OnePlus has finally released its Android Marshmallow build for the OnePlus X. The update comes in the form of OnePlus’ homebrew Android, OxygenOS, and you are looking for build 3.1.2 if you have the 5″ phone. The update is rolling out now but it could take several days for everyone to get it. The update includes, interestingly, the October security update (yes, we are still in September) along with Marshmallow 6.0.1. Jump on it now X owners, this is likely the last major update for the phone.
Google has been busy this week supporting their customers in India and this morning, it just got a little better. Now if you are in India you can use the Google Play Music service to upload your music and purchase music through the service. It comes after months of rumors of the service coming to the country but nothing ever materialized until today. The music catalog available appears to be equal to that of the one in the United States plus there is a significant number of Bollywood songs & albums in the catalog.
As for pricing, individual songs equate to about .23 Cents while complete albums will start at $1.05 and go up from there.
When the Nextbit Robin was released earlier this year, I purposely held off on review it. My logic was two fold. First, at $399 I felt for what the phone had to offer, it was over priced. I appreciate it has some unique features and by buying it you are supporting a new American-based startup, but facts-are-facts. The current price of $299 feels a bit more accurate. Second, I knew that it would have issues. And it did. The initial build of Android running on the Robin was buggy with numerous reports of the camera being poor and slow and battery performance to match it.
Fast forward seven months and the world is a much happier place for the Nextbit Robin. The price is down to where I think it should be frankly (and it has run as low as $199 on Amazon a couple of times which is an absolute steal) and after a couple of major updates that included a bump up to Android Marshmallow, the Robin is now a solid performing phone that has great features. I’ve been using the device as my primary phone over the course of the last few weeks and I have no hesitation in recommending it if you are looking for a well appointed handset that is in the low cost/budget category. In fact, for what it has to offer, you will be hard pressed to find an equally well appointed phone. Here’s my review.
If you have an Android phone or tablet that is being sluggish, it can be one of the most frustrating experiences with technology. Android, like other Operating Systems, caches app and system data to use in efforts to speed up apps and processes. Yes, the irony wasn’t lost on me either. The problem is that this cache can become corrupt or simply too big for the device to be able to manage effectively. Every OS suffers from this – Android, iOS, Windows and MacOS. Perhaps the only real notable exception is Chrome OS.
The good news is, on Android, there are two things you can do on any device that will help you clear out the cache and restore order to your particular world. One is found in Settings while the more aggressive step requires you get your device into Recovery mode. In this How To I will show you how to do both.
On their official YouTube channel, Google has released another series of short videos highlighting a service of the company. This new series is titled Meet Data and the seven videos show you how the company uses data to help you. Using examples of how search works to how Google Maps helps you find that location you are looking for, the videos outline how Google uses big data to help you in that process. Each video also points out that data security and privacy is important.
YouTube has announced that later this year, they will be rolling out a new app that will allow for offline content viewing and sharing. The new app, YouTube Go, will allow users to download content to their phones and view that content later, even if they are offline. You will be able to select the quality of that content so you can control how much space on your phone is taken up with YouTube content and you will be able to share that content with others via NFC. The idea is that the app can work completely offline.
Microsoft is rolling out a big update to OneDrive for Android that brings some much need user requested features to the cloud storage app. The first big feature is the ability to create Office documents within the app. If you need to create an Excel, PowerPoint or Word document, you can now do that within OneDrive itself and not necessarily have to open up the particular Office app on your phone or tablet. This is a great time saving feature but also allows the app to be the center touch point for all of your Microsoft file activities. This feature has been requested for a long period of time and mirrors the functionality that Google Drive has had for a long time.
The powerful new compact phone from Sony, the Xperia X Compact, is now available on Amazon. The unlocked phone comes in Black, Blue or White and is $499 and eligible for Prime Shipping. The X Compact was announced last month at IFA in Berlin and the new 4.6″ Android phone turned heads there and created a lot of excitement when Sony announced it would be coming to the US. Spec wise, while the package of the phone is small, it is power packed. It runs on the Snapdragon 650 processor Hexa-core (4 cores 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53 & 2 cores 1.8 GHz Cortex-A72). It is mated with the Adreno 510 GPU, has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of Storage. That storage can be expanded up to an additional 256GB thanks to the MicroSD slot. The display is 4.6″ rendering at 720 x 1280. That equates to 331 PPI and it is protected by Gorilla Glass 4.
Google has given another fresh coat of paint to their two-factor authentication app, Google Authenticator. The update is rolling out to the Google Play store now and if you have it installed, you likely will see the OTA for it in the next day or two if not already. The updated build is version 4.74 for those keeping score at home. If you aren’t familiar with Authenticator, it is the code generating app when you enable two-factor authentication on your various accounts. Many services offer two-factor including Google, Microsoft, Evernote, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I strongly urge all readers to enable two-factor on all of their accounts for security purposes. Yes it is a pain but apps like Google Authenticator allow you to have multiple accounts in the app.
Most of the changes in this update are cosmetic but they are good to see. First, the app is completely Material Design now which has a nice clean look to it. The six digit codes generated are now split into two, 3 digit sections so it makes it much easier to read.
Capital One has become the latest financial institution to add fingerprint authentication support to their Android app. The US-based bank and credit institution has updated their Android app to give customers the ability to authenticate and access their accounts on their phones via their fingerprint. Setup of the new feature is easy and can be found off of the settings menu. Once it is enabled and configured, you can start the app then access your accounts by touching your fingerprint scanner on your phone. For security purposes, your PIN or Pattern authentication that you previously used will become the backup way to get into the app and your accounts.
With the release of Google Allo earlier this week, Google also released an increadbly powerful feature inside the app. Google Assistant, as the name suggests, aims to give you information, weather and even play games (and tell a joke or two) all within Allo. Indeed, with Allo itself still needing some fleshing out, Google Assistant is by far the killer feature of the app and gives us a glimpse as to what we can expect as the company starts rolling this out to other devices like Google Home.
One of the great feature of Assistant is the ability to sign up for news, weather and other information in a subscription that is delivered to you daily. It is a great way to stay up-to-date with the latest information on a topic of your choice. In this How To I’ll show you how to subscribe and manage your subscriptions within Assistant.
BLU’s latest offering, the Life One X2, is now available for pre-order at their store front on Amazon. The phone comes with either 16GB of storage and 2GB of RAM for $135 or you can get the much better deal 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM model for $180. That’s a great price for a well appointed budget phone, something that BLU is well known for producing.
As for the specs, it isn’t too shabby. The Life One X2 is a 5.2″ display device that is curved and gives you Full HD rendering. It is protected by Gorilla glass 3 as well. Powering the phone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor. That’s an octa-core processor running at 1.4GHz. It’s not the fastest processor out there but keep the price point in mind here folks. As mentioned, the phone has two options from a storage/RAM perspective at 16GB/2GB or 64GB/4GB. That storage can be expanded up to an additional 64GB as it has a MicroSD card slot.