Tag Archive | "life"

The HTC U11 Life begins to roll out to retailers across Europe

Earlier this month, HTC took the wraps off the HTC U11 Life, a brand new Android One device. It comes with vanilla Android, mid-tier specs, and a familiar Liquid Surface design. It’s been a long time since HTC has made a big push into the mid-tier space, but with solid specs and a beautiful design, the U11 Life could be a compelling contender there. We’ve been patiently waiting for HTC to start selling the device, and it looks like today is the day. The phone has begun its rollout across Europe.

As a refresher, the HTC U11 Life comes with a 5.2-inch Super LCD 1080p display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage that can be expanded via microSD card, 16 MP rear and front-facing cameras, and a 2,600 mAh battery. It supports Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, and NFC.

See also: Why the HTC U11 Life will probably cost you a little more than $ 349

The HTC U11 Life also features a number of features you’d expect to find in much more expensive devices. First off, the phone has an IP67 rating. That means it’s completely protected from dust and immersion in water of up to one meter. It also has sensors built into the side of the device. Much like the flagship HTC U11 from earlier this year or the recently released Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, you can squeeze the sides of the phone to open up Google Assistant.

Notably missing from the HTC U11 Life is a headphone jack.

The device is rolling out to a number of retailers across Europe as we speak. The rollout seems to be gradual with some retailers still showing the device as a pre-order, even though you can add it to your cart and place an order. HTC’s website and Media Mrkt seem to be the best sources to pick one up online, although others retailers are carrying it as well. You can grab yours beginning today for €349.

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Android has a new feature to highlight apps that cause bad battery life


One of the biggest challenges with battery life on Android devices over the years has been wakelocks. Wakelocks are caused by apps that constantly poll the phone for information. This prevents a phone from entering a deeper sleep state where minimal battery life is used. Since the phone can never enter deep sleep mode, it just sits there burning battery.

See also: How to extend your Android’s phone battery life

There have been many third-party apps to detect and crack down on wakelocks, but it looks like Google is now getting involved. Users on Twitter (via Android Police) have reported that in the latest Android 8.1 Developer Preview the battery app is naming abusive apps. A warning appears in the battery settings with a red battery icon, the name of the offending app, and how it’s draining your battery. Tapping the warning will give you options to fix the issue. This may be as simple as killing the app or turning off location data for it.


There’s no telling yet whether this new feature will make it into Android 8.1 when it releases to the public. Google has been known in the past to add features in developer previews only to remove them before a final release. But, it’s an encouraging development that Google is testing out a feature that gives users more information and control over their phones. Google has long been trying to improve battery life with initiatives like Doze, but this takes it a step further.

What do you think about Android’s new feature? Do you think it will actually lead to better battery life or just more annoying notifications? Let us know down in the comments.

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Meet LEGO Life, a safe online space for kids who love LEGO building

LEGO Life is a new app for Android and iOS where all LEGO lovers can create and share their virtual building sets on a child-friendly platform.

See also:

Build your own LEGO characters with the new LEGO Brickheadz VR app for Daydream View

November 30, 2016

LEGOs are making a huge comeback: I don’t know whether kids these days are going analog or if it’s those gentrification-loving, vintage-seeking hipsters, but it seems like LEGO building is the latest craze. Well, LEGO has opportunely launched a child-friendly social network where LEGO enthusiasts can interact with LEGO characters, get latest news, customize their newsfeed, and interact with fellow LEGO lovers. This safe space is aimed for those under 13, so hipsters: please let the kids have this one.

The company has actually worked with UNICEF to bring important safety features to this app.

The company has actually worked with UNICEF to bring important safety features to this app: first of all, kids need a parent or guardian’s permission to join the social network. And kids won’t be able to share information or photos that could be used to identify or locate them. Instead of having profile pictures, kids will get to customize their own LEGO avatars, and they cannot directly chat with other players online. The company also assures that usernames are generated for them, combining three random words:

The app includes its own custom emoji keyboard – and yes, you guessed it right – it’s all LEGO themed. Users can comment on other people’s LEGO creations, but these comments are moderated as to prevent online bullying.

Other than that, once you’ve created your avatar, you get to personalize your newsfeed: so the topics and groups you follow will be displayed once you open the app. These could be animals, superheroes, etc. There are also LEGO challenges where you can test your knowledge about LEGO characters and LEGO videos where you can watch mini movies and webisodes.

You can download the app from the Play Store by clicking the button below:

Download LEGO Life from Play Store

It looks like the reviews are split between five stars and one, the latter being – for the most part – children complaining that they cannot sign up because they are too young. It’s pretty entertaining to read the comments, if you have the time that is.

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Forget battery life, get Ambient Display notifications on any device – Android customization

Tasker Ambient Display Notification

We’re taking a little break from our Android Wear projects on our Android customization series, we were going to return to root tips, tools and tricks this week, but our project will work on most any phone or tablet. We’d like to take a look at a feature that is found on only a few devices today, and make it work on any Android phone or tablet.

The idea is simple, many new devices with AMOLED displays come equipped with a feature called Ambient Display, simply turning the display on for a few seconds to show you new notifications. This is a handy feature, one that is predominantly reserved for devices with AMOLED displays simply for battery preservation purposes.

Like I said, forget about battery life, we want the feature on our old-school Nexus tablet. For this we turn to our old friend, Tasker, and the plug-in Secure Settings.

Before we begin

You will require a fairly modern device to follow along today, we are having success with Marshmallow and Lollipop devices, but not as much luck on an older KitKat device. Go ahead and install Tasker and Secure Settings, Tasker is $ 2.99 in the Google Play Store and Secure Settings is free with in-app purchases to unlock extra functions.
Secure Settings – Google Play StoreTasker – Google Play Store

Ambient Display on your Android phone or tablet

Before we jump in, I just wanted to say again, Ambient Display is made for AMOLED displays because the display tech only turns on the pixels required to display the minimal message, using very little battery to do so. Our project today will need to completely turn on your display, this will eat a great deal of your battery throughout the day, especially if you configure exactly as I will be.

Related reading: Real time battery drain warnings

If battery life is not of concern, good, let’s get started.

Open up Tasker and start a new Task, let’s call it “AmbientNotification

Tap the “+” button to add your first action.

Tasker Ambient Display Notification

Select Plugin.

Select Secure Settings.

Tap the pencil Configuration button.

Expand Actions.

Select Wake Device.

Change the Duration to an amount of time that makes sense for you. Remember your battery life.

Tasker Ambient Display Notification

Click Save at the top.

Tap the system Back button a couple times, we’re done with the Task, let’s now create the associated Profile.

Head over to the Profiles tab and start a new Profile.

Tasker Ambient Display Notification

Select Event.

Select UI.

Select Notification.

Tap on the spaceship icon to the right of Owner Application.

Tap the All button in the bottom right, or choose your desired apps to have turn on the display.

Tap the system Back button twice again to save and exit to the next step.

Select your Ambient Notification Task from the list.


Tasker Ambient Display Notification

Wait, the whole point of Ambient Display is to show you your latest incoming notification, good thing we already handled this in a previous project:

Create your own popup notifications using Tasker

Finally, you’ll need to turn off your display for this to work, obviously. But before it does, please consider the extra security settings that you’ll need to grant to Tasker and Secure Settings.

Tasker Android Wear

I might have told you this in the first place, sorry, head into your main system settings, go to Security -> Device administrators and grant Tasker and Secure Settings admin access. When that’s done, head over to the Sound & notification settings to grant Notification access for Tasker. If you follow along after the break, you’ll want to also go into App notifications and make Tasker a Priority.

Tasker Android Wear

What’s next

Just for the fun of it I decided to pop up a Tasker notification along with this ambient display project. it serves no point except proof of concept. You could, however, work with our Android Wear project from last week. You can handle yours so that it provides an actionable card on your smartwatch. Like, maybe a button to dismiss this ambient display so it does not eat so much battery.

Tasker Popup notification Project

Now that, hopefully, your creative juices are flowing, remember that we took the fairly obvious notifications as our trigger to turn on the display. You could dive deep and consider many other things to pop on the display, remember that you can use Tasker and Secure Settings to bypass the lock, then display a Tasker Scene to show off any info you’d like.

Here’s a cool project I just thought up, but won’t be building for myself, pair your phone and your tablet (or WiFi camera and tablet) so that with each shot you take the photo pops up for a few seconds on the tablet. This will rely on network traffic and probably a combination of services like Dropbox and IFTTT, but I believe in you.

Next week

I hope this little Ambient Display trick on your Android device was useful for you, next week on our Android customization series will be something fairly similar. Perhaps a different project, but we’ll continue with these tools next week, we are, after all, huge fans of Tasker.

Have you noticed any significant battery drain changes after created your own Ambient Display project on your non-AMOLED Android device?

More Android customization projects:

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