Posted in Android, Technology

Android N Developer Preview – Cool new features

Android N Developer Preview, a Beta version of Google’s upcoming Operating System Android N, was launched on Wednesday! It was previously expected to be launched in May 2016 at Google I/O, the annual conference focused on software development held by Google in San Francisco, California.

However, Google chose to surprise the anxious consumers as well as developers!

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Android N Developer Preview for the Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Pixel C Nexus 9 has been made available as an over-the-air update by Google! Which means no need to connect your smartphone to PC to download the update, you can download it directly to your Device!

Excited to try out the new update? Get it here, from the official site of Google!

As you move on to test its new features, make sure you don’t miss out on any of these specialities Android N has to offer! Yes, Google left no stone unturned to woo the customers and keep them glued to Androids after the much criticised failures encountered in Android Marshmallow (and subsequent updates). Given the fair share of impressive hidden features Android Marshamallow offered, it was bitterly sweet for some people who had to wait months to fix their problems (some still haven’t).

So, here we go with all the lovely features Android N has to present you :

1. Data Saver :

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This one is extremely helpful for those who are on pay-on-the-go or prepaid connection.

Google has always ensured that your data consumption isn’t the reason for your high mobile bills. Be it Google Chrome (which compresses the data upto 70%), Google Weblight (which enhances your browsing experience by compressing web pages which you want to visit/load), optional “Load Image” feature in browser or the OS itself, you can leave alone your worries of too much data consumption.

You can turn this feature on from settings and you shall have this confirmation :

Background Data is only available via Wifi. This may affect some apps or services when Wifi is not available.

Worried how your Instant Messaging or Mail services will run now? Your Smartphone allows you to choose exceptional “Selected Apps” which will be allowed data access despite having this feature on.

2. Improved Battery Life :

Yes! Finally the answer to all those prayers! This one is a relief for the large number of users who encountered the Battery Drain issue in Android Marshmallow.

A battery-saving feature, called Doze that places an Android device into a deep power-savings mode when it is stationary for a while, has been modified in Android N to allow Doze to work whenever the screen is OFF!

So, the overall power consumption in StandBy mode is reduced significantly.

3. Multi-Window

This feature allows users to perform multiple tasks simultaneously, a much needed feature in Tablets. It allows splitting of screen vertically as well as horizontally.

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So, now you can check weather while browsing through your news feed or book movie tickets while chatting with a friend.

4. Picture-In-Picture

Again, a very beneficial feature for those having large screen smartphones or tablets!
Google describes it as :

“Picture-in-picture (PIP) mode lets apps run a video activity in the pinned window while another activity continues in the background. The PIP window lets users multitask while using your app, which helps users be more productive.”

Now you can view that presentation on your screen while simultaneously Video Calling with that potential Business partner or take interviews of an applicant while viewing his Resumè! Cool, isn’t it?

5. “Direct Reply” and Improved Notification Panel

A “Direct Reply” allows users to reply to incoming notifications of messages directly from the notification panel without the need to launch that particular app.

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This means you can reply directly to that SMS, Tweet or WhatsApp! Very beneficial when you’re short on time and don’t wanna miss replying because of your hurry or busy schedule!

The notification panel is powerful too, and as a Great Man once said, ” With Great Powers come Great Responsibilities! “, the notification panel stands true to them.

All the alerts from a particular app are bundled together in notification panel, enabling users to see them as collapsed and expand individually according to their wish.

All of that sounds awesome, made me more anxious for the launch of Android N!

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Speculations are that N stands for “Nutella” (I hope it doesn’t because I love Nutella and I might just eat someone’s tablet when they say it’s Nutella :P), do you have an alternate name in mind? Do share as I’m curious to hear them!

Till then, always for you, your very own help to the technology, YourTechSage!

Posted in Android, Technology

Android Marshmallow : End of the Line Resolve

Android Marshmallow has turned out a little troublemaker for some users, some facing very serious issues. Even though some problems are common and easy to resolve, if none works for you, here are some last bit of measures to help you out.

Just to beware you, proceed with these only if you have no alternative and have tried every possible tweak for your particular problem.

Here we go :

1. Clear cache partition :

You can try clearing your device’s cache partition and jump start the installation to fix your problem. This varies from device to device, sometimes. To do this on Nexus 6P :

• Press and hold Power and Volume Down buttons simultaneously for around 10 seconds.

• You should see a large arrow at the top of the screen.

• Tap Volume Down repeatedly until you see Recovery in the arrow.  Then tap the Power button.

• You should see an android on his back with its chest open showing red triangle and exclamation mark.

• While holding the Power button, tap Volume Up once then release the Power button.

• You should now see a list of items at top of screen.

• Tap Volume Down until the item to erase or wipe the cache partition is highlighted.  Then tap Power button to initiate the process.

• A status messages will appear at the bottom of the screen.

2. Factory Reset :

Make sure you back up all your files and data before proceeding with this. To do this, you need to consult your device’s manual/guide/website. Google has put up very helpful guides for all the Nexus devices on how to factory reset them here.

3. Downgrade Device :

If going back to licky Lollipop is what you desire, you can download the OS for your device and easily perform a set of actions. But this is totally off the books as your manufacturer may not recommend this. Still, let me know in comments and I’ll mail you an extensive guide along with all download links on how to downgrade your device. 😉

4. Checkout forums for individual problems :

If you’re experiencing a particular problem, a specific, not so common one, I recommend checking out the forums for your device.

Nexus users can see Google’s Nexus Help Forum.

XDA Developers and Android Central may be having users similar to you facing same problem as yours (a solution maybe listed too). See if you can if anything to calm down your anger.

5. Contact Google :

Talk to them about it, your device, complain, request a solution, send your device to them. They might give you a replacement device! They just might!

After all of this I am sure you must be pretty disappointed and angry, so much that even this winter can’t calm you down. Still, when you’re done hurling your abuses, I would love to help you out, YourTechSage!

Posted in Android, Technology

Android Marshmallow : Battery Issue and Resolution

Android Marshmallow has turned out way too sweet for some devices to digest, hence it’s consuming too much of digestive juice (apparently battery) from devices.

A large number of users have complained about battery draining issues after the upgrade, so here are some helpful tweaks to tackle the issue. Let me remind you, implement these tactics only after giving your device a proper time as mentioned here. So, let’s begin :

1. Find out the culprit apps :

Truth be told, this is where you should begin. Instead of yelling straightaway at Google, you might wanna reconsider your own apps which may be hogging down your device’s resources, resulting in a quickly draining battery. So go ahead and abuse Google go ahead and perform these steps :

● Go to Battery section in Settings, analyse the consumption of power by various applications. Android Marshmallow has extended features for this too, as now it allows you to monitor features such as Flashlight and Camera!

One of the possible culprits could be SnapChat (ladies, beware!) as it utilises camera. Solution? Simply restrict it’s access by application, again an awesome feature from Marshmallow.

Try re-installing the app as it has worked for many users.

No help still? Alert the developers or find alternative app for the time being.

2. Restarting the device :

An app may be consuming resources for a long time, consider restarting the device if you haven’t done it for a few days.

3. Disable unnecessary services :

Ensure good using habits, keep Wifi, GPS, Google Maps, Mobile Data switched off unless you are using them. Keeping them on all the time obviously will result in fast drainage of battery.

Additionally, ensure that it’s not the poor reception of network which is the root cause. Phone tend to consume much more battery if it is struggling to get network reception.

4. Managing Screen settings :

Even though most devices allow sensors to automatically adjust screen brightness, sometimes it works, sometimes don’t.

So adjust brightness manually to better suit your need and you also save on the extra power as system won’t need to keep an extra process+sensors on for this.

Go to Settings -> Display and Turn off ‘Adaptive Brightness’

Note, this doesn’t mean keeping your brightness low as it highly affects your vision damaging your eyes. I suggest you keep the brightness high enough for your eyes’ comfort.

5. Switch Launchers (if you’re using one) :

Although this is a rare case, you might wanna utilise alternative launchers than your current one and see if it affects the battery issue.

If all this doesn’t seem to work, you may wanna try these end of the line steps, but a gentle reminder, move to them only and only when you have no alternative.

Always keep an eye for updates, ensure your device is updated to latest version and enjoy your Android Marshmallow!

Got any better tips? Unable to implement any of the tweaks above? I’m eager to help you out, always, your very own, YourTechSage!

Posted in Android, Technology

Android Marshmallow : Common issues, bugs and Resolution

Android Marshmallow brings out a score of new features (some of which are hidden), but also comes with its fair share of bugs and issues. Although I am not experiencing much of them, after going through comments/reviews on PlayStore and various other forums, I couldn’t help but notice the large number of problems,  some of which are very serious, faced by various users on various devices.

A Rose is accompanied by thorns. Let’s see some of the problems (with possible solutions) which users are experiencing. Before starting, again I would like to clarify that each of these problems are on individual basis, differ from person-to-person, device-to-device, hence, cannot be universally accepted issues. Some users aren’t facing any of the problems, some (Say Nexus 6P) devices are encountering the trouble whereas the exact same device of another person possess no problems. Hence, only the most commonly occurring ones are listed here.

1. Battery Life

Problem : Users experience that their phone’s battery is draining faster than expected.

Common Devices : Nexus 5, Nexus 6P

Soultion :

First of all, let’s be aware of a fact; Battery drainage problems are extremely common following a major Android Upgrade. Give the software some time to settle down, it can take upto few days to get sorted out on its own. Wait two days, if you don’t see improvements, you need to follow some measures which are mentioned here.

Secondly, you may find the solution on Google or some forums to “factory reset your phone” in order to solve the problem. My advice, DO NOT, unless there is no other alternative.

Thirdly, ensure your device is updated to the latest version. The January Security updates are already out.

2. Charging

Problem : Users experience their devices charge slowly/not charging/do not boot up.

Solution:

Do not haste, ensure that you are using the original charger meant for your device. Try swapping it with other charger (borrowed one) having same ratings to see if problem still persists.

Try using the USB to charge the device (for those users experiencing no charge) using your laptop.

Nothing works? Try out this video.

3. Data

Problem : Some users claimed that their celluar network/data is hampered after the update. (NOTE : Most users claim that their celluar data issues were FIXED following Android 6.0 update)

Devices : Nexus 5 (some rare ones)

Solution : Ensure that your network provider is issue free and the services are working for other users.

Next, a large number of users replied that their issue was fixed following simple actions such as

• Restart the Device.

• Switching to Airplane Mode and back to normal.

 

4. Wifi

Problem : Wifi doesn’t work/connect

Devices : Nexus 5

Solution : After ensuring you router is working properly, head over to your device.
Go to Settings, then Connections and choose ‘Forget Connection’ and reconnect.
Not working? Try out different frequencies if you’re comfortable with it. Tap on ‘three dots’ to bring the Advanced Menu and go to Wifi Frequency Bands and test them. Although, remember, if you forget or mess up, simply let it set to defaults.

If none of this works, try updating your applications. Still not helpful? Boot in safe mode as represented here and single out the problems for each app.

5. Bluetooth

Problem : Bluetooth not starting/not connecting to other devices/not working

Solution : The problem is a case to case one as can be seen here.

Try out these basic actions :

• Switch off and on the bluetooth.

• Forget the connection, by going into Bluetooth Settings, and reconnecting

If this doesn’t work, try booting in safe mode to sort out problems as safe mode disables third party apps enabling you to find the real cuplrit. Click to know how!

6. Performance :

Problem : A large number of users are experiencing a lag, less performing device after the update

Devices : Nexus 5X, Nexus 6

Solution : Variety of steps you can follow to get rid of this issue are  as follows:

Clear your device’s cache partition as mentioned here.

• Utilise Android Marshmallow’s new RAM Manager Tool present inside the apps menu to monitor the activity of your device. It allows you to see which applications are slowing down your device.

• Try deleting files you no longer need, cut short on widgets, free your device from extra animations and similar actions if you really want performance from your device.

7. Apps

Problem : Some applications are not working

Solution : Again, a scenario varying with case as seen here.

Any application will obviously encounter bugs when running on a completely new upgraded system.

Ensure all your applications are updated to latest version, let the developer community for that particular application know of your issue. Unfortunately, this issue can only be resolved from your app developer so wait till they provide updates, which shouldn’t take more than a few days (or weeks at max).

Other Issues :

• Random Reboots
• Blank Screen on Call Picking/Ending
• Black Screen during application usage or working
• Clock Lagging (Nexus slowing down time now!)

Finally if nothing works, you can try out the endgame steps as mentioned here, but approach them only as a last hope.

Phew, that was very awkward as praising words wouldn’t stop falling since I upgraded my device. Not to lose hope as the updates will sort out all problems as time passes by. Till then, let’s manage and keep a keen eye on updates.

Having some other issues? Found any better solutions to those mentioned above? I’m eager to hear from you, always, YourTechSage!

Posted in Android, Technology

Android Marshmallow : Soft, Sweet, Full of Mystery!

Finally, I grabbed the new Android 6.0 Marshmallow Update, after waiting for a long time (or so it seems), and the very first thing I got engaged in? Finding out all the new, hidden, surprising features the update has to provide! Yeah, after a week long journey of my challenging expedition (phew), I finally succeeded in gathering many of them! Cutting short my elaborate account, let’s jump to the point.

True to its name, Marshmallow Update is sweet, giving much more options in each settings to the users, empowering them with nearly everything they could ask for, while customising their device. Less attention has been on User Interface (UI) this time, focusing more on ensuring the security and simplicity in the life of the user. So go ahead, play around with your smartphone, make it look and work according to your desires (and think of yourself as smarter in the process!)

  1. File Manager introduced : Finally, Thank God, hearing the prayers of all the users (especially Nexus users), a much awaited, much more needed, in-built File Manager is introduced! Some users who already possess the upgrade are about to get shocked! Are you surprised? Why haven’t you found it yet in your phone? Before you call me insane, head over to Settings -> Storage & USB and look for ‘Explore’ option visible at the bottom of the screen. There you go, thank me later, once discovered it is extremely useful and convenient to all types of users!
  2. Individual app permissions : I always wanted to hide some of my phonebook contacts from Facebook, but allowing WhatsApp to use them (ironic enough?). Did you wish the same? Then, a happy news for you! Marshmallow now lets you do this with the new App Permission Settings. There are two ways for this; head over to individual apps and modify the settings, or simply go to Settings -> Apps -> App Permissions, ensuring you can choose now which particular data can be accessed by an application on your smartphone.
  3. Network Restrictions : Any metered connections can now be treated as cellular, means no more hogging of data by the applications. In contrast to the previously available feature of setting data limit, users can now set data limit for individual apps! See? Nice, isn’t it? Also, user will be warned of any large data downloads by these apps prior to the download starts. To utilise this feature, simply go to Settings -> Data Usage, select ‘Network Restrictions’ from the ‘3-dot’ menu and simply choose the connections for which you want background data to be restricted!
  4. Google Now : Anything you wanna search is now just a tap away! Google Now provides information by ‘intelligently’ picking up keywords from any active screen. Your smartphone just got smarter, to test this, simply go to Settings of your Google App, tap on ‘Voice‘ and enable ‘Now on Tap‘ option, thats it, now you just have to long press your ‘Home Key’ and see the magic!
  5. Enhanced System UI controls : Although one of the toughest to find, this is one of the most adorable features of all. Now you can modify the User Interface according to your style, hide particular items (such as Bluetooth or Alarm) from the status bar permanently, add or remove tiles from the ‘Quick Settings Panel’ and much more! Again, before you ask me why you don’t see it yet in your device (and some will label me totally insane), let me tell you the trick to get this working. Go to Quick Settings Panel, Long Press the ‘Settings’ icon (the Gear one on the top right of screen) until this icon begins to rotate. Upon releasing it, you’ll see a success message. Now, the option is visible in your phone settings! Hush, don’t let your siblings/friends find it out, and show off your smartness! Cool isn’t it?
  6. Setting default apps for web links :
    Have you ever wished for a link on your browser to directly open it in the required app? For instance, while browsing on your Chrome, you come across an Amazon link your friend shared, but you want that link to open up straight in app on clicking, so here’s another wish granted from the Genie called Marshmallow! Move to Settings -> Apps, then click on the gear icon on top right of screen and select ‘App links’. This will help you customise all the links you want. In previous versions, although the feature of opening link via apps was present; but not to such customisable extent.
  7. Set Default apps for phone, SMS, browser, voice etc. : In case you posses mutiple browsers, you can now set a default one as per your choice. The default applications can now be set for even these regular tasks, such as phone dialer, SMS, Assitant as well as Voice Input. Want a better voice assistant than the preset Google one? Head over to PlayStore, and simply find better ones.
  8. Simultaneous Wifi and Mobile Data : Some professionals are worried about the delay in network switching time or cannot accept any loss in connection even for a second (because of video calls, conferences etc.). Also, regular users who don’t like to lose a a single moment being online (or continuing downloads, video streaming) are in luck! Keep your mobile data and Wifi on simultaneously and say goodbye to disconnected periods, as the network switching time is almost zero. Don’t worry about your mobile data, even though it stays on, it shall not be used till wifi is available. To use this feature, you first need to enable developer options. For those who know already how to enable it, Great, those who don’t, you will know now! Go to Settings -> About phone. Here you’ll see alot of information. Find the ‘Build Number’ detail and simply tap quickly 10 to 12 times on this ‘Build Number’. A success message will be displayed (saying you’ve become a developer, Congratulations, guys and girls!) and now you have ‘Developer Options’ accessible. Now go to Settings, under the ‘System’ section, you should see ‘Developer Options’. Enter, and you shall find various sections. Look for ‘Networking’ section and enable ‘Cellular data always active’ feature. That’s it.

 

Falling in love with your sweet Marshmallow? Just don’t end up eating it. There’s much more to find out, experiment yourself (you have Developer Options now!) and maximise the pleasure out of your Smartphone. Got more tricks or found something new? I would be really glad to hear you out! Always here for you, YourTechSage!