The Future Of OnePlus.

image

I own no rights to this damn image. The rights belong to it's respective owner.

Most of us are familiar with the form factor, the resolution and chipset, but not many of us have actually held a OnePlus One in our hands.

This is a disappointing truth.

We’ve all here had our taste of CyanogenMod.

Third party retailers aside, OnePlus has sold well over 1 million units. While one million units sold is exceptional, relative to the amount of global smartphone users, these numbers are small potatoes. This is due in part to OnePlus’ invitation system. While from a certain standpoint it makes absolute sense; why make 10 million phones when we will only sell 1 million? Sadly, the concept mentioned above kept the device out of the hands of millions of prospective and eager users, users who just weren’t comfortable shelling out upwards of $450 for a third party (presumably refurbished) or used OnePlus.

Albeit cost effective, their success has been to the dismay of countless. Yours truly included.

The smartphone industry is not easily penetrated. With players like HTC, Samsung, Sony and LG at the Global helm, newcomers with little to no reputation and anything short of a few million dollars don’t stand a chance. In this case, however, there may be hope for OnePlus.

OnePlus is a start up company founded by Pete Lau, former president of Oppo. OnePlus’ slogan “Never Settle” refers to Pete’s very own vision. His hopes are that users will never settle for lower quality devices, devices produced by the likes of his Chinese competitors, Xiaomi and Blu.

I’ve only ever recently heard great things about Xiaomi. So Pete may need to step his companies game and production up.

Blu, on the other hand, I believe are just that, low quality, Samsung knock off devices. No further comment necessary.

With recent controversy the Future of OnePlus hangs in the balance. The demand is well in place, they surely have the financial means for production and all the world eagerly awaits the OnePlus 2.

I guess now all they need is an OS.

Without getting too much into it, Cyanogen seems to have used loose leaf legality and sold rights to the Indian based Micromax, allowing them to distribute their devices with Cyanogen on board.

OnePlus said oh hell nah. And I couldn’t agree more.

Doing some research over night, I found that Steve Kondick was quoted saying something along the lines of Cyanogen inc. Is still venture funded, and we aren’t making any money.

Poor man must be piss poor.

So to make a quick buck he sold some rights to Micromax.

OnePlus swears up and down they had exclusive rights, and Cyanogen swears up and down they didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings.

In my personal opinion, someone just got greedy. Whatever

Enough of that mess. Trust me, its a head ache.

As stated before, the future of OnePlus hangs in the balance since their recent break up with Cyanogen, and presumably once an OS is in place, production of the OnePlus 2 will commence or resume.

OxygenOS to the rescue!

OnePlus has recently adopted their own flavor of Android dubbed OxygenOs. Pretty catchy name if you ask me. Rolls off the tongue. Unlike CyanogenMod 11s.

Early teaser videos of OOS have been released and peoples panties are all in a bunch. Me, I’m just waiting to see whether or not I’ll be able to go online and buy the damn thing hassle free. I could care less what software is on board cause chances are it won’t be there long when and if I get my eager and flash happy hands on it.

There is a demand for OnePlus devices, so I  see no need for invites only. If they lack the funding to produce 5 million phones then set up a preorder system. People will buy into that. Maybe even more so knowing they’re device is fresh off the manufacturing floor.

As far as pricing and specs are concerned, I  expect top tier mechanics at US $350-$400. Snapdragon 810, 4 gigs of ram, 5.5″ display, QHD, 3000-33000 mAh power supply, 20 megapixel shooter and so forth. My suggestion would be to keep the display resolution at a cool 1080p thus providing the user with maximum battery life. But I highly doubt that. QHD is the new standard.

It’s only now a matter of when the device will be unveiled. It’s been postponed once already due in part to Cyanogen’s shenanigans (sweet rhyme. Now say it 10 times, fast) but with OxygenOs in place, I think we could see a new device by mid to late summer.

Anyone out there a proud owner of a OnePlus? Are you waiting for their next device? Any comments on the recent spat between Cyanogen, OnePlus and Micromax? Voice your opinions in the comment section below!

Posted By A Living, Breathing, Android Enthusiast.

This Is My Android. There Are Many Like It…

But this one is mine.

It’s part of the beauty of Android. Any user, advanced or just starting, can personalize their device to their very own liking, setting it apart from all the others. There are some limitations as to what you can do without root, such as repositioning your clock or hiding it, changing battery icons etc. But that is hardly worth mentioning. Personally I can’t stand to have a clock widget on my home screen and a clock in my status bar. The redundancy alone kills me

image

My Homescreen. Minimalist. Nothing fancy. Just the way I like it.

When personalizing your device usually you start with a wallpaper, something that speaks to you and represents you. From there you may try to find an icon pack that suits whichever wallpaper you’ve chosen based on color, size, shape and so forth. I personally find minimal, flat or round icons to be more attractive. White was a good choice with the wallpaper I chose as anything else was just too flashy.

You’ve got endless options for customization. Dozens of launchers support countless icon packs. Some icon packs are free courtesy of the developer and some are paid. Usually $1 or so. Most launchers offer free and prime versions. The latter offering more options for personalization. My favorite, of course, is Nova Launcher. It’s fluid and efficient, never stutters or bogs down my device. It supports icon packs, transition animations, icon size, transparent notification bar, hide clock for root users. The list goes on.

Here are some themes from my nexus 5 ownership days.

image

Black and white minimalist on PA.

image

Again, minimalist.

image

Spent a ridiculous amount of time matching the greens.

Scrolling through Google+ I see dozens of themes. And these individuals should be proud of themselves. It requires creativity, personality, an open mind and the ability to think outside of the box. Some of these guys delve way into it. Me, I usually just choose a wallpaper, find an icon pack I like, do some re arranging and call it a day. But some of the dedication I’ve seen to them being is nothing short of impressive.

If you’re on Google+ reading this and you feel like you’ve earned the title ultimate theme artist, feel free to share it in the comments. Tout yourself a little. You’ve earned some bragging rights.

What do you guys think about the art of Android Theming? Is it worth the time? Does it set your Nexus 6 apart from Guy Smith’s Nexus 6 in Idaho? Voice your comments!

Posted By A Living, Breathing, Android Enthusiast.

Android Superiority. Google Just Does It Better.

image

Although badass, I own no rights to this image. All rights to said image belong to it's respective owner.

There exists four types of mobile users. Average Consumers, Android Enthusiasts, Emerging Market Consumers and iOS fanboys.

An avid Samsung Consumer doesn’t know the first thing about Android and knows only two things, brand recognition, and it takes pretty good pictures. Emerging Market consumers will take what they can get. Thankfully their market is expanding and enthusiasts are rising from the dust. Then you have your Android Enthusiast. He/she knows nearly every inch of Android, inside and out, about every released and upcoming flagship device and midrange device and will defend Android to the death. Much like the Android Enthusiast, an iOS fanboy knows just as much about Apple device technology and hardware but has no problem coloring between the lines.

Android provides the user with plenty of freedom straight out of the box, but there are endless benefits to unlocking and rooting your device. More on that at a later date.

This isn’t a one sided write up. I used the iPhone 5s for quite some time back when I was rocking a Samsung Galaxy S Blaze on Jellybean (Yes I owned a Sammy, but it was my first Smartphone. Cut me some slack) and I’ve spent a good amount of time with iOS 8.

Let’s continue.

It’s the first time you’ve booted up your pretty new Android device, and it takes only minutes to set up. You don’t even have to link to Google if you don’t want to. Takes away a considerable amount of functionality, but hey, you’ve got a choice in the matter, and that’s what I appreciate. The first thing you notice is you don’t like the large amount of default apps on your home screen. No problem. Re arrange and get rid of all the unnecessary clutter. Don’t like Googles default launcher? Don’t use it. Open the Play Store, search for Launcher and take your pick. But choose Nova Launcher. I’ve found that with Android everything is straight forward and easily accessible to the user. But then again, I could just be accustomed to Android.

IOS provides very little freedom straight out of the box, and first time users take at least ten to fifteen minutes to set up their new device. There are only limited benefits to jail breaking your iOS device. Although, Jail breaking has become less useful as Apple has finally released it’s user from their chokehold and provided an eensy weensy bit more freedom. No more on that in the future.

I’m not going to sit here and say that an iPhone isn’t a good phone, quite the contrary. As far as basic functionality goes, making phone calls, taking pictures (especially) texting, browsing and playing games, an iPhone is an exceptional device. But I spent a fair amount of time trying to get rid of and rearrange the preloaded home screen applications to no avail. I constantly found myself having trouble navigating the damned thing. I didn’t like my launcher but I was stuck with it. The notification tray was full of information that I cared little for, but it was, in a word, persistent. Two words. Damned persistent. I wanted a paid app, but I didn’t want to link my bank account to a device I didn’t own. Normally, if I didn’t have means to support the developer, I could just Google the paid app in question, download an apk and that was the end of it. But during my stint with iOS I felt heavily the ball and chain that is Apple.

IOS is a polished, fast, efficient and fluid Operating System. But here’s the thing, it seems as if millions of people spend billions of dollars on iOS devices, but Apple never really gives away the device. They let the consumer use the device but only how they think it should be used. No more. No less. It’s like Apple let’s you borrow a device indefinitely for $800 up front or $25 a month and tells you what you can and can’t do every step of the way.

Android has finally stepped up it’s game. Not only does it offer the user plenty of freedom, but it is just as polished, fast, efficient and fluid an operating system as any, now also supporting 64 bit architecture. But here’s the thing, and it’s a good thing. You pay for a device and you get the device to use how you want, when you want. No ball and chain, no SMS prison for your texts.

That’s another thing, after I gave back the iPhone 5s I could no longer receive text messages on my Galaxy. But whatever. Google search it.

Bottom line, my bottom line, Apple takes itself too damned seriously. They’ve gathered a cult like following and behave as such. If Apple had a head it would be firmly inserted between its own butt cheeks.

This isn’t to say Google isn’t professional and doesn’t take their business seriously, but they provide the user with a fun, fresh, colorful, funky and free-roam operating system to use as they please. I mean for heavens sake, anyone, and that means ANYONE, can build their own Android OS. It’s open source and free to the public. That to me says a lot about the search engine mogul. They aren’t just in it for the biz; they’re in it for the passion as well.

I’m more confident now than ever naming Android the superior operating system and even more so with their Lollipop update. They’ve escalated security, implemented 64 bit support , polished the UI and given it buttery and colorful consistency across the board.

Do you feel the same way? Is there anything you’d like to add? Anything I missed? Use the comment section below and voice your opinions!

Posted By A Living, Breathing, Android Enthusiast.

Android Proficiency. An Acquired Skill.

image

I own no rights to this image. All rights to depicted image belong to its respective owner.

Are you Android Proficient? An Android Guru? When others can’t troubleshoot their own devices are you the one they turn to? If the answer is yes, then you may possess an acquired skill. Android Proficiency.

Android Proficiency is when your closest friends, girlfriend(s), family members or work associates eagerly hand you their Android device, any Android device, say fix this and within seconds you’ve instinctively found resolution.

To those of us whom this applies, Android has become second nature. Let’s say you’re a die hard HTC kind of guy and you’ve only ever once handled a Samsung device. It was back in Touchwiz Gingerbread days but to you it makes little difference… Any problem solved. Easy peasy.

For example, this evening my coworker was fumbling around with her brand new Galaxy S5 Active. Flustered and red in the face, she said to me “How in the hell do I change my lock screen pattern?” And shoved the device in my hand. While it is a simple task, judging by her sense of frustration, she may as well have been struggling with a trigonometry assignment (Not to mention she recently made the switch from iOS to Android) *Insert high five to coworker here*

Even if it were a more advanced request such as backing up app data, personalizing, rooting, unlocking or modding a device in any such way, an individual who is Android Proficient could tackle any such task in thirty minutes or less.

If this is you, go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back. These skills are only acquired through discipline and time. To some it may seem a trivial skill, but in a world slowly being driven towards a complete technological take over, it’s a damn good thing to be technologically inclined, and moreover, Android Proficient. Because let’s face it, Android is the future. More on that later.

Posted By A Living, Breathing, Android Enthusiast.

Project Ara. Build Your Own Device.

image

So the basic concept of Googles Project Ara is modules. Camera modules, battery modules, RAM, modules, processor modules, display modules etc. All of these modules will be held together by the so called “endo” or metal frame. You slide the all of the necessary modules into place and presto! You’ve got yourself a smartphone built by who the hell ever and assembled by you. This is not an in depth “how to assemble a Project Ara smartphone” or a complete breakdown of the hardware and their manufacturers. That’s not what this article is about. So let’s move on.

It’s launch date has been set to Q1 2015, some time soon, and will be first available to mobile users in Puerto Rico, as some 75% of their population accesses the internet from their mobile devices.

That may be all well and good, and it may even catch on in Puerto Rico, but what average consumer here in the US is going to want to sit down and assemble their own phone? I can hear it now.

Sales Rep- “With Ara Modules you can pick and choose which features you want on your device and which you don’t. If you need a larger battery you can choose this one. If you want a top of the line camera and display, have a look at these modules.”

Average Consumer- “Shouldn’t Samsung be building my smartphone for me?”

Sales rep- “Normally, yes, but this way…”

Average Consumer- “No, I’m sorry, but I don’t have time to build my own phone. I have lunch, a meeting, a lunch meeting and a meeting after lunch. I’ll just take the Galaxy Note 5 that’s already assembled.”

Also consider the resell value of third party modules. You’ll buy a carrier branded network module complete with an imei/meid depending on your carrier, and all the others will be modules manufactured and branded by big names Like HTC, Sony and Samsung, or Joe Shmoe from Arkansas. From what I’ve read, though, the primary manufacturer of Ara Modules will be Toshiba. Not too To-shabby…

Maybe I’m a cynic, but then again, maybe I’m being realistic. The only positive side to it I see is the possibility of basically naming the price for your device.

Don’t get me wrong, there will be a niche of consumers for Project Ara. People like you and I, teenagers and young adults. But the people who are putting billions of dollars in Samsung’s pockets won’t be building their own smart phones any time soon. Unless of course Samsung buys into it. And by buys into it, I mean brands a few modules.

I can see Project Ara doing well in emerging markets such as India and in other markets as a niche consumer area, tech junkies and enthusiasts.

This is just my opinion, and I could be wrong. But as I say, time will tell. I’d also like to give a huge thanks to Roberto Correa for his input, adding some much needed depth to this article.

Anything you’d like to add? Use the comment section below and be heard!

Posted By A Living, Breathing, Android Enthusiast.

Android. AL(L) Grown Up.

To preface this article I’m going to do a brief overview of Google’s first Android device, and continue on to explain how Android is now officially all grown up.

It was an (HTC) Dream come true for techies the nation over. The first ever Android smart device launched on the 29th of June, 2009 on T-Mobile. Featuring a slide out qwerty keyboard, trackball navigation system and a 3.2″ touch screen display (180 ppi) the device was ahead of it’s time, by 2009 standards anyways.

Under the hood, The HTC Dream rocked a Qualcomm 7201A clocked at 528 MHz and was paired with an Adreno© 130. A mere 192 MB of RAM and 256 MB of ROM powered the devices memory. A 3.15 megapixel snapper adorned the front of the device and supported only auto focus and video recording, no selfie cam. Insert sad face here. Or happy face. Whatever.

The device ran stock Android 1.6 (Donut) and featured HTML browsing, a couple sensors, SMS, MMS, Email, Instant Messaging and java support. There was no support for multi touch, no funky, fresh color schemes or buttery animations. There were no heads up notifications or quick tiles, just plain old Android in it’s infancy.

Fast forward nearly six years to the date and Android 5.0 is taking a piece of Google’s  fragmentation pie, and damn is it good. Material Design is the future of Android.

image

Even as I’m typing this, what would normally be a transparent or solid black status bar has taken on a blue shade coinciding with the WordPress app. It’s quite impressive, actually.

image

Android 5.0's status ba matching wordpress' own color scheme.

The default AOSP keyboard no longer houses clunky and rectangular keys akin to something you’d see on an 80’s SciFi flick. It’s been streamlined, if you could call it that, and most definitely improved upon. Everything is still in the same place, still featuring voice and swype texting; it’s just smarter and damned pretty.

image

Android 5.0's keyboard. Damn Pretty.

image

Android 4.x keyboard. No comment. Photo courtesy of Droid-Life®

The notification system has also been vastly improved. Rather than a single icon in your status bar that can simply be expanded and dismissed, you receive a “Heads Up Notification”. It is not persistent and can be swiped away in a single, buttery motion. Have a look (You may not see video, as I couldn’t view it myself. But I’m going to leave it in hopes that you guys can see it)

The notifications also appear on the lock screen. In settings you can choose your preferences as to privacy, what’s displayed in your notifications and so forth.

image

Android 5.0's Lockscreen Notifications.

What’s next would be the use of fluid, and more importantly, consistent transition animations across the board. Do a Google search for your favorite local Chinese restaurant, click and watch the businesses’ information expand in a way that could only be described as butter smooth.

Google’s own Google app has taken leaps and bounds as well. It’s all cohesive and consistent. These consistency can be found through out the entire OS and all of Google’s applications. Even independent developers have started implementing their own material design elements to their apps. To me, it is a breath of fresh air.

image

FX File Explorer's own material design.

image

We can see it here as well.

I’ve also taken a great shine to Googles newer Recent App feature. Clear them all at once with push of a button or swipe them away one by one. As far as function goes it’s not much different than earlier versions of Android, but it sure is easier on the eyes providing depth of field and dimension (It has been brought to my attention that the recent app feature doesn’t exist in like this in stock Android. More reason to man up and flash your device)

image

Android 5.0's recent apps.

From Google’s Gmail, to Translate, to Calendar and even the damned Calculator, the search engine giant has taken great lengths to provide Android users with a fresh, colorful, fun, consistent and beautiful user interface that anyone can enjoy.

I could quite literally continue for days on the new improvements of Android 5.0, but I’m already blue in the face. Did I leave something out? What’s your favorite feature? Voice your opinions in the comment section below.

Posted By A Living, Breathing, Android Enthusiast.

Android Where?

image

Moto 360. Photo courtesy of Phandroid©

Android Wearables. We see them at retailers, we see them advertised, and we see them online, but seldom do we see them adorn the wrists of consumers. Is it because the technology is in it’s infancy, or is it because wearables are at such early stages of development and simply aren’t practical? Even Google abandoned it’s very own Google Glass Project. Though word has it they’ve moved to a new stage of development. Maybe more on that at a later date. I’d actually put my money on that $249 price tag. To even take full advantage of your wearable device you still must carry your phone with you. Yes, I realize Samsung has released a 3g capable wearable, but c’mon… It’s Samsung, and we at AndroidOs4u are enthusiasts, not consumers (No offense to anyone here who shelled out $350 for a Samsung Gear S)

I believe the technology is a means to an end, to what end we can only speculate. I see it as a way to prepare the global populace for bio technological integration. Already the Moto 360 and similar devices monitor your heart rate and activity level, and this is only in early stages of development. Before long wearables may be able to tap into your nervous system, monitor brain waves, and control things such as mood, food cravings and thought patterns. Again, this is simply speculation. But ask yourself, is it really such an unrealistic possibility? The technology already exists. Sleep pattern studies are conducted by medical institutions. There is even wearable technology that can read your brain waves. To what extent I do not know. Maybe I’ll give it a read shortly after publishing this write up. Or maybe I’ll catch some zzz’s.

Apples own smart watch (Here at Androidos4u we do not endorse Apple products) has implemented a system of pulses that allow the user to feel as though the device has become a part of them. Again, this is early bio technological integration, and quite frankly it can be a frightening concept. Does the phrase “I’m afraid I can’t let you do that, Dave” ring any bells. Or even “Blade Runner” comes to mind. *cough* Nexus 6 (series replicant) *cough*

image

Blade Runner Nexus 6. This is copy written material of which I have no rights. All rights belong to their respective owners. That being said, Google may have something big planned come January 8, 2016.

Android Wear is simply a launch platform for something much bigger, and it hasn’t quite caught on yet. Maybe when HTC unveils it’s wearable device capable of telling you when to sleep, eat, shower, brush your teeth and have breakfast, lunch and dinner, will consumers be ready to delve out their hard earned money for such technology. Like I always say, time will tell.

How do you guys feel about wearable Android technology? Is it a useless gimmick, a smart innovation, or like I said, a launch platform for something else entirely? Voice your questions and concerns in the comment section below!

Posted By A Living, Breathing, Android Enthusiast.