Phandroid » Handsets Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:00:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Get an unlocked HTC One M8 for $370 (reburbished) with free shipping [DEALS] Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:24:07 +0000 HTC One M8 DSC06660

If you hurry, you can snag yourself an unlocked HTC One M8 on eBay for only $370. It’s a refurbished model and the listing isn’t entirely clear on the exact model meaning this could either be the AT&T model that’s been unlocked for use on any network (comes with AT&T bloatware), or it’s the actual unlocked model normally sold through HTC (updates direct from HTC).

HTC One M8 eBay

In either case, you’ll probably only want to pick this up if you’re already on AT&T customer, as either model will only offer full compatibility with that network (or global GSM bands). The phone ships free out of California and should arrive well before Christmas. You can find the purchase link down below.

[Unlocked HTC One M8 (refurbished) on eBay]

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Leaked Android Lollipop firmware for Sprint’s Samsung Galaxy S5 arrives in flashable form Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:42:09 +0000 Samsung Galaxy S5  back DSC05786

Folks with Nexus devices aren’t the only ones who can begin playing around with Android 5.0 Lollipop. A recognized developer has leaked a test build of the Sprint Samsung Galaxy S5’s Android Lollipop firmware. The goods are flashable via ODIN if you’re brave enough to try it out, though the firmware is not final and does wipe all your data. The developer noted that calling, SMS and other typical functions work just fine, though he hasn’t fully tested all of the device’s sensors.

It sounds like it’d be decent enough to play around with and maybe even as a daily driver, but nothing is guaranteed to work and you obviously take sole responsibility for your phone as a result of anything you do with it.

There’s no word on how far into the retooling process Samsung currently is so what you see here might not be indicative of what we’re to expect once the official rollout begins, but if you want a quick sample then this is as good as it gets. Sprint folks daring enough to give it a go can head to XDA for the download links and instructions.

.[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

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At $200 unlocked, the Amazon Fire Phone could be one of the greatest holiday bargains Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:07:35 +0000 amazon-fire-phone-books

Reports of alarmingly low sales for the Amazon Fire Phone weren’t all that surprising, though Amazon has never been interested in entertaining those reports. Whether that’s due to a policy to not comment on speculation or them being embarrassed about the phone’s performance is up in the air, but the company seems to have conceded defeat with their latest move: putting the Fire Phone up for $200 unlocked.

We’re not sure if this is a permanent price tag or just a promotion for the holidays, but it’s telling either way. It’s not often you see a phone going for $450 less than its off-contract price mere months after availability, even if it is for a big holiday sales promotion or some other special occasion.

When rumors of Amazon’s first phone were still just rumors it was exciting to think about what one of the world’s largest online retailers could offer. After all, their Amazon Kindle Fire line isn’t half bad for the price, and the world is always looking for unique and new options. But once the phone launched we saw the device for what it really is — an overwhelmingly shallow phone with underwhelming gimmicks. It was overpriced, to boot, coming in at $650 unlocked (or $200 on-contract with AT&T).

To be fair, this is still a very good deal if you consider everything it comes with. The biggest takeaway is the fact that Amazon is still giving away a full year of Amazon Prime with the purchase of the phone. A year’s subscription of Prime normally costs $100, so that effectively gives you a $100 phone. With a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 chipset, a 4.7-inch HD display, a 13 megapixel camera and 32GB of internal storage we’d say that’s plenty of high-powered silicon for your dollars.

Despite all that goodness, though, not everyone feels the Fire Phone is up to scratch. Our Amazon Fire Phone review discusses many of the reasons why this device doesn’t charm the pants off of anyone like most Amazon products seem to, so be sure to take a look at that if you’re wondering what it has to offer.

Still, for $200 it could be a very decent smartphone for you or a loved one if you’re in dire need of an upgrade, though we would be just as quick to opt for an unlocked Moto G 2014. Here’s the phone on Amazon’s website if you’re interested.

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Best Buy offering blue colored Motorola DROID Turbo in Ballistic Nylon Tue, 25 Nov 2014 01:44:08 +0000 Motorola Droid Turbo Blue ballistic nylon

There’s no question the Motorola DROID Turbo is the undisputed spec sheet king of smartphones (the ones you can use 1-handed, anyway). In typical Motorola fashion, the phone is actually available in a variety of finishes and colors — Kevlar fiber or “Ballistic” nylon. The problem? If you have your heart set on the threaded backing, the Ballistic nylon model is only available in black. But it appears it wont be that way for long…

Enter Best Buy who recently popped up with a listing for a blue version of the Motorola DROID Turbo in Ballistic nylon. It’s not available quite yet, but whenever it is, you’ll find it offered for the same $200 on-contract pricing. For anyone hanging onto those grandfathered unlimited plans, you can also get one full priced at $700.

Still on the fence about picking one up? Make sure you check out our Motorola DROID Turbo review here.

[Best Buy]

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This $1 app brings back double-tap-to-wake functionality on the Nexus 6 Mon, 24 Nov 2014 19:12:55 +0000 double tap to wake nexus 6 app

It was recently discovered that Google once had tap-to-wake functionality in the Nexus 6. Not familiar? It allowed folks to unlock the device by double tapping the display instead of using the power button, a feature LG G2 and LG G3 users often fall in love with (so much so that they find it hard to venture away from the LG camp).

But for some reason, Google disabled that feature. We reckon it’s because it wasn’t ready for prime time and they didn’t want to leave any half-baked features that didn’t properly work. If you want that functionality then you’ll be happy to know there’s an easy solution out there.

This app, which costs $.99, gives you one-tap access to the feature. Enable it or disable it, and the setting persists on reboots. You do need to root your Nexus 6 in order for it to work, but many of you have probably already taken care of that.

The developer notes that this may not be a blissful experience for everyone. For starters, reports that the feature doesn’t seem to work as well when it’s been in sleep mode for extended periods of time have caused them to put a disclaimer up on his Google Play page.

Perhaps that’s why Google decided to disable the feature while they (hopefully) work to improve it. Can’t hurt to give it a go if you have a rooted Nexus 6 and a dollar to spare, so be sure to give it a download and see how well it works for you.

[Google Play Download Link]

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South Korea gets Android Lollipop on the LG G3 this week Mon, 24 Nov 2014 16:21:32 +0000 lg g3 lollipop

LG has announced that they’re bringing Android 5.0 Lollipop on the LG G3 to more people. After a limited rollout in Poland (likely to test the upgrade in a smaller setting), the company has confirmed that folks with the LG G3 on all three major carriers in South Korea would be receiving the upgrade by the end of this week.

While this doesn’t do much for anyone not within those borders, a South Korean rollout likely means LG feels everything is ready for prime time. Just as with LG smartphone launches in the region, you can think of South Korea as the unofficial kickstart to widespread rollouts in other areas as the weeks and months move on.

Unfortunately there’s no telling how long, exactly, it will take for LG to reach more people. First dibs outside of Korea will likely be awarded to owners of unlocked versions. Carrier rollouts throughout Europe and North America will be sure to follow, though as you know the timeline for that is always iffy. Best not to look too far ahead, we’d say (otherwise the wait becomes a tad bit unbearable). We’ll be reaching out to LG to see if they have anything to share on rollout plans for other regions.

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Motorola sending Lollipop Soak Test invites to Verizon Moto X 2014 users [UPDATE] Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:02:38 +0000 Moto_X_2014_Lollipop_Phandroid

Heads up if you’re a Motorola Moto X (2014) owner on Verizon Wireless. Motorola is sending out notifications about an incoming soak test to get a forthcoming update ready for the masses. While Motorola obviously didn’t give any meaningful details on the upgrade, we’re assuming this is the big Android Lollipop rollout that Motorola began for owners of the unlocked version of the device.

In the event that it is Lollipop, you shouldn’t expect Motorola to stray from its course — it’ll be in the most pure form you can get without a Nexus device, though not without a couple of Motorola’s treats (read: apps) thrown in. The changelog for the Pure edition should mostly apply to Verizon’s variant, though there might be a few Verizon-specific changes to expect. We’ll be sure to track the upgrade down once testing begins so stay tuned for any further developments!

[Update]: Well, that didn’t take long. The upgrade is already starting to roll out to Moto X 2014 soak test participants, and should everything go well then everyone else will have a lot to be thankful for by the time Turkey Day rolls around. You’re looking for version 22.21.11.en.US, and the file will cost you a good 678MB (so be sure you’re on WiFi with a nicely charged battery).

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Nexus 6 teardown reveals it’s been bolted down tight Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:52:49 +0000 nexus 6 teardown

Teardown time! This morning we get a look at the innards of the Nexus 6, Google and Motorola’s flagship developer and enthusiast smartphone for 2014. The teardown reveals a chassis that’s been bolted down with an overwhelming amount of screws, though a steady hand and patience are enough to eradicate that situation.

The Nexus 6 scored a 7/10 on merits of repairability (10 being easiest to repair), with the only negative knocks being a few components hard-soldered to the motherboard and a display with a digitizer infused (making it a bit more expensive to replace a display should you crack it). Otherwise, it looks like Motorola used the same clean and tight assembly that they’ve become known for and you shouldn’t have any worries about the quality of this thing beneath the surface.

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Report: Samsung missed Galaxy S5 sales expectations by 40%, looking to relieve JK Shin of duties Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:32:03 +0000 Samsung Galaxy S5 DSC05785

The news for Samsung just keeps getting worse and worse. The South Korean company found itself on a bit of a skid in 2014, missing revenue and profit estimates left and right. Much of that was due to a couple of miscues in mobile that led to executive JK Shin getting a hefty pay cut and Samsung making a major change to their production strategy for 2015.

But things may be worse than we originally imagined. According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung sold just 12 million units of the Samsung Galaxy S5 in its first four months on sale, which is around 4 million units shy of where the Galaxy S4 was within the same time frame. That may sound like a lot by any other company’s standards, but Samsung is the top dog in the smartphone game and they assumed they’d be able to sell a lot more.

samsung logo phan

The company reportedly missed estimates by a whopping 40%, which means they spent a ton of money producing a ton of units that will just sit inside warehouses. The report suggests Samsung missed expectations in all markets aside from the United States, with the biggest drop coming in China — sales were down an alarming 50% in that corner of the globe.

Much has been made about the recent uptick of competition in China, with companies like Xiaomi and Meizu coming to market with impressive devices with equally impressive price tags. Samsung’s name alone might have been enough to help them edge the competition just a couple of short years ago, but this emergence of quality, affordable products seems to be putting a bigger dent in their bottom line than even they may have imagined.

So what else is Samsung looking to do to help overcome these deficits? Well, the same report goes on to suggest that head of mobile JK Shin might be handing his keys over to co-CEO Yoon Boo-keun. The duo were appointed joint CEOs (the former of mobile and the latter of consumer electronics) back in 2013 following pleasing results in their respective areas of business. This move would look to consolidate consumer electronics and mobile into one division, with just a lone CEO overseeing everything.

More than just disappointing performance, though, this shift could spawn from Samsung’s recent surge in the smart home area. With every appliance and TV looking to become “smart” it only makes sense that mobile and consumer electronics become one in the same.

It’s not that the current dual-pronged setup is holding Samsung back (we imagine their divisions all work quite well together as is), but there’s no reason they can’t use this opportunity to adopt a new look as they attempt to climb back atop the mountain they’ve been on all these years.

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T-Mobile proudly announces their Nexus 6 won’t have logos, bloatware Mon, 24 Nov 2014 11:45:04 +0000 Nexus_6_Midnight_Blue-3

AT&T dwellers got their hands on the Nexus 6 and immediately noticed a few things that didn’t sit well. Carrier logos, boot animations and network restrictions — while not all that horrifying — annoyed enough people that a big stink was made about it. Fortunately for those folks AT&T’s Nexus 6 isn’t that hard to “fix,” though T-Mobile’s proud of the fact that you won’t have to “fix” their variant at all.

Company man Des Smith, a senior product manager who launched the T-Mobile G1 for the company way back when, took to Google+ to speak directly to the followers of their Uncarrier movement and told them they won’t have to worry about any big bad carrier stuff being shipped off with their Nexus 6 units:

No Corporate Logo, No Bloatware, no crap you don’t want on the #Nexus6 from+T-Mobile​:

That’s Un-carrier – listening to our customers and giving them what they want, not sticking a stupid corporate logo and a bunch of crap software I know you guys don’t want on your #Nexus device.

We know you guys buy a #Nexus6 to avoid that kind of thing!

Google did want to highlight the Virtual Preload (VPL) capabilities on Lollipop, so we made MyAccount available if you want it… But you can totally delete it. That’s what we do.

Hope you like what we’ve chosen to do there (or more importantly, what we’ve chosen not to do).

And the little stuff like that is the reason T-Mobile has gained a lot of momentum this past year. Let’s hope they keep this up (even if only to keep everyone else on their toes and the edge of their seats).

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Nexus 6 is hiding an RGB LED, can be used for notifications if you’re willing to root Sat, 22 Nov 2014 02:50:05 +0000 Nexus 6 LED notification light

Seems the more we learn about the Nexus 6, the more it’s sounding like it was quickly hurried out the door. Another piece of evidence? The smartphone’s dormant (hidden) RGB LED light as discovered by some folks over on XDA. Yes, it’s there. Right smack dab in the center of the top speaker. Like most things, you’ll need root if you’re looking to activate it and an app like Light Flow to configure it.

Nexus 6 Red Blue LED light

If you need more help, check out the thread over on XDA. In the meantime, gawk over these pictures imagine what life would be like if you had the option to choose ambient display mode, LED notifications, or both on your Nexus 6.

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Sprint’s Black Friday 2014: $200 off Samsung Galaxy S5, up to $300 off JBL and Harmon-Kardon audio equipment Fri, 21 Nov 2014 21:03:45 +0000 Check out the top Black Friday 2014 Deals and Cyber Monday 2014 Deals!


Sprint has announced their Black Friday deals for 2014. The effort by the Now Network this year is quite moderate, though if you’re in the market for a Samsung Galaxy S5 or some new audio accessories you’ll want to see what they have to offer.

For starters, the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Samsung Galaxy S5 Sport can both be had for $200 less than they typically go for. The catch? This price only applies to those who opt to buy the phone for full price through Easy Pay or Sprint’s leasing program. The former will get you the device for $0 down and 24 installments of $18.75.

The leasing program, while a tad similar in nature, has its differences. You’ll pay $20 over the course of 24 months, though you’ll receive an $8.34 “Black Friday credit” every month, effectively bringing  payments down to $11.66. And that’s about it for cellular hardware. Sprint’s also holding some pretty nice promos for those who want to get the most out of their audio experience.

The biggest deal will come with the Harman Kardon Onyx Studio, a $400 piece of kit that promises to deliver superior Bluetooth audio. You can get a massive $300 off, but not without buying something else. If you buy three or more accessories, or any JBL or Harmon-Kardon product, you can get the wireless speakers for just $99.

The cheapest product listed on their website that fits that bill goes for $60, though considering you’re getting $300 off a pretty nice set of speakers we wouldn’t complain too much (and there’s also a chance they have more to choose from inside their actual storefront).

Finally, with any purchase you make you’ll get 50% off the purchase of JBL’s Synchro Slate Headphones or Harman Kardon’s SOHO II NC earbuds for $139 and $99, respectively. Sprint was quick to note that the deals for audio accessories will only be available in-store, so you’ll want to be quick to the punch on the morning of November 27th when their doors swing open.

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5 easy ways to make your AT&T Nexus 6 mostly pure again Fri, 21 Nov 2014 18:23:52 +0000 att-store-logo

So you’ve gotten your AT&T Nexus 6 and the carrier’s extra bit of customization doesn’t sit well with you. If you don’t know, AT&T’s  model comes with their classic logo on the back, an AT&T boot animation and other things Ma Bell decided to put their hands on.

Well, as the development community often reminds us, almost anything is entirely reversible with a bit of root and elbow grease. Below we list a few of the device’s impurities, as well as possible solutions (many courtesy of the fine folks at XDA) should you feel the need to do away with any of it. Let’s go!  (Disclaimer: you may void your warranty by doing any of this, so know that you proceed at your own discretion.)


AT&T bloatware is installed at setup

This one is actually quite simple and straight forward. We touched on it yesterday, but here’s a quick recap: you can avoid having AT&T’s apps pre-installed by first setting your device up without a SIM card, and then inserting the SIM after you have gotten to the home screen. Already have the apps installed? Thankfully they came straight from Google Play, so you can uninstall them just as you would any app if you so wish.

AT&T’s Nexus 6 is SIM locked

Nothing much we can do here, yet. You can request an unlock code from AT&T after your contract expires or device is paid off in full, and they’ll most likely be more than happy to oblige. They probably won’t give you a hand if those conditions aren’t met, though, so you may have to look to a third-party unlock service for your needs (as long as you know you do so at your own discretion).

The AT&T Nexus 6 has the company’s logo on the back

Thankfully Motorola didn’t use any tough paint to slap AT&T’s logo on the back. If, for whatever reason, this visual impurity is affecting your ability to enjoy an otherwise perfectly fine device, we hear you can take it off with the light scraping of a knife, credit card or some other tool with a thin, sturdy and/or sharp edge.

AT&T’s boot animation shows when booting the Nexus 6

If you want to remove the boot animation you’ll need to root your Nexus 6, and download a file manager that can handle root operations. From there, follow these simple instructions:

  1. Open /oem/media
  2. Mount r/w.
  3. Remove or rename the file
  4. Reboot

You can likely replace that animation with a custom one if you so wish, but you’ll need to look around for one that’s suitable for the Nexus 6’s display size and resolution.

Nexus 6 Data tethering requires an AT&T subscription

Edit your build.prop file with the following line:


Reboot the device, and you should now be able to use Lollipop’s built-in data tethering without the need to check for a subscription. This step may require root.


And now you have a mostly pure Nexus 6! Getting carrier-branded phones will almost always come with a few quirks that you’ll have to put up with, but the versatility of Nexus devices makes it easy for you to pretend AT&T never had their grubby paws on the thing. Let us know if you’ll be looking to do any of this to make your Nexus 6 feel “right” again.

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Here’s how to restore LTE to your Nexus 4 following Android 5.0 Lollipop update Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:46:31 +0000 Nexus 4

Those who upgraded to Android 5.0 Lollipop on their Nexus 4 ran into a bit of trouble with its LTE radios. If you don’t remember, the Nexus 4 shipped with LTE radios inside, but the device was not approved for LTE use by the FCC here in the United States. As such, Google ended up having to disable the radios via a software patch.

That didn’t hold the community back from bringing support in an unofficial capacity, of course, but those who upgraded to the official Android 5.0 Lollipop firmware recently have found themselves in the same pickle. And, well, today’s development proves history repeats itself quite a bit: you can now get an updated hybrid modem to enable LTE on your Lollipop-equipped Nexus 4. You’ll have to be rooted, though that should be no big task with Chainfire’s latest goods.

Once you’ve taken care of root then it’s as simple as this:

  1. Flash to “enable” LTE in the build.prop
  2. Flash this hybrid modem (in fastboot or recovery)
  3. Perform a full data wipe, or use these instructions if you’re knowledgeable on ADB to get the settings to stick
  4. Reboot

And that’s it. Not the most elegant solution out there, but if you’re not ready to loosen the grip on your Nexus 4 in favor of one of the newer devices then this is what you’ll have to work with. Be sure to back everything up before attempting this, and remember that anything you do on your phone is at your own discretion.

[via XDA, thanks Carl!]

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HTC One M8 Google Play edition’s Android Lollipop update has been delayed again Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:10:47 +0000 HTC One M8 Google Play edition

Many of you HTC One M8 Google Play edition owners likely woke up this morning excited to take the wrapper off of Android 5.0 Lollipop as HTC told us to circle today’s date on our calendars, but it looks like you won’t be able to enjoy that tasty treat just yet. HTC VP of product development Mo Versi responded to a concern on Twitter that the update hadn’t yet rolled out to one user’s handset.

The user wasn’t just being impatient or unreasonable, though — that’s because there’s currently no upgrade to be had (nor will one be made available later in the day). Here’s what Versi had to say about it:

@AshDeezy @htc Sorry Ash, New SW required. Will advise once approval from Google is received. Thanks.

It sounds like HTC might have run into some last minute bugs that they didn’t want users to have to deal with. It’s always frustrating when an upgrade receives multiple delays, but even more frustrating is getting the upgrade installed and finding out that it completely screws something up. Better for HTC to take their time and get it right than to rush it out for the sake of the public’s sanity.

Unfortunately HTC didn’t go into any detail about how long another approval would take, so the only advice we can give is to sit tight and keep your eye on HTC’s Twitter account, especially considering they’re usually one of the more open companies out there in terms of communication.

[via Twitter]

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