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You may have heard about how flashing a new ROM can improve your Android experience, but flashing a new kernel is one of the best ways to improve your phone's performance, battery life, and even add some saucy new features. Whether you know anything about either, here's what you need to know to make it happen. What Is a Kernel? A kernel in an operating system—in this case Android—is the component responsible for helping your applications communicate with your hardware.
We love Android, but rooting your phone can give you the opportunity to do so much more than your phone can do out of the box—whether its wireless tethering, speeding it up with overclocking, or customizing the look of your phone with themes. Here's how to root some of the most popular phones with minimal effort. Rooting, for those of you that don't know, means giving yourself root permissions on your phone. It's similar running programs as administrators in Windows, or running a command with sudo in Linux. With a rooted phone, you can run more apps (like backup or tethering apps ), as well as flash custom ROMs to your phone, which add all sorts of extra features.
There are tons of great reasons to root your Android phone , but once you do, you'll likely be overwhelmed with all the custom ROM options out there. Here's how to go about finding—and installing—the one that fits your needs. Images by Bretty Yoncak . What's a ROM? One of the best things about the openness of the Android platform is that if you're unhappy with the stock OS, you can install one of many modified versions of Android (called ROMs) on your device. The downside is that there are so many developers and different Android devices out there that the custom ROM scene can be very difficult to navigate.
Unlimited data plans are an endangered species nowadays, so most of us have to watch our limits in order to avoid excess charges on our bill. That's easy enough when we know how much cellular data we're using on our smartphones, but becomes problematic when our smartphones eat up our precious megabytes in the background. This doesn't just happen on Android, but iPhone, too. Here's how to stop it. Recently, a friend asked me for help when he reached 90% of his data usage despite barely using any data.
You know how every new gadget that comes out makes your old one look slow and dingy...even if it's only slightly better? You don't need to be independently wealthy to always have the latest iMac, or upgrade to the newest Nexus every time it's announced. Here's how to get on the upgrade treadmill and always have the latest and greatest gadgets.
Maluuba Is a Voice-Activated Personal Assistant for Android that Gives Google Now a Run for Its MoneyAndroid: If you're not one of the lucky folks to have Google Now working on your Android device, Maluuba is a voice-activated search tool and personal assistant that has something that many other voice command tools don't: It works really well. On the surface, Maluuba does a lot of things that apps like our current favorite virtual assistant for Android, Vlingo , also do. The app will notify you of upcoming appointments, show you your calendar and agenda, searches for local businesses and destinations, set alarms and reminders, and more. You can do all of this with your voice, and the app responds to speech very well. If you're a fan of WIndows Phone's design cues, you'll love Maluuba—it sheds the Holo styling for a very Metro tiled approach, but it's never difficult to find the information you're looking for. Just tap the microphone to speak to the app and ask it to find nearby events to go to, movie showtimes, weather conditions, and more.
So you've gotten off the upgrade treadmill , but you're still a little jealous of all those people getting the new iPhone 5. Or maybe your Galaxy S II doesn't feel as shiny when the new Galaxy S III is making big waves. This weekend, take some time to clean up your old phone and make it feel like new. For you lucky ducks that have already nabbed yourself a new phone, check out the cool things you can do with your old one while the rest of us make do with our old beaters. Clean Up the Outside Let's start with the outside.
No offense, but your phone's notification system sucks. With a clever app called Pushover, you can create your own custom notification system that's a heck of a lot smarter, so your phone only bothers you with notifications you want, when you want them. Pushover is a service on the web and app on your phone or tablet that acts as a gateway for the notifications that matter to you. It can alert you about practically anything, including job postings, if it's about to rain, emails from important people, or even if a motion sensor is activated in your home—and it can do it all on a schedule, so you don't receive notifications at times you'd rather not receive them. Below, we'll take a look at how Pushover works, walk through setting up sample notifications, then take a quick look at how you can do even more with Pushover using custom code. What's Wrong with Your Phone's Current Notification System
August 16, 2012 06:00 AM ET This cheat sheet accompanies our story Android 4.0: The ultimate guide . Click through to that story for detailed information on finding your way around Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) and making the most of its new features. Get up to speed fast with Android 4.0: The charts below show how to perform an array of tasks in ICS, from navigating the interface to locking down your device to managing your apps.
August 16, 2012 06:00 AM ET Computerworld - In the world of mobile technology, things change fast -- and there's no better example than Google's Android operating system. In the span of three and a half years, Android has evolved from a rough and limited newcomer into a sleek and polished platform that dominates the smartphone market . With the release of Android 4.0 , a.k.a.
Motorola, the smartphone manufacturer famous for its locked bootloaders and difficult-to-root handsets, has finally released an official tool for unlocking the bootloader of its Android phones. Unlocking your phone's bootloader, for those of you that don't know, allows you to have much more control over your phone, whether it means easier rooting or flashing custom kernels that give you better speed and battery life. Motorola's site doesn't say yet which devices are unlockable with the tool (the "supported devices" page throws an error), but it's likely that newer devices will be supported first, with a possibility for older devices down the line. If nothing else, it represents a bigger step toward user freedom from Motorola, which is great. Hit the link to check out the tool.
Samsung has turned the Galaxy S III into the ultimate hotel accessory in preparation for the Olympics. It's equipped 40 rooms in London's Stratford Holiday Inn to use the official smartphone of 2012 to check in and out, order room service, unlock doors and control the TV without moving. VIPs staying at the hotel for the games season will get first dibs on the technology that'll let them call up a snack whilst tweeting -- just as long as Cody Brocious doesn't work out how to intercept it. <p style="text-align:right;color:#A8A8A8"></p>
Black mages, it's time to put on your robe and wizard hat. The original Final Fantasy is now on sale in Google Play, offering the same turn-based combat and high fantasy as the classic with fresh graphics. Final Fantasy isn't quite as aggressive as Final Fantasy III was with pricing , but $6.99 may still be more than you're used to paying. Of course, when it comes to nostalgia, sometimes money is no object.
Android: The Wi-Fi hotspot feature on Android phones lets you use your mobile data on multiple computers or tablets at once. The only problem is a lot of carriers have restrictions to prevent you from sharing your mobile data (which you're already paying for) for free. Computerworld posts a couple of workarounds. First, you should know that, as with other kinds of tethering , your carrier may not be too happy with you going around their special Wi-Fi hotspot plans, and you can end up pissing them off and being charged extra (or in extreme cases, having your contract canceled). Also, these workarounds might not apply to every wireless carrier or device (it doesn't for me on T-Mobile with a Samsung Galaxy S2, but some commenters on Computerworld vouch for the method). That said, if you only plan on using this occasionally and are willing to take the risk, here's how to get the hotspot functionality working:
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