The best Android tips and tricks from last week: June 2 – June 8

android-logo
As we close out one week and head off into another, now is a great time to look back at the best tips and tricks from the past week (June 2 – June 8). Some of the tips you may recognize, some may be new to you, but all the tutorials below are worthy of another mention.

google-keyboard-icon
The best 5 alternative keyboards for Android

Earlier this week, Apple announced iOS 8, with one interesting feature: support for third-party keyboards. That option has long been one of Android’s strengths and we have seen many keyboards try to revolutionize (and sometimes succeed, like Swype) the way we input text into our phones. The Play Store is full of such alternative keyboards, and it can be daunting to try them all. This is why we have decided to install many of them and pick out some of the best for you.

Android-KitKat-g
Android 4.4.3: List of features and improvements

On surface, the Android 4.4.3 update does not seem to include many new features or enhancements. However, once you start using your Nexus device after installing the update, you will realize that Google has made a lot of minor changes throughout the OS. Below is a quick list of all the changes that Google has made with the Android 4.4.3 update and which are clearly visible on the Nexus.

Video thumbnail for youtube video Follow the World Cup 2014 madness on your phone through Google Calendar and Google Now
Get the World Cup 2014 schedule through Google Calendar and Google Now

With the FIFA World Cup 2014 set to kick off in a week, it’s going to be a time of intolerable impatience for football fans the world over. With so many matches being played, it can be a tough thing to keep up with what’s going on, but thanks to Google Calendar and Google Now, getting the full schedule of the World Cup can become quite the trivial task.

Android-KitKat-g
When will the Android 4.4.3 KitKat update be available for your device?

With Android 4.4.3 being rolled out to all the Nexus devices, owners of high-end devices from Samsung, LG and Sony are wondering when their OEM will roll-out the update for their devices. While on first glance Android 4.4.3 does not seem to pack any major features, it does include a lot of bug-fixes and security patches. The sad truth is that unless you own a Google Play edition device or any phone from Motorola, the Android 4.4.3 update is still a couple of months away at best for you.

htc-dot-view-multi-color-slide-01
This app brings third-party app notifications to HTC One’s DotView case

The Dot View case for the HTC One M8 is among the most innovative accessories available for any Android device. While it can show your missed calls, voicemails, text messages and more, it is limited to only the HTC specific apps, which greatly limits its usefulness. A developer over at XDA forums has taken matters into his own hands and released an app, dubbed Venom DotView notifications, that can display notifications from all the third-party apps installed on the One M8 on the case.

LG G3 Colors
Download: All the high-resolution wallpapers from the LG G3

The LG G3 is the first smartphone from any major OEM to sport a Quad HD display. As the name implies, a Quad HD toting display has 4x the pixels of a standard 720 HD display. To show off the display in all its glory, LG has included some really beautiful and pixel packed wallpapers on the G3. These wallpapers have now been extracted from the handset and uploaded on the Internet for other Android users to enjoy.

leef-access-1
Leef Access Review: Add a microSD reader to any Android phone

One of the annoying trends in Android devices started by the Nexus line over the past couple of years is the lack of microSD slots. Sure, when you only install a few dozen apps, stay away from data-heavy games, upload and discard your photos and videos, and stream your music and movies, 16GB or 32GB are more than enough. But when you download and try hundreds of apps and games, or live in a country with slow internet speeds and limited bandwidth like mine, you can’t afford to rely on uploading pictures or streaming media. That’s where microSD cards come in handy in expanding the available storage, and providing an easy way to load and offload content on a device. If your phone or tablet, like my LG G2 and Nexus 7, lack a microSD slot, you had no luck before. Then there was the Meenova, and more recently the Leef Access.

Screen
How to manually update the Nexus 5 to Android 4.4.3 KitKat

Google uploaded the Android 4.4.3 factory images for the Nexus 5 and other devices on June 2nd, but the OTA update for the handset only started showing up late last night. Since OTA updates are rolled out in batches, chances of you getting the update almost instantly on your Nexus 5 are slim.