Best Android apps for taking notes [August 2014]

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With smartphones and tablets so widely available now, it’s easy to replace pens and notebooks with more efficient note-taking apps. From wireless syncing to tagging and discovering older notes, it’s easy to drop paper forever with some of these apps. Several months ago we covered the best available note-taking applications available on Android, but since then, a few of the apps have disappeared and others have adopted new features to make them more competitive with heavyweights like Evernote. Below you’ll find a list of the best apps available on the Play Store to help you take notes faster and more easily.


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How to get the Android L look on your phone without rooting or installing ROMs

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Whether it’s an actual new version of Android or just a preview of a future release, there is always a lot of folks out in the cold looking in because it’s usually not available for the majority of phones. With the Android L Developer Preview, there really isn’t a need to get jealous since it’s not even in it’s final stage and has a lot of bugs. Still, I know a lot of you want a taste now so let’s take a look at your best options assuming you don’t want to risk turning your phone or tablet into a brick to get it.


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Android L Developer Preview walkthrough

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For the first time, Google released a new version of Android as a developer preview. Android L (or whatever they will call it) probably won’t get a final release until October, but if you own a Nexus 5 or a Nexus 7 (2013), you can give it a try now. As I am sure you have read elsewhere, it’s pretty buggy. The biggest problem is that so many apps won’t work with it so my advice is to stay away for now. Still, I know there are a lot of you that can’t handle not having the latest and greatest, so go for it if you insist.

Since the preview is only available to a couple of devices, the majority of you won’t be able to actually test it out so we put together this walkthrough showing you many of the new features. There’s still a lot more to come, but for now, you can check out Material Design as part of the new Dialer app, settings, battery saver, ripple effects, the lock screen notifications, Heads Up, the recent apps UI, and more. Hit the break for our hands on.


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How to find Android Wear apps in the Play Store

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We had a slew of Android Wear apps hit the Play Store yesterday, and it was only the beginning. We are likely to have thousands of apps by the end of the month, and it will only continue to grow. To make things easier, Google added an Android Wear section in the Play Store. You can access it via the link below or from your Android Wear app on your phone. Just tap on “Browse compatible apps” at the bottom of the main screen, and select “Always” for opening with the Play Store.


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Android Wear walkthrough

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Smartwatches are nothing new, but with the birth of Android Wear, they are likely to finally take off since it was created by Google and should get a lot of developer support. It’s a simple interface, yet very powerful. It’s all about getting relevant information and acting on it without the need to whip out your phone.

Android Wear is at it’s infancy, but you can already do a lot. You can see the weather, set timers, get navigation instructions, and so much more. You can even reply to text messages and emails, not to mention pause or skip tracks while casting your music.


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How to set up your Android Wear smartwatch

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Setting up a new device can be a daunting task, but thankfully Google has made it really easy to get your Android Wear smartwatch up and running in no time. It’s just a matter of downloading the Android Wear app and turning on your watch. The Android Wear app will walk you through the process and you will be receiving notifications within minutes. Hit the break for a quick video showing you how it works. Also be sure to check out our complete Android Wear walkthough that will get you acclimated with your new watch.


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How to set up a wireless hotspot for tethering on Android to avoid paying carrier subscription fees

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Being able to hook up to your WiFi network with your computer or tablet is pretty convenient, but what if you’re on the road, or in an area without a wireless network in sight?

Well there’s good news — setting up a wireless hotspot on your device, which you can then connect to with your laptop or tablet, is extremely convenient. The feature is available on most smartphones these days, but carriers usually charge around $20 or more each month for a simple subscription to the service.

But what if I told you that you could experience the same service for only a one-time fee of $7.95? You’d take it, right? Well hit the break to find out how.


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How to update the Google Play Store app on your Android device the easy way, no APK download necessary

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Google will update the Play Store app from time to time, and since it’s not an app that is found in the actual Play Store, there hasn’t been a known way to grab the update other than downloading an APK and installing it over your current version. Now that is fairly easy, and in most cases pretty safe, but there is an even easier way to get the update. You won’t have to download a special APK or do anything crazy. I think you will be surprised at just how simple it really is, and I was shocked when Jason Howell recently mentioned it on the All About Android podcast. So hit the break to find out how.


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Here are the top functions and apps available on Android that are NOT on iOS

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Because there are so many different Android devices (and so many variants of those individual devices), developers tend to begin programming their apps on iOS before putting together the resources (and endless hours) to begin porting their creations to Android.

Developing for Android is an arduous task, and Google knows it. That’s why the company will soon be making a concerted effort to streamline the development process. Google has also pushed manufacturers/carriers to stay as close to stock Android as possible by criticizing bloatware and OEM custom skins. But with different phones running different processors, having different amounts of RAM, different screen sizes/resolutions, etc., it’s tough to make sure an app will work seamlessly across the platform, no matter what Google does to ease the process. Android’s vast device offering can be seen as a major strength (and something that has led the platform to be an industry leader in market share) but it’s also been a weakness from the development side.


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How to change or clear default app settings in Android

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Ever browsed through your Twitter feed on your device, tapped on a link, and been directed to the page via your ‘non-preferred’ browser?

Have you ever wanted to snap a picture using the hardware camera button on your device, but it keeps opening your default camera app, rather than the brand new Google Camera app you downloaded, or perhaps another third-party camera app?

There are plenty of apps in the Play Store that can be used  to “replace” functions already on your device. In order to use them properly and set them as the “default” app for the specific function they fulfill on your device, you’ll have to do some tinkering.

It isn’t tough, but some Android users have expressed frustration with the ease of setting up default apps and even completely resetting the functions. In order to help you out, I’ve set up this guide to show you how to both change default apps in Android as well as quickly wipe your previous settings.


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