Monday, March 21, 2016

Android N has a “Freeform” Desktop-Style Floating App Window Mode

As it turns out, Google’s Multi-Window in Android N isn’t the only new multi-tasking functionality the Android team has added. If you read closely in the Android N Multi-Window Support section for the first preview, Google calls out an additional “freeform” mode that lets users “freely resize” activities, which sure sounds like Google has floating app support on the way where you can resize individual apps. Arstechnica also found references to “freeform” buried in code inside Android N’s framework-res.apk, before figuring out how to enable it and take the floating pre-alpha feature for a spin.

You can see some of this in the couple of screenshots below, but this new “freeform” option allows you to run more apps at a time than what you would see in the Multi-Window, dual panel/screen setup. 

As Ars notes, the mode is pretty rough around the edges right now, with graphical issues, no easy way to show apps that could be hidden behind other apps, and no way to adjust both height and width of an app at the same time. Google will also still need to allow Android RAM management to handle a true multi-window experience, which means allowing apps to continue running when they aren’t in focus. With that said, the foundation is there, for the most part.


2016-03-20-19.18.27-980x735 2016-03-20-18.55.36-980x735

Once activated, you’ll see icons in the app switcher screen next to the “X” for each app that will launch an app into “freeform.” From there, you can drag apps around, roughly resize, and jump into others through a tap. It looks like you can jump into Multi-Window, then load additional floating apps within a single side of Multi-Window, as well. There is even mouse support as well, which could be some sort of sign that Android as a desktop OS isn’t just a made up journo dream.

Again, the functionality is there, but it needs a lot of work from the Android team before it becomes something you should really give some time to. If you are interested in tinkering with it, though, head over to the source link for the adb command. Oh, you’ll need a custom recovery too.

Via:  Arstechnica

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Question of the Day: Would You Buy a High-End 4.0″ Android Smartphone?

Apple took the stage this morning and announced the iPhone SE, a premium iPhone device that does not compromise on specs. More interestingly, Apple claimed that people were begging for a small display, so the iPhone SE only features a 4.0″ display. Compare that to many Android flagships and we can safely label that as a minuscule screen.

For comparison, the Galaxy S7 features a 5.1″ display, the Galaxy Note 5 features a 5.5″ display, and the Nexus 6P features a 5.7″ display. Picture a Nexus 6P (same specs), but with a 4.0″ display. Is that something you would buy? Or maybe a 4.0″ Galaxy S7 Mini?

If an Android OEM produced a high-end device that only featured a 4.0″ display, would you be interested?

Question of the Day: Would You Buy a High-End 4.0″ Android Smartphone? is a post from: Droid Life

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Here are All of the Wallpapers You Keep Asking Us About

Maybe it’s because our personal devices have been featured more than ever lately, with reviews up for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, along with a deeper look at the G5, but we have been getting an unusually high number of inquiries over the wallpapers we have been using. Because we would hate to leave your beautiful home screens hanging, we figured the best way to answer all of those interested, was through a post.

So, here we go, these are the wallpapers we are using and where you can find them. 

Material-styled mountain wallpapers

wallpapers-2 wallpapers-3 wallpapers

Most of the mountain scene wallpapers in posts of mine, including the image at the top of this post can be found in Materialistik Icon Pack. It has an awesome variety of wallpapers, plus it’s a great icon pack as well.

Materialistik Icon Pack ($0.99)

These other Material-styled mountain wallpapers

wallpapers-4 wallpapers-5 wallpapers-6

Called Plastexo, this 130+ wallpaper pack has long been a favorite of ours because it gives us a fresh Material appearance whenever we have a new phone. It’s also easy to figure out, thanks to categories for Abstract, Landscape, Lollipop, etc.

Plastexo Wallpaper (free)

Galaxy S7 Edge review wallpaper

S7 Edge-13

It’s from Glim, one of Tim’s current favorite icon packs that also happens to include a bunch of sweet wallpapers.

Glim ($2.79)

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Humble Bundle 17 Offers Lara Croft GO, Prune, and More at “Pay What You Want” Pricing

A new Humble Bundle is live for all to see, and this time around, is offering quite a few premium titles at a pay what you want price. The way it works is simple. There is an average price set on the bundle, which is the average price of those paying for the games on Humble Bundle. If you meet or exceed that average, you get all of the games. Easy, right?

Currently, the average is set at just under $6, and when the average is paid, you gain access to six games. If you pay a set $6 price or more, you get 8 games. As always, you the payer get to decide where your money goes. Additionally, more games become added to the bundle at a later time, making your initial investment much sweeter. As for which games are currently available, I am sure you have heard of a few of them. Right now, Humble Bundle is offering Lara Croft GO, Prune, Framed, Grim Fandango, Sorcery! 3, and others in this bundle. For the $6 set price, this is a very good deal. 

Follow the link below to take advantage.

Humble Bundle Link

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T-Mobile is “Pivoting” Away From Pushing Unlimited Data Plans

During a an interview given at the Deutsche Bank 24th Annual Media, Internet and Telecom Conference a couple of weeks back, T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter made comments about his company “pivoting” away from unlimited data plans. That’s headline grabbing news because the UnCarrier has always been able to heavily promote its previously-affordable unlimited data plan as a great alternative to whatever overpriced tiered data plan AT&T and Verizon will get you into for similar money. 

Carter’s exact words on the subject are somewhat lengthy and drawn out, so if you want to listen to each word, we have audio for you below. The basics are this, though. T-Mobile started pivoting away from pushing unlimited data in the year prior, most notably when they snuck in a “substantial” price increase to the unlimited plan during their announcement of Binge On.

T-Mobile, like every other carrier on the planet, even as the UnCarrier, knows that there is money to be made in data. Offering you and I really cheap unlimited data plans is bad business for their pocket books. That doesn’t mean they are killing their unlimited option any time soon, it just means that future price increases or burying the option underneath other tiered promos is going to be happening more often.

Is T-Mobile still offering pretty great value when compared to other carriers? For sure. Are they constantly improving their network to make them a legitimate option for customers on other carriers to switch to? Definitely. Are they still a US wireless carrier who in the end just wants to make a shitload of money? Yep.

Via:  DSLReportsT-Mobile

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Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Review

I reviewed the Galaxy S6 Edge last year, coming away impressed overall with Samsung’s design, camera, and display technology. There were a few shortcomings, such as battery life and the usefulness of the Edge Panel, but as Samsung announced when they introduced both the Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge, most of the problems I had with last year’s device have been addressed. There’s a bigger battery, they completely reworked Edge Panel, and even threw in water resistance and expandable storage as a bonus. On paper, this should be the ultimate phone.

I will say, the Galaxy S7 Edge is much like the Galaxy S7, so instead of diving deep into features that have already been touched on in Kellen’s review, I will attempt to primarily speak about features specific to the Galaxy S7 Edge. Don’t worry, there’s still plenty to talk about.

Here is our Galaxy S7 Edge review. 

S7 Edge-12

The Good


The Galaxy S7 Edge features a 5.5″ Super AMOLED QHD display, Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 12MP Dual Pixel rear-facing camera with OIS, 5MP front-facing shooter with OIS, IP68 water and dust resistance, microUSB charging and data port, 32GB of onboard storage, expandable storage slot for an extra 200GB of storage, fingerprint reader, 3,600mAh battery, wireless charging, NFC, and TouchWiz running atop Android 6.0 “Marshmallow.”

While we will likely see plenty of other devices rocking similar specs this year, the IP68 water resistance helps separate Samsung’s latest offerings from the rest of the field. Needless to say, all of these specs in a single smartphone package is what dream phones are made of.


Compared to last year’s Galaxy S6 Edge 5.1″ display, the S7 Edge features a slightly larger screen, with Samsung bringing the panel up to 5.5-inches. It’s still the same resolution, Quad HD (2560 x 1440). It’s still Super AMOLED. Beyond the size, not much is different. According to the pros who test all things smartphone displays, the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge are some of the best on the market, meaning Samsung is still cranking out good quality panels.

To my eyes, I prefer Super AMOLED panels over the other types you would find from HTC or LG, as the colors are usually more saturated than you’d find elsewhere. Some folks don’t care for high saturation, but with a few tweaks in the settings, you can actually change the amount of saturation you will see. Out of the box, the Screen Mode is set to Adaptive, which attempts to give the best experience based on what it is you are doing on your phone. If you want the colors toned down a bit, switch the Screen Mode to either Basic or AMOLED Photo.



If you took the Galaxy S6 Edge and merged it with the Galaxy Note 5, you would have the Galaxy S7 Edge. Thanks to the curved backside, like we see on the Galaxy Note 5, the device is much more comfortable to hold than the Galaxy S6 Edge. Last year, the S6 Edge was quite rigid, almost sharp on its siding. This year, it’s very smooth and feels fantastic in-hand. As for the curved sides, they look great, and definitely draws the attention of anyone around you who is unfamiliar with Samsung’s latest designs.

What draws me to the Galaxy S7 Edge in 2016 is that Samsung stayed true to the idea of the Galaxy S6 Edge, with the curve, but made rather minimal changes to make it easier to handle. This shows me that Samsung’s design team were listening closely to those who purchased the phone, then made the changes to reflect what they heard. Really, you can’t change anything else to make it a better feeling phone. The gentle slope on the back and curves on the front all feel great. Besides the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy Note 5, I can’t think of a more comfortable phone to hold.

With all of the praise out of the way, I will say that it took me a few solid days to get used to handling the device properly. By this, I mean you have to adjust where your fingers rest when the device is in landscape mode, or you might accidentally hit the screen, causing unwanted actions. For example, if I’m watching YouTube and don’t have my fingers just right, I might hit a playback option and the video will skip forward or even pause it depending on where I tapped it. So, yes, the S7 Edge takes a bit of practice, but once you master where your fingers should rest whenever you are holding the phone, it’s fine.



You will find the exact same shooter in the Galaxy S7 Edge as you would the Galaxy S7, a 12MP Dual Pixel sensor featuring optical image stabilization (OIS) and an aperture of f/1.7. Samsung actually toned down the resolution of the camera sensor from last year’s 16MP sensors (Galaxy S6), which broke the trend of the ever-increasing resolution size year-over-year. Even with the lower megapixel count, the shots capable of being taken on this phone are mind boggling at times. When going in for those macros, or zooming in on a landscape, the clarity and details that remain after you have clicked the shutter is downright impressive.

Let’s talk about the experience of taking photos on this phone. As soon as you open up the camera app, you will notice that the camera is quickly focusing on whatever is in front of it. If shooting something as quickly as possible is required, the Galaxy S7 can be very clutch. After you have focused on your target, switching to Pro mode can get you adjusting the ISO, white balance, shutter speed, and exposure levels. You can even select between a multi-point auto focus or centered auto focus, giving you better command over your shots.

S7 Edge screen 1 S7 Edge screen 2 S7 Edge screen 4 S7 Edge screen 3 S7 Edge screen 5

Overall, the camera on this phone might be my favorite aspect, with its super fast focus times, and the overall detail you can capture when shooting. In Kellen’s Galaxy S7 review, he shares a few fantastic shots, so if you have yet to see those samples, give them a look as well.

S7 Edge Pics 3

S7 Edge Pics 5 S7 Edge Pics 6 S7 Edge Pics 7 S7 Edge Pics 4 S7 Edge Pics 2

S7 Edge Pics 9 S7 Edge Pics 10 S7 Edge Pics 11

S7 Edge Pics 12

Availability and Pricing

Like any other major Samsung release, this phone is available anywhere and everywhere. Brick and mortar stores, carrier stores, online – really, everywhere. While this seems like the norm, it’s still a major plus for everyone. If you are on Sprint and want this phone, you can get it. If you’re on Verizon, you can get it.

As for pricing, most carriers will want to push you into a installment plan and get you on a two-year contract, and for many, that’s probably fine. If buying the phone for the full retail price is more your style (you baller, you), the phone averages around $750. There are also many BOGO deals taking place currently that you can take advantage of, allowing you to get two Galaxy S7 Edge (or Galaxy S7) phones for the price of one.



Featuring a 3,600mAh battery, much larger than what was in last year’s Galaxy S6 Edge, I had high expectations from the Galaxy S7 Edge. Unfortunately, at least from my experience, I was nowhere near blown away by battery performance. My typical day was wake up at 7am, go to bed by 11pm, with about 15% battery left at 1-2 hours of screen on time (SOT). That’s purely with T-Mobile 4G LTE connectivity and no WiFi.

S7 Edge Battery 1S7 Edge Battery 2

According to the GSam Battery Monitor app I have installed, on average per charge, I’m getting a max of 23 hours of battery life, with 3 hours and 10 minutes of SOT. I would say that’s about right. If you think about this, that seems pretty bad. With the power sipping Snapdragon 820 processor and large capacity battery, I was really expecting quite a bit more. However, even though I was nowhere near a day and a half or two days of battery life, a solid day of smartphone life is absolutely fine with me. I usually tend to charge my devices every night anyway, so continuing this is fine with me.

S7 Edge Battery 3S7 Edge Battery 4

TouchWiz and Edge Features

TouchWiz is getting better, no doubt, but it’s still nowhere near as smooth as stock Android. With these fancy processors and large amounts of RAM, OEMs such as Samsung are essentially using brute force to get their skins to perform well, and even when doing that, performance is not all that great. After a couple of days without a reboot, you can feel the phone becoming sluggish. At times, I feel like I did way back in the day when task managers were a thing. I’ll open up my recent apps, “close all,” then get that placebo effect where I think my phone is running smoother. In 2016, this isn’t exactly what I was expecting for the future of smartphones, but it’s manageable.

S7 Edge screen 3 S7 Edge screen 4 S7 Edge screen 1 S7 Edge screen 8 S7 Edge screen 9

In terms of the improved Edge Panel features, Samsung really went back to the drawing board and fixed my main beef with last year’s S6 Edge. That phone had no real useful features on the Edge Panel, but the S7 Edge most certainly does. I can swipe out and get the latest sports scores, top CNN headlines, quickly get into snapping selfies with the camera, and much more. Last year’s People Edge is also included, but is replaceable by more useful features. You can watch our complete Edge Panel overview video below to get a better sense of how Samsung has improved this unique feature.

At the end of the day, TouchWiz has become so much better than it used to be. It’s entirely usable, and really, with the help of custom launchers, themes, and even cranking up the speed of animations, a phone running TouchWiz can look a lot like a phone not running TouchWiz. If you plan on picking this device up, I suggest investing in Nova Launcher, Chrooma Keyboard, and some fancy themes from the theme store.

S7 Edge screen 10 S7 Edge screen 2 S7 Edge screen 5 S7 Edge screen 6S7 Edge screen 1

The Not-so-Good

External Speaker

The one true downside I have with this phone is the external speaker loudness and quality. No, my mobile phone should not be a boombox, but still, it shouldn’t sound like a tinny piece of poo. And while I wouldn’t exactly label the speaker on this phone that poorly, it’s not very good. The sound is pretty weak, and it doesn’t get loud at all. There are apps in Google Play that can make your speaker louder, but of course, you don’t want to accidentally damage your phone.

The placement is also not that exciting. If this phone featured dual front-facing speakers, that would have been the ultimate. Instead, we have one bottom-facing speaker, which usually finds itself getting covered up whenever I have the phone in landscape mode. I have to hold it just right, in usually an uncomfortable position to listen and watch without sound getting blocked. This is annoying.

S7 Edge-6

Other Notes

  • Fingerprint Magnet:  I’ve got the same issue with fingerprints as Kellen. Yes, it blows! But hey, you could have much worse problems with a phone. Fingerprints are not a deal breaker for me.
  • Girlfriend Test:  “Easy to hold, not slippery, umm, it feels like a premium product, it doesn’t feel cheap. And a good-sized display. You can reach all necessary sections of the screen with just one hand.”
  • Fingerprint Reader:  Speaking from my own personal experience, I did not have many issues with last year’s fingerprint reader on the Galaxy S6 or Galaxy S6 Edge. This year, it’s the same for me. Detection seems very quick, and I hardly ever get misreads or errors. On the Galaxy S7 Edge, the fingerprint reader performs exactly how I would expect from a premium smartphone.
  • Samsung Pay:  If I had a bank that supported Samsung Pay, I could rave on and on about how cool it is. To this day, I’ve never used it, but I know it’s awesome. If you have a bank that supports Samsung Pay, you are gonna have a blast.
  • Water Resistance:  The IP68 rating is something you won’t know you’ll love until your phone has it. At dinner, I can scare my friends by accidentally spilling water on my phone, which I always get a kick out of. Usually, I’m pretty careful with my phone, but with IP68, I really don’t have to worry about anything.
  • Expandable Storage:   Samsung heard your cries, adding in a microSD slot for expandable storage. Now, they did technically remove Marshmallow’s Adoptable Storage, but the fact is, you can store data, photos, and apps onto your SD card. For those of you who are ambitious, you can plug in a few adb commands to have your SD card recognized as internal storage, but it is possible Samsung can enable Adoptable Storage with a future update. If we pressure them enough, it can happen. In the meantime, credit where credit is due.
  • Fast Wireless Charging:  Fast wireless charging is available on both the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, and for those using Samsung’s standard fast wireless chargers (not one from Ikea, for example), you should see similar speeds for charging as you would a standard wall charger. Thanks to wireless fast charging, your phone can go from 0-100% in roughly an hour, give or take, which can be incredibly clutch when traveling or juicing up before a night on the town.



Edge Panel

Always On Display




The Verdict

For me, the Galaxy S7 Edge sits right next to the Galaxy Note 5 on my list of top favorite Samsung smartphones. The design is perfect, the in-hand feel is fantastic, and Samsung is finally getting realistic about how much crap it can bake into TouchWiz. For anyone looking to upgrade from a Galaxy S5, HTC One M9, LG G3, or something along those lines, the Galaxy S7 Edge is a great choice. You will notice the improved display, insane camera, and will likely appreciate the revamped version of TouchWiz.

However, if you are already on a Galaxy S6 Edge, there does not seem to be too many reasons to upgrade, with exception to water resistance and expandable storage. While those two things can be very handy to have, you may not exactly see them as necessary. You will have pretty similar camera experiences, the same display resolution, and from my experience, pretty much the same battery life.

Galaxy S7 Links:

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