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Android

  • Hands on with the first ARCore apps on the Play Store

    Google announced ARCore late last month, being its development platform for augmented reality (AR) on Android. The move comes a while after Apple revealed ARKit, its own bid to bring better augmented reality to smartphone users. Much like ARKit, Google's platform is designed with traditional smartphones in mind, rather than Project Tango phones that bristle with extra sensors and cameras. So how does it run on something like the Galaxy S8, which only has one main camera? Not too badly actually. But before you get your AR on, you'll need to install the ARCore preview app, available from GitHub (direct download link). Do note...

  • ARCore: Google reveals AR platform to bring tech to masses

    Apple's ARKit development tools have brought augmented reality back into the limelight in recent months, owing to the depth (heh) of features enabled by the technology. For one, Apple and third-party devs have showed off motion/environmental tracking, showing great potential for expanding augmented reality beyond sophisticated multi-camera smartphones. Now, Google has seemingly taken Apple's cue and revealed ARCore, effectively being its take on AR development for normal smartphones. "Today, we're releasing a preview of a new software development kit (SDK) called ARCore. It brings augmented reality capabilities to existing and future Android phones," the company wrote in a blog post, adding that developers can...

  • 5 mobile brands that could be doing a better job in SA

    Between Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi, there's no doubting that we've got a pretty healthy variety of smartphone brands in the country. From budget-minded devices to pricey superphones, almost all the bases are covered. In saying so, there are a few brands in the country (via distributors or directly in South Africa) that could do a better job of hawking their wares. Be it in terms of price or just actually bringing devices to the country, we'd like to see them step up. Xiaomi Local distributor MIA Group has done a good job of bringing well-priced Xiaomi phones to the country. In...

  • Android Oreo official: 7 smaller (but cool) features you should know

    Google decided to use yesterday's Eclipse across North America to reveal Android O's name, and yes, it's going to be called Android Oreo. We already know about the big features, such as Project Treble for streamlined updates, notification dots, picture in picture mode and autofilling login details. But here are a few more features Google has listed alongside the Oreo name. 60+ new emoji One of the biggest user-facing changes is the "fully redesigned" emoji library, giving them all a welcome facelift in the process. But Google didn't stop there though, confirming that it's added over 60 new emoji characters to the platform,...

  • Android O to be called Oreo? Leaks say yes

    It's about time for Google to give a proper, confectionary-themed name to its Android O update, isn't it? The company will be holding an event later today, but the name has already surfaced: Android Oreo. Yep, according to a Google leak via Android Police and serial tipster Evan Blass, Google will be taking the KitKat route by teaming up with a real brand. The news first came via Blass on Twitter, calling it an "iterative" upgrade. It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's an iterative mobile platform version upgrade! pic.twitter.com/izDHLXEJgh — Evan Blass (@evleaks) August 20, 2017 This was then followed up more...

  • Pixel camera app, complete with HDR+, hacked to run on other phones

    The Google Pixel stood out last year thanks to its camera chops, touting the same fundamental specs as the Nexus 6P, but with one key difference. The camera app delivered HDR+, which dramatically stepped up photo quality. Far from being blurry like the HDR modes of yore, the Pixel's HDR+ mode resulted in much improved photo quality at night, for example. Unfortunately, Google didn't release the updated camera app for all, but a Ukrainian developer has stepped up to the plate. According to XDA, the developer spent two evenings hacking together the Google Camera APK. The end-result is that the app...

  • After dual cameras and tiny bezels, is stock Android the next big trend?

    Stock Android is often seen as the holy grail by mobile enthusiasts, and it's easy to see why. Pure Android carries a consistent, lightweight visual design, free from the often garish themes used by manufacturers. And these themes often bring unnecessary slowdown and extraneous, uninstallable apps with them, even on the most cutting-edge smartphones. For this reason alone, stock Android is preferable for many enthusiasts. But arguably the biggest reason enthusiasts love stock Android is the promise of system updates. The lack of third party themes and software means that the update process is radically streamlined, as the extra software doesn't need to be...

  • Want a custom ROM for Android? Check this cool comparison tool

    Slapping a custom ROM on your phone is one of the best things about Android, effectively giving you a new operating system to play with and breathing new life into an old phone. But there are loads of these available, so how do you go about picking the best one? Fortunately, Android enthusiasts have created a handy comparison tool (as spotted on XDA), showing you the ROMs that are compatible with your smartphone, for starters. Simply hit the "devices" tab and choose your phone to get a quick overview of compatible ROMs. Right now, the database supports 280+ phones, according to...

  • Remix OS no more: Android/Windows ‘hybrid’ killed off

    We've seen numerous takes on bringing desktop-style functionality to Android, but few were as successful as Jide's Remix OS. The platform delivered Android with loads of Windows-inspired garnishings, such as a start menu, deep mouse and keyboard support, multi-windows and a taskbar. Of course, the Android trappings meant you had access to a ton of apps too. We saw dedicated mini Android boxes and tablets running Remix OS, with the Remix Mini PC being available from Takealot as well. But Jide also allowed PC users to install the platform if they wanted to. Now, the company has announced that it will be...

  • 6 killer third-party features we’d like to see in stock Android

    Say what you will about third-party Android skins, but you can't deny that they bring some useful features to the table. From Huawei to Samsung, it seems like these brands always deliver a few useful features every year. Don't believe us? We've got a few existing features that we'd like to see in pure Android... A more comprehensive camera app This is the one department where almost every other major manufacturer has Google beat. Yep, the Pixel might spit out some great photos, but its camera app is really barebones. Sure, you've got HDR mode, panoramas and Lens Blur, to name a few...