While the new Android 4.4 KitKat is only available on one device at the moment (damn you Nexus 5), it doesn't mean that we can't enjoy some of the features it has to offer on our non-KitKat devices right now.
When the Samsung Galaxy S5 launched a few months ago, I was pretty envious of the new UI elements Samsung included on it, as I'm sure you were. The flatter interface provided for a more polished and less cartoony feel, bringing the device more in line with Google's design elements.
Android 5.0 "Lollipop" has only existed for a few months, but a leaked version of Samsung's take on the firmware has already been spotted in the wild. This update came straight from Samsung, and brings with it a plethora of new features, including greatly improved performance and a revamped TouchWiz UI.
My phablet has incredible battery life, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't like it to last even longer. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Note 3 does not come equipped with Ultra Power Saving Mode, which can keep the phone running for another 24 hours with only 10% power remaining.
When it comes to the user interface, you're pretty much limited to the stock one that comes on your Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch—a carousel of large black and white icons representing the features and applications on the watch.
While Google would like you to believe that Flash is incompatible on Android KitKat, there is a functional workaround that will get it up and running on your Samsung Galaxy Note 3's gorgeous screen in no time.
Does your Samsung Galaxy Note 3 feel slower than it used to? Background processes, cached files, malicious applications, and buggy updates can all lead to a sluggish smartphone. It's just what happens over time.
Your favorite instant messaging service might not be your friend's preferred choice of communicating, and your sibling might prefer yet another. So when they send you messages via different apps, it's like having one address but multiple mailboxes on a single porch.
It's a modern day nightmare to accidentally reveal too much information on Facebook. I've inadvertently told the world my location more times than I can laugh off, and my friends haven't fared too well either. Just take a look at the requested app permissions next time you're about to click install and you'll quickly realize how much that app can reveal about you.
As an added functionality to the S Pen, the Pen Window enables you to create floating application windows on your Samsung Galaxy Note 3—a tool that's extremely useful when it comes to multitasking.
The Xperia Z1, Sony's flagship device, has been extremely popular overseas, so much so that it has made its way into the U.S. market as the Xperia Z1S, a modified version of the original. Known more commonly as the "waterproof smartphone," the Xperia Z1 packs one of the most powerful cameras on the market, with an impressive 20.7 megapixels. Since the device is only available for T-Mobile here in the States, unless you currently have that carrier, the chances of you getting your hands on Sony...
With over 20 million songs, Spotify has become my go-to source for music. I can stream tunes to my desktop or phone, without ever having to worry about storage space being eaten up.
The stock AccuWeather widget on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is great if you want a super quick way to see the current time, date, and weather forecast for your area, but personally, its design just doesn't do it for me. It's big and bulky and I find that the background weather imagery is distracting. Developer ElMartinoAT feels pretty much the same, and brings us nine alternatives to choose from when it comes to the stock AccuWeather widget on Galaxy Note 3 devices running Android KitKat.
Whether it's because you have nosy family and friends or you're just cautious about losing your device, having a passcode on your Android smartphone is essential for protection. However, you don't always need or want a passcode, especially when you're home alone or in your car on the way to work.
Pretty soon, every restaurant and store you walk into will know exactly what you're doing. Retail analytics companies like Euclid, ShopperTrak, RetailNext, and Prism Skylabs have penetrated hundreds of food shops and retail stores across the country, installing sensors that track and log customers' moves while they dine and shop.
Restrictions are inconvenient, and for this reason I've sought out softmods that loosen the constraints for many of the features on my smartphone. Things like adding favorite apps to the Pen Window drawer or choosing any app for Multi Window mode are now must-haves on my Samsung Galaxy Note 3—and should be on yours as well.
Lollipop's imminent release should be cause for excitement with Google bringing out new features, a huge redesign, and under-the-hood changes. Unfortunately, the Nexus line of devices will be the first to receive the Android 5.0 update, leaving the rest of us to wait on manufacturers and carriers to release their skinned, bloatware-packed builds.
Sending and receiving files between Android devices has no shortage of options—Bluetooth, email, MMS, and Wi-Fi are just a few of the more popular ones that we use.
Lock screen security provides a means of safety when it comes to keeping others from breaking into our smartphones and snooping around on or stealing private information like documents, emails, photos, and videos.
Of the sixty or so "must-have" apps that are installed on my Samsung Galaxy Note 3, there's only one that I need to use and hate with a passion. Skype. Whenever using it, I'm consumed by dropped calls, mic issues, poor quality, and random crashes, among other things—and I'm not the only one.
Muzei Live Wallpaper is a popular Android app that refreshes your home screen background at set intervals, turning it into blurred pieces of artwork or photography while keeping your icons and widgets in the spotlight.
It was only a matter of time before the apps from the new Samsung Galaxy S5 leaked for everyone to download and install, and today we've got one that takes advantage of the IR blaster on your Galaxy Note 3.
The Play Store is loaded with just about any app you can imagine. While many are free or have a "lite" version of a paid app for download, often enough, these freebies have intrusive ads cluttering up your screen.
In the midst of furious finger typing on a small non-tactile screen, you're sure to make mistakes—so the majority of keyboards have autocorrect. Generally it works pretty well and is a welcomed feature.
Last week, I showed you a peek at the not-yet-released Galaxy S5 Active, the more rugged version of Samsung's current flagship. The man behind those leaks, TK Tech News, has now brought another goodie from the device, and it's one we can have on the Galaxy Note 3.
As great as Google's own Play Music app is, your MP3 library is restricted to Google's own app. There are much better music players that give Google Play Music a run for its money, but duplicating music files on your device for this reason alone is a waste of storage space.
As the protectors of all things good, the Federal Communications Commission is usually busy behind the scenes pissing off Slim Shady, giving out fines for indecent nipple exposure at certain halftime events, and warning the NSA about losing any "confidential" phone information they steal from us.
Some of my favorites hacks are the ones that speed up the process of accessing my favorite and most-used apps. So, in this softModder guide, I'll be showing you a super fast way to open those apps straight from your Samsung Galaxy Note 3's lock screen.
Exclusive to only a handful of smartphones, including the Nexus 5, the Google Experience Launcher allows us to open Google Now simply by speaking out a certain phrase, at any time—dubbed a "hotword."
Android 4.4 KitKat has begun rolling out for the Galaxy Note 3 in India, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, and several other countries, and an unofficial build for AT&T customers has been leaked for all of us stateside.
Modern smartphones can easily handle anything you throw at them, but it's always good to keep a tight grasp of what your phone is actually doing and how well it's doing it. System information can be viewed by looking through your Application Manager, but this process makes it difficult to keep an eye on usage in real time.
There's a never-ending selection of app launchers that want a permanent spot on your Android device. While some keep the stock-Android look with beefed-up versions of Google's launcher, Blur is relatively new on the scene, with a unique approach to app management that sets it apart.
One of the Note 3's best features is Multi Window mode, which allows users to display more than one app on the screen at the same time, taking advantage of the large and high-resolution display.
Introducing a unique way to share photos and videos among friends and family, Snapchat was the big hit of 2013 (despite its many flaws). Thanks to its ephemeral nature and lack of third-party sign-in integration, it quickly grew into a multibillion-dollar company in the span of just 12 months.
My first encounter with a phablet was late last year with the AT&T version of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, having never touched or even seen its highly-acclaimed and pioneering predecessor. Initially, I was a bit overwhelmed by the enormous screen and taken aback by the dated stylus, which brought up ugly memories of my dad using his ten pound PalmPilot.
For the most part, Google Play Music makes it extremely easy to upload and organize your music library, as well as access it quickly using the default settings—but there are a few things it could do better.
Currently in its alpha stage, Facebook has pushed forward a redesigned mobile app for Android users that provides a flat user interface and rearranged navigation tools.
Ever use an open hotspot on your Note 3, only to find out that it's severely restricted to what sites you can access? While getting online with free Wi-Fi is great for those who have a limited data plan, when that one site you absolutely need to visit is blocked, you're left frustrated and sent back into the Wi-Fi menu for another access point.
Android has plenty of features that provide multitasking support, which are especially useful on smartphones with larger screens. One such feature that I loved on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 was the popup browser, which brought up a floating window whenever I opened a link inside of third-party apps like Facebook and Twitter.
Samsung has multiple built-in font styles to choose from in TouchWiz, but they're limited to just four types. While there are many font installers available on Google Play, they usually cost money and only replace some of the text on the device, not all of it, creating an inconsistent and erratic user interface.