Thursday, April 14, 2016

#TBT: When PenTile Displays Were King.

Take yourself back to 2011 for a moment and answer me this – remember PenTile displays? If you do, I’m sure you already have a headache just thinking about the years upon years of companies like Motorola using the technology in their phones, likely in an attempt to cut costs while upping resolution. From jagged lines and blurred scrolling with ghosting to greens showing as browns and web pages not even being able to render text properly, it was hard out here for a phone with a PenTile panel, especially the original Atrix, DROID X2, Bionic, RAZR, Galaxy Nexus, and Galaxy S3. 

Just look at that image at the top of this post. And no, we aren’t talking about the low pixel count – we are talking about the lack of fully straight lines, the hatching, and the Android green that is a light brown. Or better yet, look at this image below, where the X2 can’t display text properly because it’s RGBW pixels have no idea what the hell they are doing.


x2 pentile

Of course, as display technology has improved and resolutions have skyrocketed to the Quad HD realm, odd pixel arrangements (like Samsung’s diamond pixels) have become less of an issue. But man, for a while there, we were often praying for LCD displays in phones because all of the early AMOLED panels used a PenTile Matrix and were trash.

Here is a comparison shot we took of (in order) the Galaxy Nexus, HTC Rezound, and DROID RAZR. The only LCD panel is the Rezound, if that wasn’t obvious. As a reminder, the G-Nex and Rezound were two of the first HD (720p) displays and so the Nexus display wasn’t necessarily the worst because of the pixel count, even with its PenTile arrangement. However, I don’t think anyone can go back to that time and claim that it was one of the best either.

pentile 3

But again, our world has improved and now AMOLED panels have become the best on the planet, at least according to display testing experts. We also tend to favor AMOLED panels over LCDs, as LCDs in some of the best flagships in recent years haven’t matched up well (like the G5).

Here is that diamond arrangement from Samsung that I referenced, seen here on a Galaxy S7. Yes, Samsung is still using this weird setup, yet their displays keep topping each other for best in the business. I’m sure there is some other technology at play here, but at one time, all we could complain about was pixel arrangement.

s7 diamond pixel

Anyone want to take it back to 2011? No?

#TBT: When PenTile Displays Were King. is a post from: Droid Life

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That Was Quick: Nova Launcher Beta Updated With Android N “DP2” Folders

With yesterday’s launch of Developer Preview 2 for Android N, Google introduced a new look for folders. While it’s nothing too innovative, the developer behind Nova Launcher has spared no time in bringing the new look to his app, allowing anyone and everyone part of the beta to experience the new folders for themselves. 

To sum up the change, the folder will show corners or edges of your app icons, depending on how many apps you have in a folder. The header image above is from the Android N DP2 build, but that’s exactly what the folders inside of the updated Nova Launcher beta look like.

Once you are updated, headed into the Nova Launcher settings under Folders. Where you can choose the layout of folders is where you will find the “Android N” option.

To download this new look, make sure you are signed up for the beta. You can opt-in by following the link below. Once opted in, simply download Nova Launcher from Google Play and enjoy.

Beta Opt-InPlay Link

Via: +Kevin Barry

That Was Quick: Nova Launcher Beta Updated With Android N “DP2” Folders is a post from: Droid Life

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Instagram Doubles Down on Videos in the Explore Tab

Instagram is introducing a revamped Explore section this week, one which highlights more videos instead of plain ol’ photography. When you go to the Explore section, you will find personalized channel called “Videos You Might Like,” which collects videos from across the Instagram community. From here, you can better tune the Explore tab to show videos on topics you are more interested in. The more time that goes by, the more algorithmically curated your experience will become. 

When browsing through the section, users can find entire channels that are dedicated to topics you like, such as cars, food, landscapes, and more. Instagram states that even with these changes, the overall Explore experience won’t change at all. It’s still your go-to section for finding quality content from people or brands that you may want to follow. If you happen to see something you don’t like, you can press the “…” menu button and hit, “See Fewer Posts Like This.”

This update is rolling out to all users on iOS and Android starting today. To make sure you are running the latest version, this version number is 7.20.

Also, now would be a good time for us to hype our @droid_life Instagram account. Follow us because it’s awesome!

Play Link

Via: Instagram

Instagram Doubles Down on Videos in the Explore Tab is a post from: Droid Life

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HTC 10: First 10 Things You Should Do

The first wave of HTC 10 reviews are popping up from HTC’s favorite media outlets, so my guess is that you are finalizing thoughts on whether or not you should pre-order the phone for a May arrival. If you have seen enough and are planning to buy, you can head over to HTC’s site to do so. If you haven’t, then we have much more coverage on the way to help you make that decision. 

First up, we have the first 10 things you should do if you do end up owning the HTC 10. These are simple ideas, like tossing in an SD card and taking advantage of Marshmallow’s adoptable storage (Yep, the 10 supports it out of the box!), learning HTC’s motion launch gestures, getting Power Saver modes setup properly, the app drawer sorted in a non-infuriating way, and using HTC’s really cool custom theme engine.

Thankfully, because HTC has really slimmed down the software experience on the 10, you should be all setup and ready to go within a couple of minutes. In fact, making this list wasn’t easy, because HTC is leaving almost everything up to the owner of the phone, rather than forcing unwanted features and bloatware down their throats.

Stay tuned, as we’ll have a camera comparison and tips and tricks over the next few days. For now, here are the first 10 things you should do with the HTC 10.

HTC 10: First 10 Things You Should Do is a post from: Droid Life

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Verizon Will Give You 2GB of Free Data for Using Android Pay

Verizon just announced a new promo that can land you up to 2GB of free data if you use Android Pay. It’s not straight forward, so let me try to explain this before you all go out and rush to Trader Joe’s to get in on the freebie action.

According to Verizon, you can get 1GB of free data by tapping to pay with Android Pay in supported stores. If you continue using Android Pay, Verizon will give you another free 1GB on the third tap. In other words, you need to use Android Pay three times in order to get 2GB of free data. With me so far? 

The 2GB of free data is good for two billing cycles, so this isn’t something you can stash away for years, nor is it an ongoing free 2GB. It’s a one-time promo where you can get up to 2GB to use within two billing cycles. Still with me?

In the fine print of the promo, Verizon explains that the promotion is offered “only to Verizon postpaid consumer subscribers with The Verizon Plan or The MORE Everything Plan.” So you have to be involved in one of those tiers of plans, otherwise you shouldn’t waste your time looking for free data.

The deal ends on 6/14/16 and you must redeem your 2GB by 7/13/16.

Via:  Verizon

Verizon Will Give You 2GB of Free Data for Using Android Pay is a post from: Droid Life

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Yo, Sneakerheads, StockX App Now Available on Google Play

For all you sneakerheads, the official StockX app is now available on Google Play, bringing an end to the short-lived iOS exclusivity period. If you love buying sneakers, collecting sneakers, or just admire the sneaker culture, then you should already be aware of what StockX is. If you are not, allow me to give a brief backstory.

Before StockX was launched, many of those who bought and sold sneakers would head to Campless, a website that provided analytical data to help determine the actual market value of any sneaker. This real-time data was collected by researching and pulling in sales data from eBay. Campless has since evolved into StockX, which is essentially a stock market for shoes and shoes alone. With it, sneakerheads can track the value of their entire collection, watch the up and down trends of select brands, a particular set of kicks, and much more. 

Now, with the Android app available on Google Play, you can do all of this sneaker market tracking while on the go. For example, if you are meeting up with a buddy who is selling the latest pair of Jordan kicks, you can offer him a fair market value, instead of paying the original deadstock price or whatever crazy markup amount he is asking for. “No, hypebeast, I’m not paying $800 for OVOs, are you insane?”

Going beyond just tracking shoe prices, owners of deadstock (unworn, completely brand new) shoes can list their shoes for sale. To do this, you set an “Ask,” which is the price you would like to receive. If a buyer’s Bid matches the Ask, the shoes are sold and shipped. To get further details on buying and selling through StockX, I suggest you download the app or view the website.

The app is completely free to use, and seriously, if you have a collection of shoes, it’s a fantastic app that tells you exactly how much money you have wasted on articles of clothing that go on your feet and touch the dirty ground.

Play Link

StockX 1

Yo, Sneakerheads, StockX App Now Available on Google Play is a post from: Droid Life

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Google Drive Delivers Inline Uploads, Upload Progress Bar

An update is shipping out for the Drive app from Google, bringing better inline uploads for making sure your files go exactly where you want them to. As it was before this update, whenever you would upload a file, the file would head into an Uploads folder inside of your Drive. Now, the file will be found in whichever folder you uploaded the file, meaning better organization.  

On top of better destinations for files, users will also see a more clear upload progress bar inside of the Drive application. Before, you could see a progress bar in the notification shade, but now, you will now see exactly how long your upload is going to take.

This update is rolling out right now on Google Play.

Play Link


Via: Google

Google Drive Delivers Inline Uploads, Upload Progress Bar is a post from: Droid Life

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Super Meat Boy Hits Google Play for NVIDIA SHIELD TV, Priced at $15

It’s funny, back in early 2012 is when we first began to hear rumors that Super Meat Boy would launch for Android, and here we are a little over four years later with the official title finally making its way to Google Play. Thanks to the folks at NVIDIA, Super Meat Boy is launching exclusively for the SHIELD Android TV set-top box, bringing the pixelated platformer to the masses for the price of $14.99. 

If you are looking for a premise, it’s sort of an odd one. Super Meat Boy (a little cube of meat) is out to save his girlfriend who is entirely wrapped in bandages, from an evil tux-wearing fetus inside of a jar. Yeah, it’s odd, but thankfully, anyone playing this game knows it’s not about the storyline.

Gameplay is essentially what you would find on classic NES titles, requiring ultra-fast reflexes and dexterity. With the added benefit of the SHIELD Controller, though, you should be able to master the movements quickly enough. And trust me, that skill will come in handy when you go up against the boss battles.

Priced at $14.99, there is no doubt you are paying a premium, but the game is filled with 300+ single player levels, tons of epic boss fights, a level editor, “unlockable secrets,” warp zones, and secret characters. Lots of fun to be had.

Go check it out right now.

Play Link ($14.99)

Super Meat Boy Hits Google Play for NVIDIA SHIELD TV, Priced at $15 is a post from: Droid Life

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Google Introduces “Live Cases” for Nexus Devices, Custom Cases Made to Order

Google just launched a new accessory for its Nexus line-up called Live Cases. The cases, as the name suggests, are one-of-a-kind cases created by you with custom imagery or your favorite Maps locations. The cases can then be matched up with “companion live wallpapers” to fully enhance the experience. 

As of right now, the Live Cases are available for the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6 and can be customized with your own photo or one from Google Maps. Each case will cost you $35.

Not only are the cases customizable from an appearance standpoint, but they also include a shortcut button that allows you to launch your favorite apps in a hurry, like the camera or phone or Hangouts. You can even set the button to launch places of interest around you or activate the accompanying live wallpaper.

A for the customizations, the whole tool is quite impressive. With the Maps option, you set a location anywhere in the world before lining it up just the way you want it to appear on the case. From there, you can choose from various styles and color schemes that can help you create some striking case setups. After your color scheme is set, Google then lets you decide between a matte or glossy finish (available “soon”).

You can start designing your own at the link below. Orders will ship in 4-6 days for free.

Google Store Link

Google Introduces “Live Cases” for Nexus Devices, Custom Cases Made to Order is a post from: Droid Life

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Verizon Hosting National Trade-In Event, Receive Up to $300 for Your Current Phone

Verizon is hosting a “national trade-in event” right now, giving existing customers and potential customers the opportunity to get that new phone they have had their eye on. During this event, Verizon is granting up to $300 of trade-in value on select devices when you buy a Samsung Galaxy S7, LG G5, DROID Turbo 2, or iPhone 6S on a device payment plan. 

To take advantage of this national event, all you need to do is walk into a Verizon store to receive on-the-spot credit for your trade-in, or visit Verizon’s trade-in program page on its website. When trading your device in, the customer can choose whether to have the credit applied as a down payment for the new device, applied as an account credit for your plan, or can receive the value on a gift card. The decision will be yours.

If you do upgrade your device, Verizon is also throwing in three months of HBO NOW for free, just in time for the new season of Game of Thrones.

This promo kicks off today, so if that LG G5 or Galaxy S7 is calling your name, head into Verizon and pick one up.

Via: Verizon

Verizon Hosting National Trade-In Event, Receive Up to $300 for Your Current Phone is a post from: Droid Life

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“Save to Google” Chrome Extension Makes Organizing the Web Easy

Back in December, Google introduced a new way to organize the images you find while searching through Google’s image search. By quickly selecting images, you were able to create collections and tags of the things you happen to search for that you may need access to down the road. Today, this idea is growing up some with the release of a new “Save to Google” Chrome extension that lets you easily save items from the web and store them in Google’s new “Saved” site. 

The idea is very similar to that initial image search save, but this includes links and images that are all organized by tags. So instead of collections, you now have tags in a column next to recent saves. You also still have mobile access, can add notes to saved items, multiple tags, and even edit everything after the fact. It’s pretty bare bones at the moment, but that may also be the point. “Save to Google” is supposed to be a dead simple way to save your internet life and get back to it later.

With the Chrome extension, you’ll get a yellow star icon in your browser that when clicked, lets you save the page, change the title or image, and add a tag or four. Once saved, the items are immediately available on desktop or mobile. To access and organize all of your saved stuff, head to google.com/save from desktop or mobile and you’ll get full control over items and tags from either.

At this time, I’m not finding a way to save links via mobile, but that could change eventually with an update to Chrome. For now, you can do the majority of your saving on desktop and then get back to it on mobile.

“Save to Google” Chrome Extension

save to google save to google-2 save to google-3

Via: OMG Chrome

“Save to Google” Chrome Extension Makes Organizing the Web Easy is a post from: Droid Life

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Whoa: Google is Now Providing OTA .Zip Links for Android N Previews

Yesterday morning, Google pushed out the first major Android N Developer Preview update by giving us the Developer Preview 2 (DP2). Initially, we found the factory images for thew new DP2 and shared them, but we were slightly disappointed to not be able to pull an over-the-air (OTA) update at the same time. Remember, when the first Android N preview went live, you could pull the OTA immediately if you signed up for the new Android Beta Program. While I’m seeing the update for DP2 this morning on my Nexus 5X, we thought we should point out that Google is now sharing the .zip files for immediate sideloading should the update not be appearing for you.

Check it out. We have links for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Pixel C, and Android One. 

Why would you rather have a .zip file than the image, you ask? Well, a .zip file update is a lot like if you received the update over-the-air, which is often the simpler way. Now, you still need to do an adb command or two, but you don’t have to flash multiple files like you often would with a factory image or unlock the bootloader on your phone. All you really need to know how to do is get your phone into recovery mode and then apply the “adb sideload” commands. Overall, this is much simpler.

You can find instructions and the files at this Android N support site. We also have some older instructions here that may help if you run into issues.

Whoa: Google is Now Providing OTA .Zip Links for Android N Previews is a post from: Droid Life

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