Phandroid » Site News http://phandroid.com Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:04:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Samsung Gear VR Forum now open for business! http://phandroid.com/2014/12/17/samsung-gear-vr-forums/ http://phandroid.com/2014/12/17/samsung-gear-vr-forums/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:41:39 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=155450 samsung gear vr

You might have seen our Samsung Gear VR unboxing yesterday, and we’ll have a complete review coming soon, but did you know we have a full forum dedicated to Samsung’s virtual reality goggles over at Android Forums? Yes, the Samsung Gear VR Forums are now open for business.

Samsung Gear VR Forums at Android Forums

Whether you are a new owner or planning to pick up the Gear VR in the near future (maybe it was on your holiday wish list), our new forum is your one-stop destination for answers to frequently asked questions, helpful tips and tricks, and other discussion centering on this innovative wearable. If you are an early adopter, here is your place to share what you’ve learned so far and give your thoughts on the Oculus-powered experience.

So if you have ever sat inside a waterfall or explored an ancient cage from the comfort of your living (Gear VR users will know what I am talking about), this is the place for you. Virtual reality. It’s the future, man.

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Reminder: Less than 3 days left to vote for the Phandroid 2014 Readers’ Choice Awards http://phandroid.com/2014/12/17/phandroid-readers-choice-reminder/ http://phandroid.com/2014/12/17/phandroid-readers-choice-reminder/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:38:59 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=155463 phandroid-readers-choice-poll

Time is running out to cast your vote in Phandroid’s 2014 Readers’ Choice Awards. You have until the end of the day on Friday, December 19th to let your voice be heard in categories including Best New App, Best Smartphone, Biggest Fail and Manufacturer of the Year.

You can register your vote via the form below by choosing one of the listed options or by filling in your own answer. We’ll tally the votes over the weekend and roll out the results during the final days of 2014. It’s been a great year for Android and tech in general. Now it’s time for you to decide who gets the accolades.

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Vote now for the Phandroid 2014 Reader’s Choice Awards http://phandroid.com/2014/12/05/phandroid-readers-choice-poll/ http://phandroid.com/2014/12/05/phandroid-readers-choice-poll/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 15:27:22 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=154534 phandroid-readers-choice-poll

2014’s final days are less than a month away, and that can only mean one thing: the end of year lists are coming. While it would be easy to make our own proclaiming the best of the best and be done, we would rather hear it from our readers. Here is your chance to sound off on your favorite Android apps, games, and devices from 2014 with Phandroid’s Reader’s Choice Awards.

Vote for categories including Best New App, Best Smartphone, and Manufacturer of the Year, and let your voice be heard. We’ve provided a few suggestions for each but feel free to fill in your own if you have a better choice. The poll will be open until December 19th. We’ll tally up the votes and announce the winners at the end of the month.

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12 important tips for the new and improved Android Forums http://phandroid.com/2014/11/24/android-forums-tips/ http://phandroid.com/2014/11/24/android-forums-tips/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 20:25:50 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=153911 Since 2007, AndroidForums.com has been the virtual meeting spot for Android fans around the world. It was the world’s first Android Forum and it has just seen the largest upgrade since its inception. Go have a look, check out the much improved design and new features, but wait- before you go, here are some important tips you’ll want to keep in mind.

(1) Members see less ads

We know most people don’t enjoy ads, but they’re the reason we can employ full-time Android enthusiasts to do what they love. We try our best to create an enjoyable and non-intrusive user experience, and one way we accomplish that is by showing less ads to members who are logged in. If you want to see less ads, all you need to do is create a free account. We’ve made it really easy to create accounts by lettings users login using Facebook, Google+, and/or Twitter.

android-forums-sign-up

Similar to how users of our Android News App allows users to subscribe monthly/annually in exchange for removing ads, we’ve got an option to do the same on Android Forums, removing ads completely when you sign up for Premium/VIP account.

(2) Quickly find Android Phones, Tablets, and other devices

There are thousands of Android devices and browsing through them all to find something specific can be tedious. In addition to only showing the most popular devices on the homepage (but still offering a  full list of Android Phones and Tablets), we’ve added a “Find a device” widget on the top of the homepage. Simply type into the box and it will auto-complete with the names of matching devices.

explore-android-forums

Click on the one you want (or press enter) and you’ll be whisked away to your destination. It couldn’t be any easier!

(3) Add your favorites to “My Forums” by starring them

Android Forums has communities for every device, but we know that you only care about the devices YOU have (and maybe a few others). You can single out your favorite forums and devices by clicking the huge yellow star directly to the left of the forum title.

favorite-android-forums

This has a few key benefits:

  • Hovering “My Forums” now lists those favorite forums for one-click access
  • Clicking “unread posts” will show new posts ONLY from your favorite forums
  • You can also hover “New Posts” to see everything new from the entire forum or only favorites

my-forums-hover

This is a feature that partially existed on the last iteration of Android Forums, but it has been greatly improved on the front and back end. It’s the most popular feature for those that take the time to set it up and use it!

(4) Hover “My Posts” for quick access to your stuff

Nothing is more irritating than starting a new thread or making a post on a forum and not being able to find it. You’ve got to browse around and dig through thousands of posts made each day. Sure, you can subscribe to threads and get alerts via Email, but that’s not always the best option. Now you’ve got another: hover over “My Posts” and you’ll have quick access to your most recent “stuff”.

my-posts-hover

In this case, “stuff” consists of 3 things:

  • A link to your subscriptions
  • 5 most recent threads that you started (with a link to all your threads)
  • 5 most recent posts that you made (with a link to all your posts)

This feature is brand new and we think it’s one that you’re sure to love and find incredibly useful.

(5) Find – and vote on-  the Best Answers!

Lots and lots of people visit Android Forums for help with something device related. They can’t figure out how to do XYZ, there is an ABC bug that they’re stuck on, the list is a billion things long. Often times, Android Forums has a treasure trove of answers, but finding those answers isn’t always easy. Now it is.

When people post “Support” related questions there is now an option to vote on the Best Answer. You’ll see it at the end of each posted response.

best-answer

When an answer has enough votes to be considered the “Best” it will be embedded at the bottom of the first post, making it easy for everyone to get the information they’re looking for, even if they’re just visitors landing on Android Forums for the first time.

best-answer-solved

(6) Search and filters are your friend

We’ve done a lot of work to help you find exactly what you want, when you want, where you want it… but sometimes it’s fun, entertaining, and informative to just browse around and see what people are discussing. Rather than aimlessly browsing, two helpful ways to smartly browse are using search and filters.

There is no shortage of ways to access search:

  • Magnifying glass on the top right of the nav bar
  • Advanced search in the sub navigation
  • The “Search for answers” widget on the homepage

Everyone knows about search… this is just a reminder to use it! But what you might NOT know about are the prefix related filters that help you sort through content. For example, here are the most recent threads from the Galaxy Note 4 Forums:

note-4-recent-threads

Hmmm… those “Tips” look interesting, don’t they? Maybe I just want to see all the Tip related threads on the Note 4 forums. All I have to do is click on the “Tips” icon and it will sort the list, showing only threads marked as tips.

note-4-tips

This will work with any of the prefixes you see.

(7) Get instant updates with alerts and emails

If you don’t want to be bothered with constantly checking Android Forums to see if someone has responded to your question, you should definitely be using the “Watch Thread” option. When visiting any thread on Android Forums, simply click the “Watch Thread” at the top right:

watch-thread

If you’re creating a new thread, you can make sure instant notification is enabled right from the start. Look below the post box and make sure the option is selected.

subscribe-to-thread-new

If you choose to get notifications but NOT have them delivered by Email, you’ll see them appear as notifications in the “Alerts” section of the website in the top right of the nav bar.

(8) Send private messages through “Start a conversation”

Private messages, Instant Messages, Direct messages, etc… different websites call the one-on-on chat feature different things. On Android Forums they’re called “Conversations”.  You can start a new conversation in two main ways.

You can access conversations by hovering over your user name (top right), clicking on “Conversations”, and then selecting “Start a New Conversation”. One really cool thing about Conversations on the new Android Forums is you can have multiple participants and they can come and go from the convo as you/they please. Much more robust than other forum software.

conversations

Of course the other easy and obvious way to initiate a conversation with another member is to click on their user name or avatar and select the “Start a conversation” from their member card.

(9) Enjoy the responsive design on phones and tablets

The old Android Forums had a separate theme for mobile devices that worked but was far from perfect. We’ve implemented responsive design on the new Android Forums to ensure you’re offered the best user experience regardless of your device or screen size. If you’re viewing it in portrait or landscape it still doesn’t matter… AndroidForums.com should adapt to your screen and orientation, something we think you’ll grow to quickly appreciate.

AF-screenshot-responsive

And oh yeah… if you’d rather download a native application, our Android Forums App still works perfectly.

(10) Optimize your settings and preferences

Similar to getting a new phone and ripping it open for the first time, you’ll be tempted to go full speed ahead and start playing, when in reality spending a few minutes on the initial setup is a good idea. This rings true for Android Forums as well.

Android Forums Settings

Head on over to your Account Preferences to customize everything you can possibly imagine, from your signature and avatar to your Email alerts and contact details.

(11) Don’t forget to upload an avatar

Speaking of avatars, we can’t stress enough how badly we request you upload an avatar. Preferably that avatar would be an actual picture of you. We’ve spent a lot of time trying to make Android Forums a fun, friendly, and accommodating place for users of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels. Seeing actual pictures of people helps add that friendly touch that our visitors enjoy.

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 3.16.45 PM

The avatar editor can be found on the personal details settings page.

(12) Give us Feedback (and patience)!

Long time Android Forum members will find it takes awhile to get used to the new system and layout. PLEASE be patient. There is a learning curve involved, but we’re confident that once you explore and gain familiarity with the new system, you won’t want to live without it.

Once you have spent some time getting used to things, please visit the Android Forums upgrade thread and give us your feedback. We’ve got hundreds of thousands of members to please, so we can’t please everyone, but we’ll be carefully reading and considering every single morsel of feedback you provide.

Thanks so much for everything you’ve done to help make AndroidForums.com the first, largest, and best Android Forum on the planet! We’ll continue relentlessly moving forward to make it the greatest community on the planet, so stay tuned for new feature announcements; we’ll post them all to the Site Updates & Announcements section of Android Forums and announce the biggest ones right here on Phandroid.

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Thank you to all of Phandroid’s great sponsors! http://phandroid.com/2014/11/20/thank-you-devs-week1/ http://phandroid.com/2014/11/20/thank-you-devs-week1/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:37:18 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=153551 It’s one week from Thanksgiving but we want to give some thanks early: thanks to all of Phandroid’s great sponsors, especially the first developers who signed up for our Apps & Games section! Last month we launched a new initiative to help independent developers get exposure in a very crowded scene without having to break the bank.

As part of our Apps & Games spotlight widget – which shows up throughout our website on desktop and mobile – we’re taking a moment to share each of their unique offerings from the Google Play Store. Check out what Phandroid readers our contributing to the Android ecosystem and if you feel inclined to get in on the action, take a look at what we’re offering or hit our contact box if it’s something a bit out-of-the-box.

Without further ado, thank you to the awesome developers of the following apps:

 Debt Payoff Planner by Adonis Apps

debt payoff planner

Wondering how much time and money it’ll take to pay off any debts you still owe? This app helps you lay it all out and create an effective plan based on your income and expenditures.

Up Plus One Live Wallpaper by gridRED

up plus one live wallpaper

This live wallpaper lets you use whatever text, numbers or emojis you want and animate them for use on your home-screen. Nothing like deep customization to make your phone feel your own.

Fur and Furious by MiniGamesPlus

Like dogs? Play as a dog. Like cats? Do that, too. Your goal is to use your dog or cat powers to chase a red dot around, collect chicken and fish, and be awesome. This unique take on the endless runner genre could be a nice solution to a boring wait in line.

FX File Explorer by NextApp

FX File Explorer equips users with a long list of tools that you might not even find in desktop computer operating systems’ file managers. From FTP, SMB and WebDAV support to cloud storage integration, root functions and a gesture-based UI, this app is pretty much all you need for handling all your files.

Weather Timeline by Sam Ruston

What do you get when you combine up-to-date weather information by Forecast, material design and a timeline-based layout that shows you up to a week’s worth of forecasts in an easy-to-digest way? Weather Timeline. If all you need are simple forecasts then this wouldn’t be a bad app to look at every day.

Link Bubble Browser Pro by Chris Lacy

Link Bubble Browser is one of the most useful apps we’ve ever used. Clicking a link in apps tend to kick you to the browser in order to wait for a lengthy load, but Link Bubble will load the page in the background and let you know when it’s ready. Other great uses include loading embedded YouTube videos inside the native YouTube app, skipping the browser step when clicking a link to open a profile or post in an app like Twitter or Foursquare and more.

Raise the Bar Goal Tracker by afewguys Apps

You have to do many things in life. Whether you like them or not, why not make a game out of it? This unique to-do list and organizer app uses gamification to encourage you to complete your goals and “level up.” See if it can’t help you get motivated to check everything off in your day-to-day musings.

Unclouded by Christian Göllner

unclouded

Any cloud-guzzling tech-obsessed person knows how crazy it can be to keep track of all your files across the many different cloud storage services out there. Unclouded helps you consolidate all of it into one nice view. Aside from being a one-stop browser for files from multiple popular services, it’ll help you clean things up by showing where you have duplicates and which files take up the most space. Dropbox and Google Drive are supported, with Box and OneDrive coming soon!

CallMask Disposable Numbers by Slashbox

Need to call someone or list your phone number but don’t want people to get a hold of your real contact details? Call them with a disposable one using CallMask. The first disposable number is free, and you can ditch it whenever you want. CallMask supports incoming and outgoing calls, voice mail, full SMS, incoming MMS and more.

Finger Gesture Launcher by Carlos Morera de la Chica

finger gesture launcher

Gestures make almost anything better, and multi-tasking is no exception. This app lets you switch between apps, open web browsers, place calls, toggle settings and more using simple customizable gestures. It also has a mouth watering design thanks to the advent of Material Design.

Franco.Kernel Updater by Francisco Franco

If you use the Franco Kernel on your rooted Android device, then the official updater for said kernel should be your next best friend. This utility will keep your phone loaded with the latest and greatest version of Francisco Franco’s popular kernel, and allows you to do so in a very efficient way.

NotiWidget Notifications by Christian Göllner

notiwidget tablet

Hate reaching to the top of your phone or tablet to access notifications? Now you can have your notifications in a handy widget that can be placed on a home screen or even your lock screen.

Action Launcher Pro by Chris Lacy

This neat launcher makes its donuts from one very unique feature: shutters. Swipe down on an app icon with a “shutter” and it’ll show the widget for that app in a neat popup. You can even customize which widgets show up for each individual icons, even if that widget doesn’t belong to that app.

Another great feature is Quickpages, a pane accessible by a simple swipe to put folders, widgets and more. The pro version adds QuickDrawer and QuickPage launcher access from within any app so you can access your entire apps list without stopping whatever you’re doing.

BeeKeeper by Umbral Games

beekeeper

It’s Minesweeper, but with bees. Yep. You’re sucking up honey instead of sweeping up bombs, and you’re doing so in over 60 levels across 3 different gameplay modes.

Anything Texter by Technology Discovery

If there’s anything you need to type but not exactly sure where to type it, Anything Texter hopes to solve that problem for you. a quick swipe from the bottom left corner of your device opens up a text interface that allows you to type anything you need at a moment’s notice, and then gives you the tools to take the text to the app you want. Type first, think later.

TyphonRT Video Suite by TyphonRT Media

TyphonRT’s Video Suite is one app you’ll want to see succeed on Kickstarter. It proposes a comprehensive suite of video editing and effects tools that’ll let you make as little as enhanced home movies to something that could qualify for an independent film festival. Folks have been clamoring for something like this on Android for years so be sure to support it if you want to help make it a reality.

Movement Detection by Kanetik

movement tracker

Tasker and Locale are great automation apps that let you automate actions based on location, time of day and other conditions, but if you want to make the location aspect of all that even more precise then you’ll want Movement Detection. This universal plugin for both apps will detect whether you’re moving or coming to a standstill, and will allow you to specify whether you want actions to trigger only when you come to a complete stop or when you begin moving again.

No Girls Allowed by Trick-Bow Productions

If you’re still in your elementary phase and believe boys rule, girls drool, No Girls Allowed will allow you to practice your girl keep away skills. It’s a simple tower defense game: you and your army of dudes protect the ever-so-awesome tree house from a horde of girls using slingshots, water balloons and even dirty diapers.

Chrome Reader by Technology Discovery

Free your eyes from having to read text and let your phone do the work. Simply highlight some text (whether that’s in Chrome or any other app that allows you to select text) and you can have it read out to you.

Get in on the fun next time!

Whew, that was a lot of apps. Want your app featured the next time we extend a big thank you to our sponsors? Park it right here and consider our sponsorship packages, and don’t forget to give us a buzz if you have any questions about becoming a sponsor or any suggestions about things we can do to help your Android app find its way onto more Android devices.

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Hey Android Devs: $75 gets you a month-long sponsorship on Phandroid.com! http://phandroid.com/2014/10/20/phandroid-sponsorships/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/20/phandroid-sponsorships/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:15:48 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=151445 IMG_0037

It can be tough for a developer to get the word out about their apps and games. Google Play is big, so much so that good apps often get lost in a sea of digital mayhem. The bad news is it won’t be getting any smaller anytime soon. It’d be a shame to let all the hard work and time put into development go unseen. Advertisements work, but many independent developers don’t have very large marketing budgets. The good news? Phandroid understands.

That’s why we’re offering affordable sponsorship slots for apps and games right on Phandroid.com! For just $300, your app will get 30 days of prominent placement in our apps and games widget that shows up on desktop and the mobile web throughout the entire site. That will get your app an estimated 1 million+ impressions for every month you’re signed up, and turning even just a few of those impressions into downloads could do wonders for the growth of your app.

So what exactly are you getting for your money? Let’s take a look:

  • One of 25 spots for your app or game icon (50 x 50 pixels) throughout Phandroid.com linking directly to your download.
  • A post on Phandroid.com at the end of each month mentioning and thanking all of our great sponsors, including you!

A couple of other things to note: when submitting your request for sponsorship, your creative must be that of an app icon in the aforementioned dimensions of 50 pixels by 50 pixels, and it must link directly to your app on Google Play.

We also want to stress that we want this to be an opportunity for serious, respected (and respectable) developers looking to advertise legitimate apps and games. In other words, if your app is more along the lines of a shameless Flappy Bird clone or something of the same ilk we reserve the right to deny it based on our own discretion.

To top all that off, there’d be no better time to sign up than right now as we’re offering 75% off the usual price to the first 20 developers who sign up by Friday, October 24th — that brings the cost of your first month to just $75! Simply use the promo code phandev at checkout to receive your discount.

This is a great opportunity to get your app or game off the ground and into the phones and tablets of the millions of Android users around the world. Be sure to take a look at this and many other great advertising opportunities available on Phandroid right here, and we’d love to hear from you so don’t hesitate to drop us a line if you have any questions!

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Pick your prize with the Choose Your Own Android Giveaway http://phandroid.com/2014/10/10/choose-your-own-android-giveaway/ http://phandroid.com/2014/10/10/choose-your-own-android-giveaway/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 16:30:48 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=150609 chooseyourownandroid

If you’re in the market for a new Android phone, you could simply buy one. Or you could enter for a chance to win the smartphone of your choosing at AndroidArea.com. One lucky winner will get their choice from the following top-tier devices running Google’s mobile OS:

If those devices ring a bell, it might be due to the fact that three of the five made our best Android phones list for the month of October. The other two (the Galaxy Note line) have more than a strong shot at making an appearance in our rankings come November.

Enter the Choose Your Own Android Giveaway now!

So what do you need to do to win? It’s simple. Head over to AndroidArea.com, click “Enter Now,” input an email address, and you’re done. No fees or other hoops to jump through. Just a ticket to one of the best Android lotteries around. Multiple entries are also permitted and easily earned by sharing the giveaway via Facebook or Twitter. You do want more chances to win, right?

But there is no need for convincing. I’m sure you went over to enter as soon as you heard you could win the free Android smartphone you want. And if you didn’t, why are you still reading this? Get on it now.

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Remove ads from Phandroid News for Android with new in-app subscriptions http://phandroid.com/2014/09/11/remove-ads-from-phandroid-app/ http://phandroid.com/2014/09/11/remove-ads-from-phandroid-app/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 19:15:37 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=148947 We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on the Phandroid News app for Android, but the biggest complaint/request we get? People want the ability to remove ads. Done.

android-problem-solved
Here’s the thing: most people don’t mind paying a few bucks to deliver an ad-free experience, other loyal readers actively want to pay a few bucks to pledge their support, the vast majority don’t mind ads, and yet others actually like the ads (you’ll find some good app/game suggestions and deals every now and then). Our latest app update delivers the same experience to all of these user types through in-app subscriptions.

I’m sure we’ll have to field some complaints on pricing, but when it comes down to it…

An annual subscription costs less than this:

phandroid-beer

And a monthly subscription costs less than this:

coca-cola

And if you don’t mind (or want) to see ads it will cost you approximately this:

phandroid-water
If we added a Starbucks coffee we could quadruple prices!

We think that’s pretty fair and we hope you do, too. We’d also ask that you keep the above pricing comparisons in mind when looking at apps and games from other developers on the Google Play Store. And, if you don’t agree with the pricing, don’t use it as an opportunity to disparage or downvote the developer’s app, do what you’d do when buying things from any store: decide not to buy the item and move along.

If you’re interested in purchasing one of the subscriptions, you can find “Remove Ads” in the app’s main menu where you’ll follow some very simple steps with secure payment and authorization through Google Play.

We’ve currently priced monthly subscriptions as low as Google will allow ($0.99) and annual subscriptions are a 75% discount on the monthly price ($3.79). The decision to use in-app subscriptions rather than a fee/paid model was to prevent confusion amongst our readers by offering one app with one similar yet customizable experience for everyone.

phandroid-subscribed

In addition to the in-app subscriptions, we’ve also worked on some bugs and improvements that found their way into the app on various devices when we introduced new features in our last update. As we move forward, we’ll be looking for opportunities to provide more benefits to those with active subscriptions… more on that later.

Some of the more interesting requests we’re getting now include material design and better Android Wear support but we’re curious to hear what else you’d like to see in Phandroid News for Android- let us know in the comments below. And don’t forget, we could use your support in our pressing issue with Android Forums for Android!

Go ahead: download the app!

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Will Google really ban Android Forums from the Google Play Store? http://phandroid.com/2014/09/10/android-forums-ban/ http://phandroid.com/2014/09/10/android-forums-ban/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 18:49:33 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=148825 Google has been cracking down on Android spam lately, but they’ve been doing a miserable job, and the latest debacle puts yours truly – more specifically Android Forums – directly under Google’s shoe as they stomp recklessly through the Google Play Store like robotic bounty hunters.

The automated email, titled “14-day Notification: Violation of the Android branding guidelines”, explains that if we do not comply in 2 weeks, our app will be removed from the Google Play Store. The violation? Using the word Android. The demand? Rename our app. Copied directly from the E-Mail:

Edit the title of your app by removing “Android” as the prominent brand name. Instead, use “(title of app) for Android” as an alternative. Here’s an example:

  • Incorrect: “Android MediaPlayer”
  • Correct: “MediaPlayer for Android”

So tell us, Google, who are we?

  • Forums for Android?
  • Android Forums for Android?
  • AndroidForums.com?

We have been called Android Forums since November 5th, 2007 and although many people have imitated our name, imitated our website, and even call themselves “Android Forums”- it’s hard to argue with a 7 year history as the original Android Forums at AndroidForums.com.

Android Forums on the Google Play Store

Search the Google Play Store for “Android Forums” and you’ll find a lot of sites calling themselves Android this or Android that- but none of them are actually THE AndroidForums.com with a 7 year track record of being named “Android Forums”, years before the Google Play Store even existed.

Will all of our fellow Android blogs suffer the same fate?

  • Android Authority becomes Authority for Android
  • Android Central becomes Central for Android
  • Android Community becomes Community for Android
  • Android Police becomes Police for Android
  • Android And Me becomes And Me for Android
  • And the list goes on….

The situation becomes even more bleak when you search the Google Play Store for “Android News”: you find a plethora of spam apps named “Android News” yet we’re the ones being singled out. And we’ve been singled out before.

Phandroid gets banned from the Play Store

You may recall that the Phandroid News for Android app was once called Android News by Phandroid. We gave it that name because we were NOWHERE to be found in relevant searches for android news, android blogs, or android anything on the Google Play Store. Some could say we were trying to “game the system” or “over-SEO” our app – and I’d have a hard time disagreeing with much more than the tone of that categorization. Apparently Google felt the same: issuing Phandroid a removal notice of its own.

However, Android News by Phandroid wasn’t given a warning, it was simply pulled from the store:

REASON FOR REMOVAL: Violation of section 6.3 of the Developer Distribution Agreement.

The details within the email were alarming, frustrating, and stressful:

  • Serious or repeated violations of any nature will result in the termination of your developer account
  • Possible termination of related Google accounts
  • Google may recover the proceeds of any past sales

At this time, we were given no specific reason for our removal and no suggested actions to bring our app in compliance. We were 100% happy to comply and wanted to make sure we played by Google’s rules, we just needed to know how! So I responded to Google asking for exactly that: some help understanding how I can best comply.

Here is the response I got back:

Thank you for your note.

We have reviewed your appeal and will not be reinstating your app. This decision is final and we will not be responding to any additional emails regarding this removal.

If your account is still in good standing and the nature of your app allows for republishing you may consider releasing a new, policy compliant version of your app to Google Play under a new package name. We are unable to comment further on the specific policy basis for this removal or provide guidance on bringing future versions of your app into policy compliance.

You’re kidding me, right Google? All I want to do is comply, but instead I’m banned for asking and you refused to answer any more questions. My only recourse is to update my app with guesses regarding the violation, re-upload the app, and pray it’s approved. But if it’s not, I won’t know why, and if I try too many times, my app, developer account, and entire existence with all Google products may be terminated immediately.

Luckily we were able to leverage some existing relationships, find someone who could help identify the problem, and our app was unlocked and provided another opportunity for revision. Not wanting to risk a lifetime ban, we simply updated our app name to Phandroid News for Android and that ended up being the proper solution. It seems obvious now, but at the time, we considered that among many other possibilities.

But that shouldn’t be the solution in this case. Android Forums is properly named. The website is called Android Forums. The domain is AndroidForums.com. This has been true for 7 years and this is the first we’re hearing about any “violation”. While changing the app name to AndroidForums.com would seem to bypass their complaints, it also seems like an incredibly moronic solution.

I have to think our app was flagged automatically, suspension approved by a human who made it in error (not understanding the details of our app, our site, or the Android community).

So why am I sharing this with you? 

Why not leverage my same contacts to reach out, find a solution, and absolve Android Forums from its Google denounced wrongdoing?

Because people need to know. Google decision makers, especially, need to know. In many ways, Android was built on the backs of developers, and this haphazard system of flagging, suspending, and banning apps, developers, and accounts needs to have more substance. There needs to be better communication. There are developers whose livelihood depends on well crafted Android apps, whose good-willed intentions are only to comply with Android’s guidelines, yet get automated e-mails that effectively terminate their source of income with no way to seek information or answers.

There are far more developers who ARE in violation of Google’s terms, who ARE spamming the Play Store, whose intentions ARE misguided; unfortunately, hoards of these apps still sit on the Play Store, outranking us and confusing consumers while the legitimate apps and developers continue to be punished with little to no recourse.

In Google’s defense

With millions of apps and developers, monitoring the Google Play Store is no easy task, but the current practices are abhorrent and desperately (and immediately) need to be improved.

Google should get some credit for having improved this process between June (when Phandroid was suspended) and September (when Android Forums was suspended) in two key ways:

  • 14-day warning rather than immediate ban
  • More specific explanation of the violation

Has Google’s communication improved? I’m not sure… I’m afraid to respond to the e-mail, wondering if it will lead to another instant ban for the app and perhaps worse. Hopefully this “open article” of sorts will be seen by Google brass who can address this issue in the following ways:

  • Agree the suspension was made in error
  • Identify how in the heck we would otherwise, given our site name, make this change
  • Explain why thousands of our competitors – both legitimate and spam-ridden – aren’t being targeted
  • Find ways to improve this necessary process and then implement them

We’re on the clock: 12 days left. Thanks to all the Phandroid readers and Android Forums members for your continued support. Since 2007!

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CONTEST: $1000 Google Play Giveaway from AndroidArea.com, your new store for Android deals http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/android-area-google-play-contest/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/android-area-google-play-contest/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 17:53:25 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=146037 androidarea-header1

As part of our continued effort to keep our readers abreast of all the best deals on Android apps, accessories, and hardware, Phandroid is happy to announce today the launch of AndroidArea, your one-stop shop for the best sales, freebies, and giveaways. You can access AndroidArea now or at any time by clicking the “Deals” tab located in the Phandroid navigation bar at the top of the page (or simply point your browser to AndroidArea.com).

We not only want to help save you money, we want to give it to you. To kick things off we will be hosting the $1000 Google Play Store Giveaway. Signing up is free and you can increase your chances of taking home the prize by sharing AndroidArea with your friends. Entries will be accepted now through September 30th, when the winners will be selected.

google-play-giveaway

Through AndroidArea, Phandroid’s readers will be privy to exclusive deals and offers on trending Android gear, gadgets, apps, and e-learning resources. These are savings any Android fan will surely not want to miss. We will be highlighting the best from time to time here on the site, including some great things lined up for the next couple of weeks. Some deals you can catch right now?

Be on the lookout for new deal announcements, or simply click the above “Deals” tab at any time to peruse AndroidArea at your leisure.

We don’t want to give too much away, but some of these deals are too good to keep to ourselves. Let’s just say Galaxy S5 users will want to keep their eyes glued right here come Monday for an announcement involving one of Phandroid’s favorite brands.

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can leave a comment below or on any of the deal pages at AndroidArea letting us know what you think, what products you would like to see featured, and the kinds of offers that appeal to you most. At the very least, be sure to head over to AndroidArea, check out the savings on tap, and enter for your chance to win one of those Google Play prizes.

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PSA: talk about all the latest Android Wear smartwatches at AndroidForums.com http://phandroid.com/2014/06/26/android-wear-forums/ http://phandroid.com/2014/06/26/android-wear-forums/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 17:17:17 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=143724 Android Forums

If you’re looking for a place to talk about Google’s first batch of Android Wear smartwatches — including the LG G Watch, the Motorola Moto 360 and the newly-announced Samsung Gear Live — look no further. We have sections for the LG G Watch and Moto 360 already chock full of healthy discussion at AndroidForums.com, and the shiny new Samsung Gear Live section is live for those of you interested in that piece of wrist-bound tech.

Here are just a few choice threads you might want to dig into once you make your way over there:

Looking for even more coverage? Don’t forget we’ve gone hands-on with the Moto 360 and Samsung Gear Live at Google I/O yesterday, and you can expect more coverage from the LG G Watch later on today. Get buzzing!

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30-Day Android Fitness Challenge (post your favorite apps!) http://phandroid.com/2014/03/26/android-fitness-challenge/ http://phandroid.com/2014/03/26/android-fitness-challenge/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 17:17:16 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=136600 I’m terribly out of shape. The weather is about to get warm. New Year Resolutions have crumbled into dust. But it’s time to change all that with the 30-Day Android Fitness Challenge, where Hershey’s KitKat and Android’s KitKat face off in an epic angel meets devil battle for our conscience.

android-fitness

This challenge initially started (and failed) about a month ago, when I couldn’t decide between getting a Jawbone UP or Fitbit Force. Since then a lot has happened in wearable tech including the announcement of Android Wear, Moto 360, and the LG G Watch. Along with Google Glass, Samsung Gear 2, Samsung Gear Neo, and other breaking-the-mold devices, developers continue creating rich experiences in the health and fitness space.

It seemed like the perfect time to turn my quickly declining nimbleness into an exploration of Android as it relates to the possibilities and opportunities in fitness and health. I hope you’ll join me.

This is your time!

Participating takes absolutely nothing except a willingness to try some cool stuff and see how it goes. Membership to this exclusive club is free and so anonymous that you’re the only person that will know you’re in it. It’s hard to get the ball rolling, but once you find that reason to start, you can’t be stopped!

What you can do:

  • Leave a comment on this article suggesting and requesting apps, games, devices, comparisons, etc… related to health and fitness that you’d like to see discussed and reviewed in this series.
  • Follow along in our Android Fitness & Health Forum – we’ve just created this community to help people share their challenges, goals, and progress while staying motivated and informed. Help us shape the community while shaping up yourself!

What I plan on doing:

  • Wearing both a Jawbone UP and Fitbit Force for 30-straight days (different wrists), using them to their full ability, and reporting back the results with full reviews.
  • Using various apps and devices (suggested by readers in the comments) to plan and track my daily activity and reporting back in organized/themed posts
  • Using both our Android Fitness & Health Forum and my Google+ profile to share daily challenge results and random insights
  • Making a concerted effort to increase my activity, exercise daily, eat more healthfully, and do (or don’t do) the small things that add up over the course of the month and year.

Don’t forget to join in on the challenge in our Android Fitness & Health Forum, follow me on Google+, and leave a comment with suggestions and requests for this series!

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[Nifty] Phandroid News Chrome extension now available http://phandroid.com/2014/03/19/nifty-phandroid-news-chrome-extension-now-available/ http://phandroid.com/2014/03/19/nifty-phandroid-news-chrome-extension-now-available/#comments Thu, 20 Mar 2014 03:32:35 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=136141 phandroid-featured-LARGE

Seeing as Chrome is the most popular web browser in the world, there’s a good chance that many Phandroid readers spend a good part of their day inside a Chrome tab or two. Just in case you didn’t have enough ways to get your Android news fix from us over here at Phandroid throughout the day, we’ve come up with a nifty Chrome Extension to let you know when we’ve got words that need to be read, making your life that much easier.

Phandroid-Chrome-Extension

It’s quick and easy to install. Just head on over to the Chrome Web Store and add our Chrome extension to your Chrome Web Browser or Chromebook. When there’s Android news to be read, you’ll know thanks to Chrome’s pop-up or toast notification system and you’ll also see a nifty red number on the Phandroid logo beside your address bar. Just click the Phandroid logo to view the latest news headlines in a drop down cards UI format. You can mark all news as read if you’ve already read them say via the Phandroid News app or click on a link to get your news fix in another tab. You can also configure the time interval for checking for new articles as well as the amount of desktop notifications to appear at once.

Phandroid Chrome Extension Options

A special thanks to Steve for all of his hard work. Don’t forget to rate and review this extension on the Chrome Web Store. Your feedback helps. Thanks!

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Get your Android news from the latest version of the Phandroid app on the Google Play Store http://phandroid.com/2014/02/25/android-news-phandroid-app-updated/ http://phandroid.com/2014/02/25/android-news-phandroid-app-updated/#comments Wed, 26 Feb 2014 04:19:43 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=134735 phandroid-featured-LARGE

We know that you Phandroids love apps and app updates, so we’ve been working hard to bring you just that. After many months of blood, sweat, and tears we’re proud to announce a major update to our Phandroid News app. With our app you can stay up to date with Android news, search our site for your favorite topics, find out what’s going on with the Mobile Roar Podcast, and leave insightful comments.

Screenshot_2014-02-25-20-53-48

Version 2.0 of Android News by Phandroid brought a lot of graphical changes as well as plenty of under the hood code additions. We know that Android fans have become accustomed to a thing or two regarding Android design guidelines, so our latest update adds some much needed #HOLOYOLO over our previous iteration.

  • We added a slideout navigation menu that displays all of our site categories to help you find the Android news you’re looking for.
  • We’ve also implemented a nifty Cards UI, mimicking what you’ll find in Google’s arsenal of apps.
  • Like a dark theme? You can now swap between light and dark themes from settings.
  • You can now swipe down from the top to refresh the displayed articles or comments.
  • Speaking of comments, you can easily log into our Disqus comment system with your Disqus credentials, Google+, Facebook, or Twitter.
  • You can customize your notifications to stay up to date with Phandroid, choose vibration settings, toggle notification light, or sound alerts.
  • Don’t have the greatest eyesight for reading on a mobile device? Why not increase your font size under our visual options?
  • Find an article you like or want to comment on later? Just star it for easy access.
  • Widgets. Android news on your homescreen. Need I say more?

Screenshot_2014-02-25-20-53-26 Screenshot_2014-02-25-20-54-20 Screenshot_2014-02-25-20-54-30 Screenshot_2014-02-25-20-57-12 Screenshot_2014-02-25-20-57-44 Screenshot_2014-02-25-20-58-28
Head on over to the Google Play Store and download the Phandroid News app. It works great on both phones and tablets.

Don’t forget to drop by the comments below and let the man, the myth, the legend (our app developer) Steve Albright know what you think. We appreciate your support and hope you love the updates: we’re trying our best to earn your 5-Star Review! Your feedback helps us continue to improve so we look forward to your comments!

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Write for Phandroid: we’re seeking contributors! http://phandroid.com/2013/12/12/seeking-contributors/ http://phandroid.com/2013/12/12/seeking-contributors/#comments Thu, 12 Dec 2013 18:42:11 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=130774 The wild ride on the mobile tech market continues and despite having a very competent team of authors and editors, we’re always looking to bring new talent and perspectives to our team and ultimately, to our readers. As we approach a new year – one that we’re highly anticipating to be our best yet – we’re hoping some of you can help make that happen.

That’s right… we want YOU to be on our team. The tech community is filled with passionate, educated enthusiasts with loads of insight and knowledge to share. Think you got what it takes? Consider this your invitation to apply as a Contributing Author on the Phandroid team.

What positions are we seeking?

News Reporters
Android news is unrelenting; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’re looking for folks who live and breathe mobile tech news. If scanning RSS feeds, swimming through sub reddits, monitoring social media, and digging around the deepest depths of the interwebz is on your daily agenda, than you know what we mean. If taking this news, analyzing it, explaining it, and providing your opinion sounds like fun… you might just be the right fit.

App & Game Reviewers
Are you constantly in search for the latest apps and games to land on the Google Play Store? Do you download and test so many new .apks that your app drawer is deeper than the Library of Congress? Continually giving unsolicited app and game suggestions and opinions to family and friends? Bring your insight to the masses as an Android App and/or Game Reviewer for Phandroid! Video capabilities and experience are a plus (but not required)!

International, European & Weekend Tech Bloggers
All of our current staff reside in the United States. Our audience is global. That presents a considerable problem when, you know, we’ve got to sleep. And we might be geeks, but we’ve got computer games to play things to do on the weekend, too. We’re looking for general tech bloggers who are eager to contribute on a wide variety of topics, who also happen to have availability that fills our gaps. We could really use your help!

What is a Contributing Author?

The contributor position is an unpaid position, but does have some perks. It provides a great opportunity to be published on a reputable news source. It’s a resume builder, opportunity to “get your name out there”, and allows you to engage in an open dialogue with a vibrant tech-loving community. At times we’ll have advanced access to apps and games, accessories to test, new phones/tablets/hardware to review, to which contributors may have access (among other things).

What are the expectations of a Contributing Author?

Contributing Authors will be expected to publish a minimum of 1-3 articles each week. They’ll communicate closely with the editorial team via E-Mail, Skype, and other means, passing back and forth story ideas that could be either time sensitive or open ended.

Maybe you already spend your time digging through tech sites and social media and would love to bring the information to our readers with your own spin. Maybe you’ve always wanted to create videos, write tutorial articles, or compose full blown reviews of the newest apps and games. We’re looking for a diverse set of contributors who can help take Phandroid to the next level.

How can you apply?

  • Send an E-Mail to rob[at]phandroid[dot]com
  • Copy and paste “Phandroid Contributing Author” in the subject line… without the quotes
  • Tell us your name, age, location and a little bit about yourself
  • Tell us which of the 3 positions most interests you
  • Tell us why you would make a great Contributing Author
  • Tell us how much time each week you hope to dedicate to Phandroid (be realistic!) and what type of content you would most like to contribute
  • Copy/Paste/Link us (no attachments) to related writing samples in the Phandroid style (optional)
  • Give us an idea of what you’ll bring to the table by sharing a few unique article ideas you would enjoy writing
  • Convince us that you’re the “go-getter” we’re seeking!

TAKE YOUR TIME
We’re looking for quality applicants, not how quickly you can show your interest/urgency. We’re expecting a large number of inquiries and will be unable to respond to every person. If we’re interested, expect to hear back from us in about a week, at which point we’ll narrow down the field of candidates with some follow up questions.

So… whaddaya say?

phandroid-ces

Good luck!

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