The Moto G5 Plus home screen shows just how weird Google’s chat strategy is right now

Boot up a fresh new Moto G5 and get ready to be at least a little confused.

Check out the home screen for a new Moto G5 Plus and you’ll find the usual Google Apps folder full of bloatware useful Google-made apps, and on the other side of the Moto app you’ll find an icon for Google Duo. We know that Google exercises quite a bit of control over how an Android phone with the Google Play Services onboard needs to look, with some special emphasis on the home screen.

It’s not unusual for Google to want to show off new apps, so it’s not too odd to see Duo on the home page instead of in the Google folder, but Duo is alone on the home screen. There’s no Allo to be found. In fact, it’s not even installed on the phone.

Google’s messaging strategy for the future should be super clear by now. Allo and Duo, the chat and video messaging service unveiled at Google I/O last year, are the default apps for consumers. Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat, the re-branded counterparts every Android user has seen for the last couple of years, is for businesses or large groups. There’s no law saying you must use one or the other if you prefer, but the dividing lines have become fairly clear and Google seems committed to building Allo and Duo up to offer something unique and useful to users.

So why is it the new budget-friendly and surprisingly capable Moto G5 Plus, complete with Android 7.0, doesn’t reflect that strategy when you boot the phone for the first time?

Seriously, I don’t know. You tell me.

It’s Morphin’ Time with these Power Rangers wallpapers

It’s Morphin’ Time!

This year — heck, this month — has already seen its fair share of nostalgia. And as we continue to bring back all that was awesome about the 90’s, we can’t leave out everyone’s favorite super-cheesy martial-arts-packed TV franchise: Saban’s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers! Now, I know there’s a lot to be apprehensive about with this reboot film, what with the big budgets and the wild new looks, but it’s still five teens with attitude against Rita Repulsor and the forces of evil.

Now grab your Power Coins and let’s go go Power Rangers!

This is actually a pretty great mash-up, because we have five “teens with attitude” who have been stereotyped not only by normal society but by the very power that has recruited them. Once we start digging into their journeys and their battles, we pull back the layers and see the complexities of each Ranger and the complexities of their relationships.

Also, can we just imagine the five of them stuck in weekend detention together?

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers n.12 – variant cover by DenisM79

The White Ranger is a fascinating arc of redemption and recovery. Tommy was the first evil Power Ranger, and when he finally was freed from Rita’s control and switched sides, he fought as the Green Ranger. Then that power was taken away from him, and he was lost… then like a Phoenix, he rose as the White Ranger, with a sick costume and an incredible new power.

The White Ranger is a reminder that even when you go into the dark, you can come back out and shine again. And by shine, I mean kick evil’s ass again and again.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers White Ranger by The-WoobiE

Pink Ranger BAM!

Ranger Pink may not be as classic and bold as red or blue, but pink is bright, vibrant, and completely ready to kick your ass! BAM!! That’s the brilliance of the Pink Ranger, it stands out, looks like an easy target, and then it will absolutely destroy you. People say they want to be Red Ranger or White Ranger, but no, I don’t want that. If I can’t be that absolutely sick teal that was Blue Mystic Ranger, then I wanna be Pink.

Real Rangers Wear Pink.

Pink Ranger BAM!

Red Ranger is the leader of the team, the first to believe in the power of the Power Rangers, a good man with a big heart and bigger muscles. Generations may come and go, styles may change, but Red Ranger is a constant, and Red Ranger is gonna call down that ridiculously sick Tyrannosaurus Rex Zord and take care of business.

Red Ranger by RedZeo5

Power Ranger use Power Coins and Power Up… and they call their Zords to fight larger threats. I get that Zordon gave them their powers and gave them the Zords, and I get that you get to name your creations, but that name is horrible. What isn’t horrible is this Megazord wallpaper, which is just about as awesome as a giant sword-wielding robot can look. The defensive stance, the lightning arcing to the tip of the sword… oooh, this just makes me want to pop some popcorn and settle in for some outrageous mecha battles and martial arts madness!

Megazord by Mephmmb

It’s Morphin’ Time with these Power Rangers wallpapers

It’s Morphin’ Time!

This year — heck, this month — has already seen its fair share of nostalgia. And as we continue to bring back all that was awesome about the 90’s, we can’t leave out everyone’s favorite super-cheesy martial-arts-packed TV franchise: Saban’s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers! Now, I know there’s a lot to be apprehensive about with this reboot film, what with the big budgets and the wild new looks, but it’s still five teens with attitude against Rita Repulsor and the forces of evil.

Now grab your Power Coins and let’s go go Power Rangers!

This is actually a pretty great mash-up, because we have five “teens with attitude” who have been stereotyped not only by normal society but by the very power that has recruited them. Once we start digging into their journeys and their battles, we pull back the layers and see the complexities of each Ranger and the complexities of their relationships.

Also, can we just imagine the five of them stuck in weekend detention together?

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers n.12 – variant cover by DenisM79

The White Ranger is a fascinating arc of redemption and recovery. Tommy was the first evil Power Ranger, and when he finally was freed from Rita’s control and switched sides, he fought as the Green Ranger. Then that power was taken away from him, and he was lost… then like a Phoenix, he rose as the White Ranger, with a sick costume and an incredible new power.

The White Ranger is a reminder that even when you go into the dark, you can come back out and shine again. And by shine, I mean kick evil’s ass again and again.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers White Ranger by The-WoobiE

Pink Ranger BAM!

Ranger Pink may not be as classic and bold as red or blue, but pink is bright, vibrant, and completely ready to kick your ass! BAM!! That’s the brilliance of the Pink Ranger, it stands out, looks like an easy target, and then it will absolutely destroy you. People say they want to be Red Ranger or White Ranger, but no, I don’t want that. If I can’t be that absolutely sick teal that was Blue Mystic Ranger, then I wanna be Pink.

Real Rangers Wear Pink.

Pink Ranger BAM!

Red Ranger is the leader of the team, the first to believe in the power of the Power Rangers, a good man with a big heart and bigger muscles. Generations may come and go, styles may change, but Red Ranger is a constant, and Red Ranger is gonna call down that ridiculously sick Tyrannosaurus Rex Zord and take care of business.

Red Ranger by RedZeo5

Power Ranger use Power Coins and Power Up… and they call their Zords to fight larger threats. I get that Zordon gave them their powers and gave them the Zords, and I get that you get to name your creations, but that name is horrible. What isn’t horrible is this Megazord wallpaper, which is just about as awesome as a giant sword-wielding robot can look. The defensive stance, the lightning arcing to the tip of the sword… oooh, this just makes me want to pop some popcorn and settle in for some outrageous mecha battles and martial arts madness!

Megazord by Mephmmb

The Moto G5 Plus home screen shows just how weird Google’s chat strategy is right now

Boot up a fresh new Moto G5 and get ready to be at least a little confused.

Check out the home screen for a new Moto G5 Plus and you’ll find the usual Google Apps folder full of bloatware useful Google-made apps, and on the other side of the Moto app you’ll find an icon for Google Duo. We know that Google exercises quite a bit of control over how an Android phone with the Google Play Services onboard needs to look, with some special emphasis on the home screen.

It’s not unusual for Google to want to show off new apps, so it’s not too odd to see Duo on the home page instead of in the Google folder, but Duo is alone on the home screen. There’s no Allo to be found. In fact, it’s not even installed on the phone.

Google’s messaging strategy for the future should be super clear by now. Allo and Duo, the chat and video messaging service unveiled at Google I/O last year, are the default apps for consumers. Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat, the re-branded counterparts every Android user has seen for the last couple of years, is for businesses or large groups. There’s no law saying you must use one or the other if you prefer, but the dividing lines have become fairly clear and Google seems committed to building Allo and Duo up to offer something unique and useful to users.

So why is it the new budget-friendly and surprisingly capable Moto G5 Plus, complete with Android 7.0, doesn’t reflect that strategy when you boot the phone for the first time?

Seriously, I don’t know. You tell me.

Nova Launcher is getting a new feature that you’re going to love

Unread badges have always been a controversial piece of the home screen experience.

Some people can’t live or work without knowing how many hundreds of emails they are away from Inbox Zero. Some people just like having the badge to remind them of notifications and messages they may have ignored. Some people just can’t stand the look of ’em. Whatever camp you may be in, there’s a new kind of unread badge to try in the latest Nova Launcher beta update: Dynamic Badges.

In the notification badges section of Nova Launcher, you can now choose between Dynamic Badges, which will give little icons based on the notification it’s pulling the badges from for each app, or old-fashioned Numeric Badges.

If you choose the Dynamic Badges, your options are blessedly simple: what corner do you want them in and what size would you prefer for them. It may take restarting Nova Launcher for the badges to start populating on your home screen, but once they begin populating, you’ll see little badges in the corners of your apps and folders when you have notifications.

If the dynamic notification is on an app in a folder, rather than showing that app’s dynamic notification in the folder icon, it’ll show a tiny version of the app’s icon instead. Dynamic badges are based on notifications, and pull images from the notifications, meaning you’ll see album art if you’re playing music or a person’s face if they pester you on Slack.

They’re early, but it’s going to be an interesting experiment. This is also the first time Nova Launcher has offered notification badges without making you download a plugin for it.

If you’re interested in trying Dynamic Notifications, you can opt into the Nova Launcher beta over on Google+.

The best Android launchers for theming

Leaked Xiaomi Mi 6 render shows it may have dual rear cameras

Rumors and leaks for the upcoming Xiaomi Mi 6 continue to hit the internet. The latest such leak claims to show a render of the smartphone’s front and back, and it indicates it may have a dual camera setup.

See also:

Best Chinese Android phones

February 7, 2017

The render, posted on the Chinese Weibo social network, would seem to confirm that the Mi 6 will also have two rear cameras. Some of the previous rumors about the phone claim that the dual camera setup would be reserved for the higher end Mi 6 Plus variant. That phone has been previously rumored to have two rear camera sensors, one with 12 MP and the other with 20 MP.

Other rumors claim the Mi 6, the successor to the highly successful Xiaomi Mi 5, will be sold in three versions. One will reportedly have 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of onboard storage for 1999 yuan ($290), one will have 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage for 2299 yuan ($333), and finally one will reportedly have 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage for 699 yuan ($390).

The Mi 6 Plus is rumored to be sold with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB of storage for 2599 yuan ($377), 6 GB RAM and 128 GB of storage for 2999 yuan ($435), and one with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage for 3499 yuan ($507).

Xiaomi is expected to announced both the Mi 6 and Mi 6 Plus at a press event in China on April 11. Keep in mind that none of the previous or current rumors and leaks about the phones have been confirmed by the company, so take all of them with a grain of salt at this point.

Google Ending Hangouts Carrier SMS Support On May 22

Google’s Hangouts has had an eclectic existence to say the least, and the latest attempt at focusing it comes in the form of ripping out its SMS capabilities, a change that will be happening on May 22. According to an email received by a user and posted to Reddit, Google is planning to phase the capability out with ample time for users to pick up another SMS app, and will begin showing Hangouts SMS users a warning and directing them toward other apps on March 27. From then on, if a user has another SMS app on their phone, Hangouts will recommend setting that app as the default. Otherwise, users will be encouraged to head to the Play Store and pick up a new SMS app.

The change will not affect Google Voice users, who will still be able to send and receive SMS messages within Hangouts. Those who use SMS through their carriers, however, have a silver lining in all of this; their existing SMS messages will not be held hostage in Hangouts. Once these users make the switch to a new app, Hangouts will, if it’s able to, automatically port in your SMS messages to whatever new app they’ve chosen. The notification will only be shown to those using SMS on Hangouts, so users that won’t be affected by the change won’t see any evidence of it aside from losing the option to enable SMS on Hangouts once the change fully goes through on May 22.

This is the latest in a long line of changes that Google has made to Hangouts in an effort to change its image to one that’s more enterprise-focused, while shifting consumers toward the likes of Allo, Duo, and Android Messages. While Google has made no mention of getting rid of the consumer version of Hangouts at this point, the changes might suggest otherwise; Allo seems to be getting a desktop client soon, Android Messages is being positioned as the top provider of RCS messaging on Android thanks to worldwide carrier partnerships, and more and more exclusive features are hitting the enterprise version of Hangouts with each update.

The post Google Ending Hangouts Carrier SMS Support On May 22 appeared first on AndroidHeadlines.com |.

Twitter Considering Adding Paid Features To TweetDeck

Twitter is considering the idea of developing a premium subscription service for its most demanding users, according to numerous individuals who recently took online to share screenshots of a survey implying that the San Francisco-based company is in the process of making a new tool for its power users. Two such screenshots can be seen in the gallery below, and both of them imply that the social media giant is looking to introduce the paid subscription service as an extension of TweetDeck, its dashboard application designed for Twitter account management.

The new feature of TweetDeck will reportedly feature more robust analytics, breaking news alerts, and detailed breakdowns of topics about which followers of any particular account are tweeting. The wording of the survey that Twitter sent to some users implies that its plans wouldn’t involve turning TweetDeck into a paid service. Instead, the new features for power users would apparently be available within TweetDeck as a paid add-on. Following this report, a Twitter spokesperson told The Verge that the hypothetical tool would be advertised as a “more enhanced version of TweetDeck,” but implied that nothing is set in stone yet and the survey that some power users were asked to fill is simply an effort by the company to stay in touch with the demands and preferences of some of its major clients.

A source with knowledge of the matter later said that the San Francisco-based social media company still hasn’t started developing the aforementioned addition to TweetDeck. Instead, it’s currently in the process of planning a detailed product roadmap that the feedback received from the survey is meant to help define. If accurate, that revelation suggests that the paid component of TweetDeck has already been decided on and it’s now only a matter of time before Twitter launches it. Naturally, there’s still no word on how much this service would cost but its subscription fee will likely be aimed at media professionals and not regular users who happen to have a few Twitter accounts. This move could also be interpreted as yet another one of Twitter’s attempts to monetize its platform that has been struggling to make money in recent years.

The post Twitter Considering Adding Paid Features To TweetDeck appeared first on AndroidHeadlines.com |.

Qualcomm Is Preventing Samsung From Selling Exynos Chips

Qualcomm is preventing Samsung from selling its Exynos chips to other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), the Taiwanese Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said earlier this week, as reported by The Korea Economic Daily. The FTC made that claim while giving its verdict in a case pertaining to Qualcomm’s abuse of market power, stating that the San Diego-based semiconductor manufacturer has been abusing the so-called “standard essential patent” license for years with the goal of preventing Samsung from selling its chipsets and modems to third parties. Despite the fact that Samsung’s offerings are seemingly comparable to those of Qualcomm in terms of performance, the U.S. chipmaker has been abusing a licensing deal with Samsung for approximately 25 years in order to prevent it from competing, the FTC said. Both parties have yet to comment on the ruling.

The latest turn of events sheds some light on the fact that Samsung-made chipsets never powered a third-party device before 2015 and the Meizu Pro 5. Even today, third-party devices featuring an Exynos system-on-chip (SoC) are a rarity, but most industry watchers have so far been convinced that Samsung was simply reluctant to license its technology. It was previously believed that the Seoul-based consumer electronics manufacturer wasn’t willing to license its Exynos chips to third-party OEMs due to the fact it was protecting its intellectual properties, but it seems that the company was actually prevented from doing so because of an old licensing deal with Qualcomm.

The FTC’s ruling marks another legal issue for Qualcomm that has recently been clashing with antitrust regulators all over the world. The company was issued a historic $854 million fine in South Korea in late 2016 and a $975 million fine in China in early 2015, both due to market power abuse. The European Union also previously accused the San Diego-based company of abusing its dominant position in the market but has yet to issue any sanctions over the matter. Regardless of Samsung’s troubles with Qualcomm, the South Korean tech giant continues to use the company’s Snapdragon chipsets in its Galaxy devices made for the United States due to a variety of reasons. The U.S. variants of the upcoming Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus are also expected to be powered by the Snapdragon 835 SoC.

The post Qualcomm Is Preventing Samsung From Selling Exynos Chips appeared first on AndroidHeadlines.com |.

Gorillaz takes to Google Spotlight Stories for new VR music video ahead of album release

The future is coming on, is coming on, is coming on… in VR.

Gorillaz have a new album dropping on April 28, and they’ve taken to Google’s nascent VR platform to promote it. Partnering with Google Spotlight Stories, the new truly weird VR music video titled Saturnz Barz is available on YouTube VR with the some very interesting antics and — as always — some sick beats.

The VR video can be broken down into two portions: the main video is a 360-degree horror movie drug trip, and the beginning and end of the video put you on a seemingly normal train car watching the beginning and end of the music video on a virtual smartphone. The video gets a bit trippy, between the alien monsters and the psychedelic space journey, but judge it for yourself.

Maybe not at work, as there is a censored-but-still-very-much-naked virtual bandmate in here.

Check it out on Cardboard or Daydream, or wherever you get your VR fix!