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Reviews

Free up Space on Your Android and Make it Run Faster

If you never knew, uninstalling some Android apps doesn’t take away all the data. There are some junk files left which can be erased completely with Clean Master. It is an all-in-one app that cleans the app cache, unused files, residual files (junk files left by uninstalled apps) and search history. Also, it lets you to easily uninstall/take backups of apps that you want.

The app also acts as a task killer. But there is a reason why task killers fail! You can read about that on Not much of a killer post, published on The Hindu.

On launching Clean Master, you’ll be shown top graphs which indicate the used and unused spaces on your external SD card and the phone’s internal storage.

The app also shows the amount of space recovered after each clean.

Clean Master

 

Junk Files allows you to clean all the cached files and residual files. Privacy allows you to clean the search history. Tasks allows you to kill tasks. App Manager allows you to uninstall apps or take backups.

Also, Clean Master allows you to schedule clean jobs.

What’s your thought on this 50 million+ downloaded app? Do let us know if you know more apps like this.

Link: Clean Master on Google Play

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Reviews

Root Checker : Check whether you have rooted your Android or not

Rooting an Android device gives the user control over the root access. A rooted Android device is completely different compared to the same Android device when it came out of the manufacturer’s box. With a rooted Android device, you can install root apps, custom ROMs like CyanogenMod and other types of recovery like ClockworkMod Recovery. There are rooting guides for various Android devices on the internet.

If you ever wanted to check whether you have rooted your Android device correctly, Root Checker is here to help you. It is available on the Google Play Store. It doesn’t require root access, that is, you can run that app even a non-rooted Android device.

How to Use Root Checker?

  • Download and install Root Checker from Google Play Store.
  • Agree to the Disclaimer message.
  • Root Checker will ask for SuperUser permissions. You can give the app SuperUser permissions.
  • Click the “Verify Root Access” button in that app to check whether your Android has root access. If yes, you’ll get a positive message. If your Android doesn’t have a root access, you’ll get a negative message.

root-checker

There are two versions of this app, Root Checker Basic and Root Checker Pro. The pro version gives you more technical details about your Android’s root access. It gives your common su binary locations, SuperUser.apk location and version, user and group ID, environmental variables and a lot more. It is priced at $0.99 or 70 INR.

Link: Root Checker Basic | Root Checker Pro

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Reviews

ActiveNotifications: Get ‘Moto X’ Style Notification on Android

ActiveNotifications is a new app on the Google Play Store that brings Moto X’s Active Display feature to other Android devices. Motorola unveiled Moto X a fortnight back. It is the one of the best Android smartphones out there in the market now.

The Active Display feature in Moto X is an unique notifications system brought by Motorola. The screen brights up systematically quietly when you get a notification. Clearly, it consumes less battery on the AMOLED displays.

ActiveNotifications app is made by one of the XDA Developer members and is available on the Google Play Store. It is a free app. It can be installed in any Android running Android 4.0 and above. It will be brought to the lower versions of Android soon. It requires Device Administrator permissions.

This app brings a black screen whenever you receive a notification. A round shaped button is shown at the center. Swiping that up gives you an option to respond to the notification. Swiping down unlocks your device. Swiping left/right dismisses the notification.

ActiveNotifcations (2)

ActiveNotifications features

  • The screen doesn’t light up when you get notifications when your phone is in your pockets or turned down.
  • You can receive select apps’ notifications through ActiveNotifications.
  • Custom timeout : You can set the duration how long the notifications have to be shown.
  • Sleep at night : Notifications won’t be shown at night.
  • More privacy : Hides additional notification details.
  • Automatically switch off screen when dismissing notifications.
  • Adjust screen brightness : You can choose the brightness level.

The last 4 features are bundled with the pro version of this app. The pro version is priced at $0.99.

ActiveNotifcations (3)

To uninstall the app, you’ll have to uncheck ActiveNotifications from Device Administrators list (Settings > Security > Device Administrators) first and then uninstall.

Link : ActiveNotifications on Google Play

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News

Motorola unveils ‘Moto X’: Always on microphone and 2000+ customizations

Moto X

Google bought Motorola over a year and half ago. Today, Motorola has unveiled the new Moto X phone. The phone as Motorola’s premier phone will probably compete with Samsung Galaxy S IV, HTC One and Apple iPhone 5. Moto X as a phone is not exactly great on hardware specs and that is not it’s focus. It main focus is on customization options and also some very unique features.

Moto X Basic Specs

  • Display: 4.7 inch 720p AMOLED display.
  • Processor: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon s4P processor. 1.7 GHz Dual-Core CPU and Quad-Core GPU.
  • Battery Time: Full 24 hours battery time.
  • Memory: 2GB RAM
  • Storage: Two versions being 16GB and 32 GB
  • Camera: Front Camera 2 MP and 10 MP camera.
  • Connectivity: Phone supports Bluetooh 4.0, USB 2.0, WIFI, NFC.
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Always on Microphone

While the hardware is not exactly the best of the best, it will probably help not eat too much of the battery. This is because the microphone of the phone will be always on. It will be able to recognize the voice of the user and not allow others to command the phone.

So the phone would be listening to you all the time. To activate the phone one simply has to say “Okay Google Now”. I use Google Now on my Nexus 4 and its voice activations to reply to an email, set alarms or even search on Google is extremely useful. It it requires me to first activate the microphone. With Moto X, the phone’s interface truly becomes hands free.

The phone will also show displays that allow users to skim through notifications but extending them while the phone is idle. That basically means people can look who the notification is from before opening it.

Motorola’s Allows over 2000 Customization options

Moto X_Custom

Moto X will be sold at $199 with AT&T. This is a sort of subsidized price with a phone contract so the phone without any contracts (like the ones sold in India) will be much costlier. AT&T customers will be able to customize the way their phone looks. Basically on Motorola’s Motomaker website, it allows users to choose from over 18 different colours for the back, different colours for side-mounted buttons and rings around the camera also has mutliple choices.

You can see the customization options in a demo video

Where is Android 4.3?

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Google has bought Motorola, so we could say Moto X is a Google phone. But apparently Google is not so keen on appearing to favour Motorola as a OEM. This means the phone will ship with Android 4.2.2. Though there is not as much bloatware on the phone so Motorola should be able to ship Android 4.3 very soon.

Though some might find it odd that Google cannot ship its own phone with latest Android OS, but that honour seems to be reserved for the Nexus phones.

The phone currently will be sold only in the US and should make it out to other markets. The customization options will in all probability be a US-only feature (rather AT&T only).

(via Motorola Blog)

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Analysis

Samsung Dominates with 47.5% Share of the Android Market

Samsung has kept rolling out umpteen number of devices and is one of the big successes of the Android platform. Samsung has chased Apple’s iPhone success with a fierce focus.

They not only dominate the smart-phone niche with their Galaxy S III and Galaxy SIV, they have also created a new niche between a phone and a tabet called “Phablet” and have owned this niche with Galaxy Note devices.

But how much is Samsung’s impact on the Android platform. According to OpenSignal, Samsung dominates with a 47.5% share of the Android market.

Android Market Share by BrandEach block shows a different device and the size represents how much market share it has on the Android platform. The dominance of Samsung is clearly seen with almost half the Android devices carrying the Samsung name.

Why Samsung’s dominance is not the best news for Google

Google might not be comfortable with a single manufacturer being so dominant on its Android platform. It basically means with Samsung ever moves away from Android, it could cause immeasurable harm the the platform.

Also Samsung is not exactly happy with Google buying Motorola which is bound to compete with Samsung’s Galaxy S IV with Moto X a new phone it released in a couple of days.

What are your thoughts on Samsung’s share of the Android market? Do drop in your comments.

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News

Motorola to hold event to unveil “Moto X” Aug. 1

Moto_X_inviteGoogle owned Motorola has finally announced an event where the new phone “Moto X” is expected to be announced. Motorola has been struggling to become profitable over the past few years when Google acquired it. It was expected that someday Motorola will churn out a Google phone now that it is part of Google. The event will be held in New York.

Google does announce Nexus phones which gives the pure Android experience every year but with Nexus phones they are basically working with a company with their own limitations and agendas. With Motorola, Google has complete control of the device so expectations from this phone will be high.

What to expect from “Moto X”?

Just about everything related to Moto X has been secret. Google has done a very good job on keeping things secret (which makes me wonder if phone leaks are done on purpose).

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The phone is expected to have some features like listening to voice command at all times even when the phone is idle or showing icon based notifications when the phone is idle. These features were leaked by Canada based mobile operator Roger Wireless (Check out the leaked video).

Sundar Pichai the man who heads Android and Chrome at Google, is also hosting an event on the 24th July. So we should be expecting a new version of Android very soon. This new version of Android will most probably be shipped with “Moto X”.

Motorola’s success is important to Google

Google recently has been investing a lot of money into Motorola and also writing off losses. That is sustainable in the short run but for an increasing mobile and tablet world, advertising revenues might soon stagnate for Google. Google needs Motorola to basically pay for itself if not earn it handsome profits. Will it work out? Only time will tell.

(via AllThingsD)

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Video

Motorola’s “Moto X” Features Leaked in a Video

While the rumour mills work overtime about specs and features on Motorola’s high expected phone “Moto X”, Google has still not really showed off this new phone officially. There was an event expected on the 11th July, but Google had quickly denied it was anything to do with Moto X.

The advert on Moto X (image below) showed that we can expect heavy customization options. But Rogers Wireless, a Canadian telecom company has leaked a advertisement about the new phone with some interesting features.

MotoX Invite

While Google Now is already baked into Android, it seems Moto X will ship with some features borrowed from Google Glass. It will continuously listen to the users for commands. In other words, to ask Google for a search while the phone is idle, it will only require a hands free voice command to the phone.

Another feature that seems interesting are icons displaying the type of notifications your receive while the phone is idle, which allow you to sort of ignore check the phone for every type of notifications.

Here is a leaked video of the Rogers Wireless advertisement

While these features seem to work with “Moto X” – I am guessing that the phone will also feature a new version on Android, possibly Android 4.3.

Do watch the video and drop in your comments.

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Tips

How To Return Android Apps After 15 Minutes Trial Window

It is a well known fact that Google Play allows the users to return the purchased Android apps after 15 minutes minutes of purchase. What if you want to return an app that you bought a month back? This guide highlights a quick way to easily refund your purchased Google Play app even after the 15 minutes trial window.

Guide to Return Android apps After 15 Minutes

  • Go to Google Play and login using your Google account.
  • Click on the “My Orders & Settings” button at the bottom of the page to see the list of all Android purchases that you made. It will show the list of both free and paid Android apps that you purchased.
  • Search for the app that you want to refund.
  • Click on the “Report a problem” button available next to that.

report-a-problem

  • A box appears, select the “I’d like to request a refund” option in the “Select your Issue…” drop-down list.

request-a-refund

  • A text box appears then. Type a brief message in that box.
  • Click “Send report“.
  • Now it’s time to wait for a while. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a mail from Google immediately, stating that a refund will be issued. There are also circumstances when you don’t get any mail from Google, yet get your account credited with the refund amount.

This is a really useful option that most of the Android users are unaware. I have returned around 5 apps myself after finding them pretty ugly.

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News

Motorola’s “Moto X” expected to be announced on July 11

Update: It seems the event was not about “Moto X” but the phone is expected soon. You can see a leaked video of Moto X features at this link.

When Google acquired Motorola, it was often argued that Google bought the company only for it’s patents. There have been rumours of a new Android based Google phone being developed at Motorola. Moto X has been announced more or less as around the corner with newspaper ads in the US. Motorola’s official page on Google+ also shared the same advert.

MotoX InviteThe words suggests the Moto X phone will be highly customizable (hence designed by you) and it will be assembled in the USA. The assembled in USA will basically earn Motorola some political brownie points much like how Apple announced the “Made in America” Mac Pro.

When is Moto X going to be launched?

The official announcement page from Motorola Mobility suggests over 2000 new employees at their Texas facility during the summer, where the Moto X will be assembled. This means the phone should start shipping out in a month or so. Motorola has announced press invite on the 11th of July leading to rumours, that the phone will be announced at the event.The two people diving in the advertisement show an “X” and “I”, which translates to “XI” which is 11 in roman numerals.

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But the press invite is for a select few and that reason is being cited by some experts to suggest the event will not a launch for Moto X.

With all the hype around Moto X, it hopefully will be something innovative and path breaking and not just a lot of hyperbole. Hopefully, Motorola who are the pioneers of mobile technology are also valued for something more than their patent portfolio by Google.

What do you expect from Moto X? Do drop in your comments.

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News

Skype for Android Goes ‘Metro’ Style After 100 Million Downloads Mark

Skype now has a 100 million downloads mark now. To celebrate this fantastic record, the Skype team has brought a completely new, redesigned Skype app for Android. Bearing the version tag 4.0, Skype for Android is now based on the Metro theme borrowed from the Windows 8 phones.

This is a full revamp of Skype for Android. It is said that the developers rebuilt the entire app from scratch. This new design aims at putting the conversations first. This update brings the conversations to your fingertips. Upon launching the updated app, you’ll notice three new sections : Recents, Favorites and People.

new-skype-android (4) new-skype-android (3)
You can easily head to your profile by tapping the round icon at the top right of the app. To start a IM chat, you can tap on the icon at the bottom right. To start a new video call, you tap the icon at the bottom left.

new-skype-android (1) new-skype-android (2)
Along with this brand new UI, Skype has also made sure that the new app is a lot more faster than ever. Also, this update takes care of the battery issues. You can now make video calls without much drain in your battery.

The Skype team says that there are many more interesting features coming to Skype for Android in the near future. It was just a few days back when Skype rolled out ‘Video Messaging‘ for all platforms. Talking about Skype for iOS, there is no news on that yet.