Posts Tagged ‘Android’
Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
Instagram photos are all squares, which makes them work equally well on landscape and portrait devices, but can somewhat hamper your creativity. One way to get around this is to use multiple photos in the same Instagram upload: a collage. In this article, we’ll show you to how to easily make Instagram collages on Android phones and tablets.
1. Install Instagram and Lipix
For this tutorial, we’ll be using two apps: Instagram itself and one called Lipix. Install both apps from the Google Play Store for free, and ensure you’re signed into your Instagram account to save time later. Finally, open the Lipix app (which was titled ‘InstaFrame’ on my device.
2. Select a layout
Choose a layout that’s appropriate for the photos you intend to use. If you want to show two nerds facing off in a video game, perhaps you’d like a vertical split. If you want a collage of your friends being silly, maybe a triptych would be ideal. You can also select different aspect ratios for the image as a whole from the menu at the top, but if you’re going for Instagram then you’ll want the classic 1:1 aspect ratio.
3. Insert your photos
Now it’s time to add your photos. Click on the little plus sign in the section of the photo that you want to use, then add your photos one-by-one. You can click on the hamburger icon in the upper left (three horizontal lines) or swipe in from left to right to select different photo sources. You can even take a photo in the app itself by pressing the camera icon at the bottom.
By default they’ll go into the spaces left-to-right, top-to-bottom, but it’s easy enough to swap photos if they appear in a place you didn’t want them to. To do this, tap and hold over a photo, then drag it to a new position.
You can resize your photos by tapping on them once, then pinching in and out. You can also adjust which part of the photo is shown by tapping, then dragging. Once your photos are arranged to your satisfaction, it’s time to move on to the extra trappings.
4. Add extra elements
Now it’s time to add extra elements like borders, text and emoji. Selecting a border is the second button at the bottom, while customising its size and roundedness is the first button. The third (middle) button adds filters to each of your photos. Adding emoji is the fourth, and adding text is the fifth. Each button offers a range of options, so experiment to find a look that you like – or keep it on the defaults for a simpler, classier look.
5. Save or export your image
Once you’ve finished your collage, it’s time to get it out of the app. Either save it as an image by clicking the floppy disk icon, or share it by pressing the share icon (both icons are in the upper right). You can share directly to Instagram this way, or open the saved picture up in Instagram later. Both ways work just fine.
So there you have it – an easy way to make collages for Instagram on your Android phone. The process is a lot simpler than it might appear, and once you’ve done a couple of collages you’ll quickly get the hang of it. Good luck and have fun!
Any questions or comments? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @mobilefun. Show us the collages you make!
Wednesday, April 8th, 2015
Yesterday we covered using Bluestacks to run Android apps on Mac. The Bluestacks name has a lot of cachet, but the Mac client is more than a little out-of-date. A more modern alternative has emerged called Andy The Android Emulator, and I decided to take it for a spin. With this guide, you can too.
1. Install & prepare Andy
Andy is pretty easy to install – just download the program from the official website and run the installer. Once it’s installed, you’ll get to a very standard-looking Android lock screen. Unlock, and you’ll be asked to sign in with your Google account and perform a few other steps. I’d recommend not backing up or restoring your apps when prompted, as you have somewhat limited storage space available. The last step is to provide your Google password so apps can be synced with your phone, but this is optional thankfully.
Once you’ve gone through the setup, you’ll be faced with a nice normal home screen, using ADW launcher and based on Android 4.2.2. You have immediate access to Google Play and the Settings menu, although you’ll likely need to download a few updates. I opted to install Nova launcher because I prefer it to ADW, but this step isn’t too necessary.
2. Try some apps
Unlike most of the other ways we’ve covered to run Android, there’s very little to actually do to Andy once it’s installed – except try apps. Massive 3D games like Dead Trigger or N.O.V.A. don’t seem to work too well, but lighter 3D or 2D games seem to work okay – including Clash of Clans. All of the non-game apps I tried seemed to work fine, and proved very responsive on a 2011-era MacBook Pro.
Here’s a brief list of what I’ve tried so far:
- Clash of Clans
- Candy Crush
- Pixel Dungeon
- Dead Trigger 2
- N.O.V.A. 3
I hope everything worked as easily for you as it did for me. If you have any questions or comments, then please leave them below. You can also reach us on Twitter @mobilefun.
Tuesday, April 7th, 2015
BlueStacks is one of the few ways to run Android apps on Mac OS X. (Other alternatives which we’ve covered earlier include running Android in a VM or running Android apps in Chrome using the ARC Welder.)
1. Install Bluestacks
The first step, fairly obviously, is to install Bluestacks. If you visit the Bluestacks site as of April 2015, you’ll see a message that they’re currently working on their OS X client, and you can sign up to be alerted when it’s finished. However, they did release an OS X client in the past, and this can be downloaded here or here. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll go with the old version (and we’ll update it when the new version is available!)
Simply download and open the .dmg, then drag the app to your Applications directory as normal. Start Bluestacks and move onto step 2!
2. Setting up Bluestacks
Once Bluestacks has loaded, you’ll be presented with a three-tiered screen offering My Apps, Top Charts and 1-Click Sync. My Apps shows you all the apps you currently have installed, top charts offers some popular app suggestions, and 1-Click Sync lets you transfer apps from your Android device to Bluestacks.
There are a number of icons at the bottom of the screen. The left-facing arrow in the bottom left is a back button; right next to it is a menu button. The Bluestacks icon in the middle is essentially the home key.
The default launcher is a bit rubbish, so let’s work on replacing it with something better.
There are some basic app stores installed by default, but the Google Play Store is probably the best option. To actually launch it requires some finesse – you’ll need to open Twitter (or another app that lets you post links) and write play.google.com/store. Click on the link once posted, and you’ll be asked what app you’d like to use to open it. Say the Play Store (or potentially its predecessor, Android Market) and this will launch.
Now to make sure we never have to do that again – we’re going to install a proper launcher. Most of the modern favourites aren’t available (like Nova or Apex), but Adw.launcher and a few other alternatives are. Install the launcher and go through any initial setup steps. I’d recommend placing shortcuts to the Play Store and any other common apps on the home screen.
Then, press the Bluestacks home button at the bottom centre of the screen. You’ll be asked which launcher you’d like to use by default. Tick the box that says Use this by default and select the launcher you installed. Now you’ll have the benefit of a proper launcher, which you can easily return to by pressing that home button again.
3. Install some apps
From here, you can use the Google Play store or the Amazon App store to find your apps and install them. It looks like the Mac version of Bluestacks is based on quite an old version of Android, so you may notice that some apps are unavailable. Still, I was able to play some modern favourites like Candy Crush Saga at full speed, so try your luck and see what works.
I hope this guide helped you out. To ask questions or leave a comment, please write to us below or talk to us on Twitter @mobilefun!
Tuesday, April 7th, 2015
Last week Google released the ARC Welder extension for Chrome, offering an easier way to run Android apps in the Chrome browser on Windows, Mac, Linux or Chrome OS. In this guide, we’ll show you how to install the ARC Welder, grab some APK files, then run your Android apps within Chrome!
1. Install ARC Welder
Installing ARC Welder is extremely simple – just visit this Chrome extension page and click Add to Chrome. The ~110MB file will download and be installed. To run it, visit the Chrome Apps page and click on the ARC Welder icon.
You’ll be asked to choose a working directory for the ARC Welder to get started. I chose to make a new folder called ARC Welder in my Documents folder, but you can put it pretty much anywhere. After this, you’re into the main area of the program, where you’ll be asked to add your APK file.
2. Getting an APK file
APK files are used to install Android apps. You can find many APK files just by Googling for them, but it’s a bit safer to rely on APK files from one or two trusted sources. I recommend Android Police‘s APK Mirror site and the Google Play Store itself. APK Mirror offers simple APK downloads, but for the Play Store you’ll need to rely on a Chrome extension or a site like evozi’s APK Downloader. Another great alternative is your own phone, by using an Android app called ARChon Packager.
3. Run your Android app
Once you’ve got your APK file, it’s time to try installing it in Chrome. Open up the ARC Welder, and select the APK file you downloaded. Wait a few seconds, and you’ll be shown the app’s name and given some options. I recommend choosing Portrait and Phone for most of these, but you’re free to choose again as you wish.
Click Launch App, and the app will attempt to launch in Chrome. If you’re lucky, the app will load up and work correctly.
However, some machines and some apps won’t work at all, immediately crashing with a puzzle piece symbol or throwing up errors related to Google Play Services. Remember, this is still a very early release so some bugs and missing features are to be expected… but enough works that it’s worth trying!
You might notice that you can only install one Android app at a time. There is a workaround for this, which Liliputing wrote up here.
ARC Welder is pretty cool, and I hope you’ve gotten it to work! If you have any questions or comments about the process, let us know in the comments below. You can also reach us on Twitter @mobilefun.
Monday, March 16th, 2015
With the recent release of all the specifications of the Samsung Galaxy S6, there’s a lot of speculation as to whether the S6 trumps the iPhone 6. Obviously the usual Apple vs Android will play a big part in your personal preference, but I’m going to take a look and compare the hard facts of the two devices.
||138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm
||143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm
||16/64/128 GB, 1 GB RAM
||32/64/128 GB, 3 GB RAM
|Memory Card Slot
||750 x 1334 pixels
||1440 x 2560 pixels
||iOS 8, upgradable to iOS 8.2
||Android OS, v5.0.2 (Lollipop)
||8 MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels
||16 MP, 2988 x 5312 pixels
||1.2 MP, 720p@30fps
||5 MP, 1080p@30fps
||Non-removable Li-Po 1810 mAh
||Non-removable Li-Ion 2550 mAh
Build: According to Samsung, the S6 is 50% stronger than previous models with it’s metal chassis, and although it doesn’t look much different at first glance, it’s clear from the feel of the phone that Samsung have upped their game. And of course, Samsung can boast that the S6 doesn’t bend! However, the iPhone 6 definitely tops the S6 with it’s smooth and sleek design – Samsung still don’t seem to have mastered building the camera into the phone – the S6′s camera sticks out even more than previous models! With the iPhone 6 and S6 at 129 and 138g respectively, there’s not a lot of difference as far as weight is concerned, with the S6 slightly heavier – as to be expected with it’s slightly larger dimensions.
Screen: Despite the increased iPhone screen size of 4.7″, the S6 has maintained the same size as the S5 at a sizeable 5.1″, bench-marked perfectly between the size of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. I guess it depends what you use your smartphone for most, but with the S6 far surpassing the iPhone 6′s 326ppi screen with it’s impressive 577ppi QHD standard display, if you want to watch films on your smartphone, the S6 certainly wins on this feature!
Camera: Again consistent with the S5, the S6 has a 16mp rear camera and a 5mp front camera, but that does not mean that no improvements have been made – a f/1.9 aperture lens now features on both of the S6′s cameras, massively enhancing the quality of photos taken in low light. There’s no doubt that this tops the iPhone 6′s 8mp rear camera and 1.2mp front camera with a f/2.2 aperture lens.
Storage: Samsung have decided to remove the memory card slot for the Galaxy S6, which may deter some potential customers, and make the buyer’s decision more about iOS vs Android than iPhone 6 vs Galaxy S6. The iPhone 6 is available in 16,64 & 128gb varieties whereas the Samsung are offering 32, 64 & 128 S6s. It’s also worth noting that the S6 comes with OneDrive with 155GB of storage, provided to the user for 2 years. Although the options are similar, for the entry level customer, the S6 does has more to offer!
Software: With the iPhone 6 using iOS, and the S6 using Android 5.0 Lollipop, individual opinion may act as a major factor when it comes to deciding which device is ultimately the best. There’s been a lot of recent criticism with regard to Samsung’s decision here – TouchWiz UI have become known for needless apps, and many think that Samsung should have perhaps toned this down for the S6! Many argue that day to day usability of iOS seems to exceed that of Android 5.0 Lollipop and that the OS generally seems a lot cleaner.
Overview: Samsung seem to be veering in the direction of Apple. With emphasis on the design and finish of the S6, as well as the removal of the memory card slot. Combined with the amazing specifications that Samsung have always provided, and the incredible camera quality that the S6 provides, Samsung have definitely created a huge contender for the iPhone 6. If they could just improve upon the TouchWiz UI, then Samsung may be on to a winner. Although Apple haven’t really pulled anything amazing out the bag with the iPhone 6, with so many dedicated iOS users, and the outstanding usability of the iOS system, it was always going to be a success.