How to get Android 5.0 Lollipop on your mobile device

Lollipop Forest

Google has officially announced Android 5.0 Lollipop alongside a brand spanking new range of Nexus devices including a phablet, tablet and set top box geared towards gaming.

Over the coming weeks the new OS will roll out to the Nexus 6 and 9 before landing on a raft of Android devices across various manufacturers including HTC, Sony, Samsung and many more. In order to be prepared for its arrival, here is a step-by-step guide to make sure it hits your device without a hitch.

1. Check your device is compatible

Not every Android device will be able to handle the new OS version and Google has already confirmed that the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 will get it in the coming weeks, as well as the Nexus 6 and 9. Other devices that are getting the update include:

  • Various Google Play Edition devices [possibly all of them]
  • HTC One M8 and One M7
  • Motorola Moto X, Moto G, Moto G 4G, Moto E, Droid Ultra, Droid Maxx and Droid Mini
  • Sony, Samsung and LG will all confirm which devices will get the update in the coming weeks

2. Backup your stuff

Even though this is a stable release it is always wise to make sure everything on your device is backed up. This can be done by using Google Drive or any other well-known cloud storage service.

3. Plug your phone into a power supply

To make sure the smartphone or tablet doesn’t power down during the update be sure to plug it into the wall or a USB port on your computer.

4. Download the update

Navigate to Settings > About Phone or About Tablet > Software Update > Check for Updates. If Android 5.0 Lollipop is available and your smartphone or tablet has a Wi-Fi connection it will begin the download right away. It’s then just a matter of waiting for Android to do its thing.

After those easy steps you should have the newest version of Android on your phone and it’ll be time to enjoy all the new features that Google has worked hard to implement.

Published under license from, a Net Communities Ltd Publication. All rights reserved.

UK phone booths become free solar-powered mobile phone chargers

UK phone boxes become free solar-powered mobile phone chargers

The red telephone booth is one of the most enduring icons of the UK; but as delightful as their housings may be, the humble payphone has had its day. Coin and card-fed phones are on the verge of being consigned to the history books, while the mobile phone goes from strength to strength. But mobile phones, for all their strength in portability, coverage, and flexibility, have their kryptonite: battery life. In keeping with the environmentally-friendly preference for recycling and reusing rather than trashing, unused phone boxes are being given a new lease on life.

Should you find yourself wandering down London's Tottenham Court Road and notice that your battery is getting a little low, there's a green solution popping up. Phone booths that would have otherwise be left to rack and ruin are being converted into solar-powered charging stations that can be used completely free of charge.

Within the newly-painted boxes -- now a lurid green -- are a series of adaptors to suit a variety of different phones. If your handset needs a boost, just wander in, plug in, and charge up. Few people would be foolish enough to walk away from their phone while they charge, so the company behind the venture, Solarbox, has something of a captive audience to whom to show adverts on a vandal-proof tablet. Advertising comes from the likes of Tinder and Uber, but nearly a third of ad space is reserved for local community projects.

For now there is a single solar-powered phonebox, but more are planned. Five more are currently due to open, with number two expected to be unveiled in January.

Photo credit: Tupungato / Shutterstock

Facebook rolls out mobile Like button to iOS and Android app developers

Facebook rolls out mobile Like button to iOS and Android app developers

As any Facebook user knows, 'liking' content online has become almost second nature. Facebook has Likes, Google+ has +1s, and various other variations exist. But it is Facebook's Like button that reigns supreme -- regardless of the privacy concerns it may raise. Today Facebook is expanding its Like feature so that mobile app developers can take advantage of it. Not just content with giving web users the chance to indicate their approval of a particular Facebook post or online article, it is now possible to 'like' any piece of content within a supported app on iOS and Android.

It's a feature that is likely to be picked up very quickly by game developers, so you can expect to see notifications in the near future letting you know that your Facebook friends like level 118 of Candy Crush Saga. The feature was previewed earlier this year, but is now being made available to any developer who wants to use it. Facebook says:

People using a mobile app can directly Like the app's Facebook Page, or any Open Graph object within the app, and share on Facebook. The mobile Like Button works seamlessly with the Facebook account the person is logged into on their device, allowing people to Like any piece of content, while in your native app.

The news comes after Facebook apologized -- sort of -- to LGBT groups for its heavy-handed enforcement of a real name policy, and this is yet another move by the social network that will be met by disdain and rejoicing in just about equal measure. If the suggestion that players may 'like' individual' levels of games seems a little far-fetched, it is precisely what Facebook suggests as a possible use. Developers may, Facebook proposes, want to display a Like button when a certain stage of a game is reached -- essentially giving gamers a means of bragging about their progress.

It's unlikely that we'll see a sudden raft of Like buttons popping up in apps overnight. Facebook points out that developers "will have to submit your implementation for review via the Status and Review tab in the Dev Tool before the Like Button is live in your mobile app".

Photo credit: Happy Art / Shutterstock

AMD cosies up with Oracle over Hadoop

AMD cosies up with Oracle over Hadoop

AMD performed the first public demonstration of Apache Hadoop running on its Opteron A1100 development platform; these are 64-bit ARM Cortex-A57 processors that are targetting the highly lucrative datacentre market.

The event took place at Oracle's JavaOne conference in San Francisco and used bog standard Linux distribution from Fedora and OpenSuse. Oddly enough shares in AMD have fallen heavily since the announcement, by nearly 4%, valuing the company at less than $3 billion.

The demo was more of a showcase for AMD than it was for Oracle; Hadoop is already a popular framework for storage and large-scale data processing and the Austin-based chip vendor is keen to find other revenue streams outside its usual desktop/mobile CPU/GPU segments.

Java for ARM is currently in beta with general availability predicted for early next year. Oracle has also been working with some of AMD's own rivals including Applied Microsystesm - which provided HP with chips for its new Moonshot servers and Cavium.

Big advantage

AMD however has two big advantage compared to the rest of the aspiring ARM server partners. Its GPU could be used as application-specific accelerators and its Opteron brand is a known quantity and a trusted brand with OEMs.

Also worth noting, AMD and Oracle - together with Qualcomm, Imagination Technologies, ARM and a few others - are members of the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) group whose aim is to facilitate the management of different compute units.

However, other than the announcement, the other question that will be on everyeones lips is "Will Oracle buy AMD?"

Apple Pay settings menu, reference to iPad with Touch ID discovered in iOS 8.1 beta

As some expected, Apple's latest iOS 8.1 beta build contains assets for the upcoming Apple Pay mobile payments service, including hidden settings menus and references to an iPad with Touch ID fingerprint recognition.

AMD Releases Catalyst 14.9 Drivers

It seems like it's been a long time since we've seen a WHQL driver release from AMD… and it has been. The previous WHQL driver dates back to April, the Catalyst 14.4 drivers, so we're close to five months between updates. In the interim, AMD has had beta/release candidate drivers for 14.6 and 14.7, along with the initial driver release for the R9 285 Tonga GPU. The new 14.9 drivers appear to be the official release of the R9 285 drivers, with version numbering of 14.301 (compared to 14.300 for the launch driver).

As usual, there are quite a few updates listed in the release notes, with minor to moderate performance improvements noted for 3DMark Sky Diver and Fire Strike, 3DMark11, Bioshock Infinite, Company of Heroes 2, Crysis 3, GRID Autosport, Murdered: Soul Suspect, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare, Batman: Arkham Origins, Wildstar, Tomb Raider, Watch Dogs, Assassin's Creed IV, Lichdom, and StarCraft II. There's no mention made of any of the upcoming games, so it looks like we'll mostly be looking for hotfixes to address any issues with yet-to-be-released games. Other changes include Mantle support for AMD mobile products with Enduro technology.

The drivers are available at the usual place, and support is specifically listed for the R9/R7/R5 series of desktop and mobile GPUs, along with the earlier HD 5000/6000/7000/8000 series of desktop and mobile GPUs. APU support is also included for the R7/R6/R5/R3 products and all APUs with HD 6000D/G or newer graphics (which basically means all of AMD's APUs). In other words, if you have a Direct3D 11 enabled GPU from AMD, the drivers should be available (though there are likely mobile products where that may not be the case).

Apple issues first iOS 8.1, Apple TV and Xcode 6.1 betas to developers

Following last week's two iOS 8 bug fixes, Apple on Monday seeded the first beta of the iOS 8.1 maintenance update to developers, potentially with assets to enable Apple Pay mobile payments service.

Synology Launches Rangeley-based DS415+, DSM 5.1 Beta Goes Live

Synology has been relatively quiet over the last couple of months (barring the responses to various security issues), but, today, they are coming out with a couple of expected announcements. Seagate has the bragging rights for being the first vendor with an off-the-shelf NAS based on an Intel Rangeley SoC (the storage platform integrating Silvermont CPU cores). Today, Synology is introducing their first NAS model utilizing one of the Silvermont-based SoCs, the DS415+. Compared to the 1.73 GHz dual-core Intel Atom C2338 in the Seagate NAS Pro units, the DS415+ utilizes a 2.4 GHz quad-core Intel Atom C2558 C2538. The availability of hardware-accelerated encryption (AES-NI) is touted as a major feature. Other than that, thee DS415+ is the typical SMB-targeted 4-bay NAS, sporting dual GbE ports and a host of virtualization certifications. The hardware specifications of the Synology DS415+ are provided below.

Synology DS415+ Hardware Specifications

The important aspect to note here is that, like the Seagate NAS Pro units, the internal drive bays are all connected to SATA II 3 Gbps ports. With SSDs, one is unlikely to obtain maximum performance out of the unit when it comes to internal transfers (such as LUN cloning through VAAI), but the four SATA II ports are enough to saturate the two GbE links for external traffic. Synology claims over 235.04 MB/s reads and 233.51 MB/s writes for targeted workloads. With encryption enabled, the AES-NI feature enables 234.97 MB/s reads and 213.14 MB/s writes for the same workloads.

In other Synology news, we also have the launch of the new beta of their NAS OS, the Disk Station Manager (DSM) 5.1 beta. Updates in DSM 5.1 include synchronization across encrypted folders, usage of Windows ACL for privilege settings in Cloud Station and an option to disable versioning. Three new public cloud services (OneDrive, Box and hubiC) have also been added. IPV6 support for Quick Connect also comes in the feature set. Other improvements include NFS VAAI support (in addition to iSCSI in earlier DSM versions) and a better interface to the SSD caching setup. Security features (in the form of a new Security Advisor and AppArmor package) also receive focus in this release. On the mobile apps side, DS File has been updated (iOS users can play files from within the app, while support for third-party integration is present in Android 4.4+) and a new DS Note app synchronizes with the new Note Station package (similar to EverNote and OneNote) on the Synology NAS.

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Apple activates Wi-Fi calling for T-Mobile iPhones with latest iOS 8 beta

Among the new settings options and user interface tweaks in Monday's iOS 8 beta release, Apple has switched on Wi-Fi calling for T-Mobile handsets, granting developers with access to the software a chance to test out the feature.

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