Quick Look at Android 7.1 App Shortcuts on the Pixel

Within the next week or two, Android 7.1 will move outside of the Pixel phones and onto the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X, through the Android Beta program. Google is calling the update “incremental,” which is an accurate way to describe it since there aren’t any massive changes. Still, there is at least one new feature included that adds some new functionality – App Shortcuts. Let’s take a look at them. (more…)

Video: Google Assistant on the Pixel

Google is really going to push the Google Assistant on its Pixel phones. You know that already, of course, because Google started off its October 4 Pixel event by talking about the Assistant and AI for a good 15 minutes before ever announcing a thing. This is the future of Google’s software advancements and with it front and center on their new phones (soon Google Home too), it’ll only get better, smarter, and more valuable the more you use it.  (more…)

Google Shares a Bunch of New Voice Commands for Your Next Google Maps Adventure

Through a new blog post, Google is doing its best to make sure you are always getting the most out of one of its greatest apps, Google Maps. The post talks about using voice commands to get you to that next destination, tweak settings, avoid tolls, and even get out of navigation if you just want to look at a map.

All of this voice magic can happen within both navigation and driving modes because each contains a UI with a little white microphone. So in reality, anywhere you see that microphone within Google Maps will open up voice capabilities. Not familiar with driving mode? Open up Maps, swipe out the side menu, and tap on “Start driving.” I think you’ll like it.  (more…)

Buying an Unlocked Smartphone

I buy a lot of unlocked smartphones. In fact, as I type this, in front of me, there are eight smartphones on my desk and every single one of them is “unlocked.” Why do I buy them, you ask? For a number reasons, all of which I mentioned in this lengthy piece written about a year ago. The basics are this, though – they give me flexibility to test different networks, they often get faster software updates than carrier phones, they tend to be less expensive, and have far fewer bloatware apps than their relatives who are attached to carriers. They are the phones I will continue to choose time and time again.

With that in mind, I get the feeling that many of you are still confused as to what an unlocked smartphone is and may even need help in buying one. So today, let’s take a few minutes to talk through some of the things to look for when buying an unlocked smartphone.  (more…)

Tip: Not Seeing Podcasts in Google Play Music App? Hit the Refresh Button.

If you have yet to see the Podcasts section show up in your Google Play Music app, a simple tap on the “Refresh” button in settings should force it to arrive. Seriously, just pop into your app, slide out the side navigation menu, tap on Settings and then “Refresh” and you should then see the option for Podcasts just under Music Library.  (more…)

FYI: A Few ADB Commands Will Get You Adoptable Storage on the Galaxy S7

Samsung may have left out one of Marshmallow’s potentially more innovative features in adoptable storage, but that doesn’t mean the possibility of it isn’t buried beneath a couple of adb commands. That’s right, Paul Modaco has come up with a simple guide for for enabling adoptable storage, which means you can combine the storage of a microSD card with the internal storage of your Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge.  (more…)

Quick Look: Galaxy S7 Motion Photo, a Simpler Take on Apple’s Live Photos

We’re not even 24 hours into our full Samsung Galaxy S7 coverage, yet we’ve already unboxed it, talked about how it handles app storage with SD cards, and showed you just how careful you need to be when inserting your nano SIM and expandable storage. Up next, we’re taking a look at the phone’s Motion Photo feature, which Samsung hasn’t exactly been bragging about, likely because everyone in the media will refer to it as a copy of Apple’s Live Photos. Is it? No. Let’s not forget that HTC was doing a Live Photo experience years before Apple sniffed it, so I’d just say that this is Samsung’s take on that whole idea.  (more…)