Posts Tagged ‘android’

How to customize texting on Android

Android textingConnected Rogers shares how to add some flare to your texting interface with customized fonts and background styles and more.

Remember when people used to ask, “Do you text?” That question seems so antiquated now; of course you text! Texting is one of the most basic, essential functions of a smartphone. But while texting is nearly ubiquitous at this point, some of us don’t realize you can customize your texting experience on your Android device.

How to customize appearance:

1. Click the Messaging icon on the bottom of the device, then press the bottom-left soft key and choose Settings.

2. Scroll down to Display, and browse through the choices. If you go with Bubble style, for example, you can choose the colour of the bubbles, the shape and so on. Or, go with Background style and add an image to appear behind your texts – such as a photo on your Android, or a basic dark or light background wallpaper.

How to customize incoming and outgoing text settings:

1. Click or unclick Auto-receive, under Settings, if you want/don’t want your device to automatically retrieve new text messages. For example, if you’re on vacation, you might not want to receive texts while away.

2. Request “delivery” and/or “read” reports by clicking or unclicking these boxes under Settings. By clicking on Read reports, for example, you will receive notification when the person to whom you’ve sent a text opens the message.

TIP: Android lets you customize many more aspects of texting. Scroll through the options within Settings, and select whichever features suit you best.

Apple iPhone user? No need to feel left out – check out these four great tips for using iMessage.

Have you customized your texting experience?

Check out more great tech tips at Connected Rogers.

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Weekend reading: Far-flung travel, great gear and a little personality

Weekend readingBonjour Paris! Or maybe Hola España? I’m daydreaming about globetrotting this week after the launch of Rogers new international travel packs. Plus, I’m checking my heart rate in preparation for a spring marathon with the new Samsung Gear 2 Neo. Finally, new research shares just what your Facebook profile says about you.  

Share the globe

I’m a firm believer in the “pics or it didn’t happen” internet philosophy. So, whether I’m enjoying a perfect meal in Iceland or sliding down a Nicaraguan volcano with my Go Pro, I’m determined to get a brag-worthy shot and post it to Instagram ASAP. This week, Rogers launched travel options perfectly suited to my wanderlust: new international travel packs that keep you connected with voice, data and text as well as a daily data-only rate for $9.99. With both options, you’ll receive free text alerts that let you know when you’re nearing the end of your available data, or you can do a spot check by texting “USAGE” to 3330 for free to see how many daily data rates you’ve used or if you’ve been charged overage costs on your travel pack. For more info, check out

My next stop is south of the border for a little time in the desert (where I’ll be relying on the $7.99 data-only rate). Where will you get your next passport stamp?

Wild for wearables

Not to brag, but I’m currently on a 40-day streak of hitting my activity goal with my current fitness wearable. OK, yes, I’m totally bragging. But I’ve been trying out wearable tech for the past year-and-a-half, and find something strangely addictive about the up-to-the-minute tracking of my steps, calories burned, sleep and so much more.

So I jumped at the chance to test out the new Samsung Gear 2 Neo – available exclusively from Rogers. With a heart rate monitor and exercise tracking that includes integration with Samsung’s S Health 3.0 app, the ability to check my latest smartphone notifications on my wrist was just the icing on the cake. For more on the history of wearables, check out this cool infographic on betakit.

Of course, as gadget-obsessed as I am, I still track my mileage old school: by mapping out the distance online, then plugging it into my desktop calendar. What technology helps you keep tabs on your exercise efforts?

Social personality

Apparently, your Facebook archive is more than just a trove of questionable haircut photos. A recent study from researchers at Old Dominion University, and reported by The Economic Times, says your social media profile is more telling than a personality test. The study looked at 146 students and compared their personality test results to their social profiles and their performance at work and school. They found the personality traits from the students’ profiles could predict how they would fare in the workplace.

According to the authors, the social networks may be a better predictor than a one-time test because they contain records of behaviour over years. More data means a more complete picture of who you really are.

What does your Facebook profile say about you?

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A different kind of Easter egg hunt

Easter eggsI love chocolate as much as the next person. Especially if it’s wrapped around some peanut butter.

But it’s been many years since Easter morning saw me with a basket and bunny ears hunting down plastic eggs. That said, as an adult I’ve enjoyed seeking out a different kind of Easter egg: those Google hides within its products.

So, in honour of the holiday, here are my five favourite hidden tricks from Google.

  1. Screen surprise. If you have an Android device, navigate to your settings screen. Scroll down to  “About phone.” Tap on the “Android version” list item several times. A giant jelly bean will appear. Hold down on the giant jelly bean and it will spawn a bunch of small, moving beans – which you can flick away to your heart’s content. If you’re on a different version of Android than Jelly Bean, you may discover a different treat.
  2. Spun out search. On a desktop, search for “Do a barrel roll” in Google. Your screen will go spinning!
  3. Get shaking. Remember the Harlem Shake? YouTube hasn’t forgotten the meme, and, if you search for “Do the Harlem Shake” in YouTube you’ll see the site’s logo and your search results mimic the popular dance.
  4. Would you like to play a game? Then browse on over to Google’s image search and enter the search term “Atari breakout.” The related images are turned into an Atari-like game that Google calls Image Breakout – what’s your high score?
  5. Cool crops. Google Maps has had a few embedded tricks over the years, including a look inside the TARDIS and a warning that one does not simply walk into Mordor. For the tech-savvy, the Mozilla Firefox logo gets its own crop circle in Google Earth. Search coordinates 45° 7’25.87″N 123° 6’48.97″W, then zoom in.

What other Google Easter eggs have you found?

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Weekend Reading: Gleaming gold, banishing bulky wallets and Twitter gets a makeover

Weekend ReadingThis week, we’ve got our eyes on some serious bling as we await the new Twitter profiles. Plus, we learn how to ditch our bulky wallets and start paying with our smartphones. Get the scoop in this week’s edition of the Weekend Reading.

The grandeur of gold

We’ve already started shipping the HTC One (M8) in gunmetal grey and glacier silver to people who reserved early. And this week, we had even more exciting news: we’ll be carrying the HTC One (M8) in stunning Amber Gold. Exclusive to Rogers, this stand-out shade will be available for purchase in mid-May. No matter what hue you choose, the phone boasts top speeds on Rogers LTE, an all-metal design with edge-free finishes, the HTC Duo Camera, and dual front-facing speakers with HTC BoomSound.

What colour’s your favourite – gunmetal grey, glacier silver or amber gold?

Twitter transforms

Bigger profile photos are coming to Twitter, plus the service will now be showcasing your best tweets when you visit your profile page. The new design is just beginning to roll out – First Lady Michelle Obama was among the first to get the makeover. As the Next Web explains, the changes also include a customizable header, a new photo/video tab and the ability to pin a tweet to the top of your page. users will spot another change in the coming weeks too: real-time notifications. You’ll now be alerted if someone replies, favourites or RTs one of your posts. There will also be notifications for direct messages and new followers, which the company says will be “interactive” – meaning you can respond right from the popup window. Mashable notes this should make conversations via DM a lot easier. And, lest it all get to be a bit too much, users can customize which notifications they receive.

I haven’t been among the lucky few in the first wave of rollouts, but I look forward to testing the changes as soon as I can! Keep an eye out for the makeover coming to @RogersBuzz. What feature are you eager to try?

Tap it

My bright pink clutch has seen better days. Scuffs aside, it eats up a lot of real estate in my purse and tends to be a collector for receipts and change from the places I’ve travelled. So I can’t wait to download the suretap wallet and start paying with my smartphone. This mobile payment app, which launched yesterday in the Google Play store, works with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology at contactless payment terminals – so basically, just like tapping to pay with your credit card. All you need to get started is an NFC-enabled device, a compatible SIM-card and the suretap wallet app – you can learn more by watching this video.

Would you ditch your wallet for smartphone payments?

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Samsung Gear 2 Neo aces my fitness challenge

Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 NeoI’ve become obsessed with checking my heart rate. At rest, it’s normally about 65 beats per minute. On the subway, it spikes to the 80s, higher when we hit a delay. When boxing and running, it hits the 140s.

No, I haven’t become a quantified lifer. But I have been test-driving the new Samsung Gear 2 Neo and the GALAXY S5, Android devices which let you check your heart rate with the touch of a button.

I’ve been wearing fitness bands for about a year and a half, tracking my steps and activity and taking notes. I’m a runner with dreams of a sub-four marathon this spring, but the biggest value for me in a wearable has always been the sweat-proof clock and the ability to compete with myself.

The Gear 2 Neo takes it to the next level. For starters, it’s the first band I’ve tried that actually adjusted small enough to fit my teeny tiny wrists (though that’s more the fault of genetics than the manufacturers). Plus, I’ve never liked needing to pull out my smartphone on a run. Feeling the phone vibrating in my pocket without knowing who’s calling or messaging, and whether it’s urgent, always puts me on edge until I hit the next stoplight and can justify checking my notifications. With the Gear 2 Neo, I can just flick my wrist mid-activity and easily judge whether it’s actually important without interrupting my stride.

To test out its fitness moxie, I took the wearable – which integrates with Samsung’s S Health 3.0 app – to the gym for a cardio, strength and boxing session and then on an 11K run. While the heart rate function totally inspired me to work harder, I was really impressed by the step and distance data. My previous experience with wearables made me wary of estimated distances and paces, but the Gear 2 Neo came within .2KM of what I had mapped out to run, plus matched my data on duration and pace exactly! And all that data is stored in a log, and synced to my phone, so I can compare workouts and track my progress.

When I wasn’t wearing my runners, I still dug the wearable experience. In addition to tracking my steps, pedometer style, I could also sneakily screen my messages during meetings and use other apps to check the weather and my calendar.

Plus, the Gear 2 Neo has its own music player to pump your personal soundtrack when you’re on the go – whether that’s in transit or at the gym. You can get yours today, exclusively from Rogers for $219.99, or, if you’re also upgrading to the Samsung GALAXY S5 on select two-year plans, ask about the Gear 2 Neo for $49.99. It’s available only for a limited time.

What other wearables have you tried?

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Weekend reading: Smartphones, smartphones and more smartphones

Weekend readingWhether it’s sequins or an unscuffed screen, I can’t help but be drawn to shiny new things. And this week, between announcing the launch date for the LG G Flex and revealing the new HTC One (M8) can you really blame me for being a little gadget obsessed? Plus, we look at the latest stats on just how many Canadians are sporting smartphones.

Hot handset

Speed, sleek lines and a killer camera were on display Tuesday when HTC lifted the curtain on the new HTC One (M8). My favourite thing about this new Android device, available in glacier silver and gunmetal grey, is the HTC Duo Camera – which lets you take a shot with two cameras. As someone with a slew of awkwardly framed vacation photos, the ability to choose which parts of the scene to emphasize, even after the fact, is oh-so-tempting. It’s also got scads of memory (and the ability to add more) for all those sweet shots.

Rogers customers can currently purchase the gunmetal grey device online using the Rogers Reservation System, even before it’s available in-store! Rogers will also offer the glacier silver model starting April 10.

What’s your favourite feature of the new HTC One (M8)?

Get Flexed

We’re excited to announce the launch date for the world’s first curved smartphone: the LG G Flex will be available to Canadians starting on April 3, exclusively from Rogers! This curvy handset has a self-healing back and a bunch of other cool features – we shared our top five here.

And we’re not the only ones in awe of the LG G Flex’s unique and user-friendly design. This week the device received the title of ‘Best of the Best’ at the Red Dot product design awards. Congrats to the LG team!

Want to try it for yourself? New and existing Rogers customers can reserve the device online using the Rogers Reservation System. 

Do you think curved is the new flat?

Smart stats

More than half of Canadians – 55 per cent – now have a smartphone, according to the latest adoption research shared by iPhone in Canada. The study of 1,100 smartphone owners by Catalyst Canada and GroupM Next found most Canadians are toting Android phones, with a 45 per cent market share, while 34 per cent are using an Apple device. Blackberry and Windows round out the list. Surveying both Anglophones and Francophones, the research found that only one-third are using their phones to check emails – which I find surprising, as I almost exclusively email on the go. The most popular use for a smartphone was to get directions, while finding a restaurant, checking the weather and using Twitter were also popular.

The other neat stat here is that half of the smartphone owners let go of their feature phones at least two years ago. I gave up my “slider” phone in 2010 – when did you make the leap to smartphones?

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The new HTC One (M8) revealed – purchase yours now and get it early

HTC OnePardon me; I’m still catching my breath after the beauty of the all-new HTC One (M8) was unveiled today. HTC has certainly stepped up its game from the award-winning 2013 HTC One, which was praised by both the tech community and consumers. What, may you ask, makes this new Android device so highly-anticipated, user-friendly and fast? Let me tell you!

1. Speed. You’ll stream the latest videos, images and music at remarkably fast speeds when you light up your HTC One (M8) on Rogers LTE.

This means you can:

  • Use apps like YouTube with virtually no buffering or delays
  • Download your friends’ Facebook and Instagram pictures even faster
  • Browse rich online content – like websites with pictures– without a lag
  • Watch online videos and Rogers Anyplace TV with super-fast streaming speeds and clarity

2. Daring design. This phone, available in glacier silver and gunmetal grey, has curves that you’ll certainly want to flaunt and a five-inch screen that will bring your videos to life. With an all-metal design, smooth lines and edge-free finishes, the phone fits perfectly into your hand.

3. Take pro photos in a flash! The HTC Duo Camera will help you capture memories and adventures with two cameras so you can choose which parts of the scene you’d like to emphasize, even after your shot has been taken. Cool, right? With fast Rogers LTE network speeds, the HTC One will also help you swiftly download and share these memories.

4. Super sound. Music fan? The HTC BoomSound dual front-facing speakers will boost your bass and deliver crisp and clear vocals.

5. Even more memory … for memories. Never again will you be sitting in a café, trying to decide which files to scrap so you can keep taking vacation photos! The latest HTC One (M8) has 32 GB of storage with the opportunity to add even more with up to 64GB of expandable micro SD memory.

We want you to be first in line – no need to wait until launch day! Starting today, you’ll be able to purchase the gunmetal grey device online using the Rogers Reservation System, even before it’s available in-store! Rogers will also offer the glacier silver model starting April 10, when the HTC One (M8) will be available in stores nationwide.

Stay tuned to this space and follow @RogersBuzz for updates on availability and pricing.

If you’re currently an infatuated owner of the 2013 HTC One and are intrigued by 2014’s daring new design, we challenge you to write and share why, in 100 words or less, you should be upgraded. Post your answer on RedBoard below this post, and we’ll draw a random winner to win a shiny HTC One (M8). (Full contest details here). Like this new device, we hope your entry is fresh, bold and memorable!

Update, March 28, 2014: The contest is closed. We’ll post the winner’s name here as soon as they are confirmed. Thanks for your entries!

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Weekend Reading: Gear-ing up, finding faves and welcoming spring

Weekend readingThis week, we said adios to winter (at least according to the calendar), tested out a new Twitter feature and got all the details on Samsung’s new GALAXY S5 and wearables. Want in on our newfound knowledge? Here’s some Weekend Reading.

Get the Gear

The Samsung GALAXY S5 is coming to Rogers on April 11! The Canadian specs and launch date were revealed this week, and we’re really excited about the S. Health 3.0 app, which records steps and heart rate information and lets you record diet and exercise information. You can reserve yours now on the Rogers Reservation System.

The icing on the cake: the Samsung Gear 2 Neo will be available exclusively for Rogers customers, also on April 11. All Gear accessories display your phone’s calls, texts and emails on your wrist. The Gear 2 Neo even includes a standalone music player to power your playlists on the go. Rogers will also be carrying the Gear Fit and the Gear 2. Check out what CBC had to say about the new devices here.

Which of the new Gear wearables has caught your eye? Why?

Top tweeps

Twitter marked its eighth birthday by rolling out a tool that shows your very first tweet. Unfortunately for many, that first tweet was pretty dull but this CBC roundup did uncover some gems! Our first tweet from @RogersBuzz welcomed all our new followers. My personal account’s first tweet was a somewhat embarrassing third-person account of my morning at work. Hopefully, I’ve gotten wittier since then!

What was your first tweet?

Twitter’s testing a new timeline feature that lets you track every tweet from a selected group of people. The micro-blogging site’s “Fave People” lets you group your preferred accounts into a special timeline. You can also choose to receive notifications when they tweet.

I’ve been playing with the feature, which is currently being tested on Android, and I must admit, it’s kind of nice to have a special list of my preferred folks. Rather than my usual list functions – media, runners, sports, etc. – I’ve been using the feature to keep track of my real-life friends whose updates sometimes get lost in my main feed. One caveat – friends with locked profiles cannot be favourites.

How would you use the “Fave People” function?

Sweet springtime

OK, some parts of the country may still be seeing the odd flurry and sub-zero temperature. But the calendar assures us that spring is coming, and we spent yesterday looking for proof! @RogersBuzz followers shared a few promising signs of new growth and sunshine!

Even if we’re still waiting on the thaw, it’s a great time to start thinking about digging in the garden, or, in my case, potting a few herbs on the balcony. To help you get a head start on the growing season, we rounded up a few awesome apps to help gardening veterans and newbies alike.

What tools help your green thumb? 

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Spring gardening: Apps to help you get growing

SpringWinter will end. We promise. And when it does, you’ll be happy you took our advice and downloaded these awesome apps to turn your smartphone into your ultimate gardening assistant.

For the gardening newbie

I’m completely new to gardening and need to start with the basics. If you’re also looking for a crash course, Gardenate, available on iOS and Android ($1.99), comes to the rescue. The app gives recommendations based on your climate and time of the year. On BlackBerry? Try the Popular Garden Plants app (free).

Do you have garden envy?  Snap a picture of your neighbour’s flower or vegetable garden and search with Google Goggles (free on iOS and Android) to get the plant’s name!

From garden to table

I dream of my kids picking red ripe tomatoes from our garden and using our very own pumpkin for Halloween. How do I start? On most platforms, you’ll find a guide to grow your own food: try Edible Garden Planner (Windows Phone, free), Kitchen Garden (Blackerry, free), and Vegetable Garden on Android and iOS ($1.07)

Of course, I also want mint for ice tea, basil for salads and coriander for fried rice. Start a herb garden with the help of Herb Garden (Android, free), Grow your own organic herbs (iOS, free) and Herbs 101 (Windows Phone, free).

Watch it grow

As smartphone users, we’re addicted to recording, monitoring and tracking. Get the notifications started with Garden Squared (Android, free), MyGarden (iOS, free), Garden 360 (Windows Phone, $2.49) and Gardening Checklist (BlackBerry, $1.99).

Bugs, pests, critters and butterflies

Get to know whether your insect visitors are friend or foe with the Garden Insect Guide, free on iOS and Android. Love butterflies? Use this iOS app ($0.99) to plan your garden to attract butterflies..

Now all you’re missing is your gear! Chatelaine will help you choose your  tools wisely while ConnectedRogers has some gadget picks for gardening geeks.

Can you recommend an app to help us grow like pros this spring?

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Weekend reading: Cool consoles, tablet stats and staying safe online

Weekend readingThis week, we’re looking into the potential of the new Microsoft Xbox One as an entertainment hub and digging into the latest tablet stats – can you guess who came out on top in 2013? Plus, we’re marking Fraud Prevention Month with a few reminders to help you stay safe online. Learn more in this week’s edition of the Weekend Reading.

Gaga for gaming

When I was a kid, my Super Nintendo rocked my world. That admittedly outdated technology followed me through Super Mario Kart marathons in university and all the way to my first few jobs in Toronto, where a friend and I would try to complete the Donkey Kong games (to 100 per cent, natch) in one sitting.

Now, of course, gaming consoles are about so much more than just playing games. The new Xbox One is an entertainment hub – in addition to games, you can tune in to movies, music, sports, TV and even training from Jillian Michaels. You can also stream your favourite shows with Rogers Anyplace TV. For more on the future of the Xbox One, check out our chat with Greg Barber, Vice President, Consumer Channels Group at Microsoft Canada.

What do you do with your console, beyond gaming?

Android takes tablet lead

Android hit a home run in 2013, surpassing Apple’s iOS to become the leading tablet operating system. Android tablet sales made up about 62 per cent of  the global market share, according to research from Garner, as reported by CNET. That’s up from a 45.8 per cent share in 2012.

While Android was the top operating system for tablets, iPads were the top model. Sales for the Apple tablets grew to 70.4 million from 61.4 million. Samsung was the second most popular tablet manufacturer.

Tablet sales across the board soared in 2013, hitting 195.4 million. That’s a 68 per cent increase from 2012.

What kind of tablet do you own?

Protect yourself online

Just how secure is your password? The 10th annual Fraud Prevention Month is a good reminder to evaluate your online security. To mark the campaign, the Competition Bureau has released The Little Black Book of Scams as a free ebook. It outlines how scams work, how to recognize potentially fraudulent activities and how to report them.

Check out more tips to help you avoid fraud traps on RedBoard and check out TechEssentials for everything from creating strong passwords to avoiding phishing scams.

How often do you change your passwords?

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