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Nougat is Android’s best, but there’s still room for improvement

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It’s been nearly two months since Google officially named the seventh version of its Android operating system, and we’re now seeing Nexus devices receiving Android 7.0 Nougat through direct, over-the-air downloads. It’s a given that this is the most mature and jam-packed iteration of any Google-powered OS to date, but how far has it come along?

Having spent a substantial amount of time on both the beta phase and the stable build we have now, we must say that Nougat is, by far, the most efficient Android version to ever grace a handset. It’s obvious how Google took some inspiration from manufacturers. Software features that have been present on Samsung, HTC, and Sony smartphones, among others, have become part of Android’s most basic interface.

Everything is simply better

Android 7.0 Nougat - Features Overview

Multitasking, for one, is a headline feature of Nougat. Google took a page out of Samsung’s book and applied split-screen multitasking as a standard function. But unlike Samsung’s limited take on the feature, Nougat’s implementation is compatible with far more applications. By opening any app and holding the app overview button (the square to the right of the circular home button), you’re shown a list of recent apps to display on the lower half of the screen. And this isn’t some lame, laggy feature either; for instance, you can watch a full-length video while taking notes on your app of choice.

On the subject of efficiency, tapping the same overview button twice will allow you to switch to the last app you accessed. Think of it as a “Command + Tab” (on a Mac) or “Alt + Tab” (on Windows) shortcut for Android. We found this especially useful for going through multiple chat apps with less touches and swipes.

Another vital improvement is the smarter notifications and settings. In addition to the greater control you have over the notifications you receive, such as instantly sharing or replying from the alert itself, quick settings are available on the first swipe down from the top. Swipe once more, and you’ll see a longer list of settings, all of which can be rearranged or swapped for whatever you find more fitting. As for the main settings menu, you’re greeted with a preview for each option; you can see how much space you have without entering the “Storage” setting, and even preview your data and battery usage without entering the sub-menu.

And these are just some of our favorite new features of Nougat. Expect longer battery life, stronger security, an additional set of 72 emoji to play with, and greater control over the data usage of specific apps, to name a few, once Android 7.0 Nougat enters your gadget.

But all’s not well

Android 7.0 Nougat - Problems

Like any operating system fresh out of the lab, there are growing pains to deal with. Besides a couple of bugs we encountered on our updated Nexus 6P, such as the battery percentage meter constantly disappearing and Google Now sometimes crashing, not all design cues and features work the way they should.

The most glaring issue is app compatibility during split-screen multitasking. While it’s understandable that a large helping of third-party software aren’t ready for the cut-up interface, it’s inexcusable for the built-in apps Google produced themselves. A message that the “App may not work with split-screen” appears on apps like YouTube, and to make matters worse, you’ll see “App doesn’t support split-screen” for the basic Google Search app. Fortunately, time is the cure for this, since this function is now baked into the core of Android.

Interestingly, the “Clear All” button is now back in the app overview, despite Android developers claiming it’s unnecessary because of better memory management since 5.0 Lollipop. The bad news is that it’s found at the very top of the app list, meaning you have to scroll through every open app to reach the option. Nougat is already excellent at keeping programs in a low-power state when not in use, but for clean freaks, having instant access to the clear button would have been glorious.

Lastly – and this has been prevalent for a few Android generations now – you still can’t add widgets or apps to the left of the primary home screen. Everything simply goes to the right, so if you’re a fan of multiple widgets, you have only one direction to swipe for quick access.

Don’t hold your breath, unless you’re a Nexus user

What use is software if you can’t experience it? Unless you own a Nexus device, chances are you’re not receiving a Nougat update anytime soon. Google’s very own devices always get first dibs on major updates, while other users could wait as long as a year for just a hint of good news. Things could be changing, however, with news of the upcoming LG V20 being the first smartphone to come equipped with the latest Android version straight out of the box, and not a next-generation Google Nexus. With this, Google might finally be addressing its most recurring issue: fragmentation.

Android Marshmallow Fragmentation

Source: https://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html

Android’s fragmentation, which refers to the overly diverse range of versions across all smartphones and tablets, is currently at its worst. Looking at the chart above, which hasn’t even been updated to reflect the latest Android version yet, shows how last year’s 6.0 Marshmallow continues to catch up with the wider distribution of older generations, despite Android 7.0 Nougat already being available.

Still, possibly poor market share shouldn’t put down Nougat’s accomplishments. Consider yourself lucky if you’re part of the new minority of Nougat users; it’s as solid as it gets for Android.

[irp posts=”10272″ name=”Six months in, Android Nougat distribution still sucks”]

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Huawei MatePad Pro: Stay connected, stay creative

Equipped with the right resources to let creativity thrive

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Creativity isn’t something you’re born with, it’s something you learn and hone throughout your life. We learn how to be ingenious because we’re all inherently talented to be able to connect things and ideas.

But what sets highly creative people apart isn’t their insane amount of creative juices stored. They work hard to pump out their ideas. You need to keep going and keep on doing something creative!

If you’re feeling stuck (or if you feel like you lost your creativity as you grew up), it’s time to rekindle that fire. Thankfully, we live in an era where ideas and inspiration can spark in a single touch. Huawei’s premium and elegant tablet — the MatePad Pro — can help you stay and be creative in four practical ways.

Connect with yourself

When you listen to what makes you happy and pursue what sets your soul on fire, you ignite your creativity and fuel your passion. But when you keep on moving, you eventually burn out. When this happens, listen to your body and relax. Being still is a way for you to connect with yourself.

Take your mind off of stressful things and let your brain breathe a little. The MatePad Pro has a 10.8-inch QHD FullView display with quad-channel and quad-speakers tuned by Harman/Kardon — a real audio-visual treat to help you relax.

If you need some films and TV series for inspiration, Viu and iFlix are available for download in AppGallery, home to visually stunning yet complex stories.

Playing games rich in aesthetically-moving colorway can help entertain you, too. Asphalt 9, Naruto: Slugfest, and Burger Deluxe are wonderful games to feast your eyes on.

Moreover, some games can help you improve your creativity. Rise of Kingdom, Pool Ball Club, Word Jungle, and Empire: Rise of Battleship are games engaging your strategic thinking! Whatever helps you relax, there are a lot of apps you can download and enjoy.

The MatePad Pro has a whopping 7250mAh battery life, so you don’t have to worry about running out of juice. It’s also capable of 40W Super Charge using its USB-C cable, and up to 15W of wireless charging. When you recharge with the right connection (or cable for this matter), it’s easy to regain creative juice (and energy) quickly!

Connect with people

If you think sitting on a balcony overlooking a refreshing landscape is the way to be creative while you sip wine or coffee, that’s far from reality. Unlike how pop culture depicts isolation as a way to unleash your creativity and focus on your work, it just isn’t the case for everyone.

Humans are social beings. We can’t thrive fully when we’re alone for an extended period of time. At the very least, we need a fine balance between connecting with people and creating an undisturbed space so we can concentrate.

MeeTime, Huawei’s video-calling app

Allow yourself to collaborate with fellow creatives. When you’re surrounded by like-minded people, your ideas develop because they encourage you. If you don’t have a circle to inspire you, sometimes, talking to your friends and loved ones can give birth to new ideas. Or at least help you realize ways to improve your work.

For instance, you can use MEETime to connect with someone and brainstorm your ideas. This video-calling app allows you to have 1080p video calls despite having poor network quality.

Furthermore, you can share your screen to the person you’re calling — a feature that makes it easier to ask feedback and share ideas with someone over video calls.

There are plenty of social apps so you can use to call and chat with your peers, too. You can download Facebook, Snapchat, Viber, WeChat, Weibo, and even TikTok. Some can be downloaded using the Huawei browser and through an official APK file. Some of the popular apps are still finding their way to AppGallery, so in the meantime, you can be creative and find ways to download it.

When you find yourself wanting to set aside alone time, you can turn on the Do Not Disturb mode. The Huawei MatePad Pro has this feature since it runs EMUI 10.1 (based on Android 10).

Connect with the world

One of the best ways to stay creative is to interact with the world around you. Inspiration can be found anywhere — from your surroundings, to mundane moments of your life, and even on the internet.

Take a close look at the sights around you. Sit in the backyard and wonder. Creative people can always make something beautiful out of the ordinary. The MatePad Pro has an 8-megapixel front camera and a 13-megapixel rear camera — perfect for recording references and making art out of moments captured.

Furthermore, this premium tablet lets you engage with the world even if you’re sitting at your lovely home. You can browse the internet for inspiration! Sometimes reading an article, engaging with someone else’s opinions, and researching help you form a new perspective — necessary for birthing new ideas.

There are also art forms worth responding to. When you connect to the world, you allow your creativity to thrive. You need to nourish it like a plant; you help it grow.

Connect with your ideas

Some people may not need to relax and get inspiration to unlock their creativity. They just need to put some hard work. Internalize and look inside. Listen and connect with your ideas. You need to think and strategize on how you can bring them to life. Maybe, you just need to get the ball running.

By knowing the right tools and understanding how to make your idea work, you’ll be able to create something extraordinaire.

The Huawei MatePad Pro sports a powerful Kirin 990 chip, so it can handle anything you throw at it. It comes with Bluetooth-enabled Smart Magnetic Keyboard, so you can easily write and type your ideas.

This tablet is also bundled with the Huawei M-Pencil so you can sketch your ideas and scribble your notes. It’s wireless and has plenty of juice so you can keep creating. Apps like Concepts, Poster, Penup, and Adobe Spark Post are easy to use so you can bring forth your idea.

Along with these accessories, the MatePad Pro has a lot of features to help you be productive. You can utilize AppMultiplier which supports apps such as Investagram and SSS Mobile for checking your finances; GMA News, ClickTheCity, and Wattpad for reading news and stories; and other apps like HUAWEI Health, Lazada, and Philippine Airlines.

Moreover, you can take advantage of Huawei’s ecosystem to split and/or share the screen. For most creatives using multiple references to enhance their ideas, this is truly a helpful feature.

Truly made for every type of creative

Whatever kind of creative you are, the Huawei MatePad Pro helps you stay connected so you can stay creative, ultimately coming up with a marvelous creation to show off to the world. It has the tools and resources needed to let your creativity thrive. You just need to take advantage of it.

The Huawei MatePad Pro is priced at PhP 32,990. You can get this tablet at Lazada, Shopee, MemoXpress, Abenson, Bluelite, Intogadgets, Silicon Valley, FLW.PH, and Aerophone.


This feature was produced in collaboration between Her GadgetMatch and Huawei Philippines.

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Nintendo and Sony are in a heated battle during lockdown

Study also reveals which consoles were the most searched as lockdowns continue in SEA

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Photos by Alvaro Reyes and Mélanie THESE on Unsplash

It’s been roughly two and a half months since Southeast Asian countries have gone on lockdown due to COVID-19. As people were kept off the streets, video game companies found a way to reach these audiences through their consoles and game libraries. We watched as people spent most of their days learning new skills, staying healthy, and playing video games.

Little did we know, video game companies maximized this opportunity to sell more consoles, as well. A study by the iPrice Group revealed interesting data about the mini-console war that’s currently happening in Southeast Asia (SEA). In most countries, the Nintendo Switch and the PlayStation 4 are leading the charge towards greater heights.

It made perfect sense that Nintendo’s handheld console is seeing its staggering sales increase during this period. Searches on online shopping platforms related to the Nintendo Switch skyrocketed by 245% within SEA alone, thanks in part to the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons back in March.

Image source: Livedoor

Apart from that, the Nintendo Switch dominates 5 out of 7 markets in SEA in terms of search volume. This, of course takes into account searches and purchases from people between mid-March to mid-April.

For most markets, the big 3 of gaming consoles (Nintendo Switch, PlayStation4, and Xbox One) dominated the charts. Apart from the Switch, the PlayStation 4 saw significant increase in interest between mid-March and mid-April by 135%.

The releases of the remastered versions of Resident Evil 3 and Final Fantasy VII contributed heavily to that increase. Surprisingly, in three countries (Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines), the PlayStation 3 makes an appearances as a widely-searched console.

Looks like people really love their video games! If you want to know more about this trend, you can find the full report here.

SEE ALSO:
#PlayApartTogether: Embracing lockdowns and social distancing
Tinder users are going on Animal Crossing for their first dates
Just Dance 2020 helps with your workout-from-home

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Peloton vs excuses: Mind tricks that can help you squeeze in a workout

For those struggling to keep a routine

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If anyone tells you that having a personal gym at home will remove all barriers to working out, they’re lying.

The Peloton bike packs an insane amount of tech that should help me stay on track, so I should have no excuses not to exercise, right? With it I can do live and on-demand spin classes, strength training, yoga, even meditation and sleep courses. Having it at home also means not needing to make time to travel to the gym. And yet, despite all of this, I still find reasons to shun fitness on the daily.

If you’re like me who typically gets a good week of workouts and then hits a slump when life happens, I’ve compiled some tips that you might find useful. Here are some ways I tricked myself into working out more regularly whenever I struggle to do classes on my Peloton.

Find the time that makes sense for you

After doing your workouts for a while, take note of when you enjoy it the most. For me, sweating it out in the morning works best. If I tell myself that I’ll workout later in the day, it just never happens. I’m just not someone who enjoys exercising in the afternoon or evening as much.

Make it habit

While some people make plans, I just tell myself that I’ll work out everyday and figure it out later.

Peloton has workouts that are as short as 10 or 15 minutes. Even when pressed for time, 15 minutes is just that — 15 minutes. 

Those days I end up not exercising I would just consider recovery days. Our muscles need time to rest after all.

Take a scenic ride

Another trick I do is telling myself to do 10 minutes of a scenic ride. This is an option on the bike if you don’t feel like doing a class. You can ride at your own pace while the monitor shows beautiful landscapes and cities.

What usually happens when I do this is I end up doing an additional 10 minutes of arm workout. Often, I’ll feel warmed up and ready for a regular class afterwards.

Warming up at my own pace without any pressure to perform gets me in the right mindset to actually do a full workout. There are lots of other warm up rides available, too, but they’re usually pretty tough. Picking something that has no pressure eases me in.

Low impact doesn’t mean low effort

When I discovered the low impact ride, I wondered why I hadn’t been doing them all along.

I’m an old lady, or at least my body feels that way. I’ve gotten injured a few times riding the bike: the tendonitis in my thumb flared up, and the muscles that aren’t used to being used so much protested.

You still get a great workout when you choose low impact, but you’ll never achieve a personal best — and that’s perfectly okay.

Put the leaderboad away

Now we’re going to dip into the tech side of things. The leaderboard pushes you to get your personal best, which is great. But when I don’t want to work out, I’ll tell myself that a 45min class will be more doable if I take the leaderboard away. As a competitive person, I always get horrified at my performance when I check it because I don’t push myself nearly as hard apparently.

Pick a class with a gimmick

Peloton offers so many kinds of classes with different genres of music. I’ve done Guns N’ Roses as well as Madonna rides. Jess King has a show tunes series, and there are rides with a DJ.

Whenever I don’t feel motivated to exercise, I think of it as entertainment first and that’s how I trick myself into doing a full workout.

Save classes that made you feel good

When you save classes that made you feel good, you’ll be reminded of that feeling when you see it again on the monitor.When struggling to pick a class, I choose from a bunch of saved classes that I don’t mind doing again.

If I can’t bring myself to face a new challenge, doing one that I’ve already smashed is the best way to go!

Lower the instructors voice

If you have classes where you loved the soundtrack, save them and then choose to have more music and less instructor. It’s amazing how much having motivational music blasting helps.

Forgot how to change the audio mix? Hit the volume button on the right hand side of the display and then change the mix. You have to do it each time as it always resets back to an even mix of music and voice.

Find more tips and tricks on how to maximize your bike here.

Do a class with weights

Doing weights is challenging, but it gives your legs some rest. A 45-minute class is sometimes better than 30 minutes because I know I’ll get breaks to do weights.

Pick your feel-good instructor

Sometimes, picking an instructor that fits your your mood is all you need. When I just want to do a feel good class, I pick Cody because he’s like my gay best friend and his classes are always entertaining. Seeing instructors have a bit of a hard time with the workout is also the energy that motivates me to give the workout everything that I got.

Should you be taking workout advice from someone who struggles with working out? Probably not. Was this entire article about how to work out a little less hard? Maybe.

It would be unfair to say that fitness isn’t a big part of my life. I actually spend a lot of time thinking about working out more than working out itself. It’s one of my favorite past times.

Keeping a consistent workout routine is what I’m struggling with right now. These mind tricks have at least helped me get my ass on the bike and squeeze a workout in even when I don’t feel like it. And for someone who isn’t a disciplined fitness freak, that’s all that matters.

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