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Found 6 results

  1. Stock Android vs Android One vs Android Go What's the difference between stock Android, Android One, and Android Go? Each is a flavor of Android, each originates from Google and all have a few things in common. But there are some big differences in the way in which smartphone makers use the open source software, how security updates are released, what pre-installed apps are included, and more. Today we're clearing up any confusion. Note: For clarity, we're defining stock Android as whatever Google ships on its own hardware. There are obviously differences between the Android found on Nexus phones and that found on Pixels, but given the demise of the Nexus program, we'll be referring to the Pixels' software as stock Android throughout what follows. The (normal) Android experience The way it works for a traditional OEM like Samsung or LG or Huawei would be that Google publishes the source code for Android – part of its Android Open Source Project (AOSP) – and then anybody can take that code and build around it for a smartphone or any other development board. On top of that, Google has services such as the Google Play Store and apps like YouTube and Google Maps, but they're not part of the Android Open Source Project. Therefore to get a 'normal' Android smartphone you need to take the source code from Google, but you also need to have certification so you can use their apps, which is known as Google Mobile Services. Most OEMs add their own variations, skins, or what they see as improvements to the Android OS on their smartphones such as Samsung's TouchWiz (now known as Samsung Experience), Sense from HTC or EMUI from Huawei. Not all of these have been good, but most have become better through the years. On top of these familiar variations on Android that most people will have used, we also have these three variations of more “pure” Android. Stock Android Historically, stock Android is what you would get on devices in the Nexus line like the Nexus 5x and Nexus 6P. While there were some differences in software between the last Nexuses and the first Pixels, now that the Nexus line has been officially deprecated (barring six remaining months or so of security patches) we'll use the term stock Android to refer to whatever software Google is shipping on its own devices right now. These devices actually get Android directly from Google, so as soon as there's a change that Google wants to ship out, it comes directly to the phone without delay. Naturally, there's increasing demand for stock Android as it's bloatware-free, gets updated swiftly, and doesn't have anything “extra” from an OEM to slow it down. They're not for everyone and some less technical users may prefer to have a bunch of preinstalled apps to avoid needing to download them on the Play Store, but for enthusiasts and moderately capable users, stock Android has a lot to like. Android One Then there's Android One, which was originally launched in India in 2014 and was aimed at low-end phones. Over the years, Android One has actually grown beyond its original purpose to include much higher-end phones than was originally intended, like the Moto X4, which we'll see later. For devices with Android One, Google actually offers software development services to manufacturers. So perhaps a handset maker is good at building hardware, marketing, and has retail experience, but they're not good at software. In this case, Google offers them Android One and commits to sending updates and security patches for an agreed time period, directly to the handsets. While there is little said publicly about this, Android One is likely a paid service. Android is, of course, open source, the Android One programme is a service on top of this, so it would make sense that Google charges a fee to OEMs like Nokia, a major partner with Android One, for handling their software needs. If there is a cost, it may be offset in that Google itself benefits from having more users on Android, in turn receiving more traffic to its search engines and using its apps, which allows it to place more ads in front of more users. Android Go Finally, there's Android Go. This flavor of Android replaces the original Android One programme and is specifically for low-end devices. It's a cut-down version, so it doesn't have as many pre-installed apps and has deliberately 'lite' or 'Go' versions of Google apps, like Maps Go and Gmail Go, which are aimed specifically at running smoothly on low-end devices. The big difference between Android Go and Android One is that Android Go doesn't come directly from Google – Google sends it to a maker like Nokia, and then Nokia releases it. This also means that Nokia has to release updates and upgrades when they're pushed out from Google, adding in a delay that isn't there with stock or Android One. Android Go hasn't been seen by many in more developed countries, but that will change over time as it picks up steam. Stock Android vs Android One vs Android Go: The on-device differences To check on the differences between these flavors, we have three devices, each with a different Android variant: First is the Google Pixel, which is has got stock Android on it, comes with Android 8.1 Oreo and has security updates including April, and Gary's video was shot in the month of April. The Motorola Moto X4 which is an Android One device and that has Android 8.0 Oreo and it has security updates up to March. Finally, the Nokia 1, which has Android 8.1 Go on it, but it has security updates only up until January. There are some cosmetic differences between how each Android version looks, for things like widgets, wallpapers, and colors. Android One devices such as the Moto X4 come with the most pre-installed apps, like Google Translate. The Pixel has the bare minimum of apps, while the Nokia 1 has very few apps preinstalled (although all apps are, of course, downloadable from the Play Store). It is worth noting some apps are the same, but other apps can be quite different, such as the camera app, which depends on the hardware available to the camera software. Wrap-up In a nutshell, stock Android comes directly from Google for Google's hardware like the Pixel range. Google is also responsible for providing updates and upgrades. Android One also comes directly from Google, but this time for non-Google hardware and as with stock Android, Google provides updates and patches. Android Go replaces Android One for low-end phones and provides a more optimized experience for less powerful devices. Unlike the other two flavors, though, the updates and security fixes come via the OEM. Have you tried a device with Android One or Android Go? How did you like it? Let us know in the comments below.
  2. We didn't get a new verision of Android at Google I/O, but it's not like there weren't enough already. As Apple pushes on into the beautiful iOS 7 future and brings the lion's share of its user-base along, there's still a lot of Android users stuck in a multiple OS-ghettos. Apple's walking into the launch of its new iOS7 with a whopping 93 percent of users on the current operating system, with virtually everyone else just one version behind. Android on the other hand is almost an even split between current versions and the past two. It's this kind of unified user base that really gives Apple an edge especially when it's diving into a brave new design world like iOS 7. Meanwhile, kids in the Android slums weep silent tears onto Gingerbread screens. What's wrong with fragmentation? DeGusta does a fine job of explaining how fragmentation screws over Android owners in terms of security and app development. he says as one example. On the flipside, he notes that Apple iPhones are updated on day one of a major iOS release, simply because Apple enjoys a direct relationship with its phone owners. On the other hand, Android has to dig through unmotivated cell phone manufacturers and conservative carriers send an update. DeGusta concludes.
  3. Android users who want a custom ROM*, but are turned off by Cyanogenmod's attempts to go commercial, now have another option in the form of newly launched OmniROM. OmniROM comes from several of those involved in CyanogenMod, who lost interest when those in charge of the most popular replacement firmware committed the cardinal sin of trying to turn a buck, so now we have competing ROMs for Android devices – offering more choice than ever. Users place their supplied ROM (strictly speaking a ROM-Image) to enable additional features, or remove things their manufacturer has decided to include, or get a new version of Android working on old hardware which isn't officially supported any more. Both OmniROM and CyanogenMod are descended from the Android Open Source Project. Before the community congealed around Cyanogenmod there were a handful of alternatives, but most died off or at least shrunk as Cyanogenmod answered the needs of the niche community. At least until last month, when the team in charge of the project set up Cyanogen Inc with $7m in VC capital and a deal with handset-manufacturer Oppo to preload the OS into its handsets. That upset some of the community, who seemed to feel the new company was profiting from their volunteered efforts. Most notable was the camera application, Focal, which had proved a popular feature of Cyanogen but disappeared when the author was asked to license the app for commercial use. Focal's developer is now on the OmniROM team. OmniROM will be hoping to gather deserters from CyanogenMod, even if their first version only works on the Google Nexus range and a few Sony devices. The team over at Cyanogen Inc (and those VC backers who stumped up the $7m) are hoping that broad device support will make it viable as a commercial operation. Both are currently competing for a niche market at best, as most Android users are quite happy with the Google-backed ROM which comes pre-installed. Making money from a handful of hobbyists and hackers was always going to be tough for Cyanogen Inc, and OmniROM just made it a whole lot tougher.
  4. The next version of Google's platform, Android 4.4 KitKat, is set to arrive any day now. After three helpings of Jelly Bean, we would hope that the Nestle-inspired build should prove to be a larger update, but so far signs point to minor enhancements. Until recently, Google has done a great job keeping KitKat under wraps. Officially, Google has only said that its goal with KitKat is to "make an amazing Android experience available for everybody." Some posit this to mean we could see new Android-powered devices such as game consoles, smartwatches, smart TV, and laptops. Others look for a kinder, gentler platform that plays nice with older hardware. This past weekend proved to be the biggest break in regards to what Android 4.4 looks like as well as some of its potential features. Some changes and details may include tweaks to the app launcher, notification bar, and dialer. Nothing too crazy, of course, but rather a color adjustment here or a transparency there. When it might be announced Some rumors suggest that Google has lined up the KitKat introduction for as soon as October 15, but I suspect an invitation for an official event instead. At the least, I expect that Google would dish the new feature set in a live YouTube broadcast. Assuming it plans to introduce new Nexus 5 hardware, which it should, then we might look for at least one day's notice before the big announcement. Other dates tossed around of late indicate that the end of October might also be in order. Should that be the case, there's still time to send out a few "save the date" e-mails and blog posts. The software we could get So far, leaked images like those in the gallery above point to minor, cosmetic changes, rather than a massive overhaul. The application drawer could move away from the all-black background in favor of a transparent bar. The pervasive notification area also appears to get the same treatment; a few screenshots show the top bar as having the see-through effect. In a related note, a 9to5Google report shows the notification bar with colors that match or complement various apps. The dialer app, for instance, brings up a blue bar, while the Hangouts app has a green one. It's possible that these particular apps were designed with their own colors and that the transparency is otherwise still present. According to Italian Android blog TuttoAndroid, the lock screen will include shortcut to the camera application. The move would make sense as most custom launchers and lock screens have moved to integrate the oft-used feature. The Android 4.4 lock screen could include quick access to the camera. A slightly more meaty addition, TuttoAndroid site also claims the "always listening" functionality employed in the Motorola Moto X can be found in the Android 4.4 experience. Should this prove true, users can expect quick access to Google Now and searching without having to touch the phone. An Android Police report from this weekend suggests other changes could come in the area of app folders and widgets. According to their findings, folders are no longer limited to 16 shortcuts and will simply scroll if there are more. Widget placement moves out from the app drawer and back to the more traditional long-press method on the home screen. Speaking of which, users may soon find that the stock Android 4.4 experience allows for more than five home screen panels. The stock camera experience should see a number of adjustments as well, including options to apply filters, borders, and effects. While Google+ already allows for photo editing and manipulation, it asks that a user have already uploaded the image to the cloud. Other tweaks to the shooter could yield straightening, mirroring, and color balance. If the final product resembles the leaked images we saw, then the app itself could get a makeover. Tweaks could come in the form of streamlined UI with quicker access to flash settings, timers, and image size. As we discovered in a recent leak, other changes may include the option to save images locally in PDF format, export images in a variety of sizes and quality, and apply built-in filters and effects. Native printing could be built into Android and may allow for options such as paper size, number of copies, orientation, and choosing between color or black and white. From the sound of it, Google might simply include Cloud Print at an OS level instead of relying on its standalone application. We might also see wireless display support (via Miracast) in this next version of Android. One area where Google has struggled to gain traction, mobile payments, could be rolled into the Android 4.4 platform. Screengrabs show a "Payments" option, but it's unclear what its role could mean for people. Presumably this is simply the place where one manages their Google Wallet account. Perhaps the thought is that by including it in the standard Android experience, it gains a larger awareness. The more you know it exists, the more likely you might be to use it. An updated app suite As far as the Pure Google app experience is concerned, we may see Drive, Keep, and Quickoffice come preloaded by default (right now they're optional downloads or bundled with one carrier or manufacturer experience). As many of you know, this trio of products and services work seamlessly with other Google properties and adds a layer of productivity. To get a sense for how Android 4.4 KitKat might look in action, be sure to check out the video below. Again, the details are not all that obvious and easy to overlook. However, the experience seems to be one that is smooth and fluid. This is to be expected; Google will continue pushing for performance optimizations across the board. You might miss it the first time around, but the messaging app is nowhere to be found in the video. As the standard app for sending and receiving SMS and MMS, it's possible that Google is transitioning to Hangouts for its communications. We have long expected to see a unified chat and messaging service from Google; this could be the sign of such an animal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2ksOJl0PDDg When KitKat could land KitKat is expected to ship with the Google Nexus 5 smartphone first, and then later come to other Nexus devices via over-the-air updates. If history is an indicator, the most recent Nexus 4, Nexus 7 2013, and Nexus 10 devices, as well the previous generation Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7 2012 to pick up the release first, maybe a few weeks after the launch. In terms of all other devices, I suspect the same rules still apply; newer and more popular models will get priority seating aboard the S.S. KitKat, like the LG G2 and HTC One. Note that phones that use custom interfaces (that's most of them) will take longer to get the update. Handset makers are becoming ever more vocal over social media so look for OEMs to detail specific devices in blog posts and status updates. Realistically, if you are running 4.1 or 4.2, you might expect some Nestle love this winter. What's missing? Taken as a whole, the 4.4 KitKat version of Android looks like it's a minor, not massive, step forward. But, given this is still a version-point update and not a full 5.0 release, we should keep our expectations in check. Is there something in Android that you see as lacking at the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean platform level? Which features in other smartphones that you would like to see come to Android? I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments below.
  5. Nike is revealing a new version of its FuelBand today at an event in New York City. Dubbed the FuelBand SE, the new fitness tracker sports a variety of color accents and represents the sporting goods maker’s first non-cosmetic update to its activity tracking wearable since the gadget’s introduction. The FuelBand, for those who aren’t familiar, is a wearable wristband that provides users with a visual readout of their steps taken during the course of a day, and also offers up a ‘Fuel’ tally, which is a metric made up by Nike that calculates based on your activity level through things like walking, running, paying basketball and more. They don’t share much about how they come up with that number, but it’s likely not terribly scientific and meant primarily as a motivation device to get people moving more frequently. This new second-generation product has a similar design to the original version (but with red, pink or yellow accents), with a rubberized band that fits snugly around the wrist available in different sizes. This edition is intended to be better at encouraging users to move, and harder to cheat with. Nike reports that doing things like punching your fist in the air to game your score won’t up your Fuel score, according to CNET. It also looks to offer up better ability to differentiate between different types of activity, like cycling, spinning and rowing. Nike’s new hardware is sealed and waterproofed, making it usable in the shower, and it’s got a highly refined motion detection algorithm. There are regular reminders (once hourly) to prompt you to get up and stop being so lazy, and there’s a new shortcut to let you double tap the button to access time. It uses Bluetooth 4.0, too, which should make it easier to sync data and provide a bit of a battery boost. There’s also a brand new app redesign to do along with it, with more granular and informative charts and graphs related to activity data. A new Fuel-per-minute metric offers a look at your average intensity, rather than just cumulative activity totals. Finally, there’s sleep tracking, which the first generation device lacked entirely. Sleep tracking is available to users of the Fitbit Flex, and the Jawbone Up, so that’s a huge addition in terms of playing catchup with the competition. The FuelBand SE is still iOS only, however, so don’t be expecting an Android app anytime soon. Users not in the Apple flock can still use the website, however
  6. Microsoft will be releasing a new version of its Remote Desktop software to Android and iOS in the future, as part of a raft of enterprise cloud computing launches. The app, which allows users to control a PC or virtual desktop remotely, will appear on the mobile operating systems at the same time as updated versions of the software ship for Windows, Windows RT, and OS X. Remote Desktop Android The iOS Remote Desktop app will have an "app bar" to remotely launch and switch between apps, writes Microsoft MVP Michel Roth, with the app said to work with both iOS 6 and iOS 7. The updated OS X app will apparently have more functionality, including "seamless windows." Remote Desktop iOS The Android version, usable on devices running Gingerbread and later, with support for the Remote Desktop Gateway also touted. All touch-enabled versions will apparently have various virtual mouse modes, and will be able to bring on screen a virtual keyboard for text entry. The new Remote Desktop apps will be made available later this month on the appropriate app stores, though pricing was not revealed. Remote Desktop Mac OS Microsoft also outlined its plans to release Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 on October 18th, .NET 4.5.1 for Visual Studio 2013 on the same day, access discounted Windows Azure prices for Enterprise Agreement customers on November 1st, and the introduction of the Windows Azure US Government Cloud.