Android 7.0 (aka Nougat) – What can it do for you?

Before we get started I want to remind you that the standard Android OS mantra applies.. you probably don’t have it yet and only your phone manufacturer and carrier can tell you when you might see this update. So far, rollout of this version has begun for Nexus devices, although Google has said Nexus 5 and Nexus 9 owners are out of luck, they won’t be getting this update at all. If you want to know when your Android device will be receiving this update your best bet is to check your phone manufacturer’s website to see when and if, you’ll be getting this sweet update.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the exciting part of this article, what’s so great about Android Nougat, when you do get it? What can it do for you that the previous version, Android Marshmallow couldn’t?Android 7.0 Nougat OS

Well, the highlights of this update include: an improved Doze; support for an API that will deliver a richer gaming experience; a VR mode that will work with future Daydream VR-ready Android phones; a splitscreen mode for better multitasking; and a fully redesigned Quick Settings bar.

  • JIT compiler: The new JIT compiler sounds like a bunch of nonsense to us, non-technical folks, but what you need to know is that it’s designed improve the runtime performance of your device. It also reduces the amount of storage required for apps and makes app and system updates noticeably faster.
  • VR mode: This is system level support for something that isn’t quite a thing yet. It’s designed to work with Google Daydream VR and Daydream-ready phones, neither of those two things have been released yet.
  • Vulkan API: Like the JIT compiler above, you may be scratching your head wondering what those words actually mean. But what you need to know is that on supported devices this will deliver eye-catching, high-performance, 3D graphics in apps that choose to support it.
  • Doze: Doze is an extreme power-saving mode introduced with Marshmallow designed to improve the battery life of your device. Now it works to conserve battery life, when you’re not using your phone, even when you’re on the move (the previous version required you to be stationary.)
  • Data saver: This is the feature you’ve all been waiting for, when enabled it prevents apps running in the background from accessing your cellular data. So it can potentially save you from paying data overages on your next bill.
  • Split-screen mode: This feature is for multitaskers, it allows you to run two apps side-by-side in split screen mode. That way it’s easier to text when watching YouTube videos or see both your timer and favourite recipe app.
  • Picture-in-picture mode: This is for you if you have an Android TV, it allows you to continue watching your current video while browsing or fiddling with your settings.
  • Quick switch: Double tapping the Overview button (the one that looks like a square), will allow you to quickly switch between your two most recently used apps.
  • Bundled notifications: Instead of getting a ton of notifications from the same app, they can be grouped together in an expandable “bundle” that will appear as a single notification. You can dismiss them all at once by swiping or you can expand it to deal with each one individually.
  • Direct reply: Now you’ll be able to reply to a message quickly and conveniently directly from your notification shade. It saves you from having to open the actual app to craft your response.
  • Notification controls: Taking charge of your notification settings becomes even in easier in Android Nougat. When a new notification comes up, you just tap and hold it to toggle its notification settings. That’s right you’ll be able to silence future app alerts in the notification itself.
  • Customizable Quick Settings: Now you’ll be able to rearrange your Quick Settings tiles, so you can find the setting you’re looking for faster. For instance, now you’ll be able to put the battery saver Quick Settings tile before a lesser used setting, like airplane mode.
  • Quick Settings bar: A subtle tweak to the Quick Settings bar, puts your top Quick Settings tiles directly in your notification shade.
  • Improved Settings navigation: Google recognizes that your Android settings can be a confusing maze of menus, so it’s taken steps to clarify and improve the way settings are displayed to help you find what you’re looking for faster.
  • Settings suggestion: Again to make changing Settings less of a hassle, Settings can offer you suggestions on how to get more out of your Android device.
  • ‘Clear all’ in Overview: Now when you press your Overview button, (again that square-iconed button that shows you which apps are open), you’ll get a “clear all” option. That way you can close all the apps that are running in the background at once.
  • Emergency Information: Now you have the option to add important emergency information like your name, blood type, allergies and emergency contact information to your lockscreen so that it’s readily accessible to emergency responders.
  • Lockscreen wallpaper: Instead of having to go through third party apps, now you can set up different homescreen and lockscreen wallpapers on your device directly.
  • Unicode 9 emoji: You’re getting more of those cute little emoji to help you express yourself including redesigned human emoji that look less like amorphous blobs and the ability to add different skin tones. Also and this is super important, they’ve added bacon, selfie and avocado emojis, among others.
  • Direct Boot: Direct Boot helps you when you restart your Android device ensuring that it not only restarts faster, but it also allows important communications to run. So before you’re prompted to unlock your device you’ll be able to receive you’ll still be able to hear your alarm clock or recieve an important text message.
  • Seamless software updates: On select Android devices running Nougat, new OS updates will be able to be downloaded and run in the background. This allows you to get on with your day and use your device while the OS quietly updates in the background.
  • File-based encryption: This is built on top of Android’s existing security platform, introducing file-based encryption. By encrypting at the file level instead of the block level, Android can better isolate and protect files for individual users on your device.
  • Scoped folder access: Apps can request access to specific folders that you can allow or deny access to (just like app runtime permissions). So instead of an overarching the storage permission for apps, they can specify they that only need access to certain folders. It can also allow apps to request direct access to removable media (on devices with that hardware).
  • Trusted face: Trusted face, a part of Smart Lock, has updated its new face recognizer. The new recognizer is less sensitive to conditions like lighting, new facial hair, whether or not you’re wearing glasses, and how you hold your phone. This feature will only be available on select devices.
  • Improved system backup coverage: More device settings are covered by Android Backup, including accessibility settings, run-time permissions for apps, Wi-Fi hotspot settings and Wi-Fi network restrictions. So if you have to restore your device from a backup it’s easier to get it back exactly the way you like it.
  • Multi-locale support: This is primarily about your language settings. If you set up to select multiple locales in Settings you’ll be able to have a more personalized experience, with features such as showing search results in multiple languages and not offering to translate webpages in a language you already know.
  • New languages supported: In addition to allowing you to select multiple languages preferences, this version of Android allows you to select from 100 new languages and 25 locales for commonly used languages such as English, Spanish, French, and Arabic. This helps your apps provide to better support and understand your language preferences, even if your devices lacks official support for it.
  • New language preferences: You can sort your language preferences so that apps can pick the right keyboard & text for you.
  • Accessibility settings in setup: Instead of fixing your accessiblity settings after you set up the device, now you can, setup magnification, gesture, font size, display size, and TalkBack right out of the box.
  • Display size: Now setting your display size extends beyond just deciding on the size of the text on your device. Now you can resize of all the display elements including icons and images.
  • Accessibility mono output: This is a feature that assists users with hearing loss in one ear, by combining stereo left and right channel output to a single mono stream.
  • Variable text to speech speed: This is designed to make it easier for of text to speech users to take advantage of this accessiblity setting by allowing you to set a wider range for speech speed and pitches.
  • Work mode: Work mode allows you to turn on and off your device’s work apps and notifications to improve your work, life balance.

Sources: Android

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How to use 2 factor authentication with your Apple ID on an older iOS device

Setting up two factor authentication for your iPhone or iPad adds an extra layer of security for your Apple and your iCloud log in, by requiring you to enter a PIN code from an approved device before you’re granted access to your account. It’s designed to offer you the peace of mind of having your backups and files locked behind an extra layer of security.2 step authentication

There is a bit of a catch though, Apple’s two factor authentication feature is really designed for iPhones or iPads runnning iOS 9 or higher or Macs running OS X 10.11 or higher. On those newer devices, you get a prompt to enter your code, but on an older device you don’t get that prompt to enter your code at all. So what do you do, if you want to keep this security feature enabled on your older device?

It’s actually simpler than you might imagine to solve this issue, though it’s by no means obvious. If you’ve locked your Apple ID with two factor authentication you have to authenticate it by adding the PIN code to the end of your existing Apple ID password.

So if your Apple ID password is “iPh0n3sR4w3s0me” and your two factor authentication code is “856 872”, you’d enter your Apple ID password as “iPh0n3sR4w3s0me856872.”

It’s important that you not add any extra spaces, just your existing Apple ID password, followed by the two factor authentication code. If you don’t add the two factor authentication code to your Apple ID password on an older iOS or Mac OS version, your log in will be rejected.

This workaround is the only thing standing between you and a frustrating situation where accessing your iCloud account and performing any Apple ID related function becomes impossible. So keep this in mind, it can save you from disabling this security feature, after being locked out of your iCloud account one time too many.

And just to reiterate if you have a newer iPhone or Mac, like an iPhone 6s, this is something that you don’t need to worry about, as the version of iOS on your device will show you where to enter your PIN code, no workarounds required.

Sources: OSXDaily

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Review: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 – a big, beautiful, productivity powerhouse

Samsung Galaxy Note 7, (yes, it’s true there is no Note 6) is one of the best Android smartphones, you can buy right now. It’s a big, beautiful phablet that manages to feel like a much smaller phone and it comes jam-packed with a ton of extra features to make moving from your home to your workplace and back, as painless as possible. It’s the perfect smartphone for business users, power users and anyone who can’t go more than five minutes without checking their phone.Samsung Galaxy Note 7

We’re not throwing the word “beautiful” around lightly here. This is smartphone with a design that’s sure to turn heads from its dual-edged, high-res, always-on, AMOLED display to its super-glossy, glass-encased backing. (Unfortunately, its eye-catching “coral blue” version is not available yet.)

It’s not a case of form over function either, you get 64GB of storage right out of the box, a 3500mAh battery, a whole slew of new and exciting S-Pen features and a more stripped-down, streamlined version of Samsung’s TouchWhiz UI. This is a high-end phablet that’s able to justify its higher price ($360 on a two-year premium plus plan or $1060 to buy it outright).

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 – specs

  • OS: Android Marshmallow (6.0.1)
  • Screen: 5.7″ 1440p QHD curved Super AMOLED touchscreen
  • Cameras: 
    • Rear: Dual sensor 12MP F1.7
    • Front: 5MP
  • Average download speed: check the map for the most up-to-date speeds
  • Fastest download speed:  check the map for the most up-to-date speeds
  • Processor: 2.15GHz Dual + 1.6Hz Dual Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
  • Battery: 3500 mAh removable battery
  • Storage space: 64GB expandable with MicroSD up to 200 GB
  • Weight: 169 grams
  • Size: 153.5mm X 73.9mm X 7.9mm
  • Type of SIM Card: Nano SIM

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 – prosIris scanner on Samsung Galaxy Note 7

  • It’s a gorgeous phablet with a 5.7-inch Quad-HD Super AMOLED screen and it incorporates a sleek dual-edge design that adds a layer of non-instrusive functionality.
  • It has an Always On display option that allows you to do more with your lockscreen like displaying a stylish, calendar or clock. It has added support for a wider array of notification types as well.
  • It’s also thinner than last year’s Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and that coupled with its rear curves make it a big phone that manages not to feel like a big phone.
  • It ups the default storage space from 32GB on Samsung Galaxy Note 5 to 64GB with the ability to add up 200GB with a MicroSD card.
  • Its screen also comes with a variety of different display modes to ensure that you get the viewing experience you’re after. You can choose the Basic mode (the default), which removes what some might call Samsung’s “oversaturated look”. Or you can choose AMOLED Cinema for a better video viewing experience, including support for 4K video; AMOLED Photo which offers photographers a very accurate standard Adobe RBG colour gamut; and Adaptive, which will alter screen brightness based on your environment (dual sensors mean it’s more accurate).
  • It also includes a blue light filter for your display that you can set on a timer. Studies have shown that too much blue-ish screen light before bed can disrupt your sleep patterns, reducing both quality and quantity.
  • Its IP68 certification means that you don’t have to worry about dropping it a puddle or navigating in the rain.
  • Its added a USB Type-C port for faster, charging and data transfer, but kept the headphone jack so you don’t have to worry about adding adapters or buying wireless Bluetooth headphones (unless you want them).
  • Its 3500 mAh battery performs decently in testing maxing out at around 6 hours of straight video. You also have a robust selection of power saving options to squeeze the most out of it.
  • Its cameras continue to be among the best around. In fact, it shares its lightning fast-focusing, DSLR-quality camera specs with Samsung Galaxy S7, which is still at the top notch compared with anything else on the market.
  • It includes an iris scanner, if you’re looking for a novel way to unlock your device and impress your pals. You’ll have to train yourself a bit to get used to it.
  • It also includes a new Secure Folder that allows you to hide apps, files and content behind the same kind of security that locks your device. It also means you can have two copies of the same app, one for personal use and one for work use for example.
  • Its folded Samsung’s multiple note-taking apps into a single comprehensive offering that’s feature rich enough to handle anything you throw at it.
  • Its improved, sleeker S-Pen stylus cannot be put backward into the device causing it to jam in place, it’s more liable to go shooting across the room.
  • Its S-Pen stylus supports a bunch of extra features, such as Air Command, Screen Write, Magnify, Glance and Translate, which translates individual words by selecting them. It also includes an incredibly simple way to make GIFs using Smart Selec,t without having to futz with a complex editing software on a computer.
  • It supports Samsung Gear VR, so you can see what non-90s era virtuality reality has to offer.
  • Samsung also brings you a much simpler, more streamlined TouchWhiz experience with less muddled Settings menus without those pesky dialog boxes that used to pop up to explain things. It makes it easier to find the fancy features that have lead you to consider Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in the first place.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 – cons

  • It’ll be a while before you can get your hands on the super-stylish “coral blue” version of this smartphone. Samsung Canada has said that they underestimated the demand for this shiny, new shade.
  • Its 3500 mAh is non-removable, so you won’t be able to replace it and its glass-backing makes it very hard to repair if something goes wrong. So don’t forget to put a case on it.
  • Its high-end specs and unending laundry list of features translate into an expensive price tag, if you’re looking for a good-enough smartphone, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
  • Its thinner improved S-Pen can feel flimser, because of its slimmer design.
  • It can be a bit of a steep learning curve, diving deep into the extra features S-Pen has to offer, but that’s what our TELUS Learning Centre sessions are for.
  • Its iris scanning feature sometimes has issues working with contact lenses and glasses.
  • Its USB Type C port means that you won’t be able to borrow chargers from your friends anymore and you’ll have to be careful buying replacement chargers as international USB Type-C standards have not yet been agreed upon by manufacturers.
  • Samsung’s TouchWhiz UI means that you’ll be stuck with two apps for the same thing such as Samsung’s browser app and Google’s Chrome browser app. But on the bright side, its 64GB of onboard storage, means that’s going to be less of a problem.
  • It shares many of its specs with Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, so if you don’t need a stylus, the S7 edge may be best option for you.

To learn more about this smartphone, check out its product page or come into one of our eight convenient locations.

Sources: CNET, WIRED, Engadget, MobileSyrup, PCMag, Android Authority, DisplayMate

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Friday app roundup: barbeques and underwater word games

The weekend is pretty much here and you should be ready to bake in the intense heat of another hottest month on record. So if you’re hiding out inside this weekend to stay where you have air conditioning or if you’re just looking for something to take up some extra time on the weekend, we’ve got you covered.

This week’s app roundup includes: a new app based on the hit hacking tv show, Mr. Robot; Google’s newest foray into video calling that works across multiple platforms; a grilling app to give you new ideas about what to throw on the grill; and a fun app for kids to improve their vocabulary with a decidedly aquatic theme.

App: Mr. Robot: 1.5 exfiltrati0nMr. Robot universal app

OS: iOS, Android

What is it? This is a tie in to a popular tv show, in this case Mr. Robot, which is exactly what its maker TellTale Inc. is known for. However, unlike some other games, this isn’t about a graphic based interaction, instead this about using a fake messaging app to complete a mostly text-based choose-your-own-adventure type interaction with characters from the show. It doesn’t have in-app ads or purchases either which is nice. The conceit of the game is that you found a phone on the ground and it belongs to the black hat hacker character, Darlene from the show and now you need to send messages to the various members of E-Corp to lie, cheat and steal the info you need. You are given prompts for how to respond to incoming messages, so it’s not an entirely unguided text-based game, which is probably for the best. It’s a game that’s designed to be played over about a week, so it’s the kind of game that’s going to burn brightly over a relatively short period of time. It does cost money as well, but that’s because you’re not dealing with in-game ads. Also heed the parental warnings for this game it’s rated 17 and up for a reason.

Best review quote: You’ll “play” the game by texting different employees of E-Corp, the global tech company being targeted by the hacking group, as well as interacting with characters in the show, like Elliot, Darlene and Cisco. – Tech Crunch

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad or for your Android.

App: DuoDuo universal app

OS: Android, iOS

What is it? This is Google’s latest messaging app that’s designed to simplify video chats, specifically one-on-one video chats on a cross platform basis. It’s not designed for business use, it’s designed for one-on-one video calls with people you already know, which is why it needs access to your contacts app and it’s based around your phone number instead of an email address and account set up. It’s free to use and it’s pretty stripped down, if you want a bunch of lenses and filters and such this isn’t the app for you. It’s encrypted by default. There’s no user names or passwords required and very few settings to parse through. It’s just about a simple way to send a video call to anyone who’s phone number you already know. You can send text messages to invite other people to the platform and you can mute the mic. It’s most talked about feature is Knock Knock, which will show you a preview of who or what’s calling before you pick up. You can turn it off, but then you won’t get previews when someone calls you.

Best review quote: Duo prides itself on two important features: adaptability to your connection speed (the quality of the stream drops if you’re on a slow connection) and seamless transition between WiFi and data networks. To achieve the latter, you’ll see that Duo activates both WiFi and data immediately every time the app is opened, to make sure that the latter is already connected and ready should the WiFi signal drop. And both features work as expected. – Android Police

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad or for your Android.

App: Grill-It!Grill it universal app

OS: Android, iOS

What is it? Barbeque apps are not all created equal. It offers a kind of mix between, I’m new how does this barbeque thing work and now I know how to barbeque, I don’t want to see the same recipes every week. Because let’s face it if you’re going to download a recipe app specifically for grilling it should be something that you would conceivably use more than once. It adds new recipes weekly with the accompanying step by step instructions and pictures. I mean if you only intend to grill hotdogs and hamburgers, you do not need a barbeque grill app. So yeah, this about offering you a variety of different things to grill and exploring new foods.

Best review quote: When jumping into the world of barbecue, the first question is many times the most difficult: what do I want to cook? But this app makes it easy with a huge database of fun recipes using a number of different ingredients and meats. This is a must for anyone looking to start barbecuing or experienced users who need some recipe inspiration. – AppAdvice

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad or for your Android.

App: Bubble Worlds – Letter Splash

OS: Android, iOSBubble Words universal app

What is it? Casual kid friendly games are important and ones that offer a simple theme and allow you to improve your vocabulary are also good. And what good is an educational vocabulary-type game if it doesn’t offer a fun theme to keep you interested? It allows you to challenge your friends in the process. It’s simple and it’s free and that’s really as much as anyone can ask for when it comes to casual puzzle games.  Yes, there are some in-app purchases so you’ll want to watch out for those, but other than that it’s a decent word game you can spend some time with.

Best review quote: With the ambient aquatic setting Bubble Words looks to help mix things up a bit more than you standard po-faced word game – with a range of in-game islands providing their own unique challenges and obstacles. – 148Apps

Get it now: for your iPhone/iPad or for your Android.

 

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