Review: Moto G 3rd-generation – an iPhone user’s take

By Jeff Benjamin on Jul 30, 2015

The Moto G is a budget Android smartphone line from Motorola that has nurtured a very good reputation in the tech community. The latest 3rd-generation Moto G, which debuted on Tuesday, is now available in stores like Amazon and Best Buy.

We’ve made it our mission to review various Android smartphones over the year in order to provide you with a balanced look at what the so-called “competition” is offering. As most of you know, I’m a die-hard Apple fan, but I do have a soft spot in my heart from Android, even though I think that many of the decisions that Android OEMs make are borderline shameless.

That said, I’ve been extremely keen on testing out the latest and greatest version of the Moto G, because I think it’s the perfect companion Android phone for iPhone users wishing to dabble into the “other side”. At a mere $179.99 unlocked, the Moto G is an outstanding value. Yes, there are other Android phones that fall within this price range, but they’re usually horrible specs-wise, or if they’re decent, they’re inundated with bloatware (I’m looking at you Asus ZenFone 2).

The Moto G is different. Not only is it factory unlocked, but it features decent specs for a phone this cheap. But most importantly, it lacks the bloatware so popular in other phones in this class, or even so-called flagship phones. True, it’s not a Nexus device, which is 100% stock Android, but it’s very close, and arguably, improves on stock Android with some of its unique offerings.
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5 things I like about the LG G4

By Jeff Benjamin on Jul 21, 2015

I’ve had the privilege of testing out an LG G4 for the last 3 weeks, and I’ve finally found the time to write down my impressions about the highly esteemed flagship phone. If you’ve been keeping up with all of the rumblings regarding the G4, then it probably won’t be the first time you’ve heard some of the things I have to say in this overview.

At iDB, we strive to stay in the know about competing devices, and freely acknowledge that some of them do things better than the Apple devices that we’re most intimately familiar with. In this post, I’ll share five features about the LG G4 that particularly stood out to me.

First and foremost, the camera is bonkers! Not only is the general quality of the camera really good, but it excels in low light situations, features a great 4K video camera, and has tons of manual controls to fool around with. Check out our video overview of the camera inside. Read More

 

Embattled BlackBerry considering Android phones

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 12, 2015

Research In Motion saw its fortunes spectacularly erased in a few short years following the iPhone’s release in the summer of 2007. Fast-forward to 2015 and the company is now considering  putting Google’s Android software on its phones in a complete U-turn for the Canadian handset maker, according to a report Friday by Reuters.

It’s unclear whether the rumored switch would spell the end of the company’s own BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system.

RIM once dominated smartphone sales but now has a market share of less than one percent. Moreover, a former BlackBerry CEO has publicly admitted that Apple’s iPhone has single-handily killed his company’s treasured BlackBerry family of smartphones famed for their enterprise security and clickety-clack keyboards. Read More

 

Apple reveals new ‘Move to iOS’ app for Android switchers

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 8, 2015

To make life easier for people looking to switch to an iPhone and iOS 9 over from an Android device, Apple will be providing a dedicated iPhone and iPad application called ‘Move to iOS’.

Yet to be released in the App Store, Move to iOS was designed to simplify the process of transferring user data securely from an Android phone or tablet to a new iPhone or iPad. Read More

 

Apple Music available on June 30 for $9.99/month with 3-month free trial

By Cody Lee on Jun 8, 2015

Apple rounded up its WWDC 2015 keynote with a ‘one more thing’ announcement for Apple Music. The service will incorporate streaming music, 24/7 radio stations, and a new ‘Connect’ feature that will allow musicians to connect with their fans.

For those excited to try out the service, Apple says that it will be available on June 30th. As run-up reports predicted, it’ll come with a 3-month free trial and cost $9.99 per month after that. There will also be a family plan for multiple users, for $14.99 per month. Read More

 

How to watch WWDC keynote live on Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Windows, Linux and Android

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 7, 2015

As you know, Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off tomorrow with a State of the Union-like keynote address. WWDC is the most important event for the Apple community as it gives a sneak peak at how the firm plans to woo app developers in the year.

The 26th summer event runs from June 8 through June 12 at San Francisco’s Moscone West, where CEO Tim Cook will share the stage Monday morning along with other company executives to deliver latest advances concerning iOS, OS X and Watch OS platforms.

iDownloadBlog, the biggest name in jailbreaking, doesn’t get invited to Apple events. Not to worry: we’ll be providing a remote live coverage of the two-hour long presentation and following up with related tidbits throughout the day so you don’t miss a thing.

Apple will be providing a live stream through the Apple Events webpage on its website, using the new familiar weblog-like layout.

Although the official live stream is limited to Mac, iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Apple TV devices, you can enjoy it on other platforms, too. Without further ado, here’s a quick tutorial on what you’ll need to watch the keynote live on both Apple devices and non-Apple platforms like Windows, Linux and Android. Read More

 

SoundHound has created a voice search app that will knock your socks off

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 5, 2015

Apple’s introduction of Siri back in 2011 was a watershed moment for voice-activated personal digital assistants. Today, a myriad of Siri-like services exist such as Google Now on Android devices and Microsoft’s cross-platform Cortana, which will be hitting iOS soon following Windows 10 debut on July 29.

But many if not all of the existing services, Siri included, could be put to shame by Hound.

Hound is a forthcoming digital assistant which promises a groundbreaking smartphone experience, created by SoundHound, the maker of namesake mobile music and audio recognition service. Read More

 

Rumor: Nintendo’s next-generation gaming console is based on Android

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 1, 2015

Nintendo’s next-generation console codenamed NX, which the company is currently developing, is going to use Android if a report Monday by Nikkei, one of Japan’s largest newspapers, is anything to go by.

According to one insider who spoke with Nikkei, the Nintendo NX will supposedly be built around the Android OS, which should help “speed up getting all game developers on board.”

It would also mean that development could be expanded to smartphones, tablets and other devices, this person added. Read More

 

Cortana is coming to iOS with Windows 10 Phone Companion app, Microsoft confirms

By Christian Zibreg on May 26, 2015

Microsoft Cortana, the software giant’s Siri-like personal digital assistant available on Windows Phone and Windows 10 mobile and desktop platforms, will expand later this year to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices, as well as Android smartphones and tablets.

The company officially confirmed the news in a blog post this morning, basically corroborating an earlier March report by Reuters which claimed Cortana would hit non-Microsoft mobile platforms this fall. Read More

 

Google’s Android M to adopt Touch ID-style biometrics

By Christian Zibreg on May 22, 2015

To this date, only a few Android devices come outfitted with their own fingerprint scanner for authenticating purchases and password-protected apps, such as Huawei devices and Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and S6.

Unfortunately, Google’s mobile operating system lacks system-wide support for fingerprint scanning, thereby hampering broader adoption of this useful feature, which Apple users have been enjoying for nearly two years now.

That’s about to change in Android M, the next major version of Android, which should adopt Touch ID-style biometrics, according to BuzzFeed News. Read More

 

Review: Asus ZenFone 2 from an iPhone user’s perspective

By Jeff Benjamin on May 21, 2015

Today, I picked up the ZenFone 2 from Asus. It’s a mid-tier Android phone with flagship specifications.

This phone is actually quite good from a pure specs perspective. It features 4GB of RAM, and it’s one of the first phones to do so. It also packs in a 64-bit quad-core 2.3 Ghz Intel Atom processor, and 64GB of flash storage, expandable up to 128GB.

The screen is 5.5 inches, and it’s roughly the same size as the iPhone 6 Plus, though a bit thicker. Needless to say, this ZenFone is firmly in the realm of the “phablet” and although it’s selling at mid-tier prices at $299, it’s got some decent specs.

In this review, which won’t be your typical review where I spout off statistics and benchmarks, I look at 5 things that this phone does right, and 5 things that it does wrong—all fed through my iPhone-tinted glasses. Read More

 

Andrios is now available for download on Cydia

By Jeff Benjamin on May 6, 2015

Andrios, the jailbreak tweak that brings some awesome Android-inspired features to iOS, was our top item on this week’s episode of Let’s Talk Jailbreak. It’s rare when a tweak gets the thumbs up from Cody, Sebastien, and I, but Andrios was able to pull off that impressive feat.

Since our initial review aired, I’ve received numerous emails, tweets, and messages about Andrios and its launch. After a slight delay, I’m happy to tell you that the tweak is now available for purchase and download from Cydia’s BigBoss repo. Read More

 

Andrios: an Android-inspired experience for iOS

By Jeff Benjamin on May 1, 2015

Andrios has been a hot topic for jailbreakers as of late. The upcoming tweak, which should be touching down any second now on Cydia, brings many Android-inspired features to iOS.

The developers of Andrios, BrandDev & Logan O’Connell, have worked hard to make the tweak’s tag line live up to the final product. Does it succeed in doing so? Read More

 

Android Wear update takes aim at Apple Watch, adding Wi-Fi and gesture support

By Jake Smith on Apr 20, 2015

Google announced a sizable update to its Android Wear platform on Monday, days before the Apple Watch lands on the market to much fanfare. Google’s update to Android Wear is the platform’s largest yet, making it more usable, and even gets rid of the need to use it with a smartphone. Read More

 

How to pair Android Wear without an Android Phone using a virtual machine on Mac

By Jeff Benjamin on Apr 7, 2015

I know, it may sound fairly niche, but hear me out. Recently, there’s been a lot of buzz about using Android Wear devices with the iPhone, and that’s the reason why I started exploring this topic to begin with.

As it turns out, when you buy an Android Wear device, you need an Android device to “activate” the smartwatch (go figure). Since I don’t currently own an Android phone, my LG G Watch was stuck at the pairing screen.

Yes, there are more “in-depth” ways to go about getting passed this screen, but not everyone is up to that task. With this in mind, I’ve created a video tutorial that shows you how to run an Android virtual machine on your Mac with Parallels, and how to then pair an Android Wear device with the virtual machine. Read More

 

How to run Android apps like WhatsApp and Instagram on Mac

By Jeff Benjamin on Apr 5, 2015

ARC, or App Runtime for Chrome, is a tool that allows you to run many Android apps right on a desktop machine. For the most part, the apps look and function like they do on an Android phone or tablet.

Why is this so cool? Well, it means that you can now have access to whole variety of new apps. Some apps, like WhatsApp, have no native desktop counterpart, so it’s especially nice for apps like these.

While it isn’t a perfect 1:1 solution, and some apps outright don’t work, it’s worth trying if there’s an app that you want that isn’t otherwise available on the desktop. In this post and video, we’ll walk you through the steps of configuring Google’s ARC Welder tool, and show you how to run multiple applications as well.

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Apple expands iPhone trade-in program to select Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone handsets

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 30, 2015

As promised, Apple on Monday started rolling out a new trade-in initiative aimed at Android phone owners who would like to upgrade to an iPhone. Part of Apple’s existing Reuse and Recycling Program, the non-iPhone trade-in is now rolling out in the United States and several European countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy.

Eligible non-iPhone devices include smartphones running Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone operating systems. Read More

 

Apple to launch new trade-in program for Android switchers

By Cody Lee on Mar 16, 2015

Apple will soon introduce a new trade-in program that will accept Androids and other non-Apple smartphones, reports 9to5Mac. Citing sources familiar with the upcoming rollout, the outlet says the program will be very similar to Apple’s existing iPhone trade-in program, which provides customers with gift cards to be used towards the purchase of a new iPhone.

Trade-in values of smartphones will be determined by Apple Store representatives, based on the age of the device as well as its cosmetic and functioning condition. The reps are said to be beginning extensive training sessions later this week, which will better prepare them to appraise these new devices when the program launches sometime in “the coming weeks.” Read More

 

Google allegedly working on an iPhone app that’ll bring iOS compatibility to Android Wear

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 3, 2015

Google is ostensibly working on an iPhone app that will bring iOS compatibility to all Android Wear-driven smartwatches on the market. Google’s Android-powered software platform for wearable devices launched a year ago without official support for the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Mac devices. Word of a possible solution came Tuesday via 01Net and was passed along to us by French blog iPhon.fr.

Whichever way you look at it, making Android Wear compatible with the iPhone could help extend the market for Android-driven wearable devices to include Apple users, too.

About 720,000 Android Wear smartwatches were shipped in 2014, according to Canalys, the research firm. Various analysts estimate Apple’s Watch could sell about ten or more million devices in 2015. Read More

 

Apple grabs 89 percent of smartphone profits while Android captures record-low 11 percent

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 26, 2015

The latest indication that even with its minuscule share of smartphone units sold Apple is clobbering everyone when it comes to profits came Thursday via research firm Strategy Analytics. The research company reported that the Cupertino firm took home an astounding 88.7 percent of operating profit share in smartphones during the fourth quarter of last year.

This is no doubt the effect of strong sales of Apple’s well-received iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets. Android, meanwhile, has fallen to a record-low eleven (11.3) percent. Read More

 
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