Phandroid » Featured http://phandroid.com Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Fri, 31 Jul 2015 21:03:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.3 25 Best Android Games from July 2015 http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/best-android-games-july-2015/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/31/best-android-games-july-2015/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 20:25:43 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=169420 Best Android Games

See new games from previous months

This weekend marks the beginning of August, which means July is officially over. Shed a tear. We are now entering the “dog days of summer.” When the heat gets unbearable you will need to seek refuge in the air conditioning. You’ll also need some new games to keep you entertained. Luckily July brought us a plethora of awesome new Android titles. In case you missed some of them we have this handy list. Here are the best games from July.

12 Grapes

12grapes

12 Grapes is an indie game that arrived this month for Android. The goal is to pilot the Alien UFO in Christmax town and eat all the humans with positive thoughts. 12 to be exact. There are enemies to avoid and eating humans with negative thoughts or memories might hurt you, use the mind-reading equipment.

A Day in the Woods

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A Day in the Woods is a stylish re-imagining of the traditional sliding puzzle game. You play as Little Red Riding Hood’s wispy winged sprite friend. By moving tiles around each board you’ll help Little Miss Red avoid scary woodland creatures while collecting flowers and berries along the way. There’ll be some friends to help you too, including bunny rabbits, beehives and the local woodcutter.

Agar.io

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In Agar.io you play as a simple cell. In order for your cell to grow you must absorb smaller cells, but be wary of the cells bigger than you who are trying to do the same thing. This type of game is certainly not new, but Agar.io has some unique mechanics. You can split yourself in order to gobble up cells, and use your mass to shoot virus’ at others.

Alphabear

In Alphabear, you spell words by selecting letters on a grid. When you use letters that are adjacent to each other, bears appear. The more letters you use, the bigger the bear gets, and the more points you earn. When your score is high enough, you’ll also win a bear for your permanent collection. These bears can be used as powerups in future games.

Angry Birds 2

Angry Birds Fight

There have been a ton of Angry Birds titles released since the original, but curiously enough we’ve never gotten a proper sequel. Unfortunately, Angry Birds 2 doesn’t turn the series on its head like we thought it would, but the release does introduce some interesting new gameplay mechanics and features that we’re happy to have.

Captain Sabertooth

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Join Captain Sabertooth and his most trusted men in sea battles and treasure hunts, in storms and hurricanes, with fun and games. Go on fishing trips, play tic-tac-toe and help feed hungry pirates in Tully’s galley. The main goal is to fill Captain Sabertooth’s treasure room with gold and treasure.

Deadlock: Online

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Deadlock is a competitive multiplayer online dual stick shooter. Up to 8 player online cross-platform multiplayer action. Over 30 weapons including assault rifles, sub-machine guns, grenades and more. Robust loadout system including multiple weapon attachments, and armor.

Democracy vs Freedom

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Take part in truly massive tank battles in Democracy vs Freedom. Vote for orders along with thousands of players, achieve highest military awards and ranks in an everlasting war between forces of democracy and comrades of freedom. Who’s going to win?

Five Nights at Freddy’s 4

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In this last chapter of the Five Nights at Freddy’s you must once again defend yourself against Freddy, Chica, Bonnie, Foxy, and even worse things that lurk in the shadows. Playing as a child you must safeguard yourself until 6am by watching the doors, as well as warding off unwanted creatures that may venture into your closet or onto the bed behind you.

FootLOL

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FootLOL lets you use mines, shields, aliens, cows, guns and many more cheats to win soccer games. As a manager, you’ll take your team through a few training matches, before being unleashed on new planets. As you go, you’ll unlock new gadgets, improve your players’ performance, and unlock new kits and hats for them to wear.

Gabriel Knight: Sins Of The Fathers

As struggling author and bookstore owner Gabriel Knight, investigate a series of savage ritual killings in New Orleans and their connection to voodoo’s sinister mysteries. The deeper he dives into master storyteller Jane Jensen’s tale of terror and suspense, the closer he’ll come to discovering the secrets of his own family history and unfolding his destiny.

Game of Thrones Episode 5

Game of Thrones Episode 5 A Nest of Vipers

Telltale’s Game of Thrones is a six part game series set in the very same world as the hit HBO show’s. More of a side story, the Game of Thrones game has players following the House Forrester who is one of the few loyal to the unlucky Starks. Episode 5 is now available via an in-app purchase.

Outpost Command

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This completely free strategy game has pure and simple rules with deep gameplay, inspired by computer games such as Moonbase Commander and board games like checkers and Go. Use your node network for both attack and defence to outmaneuver your opponent and cut off their main base while protecting your own.

Piloteer

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In Piloteer, a renowned inventor is determined to overcome the stigma associated with flying a jetpack and convince the world that jetpacks should be revered by all. Blending elements of both physics and trick-based games, players will need to maneuver their state-of-the-art jetpack through the skies while completing a myriad of increasingly difficult missions to change public perceptions.

Prismatica

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Prismatica is a puzzle game with a brand new twist, inspired by Rubik’s Cubes, Sudoku, and Dodecahedrons. The goal is to unscramble a series of puzzle boards by rotating multicolored pieces to match a logical pattern. It’s easy to learn and simple to play but surprisingly deep and difficult to master at later levels, presenting even the most veteran of puzzle enthusiasts with brain-tickling challenge.

Quadrush

Quadrush is a game paying tribute to arcade classics with its own twist. Test your skills of speed and perception. It’s like playing Tetris with TNT. Challenge your friends to see who can survive longer in the gravity madness.

REDDEN

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In REDDEN you control a sort of flying bullet. You become a tool and should shoot the targets as riding the wind, avoiding and breaking obstacles in the moment. Drag the screen or lean the device to control characters intuitively. Take out the enemies and avoid obstacles.

SPACECOM

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Spacecom pushes your ability to strategize with a focus on real-time tactics and planning. Use proven maneuvers learned from military legends or devise your own plans. Test your wits in single player campaign, go head-to-head with up to 5 opponents in multiplayer or experiment with new strategies in AI skirmish mode.

Sparkle 3 Genesis

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Sparkle 2 is a visually stunning game. Control the fate of a single dreamlike organism through the course of it’s life. Explore the vast ocean in search of micro-elements that will help you evolve from a tiny speck of life into a magnificent Sparkle. You can choose whether your Sparkle will become a quick and relentless hunter, a peaceful plant-eater or a creature whose feature lie in between.

Spin Commander

Spin Commander is a great simple game that uses your phone’s accelorometer for controls. Your avatar stays at the center of the screen. To change directions you have to spin your phone. Tap the screen to shot at other objects to push them away. Stay alive as long as you can.

Sword Of Xolan

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Sword of Xolan is an action platformer game that includes the juice of pixel art style. Xolan is a young and brave man who fights for justice no matter what the cost. Help him on his adventure to stand against darkness and bring back the peace and serenity that once was.

The WUUUUUUUUUUUU

The WUUUUUUUUUUUU (that’s 12 U’s) is one of the most unique games we’ve ever seen. To control the WUUUUUUUUUUUU you have to literally say “WUUUUUUUUUUUU” to your phone. Your voice controls the movements of the WUUUUUUUUUUUU. Raise your voice to raise him, or stay silent to let him drop.

This War of Mine

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In This War Of Mine you do not play as an elite soldier, rather a group of civilians trying to survive in a besieged city; struggling with lack of food, medicine and constant danger from snipers and hostile scavengers. The game provides an experience of war seen from an entirely new angle.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf

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Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf is the first Warhammer game for Android that’s actually a board game. Lead the Sons of Russ into battle and slash your way through hordes of ferocious enemies with Boltgun fire and Chainsword teeth. Write your own saga in the annals of the Space Wolves Chapter as you hunt your sworn enemies.

Zero Punctuation: Hatfall

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Hatfall is a high-energy game of skill and hat-wearing. When Yahtzee finds that his hat has gone missing there’s only one option: collect as many hats as you possibly can. Luckily, hats are literally falling, ready to be caught by your head. Just make sure you avoid the anvils and refrigerators that are also falling from the sky.

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How many of these games have you played? Did we miss any other great games from July?

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20 Best Android Apps from July 2015 http://phandroid.com/2015/07/30/best-android-apps-july-2015/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/30/best-android-apps-july-2015/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 20:47:13 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=169351 best apps july

See all the apps from previous months

Where has the summer gone? It feels like just yesterday we were posting the best apps of June, and now we are already closing out on July. As we approach the “dog days” of summer a bunch of great new Android apps were released. If you were busy spending time at the beach you may have missed a few of them. Don’t spill your lemonade! We’ve got you covered. Here are the best Android apps from July. Enjoy!

Boxer Calendar

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Boxer has unveiled a new Calendar app that they hope will provide the range of features necessary to satisfy the appetite of those who aren’t satisfied with, say, Google Calendar. Boxer’s big play is to make it easier for your email and calendar to work together.

Comcast Stream

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Comcast announced a new service this month called Stream, a streaming service they’re rolling out for customers of their Xfinity internet. The big deal here is that internet-only customers can pay just $15 per month — with no added equipment, mind you — to stream content from about a dozen of Comcast’s networks.

Doodle

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Doodle claims to be the “world’s favorite scheduling tool.” With the Doodle app you can organize meetings, create surveys, plan reunions, and much more. You invite participants via a URL, and then they can choose the dates and times that work best for them. It’s a great way for everyone to decide the best time for events and meetings.

DUFL

If you take a lot of business trips, DUFL may be the best thing ever. This service takes care of packing clothes for you. After signing up you’ll be sent a suitcase to put all of your travel clothes inside. Use the app to schedule a pickup and have your clothes delivered to your destination. DUFL will wash, pack, and ship your clothes for you.

HBO NOW

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Apple’s period of exclusive for HBO Now is over, and as promised it’s now available for Android. The service, which gives you full access to HBO’s breadth of content for $15 per month without the need of a cable subscription, is now available on Amazon’s Appstore for Kindle Fire tablets, Google Play, and will for Fire TV devices.

Hooks

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Hooks is all about sending you custom alerts for the things you care about. There are over 1 million alerts to choose from, or you can make your own. Things like sports scored, TV show times, music concerts, vide game releases, lottery results, top restaurants, and so much more. If you want to be alerted of something this is the app to do it.

Jet

Jet.com Android app

Jet.com is a newly launched website that offers big savings on stuff you’d typically buy at your local Walmart or Target store. They’re promising “the lowest prices on everything,” even when matched against online shopping juggernaut Amazon. Jet requires a $50 a year subscription but they’re confident your savings will exceed this cost over a year.

JustWatch

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There are so many great video streaming services available today, and they all have very different libraries of content. JustWatch helps you find where your favorite movies and TV shows are available for streaming. Currently, you can get search results from Netflix, HBO NOW, Amazon Prime Instant Video, Hulu, Crackle, iTunes, Vudu, and more.

Kono.ai

Kono is another app that aims to make the hassle of scheduling meetings a much easier experience. Kono is an AI driven assistant, meaning that it learns about your personal preferences about time and location. When you set up an event, Kono seamlessly gives you recommendations that take preferences of all your guests into account.

Monospace BETA

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Monospace is a minimal note-taking and writing app built from the ground up with a designed-for-touch UI. It get’s rid of the standard editing features you’d find in most editors and replaces them with a modern-styled, essentials-only formatting popup. If you want to write with zero distractions this is the app for you.

Microsoft Groove

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Groove is Microsoft’s rebrand of Xbox Music. You can easily play and manage your music and playlists with Groove. Any songs you put in OneDrive will automatically show up in Groove. With Groove Music Pass you can stream and download new hits and familiar favorites from a selection of over 40 million songs.

Samson’s Diet

Don’t let a haircut turn you into a weakling. Samson’s Diet is a great way to get into natural healthy food. It has easy-to-follow recipes, from chicken nuggets to cinnamon citric oat flakes, a ceviche, stuffed pumpkins, an artichokes starter and micropopcorn. They are thought specially to make a healing living not only easy but also pleasant.

Stagelight

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Stagelight is the easiest and best way to create, share and play with music on Android tablets. Stagelight is packed full of music creation tools, step-by-step lessons, and an in-app store to suit every musical genre. There aren’t a lot of great Android tablet apps, but if you are a music lover this is one to check out.

Star Wars

The official Star Wars app is finally here. With a dynamic futuristic interface, the Star Wars app immerses you in breaking news, rich media, social updates, special events, and interactive features. It’s your one stop for everything Star Wars. There’s tons of great goodies and special features hidden away for Star Wars buffs.

Swappa

swappa price app

We’re still a bit of ways away from a full-fledged Swappa app, but the phone trading marketplace company has released a new price chart that’ll give you a good idea of how much a phone is worth. You can use the app to see the phone’s average selling price at the current moment in time, as well as a nice history of price changes since its launch.

Tossup

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Microsoft’s Garage development initiative is spawning more interesting Android apps. The latest is Tossup, a new app which helps you gather opinions from your friends. The idea is for you to present your friends with some sort of decision, whether it be where to go for lunch or something as silly as what to wear to work for the day, and have everyone chime in.

Tuber

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Sick of all the extra taps and swipes it takes to find your subscriptions in the official YouTube app? Tuber puts your YouTube subscriptions front and center. It’s the stuff you visit YouTube to watch, so why should it be hidden away? Use Tuber to view the stuff you want to see.

Weatherback

Live wallpapers are really cool, but they can eat up your battery life. Weatherback is an app that gives you the feeling of a live weather wallpaper, but it uses your own wallpaper as a background. The app will put rain, fog, or snow on top of your own wallpaper. It’s a cool effect, but since it’s not a live wallpaper you don’t have to worry about battery life.

WifiMapper

wifimap

We’ve all got limited data plans nowadays (well, most of us), and the best way to avoid the limits is to use WiFi as much as possible. WifiMapper maps the best free hotspots nearby (from restaurants to libraries to coffee shops and cafes). The details page gives you relevant information on the hotspot and its location in addition to comments from the community.

Yahoo Livetext

livetext

Yahoo Livetext is a combination of live video and text communication. The kicker is there’s no sound in the video. You can be on video, but to communicate you have to type. Why would anyone want to deal with that hassle? Not sure, but the app looks really nice and it’s a cool way to communicate if you’re into that.

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What was your favorite app from July?

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We’re giving away 10 premium codes for one of the best new Android Wear watch faces http://phandroid.com/2015/07/30/masque-simplicity-watch-face/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/30/masque-simplicity-watch-face/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 19:21:08 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=169326 masque simplicity

Android Wear users looking for a simplistic new watch face should take notice of the one that’s just entered Google Play. It’s Masque Simplicity, and it’s made by Alex Pasquarella, the man responsible for some of the beautiful wallpapers we’ve featured in the past.

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The main draw of this watch face aside from its sheer beauty is the glut of options you get for customization. You start off with 12 watch faces, 4 hand styles and 5 tick mark styles for free, and a small in-app purchase will get you another 4 hand and tick mark styles. Premium also allows you to fine tune the colors of these elements to get the exact look you want.

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Perhaps most cool about this watch face are the Info Circles. You gt four customizable slots to show you various relevant information, such as weather, battery life on your phone or watch, the date or what time you have your alarm set for. You can expect more to be added over time, to boot.

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Masque Simplicity works on all Android Wear smart watches released to date, so be sure to give it a try over at Google Play and see how you like it.

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Oh, and if you’re wanting to spring for premium you should stop right there and try your hand at our giveaway first. We have 10 premium codes to give away, and one of them can be yours by simply jumping into the Rafflecopter straight ahead. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Exclusive: Hangouts 4.0 leaks again, new app lets you initiate voice messages using Android Wear http://phandroid.com/2015/07/29/hangouts-40-leak-android-wear-app-new-ui/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/29/hangouts-40-leak-android-wear-app-new-ui/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 22:37:06 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=169309 Hangouts 4.0 Android Phandroid leak DSC09902

A new version of Hangouts is soon headed to Android devices. Known as Hangouts 4.0, we actually got a taste of what to expect in a previous leaks and in the iOS app that launched a few weeks ago. Bringing new features like multiple photo uploads and fresh new Material UI, we were able to get our hands on this new version. Aside from that fancy new UI (it looks nearly identical to the iOS version now), the biggest draw for us is its new Android Wear support.

Hangouts 4.0 leak Android Wear

As we saw in previous leaks, the update brings a full fledged Android Wear app which allows users to select accounts, browse and view entire conversations, as well as reply by either voice, emoji, or canned response. What wasn’t known is whether or not Android Wear users would be able to actually initiate a message using an “Ok Google” voice command on their smartwatch. We are now able to confirm in our version, this does, in fact, work.

Simply speaking the phrase, “Ok Google, send a Hangouts message to ___” pulls up a “Message?” screen with “Speak now” or “Draw emoji” options beneath it. From there you can simple speak your message and once you’re finished, watch as the screen scrolls past the recipient’s email account, the message, and user’s email account. Of course, there’s an option to cancel out of the message if it’s not accurate or you change your mind.

Hangouts 4.0 leak Android Wear support

The app is still being being tested internally (hence the dog print on the side of the app icon), so we can’t provide a downloadable APK at the moment. We’re not going to lie, it’s pretty buggy as is and you wont believe how difficult it was to get everything playing nicely. As far as when we can expect the Hangouts 4.0 update to go live, we don’t know. We’re hearing it was originally scheduled to launch a few weeks ago, shortly after the iOS version (the iOS version actually launched early and was originally slated to go live along with its Android counterpart). We’ll let you know if we hear more.

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There are 126 possible Moto Maker combinations for the Moto X Style, and here’s a look at a few of them http://phandroid.com/2015/07/28/moto-x-style-moto-maker-combos/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/28/moto-x-style-moto-maker-combos/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 19:21:38 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=169219 IMG_8517

Wondering what some of the color options for the Moto X Style will look like when you order through Moto Maker? We got a close look at some of the options Motorola had on hand at today’s event.

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There’s a nice selection of genuine Horween leather and a couple of wooden backs strewn throughout, as well as the default silicone material that Motorola will use for those who don’t want to pay extra for premium material.

The photos also give us a good idea of where, exactly, the accent customization will go. That strip where the camera module is placed is a primary target, as well as the “metallic” frame that surrounds the device. Much of the focus will be on the backplate, though, which isn’t totally a bad thing.

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Motorola says there will be 18 different inlays and 7 different accent colors available to start, giving us a total of 126 different combinations to choose from. Motorola was careful to remind us that not all colors and materials will be available in all markets, though, so we’ll have to wait until the phone shows up in the Moto Maker to see what, exactly, is available to you.

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Don’t forget to take a look at our hands-on with the Moto X Style right here, and find out everything you need to know about all of Motorola’s newest devices while you’re at it. What color are you getting your Moto X Style in?

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The Moto X Style feels as good as it looks [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2015/07/28/moto-x-style-hands-on/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/28/moto-x-style-hands-on/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 18:28:06 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=169146 Everything you need to know about the new Moto family

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Wondering whether the Moto X Style will look and feel as good in your hands as it does in its official press renders? Worry no more. We went hands on with the thing and can tell you Motorola really didn’t spare any expenses when it came to the Moto X Style’s design.

The first immediate takeaway is the device’s backing material. It’ll obviously give off that premium look and feel if you go with the genuine leather and wood options that’ll be available in Moto Maker, but even the default textured silicone material adds a nice touch to Motorola’s tried and true design.

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The backplate design doesn’t do much to inspire us, but a nice simplistic layout never hurt anyone. There aren’t any fancy fingerprint scanners, heart rate sensors or other doohickeys slapped on the back here, but that’s OK — it has that all-important 21 megapixel camera which Motorola guarantees us is best-in-class. It also has a dual-tone flash and that cute little dimple we’ve come to know and love with the company’s logo sitting inside.

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There isn’t much going on when you flip the Moto X Style over. There’s 5.7 inches of Quad HD display goodness flanked by a pair of stereo speakers above and below. Slabbed over that display is a sheet of Gorilla Glass 4 for a good bit of durability.

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So that’s it for style. Get it? Style? Anyway, here’s what’s going on under the hood:

  • 5.7-inch Quad HD display with Corning Gorilla Glass 4
  • 1.8GHz Hexa-Core Snapdragon 808
  • 3GB of RAM, 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of storage w/ microSD slot (up to 128GB)
  • 3,000mAh battery with TurboPower offering 50% more charge speed than Samsung Galaxy S6’s fast charging
  • 21 Megapixel f/2.0 aperture camera with 4K video recording
  • 5 Megapixel wide-angle front camera with flash
  • Front-facing speakers
  • WiFi AC + MIMO, Bluetooth 4.1 LTE, GPS and NFC
  • 153.9 mm tall, 76.2 mm wide and 6.1-11.06 mm curve
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box
  • $200 to $300 less than other flagships
  • Full Moto Maker customization with genuine wood and leather options

All of that should translate to a smooth smartphone experience, though we’ll have to wait to get our hands on a production unit before determining just how peachy things will be.

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Be sure to take a look at the photos above and below, and stay on the lookout for the video portion of our hands-on with the Moto X Style later on today. Let us know if you’re looking to grab one when it’s available later this year!

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Hands-on with the OnePlus 2 [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2015/07/27/hands-on-oneplus-2/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/27/hands-on-oneplus-2/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 03:00:24 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=168996 Join the OnePlus 2 forums at AndroidForums.com!

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OxygenOS 2.0 hands-on | StyleSwap covers photosOnePlus 2 size comparison

The OnePlus 2 is officially official, and we were able to get our grubby paws all over it. OnePlus has improved upon last year’s surprising hit with powerful specs, beautiful design, and some neat features. Of course, since this is a OnePlus device it comes with a lot of lofty promises and hype. Check out the hands-on video below to see the device in action.

Let’s talk specs. The OnePlus 2 has a 5.5-inch 1080p display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 13MP camera, 64GB of onboard storage, 4GB of RAM, and 3300 mAh battery. It will cost you $389 if you can snag an invite (yes, they are still doing that). You can get a slightly cheaper model with only 16GB of storage and 3GB of RAM for $329.

OnePlus has also added some nifty features to go along with the specs. It has an “Alert Slider” built-in to the side of the device that gives you physical controls for Lollipop’s new notification modes. The OnePlus 2 also has future-proof features such as a fingerprint sensor and USB Type-C charging cable.

OnePlus’ popular sandstone material makes a return on the OnePlus 2, but this time you can swap it out for something else. Taking a page from Motorola’s book they are offering three shades of wood and a kevlar replaceable back cover. For $27 you can give your device a completely new look. The OnePlus 2 will be available via invite on August 11th. Feast your eyes on these gorgeous photos.

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10 Most Addictive Android Games of 2015 http://phandroid.com/2015/07/22/most-addictive-android-games-2015/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/22/most-addictive-android-games-2015/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 17:26:57 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=168449

It’s no longer exciting to see console-quality games on a mobile device. We’re at a point now where phones are powerful enough to handle high-definition graphics and intense gameplay with ease. Still, mobile gaming is dominated by simple arcade-style games. They may only require a few taps here and there, but their addictive nature is nothing to scoff at.

Last summer we wrote about the 10 Most Addictive Android Games. In that list we had many classic Android games that had been around for a while. This summer we’re back with even more, but this time we’re focusing on newer games. You’ll be playing these games until your battery is screaming at you. Be sure to read our previous list for even more addictive games. Let’s go!

More: Most Addictive Android Games (2014)

Atomas

atomas screens

Atomas is a puzzle game with a scientific twist. Your job is to create valuable elements such as gold, platinum, and silver by combining atoms. It might sound complicated, but the game is actually very simple. All you have to do is combine atoms with the same numbers, but the trick to doing well is to create symmetric patterns so you can combine multiple atoms at once. [Review]

What makes it addictive? Atomas is a lot like a game called Threes. There’s no timers or pressure to “beat the game.” Your own high score is motivation enough to keep you playing over and over again. Every time you finish a game your immediate next thought is “I can do better than that.” [Download]

Bing Bong

Bing Bong screens

Bing Bong is like a super simplified version of Frogger. You control a single dot that constantly moves back and forth across a “road” of moving objects. Every time your dot makes it to one side of the road you get a point. The only way you can avoid the obstacles is to slow down your dot. You can’t move sideways or stop completely. It’s fast-moving fun. [Review]

What makes it addictive? There’s no time to stop and think, but since the game is all about timing you really need to think. This makes for quick decisions that aren’t always the best, and the game goes so quick that you’ll immediately start playing again after it’s over. [Download]

Crossy Road

crossyroadscreenshots

If Bing Bong is a simplified version of Frogger, Crossy Road is a beefed-up version. The goal is to get as far as possible without being killed. You have to cross busy roads, rivers filled with logs and lily pads, railways, and more. Unlike Bing Bong, you can move forward, left, right, and back, but if you take too long to move you’ll be abducted by an eagle.

What makes it addictive? Crossy Road is one of those games that feels a lot easier than it really is. Every time you die it feels like you just made a mistake. So you’ll play over and over again because “I can easily beat that score.” Another thing that makes it addictive is the unlockable characters. You’ll want to collect them all. [Download]

Current Flow

current flow screens

The goal of Current Flow is to supply energy to light bulbs by creating a complete circuit. To do this, you tap on tiles to rotate conduit pipes. Once the pipes create a complete circuit between the power source and the light bulb it will light up. It’s reminiscent of an old game called Pipe Dream, but the pipes are already in their final location, you just have to find the right orientation. [Review]

What makes it addictive? Like a lot of puzzle games this one sucks you in by starting off very easy. You can speed through the first 5 levels with ease, but gradually it gets more difficult. Eventually, you won’t be able to finish a level in one attempt, and that is where the addiction starts. “Just one more try” turns into your entire afternoon. [Download]

Freaking Math

freaking math

Some games are hard. Some games are easy. Freaking Math is a rare game that somehow can be easy and hard at the same time. The premise of this game is so simple it can be described in one sentence. You have 2 seconds to choose if a math equation is right or wrong. That’s it. The equation is always simple addition, and the goal is to get as many correct in a row as you can. [Review]

What makes it addictive? This game is so easy, but yet so infuriatingly difficult. It’s that 2-second timer that makes the game addictive. If you take away the timer this becomes a brush-up on elementary school math, but with the timer you’ll do things like “1+1=3.” And then you get mad and play again. [Download]

Swing Copters

swing copters

The phenomenon that was Flappy Bird may not be available anymore, but you can still play the slightly less addictive follow-up. In Swing Copters you control a little dude in a propellor cap. The goal is to fly as high as you can without hitting the obstacles. All you have to do is tap to change directions, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.

What makes it addictive? Flappy Bird was a massive success because it took a super simple concept and just cranked the difficulty up to 11. Everyone saw how easy it looked and had to try it for themselves. Swing Copters is the exact same idea. It looks very easy to play, but you quickly find out it’s not. [Download]

Tadpole Tap

tadpole tap

Tadpole Tap is all about trying to get your tadpole to reach the sky. The only way to get there is with your tongue. You can latch on to seaweed and lilypads to climb your way up, but certain types can’t hold your weight for long. You’ll also want to eat flies as your climbing, but don’t stay in one place for too long or rising tide will get you.

What makes it addictive? There’s a lot to process while you’re playing this seemingly simple games. You have to play close attention to the things you latch onto, and watch for flies and power-ups to snag. Playing the game is pretty addictive by itself, but the ability to improve your tadpole and buy power-ups makes it even better. [Download]

Timberman

timberman screens

In Timberman you play as a burly lumberjack (or Jill) at the bottom of a massively tall tree. The goal is to chop down as much of the tree as possible while avoiding branches and keeping your energy bar filled. Simply tap the left or right side of the tree to chop. That’s all there is to it. [Review]

What makes it addictive? Timberman would be an addictive game on its own, but the energy bar at the top of the screen is what takes it to the next level. There’s no time to contemplate your next chop. It’s really about how fast you can chop without losing control. The only thing that will make you take a break is finger fatigue. [Download]

Two Dots

two dots

Two Dots is easily the most complex game on this list. At the core it’s about connecting strings of dots. It’s a simple concept, but there is much more involved. Sometimes the dots are frozen in ice, sometimes there is fire that burns the dots, sometimes you have to get anchors to the bottom of the grid. It starts easy and gradually adds more tactics into the game.

What makes it addictive? Many things. Connecting dots to clear a grid is an addictive concept on its own. Throw in the extra obstacles and power-ups and you’ve got something even better. There’s also an energy system that only allows you to fail a certain amount of times before you have to wait to play. This makes every move that much more important. [Download]

ULTRAFLOW

ULTRAFLOW

Like so many other addictive games, the premise of ULTRAFLOW is simple in theory: get your ball to the goal. In order to do that you need to bounce your ball off of walls, but it doesn’t stop there. You’re only allowed a certain amount of bounces, and there are tons of obstacles making it more difficult. [Review]

What makes it addictive? You can try again and again in rapid succession. Once you realize the ball isn’t going to reach the goal in the alloted bounces you can double-tap to try again. You don’t even have to wait for the current turn to be over. This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s nice to not have to wait for an obviously failed attempt, but it also means you’ll be playing for hours. [Download]

Honorable Mention

When you hear “addictive games” there are certain titles that come to mind. These titles are so popular that many have broken into the mainstream. You can find their characters on t-shirts and the toy isle. Since you’ve probably already played these games we didn’t include them in the main list, but they are worth a play for old times sake.

  1. Angry Birds
  2. Candy Crush Saga
  3. Cut the Rope
  4. Doodle Jump
  5. Fruit Ninja
  6. Plants vs. Zombies
  7. Super Hexagon
  8. Temple Run
  9. Tetris
  10. Words With Friends

Of course, there are tons of other games that can be called “addictive.” What are your favorites? How long have you played an addictive game?

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Hands-on with Microsoft Cortana for Android [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2015/07/17/cortana-for-android-hands-on-video/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/17/cortana-for-android-hands-on-video/#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 18:42:55 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=168464

Last month Microsoft confirmed that their personal voice assistant, Cortana, would be coming soon to Android. Today it has (unofficially) arrived in the form of an APK. We were able to successfully install the app on our Nexus 5 and give it a test run.

Cortana is similar to Google Now and Siri. It can answer your voice inquiries and display information before you need it. Things like sports scores, weather, restaurant recommendations, movie times, and more appear in a single stream. In the “Notebook” you can tell Cortana more information about yourself so she can provide exactly what you’ll need. You can even tell her your name so she can address you more informally.

cortana screens

This version of Cortana is likely the beta that Microsoft mentioned last month. Everything basically works right now, but it could use some polish. You can do most things you would expect to be able to do in Google Now and Siri, but conversational search doesn’t work. We expect the official app to be released alongside Windows 10 (which will also run Cortana). If you are a PC user you might want to check out what Cortana can do.

To check out the beta you can go here and take the survey. Download the Cortana APK from here. Enjoy!

[via Twitter]

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Phan Favs: 5 Best Android Apps for Photography [RESULTS] http://phandroid.com/2015/07/14/best-android-photography-apps/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/14/best-android-photography-apps/#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 17:41:39 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=168179 Photo winner

Phan Favs is a recurring feature that turns the tables and asks you, the readers, about the best apps and games. It’s your turn to drop some knowledge on us! Read more.

For most people, the smartphone has become the only device they need for taking photos. This is in large part due to the convenience of carrying just one device, but it’s also because of the awesome software. On a smartphone you can snap a pic, crop it, slap on a filter, and share it to Twitter all in the same interface. Sharing pics of your dinner has never been easier.

Last week we asked you to vote for your favorite photography apps. We’ve tallied the votes, and now we have your Top 5 Photography Apps for Android.

1. Snapseed

snapseed

By a commanding margin, Snapseed takes home the top spot. Snapseed started life as a mega-popular paid app for iOS. Eventually, it made its way to Android, where Google bought the app and made it free for everyone. That’s what really makes Snapseed so exceptional. It has powerful editing tools that are easy to use, but you would expect to cost a pretty penny. Good pick.

2. VSCO Cam

VSCO

In second place is one of the few apps that can match Snapseed in being free and full of powerful editing tools. VSCO Cam also started as a very popular iOS app, but now it’s kicking butt on Android. It has advanced preset filters and tools that make it easy to get the desired effect. The UI can be a little tricky to navigate, but once you figure it out you can get some awesome photos.

3. Camera ZOOM FX

camerazoom

Camera ZOOM FX not only has a full editing studio, but it also boasts the “fastest camera on Android.” We’re not sure if that is true, but it was enough to take the third place spot on your list. This app has a ton of features, including one-tap filters, vignettes, tilt-shift, bokeh, props, collages, add-ons, and much more. It’s $2.99 to get everything, but there is also a free version.

4. Instagram

instagram

It’s no surprise that Instagram made this list. Instagram was one of the original photography apps, and it started a tidal wave of “photo filter” clones. Instagram has become more than just a few hipster filters. You can now do some pretty powerful photo editing, and even add filters to videos. Plus, they recently increased photo resolution and fixed uploading for Android.

5. Pixlr

pixlr

Last, but not least, is Pixlr. This fun and powerful photo editor lets you quickly crop, rotate, and fine-tune any picture. You can choose from over 2 million combinations of effects, overlays, and borders to further personalize your photo. The interface is simple to use, which allows anyone to create some stunning results.

Honorable Mention

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This was one of the more top-heavy Phan Favs we’ve had. Snapseed was well above the rest of the crowd, but then there was another big drop-off after the top 7 apps. It just goes to show how many great photography apps are available. Where did your favorite app end up on the list? Do you agree with your fellow readers?

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Exclusive: The next version of Android Wear to support interactive watch faces and watch to watch communications http://phandroid.com/2015/07/12/exclusive-android-wear-interactive-watch-faces/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/12/exclusive-android-wear-interactive-watch-faces/#comments Mon, 13 Jul 2015 02:56:32 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=168093 Android_Wear_5.0_Lollippo_Phandroid

Google’s next platform update for Android Wear plans to bring tap gestures to the most prominent user interface on your smartwatch and launch a brand new watch to watch communication method. Thanks to the information provided to us, we’re able to get an early first look at these upcoming features. Google originally scheduled the launch for July 28th, though we’re hearing the timeline has shifted to sometime in August.

Android Wear currently accepts four different swipe or tapping gestures. You can swipe up to navigate notifications, swipe left to open the launcher, swipe down to open the quick settings shade, and long press to open the watch face picker interface. Interactive watch faces will introduce a brand new single tap gesture that can be used for aesthetic changes, launch activities, inline expansion, and more.

But wait, aren’t there already watch faces on the Google Play store that accept the single tap gesture? Yes, there are. Currently, developers are using a hacked method for bringing about this gesture by accessing the service window or using invisible buttons. These methods are unsupported by Google and can cause system conflicts. With the launch of interactive watch faces, Google will now officially support the single tap gesture. However, to make these work, Google plans to introduce a change to the current method for activating the launcher.

Since the debut of the platform last year, users have been able to activate the voice command menu by simply tapping their watch face. It seems that the additional swipe gesture that was added a few months ago with the Android 5.1.1 update was a preemptive move to deprecating the single tap to the launch functionality. In the near future to start the launcher you’ll need to swipe from right to left. Tapping your watch face will no longer cause the launcher to activate once this update rolls out.

In the documentation available to us, Google provides four example use cases for the tap gesture. These include an aesthetic changes to watch faces, state changes, revealing more information, and launching an activity.

A tap can cause a sequence of visual changes, as though the user is cycling through options for their watch face.

Android_Wear_Interative_Watchfaces_1

A tap could be used to toggle between different states on a watch, such as the weather.

Android_Wear_Interative_Watchfaces_2

A tap on your watch face could be used to reveal more information, such as a fitness graph.

Android_Wear_Interative_Watchfaces_3

And lastly, a tap could be used to open a new activity, where the activity would slide in from the right side of the watch face.

Android_Wear_Interative_Watchfaces_4

Google has reached out to developers and they are actively working on watch faces to support this new functionality. When this update does publicly launch, Google plans to promote interactive watch faces in a brand new collection on Google Play. If you’re a developer and looking to add a powerful new experience to your watch face, the new API should only be several weeks away.

Next up, Google plans on launching a new communication feature for Android Wear. Apple Watch users can send heartbeats and doodles to each other and it seems Google wants to follow suit with the next Android Wear update. Android Wear users will be able to send each other messages, stickers, emojis, and doodles in a new watch to watch communication method called Together. Take a look at the strings below:

“Stay together by sending messages directly to your friend’s watch face”

<string name=”wc_doodle_message_received”>%1$s sent you a doodle with %2$s</string>

<string name=”wc_photo_message_received”>%1$s sent you a photo with %2$s</string>

<string name=”wc_emoji_message_received”>%1$s sent you an emoji with %2$s</string>

<string name=”wc_sticker_message_received”>%1$s sent you a sticker with %2$s</string>

<string name=”wc_message_received”>%1$s sent you a message with %2$s</string>

What’s most puzzling about the Together feature is that it seems to be restricted at this time to a single watch face. It’s not known if this feature will launch as a system application or stay tied to this particular watch face. The former would be very unintuitive as users would have to have the watch face selected to send and accept messages from one another. The information available to us is quite old and with Google’s rapid development, there’s no telling what will eventually make it into production, if at all.

Lastly, if you happen to own an LG G Watch R, you’ll be happy to know that the upcoming update does enable WiFi capability. After the Android 5.1.1 update, many LG G Watch R owners were quite upset to find out that their watch was left out of the WiFi upgrade. LG later stated that a future update would add the functionality. It looks like the next OTA update will keep LG to their promise by finally enabling WiFi.

That’s all we have for now. We’ll keep you posted if more information surfaces on the upcoming Android Wear release. Are you exciting for interactive watch faces or watch to watch communication? Let us know in the comments.

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A look at the new features in Android M Preview 2 [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2015/07/10/android-m-preview-2-hands-on-video/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/10/android-m-preview-2-hands-on-video/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2015 20:11:56 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=168062

A little more than a month after Google released the Android M Developer Preview they have released their first update. We already showed you all the new features in the first preview of Android M, but now there are a few more things to check out. The changelog is much shorter this time, but there are some new features and changes that we think you’ll like. Let’s take a look.

The App Drawer Has Been Fixed

The new app drawer in the first Android M preview was met with much criticism. Google replaced the horizontal scrolling pages from Lollipop with a vertical list. The icons were huge, and the alphabetical organization system had a lot of wasted space. Thankfully, they’ve fixed it in the 2nd preview.

It’s still a vertical scrolling list, but now the icons are smaller and fit in a compact grid. You can still use the search bar to find apps, and the four most recently used apps are still listed across the top. This is a much nicer implementation. Now the app drawer and widget picker work the same, and the app drawer requires a lot less scrolling.

Delete Screenshots from the Notifications!

Okay, so this isn’t a revolutionary feature, but it’s certainly handy. When you take a screenshot it always appears in the notifications with the option to “Share.” Now there is a new option next to “Share” that allows you to delete the screenshot. You don’t have to waste time going into the gallery to delete a bad screenshot.

Bye Bye, Dark Theme

android-m-dark-theme

Google can add features, but they can also remove them. One of the coolest hidden features of the first Android M preview was a dark theme mode. It only put the settings into a dark theme, but we were hoping it was the beginning of full theme support in stock Android. Unfortunately, the dark theme mode is no longer available. We’re sure we’ll see this feature again some time in the future.

Remove Icons from the Status Bar

The first Android M preview included the ability to customize the toggles that show up in the Quick Settings. Most other Android OEM skins already allow this feature, so it made sense for Google to add it. In the second preview they have taken the customization to the next level. You can decide which icons show up in the status bar.

When you go into the System UI Tuner settings you’ll see “Status Bar.” In here you can toggle the icons for things like Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, Alarms, WiFi, Cellular Data, and more. The only thing you can’t remove is the clock and battery. Speaking of battery, you can enable “Show embedded battery percentage” to see the percentage displayed inside the battery icon.

Cleaner Storage Settings

The “Storage” settings have been renamed to “Storage & USB.” Along with the new name is a fresh design for the page. Gone is the colorful bar showing how much space you’ve used. In its place is a simple line and a read-out of how much space you’ve used and how much space is available on the device. Underneath is the same shortcuts to apps, images, videos, etc. But at the very bottom is “Explore,” which takes you to the built-in file manager. A nice touch.

Memory Gets Moved to Prime Time

In the first Android M preview, Google added a memory management feature that was buried deep inside the settings. Now it has been moved to the front page of the Settings. They also cleaned it up a bit, but it still allows you to see how much memory has been used in the last 3 hours up to a day, and see which specific apps are using the most memory. It’s a very useful feature that deserves to be up front.

Opt-in to Google Now on Tap

Google Now on Tap is going to be awesome, but it wasn’t available in the first preview of Android M. It’s still not working in the second preview, but we’re a step closer. In the Google Now “Now Cards” settings you can opt-in to Now on Tap. You’ll be brought to an unfinished page that allows you to choose “IN!” or “OUT!”

***

And that’s pretty much it for this release. It’s a step in the right direction. They’ve fixed some of our complaints from the first preview, and added some nice features. Are you running the new preview on your Nexus device? Have you discovered any features we didn’t cover?

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Huawei and a Chinese Google Play store: Google needs a Chinese OEM just as much as a Chinese OEM needs Google http://phandroid.com/2015/07/10/huawei-nexus-watch-chinese-google-play-store/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/10/huawei-nexus-watch-chinese-google-play-store/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2015 19:07:00 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=168065 Huawei logo  DSC08913

Google is said to be working on their next Nexus smartphone with Huawei. This is would be a great opportunity for Huawei as the Chinese company has seen great success globally, having the 4th largest vendor market share. However they’ve had minimal success here in the US. Huawei and other Chinese OEMs just aren’t household names here. Having Google’s official support would be great for Huawei brand recognition, showing the American public that Huawei is trustworthy and worth looking into. If a company such as Google can trust Huawei, then so can the consumer. This could set a trend that would bolster sales of other Huawei smartphones in the US in addition to the next Nexus.

With a population of over 1 billion, Google needs China’s consumers to continue their global domination. Apple and non-Google versions of Android are doing quite well in China and continuing to grow, without Google. Android phones with Google Mobile Services aren’t growing, because they can’t. Google services are blocked by The Great Firewall of China. Google needs a way to break into the Chinese market. Even Sundar Pichai himself showed interest last winter stating that “it would be a privilege to serve Chinese users” and that hopefully Google would have a chance to offer their services to Chinese users sometime in the future.

Last month, local Chinese media reported that Google was lobbying to push a new application store in China. Google was even said to have approached Chinese hardware manufacturers and offered them $1 per handset sold with the Google Play store and Google services.

If this report is to be believed, then it would seem that Google has already received the green light from Beijing to move forward. However, just because Google is allowed to punch through The Great Firewall of China doesn’t mean the road ahead would be an easy one. Google would need to convince OEMs to use a new set of services and applications that they’re not used to pre-installing inside China, currently relying on Chinese services from Google clones like Baidu and their own homegrown solutions. This is where the lobbying and the $1 incentive mentioned above comes into play.

Having one of China’s largest OEMs sell an Android phone with Google Mobile Services and the Google Play store would certainly be a win for Google in China and would set a precedent for other OEMs to follow suit if the move pans outs to be successful.

Huawei Watch DSC08906

We previously told you that the Huawei Watch was delayed until this September or October. Google generally launches Nexus phones in the fall. We could see the Huawei Watch launch alongside the Huawei Nexus simultaneously in China with the Google Play store. That wouldn’t be a bad way to introduce Google back into China, would it?

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Only 2% of smartphone users upgrade as soon as a new model is available; how often do you upgrade yours? [Poll] http://phandroid.com/2015/07/10/smartphone-upgrade-poll/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/10/smartphone-upgrade-poll/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2015 13:32:52 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=168051 Samsung Galaxy S6 vs HTC One M9 vs DROID Turbo DSC09252 (1)

A new Gallup poll has come out showing how often folks tend to upgrade their smartphones. The results aren’t totally surprising, with findings suggesting most people look to get a new kit every 2 years (which is understandable since much of the world works on two-year contracts).

Even more interesting, though, is how many people don’t upgrade as soon as the new model of their preferred line comes out. Only 2% of people upgrade to the latest and greatest as often as they release, which is a relatively tiny segment of the market.

smartphone upgrades

What does this tell us? Not much on its own, but it does explain why many smartphone manufacturers choose to go with iterative releases on a two-year cycle (that is, we’re only likely to see major improvements or advancements in technology once every 2 smartphone launches).

For comparison’s sake, more people tend to wait until their smartphone is broken or becomes totally obsolete to upgrade rather than upgrading as soon as their carrier allows. My personal experience isn’t the end all be all, but a majority of the people I know certainly don’t mind holding onto that smartphone they bought back in 2012.

The only group of folks who don’t follow the trend, according to Statista, are iPhone owners, who mostly prefer to upgrade to the latest model as soon as their carrier allows it.

So what about you? How often do you upgrade your smartphone, and for what reason? Participate in the poll below and feel free to share further thoughts with a comment straight ahead!

[via Forbes]

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Here’s a first look at Google’s RideWith app for ride sharing [SCREENSHOTS] http://phandroid.com/2015/07/07/ridewith-app-screenshots/ http://phandroid.com/2015/07/07/ridewith-app-screenshots/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 13:49:09 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=167826 ridewith banner

Yesterday we told you guys about Google’s pilot program for a ride sharing service that would help drivers and passengers connect for gas-saving commutes. Unfortunately the service — which is being called RideWith and is powered by crowd-sourced mapping app Waze — is only available in Israel to start. If things go well we could see it expand to other areas very quickly.

That doesn’t mean we can’t get a good look at the app ahead of its arrival, though. What we found was a neat, clean and easy interface for which to check up on your ride. You’re first whisked through a brief introduction:

ridewith 5 ridewith 6 ridewith 7 ridewith 8

And then it’s time to get a ride. For starters, there’s your standard profile view, which shows your photo, phone number, email address, commute type (and destination, if the app had let us enter our address) and whether you’re a “verified” user (it’s not clear how verification is determined).  We imagine the driver will be able to get a look at some of this information to make sure they know who they’re picking up.

ridewith 1

There’s also a Maps section which gives you real-time updates on the location of your ride. It likely uses the driver’s GPS so there’s next to nothing to do for either side to do in terms of overhead.

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Finally there’s the “Rides” tab, which presumably helps you find a driver who is capable of taking you to a destination on their way to work. Unfortunately this is where our access ended as you need to have an invite code to be able to use it. We do know that users will be able to pay for their ride through the app once they’ve gotten to their destination, though, so there’s no hassle when it comes to paying your driver.

ridewith 4

For what it’s worth, the app will use your phone number for signup purposes, though we’re assured this info is not shared with anyone and is only used to create a secure account (which we imagine means they’ll use some sort of SMS verification periodically).

If you’re curious to try the app for yourself you can actually download it through the Israeli Play Store by using a VPN, though without Google supporting service anywhere but that specific area it might not be worth your while. At the least, you now know what to expect if RideWith ever sees the light of day where you are.

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