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Field Trip app for Android updated with Material Design and improved notifications

By Jonathan Feist

Field Trip update

Get those consent forms signed by your parents, kids, and get ready for a new Field Trip. Although, this isn’t really a new adventure, it’s just a great update by Google’s Niantic Labs to their Field Trip app for Android. Material Design leads the charge, bug fixes and performance improvements follow the company line and improved notifications bring up the rear.

For many, Google’s Niantic Labs is best known for their popular augmented reality game, Ingress. In the game, players physically traverse the globe while digitally conquering an in-game alternate reality. Field Trip is an app that provides a tour guide approach to the same globe trotting, revealing interesting information about places and things all around the world, just without the portals to smash.

While sitting on your couch at home, you can scroll through a map in Field Trip, landmarks will be presented to you in the new Material Design inspired layout, providing a brief history of the location. Get up off that couch, walk down the street with notifications enabled in Field Trip to receive alerts when you pass a point of interest.

Field Trip Notification update

Thanks to Material Design and the principals of Android 5.0 Lollipop, the new notifications from Field Trip are a bit more convenient. Google has teamed with over 240 partner publishers to provide information about the new places you’ll discover, or re-discover. Each of the partners followed a new standardized notification design, bringing a consistency most would expect from an app of this caliber, all of which making for ease of navigation and landmark discovery.

If you are interested in using your Android device to learn a little bit more about the word around you, head on over for your free copy of Field Trip from the Google Play Store.

Any Field Trip and Ingress users out there – which app do you use more to discover the world around you?

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Google updates app title guidelines for clarification on naming third-party apps

By Jimmy Westenberg

Google Cement Logo

Google has just updated their app title guidelines to help developers choose better, more disconnected titles for third-party applications. The guidelines are put in place to help third-party app developers separate themselves from potentially tricking a user into thinking the developer is directly associated with a brand.

Google has long practiced this policy when it came to 3rd party app’s using its own branding, or the Android branding more specifically. For instance, Google would rather have an app titled Media Player for Android, as opposed to Android Media Player. The latter suggests that the music player is associated with Android, and the former suggests that the music player is simply an app on the Android platform. With their latest guideline update, they not only clarify the practice of naming conventions, they now expand it to cover other services and brands such as social networks and more.

This means that Twitter clients can’t be called “Twitter Easy Connect” (made up example), and instead would have to be Easy Connect for Twitter. This also means stuff like Reddit Sync could come under fire under this new guideline update. In the Android Developer portal’s Policy Guidelines & Practices section, the new changes will appear in the Keyword Spam section.

app naming guidelines

This is basically something for Google to refer back to if a developer just so happens to mis-title their application. In short, this should help developers catch their mistakes early on, eliminating the need to change their app name further down the road.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

22 best Android Wear watch faces

By Joe Hindy

Get it on Google Play

Android Wear is starting to come into its own. The latest round updates added unprecedented smoothness and reliability and the upcoming hardware is both more stable and more stylish. Of course, one of the most important things you’ll need to find is an Android Wear watch face. You’ll look at it more than anything else so you should find one that suits your needs. Here are the best Android Wear watch faces.

To see the best Android Wear apps, click here!


500px best Android Wear watch faces500px

[Price: Free]
500px is actually a wallpaper application where you can find some of the best photography out there and use it as your background. One of the more recent updates added an Android Wear watch face so you can take the gorgeous photos you find on 500px and put them directly on your smartwatch. The layout is minimal but the photos are gorgeous and it is free without in app purchases so you can enjoy it without spending a dime.

500px best Android Wear watch faces


about time watch face best Android Wear watch facesAbout Time Watch Face

[Price: $0.99]
About Time Watch Face embraces a minimal design with some smooth animations and a classic set up. It’s an analog style watch face with separate minutes/hours and seconds dials as well as some fun gear animations to give it that expensive watch feeling. It is only for round smartwatches so rectangular watch owners will have to keep looking. It’s designed in a way where the notifications don’t mess with the clock face and that’s important too.
Get it on Google Play


battery watch face best Android Wear watch facesBattery Watch Face

[Price: $0.99]
Battery Watch Face is a minimal watch face that shows the basics and that includes the time, date, and, of course, the battery level. You can customize the color to suit your tastes and it’s a great option for people who want to keep it simple but informative. If you purchase this watch face, you’ll also get Wear Battery Stats free of charge so you can take advantage of all of the battery monitoring features.
Get it on Google Play
battery watch face best Android Wear watch faces


chrono watch face best Android Wear watch facesChrono Watch Face for Wear

[Price: Free / $1.50]
Chrono Watch Face for Wear was one of the earlier watch faces to come out and it remains one of the more popular options now. It features a simple analog-style interface and you can customize the colors to your taste. You’ll also see the battery stats for both your phone and your watch along with the date. It also features 12/24 hour modes, a seconds hand, Samsung Gear Live monochrome mode, and it’s been specially designed to prevent battery drain and burn in.
Get it on Google Play
chrono watch face best Android Wear watch faces


despicable watch face best Android Wear watch facesDespicable Watch Face

[Price: $0.99]
Despicable Watch Face is here because really, who doesn’t love minions? It also shows how whimsical and fun a watch face can be which is surprisingly rare. It’s a fairly basic watch face and comes with the time and a picture of a minion. It does have a few issues, including no 24-hour mode and no date options. It partially makes up for these by having some fun and goofy animations.
Get it on Google Play
despicable watch face best Android Wear watch faces


facer best Android Wear watch facesFacer Watch Face

[Price: $1.00]
Facer earned early fame in the watch face game by allowing users to customize and create their own watch faces. It’s even better because those designs can be exported, shared, and imported elsewhere. Thus, a small community of watch themers have created a bunch of Facer watch options and there’s even a subreddit. There are some smaller bugs like some information becoming unsynced but it’s a solid option, especially if you like to change things up often.
Get it on Google Play
Facer best Android Wear watch faces


human time watch face best Android Wear watch facesHuman Time Watch Face

[Price: Free]
Human Time Watch Face is a simple text-based watch face. Instead of having dials or numbers, it simply says what time it is in text. There are 10 fonts and each one can be bolded, italicized, or both. You can also change the position, add a shadow, control capitalization, and you can choose whether or not to show the date. It’s very simple but effective and customizable. It’s also totally free.
Get it on Google Play
human time watch face best Android Wear watch faces


instaweather best Android Wear watch facesInstaWeather for Android Wear

[Price: Free with in app purchases]
InstaWeather for Android Wear is a set of watch faces that focus on showing you the weather as well as the time, date, and sometimes the battery. There are roughly half a dozen watch faces to choose from that showcase the weather in different ways. The app itself also doubles as a weather app complete with weather radar support. You can also get weather alerts for snow/rain, and there are a number of other small features you can play with. Do beware, the app is confusing when you first use it but it works well once you get the hang of things.
Get it on Google Play
instaweather best Android Wear watch faces


krona sunlight best Android Wear watch facesKrona Sunlight Watchface

[Price: $1.69]
Krona Sunlight Watchface is another watchface that shows you the weather. This one is a little more sleek …read more

Source:: android authority

    

NBC will stream Super Bowl XLIX online and through the Sports Live Extra app

By Jimmy Westenberg

03_ball_grand_canyon_1_hi_nat1366

The Seattle Seahawks are facing off against the New England Patriots for the title of Super Bowl XLIX champions this Sunday, February 1st. The game is airing on NBC, and this year, the network is treating football fans to tons of Super Bowl coverage. NBC is streaming 11 straight hours of football coverage via the NBC Sports Live Extra app, including the Super Bowl XLIX itself, the halftime show, pre-game, post-game, and even the new episode of The Blacklist that airs following the post-game coverage. NBC will also stream the game on the network’s homepage. There is no subscription or log-in required to access any of these live streams.

For those of you worried about missing out on the great ads the Super Bowl historically offers, fear not. Though the advertisements will differ between TV and digital streams, NBC will offer all in-game television ads on their website sometime after the game is over. One thing we should note, is that these streaming privileges are for tablets and desktops only. Verizon holds the rights to stream Super Bowl content exclusively to their NFL Mobile app users on mobile phones, so you’ll need to be a Big Red customer to watch the game on your smartphone. If you’re interested, head to the link below to grab the NBC Sports Live Extra app.

Download NBC Sports Live Extra from Google Play

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Your phone doesn’t have to die: A TLYT Energi Battery Pack buyer’s guide

By Brooks Barnard

TYLT Nexus 5 charge rates

“What did we ever do before we had these around?” my wife asked.

Well, a while ago we used to be Samsung people. My wife and I were huge fans of the Samsung Galaxy series of phones and took full advantage of the replaceable batteries. We had spare batteries with external chargers, and it was great. You never really had to charge your phone: You could just grab the fully-charged battery and swap it with the spent one. You were never tied to the outlet on the wall. I think my wife got in a bad habit of not charging her phone, because when we eventually got tired of Samsung phones, we switched to phones without replaceable batteries and my wife often had a dead device.

I’ve gotten free battery pack swag and even gotten cheap battery packs for Christmas. What I’ve found with cheaper battery packs is they often have low battery capacity and low amp output. That means they won’t provide much of a charge for your phone, nor will they charge it very quickly.

The good people at TYLT recently sent me a whole lineup of their Energi Battery Packs. My goal is to help you find out which one might suit you the best. And if you’re in the market, I suggest you buy one. Battery packs are awesome: they’re convenient, and you can charge your phone anywhere.

Battery Pack 101

To start off, you should know that the numbers for the different battery pack series describe the mAh capacity of the battery packs. If you’re not familiar with the term “mAh”, it stands for “milli-amp hours” and it describes the power capacity of the battery. A pack with a high mAh rating will be able to give your phone more charge or juice it up multiple times. Therefore, when buying a battery pack, mAh capacity should be an import factor to consider.

Ask yourself how long you will be away from an outlet. Also consider how large the battery in your phone is. Most phones these days have batteries well over 2000mAh, so the TYLT Energi 2K battery packs will not be able to provide a full charge for most current phones. That said, the 2K battery packs will likely keep your phone from dying for a considerable amount of time. So if you’re looking for a battery pack that won’t break the bank but could help your phone make it to the end of the day, the 2K series might be a great fit.

One other spec you need to be aware of with battery packs is Amp output and, more specifically, how many Amps a single charging port can provide. As you can see in the screenshot above, different Amp outputs result in different charge rates. You can think of Amps as the flow rate of charge from your battery pack to your phone. A 1 Amp output probably isn’t as much as your standard wall charger, so it likely won’t be charging your phone as quickly as when you’re plugged into the wall, but it is higher than many cheap external battery packs out there. The higher the number, the faster your phone can charge. Don’t worry if the number is higher than what’s on your phone’s wall charger; the phone will pull the Amps it needs.

2K Series

The TYLT Energi 2K Battery Pack chargers come in black with three different color strips in the middle: blue, gray, and red. They’re pretty small at 11mm x 58mm x 95mm and could easily fit in a pocket, even with a phone. They come with a micro-USB cable to charge the battery pack itself and one universal USB port so you can charge any type of device.

To show how much charge the battery pack has, there’s a button with an LED light that will show up on the button press. Different colors mean different levels of charge. You also use the button to tell the pack to start charging your device.

The 2K series only allows 1 Amp output, and so it will only charge one device at a time. As you could probably guess, the 2K series chargers are the cheapest in TYLT’s lineup, priced at $39.99.

I also want to bring up two specific TLYT products in this section. First, the Energi Smart Travel Charger, which is also a 2K charger. Dima reviewed this item a few months ago, and I think it’s absolutely brilliant. It’s an AC wall adapter that’s also a battery pack, letting you charge your phone and a battery pack at the same time. No need to carry and extra wall adapter. You could charge any other battery pack and a phone at the same time, but you’ll need to carry your phone’s wall adapter and two micro-USB cables to get that job done. The smart travel charger just makes charging and using a battery pack much more convenient.

I will point out again that the Smart Travel Charger is just a 2K series charger, so it does not charge your device very quickly if it’s plugged into the wall or if you’re using it as a battery pack. But if you typically charge your phone overnight, you’ll wake up with a charged phone and a charged battery pack and be ready for a full day’s worth of use.

The Energi Smart Travel Charger is slightly bigger than the standard 2K series chargers, so it may not fit in your pocket as well as its siblings. It also has one USB port, so it will only charge one device at a time, and it costs the same $39.99. If I were picking between the standard and the Smart Travel 2K chargers, I would go with this one.

It’s also worth noting that, unlike most of the battery packs I’ll bring up in this post, the Energi Smart Travel Charger does not come with a micro-USB cable.

The second product …read more

Source:: androidandme

    

LG G4 rumor roundup

By Andrew Grush

LG Logo

During CES 2015 LG brought us a new flagship device, the LG G Flex 2. Featuring bleeding edge specs and improvements to flexibility and self-healing when compared to its predecessor, the G Flex 2 is a stunning device to say the least. Of course that doesn’t mean LG is standing still when it comes to pushing the bar forward.

It’s only a matter of time before the LG G4 rears its head, and while we haven’t heard a ton of rumors yet, enough details have surfaced to give us a least a small peak at what the next-gen LG G series phone will offer. For the rest, we fill in the blanks based on speculation and invite you to talk about what you’d like to see different with the LG G4. Keep in mind that this rumor roundup is subject to change, and so take everything you read with a grain of salt.

DESIGN

lg g flex first look aa (32 of 49)

The G Flex 2 is the most recent LG flagship device, will the G4 follow this same G3-inspired aesthetic, or are we in for bigger changes?

Since the arrival of the LG G2, LG has been incorporating the rear-button power/volume design into just about all of its devices. With the LG G3, LG took this iconic and unique design and infused some major refinements into the aesthetics while also introducing a metal-looking plastic back that gave the phone a more premium look.

While there haven’t been many rumors on what to expect from the LG G4’s design, we would imagine that LG won’t be giving up on its thin-bezel, no side-button design language anytime soon. Like the LG G3, LG will instead likely just refine the overall setup.

As for the build materials? It’s hard to say for sure. With rumors that Samsung is finally going metallic, we wouldn’t be too shocked if LG follows suit, that or they’ll risk being one of the few major manufacturers that still pushes plastic builds. This could mean a metallic back that’s somehow removable or yet another unibody design.

That said, perhaps LG will instead continue to drive down its flagship’s pricing (something we saw with the G3) and focus less on trying to compete when it comes to build materials.

DISPLAY

It seems likely that the G4 will have a similar size and resolution to the G3.

It seems likely that the G4 will have a similar size and resolution to the G3.

Considering LG already packed a large 5.5-inch display with a QHD resolution, we’re not sure how much they can really improve things here. Going higher than QHD would be more than overkill, and much larger than 5.5-inches would make it harder to reach the volume/power buttons on the back of the device.

If we had to take a guess, LG will keep the display similar to the LG G3, though it could focus on improving brightness, viewing angles and other aspects.

LG G4 SPECS

The rumor mill suggests the LG G4 will offer a Snapdragon 810 with 3GB RAM. Considering the LG G Flex 2 is already packing a Snapdragon 810, nothing about this rumor seems unbelievable.

Aside from this, there’s really been little talk about the sensors and other features that might be featured in the device. While LG has yet to avoid the fingerprint scanner craze, with more players coming onboard that train, perhaps LG will finally join the likes of Samsung and others.

CAMERA

lg g3 hands on (8 of 31)

While we don’t know any specifics as to the exact sensor the LG G4 will deploy, the latest rumors claim the G4 will offer a 16MP wide rear camera that will offer an improved experience over the 13MP snapper found within the LG G3. The front camera is also allegedly getting an upgrade, moving from 2.1MP on the G3 to 5.1MP with the G4.

In addition to better camera hardware, we imagine that the software will also see at least a few minor tweaks and improvements, but we really know very little about that at this stage.

SOFTWARE FEATURES

When it comes to OEM skins, LG offers one of the more bloated, feature packed experiences on the market. Although Touchwiz typically has even more bloat, the rumor mill claims that this situation could be changing with the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy A3 and A5’s more minimalist Touchwiz implementations seem to back up the notion.

With Touchwiz hopefully scaling down a bit, will the Optimus UI follow suit? Unfortunately it appears to be too early into the G4 rumor game for us to know for sure.

For now, the only thing we can say for certain is that the skin will almost undoubtedly run on top of Android 5.0 Lollipop.

THE G PEN AND THE END OF G PRO

Will LG end the G Pro line in favor of simplifying its product line?

Will LG end the G Pro line in favor of simplifying its product line?

Back in early December a trademark filing showed up for a G Pen and G Scrawl, and while the descriptions were pretty open-ended and vague, there has been speculation that the G Pen could be a special stylus designed to better compete with Samsung’s S Pen from the Note series. As for G Scrawl, it seems plausible that this could be some kind of software feature that works in conjunction with the G Pen.

With rumors of the G Pro series death and the fact that no one has given the world a real Note competitor, what if LG is planning to position its main flagship line as a true Note-worthy alternative? Obviously this is just speculation at this point, but adding a more functional stylus to the LG G4 could give it a way to compete with both the Galaxy S6 and the Note 4 all in one swoop.

RELEASE DATE AND POSSIBLE PRICING

Unlike most other flagship lines, LG hasn’t been that consistent with the release timeframe for the G series. The Optimus G …read more

Source:: android authority

    

Facebook will start showing fewer hoaxes on your News Feed

By Jimmy Westenberg

facebook logo

If you’ve been on Facebook in the past few months, you’ve likely seen a number of hoaxes or stories that give out false information to readers muddying up your News Feed. The folks at Facebook realize that it’s a problem, and they’re now aiming to reduce the number of undesirable stories you see on your feed.

news-feed-fewer-hoaxes-report-a-story-as-false

If you’ve ever seen a story that would be considered a hoax, there is a way to report it by choosing the option to hide the story from your News Feed. To record misleading posts, Facebook will track stories that have been reported as spam by users. They explain in greater detail:

To reduce the number of these types of posts, News Feed will take into account when many people flag a post as false. News Feed will also take into account when many people choose to delete posts. This means a post with a link to an article that many people have reported as a hoax or chosen to delete will get reduced distribution in News Feed. This update will apply to posts including links, photos, videos and status updates.

Furthermore, posts that receive an abundance of spam reports will be flagged with a message that explains the potential invalidity of the post.

news-feed-fewer-hoaxes-example

Facebook also notes that this should not affect satirical stories. So for all fans of The Onion or ClickHole, you likely won’t see a reduced amount of these stories on your News Feed.

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Grab Mötley Crüe: The Greatest Hits for free on Google Play

By Jimmy Westenberg

Mötley Crüe greatest hits

Mötley Crüe is one of America’s most popular 80’s hair metal bands of all time, selling millions of albums to fans worldwide. The band has just recently announced their final tour, which will wrap up on December 31st, 2015. To say ‘thank you’ for all that their fans have provided over the years, the band is teaming up with Google Play to offer Mötley Crüe: The Greatest Hits album for free.

Whether you’re a fan of the band or not, this is quite a great deal considering how expensive this album normally runs. The record is normally sold for $12.99 on Google Play, or for $1.29 per song. There are a total of 23 tracks on the album, though the Google Play digital download version only comes with 19 of them.

We’re seeing a number of really popular tracks on here, including live versions of ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’, ‘Red Hot’, ‘All In The Name Of…’ and ‘Dr. Feelgood’. Other album-quality classics are present as well, like ‘Home Sweet Home’, ‘Kickstart My Heart’ and ‘Wild Side’. The band’s bassist Nikki Sixx even made a special announcement for the Google Play sale, which you can take a look at below. Head to the link below the video to grab your free download of Mötley Crüe: The Greatest Hits.

Download Mötley Crüe: The Greatest Hits from Google Play

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Grab Mötley Crüe: The Greatest Hits for free on Google Play

By Jimmy Westenberg

Mötley Crüe greatest hits

Mötley Crüe is one of America’s most popular 80’s hair metal bands of all time, selling millions of albums to fans worldwide. The band has just recently announced their final tour, which will wrap up on December 31st, 2015. To say ‘thank you’ for all that their fans have provided over the years, the band is teaming up with Google Play to offer Mötley Crüe: The Greatest Hits album for free.

Whether you’re a fan of the band or not, this is quite a great deal considering how expensive this album normally runs. The record is normally sold for $12.99 on Google Play, or for $1.29 per song. There are a total of 23 tracks on the album, though the Google Play digital download version only comes with 19 of them.

We’re seeing a number of really popular tracks on here, including live versions of ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’, ‘Red Hot’, ‘All In The Name Of…’ and ‘Dr. Feelgood’. Other album-quality classics are present as well, like ‘Home Sweet Home’, ‘Kickstart My Heart’ and ‘Wild Side’. The band’s bassist Nikki Sixx even made a special announcement for the Google Play sale, which you can take a look at below. Head to the link below the video to grab your free download of Mötley Crüe: The Greatest Hits.

Download Mötley Crüe: The Greatest Hits from Google Play

…read more

Source:: android authority

    

Join the Instagram for Android beta group today

By Dustin Earley

If you’re sharing photos online, there’s a good chance you’re using Instagram at least part of the time to do so. If you are, and you like being at the forefront of updates and features, then we’ve got some good news for you. Starting today, Instagram is opening a beta program for Android users to help test the latest and greatest the photo sharing network has to offer.

According to Google Groups page for the Instagram for Android beta program, there are a few things you need to know before you sign up to be a tester:

  • The beta version will replace the regular Instagram app on your phone.
  • Features in the app are in active development, they may not work perfectly. We need your help to figure out what isn’t working.
  • You can leave the program at any time and go back to using the regular version of Instagram from the Playstore.

If you understand and are okay with all that, signing up is easy. Jump on over to the Google Groups page for the beta testing program and follow the instructions from there. It’s really just following a link, clicking a button and downloading or updating the Instagram app on your Android device of choice. Happy testing!

…read more

Source:: androidandme