stopped working. Normally what I'd do -- and recommend doing -- is upgrade the OS to a later version while at the same time doing a hard reset on the device. However, you need an unlocked bootloader to do that, and Motorola has locked the bootloader on that model.
Startup Manager Renews Shine on Android's Boot
December 20, 2013
For some inexplicable reason, probably related to egocentric human nature, software developers can't seem to resist designing their programs as if they were default services: always on and ready. If you're familiar with maintaining a PC and like tinkering with programs, you'll know that you need to periodically disable or get rid of accumulating programs that automatically run processes.
How to Keep Your Devices Juiced Up on the Road
December 19, 2013
You can almost date a hotel room's last remodel by the number and location of jacks. In the old days, you'd be lucky to find a usable power outlet -- one that wasn't taken up with lamps or TV. Plug-in phone jacks were nonexistent. We then went to bedside phone jacks and later to desktop phone jacks and on to Ethernet jacks for supposed broadband; eventually, we went over to WiFi, with no jacks.
How to Set Up Email on a New Android Phone
December 18, 2013
Setting up a brand-new phone can involve numerous aggravations, but if you don't rely on one of the majors like Yahoo and Gmail for email, one of the worst is surely the manual email server configuration. If you use a customized domain name, your Android device's email client is likely to need this extra step. This could become an even more prevalent problem with the January U.S. launch of the Moto G smartphone.
Jailbroken Phones Targeted by Hacker Jammers
December 16, 2013
Smartphones hacked to run unauthorized programs or unlock features are being targeted by hackers and can pose a threat to enterprise networks, warned Marble Security. Modifying a smartphone to enable unauthorized behavior -- called "rooting" in the Android world and "jailbreaking" in the iOS realm -- makes the mobile vulnerable to infected jammer software, the firm said.
Remote Video Security Is Mydlink+'s Weak Link
December 13, 2013
As a smartphone app reviewer, I often like to include a bit of explanation for why I choose to review the apps that I do. It adds a bit of human interest, and can make for a more enjoyable read. This week, the story is especially exciting. This is a review of D-Link's Mydlink+ remote security camera Android app add-on, and I can explain the reason for the review in one word: goats.
Instagram Hitches Wagon to Private Messaging
December 12, 2013
Instagram has dipped its toes into private-photo and video messaging waters. Instagram Direct allows the community's more than 150 million monthly active users to send photos and videos within a group. The process of sending a private message works just like posting a photo or video publicly: Take a new photo or upload an existing one, slap on a filter and effects, and add a caption and tags.
Normandy May Lead Nokia's Surprise Android Attack
December 11, 2013
Nokia might be planning a shift away from its Windows Phone base in future smartphones -- even as the mobile phone unit of the business heads to Microsoft. The company is working on an Android phone as part of a push into the low-end smartphone market, according to The Verge. Several sources close to Nokia suggested the company is working on the project under the code name "Normandy."
If You're Jonesing for a 2nd Screen, Air Display Is a Nifty Fix
December 06, 2013
I was intrigued when I came across Air Display, an Android app that lets you use your tablet as a second screen. Second PC displays definitely boost work productivity. I've been using two displays for years, keeping my email client open all the time on the left screen -- a laptop display -- and work-work on the right screen. I'm able to monitor incoming junk mail without having to stop working.
Samsung Gussies Up Phablet Line With Galaxy Grand 2
November 25, 2013
Samsung has unveiled the latest model in its line of phablets, the Galaxy Grand 2, bearing a string of enhancements over its predecessor. The company's latest device has a 5.25-inch screen with a 16:9 ratio. The TFT screen is 0.25 inches larger than the previous model and has a 1280 x 720 resolution, compared with the 800 x 480 pixels of the Galaxy Grand's WVGA screen.
Neptune Promises Out-of-This-World Smartwatch
November 22, 2013
Neptune Computer, founded by 19-year-old Simon Tian, has raised more than CA$250,000 since launching a 33-day Kickstarter campaign for its Neptune Pine smartwatch on Monday with a target of $100,000. The first prototypes have already been produced, and all parts of the design and engineering phase have been finalized. Mass manufacturing is scheduled to begin in early December.
How to Protect Your Android Device from Malware
November 20, 2013
If you're in the majority of Android users, your smartphone or tablet isn't protected from malware attacks. In fact, Jupiter Research reckons that a full 80 percent of smartphones are unprotected. Why is that a problem? The answer is that even if your smartphone hasn't been affected so far, it likely will be, and that's because of the vast sums of money motivating criminals.
Motorola Guns for Lower-End Market
November 14, 2013
Motorola on Wednesday announced the Moto G, an unlocked, no-contract smartphone with an unlockable bootloader running Android 4.3, Jelly Bean, to be widely available next year. An 8-GB version will be offered for $179 and a 16-GB version for $199. The rollout began this week in Brazil and parts of Europe, and the device will come to the United States in 2014.
KitKat Raises Android Security Bar
November 11, 2013
Google's mobile operating system Android has been a whipping boy for some segments of the security community, but the latest version of the software may begin to rehabilitate its reputation. Android 4.4, or KitKat, contains a number of new and improved features that are garnering the praise of malware fighters -- especially improved implementation of SELinux.
A Tale of 7 Patents: Rockstar v. Google
November 11, 2013
Patent warfare is a veritable fixture of the mobile world these days, sadly, and -- by virtue of Android -- that heaps a whole lot of mess within the boundaries of the blogosphere's Linux territories. We've seen plenty of skirmishes come and go already, of course, but the latest example is being called nothing short of "thermonuclear" war.
Devs Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed for Glass Hackathon
November 08, 2013
Google has invited developers to a hackathon that will give them a chance to learn more about the Google Glass platform. The company sent invitations on Wednesday to an event scheduled for Nov. 19 and 20 at Google's San Francisco Basecamp, where eager developers will hear about the next phase of the Glass Developer Platform. Google will be reaching out to more developers in the coming months.
How to Back Up Data on Your Android Smartphone
November 06, 2013
We all back up our PCs, right? Okay, well, we should back up our PCs, right? Well, smartphones and tablets have become so ubiquitous that we need to back them up now too. It's time. Important photos, videos, contacts and music are now strewn across small, easy-to-lose, easy-to-break, highly pilferable devices. Fail to back up this stuff at your peril.
Niantic Opens Ingress to AR Gamers Hot to Trot for Exotic Matter
November 05, 2013
Google's Niantic Labs on Monday announced that it was lifting the invitation-only restriction on its augmented reality game Ingress. The game launched in beta about a year ago, and interested players needed an invitation code to participate. Now all Android users can download the free massively multiplayer game from Google Play. The game will officially exit beta status on Dec. 14.
Ode to Project Ara
November 04, 2013
Ever since Burger King hit the proverbial nail on the head with its famed "Have It Your Way" slogan back in 1974, everyone has known that people like to -- well, have it their own way. Customization has been a growing trend, but until recently, smartphones were a glaring exception. Linux Girl can no longer even count the number of times she's asked for a big "L" and an image of Tux emblazoned on her device.

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