Android

What should I buy for my first smartphone?

Apple iPhone SE

Episode 1474

Richard from Tampa, FL

Richard is looking to get his first smartphone. Leo says the most important question to ask when getting a first smartphone is what phones his friends and family use. He should find out what carriers they have and how happy they are with them. Apple's iPhone makes an ideal first phone because it's so easy to use, but his friends and family will be his first line of support when he's learning to use it. The iPhone is a bit pricey and there are some good budget Android options out there.

What phone should I buy my wife?

Episode 1470

Sam from Las Cruces, NM

Sam is trying to decide on a phone for his wife. He was thinking of getting a phone that runs Tango. Leo says that Tango is awful. Took expensive. Lousy battery life. And Google doesn't support it anymore. THey're going with AR Kit. But AR really isn't the reason to buy a mobile device. It's just a gimmick. But having said that, Samsung's S9 does it, and it's a great price with some great features. And it does have AR emoji, though Leo thinks they're a bit weird.

Can I still buy an mp3 player?

FiiO X1

Episode 1470

Pete from Clinton Township, NJ

Pete is looking for an MP3 player because he doesn't know how to copy music to his Android phone. Leo says not many mp3 players are made these days. He can copy files on an Android phone by simply dragging and dropping when his phone is in transfer mode. It's called MTP mode. The phone will show up as a drive on his desktop and then he can drag and drop into the music folder of the phone.

Is there a mobile phone with an actual keyboard?

BlackBerry KEYone

Episode 1469

Gary from Sylmar, CA

Gary has kept a really old Android phone because it had a slide down keyboard. He hates virtual keyboards. Is there any physical phone out there with an actual keyboard? Leo says that ironically, BlackBerry is making them with a clean version of Android installed. BlackBerry is the last phone company to make a phone with a physical keyboard, but they're really tiny. One option is to get a better phone and then use a Bluetooth external keyboard when he needs it.

What mobile phone should I get?

Motorola Moto G5 Plus

Episode 1468

Cheryl from Yorba Linda, CA

Cheryl is trying to decide whether to take a free Samsung Galaxy Note 2 or get a newer Moto G5. Leo says that sad thing about older mobile phones is not that they aren't perfectly good. They are. They are just being left behind when it comes to security and other features. Leo recommends getting a Motorola Moto G5 Plus. It'll be faster, but more importantly, more secure. The camera is also better.

How can I update my phone if there's not enough room?

Smartphone and coffee

Episode 1466

Kevin from Mizzoula, MT

Kevin's mobile phone needs to be updated, but he can't because there's not enough room. Leo says that Kevin's phone probably has too little storage. He may need to wipe the phone and restore it to factory default settings, and then try updating it. Kevin should backup his data first and then give that a try. If that doesn't work, there's simply not enough room for the latest update and he's out of luck. The extra benefit of wiping and reinstalling is that it will clear out any bad popups or kruft left behind by old apps.

Mobile World Congress Opens with Samsung's Galaxy S9

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus

Episode 1466

Samsung announced the Galaxy S9 at Mobile World Congress this morning. Leo originally thought that Apple's $1,000 price tag on the iPhone X would influence mobile phone prices moving forward, but Samsung chose to only raise the price a bit, by comparison, starting at $720 for the 64GB version. You can trade in your older models to get a better price. You can also get $100 off if you buy from Best Buy. Leo says, however, that you don't get any benefit by paying more for larger storage considering the Android phones have a microSD slot for additional storage.

Why am I getting different keyboards when launching apps on my Google Pixel phone?

Android keyboards

Episode 1465

Mark from Grand Rapids, MI

Mark wants to know why he gets a different keyboard whenever he launches an app on his Google Pixel smartphone. Leo says this is a feature that developers can take advantage of so that the keyboard can be more contextual. For instance, when a number needs to be entered, the keyboard that comes up can be just a number pad. But there is a bug that causes keyboards to change randomly, so maybe that's the problem. More likely, it's something the app developer has done. Mark can try installing Swiftkey and see if that helps.