Simplenote releases the Android, iOS, and Mac client source code under the GPL. That gives us the warm fuzzies.

Simplenote is a lightweight yet full-featured note taking app that’s cross-platform on Android, iOS, Windows and Mac. It’s a great alternative to Evernote and their new pricing, and offers syncing and sharing as well as the ability to work while offline. And as of today, it’s now open source on all platforms.

As announced on their blog, the client side code for the Android, iOS, and Mac versions have been posted to Automattic’s Github where they join the Windows version that was previously open-sourced. This means that anyone can freely download the source code and build it themselves, or change it into something different and release it as another app. Though, as Phil points out Simplenote is really good at what it’s intended to do — be simple, and take notes.

The server-side portions are not open, so there’s a small hurdle for whoever wants to use the code as a base for the next great thing. Automattic may very well open-source the server bits, but even if they don’t a development team could plug their own server details into the code as it exists. In other words, good news all around.

We love it when any app goes open and especially love it when a great app does it.

Nice work, Automattic. And thanks.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Homido V2 brings some much needed upgrades to a great VR headset.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that we’ve started to see more elegantly designed headsets as we move into the future of VR. Manufacturers are starting to figure out how to improve their initial VR experiences, and as an early mover in this space the folks at Homido are well positioned to deliver an upgrade of their initial offering. The creators have taken the time to deliver a larger, better designed, and more comfortable headset for your VR adventures.

Read more on VR Heads!

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Dash Charge is awesome.

OnePlus rolled out its Dash Charge fast charging option in the OnePlus 3, which allows the phone to go from 0 to a 60% charge in just 30 minutes. Dash Charge is licensed from OPPO, the parent company of OnePlus, and is different from the majority of quick charging options available today, most of which leverage Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology.

Here’s what you need to know about Dash Charge.

A primer on fast charging

A standard LiPo battery (which is what’s inside your phone) is highly reactive, which is why phone manufacturers have several safeguards built into the charging circuitry. Based on the depletion level, batteries can take in more power, and it is on this principle that fast charging works.

Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology relies on delivering a higher voltage to the battery to expedite charging time. With Quick Charge 3.0, Qualcomm introduced optimizations that allow devices to constantly adjust voltage over the course of the charging cycle. Quick Charge 3.0 certified chargers can deliver voltages ranging from 3V to 20V in 200mV increments.

Quick Charge 3.0 is widely used, with the likes of the HTC 10 and LG G5 offering the fast charging option. The chip vendor licenses the technology to third-party OEMs for free, which is how companies like Samsung can offer Adaptive Fast Charging on the Galaxy S7, and more recently the Galaxy Note 7 — though those models use the older, slightly less dynamic Quick Charge 2.0.

Qualcomm uses high voltages, whereas OPPO pushes more amperage.

Meanwhile, OPPO has its own fast charging solution called VOOC (Voltage Open Loop Multi-step Constant-Current Charging). The fast charging system is used in the Find 7, the F1 Plus, the R7, and other OPPO phones, and now on the OnePlus 3 as Dash Charge. OPPO uses dedicated circuity in the wall unit for heat management and dissipation, which is why you can only get Dash Charge speeds with the bundled wall charger (or the $30 Dash Charge car charger) on the OnePlus 3.

The key difference between the two fast charging technologies is that while Qualcomm uses higher voltages to charge batteries, VOOC relies on delivering a higher amperage. For instance, Quick Charge 3.0 goes up to 6.5V at 3A, creating 19.5W, whereas VOOC delivers 5V at 4A to attain 20W. And that has a few advantages.

It’s all cool

One of the main benefits of VOOC (and Dash Charge) is its ability to keep temperatures low while charging. The fast charging option allows you to watch videos or play games while the phone is charging, with no net drop in charging speeds. That isn’t the case with Quick Charge, as the higher voltages invariably lead to the phone reverting to normal speeds to prevent overheating.

With Dash Charge, you can play games or watch videos while charging your phone without worrying about overheating.

Even though the OnePlus 3 can charge up to 60% in 35 minutes, it takes slightly over 40 minutes to go from 65% to a full charge. That’s to prevent damage to the battery (and in a way, to you), with the wall charger limiting output at 2A after hitting 75% and going even lower after reaching 85%. The microcontroller unit inside the phone constantly monitors the charge level to determine the desired amperage to be delivered.

The main disadvantage with Dash Charge is that you need to use the bundled wall unit to charge the OnePlus 3, as OPPO is yet to license the technology to third-party vendors. Also, as the technology pushes more amps to your phone, so you should probably stick to using the provided cable as well.

However, you can use your Dash Charge wall unit to charge other phones. I regularly use it to charge the LG G5, and it is just as fast as using Aukey’s Quick Charge 3.0 charger.

Your turn

What do you think of Dash Charge on the OnePlus 3? Let us know in the comments.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Having nothing to hide doesn’t mean you should ignore your privacy. Especially when keeping messages secure and private is so easy.

An Ontario Court of Appeals has ruled that your SMS messages are not private and once “sent to the ether” are no longer under your control. Vice has a full write up about the decision that interested parties should read, but the short version is this: SMS messages are like email and not subject to the same protection that voice calls have. They aren’t a private conversation, and you shouldn’t keep thinking they are private.

An Ontario Court of Appeals has ruled that your SMS messages are not private and once “sent to the ether” are no longer under your control.

This has some far-reaching implications for some folks, while others won’t care because they “have nothing to hide” or don’t care what happens in a Canadian court. But we all should be concerned, and now is a perfect time for you and the people you talk with to switch to something else. Preferably something that’s cross-platform and offers encryption. I’ve got nothing to hide either, but I still expect and demand a little bit of privacy.

We don’t have the perfect suggestion for a messenger app. Different people will want different things, after all. But we do know there are more than a handful of cross-platform (iOS and Android, sometimes Windows as well) messenger apps that can be used to keep private conversations private regardless of what a judge thinks. WhatsApp comes to mind, as does Signal or Telegram.

We should all be concerned about this ruling, and now is a perfect time for you and the people you talk with to switch to another form of messaging.

If you’re the go-to person for all things tech in your circle of family and friends, have a look and see what you like and would recommend. If you’re not, point them here.

Stay safe. And stay private.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |