Tag Archives: phone

How to Change the Keyboard on an Android Device

So it has occurred to me that a lot of people don’t realize the extent of which you can customize an Android device. From the home screen launcher, to the theme, to the phone dialer/messaging/email app, the list is endless. It’s one of the beauties of Android –total freedom to replace what you don’t like with some developer’s better attempt.

It’s the sheer number of people I’ve met that are still using TouchWiz and cursing at it that has brought me to think that it warrants a small series of videos here on the site (if not a PSA blasted across the country) on how to get the most out of the customization options of Android. So here goes.

To start this off, let’s begin with one of the first things I do when getting a new Android device –the keyboard. It’s the fastest way for me to get a sense of familiarity and it is the first thing that annoys me about a lot of manufacturer’s custom interfaces (just like how you’ve come to learn the layout of the keyboard for most computers, I’ve come to get used to a specific way I want my Android keyboard. Thanks, conditioning!).

If you type “keyboard” into the Play Store, you’ll be presented with a lot of interesting options for replacements. There’s ones that allow you to swipe the keys to form words, ones with unconventional keys with multiple letters per key that guess the letter you actually want, ones in crazy colors and styles, and most have a lot more customization options than the one your manufacturer thought you’d like.

Swapping out the keyboard is a lot like downloading any other app; find the keyboard you want from the Play Store and install it. The difference is that you need to set it up after downloading it. And although some will walk you through this process when you install the keyboard, not all do so it’s probably best to know how to do it manually regardless. Here’s how:

I. Download the New Keyboard

1. Open the Play Store.

2. Search for “keyboard”.

3. Choose a keyboard you want to try and install it.

II. Setup the New Keyboard

1. Go to Settings > Language and Input (this might be called something else depending on your device, but look for something that might contain keyboard settings).

2. Check the box next to the new keyboard name to enable it.

3. Tap on Default and then choose the new keyboard to set it as the default keyboard.

4. Open any app that has typing in it, and tap in the text field. The new keyboard should pop up.

Find any amazing keyboards? Share them in the comments below!

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How to Change the Icons/Theme on Your Android Device

Now that you’ve learned to change your Android device’s home screen launcher, you can take the customizing of Android one step further by adding a custom theme for that launcher to change the icons for apps, skin the device, change the wallpaper, etc.

Just like with the custom launcher scene, there’s no shortage of themes (and some are pretty popular). From making your Android device resemble all of the other operating systems (from Windows Phone to Blackberry to iOS), to giving your device a much more cartoony look, there’s no limit getting your device to look the way you really want it to look.

Ready to try a few? Here’s how.

I. Setup a New Launcher

1. Head to my How to Change the Home Screen Launcher tutorial, complete it, then return here to continue. Keep in mind when looking for a launcher to theme, that the more popular the launcher, the more themes will be available for it (as not all themes are compatible with all launchers).

II. Download the Theme You Want

1. Open the Play Store.

2. Search for the name of your launcher followed by the word “theme” (i.e. Apex theme, Nova theme, etc.). Alternatively, you can add other words describing the theme to narrow the search (i.e. Apex flat theme, Apex cartoon theme, Apex iPhone theme, etc.).

3. Once you find one you like, check its description to make sure it says it works for your theme, then click Install.

III. Select the Theme

1. Depending on your launcher, the option for themes might be in a different location, but for the most part, head to your launcher’s settings menu and look for theme there. Alternatively, some themes allow you to open them like a normal app and tap your launcher’s name from inside there to have it install automatically (but I find that this is just a place for really annoying ads most of the time).

2. From there, select the theme you downloaded and hit Apply. To undo a them, simply head to the theme settings in your launcher again and choose the default theme (or another theme).

Enjoy!

Find any amazing themes? Share them in the comments below!

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Everything You Need to Know from Facebook F8

Facebook just concluded their developer conference called F8 (is it slightly creepy that that spells fate?). During this event Mark Zuckerberg, laid out Facebook’s 10 year plan for world domination roadmap for the company that showed their products like WhatsApp and Instagram all the way to their VR aspirations and their plans to use drones and other means to make sure everyone can access the internet (and their products, of course).

Facebook F8 Roadmap

Since it is a developer event, Facebook kicked things off with some new developer tools.

Login Tools

Facebook announced a few tools for developers to help with logging into their apps. Sort of makes sense considering Facebook is the most popular login service in the world.

First up, there is Account Kit which developers can use to allow their users to login to their apps using their phone number or email. This came after developers told Facebook users wanted to be able to login without needing a Facebook account.

They also announced a new login for users with Facebook accounts, called Anonymous Login. As the name suggests, you’ll have a new Login Anonymously option in addition to the Login with Facebook option we are used to seeing that will allow you to login to an app using Facebook but without sharing any of your personal info and not letting the app post to your Facebook.

In addition to this new option – that I’m not sure why you would ever not select frankly, but maybe I’m missing something – Facebook also announced line by line controls for the normal Facebook Login. You can actually choose which permissions you want to give the app instead of having to allow all of them in one shot.

Sharing Tools

Next up in the developer tools that’ll probably affect you as an end-user is the new sharing-type tools that Facebook announced.

There is a new quote-sharing tool that developers can put on their sites eventually that’ll let users highlight text on the page and it’ll give users the option to directly quote it and share it to Facebook.

Quote Sharing

There’s also a new Save to Facebook button that developers will also be allowed to embed on their sites to have you save articles, yes, like Pocket or Instapaper, but to your Facebook app for reading later. Once of the nice things that might help this get adopted faster than Pocket or Instapaper is the face it doesn’t strip down the site, so publishers (ehem!) can still have their ads on the page and continue to make revenue. At least, until Facebook strips that out and forces them to use their own ad network, called Audience Network.

Messenger

The clear star of this event, though, was definitely Messenger.

Just like Microsoft unveiled at their recent event, Facebook is pushing bots. Now in Messenger, you can talk to specific bots and they’ll deliver information to you via conversational text instead of, say using an app. For example, messaging the CNN bot will have it ask you what topics you are interested in and it will then use that info to tell you about the news from those topics, the 1-800-Flowers bot can help you order flowers to someone, etc.

Facebook Messenger Bots

Again, as I’ve said before, these bot things are going to get interesting and they’re a brand new type of App Store that people like Microsoft and Facebook have opened up to developers to create their own (which, I’m sure will eventually be able to be charged for, which Facebook and Microsoft will then take a percentage of à la every app store).

This new bot platform is now ready for development and is dubbed “Messenger Platform”.

Live Streaming API

Another form of communication that Facebook is betting on is live video. With the release of their live video recently, it makes sense that Facebook announced their new Live Streaming API that’ll allow developers to throw live video up on Facebook. So, you know, expect more soon.

Virtual Reality

Being that Facebook owns the popular Oculus VR company, it was expected that there’d be some Virtual Reality news coming out of this event and Facebook didn’t disappoint in that respect: they launched a camera.

Facebook Surround 360

The new Surround 360 camera is capable of shooting 8K video using 17 lens and costs about $30,000. While that may sound like a lot of money, let me assure you that for that resolution and a 360 degree shooting rig with minimal setup needed, it’s not.

Conclusion

And there you go, a quick recap of the things that Facebook announced at F8 this year. Let me know what you guys think in the comments below and I’ll reply ASAP.

Read More: Everything You Need to Know from Facebook F8

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HTC 10 Announced Today, Here’s the Details

HTC held an event on the 12th to launch their new flagship phone. HTC has had a bit of a rough patch with their phones starting with the M9 not being received terribly well and the A9 getting dangerously close to looking like an iPhone, if we’re honest. Thankfully though, they seemed to have course corrected and gone back to what makes HTC phones HTC phones with the HTC 10.

So first thing you’ll notice about the new HTC 10 is that the word One isn’t there. In an effort to probably associate this new device with a reinvention of their lineup, HTC has dropped the One moniker. HTC’s Head of Global Product Marketing Darren Sng (yup, there are no vowels in his last name) told Android Central ahead of the launch that the idea behind the name is that they are aiming for a “perfect 10” device.

Body & Design

htc-10-pdp-design

The body of this new device has chamfered edges on the back of the unibody metal design along with smaller edges on the front to help the 5.2″ 2.5K SuperLCD 5 screen transition to the thin sides of the device.

On the right side, we have the SIM tray, a textured power button, to help you differentiate it from the volume buttons that also sit on that side.

At the bottom we have a fingerprint sensor/home button and capacitive buttons for back and multitasking.

Audio

HTC 10 HiFi Audio

HTC has also dropped the dual front facing speakers in favor of a different type of system. Instead they have a HiFi BoomSound speaker at the top hidden in the earpiece to play the higher audio and the equivalent of a subwoofer at the very bottom for the low-end. Of course, we’ll have to see how this new setup stacks up against the much beloved dual speakers from before, but so far most people’s reactions are at least positive.

Also, in the audio department, the HTC 10 has 24 bit audio support when using a wired headset (like the LG G5 once it adds the HiFi Module) and can even upscale audio to the better quality as well. Because of this, they have also released a new wired headset to take advantage of the high-def audio.

Camera

HTC 10 Rear Camera

A department where the M9 lacked and caused a huge uproar is the camera so a lot is riding on it for this new flagship in the minds of HTC fans.

On the new HTC 10, HTC has brought back the UltraPixel concept they started a while back with a new rear-facing 12MP UltraPixel 2 sensor that has larger pixels instead of more. These pixels are 1.55 microns in size which is the same size as the Nexus 6P’s and slightly larger than the new Galaxy S7’s 1.4 micron pixels, in case you’re keeping score.

On the front, we have a new 5MP camera with the same UltraPixels, but with the included benefit of image stabilization –usually only found in the rear facing cameras of devices but HTC has added it to both on this one. Shaky selfies are a common issue, I suppose…

Performance & Battery

Powering all of this we have a Snapdragon 820 processor (like most flagships this year), 4GBs of RAM, 32GBs of internal storage with an option for a MicroSD card for further storage, and a 3000mah battery.

Price and Release Date

HTC 10 Front

The HTC 10 will start shipping in “early May” for around $700.

Conclusion

There you go a quick run down of the new HTC 10. I, for one, am excited about the specs and design, but am going to wait until I can get my hands on one before I let HTC off the hook.

In the meantime, for my favorite hands on articles of the new device, check out the links below and let me know what you guys think in the comments!

Favorite HTC 10 Hands-On from Around the Web

Android Central

Digital Trends

Pocket-Lint

MKBHD

Full specs and to pre-order – http://www.htc.com/us/smartphones/htc-10/

Read More: HTC 10 Announced Today, Here’s the Details

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The new HTC 10 is the first Android smartphone with native support for Apple’s AirPlay technology

HTC’s latest flagship smartphone, the 10, supports Apple’s AirPlay right out of the box. Celebrating the tenth year since the Taiwanese handset maker’s been making smartphones, the new HTC 10 was unveiled this morning and is the world’s first Android device with built-in native support for Apple’s wireless media streaming technology. Owners of the new phone […]

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