install-xposed-framework-your-nexus-5-for-max-customization.1280x600

Google just recently removed the ability to merge tabs and apps from the latest versions of Chrome Dev and Chrome Beta, which means this change will soon make its way to Chrome stable. If you happen to be someone who likes to tinker with their Android devices and have rooted to allow the use of the Xposed framework, you’ll be able to re-enable merged apps and tabs in Chrome with a recently released module to bring back the functionality Google removed.

The Xposed framework can be used to modify almost anything on your Android device by loading modules that customize the files deep within the workings of the operating system. Luckily an astute developer by the name of ssrij took to Twitter not too long ago to announce a new module that would re-enable the ability to merge apps and tabs within both Chrome Dev and Chrome Beta. The module enables a few lines of inactive code that Google has yet to remove from the app.

If this is functionality you are desperately wanting back, then head over to the Xposed page to download the module and enable it on your device, and just like that you’ll see the ability to merge apps and tabs has returned.

GravityBox LP examplesSee also: GravityBox, the Xposed module to rule your rooted device – Android customization3

weatherback wallpaper Android Apps WeeklySponsored by: Weatherback Wallpaper

[Price: Free / $2.49]
This week’s episode of the Android Apps Weekly is sponsored by Weatherback Wallpaper. Most weather apps give you a live weather wallpaper that changes based on the conditions outside. Weatherback Wallpaper lets you choose your own wallpaper and simply applies the weather effects over it instead. The result is a far more customized experienced that fits your specific tastes and yes, the effects can be customized by you as well.
There are a variety of effects available and you can change them if you want something static instead of based on the weather outside. The free version comes with some stuff so you can check it out and the premium version comes with everything. For this week only, you can get the pro version for $1.75 which is a 30% discount. Give it a shot and show your support for the Android Apps Weekly show!
Get it now on Google Play!


Welcome back to the Android Apps Weekly show! This is episode number 138, let’s take a look at the headlines from the last week:

  • Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell has decided that enough is enough. He announced this week during an interview with The Guardian that he intends on stepping back into game development but with a focus on mobile gaming. He says mobile games piss him off and that they suck. Since a lot of them make us feel the same way, we can’t wait to see what he’s got coming.
  • Some new leaked footage of Pokemon GO surfaced early this week which seems to have only added to the major hype surrounding the game. The leak is about nine minutes long and shows you far more about the mechanics and game play than any prior video leak so far. As you can imagine, people are super excited about it but there is still no release date.
  • Nintendo has announced that Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem games will be making their way to smartphones sometime this fall. This comes on the heels of Miitomo’s release which has been very profitable for the company so far. We don’t know if they’ll be full-fledged games or freemium variants, but we’ll know more later this year.
  • The Amazon App Store is having some growing pains this week. They haven’t been properly labeling whether or not apps have in-app purchases which is a big no-no. The FTC is now going after them and have won similar cases against Google Play and Apple’s App Store. Expect a huge fine to be levied and changes to be made before the end of the year.
  • Google let it slip this week that it plans on unleashing Android apps on ChromeOS. Some people on Reddit have found an opt-in that allows the Google Play Store on Chrome which would mean all of the apps and games will be available to a degree. This seems to fall in line with the reports that ChromeOS and Android would be folded together. We’ll likely learn more at Google I/O here in a couple of weeks.

For even more Android apps and games news, releases, and updates, don’t forget to check out this week’s ridiculously packed newsletter by clicking here! There, you’ll find an abundance of news and info that we didn’t have space for here. If you’d like, you can sign up using the form below and get this newsletter sent to you every Sunday!

Signup for our newsletter


super phantom cat Android Apps WeeklySuper Phantom Cat

[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Super Phantom Cat is a platformer that pays homage to the 8-bit and 16-bit platformers of old. It has a goofy storyline to help moves things along and you’ll be treated to a bunch of levels, unlockable characters, and some retro style graphics that are bright and colorful. The game does manage to invoke the same feelings that old platformers did, although it could be argued that it borrowed a little much from the mechanics. In any case, it’s free to play and it’s pretty fun.
Get it now on Google Play!


radon Android Apps WeeklyRadon

[Price: Free]
Radon is a unique application that allows you to share links with just about anyone that’s close enough to you. The app takes advantage of the newer Nearby APIs and doesn’t require other people to be on the same WiFi network, Bluetooth connection, or even have NFC on for it to work. The idea is that you shoot a link out and anyone with the Radon app open can accept the link and open it. There are some early release bugs, but the app does work and it’s pretty nifty.
Get it now on Google Play!
radon Android Apps Weekly


orbit's odyssey Android Apps WeeklyOrbit’s Odyssey

[Price: $2.99]
Orbit’s Odyssey is a unique little puzzle game where you must defeat replicating monsters, collect stars, and take advantage of the game mechanics to not be defeated. It uses mechanics that allow you to kind of orbit around planets to avoid being captured which was actually rather enjoyable. It also comes with five characters, 90 levels, 100 stars in each level, and some fun looking animation and graphics. It’s $2.99 with no in-app purchases if you’re interested.
Get it now on Google Play!


random flix Android Apps WeeklyRandom Flix

[Price: Free]
Random Flix is a fun little application if you have Netflix and you’re really lazy. The basic premise is that you hit a button and the app will give you a TV show to watch on Netflix. This solves the old question of what to watch on TV. The app has access to every show on Netflix which also makes it a nice reference guide if you just want to look around. Think of it like the TV guide of Netflix. It’s also completely free which is nice
Get it now on Google Play!
random flix Android Apps Weekly


angry birds action Android Apps WeeklyAngry Birds Action

[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Angry Birds Action is the latest out of Rovio and this game isn’t like the standard Angry Birds games. It’s essentially a pinball game where you launch birds around a board to rack up points, collect valuable items, and save the eggs. It features characters from the Angry Birds movie and it’s likely that this was made as a promotional game since the movie comes out next month. It has an energy system, which sucks a lot, but otherwise it’s family friendly and free to download.
Get it now on Google Play!


Related best app lists:

If we missed any great Android apps or games news, tell us about them in the comments! To see our complete list of best app lists, click here.

That about does it for this video folks. If you want to check out more videos, we have our picks for the best new apps and games from april 2016 there on the screen and in the video description below. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter and keep it tuned to Android Authority because we are your source for all things Android. Thanks again for watching everybody and have a wonderful day.

Now that an increasing amount of smartphone manufacturers are selling their phones at cheaper price points, it’s much easier for consumers to afford an off-contract device rather than purchasing one with a two-year contract. At least in the United States, the way smartphones are priced has changed dramatically, and that’s a good thing.

So, what are the best smartphones out there for those who’d like to forgo the standard contract and buy unlocked? We’re here to take you through the best unlocked Android smartphones for under $250, under $500 and over $500. As always, if you have anything you’d like to suggest, be sure to speak up in the comment section at the bottom of the post.

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list regularly as new devices launch. It’s also worth noting that this article is written for a U.S.-centric point of view, though (since they are unlocked) pretty much all of these devices are available outside of the U.S., at least in some capacity.

Update, May 2016: We did not make any changes this month.

Best phones under $250

OnePlus X

The OnePlus X is one of the best budget devices you can purchase right now. It’s compact, extremely fast, and boasts many of the same software features that come with its older brother, the OnePlus 2. It has an impressive 5.0-inch AMOLED display, a perfectly capable Snapdragon 801 processor, 3 gigabytes of RAM, microSD card expansion up to 128GB and two SIM card slots.

There are a few things to watch out for, though. If you want to activate the device on AT&T or T-Mobile’s networks, you may not have great 4G LTE coverage, as the device is missing the appropriate bands. It also comes with no NFC on board, so you won’t be able to use mobile payment methods like Android Pay. Oh, and OnePlus has just axed the invite system for the OnePlus X, so you can now buy it from the company whenever you’d like, without waiting in line for an invite!

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly smartphone and don’t mind spending a few extra bucks, get the OnePlus X. You can purchase it from OnePlus’ website for $249.99.

Specs

  • 5.0-inch AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 441 ppi
  • 2.3 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor
  • 3 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 128 GB
  • 13 MP rear camera, 8 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2525 mAh battery
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
  • 140 x 69 x 6.9 mm, 138 g

Read more

Buy now from OnePlus


Motorola Moto G (2015)

The Moto G, one of the most beloved budget phones on the market, is now in its third iteration. This time around, the handset offers up a 1.4GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor and either 8 GB storage and 1 GB RAM, or 16GB storage and 2 GB RAM. bother models include microSD support, a 13 MP rear cam, a 5 MP front cam, a 5-inch 720p LCD display, and a hefty 2470 mAh non-removable battery. While the Moto G has never been about flashy extras, this year’s model does introduce waterproofing and LTE to the mix.

For those that lust for customization, the Moto G also includes limited Moto Maker support. While this feature isn’t as robust as you’d find with the Moto X Style (Pure Edition), it’s still a great step in the right direction. As for software? The phone runs Lollipop out of the box, and it is likely only a matter of time before a Marshmallow upgrade makes its way into the hands of consumers.

It should be noted that only the model with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of on-board storage reaches the under-$200 price point. To get the higher end variant, you’ll need to pay around $219 in most regions.

Specs

  • 5.0-inch LCD display with 720 x 1280 resolution, 294 ppi
  • 1.4 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor
  • 1/2 GB of RAM
  • 8/16 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 32 GB
  • 13 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2470 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 142.1 x 72.4 x 11.6 mm, 155 g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon


honor 5X

Huawei has finally announced its plans to break into the US market with the honor 5X. The honor 5X was announced a number of months ago, but it was just recently revealed that the dual-SIM budget handset would be coming to the United States for only $200.

Featuring an all-metal build and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, the 5X absolutely comes to market with a few features that we don’t normally see on sub-$200 smartphones. It comes with a big 5.5-inch Full HD display, Snapdragon 616 processor, 16 GB of storage and microSD expansion up to 128 GB. It also comes with a 13 MP rear camera, a pretty sizable 3000 mAh battery, and runs Huawei’s EMUI atop Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box. Huawei says the device will receive its update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow sometime soon, as well.

You can pre-order the honor 5X from Amazon in Dark Grey, Daybreak Silver or Sunset Gold color options for only $199.99.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 401 ppi
  • 1.5 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 processor
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 128 GB
  • 13 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3000 mAh battery
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 151.3 x 76.3 x 8.2 mm, 158 g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon


Best phones under $500

Nexus 6P

As the successor to last year’s Motorola Nexus 6, Google recently unveiled the Huawei-made Nexus 6P. This device is the higher-end of the two Nexus phones announced at Google’s event, and that’s incredibly apparent when looking at the spec sheet.

It comes with a big 5.7-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, super fast Snapdragon 810 processor, a giant 3450 mAh battery and an impressive 12MP rear-facing camera. Want to get your hands on one? The Nexus 6P is pretty cheap, considering the specs and build quality. You can purchase it from the Google Store starting at just $499!

We’ve just published our full review of this handset, and come to the conclusion that it’s up there with the best of the best.

Specs

  • 5.7-inch AMOLED display with 1440 x 2560 resolution, 518 ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor
  • 3 GB of RAM
  • 32/64/128 GB of on-board storage, no microSD card slot
  • 12 MP rear-facing camera, 8 MP front-facing camera
  • Non-removable 3450 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 159.3 x 77.8 x 7.3 mm, 178 g

Read more

Buy now from the Google StoreBuy now from Amazon


Motorola Moto X Style (aka Pure Edition)

With the original Moto X, Motorola proved you don’t need to have the latest specs to get a great user experience. With the second generation, the Lenovo-owned company took no chances and double-downed on the spec side as well, packing the new Moto X (2014) with a dense 5.2-inch AMOLED screen, a beefy processor, and a capable 13 MP camera. But with the Moto X Style, Motorola reaches the perfect balance between performance, simplicity, price and… well, style.

By Style we are mostly referring customization capabilities, a factor which has been an integral part of the Moto X experience since day one. Customers can use Moto Maker to manipulate their devices’ aesthetics to their will. You can change the color of the metal areas, engrave the back and even choose from a plethora of back options, including materials leather, wood, rubber and other materials.

The device is not a bad contender in terms of hardware, either. The larger screen puts the phone up with contenders like the OnePlus 2, Nexus 6, LG G4 and the Galaxy Note series. It may not sport the “best” processor in the market, but the Snapdragon 808 is pretty close to the 810, and Motorola has proven time and again they can make a super fast phone without the greatest chipset. The best part? This phone’s price will start at only $399!

It’s worth noting that the phone will be sold in most markets under the Style branding, though in the United States it will be sold as the Moto X Pure Edition, an unlocked model that will play nice with all U.S. carriers.

Specs

  • 5.7-inch IPS LCD display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 520 ppi
  • 1.8 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor
  • 3 GB of RAM
  • 16/32/64 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 128 GB
  • 21 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3000 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 153.9 x 76.2 x 11.06 mm, 179 g

Read more

Buy now from MotorolaBuy now from Amazon


Nexus 5X

Google chose to release two Nexus smartphones in 2015 – the higher-end Nexus 6P made by Huawei and the LG-made Nexus 5X, which is the true sequel to LG’s beloved Nexus 5 from 2013. Both of these devices feature similar specifications, but they still manage to stand out drastically from one another. The Nexus 5X has one of the best processors on the market (the Snapdragon 808), a decent 2700 mAh battery and a really great 12.3 megapixel rear-facing camera. It also boasts a fingerprint scanner on the back Google is calling Nexus Imprint, a front-facing speaker that provides decent audio quality and of course, this phone runs the latest version of Android.

In our full review, we had just a few gripes. While the Snapdragon 808 processor is very capable of performing just about everything you throw at it, the fact that the 5X comes with just 2 GB of RAM makes us nervous for the future. It also only comes with 16 or 32 GB of on-board storage with no microSD card expansion, so folks who are used to 32 or 64 GB variants will need to rely on cloud storage when it comes to keeping media on the phone.

Considering that the Nexus 6P costed only $120 more than the 5X at launch, it was a tad difficult to recommend this smartphone at the start. Now that it’s dropped in price, though, we really think this is one of the better phones you can buy at this price range.

Specs

  • 5.2-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 423 ppi
  • 1.8 GHz hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 16/32 GB of on-board storage, no microSD card expansion
  • 12.3 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2700 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 147 x 72.6 x 7.9 mm, 136 g

Read more

Buy now from AmazonBuy now from the Google Store


Best phones above $500

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

Samsung did a killer job with their 2015 flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. Design-wise, many would say those two phones were close to perfect. The company forwent a plastic design and instead included glass front and back panels with an aluminum frame. They weren’t without their flaws, though. The S6 and S6 Edge didn’t offer expandable storage or removable batteries — two features Samsung has been known to include in all its smartphones for years.

Now the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have made their way to the masses, and they fix many of the problems the S6 line introduced last year. While they don’t offer removable batteries, Samsung included expandable storage on both handsets in case the 32 GB of on-board storage isn’t enough. Samsung mostly stuck to the same design this time around, though they did shrink down the camera bumps on the back and made the devices a little thicker to make room for larger batteries.

In terms of specs, these are top-of-the-line smartphones. They come with Quad HD Super AMOLED displays, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processors, 4 GB of RAM, great 12 MP rear-facing cameras and run the latest version of Android. Instead of featuring the same screen sizes this time around though, Samsung kept the S7 at a smaller 5.1 inches, while the S7 Edge has been bumped up to a larger 5.5-inch panel.

Seriously, these are some incredible smartphones. They are a little pricey, but all in all, we think the high asking price is worth it.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S7

  • 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 577 ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 32GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200 GB
  • 12 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3000 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9 mm, 152 g

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

  • 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 534 ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 32 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200 GB
  • 12 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3600 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm, 157 g

Read more

Buy the Galaxy S7 from AmazonBuy the Galaxy S7 Edge from Amazon


LG G5

While the Galaxy S7 series is a minor refresh in terms of design, the LG G5 sees a massive departure from the design language used in the G series, ditching the rear volume/power setup that first debuted with the LG G2. The G5 also adopts a unibody metallic design that has a removable cap for access to the removable battery and a port for modules that allow users to expand the phone’s capabilities by adding a camera grip and other special accessories.

The distinctly different design of the LG G5 may not be for everyone, but there’s little denying that LG has went out of its way to try and innovate in a market where big changes like this aren’t all that common.

Spec wise, we’re looking at a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 with 4 GB RAM, a 5.3-inch display, and 32 GB storage with microSD for expansion. The specs here are certainly impressive all across the board. It’s also worth mentioning that LG has revamped its software, making it faster and less bloated. One controversial move with the software, however, is the removal of the app drawer in favor of what LG says is a “simplified experience.”

Specs

  • 5.3-inch IPS LCD display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 554 ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 32 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200 GB
  • 16 and 8 MP dual rear cameras, 8 MP front camera
  • Removable 2800 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7 mm, 159 g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon


Samsung Galaxy Note 5

It’s hard denying that Samsung has always been the king of large-screened smartphones, and that still holds true today. With its crystal clear 5.7-inch display, powerful Exynos 7420 CPU and killer 16 MP rear-facing camera, the Galaxy Note 5 is one of the best Android phones available on the market right now.

It’s an all-around solid device, boasting an all-glass chassis that’s similar to that of the Galaxy S7. It comes with an improved S Pen and some great multitasking features that will make it easy to get work done. The software is much more clean and simple than we’ve seen from the company in the past, too.

With all of that said, though, this device doesn’t come without its caveats. Samsung’s decision to omit the microSD card slot and removable battery has been a controversial one over the past few weeks, especially among Samsung die-hards. Even with these notable omissions, the Note 5 can still be considered one of the best out there.

If you’re looking for a big smartphone and money is no object, you should definitely consider picking up the Galaxy Note 5.

Specs

  • 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with 1440 x 2560 resolution, 518 ppi
  • Samsung Exynos 7420 processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 32/64 GB of on-board storage, no microSD card expansion
  • 16 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3000 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 153.2 x 76.1 x 7.6 mm, 171 g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon


LG V10

If you aren’t completely satisfied with the LG G4, perhaps the V10 will suit your needs. It has the same powerful Snapdragon 808 processor and 16 MP rear-facing camera as the G4, but with a few extra features included. Most notably, the V10 sports a secondary “ticker” display LG calls the Second Screen. This extra display aims to provide its users useful information without the need to turn on the main screen. It will display app shortcuts, notifications, and even weather and battery percentage information. Although the placement is a bit wonky, we’re sure you’ll be pretty happy with the added benefit of having a secondary display.

The V10 also has two front-facing cameras for wide-angle selfies, a fingerprint scanner that’s actually really reliable, a MIL-STD-810G Transit Drop Compliant rating for shock absorption, and a 32-bit Hi-Fi DAC electronic processor with support for Qualcomm’s QFE2550 closed-loop antenna tuning solution. It’s also the first smartphone ever to come with a manual mode for taking video.

Both the V10 and the G4 are great smartphones. If you aren’t concerned with spending a bit more money, though, you should buy the V10.

Specs

  • Main display: 5.7-inch IPS Quantum Display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 513 ppi
    • Secondary display: 2.1-inch IPS Quantum Display with 160 x 1040 resolution, 513 ppi
  • Hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 64 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 2 TB
  • 16 MP rear-facing camera, 5 MP Dual Lens front-facing camera
  • Removable 3000 mAh battery
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 159.6 x 79.3 x 8.6 mm, 192 g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon


There you have it – our picks of the best unlocked Android phones you can buy right now. Missed anything? Tell us in the comments!

Check out our related best lists:

The Elephone W2 has a mechanical watch face but also tracks your sleep, counts your steps, wake you up in the morning and various other things. Check out our full review here! Read more…

Intel-1

Android smartphone competition is fierce, but things are a bit different when it comes to the processors that power these smartphones and tablets. Qualcomm and Samsung are leading the bunch, and even CPU manufacturers like NVIDIA and Intel struggle to compete against them, in the mobile industry. Today we are here to speak about the latter-mentioned entity.

Intel is changing its strategy and switching focus to other business projects. Namely, they are placing most of their bets on the data center, IoT, memory, FPGA and 5G businesses. Something’s gotta give, right?

Also read:

But such a change in focus also means they must sacrifice other things, and it seems they will be leaving the smartphone and tablet business, at least for the meantime. A new report from Anandtech (with confirmation from Intel) states the processor maker will be canceling its Broxton and SoFIA platforms. This would mean they are dropping their whole upcoming lineup of smartphone and tablet SoC’s, which were to be part of the Atom X3 family.

Intel-Rockchip-Intel-CEO

The same news was also announced by analyst Patrick Moorhead, but having more solid confirmation coming from Intel is always welcomed. And it makes sense; while Intel is considered a processor giant in the PC market, they have invested too much into mobile just to make it to a handful of devices.

One of their best victories was the Dell Venue 8 7000 tablet. It was actually my personal favorite tablet during its time, featuring a great design, build quality and performance. But what other popular products can you think of that sport an Intel Atom chipset? Yeah, not many.

dell-venue-8-7000-review9

There is no word on when/if they will be making a return to mobile platforms. They are also not specifying anything on their Willow Trail project, but it was supposed to be a while until those products launched, and not enough details have been made available.

It’s probably time for Intel to focus on their strengths. Tablets and PCs continue to merge and now these powerful tablets need processors made for actual computers. Maybe that’s their place in the mobile industry, and I would say they will likely beat Qualcomm and Samsung in that department.

planet-pron
Before we go any further, please be aware that this post is about a porn app being updated, which some readers may find offensive. You have been warned.

There’s really no beating around the bush about what PlanetPron is all about; it’s an app designed to look at adult pictures and videos, plain and simple, but the app is currently undergoing a big update, so it’s certainly worth highlighting. We first talked about this app in our best adult apps roundup, praising the app for being one of the best of its kind. That was mostly down to its content, however, not design. Now PlanetPron is catching up in that department as well.

Material Design is prominent in PlanetPron and this is seen from the outset when launching the app. You’re greeted with a home screen that consists of a grid of content packed with high-resolution thumbnails of the content itself. We’ll ignore the irony present here that one is observing and appreciating the app design and layout, as opposed to the actual content. Simply tap a thumbnail on the grid to be taken to that image or video in a new window and you’ll find the usual comments, sharing, and rating icons.

PlanetPron also Features an app locking feature that works with a PIN or the Marshmallow fingerprint API to keep the app away from prying eyes. Privacy is continued as you can configure the app to time-out and also even change the app icon to further hide it on your device.

Of course the app isn’t on the Google Play Store, so you’ll need to download it directly from the app maker. That means you also need to allow the installation of apps from unknown sources in order for this to work.

Download PlanetPron

samsung galaxy note 5 5 tips and tricks aa (7 of 30)

NOTES: You want to take them, but does Samsung still want to make them?

As the timeless adage goes, the pen is mightier than the sword. These days however, there is some discussion needed as for just how accurately such sage sayings may apply to Samsung smartphones. True, the Galaxy Note has been a mainstay for a number of years now, and true it serves as not only a tool for those interested in productivity, but also doubles as a second flagship with which its maker can attract customers and remain relevant in the latter part of each year.

People love dreaming of the next Note, people love using the Note, and people love reading about the Note. It’s great for customers with big hands, customers with bad eye sight, customers who like to draw…Everyone seems to love the Note. Except for maybe Samsung.

Despite all this, 2016 is a very curious time for Samsung’s second big product line. With each passing year, the Galaxy Note series is seemingly becoming less and less of a proper priority for its maker, perhaps even suggesting it might be on a path to pasture. In this piece, we will go over each of the major inverse “milestones” and try to surmise just what can be done to try and retake or even remake the Note.

Notes: about Europe

Perhaps the best way to start off, and indeed the most visible sign of the times, is that of Samsung’s decision not to release the Galaxy Note 5 in Europe last year. The sordid situation prompted some major social engineering efforts. While the company did eventually change its mind, kind of, it was seemingly the result of customer outrage as opposed to some kind of supply constraint issue. Still, the fact that a conscious decision was made to ignore an entire continent for a halo product is quite telling.

samsung galaxy note 5 review second batch aa (9 of 15)

Now truth be told, no one can really say what was going on behind Samsung’s decision. To assert that the Korean OEM “hates” Europe is to attribute a human consciousness to a corporation. Companies function by way of obtaining capital and revenue, therefore any decision made is done so accordingly. There could have been problems making the curved rear glass which meant lower production numbers, for example, and thus priority was given to markets with a higher Note sales history.

What is more likely, however, is that Samsung probably examined the European market situation, considered the likelihood of its Note 5 selling enough units to justify the expenses involved with releasing it there, and either (1) planned to skip it entirely, or (2) wanted to wait a see how the phone fared in other markets first.

Whatever the case may be, however, the fact is that the Galaxy Note 5 was not given equal consideration in Europe has no doubt left a sour taste in the mouth of all those who have supported the company, and the product line, in the past.

Jarring Japan

samsung galaxy note 5 review second batch aa (2 of 15)

Stepping back in time to 2014, it is also unknown as to why Samsung decided to release the Galaxy Note Edge in Japan – the first country in the world to receive it at the time – and yet did not bother to release the Galaxy Note 4 at all there. Even more odd – and parallel to Europe – the Galaxy Note 5 didn’t release at all in the Land of the Rising Sun, making 2015 the first year ever that the Note line was absent.

Sure, a case could be made regarding the company’s abysmal market share – people prefer iPhones and Xperias in Japan – and therefore a desire to reduce marketing that would likely be wasted on an unperceptive market. Whatever the case may be however, the fact remains that this was another market with many many consumers that was not privy to the Note 5.

The Galaxy S6 Edge+

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+-16

It’s so big, one almost doesn’t even need to buy a Note!

Samsung’s decision to release a big-screen Galaxy S product, and the deliberate choice to make it an Edge variant no less, represented a major rethinking of its brand strategy. Here was the company launching a direct competitor to the Note 5 that was arguably even more marked for mainstream due to its curved glass. While it’s hard to fault the OEM for wanting to make such a thing, the timing was truly a questionable decision for it diluted the impact of the Note 5.

In addition, the fact that the S6 Edge Plus cost more than the Note 5 speaks even louder: it was quite clear which of the two was to be perceived as the higher-end product.

Naturally the fact that the Edge model used curved glass which costs more to manufacture is an overhead expense that comes into play with the price, but the average mainstream consumer will not even consider this when looking at the two options. If anything the idea that the Note comes with the S-Pen might serve to imply it’s the more expensive of the two, or at least should be.

Samsung could have priced the Note 5 at the same level as the S6 Edge+ yet didn’t. Samsung could have passed on an S6 Edge+ entirely, but didn’t.

The Phone “Clone”

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 Unboxing-10

Another sign that the Note series is becoming less relevant is the fact that last year’s model was a major departure from the usual “best of the best” approach that Samsung typically applied to the product line. Whereas the Galaxy S5 was plastic, for example, the Note 4 had a metal frame and souped up specs. Whereas the Galaxy S4 used a USB 2 port, the Galaxy Note 3 used USB 3.

With the Galaxy Note 5, the phone was basically just a larger Galaxy S6 with an S-Pen, nothing more, nothing less. There was no USB Type-C, as some rumors had suggested, there was no waterproofing, there was no 6GB of RAM. Perhaps it’s fitting that these rumors have returned once again this year in consideration of the Galaxy Note 6.

That said, it’s wrong to outright fault Samsung for keeping so close to the S6’s design, as the company arguably wanted a single cohesive design language, and/or wanted to try and keep costs in check by not doing anything too crazy with the Note 5.

The Note Edge is MIA

samsung-galaxy-note-edge-review-aa-23-of-26

Moving on, the fact that there was no Galaxy Note 5 Edge but there was a Galaxy S6 Edge+ also suggests a rethinking of priorities. Samsung introduced the curved AMOLED panels with the Galaxy Note Edge, and along with it a new way of interacting with the phone. In fact, just recently we looked at the issue itself, in an opinion piece that argued the Note Edge’s two fused, yet independently-functioning displays was a better implementation of the Edge feature.

The Galaxy S6 Edge+ did not make use of such a dual-display scenario, nor for that matter, does the Galaxy S7 Edge. Which brings up the next point.

The Galaxy S7 Edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Tips and tricks-2

Perhaps the greatest indication of all that Samsung is trying to downplay the relevance of the Note series is the existence of the Galaxy S7 Edge. Unlike the smaller-sized product that launched last year, Samsung has made the S7 Edge a full-on phablet. Could this be due to complaints that the S6 Edge was too small? Perhaps. And yet, as the S6 Edge Plus had launched just half a year prior to the launch of the S7 Edge, it raises concerns about timing.

Whereas the Note series was the sole premium phablet offering provided, there is now a second mainstream Galaxy S phone to deal with. It has often been argued, at times with polls to support, that the S-Pen is an often overlooked and irrelevant part of the Note experience. That is to say, many customers seemingly just want a premium phablet from Samsung, which the Note series is, but they really don’t need or care so much about the S-Pen itself.

While there will definitely be those who want the S-Pen and/or depend on it, by having now decoupled the accessory and released a standard high-end phablet, Samsung has basically cannibalized a large potential segment of its Note customer base.

A Notable second MIA: tablets

The final piece of “evidence” to support this argument is the total lack of a new Galaxy Note tablet product for over an entire year. To date, Samsung has released the original Galaxy Note 10.1 back in 2012 followed by the Galaxy Note 8.0 and Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 (in 2013), and finally the Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 in early 2014.

As nice as the phones themselves are, the whole idea of an integrated stylus seems to be a perfect combination with an even bigger product, hence the sheer productive power of the full-blown tablets. Make no mistake, this is clearly deemed a major selling point as one need look no further than Apple’s two iPad Pro devices, both of which are compatible with an expensive Pencil. Yet whereas Apple makes customers spend in excess of $100 to purchase said Pencil, Samsung has always included the S-Pen with the hardware itself and, even better, has made a special stow-away section to store it.

samsung galaxy notepro 122 first aa-98-13

The Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 was the last formal Galaxy Note tablet to release.

Where is the new Note tablet? While it’s understandable that tablets are far less of a priority now that there is mounting evidence to suggest a market in major decline, at the very least there should be a decent top-tier tablet to rival Apple’s offering. Last year’s Galaxy Tab A series actually did have an optional model with an S-Pen included, yet as it was clearly not branded as a Note and the specs themselves were so unremarkable, it’s hard to truly consider that as a formal offering.

Even the Galaxy TabPro S, which runs Windows 10 doesn’t come with an S-Pen. And while Samsung does intend to eventually release a stylus for it, the term “S-Pen” has not been used. It seems like an incredibly wasted opportunity, especially give that the nearby competition – Microsoft’s Surface – comes with a stylus.

Saving the Note

Some have argued Samsung should decouple the S-Pen from the Note series and thereby make it an optional accessory for any interested person and product. In a very real sense, if an S-Pen were to function with the Galaxy S7 Edge, it would literally be a Galaxy Note 7 Edge. The screen size is pretty much there, so why not allow the usability? It has actually done this already with the aforementioned Galaxy Tab A product line no less.

Rumors state Samsung may launch a Galaxy Note 6 Edge this summer. Assuming it doesn’t have the dual display functionality addressed earlier, what’s the point? How would the product be any different from the S7 Edge already on the market?

LG V10 Hands On-2

Perhaps Samsung needs to do something really bold and dynamic in order to “save” the Note, either from obscurity of else from itself. Perhaps it should take a look at LG, of all companies, and the V10 handset. LG’s second flagship of 2015 was a truly gigantic consideration. It had dual functioning displays, it had a sizable frame, it had top-quality mobile audio output, and it was virtually indestructible. Heck, it even looked totally different from the LG G4.

As if that were not enough, LG is clearly convinced the second screen is a good idea as it’s now seeking to include it on even non-flagship products to boot. Even the “standard affair” G5 looks totally different from its predecessor and the V10.

Just imagine what might happen if Samsung went truly crazy with the Note 6 and made it a completely different, unique product. The series could find its own niche again, something it once had back before rivals were churning out phablets right and left. It would give Note owners something special to look forward to, and it might even convince some mainstream users to get with the program, too.

Conclusion and Wrap Up

Despite the fact that Samsung’s Galaxy Note line has a dedicated group of loyal customers – or perhaps future returnees if the Note 6 brings back microSD support – it’s hard to believe the famous product line still has the same luster it once had over at Samsung’s HQ. Regrettably, it seems like the Note has become just another phablet in a sea of phablets, and even Samsung doesn’t seem to want to make it different.

The Note Edge was a major step forward, yet it has ostensibly been canned. The Note tablets are now more relevant than ever now that Apple has a Pencil, and yet they are nowhere to be seen. People need to covet the Galaxy Note series once more for more than it being just another Note and/or a flagship phablet.

What do you think? Has Samsung started to reduce the Note to a less-than-zero supporting role, or is it as prime and pertinent as ever? Does the product lack that something special it once had, or are things going swimmingly? Please feel free to take the surveys within this piece and then leave a comment or two below.

htc 10 first look aa (9 of 19)

While the last few weeks at Android Authority have been packed with tons of reviews, this last week saw this trend come to an end. While nothing was reviewed this week, that doesn’t mean the video team sat idly by.

This week our video team brought us a more in-depth look at the HTC 10’s camera, pitted the LG G5 vs the Nexus 6P, gave us an overview of the main mobile payment services, and much more. Our very own Joe Hindy also had a very busy week, not only bringing us his regular Android Apps Weekly video but also best games and best apps of April videos.

So without further delay, let’s jump in and take a look at all the great content we saw this week:

HTC 10 Camera Feature Focus

After finding mixed reception at best for the HTC One M9, the HTC 10 aims to be a much-needed step up for the company, and based on our review we agreed that hTC had certainly made a massive improvement this time around. In this feature we take a closer look at the camera, an area where HTC has traditionally been at its weakest.

LG G5 vs Nexus 6P

The Nexus 6P is considered one of the best Android devices released in 2015 and remains just as compelling of a buy even now. Meanwhile, the LG G5 attempts to challenge the norm with its unique modular design. How do the two compare? We take a closer look at this question in our LG G5 vs Nexus 6P comparison.

Android Pay vs Apple Pay vs Samsung Pay Overview

There is no lack of mobile payment options out there in 2016, but there are three that have gained a greater level of traction than all the rest – Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay. In this overview we give you a better look at how they compare.

Android Apps Weekly and the best apps/games of April

Google Play Awards, Counter Strike, Harvest Moon is out! – Android Apps Weekly

Google Play Awards, Counter Strike on Android, Harvest Moon, and more — you don’t want to miss the latest episode of Joe’s Android Apps Weekly show.

10 best new Android games of April 2016

Kingdom Hearts Unchained X, LEGO Jurassic World – there were plenty of great games released in April. We take a look at 10 of the best.

10 best new Android apps of April 2016

An official Giphy app, an official Reddit app – it’s been a good month for apps. We take a look at 10 of the best newcomers.

Android Authority Weekly episodes

Looking for a recap on some of the best news of the week? Check out Jayce’s Android Authority Weekly episodes below, as well as links to all related coverage.

HTC One S9 is Official – Google’s Dream Team – Facebook Messenger Group Calls

 

Lenovo and Xiaomi Drop Out of the Top 5 Selling OEMs

 

From Android à la MODE and Windows on Apple Watch, to Intel out of phones, Microsoft’s not-so-special offers, and BlackBerry’s Marshmallow bunkum, it’s our regular roundup of the week’s top tech news. Read more…

Google-IO-2013 Pixel chromebook 1600 aa

Google’s Chrome OS has managed to make in-roads into various sectors, including education. Part of this has to do with the cloud-based platform’s relatively simple usability and all-inclusive functionality. The real key however, is the low price at which the hardware – Chromebooks – cost. Whereas a decent Windows-based laptop can retail for hundreds and hundreds of dollars, Chrome OS packing-products are typically a mere fraction of the cost. Except for Google’s own Chromebook Pixel.

Google has just made the choice easier by making it more difficult. As of today, the lowest priced Pixel, the $999 variant, has been discontinued.

The Chromebook Pixel starts at a “mere” thousand dollars and includes things such as a super high resolution display and touch-support. The original model even had optional LTE connectivity. While this product line will only appeal to a limited segment of an already limited – though growing – market, Google has just made the choice easier by making it more difficult. As of today, the lowest priced Pixel, the $999 variant, has been discontinued.

Here’s how Liliputing’s Brad Linder put it:

[The $999] model is out of stock… and a Google representative tells me the company has no plans of re-stocking the $999 Chromebook Pixel with a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage.

You can still buy a $1299 model with a Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and 64GB of storage though.

It’s unclear as to just why Google decided to discontinue the most affordable Pixel. There is likely a number of different factors, some of which may have been:

  1. Customers might not have responded as well to it as they did the more expensive option.
  2. Marketing data may have suggested it was overpriced when compared with competing products.
  3. Component supply issues may have made it impossible to continue offering the product without raising the price.
  4. Google might have sold through its remaining stock and plans to release a new model shortly.
  5. Google worked with HP on the Chromebook 13 which is a premium – but cheaper – product that is fiscally more realistic for most customers.

The truth might be one of these factors, or a combination of some – or all – of them. It might even be something not considered at all. Still, the fact that there is now less choice for consumers, especially those who want a premium product like the Pixel, is never a good thing.

It remains to be seen as to if a new Chromebook Pixel will be released this year, but at least there is always the Pixel C.

What do you think? Does this decision baffle the mind or is it probably the product of progressive planning? Leave a comment below!

 

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