Mobile

How to Back Up Data on Your Android Smartphone

We all back up our PCs, right? Okay, well, we should back up our PCs, right? Well, smartphones and tablets have become so ubiquitous that we need to back them up now too. It’s time. Important photos, videos, contacts and music are now strewn across small, easy-to-lose, easy-to-break, highly pilferable devices. Fail to back up this stuff at your peril.



How to Take, Keep and Share Great Android Smartphone Photos

It’s not all photo apps and more apps when it comes to taking photographs with an Android smartphone — there are some basics that you need to know, unique to smartphones, that have nothing to do with imaging apps. If you’re finding that you’re migrating from a dedicated digital camera and taking more photographs with your phone but are disappointed with the results, here are some pointers.



No Gold Star for Galaxy Gear

The first reviews of the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch have hit the Internet and they are generally tepid. However, “I’m not sure how anyone can give it a rating of anything until it is put through its paces over time by consumers actually using it in real-life situations,” said Larry Chiagouris, a professor at Pace University. Many reviewers expressed concern over the Gear’s $300 price tag.



Google Adds Remote Locking for MIA Androids

Google on Tuesday rolled out a feature for its recently launched Android Device Manager that lets users lock down a stolen Android device from anywhere, via the Web. “This is something that should be built into the OS and the platform because it’s an inherent security feature,” said tech analyst Rob Enderle. Google is late to the game in rolling out its remote lock capability.



$7M Funding Means All Systems Go for Cyanogen

The Cyanogen free and open source Android firmware project on Wednesday announced that it had received $7 million in a Series A round of funding in April. The investment came from Benchmark Capital and Redpoint Ventures. “What will change is our capabilities, our speed, and our size,” wrote Cyanogen founder Steve Kondik. “I am not going to let anyone stagnate.”



Tiny CuBox-i Plays Nice With Linux and Android

Aiming to capture a piece of the market that has given the Raspberry Pi such a warm reception, SolidRun on Wednesday announced a new tiny computer of its own dubbed the “CuBox-i.” Available in four models with prices starting at $45, the tiny computer includes an OpenGL|ES 2.0 GPU with OpenCL 1.1 embedded profile support; and up to four i.MX6 Cortex A9 ARM processors with as much as 1.2GHz each.



Failed Funding Effort Blunts Canonical’s Ubuntu Edge

Canonical raised more than $12 million over 30 frantic days of crowdfunding its ambitious Ubuntu Edge superphone project, but it was still short some $20 million by the time the effort closed on Wednesday. The company’s target was $32 million. “We raised $12,809,906, making the Edge the world’s biggest ever fixed crowdfunding campaign,” wrote Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth.



Android’s Crazy-Quilt Syndrome

There’s no question that Android is fragmented. OpenSignal has counted nearly 11,900 distinct Android devices so far this year, compared with fewer than 4,000 last year. OpenSignal’s visual representations of the number of devices and the brands are a welter of shapes and colors. Think crazy quilts sewn by demented craftspeople inhaling non-tobacco substances.

How Firefox OS Could Sneak Into the Smartphone Chicken Coop

Spanish wireless network Telefónica recently started selling a super-cheap Linux-driven phone called the “ZTE Open” for the equivalent of around $90, which includes about $40 worth of prepay. Essentially, it’s a $50 smartphone. Aside from the bottom-end retail price, what’s unique about this smartphone is that it’s the first to use Firefox OS.

It Will Take a Village to Raise Ubuntu’s Edge

Canonical on Monday announced a $32 million campaign to crowdfund the creation of Ubuntu Edge, a brand-new smartphone that dual-boots Ubuntu phone OS and Android. Launched on Indiegogo, the month-long campaign focuses on funding a limited production run of 40,000 devices. Backers committing $600 by Tuesday morning or $830 thereafter will receive one an Ubuntu Edge device in May 2014.