This week has been relatively uneventful as far as Android news goes, that said there was some interesting stuff yesterday that I feel is worthy of sharing with the rest of you.
Also, I’m doing this today because I’m basically calling in sick for the remainder of the week. Screw it. Age of Ultron gets priority for me over work, as does playing catch up on all my MCU related TV shows (not too mention The Flash and Arrow).
There be a new Gapps package worth checking out
Namely, AROMA Gapps for Android 5.0 and 5.1.
For those unaware, Gapps are Google Apps and when you run a custom ROM, i.e. anything but what your phone officially came with out of the box, then you need to install Gapps separately. Why? Because technically they are closed source and that means developers aren’t supposed to package them with their ROMs. (Some do, technically they’re not supposed to though.) That’s something a lot of people forget. (Including a number of idiots I argued with about this on Giz recently.) Android’s source code is open source, you can do what you want with it. You want to use Gapps though you’ve gotta abide by certain things that go with them. (I don’t know all those things, so I won’t even attempting to bullshit you about the rules and whatnot that go with them.)
So what’ so special about this Gapps package? AROMA installer! If you haven’t run into it before then just wait til you try it out. For a very long time I refused to install any ROM that didn’t allow for setup using AROMA.
AROMA is basically all about choice. Sometimes, okay a lot of the time, ROM developers go overboard. They throw in every fucking thing and then three kitchen sinks because they can. It sucks. You don’t always want all that and sometimes it’s just a small subset of people demanding those extra things that the majority of people don’t want. AROMA takes care of that. In any AROMA based setup you basically pick and choose what you want. There are naturally some defaults that get installed by, well, default because they’re needed for things to work smoothly one way or another. Everything else though is about choice.
And this Gapps package is exactly about that, you decide what you want installed.
Want to use Messenger instead of Hangouts? Install only Messenger. Prefer doing it all in one place? Install Hangouts instead. Like using both? Fuck it, use both. And so on and so forth.
Seriously, if you’re into this kind of thing then this is the Gapps package you want to use.
Be sure to visit the thread though and thank the dev(s) for sharing this with the community though. It’s freaking sweet is what it is!
A thorough in-dept look at Google Now on Android Wear is currently up on XDA News
I won’t even bother to discuss it, head over to XDA to read it in full for yourselves. Assuming you are the type who reads such articles/posts that is.
LG unveiled the G4 yesterday
And wow does it look great!
That’s the G4 on the left and a G3 on the right for comparison’s sake.
Going solely by that picture a few things may or may not be immediately obvious, obvious for those who know what to look for and not so obvious for those who don’t dwell on phone designs.
There’s a smaller bezel area, we’re talking millimeters difference. The first noticeable difference I originally spotted when I saw this was the edges of the G4, they’re significantly more rounded than those found on the G3. Also, and it’s slightly hard to tell from the pic, the phone itself has a slight curve to it along the lines of the LG G Flex phone.
Beyond that, there’s a lot about this phone that mostly remains the same and that’s just been updated with this year’s tech. The display is a 5.5” QHD IPS display that is purportedly amazing to look at. (Even if it is overkill when discussing the PPI factor of it, which I won’t bother to do.) The big change is the use of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 808 processor instead of their 810 processor. Those of us who pay attention to such things had heard for quite some time that the 810 suffered from severe overheating issues and despite even LG saying no such issues were there to be found (when discussing the use of the chip in the LG G Flex 2) the fact that they’ve gone with the 808 in this phone speaks volumes. The chip itself will likely not get as hot as the 810 and it’ll probably be a slight boon in the long run when it comes to battery life. That chip paired with 3 GB of RAM means there’s almost nothing this phone shouldn’t be able to handle in daily use. Toss in the fact that it’ll be launching with Android 5.1 out of the box and you’ve basically got the perfect flagship device, although that’s purely my opinion. (I’ll have to get my hands on one to know for sure, keeping in mind though I have recently used both the S6 and S6 Edge and while I came away very impressed by Samsung’s redesigned flagship devices they’re still running TouchWiz which is just such a turn off for me.)
Leather backs seem to be a thing now and the G4 is no exception in that regard.
It is worth pointing out though that the leather back is an optional thing, so you won’t get that out of the box.
Also, it’s worth knowing that the back is removable and the battery is user replaceable and there is a microSD card slot on the device. The latter being great because the phone itself only [rolls eyes] comes iwht 32 GB of built in storage. (I can kill 32 GB like nothing, but I know I’m always an outlier when it comes to all my tech use.) On top of that owners will get 100 GB of (free) Google Drive storage, which is definitely a plus.
If you weren’t already aware of it, LG’s devices have long since switched to putting the power and volume buttons on the back of the device. You can see that in the photo above, it’s actually really neat even if it takes a bit to get used to (and it will take a bit to get used to).
As for price? Well, that hasn’t been announced just yet, nor has availability. If I had to guess I’d say expect it to go for around $650 off contract and expect it sometime by the beginning of this summer.
Which carriers (in the U.S. at least) will have it? Well, that’s much easier to answer. All of them!
T-Mobile customers can visit this link to register for the chance to win said Advance-Release Edition.
So there you have it. Definitely a phone to look forward to relatively soon.
UPDATE/EDIT! Giz has the LG G4 and they’re answering any and all questions you may have about it, head here to get your questions in or read answers to those already asked by others.
Try Google Play Music All Access for two months for free
Just visit this link here and you’ll be able to check it out, after which if you decide to keep it then it’ll just cost you $9.99 (plus tax) a month.
I can’t remember if I’ve discussed it or not before, but the service is simply amazing.
Also, you can upload your own music. 50,000 songs to be exact. So if what you listen to isn’t there for whatever reason then simply upload it yourself and you’ll have access anywhere you can sign into your Gmail account. Be it your phone, your tablet, in Chrome on your desktop or laptop. Wherever!
If you’re already using Spotify or Pandora then more power to you. I’ve used those and didn’t care for them in the least. Everything you get in them you get improved in Google Play Music All Access. I only mention this at all because I almost always inevitably get one comment at minimum that I dismiss that’s usually someone complaining about something like this. “I use Pandora! Stop trying to force me to pay for something else!” Seriously, people who leave such comments, spare me the effort of having to dismiss said comments. No one has a gun to your head and is forcing you under pain of death to try this out.. You’re an adult (or maybe you aren’t legally one yet), do what you want.
In news that will shock no one, Cyanogen Inc. continues being douchey
They’ve ended their partnership with OnePlus and naturally Captain Douchebag himself (aka CEO Kirt McMaster... seriously that name just screams “I am a huge douchebag”) had some interesting words to say about the whole thing.
“Without Cyanogen, OnePlus would have sold like one device in international markets,” ... “Essentially they built their brand on the back of Cyanogen.” - Kirt McMaster
I guess hypocrisy is lost on the man.
One could just as easily state, “Without Google or OnePlus, Cyanogen Inc. would have sold like no devices with their OS on them anywhere. Period. They essentially built their brand on the back of Google and OnePlus.”
I cannot state enough how much I dislike Cyanogen Inc. and the people in charge of it. It’s shitty move after shitty move and they expect people to love them for it. I got some news for you, Sunshine, you keep acting like an asshole and eventually people are gonna tell you to fuck off. In fact, I eagerly await the day they do. It’ll be well deserved and it’s been spectacularly well earned and long overdue.
Honestly, none of this is surprising and at the end of the day I’d say OnePlus is better off. Cyanogen Inc. already tried to screw them and users over with the exclusivity deal that resulted in OnePlus being barred from selling the OnePlus One in India some time back.
Hell, OnePlus saw the writing on the wall quite awhile back, that’s why they put out OxygenOS. Where it bears stating that a number of developers who were involved with the Paranoid Android (PA) ROM are now doing their thing with OxygenOS officially for OnePlus, which is just all around great news.
I know of only one person who owns a OnePlus One, our very own shadowstaarr, so if he’s around maybe he can share some firsthand info on the device. Also, just FYI, I’m seriously considering picking up the OnePlus One in the next week or so entirely because of you good sir. You’ve discussed using it enough that I kind of want one again now.
Speaking of news that isn’t a surprise, Ouya is all but done for.
Those of you who don’t remember who Ouya is, well, all the better to be honest. They were a company who created a shockingly successful Kickstarter for their Android gaming console, a console it should be noted that was not Play Store ready, even going so far as to create a separate Ouya store for acquiring games for it.
They made some serious bank off that Kickstarter campaign, bring in over $8 million in pledges from people wanting to get their hands on the console. A console which, for the record, shipped late even for early backers. Albeit everyone who pledged got theirs eventually, as did those who didn’t pledge but instead chose to buy theirs in store at several known retailers.
Well, looks like things didn’t work out as planned for the company. Despite additional investor interests to the tune of $15 million and an additional $10 million shortly thereafter on top of that the company is drowning in debt. If they don’t find a buyer soon then investors are pretty much screwed insofar as getting any kind of return on their investment goes.
It’s a damn shame really. The idea was great, it’s just pulling it off that went straight to hell in a handbag as my bestie so horribly and incorrectly states. (It’s handbasket, damnit! I don’t know how many times I have to tell you that, man!)
Of course, even if the Ouya gets saved from going under they face some pretty stiff competition from the likes of NVIDIA and Razer, both of whom know gaming and gaming audiences and have hardware built on top of Android TV which makes full use of the Play Store ecosystem.
I just don’t see this ending even remotely well for the company, that said I do admire what they tried to do.
In security related news...
Google has just released new open source extension called Password Alert that’ll warn you if you accidentally or otherwise enter your Google password into a phishing page aimed at stealing your password.
You’d be surprised how thorough some people are when it comes to phishing scams and I’ve seen a few myself where the average person would have no idea the “Gmail” login page they were seeing wasn’t actually the legit one.
So install this, folks! It is your information. Be safe with it!
I’m sure some of you saw that opening clip and thought, “Didn’t that same line come out in From Dusk Til Dawn?” The answer is “yes, yes it did”. And now I’ve got The Blasters in my head, so I’m unleashing them on yours too.
Of course if you prefer some tunes from Reservoir Dogs after that “Alright, ramblers, let’s get rambling,” intro then there’s always a better option for you.
RPG fans have a few game sales to be made aware of
Shadowrun Returns and Shadowrun: Dragonfall Director’s Cut are both currently on sale (for $1.99 and $2.99 respectively). I want to say both games are normally around $5+, so if you’re into RPGs then this is a helluva deal.
EDIT. Project Fi app is live in the Play Store!
But unless you’ve gotten your invite already then it’s not gonna do you much good.
The page for it is here, yet as tempted as I am to install the app I am going to hold off from doing so and I suggest you all do the same. First and foremost, no one has received an invite for the service yet. Now, I say that without having any supporting proof whatsoever but it goes without saying that if someone had received their invite they’d have already told reddit and the various Android news sites and presented proof showing as much. So I’d know because I live in all those places just devouring Android related news and info.
Regardless, installing an app for a service you haven’t received an invite for and therefore can’t make any actual use of is just silly. More so for those who leave 1-star reviews ignoring all those things.
I’ll just say it, the person who left that clearly visible 1-star review is an asshole. Let’s not overlook they left it from a Galaxy S3, a device which is clearly not a Nexus 6. This app has no usability whatsoever for that person, yet they installed it and left what is in essence a “this fucking sucks” review. That’s a dick move. That’s the equivalent of someone installing an app on their Nexus One, an app that clearly is made for devices running Android 4.4+, and then leaving a 1-star review and writing, “This app sucks. Piece of shit app doesn’t work on my phone. Developer sucks. 1-star until they fix this. Avoid this shitty app.” (You’d be surprised how often I see such comments, or maybe you wouldn’t be.) I thumbs down/downvote the hell out of such comments, they’re beyond unhelpful and show you that some people are clearly incapable of reading.
EDIT 2. Google Messenger got a big update, Quick Replies are here at last!
As seen in those screenshots I took just now any incoming messages will now display with the ability to hit reply and then fire off a quick reply without ever having to enter the Messenger app itself. (Grab the apk from this link though so you don’t have to wait around for the update to hit your phone.)
Those of us, myself included here, who do all their messaging (SMS/MMS/Hangouts) in the Hangouts app are screwed though. We still don’t have this type of functionality and it’s pretty much the only thing I miss ever since going full stock since I got the first generation Moto X. Quick replies are just such a time saver, tap and reply. Easy peasy.
In fact, screw it. I need this in my life again. One sec.
There! I have switched things so that Messenger now handles SMS/MMS and set up the icon on my homescreen to open Hangouts when I swipe across it instead of tap it.
Come on though, Hangouts team! Give us this functionality, so I can just do it all in one place!
EDIT 3. The LG Watch Urbane is now on sale. Meanwhile the Moto 360 has been discounted!
You can find the LG Watch Urbane ($349.00) here, but I’d pass on it since I find it looks kind of ugly personally.
Meanwhile, the Moto 360, the Android Wear device I use every single day and which I think looks better than all the other ones out there, has been discounted to $179.99. (Discount applied at checkout, mind you.) That’s a savings of $70 from its original price, folks. (Normally I’d kind of hate the fact that I bought it for $249, but it’s been worth every penny I think. At least for my usage, so I’m cool with paying more for what was a really well made device.)
Let’s not forget that Android Wear 5.1.1 should begin rolling out soon, assuming it hasn’t already, and you’ll now be able to use them sans your phone to some degree assuming you’ve got a WiFi connection.
Remembering of course that despite the fact that all current generation Android Wear devices have WiFi chips, although not all will get WiFi support. See below to see which will and which won’t have said support.
Apparently, the devices that will not have WiFi support are missing one very important thing. WiFi antennas! Seems like such a minor thing considering they have WiFi chips in them, but honestly it happens. The assumption is usually made they won’t be needed and then you end up with an infographic like the one above.
Barring further developments that’s all I got for today.
Although if anything else drops throughout the day I’ll update the post accordingly.
Oh yeah, anyone still wanting to be on Lollipop or wondering when they’ll get it is welcome to say so in the comments. That’s still something I’ll help anyone out with or look into on their behalf until everyone is on it in one way, shape, or form or another. So just help me help you by telling me what device you own and what carrier it’s with (if applicable and assuming you got it subsidized by the carrier) and I can get to gettin’.