Good morningggggg, Vietnam! So here we are for our second official weekly Android post. Today's post brought to you by the letter C, as in caffeine. As in, "Please, sir. I'd like some more."
I may or may not be riding a major sugar high. The crash is gonna be a thing of beauty.
But seriously folks, today I'm going to cover two things. One of which is relatively important and useful, the other of which is more about looks and style.
Up first is Pushbullet! What is Pushbullet? The long and short of it is this, it is an app that allows you to push things to your phone using a web interface, Chrome or Firefox extension and even a Windows app (sorry folks, they're still working on it and for now it's Windows only).
What can you push with the app? Quite a few things actually. You can send simple messages to your device, files (up to 25 MB in size), URL links, lists and even directions. All of which will download, open or can be shared easily from the notification shade/status bar. Files of any sort will automatically be downloaded. Just FYI.
Here's a few screenshots (from my desktop and my phone) of me pushing things back and forth.
That is me pushing that specific webpage to my phone using the Chrome extension.
There's the link being received on my phone.
That is me sharing it, along with a few options on how to share it.
That is me sending it back to Chrome from my phone.
I'm not quick enough to get a screenshot of the notification that appears on my desktop, but basically a little notification window pops up on the bottom right of my screen and when clicked it launches the webpage or whatever I've sent in Chrome.
This app is incredibly useful and it cannot be understated how much you will find yourself using it on a regular basis. Not a day goes by since the app was first released that I don't use it easily a dozen times a day both ways. (Meaning sending something to my phone or sending something to my desktop/laptop.)
I've yet to test out the Windows app, but I'll likely do so this afternoon. From what I've read no one has reported any issues so far.
The developers behind this are amazing people and they are giving this app their all. To the point that they've quit their previous jobs solely to focus on continuing development of this app and they say they've got a lot more great things coming.
One of which is desktop mirroring of Android notifications, which is already live and fully working.
Keeping in mind you don't have to use that feature and you can change how long notifications appear for on your desktop.
All in all, there is almost no reason you shouldn't be using this app. Assuming you aren't already. I really can't write too much about the app, because you really have to use it to see just how useful and intuitive it is (in all its available forms), once you do you'll see that it's simplicity is so amazing and yet feature filled that you won't be able to really describe it. "You push things to your phone." Sounds silly, right? Yet that's basically what it does.
Give it a try, I guarantee you won't regret it.
Moving on though. Up next we're going to touch on something a bit less useful, but a bit more personal. Of course, by personal I mean how to personalize your device to suit you and your style/attitude/mood/etc.
Android is all about you. It's relatively open nature means you can change a great many things about it. From the home screen and what's on it, to the icons used, to the wallpaper and a great many things.
First off, if you're going to really get to having some fun with Android and assuming you don't know about it already, check out Nova Launcher and Nova Launcher Prime. This is just a launcher that allows for lots and lots of customization. Some people prefer Apex, but most people who go the custom launcher route use Nova. There's a reason why, it can do way more than the other similar ones out there and it's generally easier to mess around with. I'm not really going to cover this app today, I'll save it for next week's post and explain how to use it a bit more in depth then.
Today's about tailoring your phone to be more you. So that said, Nova Launcher lets you change icon packs easily enough.
Keeping in mind that some icon packs install themselves as an app that lets you basically "click here" to set them. That's all well and good, but there are enough out there that don't do that automatically to "force" me to show you how to do things the Nova Launcher way. (Remember, I'll go more in depth next time.)
To change icon packs you're basically going to go into Nova's Settings and then click on Look and Feel and then Icon Theme and select one of the ones you have installed on your device.
Click on the one you want, it'll set it and that's it.
But like I said, this post is about icon and wallpaper packs and that being said there are two I am officially using pretty much as my main ones.
First up is the icon pack Click UI. I think I've mentioned it before, it goes for $1.99 if memory serves me correctly and it's just great. For those who haven't noticed, Google's stock Android icons are kinda all over the place. In size and shape and color and all that, there's no real uniformity to the design. Icon packs serve to change that for the better and Click UI does it best in my opinion. I've used quite a few icon packs and with the past three updates Click UI has become my default for good reason. It just looks good and the updates have taken care of the handful of apps that weren't already themed properly.
Looks nice, right? I think so. Everything is now the same size and basic style, with colors matching up with the previous stock looks.
All in all, Click UI is by far my favorite icon pack. There are several notable mentions though. Anything by kovdev is worth checking out, with Stark being the one I used for a very long time. Flatro and Cryten are two more recent offerings that have become incredibly popular as of late. Both feature round icons like those found in Click UI, but have their own unique look and color patterns. Cryten leans more towards lighter pastel-like colors though. And just before going to Click UI I was using Simple Rounds. Give them each a look and choose what best suits you, keeping in mind there are way, way, wayyyyyyy more to be found in the Play Store. So many you could probably use a different one every day of the year for the next few years without repeating any.
Some of you might have noticed that rather interesting wallpaper in my various screenshots. It comes from Justin Maller, an Aussie artist, who makes some amazing wallpapers for computer use. His work has now come to Android and scales nicely (although some people are reporting issues on some devices, with an update to the app itself being imminent to address such issues). It is available in the Play Store under the name of Facets for the low price of only $0.99. The number of wallpapers available to choose from is insane. Also of note is that you can order prints of any of them through the app itself, a friend of mine just sent me a message saying he ordered a few himself. They will come in 24" x 24" size and cost $49 each. At least for the ones he liked and ordered, you'll have to look yourself to see if that is true for all the available prints.
Here's just a small month to month idea of what you'll find in the app.
And within each month you'll find quite a few (to say the least) different offerings. Here is but a small sampling of what's found in August.
Honestly, there were way more in there, but there are enough pictures on here already and I didn't want to overload this already overloaded post.
Give it a look, I'm sure you'll find something you like. At worst consider the $0.99 a nice way of paying an artist for doing some phenomenal work. It's not much but it adds up and hopefully he'll keep putting out more work because of it. I for one will definitely be ordering a few prints when I get my next paycheck.
Also, this is one such app where setting the wallpaper can be done from within the app (if you choose to do so). Just click on an image and the option should come up in the top left corner to "set as wallpaper". Click it and that's it. It's set.
Anyway, hope you all enjoyed this post. As I've said before, feedback is welcome and appreciated. Thoughts, questions, etc are also accepted and more than welcome.
Next week's topic: Nova Launcher! That's getting a post dedicated entirely to it. Maybe even two because there's so much it can do I don't know if I can cover it all (willingly, because I'm lazy) in one post. But I'll do my best to cover the main things it can do that most people will find themselves using. (Remember these post are for the "average" Android user. Not the rooting and ROMing aficionados like some of us, I'll cover things like that but that'll be down the line and I'll be sure to title it accordingly so people know what they're getting into, as those will definitely be more technically worded/aimed.)