Android 5.0 Feature: Google Updates Smart Lock on Lollipop to Include Trusted Places

When Android 5.0 “Lollipop” went into a final preview build shortly after being announced by Google, we ran through a series of features to make sure you knew all about the awesomeness that was about to grace your phone or tablet. One of those features was Smart Lock, which is Google’s take on Trusted Devices, a feature that uses Bluetooth or NFC (or your face in Lollipop) to allow you to bypass secure lock screens when you are near, but securely lock the device when you need it most. We are happy to report today that Google has added a new and incredibly useful feature to Smart Lock, thanks to the latest Google Play Services 6.5 update that began rolling out yesterday. That’s right, Smart Lock just got better without a system update.  (more…)

Reminder: Carriers Probably Can’t Activate Your New Nexus 6, Here are Your Options

So you received your brand new Nexus 6 today, straight from a factory in China, and you walk into a Verizon or AT&T or Sprint store to have it activated for use. As you and a sales rep get the process going, you get to the point where they need to scan the nano SIM for the phone and then your phone’s IMEI. You can almost taste the Lollipop. You will soon know how many licks it takes. You are this close. The sweat needed to give you extra grip on the 6-inch whale in front of you is starting to build in the palm of your hand. Your fresh pair of JNCOs is crisp from the dryer. The fresh Free Willy tattoo under your tribal band still has a bandage protecting its scab. You are a Nexus 6 owner. No, even better – you are an unlocked Nexus 6 owner on the verge of becoming one with a marine mammal. “I tell you what to do, carrier,” you say under your breath as you reach for your newly activated phone.

And then the sales rep gives you that look. You have seen this look before, typically when the 7-11 clerk scans your lottery ticket. You sir, do not have a winner. “Sorry, the phone won’t activate because the IMEI is not in our system. There is nothing I can do,” the sales rep says. (more…)

FYI: Android 5.0 Introduces “Enable OEM Unlock” Option in Developer Options

If you buy one of the new Nexus devices – the Nexus 9 or Nexus 6 – and plan to unlock its bootloader upon first boot, so that you can get to tinkering, understand that you may have to enable the “OEM unlock” command that would typically be used to accomplish that task. In Android 5.0 “Lollipop,” Google has added a check box under Developer Options that enables the OEM unlock command to work. If that box isn’t checked, then I would imagine you will see an error during the bootloader unlock process.  (more…)

Nexus 6 Feature: Ambient Display is a Very Cool Take on Moto Display

If you asked me to tell you what my favorite feature is from the Moto X line, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that Moto Display is it, without a doubt. To have your phone’s display light up with useful information as you pick it up, pull it out of a bag or pocket, or as it receives a notification is game-changing. Forget the LED light, we all need Moto Display in our lives.

So what happens to Moto Display when Google and Motorola partner up to deliver the next Nexus phone, the Nexus 6? You get Ambient Display, which is Google’s take on our favorite phone feature in years.  (more…)

How to: Store Music on Android Wear for Offline Playback

With an update to Android 4.4W.2, Android Wear now supports music playback while offline, which is a fancy way of saying that it is not connected to your phone. This is a pretty useful new feature, as you can pair your watch with a Bluetooth headset, leave your phone behind, and enjoy music on the go (it’s great for workouts where you don’t want to lug your massive phone around).

Since many of you are now receiving this new 4.4W.2 update, we thought it was time to walk you through the steps on how to setup this new functionality. The entire process can be a bit tricky, and is also insanely slow, so let’s talk it out together.  (more…)

Video: Android 5.0 Feature – Chrome Tabs Become a Part of the App Switcher

When you first boot a device running Android 5.0 “Lollipop” and open Chrome Beta, a pop-up will introduce you to the idea that your Chrome Beta tabs will now be a part of the app switcher UI. That might sound cool on the surface, but unfortunately, the implementation isn’t great yet. Thankfully, you can easily turn this feature on or off until Google (hopefully) adds back some of the functionality that goes missing with this option turned on. Let’s talk about how this all works.  (more…)

Google has a Guide to Help You Move From Your iPhone to Android

Shortly after Apple announced the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the company opened an official set of instructions through their support site that was focused on helping Android users migrate over to iOS. Apple news outlets (and heavily Apple-influenced general tech sites) thought this was huge news, for whatever reason. It was embarrassing. Forget the fact that Apple probably should have created this years ago as Android began stomping all over its market share, the Apple media shills (some random Android sites as well) decided that Apple had finally created this how-to guide because they were now expecting Android users to flock to the new bigger iPhones. Silly, I know. Anything for a good headline!   (more…)

Android 5.0 Feature: Printing UI Completely Re-Done, Print Preview Added

In Android 5.0 “Lollipop,” Google included a brand new printing UI that now shows you a print preview before you either print a document to your local printer, save as a PDF to your device, or save to the cloud. You can manually select and de-select individual pages as well. These may seem like a small changes, especially to those who rarely print anything and hold an actual piece of paper these days, but the UI is incredibly well done and is yet another example of how far smartphone operating systems have come.  (more…)