4 Ways Samsung can Win Again With the Galaxy S6

Samsung is going to announce the Galaxy S6 on Sunday, we know that for a fact. They may even announce a Galaxy S6 Edge as well to add some depth or adventure to the “S” line. I don’t care what you say or think about Samsung and their TouchWiz and use of unapologetic plastics, they are still the phone manufacturer to set your sights on, and that includes these two new phones. Their new phones will be what everyone else measures up to. Apple will care. So will HTC and Motorola and LG and the little guys in China who are selling their phones for little margin. Samsung is still a really, really big deal. So with that and their horrific 2014 in mind, let’s talk about what we would like to see from that next-gen phone in order for it to be a massive winner to us.

The Galaxy S5 was, without sugar-coating it, a disaster. It wasn’t innovative. It wasn’t fresh. It wasn’t pretty. Samsung paid the price for that last year. With the Galaxy S6 and its slanted-edge brother, Samsung needs to do something very different. Sure, they can keep a similar silhouette or that obnoxious home button, but the rest needs to change.

Here are the things we would love to see in the next Galaxy, some of which is based off of teasers, leaks and rumors. (more…)

First 15 Apps I Install on Every New Android Device

As a part of this job, I have the (depending on how you look at it) pleasure of setting up new Android devices more often than any normal human should. The process, which has become much easier and more automated on Lollipop, can be both tedious and exciting. On one hand, you have to sign-in to every single app all over again, but on the other, you get to start playing with a brand new phone or tablet. For the most part, the joy of using a brand new phone outweighs the 20-30 minutes it may take to set it up.

Over the years, my setup process has become much tighter, leaner, and more efficient. Instead of installing a hundred or so apps with each new device that comes across my desk, I often only install a select few apps that I can’t live without. Since I tend to spend only a couple of weeks with a phone during a review period before sending it back to its owner, I’ve realized that I probably don’t need three different Twitter apps and a package tracker and credit card managers and four different photo editors.

These days, when I setup a device, I can get get by with a group of specific apps that you wouldn’t typically find pre-installed on a phone. Obviously, I’m a huge Google services user, but those related apps are all installed before I boot a new phone for the first time. If we look outside of those (Gmail, Hangouts, Maps, etc.), here are the first 15 I install every time.  (more…)

Show Off Your Watch Faces (and Smartwatches) Day! [February 2015]

Around 40% of you now own some sort of a smartwatch, according to a recent poll of ours. That means that 40% of you have an additional display outside of the one on your smartphone or tablet that can be customized! Yessir, it’s time to do a “Show off your watch faces” day, just like we do with home screens.

Since this is a new addition to our ongoing “show off” series, it will work slightly different. Because we want to see more than just your screen, this time we will ask that you take a picture of your smartwatch and then submit it through the comments. That way, we can see your watch face, watch, band of choice, and how it all plays together.

So down below, be sure to upload the picture of your watch, but then also tell us what the watchface, watch, and band are.

Ready?  (more…)

Phone Unlocking is Now, Like, Super Legal Starting Today

Over a year ago, the FCC and the CTIA (organization who represents all of the big wireless carriers) reached an agreement on how each of the big wireless carriers in the US should approach phone unlocking and unlocking requests from their customers. We are bringing up the subject again today, because February 11 was the date set for all participating parties to be ready for every single one of you to flood your carrier with a wave of unlock requests, or something. OK, not really, but today is the day that carriers needed to to be in full compliance with that previously mentioned agreement, an agreement that included six bullet points for handling the unlocking of the phones (“Six Standards on Unlocking”). You will hear people toss around things like, “It’s now legal to unlock your phone starting today!” (Just like I did in that click-baity title.) But that’s not really the case. It has been legal for a long, long time, it’s just that today, carriers have to be more friendly about it all.

Let’s talk a bit about it.  (more…)

This is My Android: February 2015

Quite often, we get asked things like, “What icon pack or wallpaper is in that screenshot?” or “What is that widget?” or “What phone are you currently using?” To hopefully help provide answers to those questions in a more official capacity, rather than so casual through the comments section, we decided that going forward we would try and put together explanation videos in a new feature called “This is my Android.” As we change phones or launchers or icon packs or start using a handful of new apps throughout a year, you will see videos of us highlighting them along with the reasons why we made a switch or change. Pretty simple, right?

As you can imagine, these should come out much more regularly in the coming months as we see the new 2015 flagships from companies like HTC and Samsung. Until then, though, let’s kick this off with a first look at my current setup. This is my Android(more…)

You Decided: OnePlus One Tops LG G3 and Xperia Z3

On Tuesday, we started a new feature called “You Decide,” which is a reader-driven, vote-style competition between a handful of products decided upon by you, hence the name. “You Decide” could be a competition between phones or tablets or Bluetooth speakers or apps, but the idea is that the DL community uses their voices and opinions to pick a winner. It’s not necessarily the most serious of competitions. However, when someone is going to buy their next phone and starts comparing a handful of options, we would love to be able to present them not only our opinions on the matter, but yours too.

For our first “You Decide,” we picked three flagship phones that came out in 2014 that are all still very much relevant, the LG G3, Sony Xperia Z3, and OnePlus One. You could even argue that these three are very underrated, almost underdog type phones, especially when compared to the amount of coverage given to the Galaxys, Ones, and Nexus 6s of the world.  (more…)