Keep checking your phone and tablet because Android 5.0, Lollipop could arrive any day. For some lucky people, it has already arrived and it can be downloaded and installed. There are a few things you need to consider before upgrading and there are some techniques for making the upgrade smoother.

Everyone likes free stuff right? Well, now you can get a tone of free stuff courtesy of Adobe. For a limited time only, everything is free for the Aviary photo editor for Android and iOS. Photo Editor by Aviary (Android / iOS) is a great free photo editor for mobile devices and there is a huge range of extras available through in-app purchases. Until the end of November 2014 they are all free!

Google seems to be duplicating apps these days and there are two email apps, Gmail and Inbox, and two messaging apps, Hangouts and Messenger. The big question is whether the company will eventually phase out the old apps and force people to use the new ones. For now though, you can choose to use either apps for email and messaging. Should you switch from Hangouts to Messenger?


Many actions you perform on your mobile phone are repetitive, such as taking a photo and sharing it, checking in at favourite places, looking up places we are visiting in Wikipedia and so on. There is a well known app called IFTTT (IF This Then That) that automates tasks on mobile phones. Less well known, but more powerful is Microsoft’s on{X}.

Fitness and activity tracking has suddenly become a hot topic and there are numerous apps, bands and watches that promise to record every move you make. Apple has built in a Health app to iOS 8 and the iPhone 6 tracks every step you make, Microsoft just launched a wristband with tracking capabilities and a HealthVault website, and now Google has launched its own app. I have been running Google Fit for the past week on my Samsung Galaxy S4, so how has it been?

Flappy Bird was one of the success stories of the year and as soon as the app for iOS and Android devices it took off, dozens, perhaps even hundreds of clones were made. Even now, a search for Flappy Bird in the iOS App Store or Google Play Store will result in lots of clones.

Some people play games and have lots of games apps, other people like photography or social networking, and they add all the relevant apps. I like news apps – everyone has their own favourite use for their phone, apart from making calls, and mine is keeping up with the latest news. Especially technology news. I have more news apps than any other category. One I have been using a lot lately is Google News and Weather.

Privacy issues are a constant concern for many people that use mobiles phones, tablets and the internet. Only recently there were leaked photos of naked celebrities, but privacy is not just about pictures we don’t want other people to see. Privacy is also about preventing people and companies from tracking your activities as you browse the web, not sharing your name, age, phone number, location, hobbies and interests with all and sundry.

How many times have you lost your phone? No, not really lost it, but lost it in your home. You know you had it last night, but this morning when you get up, you cannot remember where you left it. Is it under the bed or the sofa? In the lounge or the kitchen? Has the dog picked it up, drooled all over it and dropped it in his basket? Android Device Manager can locate it for you.

There are many fitness tracking apps for smartphones that are able to monitor running, walking, cycling and other activities and we are spoilt for choice. Moves is an interesting one because it works automatically and you don’t need to manually start it and stop it. It just works. Link it to HealthVault and it becomes even more useful.

Public Wi-Fi networks are very useful and it is great to be able to get on the network and access the web, email, online video, music and more. The only snag is that establishing a connection isn’t as easy as it could be. Passpoint changes all that.

Suppose you have a file on your tablet that you want to access on your phone. What if you have taken a photo on your phone and want to edit it on your tablet. How would you send a web link from a phone to a tablet or tablet to a phone? All these activities and more are possible with a free app for Android and iOS called Pushbullet.

The lock screen on Android phones and tablets can be very irritating because it often shows very little that is of interest and at best there is just a clock. It also gets in the way and you have to swipe the lock screen away to get to the phone’s features. Lock screen apps are one way to make it more useful and Chronus can be used to show the weather, calendar events, email, news reports and more.

The Google Play App Store for Android users is packed with great apps and it is fun to browse the titles and install them. However, it isn't ideal browsing the store on a small screen, such as with a mobile phone. You don't have to because you can browse the store on your computer instead.

The amount of data their mobile phone uses is a constant worry for some people. The problem is that most contracts have a data limit, sometimes as little as 500MB. There are penalties for using too much data, so Onavo Count will tell you exactly how much you have used and the amount remaining.

Another question is, does it need to locate you as accurately as it does? The answer is, probably not. Your phone could be working hard to determine where in the world you are down to the nearest few meters, but is this just a waste of processing power and battery life? Most of the time, yes.

Some people say that the brain is like a muscle and like any other muscle, if you exercise it, it will improve. It won’t get physically larger like other muscles do, but it will become more efficient and you can increase your brain power. Lumosity and Fit Brains are two competing brain training apps for Android that are designed to make you smarter.

There are lots of battery managers in the Google Play Store and it is a popular category. Is this because it is easy to write battery-saving apps or because lots of people need them? It is probably a bit of both. Battery Doctor is one example of a battery extender that is very popular, with millions of installs.

Battery life is a constant problem for Android phone users and it just isn’t as good as our iPhone-owning friends. Apple’s battery technology is clearly the best, but a lot of the time, the poor battery life on our Android phone is partly our own fault and it is down to the apps we install. Here’s what you can do.

Colonies vs Empire

Who remembers Age of Empires on the PC? It was released in 1997 and there were several follow-up titles over the years. Colonies vs Empire is similar and it is a real-time strategy game that involves building a city and an army. The army can be purely for defence or you can attack and plunder neighbouring cities. The way you play is up to you.