Crowdfunding project of the week: Spark turns your phone into a DSLR camera remote

The ‘Crowdfunding project of the week’ has become a tradition here at Android Authority. This article series is where we highlight some of the hottest tech novelties coming from crowd-sourcing sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. What is this week’s featured post all about? Let’s find out!

Other featured projects: 

Photography enthusiasts know shooting the right photo takes skill, work and patience. You need to find the right tools and take full advantage of them. The thing is, we have a smart device that is pretty much capable of undertaking any function. Why are we not using it more for our DSLR needs?

Well, some people actually are. We have seen plenty of accessories that allow for smartphone remote control with DSLR cameras, but this one does seem to offer more versatility, portability and convenience.

For starters, the Spark is a device you can just leave over your camera and never really think about. It is tiny and features over 2,000 hours of battery life. Yes, you heard that right; and when it does die you can easily replace its coin battery (the ones watches use).

Now, what exactly does Spark allow for? On its own, it can be used as a regular infrared or wired trigger. This is convenient, but things get much more fun once you link Spark to your smartphone via Bluetooth. It’s easy to set up regular photos, time lapses, long exposure shots, HDR, a photo booth or more. Get this – one can even take shots from multiple cameras at once.

Pretty neat, right? But I saved the best news for last – this thing is super cheap! You can sign up for a Spark by backing the Kickstarter project with as low a $44. That’s really not much more than regular IR camera remotes cost, and you get much more functionality with the Spark. Who is signing up?!

T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy Note 5 getting Android 7.0 Nougat

Still carrying around a Samsung Galaxy Note 5? It is technically the latest Note handset, so it only makes sense to give it its timely update. Multiple carrier versions of this phone have begun getting Android Nougat, but T-Mobile users are still left wondering when their devices will be ready for prime time.

We have good news: you won’t have to wait much longer! In fact, T-Mobile’s Des has taken it to Twitter to let us know the OTA update is approved and should start hitting smartphones “early next week”. This was posted on the 21st, which means the update is actually being released within the coming days.

“Gadget Guy” Des isn’t unveiling any specific details. We have no idea how large the update file will be or what it comes with, but we assume you can expect the same general features other Galaxy Note 5 devices have gotten from Nougat. This would include the new version of TouchWiz, improved multi-tasking, mini-conversations, improved battery management, a nicer keyboard and more.

Excited to have t he latest and greatest Android version? Sit back and relax until it arrives. And don’t forget to hit the comments to share your experiences once you get the update.

The Galaxy S8 is evidence of Samsung’s changing attitude to bloatware

Remember back when we all used to have a field day bashing Samsung bloatware? There was sooo much of it, you couldn’t disable or uninstall it, and most things duplicated stuff that Google already did perfectly well (and also pre-installed on Galaxy phones). But starting with the Galaxy S6, Samsung started to change its attitude toward bloatware, and the Galaxy S8 benefits greatly from the continuation of that tendency.

But more to the point, we benefit greatly. As much as we understand how lucrative these software deals can be to smartphone manufacturers, none of us really want bloatware clogging up our phones. In the past you could barely uninstall any, having to settle for disabling a few and making your peace with most, but times have changed.

See also:

Does bloatware drain your battery? – Gary explains

June 25, 2016

The 32 GB Galaxy S7 had 8 GB of storage taken up by its ROM and pre-loaded apps. The 64 GB Galaxy S8 in my hands – even without any carrier bloat – admittedly had 12 GB used by the time I peeled the plastic off. But even though I’ve already lost a large chunk of my internal storage to the system it doesn’t feel so bad because the apps that are on the S8 are largely removable.

Pre-loaded apps may not ultimately take up much space, but to have the ability to get rid of most of them almost makes you forget about the rest of the space you’ll never get to reclaim. Of course, pre-installed apps you don’t want, can’t remove and can’t disable are also a drain on your system resources, so any time you can uninstall or disable them, the better.

The Galaxy S8 has 37 pre-installed apps (at least on my unlocked international variant). The Galaxy S6 had 50 apps, not including carrier bloat. By my count there’s only a dozen I can’t uninstall or disable on the S8, and some of those are rather useful like the dialer.

You can still get rid of the few remaining apps Samsung won't already let you disable or uninstall.

Even for those of you suffering from extensive carrier bloat in the US, there are still steps you can take to get rid of the few remaining apps Samsung won’t already let you disable. You simply have to decide if ridding yourself of them is worth $1.50. If it is, you’ll also be able to remove future bloat on your next Galaxy phone. Not uninstall, sadly, but disable any and all apps you want to. And it doesn’t even require root.

You won’t get the storage space back, but you will block them from chewing system resources and you’ll no longer see them in your app drawer. All you need to do is fork out for an app called BK Package Disabler, which you can do via the button below. Install it, grant it the necessary permissions and swipe to the ‘Bloatware’ tab in the app.

Tap the check mark next to the apps you want disabled and that’s it (don’t just go crazy, look for the specific apps in the app drawer you want removed). You’ll no longer see them in your app drawer and they won’t be able to run in the background. If something breaks or you want the app back for some reason, simply relaunch the BK Package Disabler app and uncheck the box next to the apps you want resurrected.

While it’s unfortunate we still have to resort to paid apps to remove everything we want to on a phone that cost us an arm and a leg, the base situation has at least improved from years past. On my S8 I can uninstall or disable 25 apps straight out of the box, and pay $1.50 to disable the rest. That may not quite be ideal, but it sure is better than it once was.

Must read: top 10 Android stories

This week we reviewed the Galaxy S8, S8 Plus, and ZTE Quartz, took a first-hand look at the Xiaomi Mi 6, and much, much more. Here’s the news of the week!

Who wants to win a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus?

The Galaxy S8 Plus is one of the best big Android smartphones out right now. Here’s how you can win one!

10 Android stories we handpicked for you

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus review: Almost to Infinity The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are here, bringing with them a taller display in a body that’s smaller than ever before.


Photo fight: Galaxy S8, LG G6, Xperia XZs, Huawei P10, Pixel XL, OnePlus 3T The Samsung Galaxy S8 is here and it’s being tipped as the best… but how good is the camera?


Xiaomi Mi 6 first impressions: the $360 flagship Out in Beijing, we got a look at the latest version of Xiaomi’s flagship line. We take a look here at the Xiaomi Mi 6.


ZTE Quartz review Is ZTE’s affordable new Android Wear watch the one for you? Find out in our in-depth ZTE Quartz review!


YouTube TV review: can you finally cut your cable? Google is taking on the cable industry by offering live TV from anywhere using only your Google account. Is it good enough to drop your TV provider?


Why the US market is so hard to crack Recent financial troubles suggest that LeEco has stuck out with its plans to enter the US smartphone market, so why is it so difficult?


The first 10 things to do on your new Galaxy S8 If you’ve just bought a new Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus, here are the ten first things you should do with your phone.


Huawei P10 Lite review The Huawei P10 lite is a more affordable version of the P10, however there are quite a few differences, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good budget option.


Huawei is repeating some of Samsung’s old mistakes As Huawei grows into a global smartphone powerhouse, the company seems to be eerily repeating past mistakes made by rival Samsung.


Obsessed with emoji: why we love them so much We really like emoji. Like, a lot. So much so that emoji have – in some countries – become more popular than traditional characters. We take a look at why.


Don’t miss these videos

Watch more Android videos on our YouTube channel.

More hot news

From our network

Join our newsletters!
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter