Phandroid Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Thu, 28 Aug 2014 03:49:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Samsung officially announces Gear S standalone smart watch, as well as Gear Circle earbuds Thu, 28 Aug 2014 02:56:21 +0000 Samsung Gear S_Blue Black_3

Hold onto your hats folks — looks like LG prompted Samsung to issue their smart watch announcement a bit early. The company today confirmed the existence of a new smart watch that might hold a tremendous amount of value for those who don’t fancy tethering to a smartphone for their smart watch needs.

What you see above is what we’ve been calling the “Gear Solo,” and comes with its own embedded 3G radios so you can make calls and use data without having to tether it to a smartphone. Beyond that, it actually sounds like a pretty powerful smart watch under the hood. Here are the specs you can look forward to:

  • 2-inch Super AMOLED display at 480 x 360
  • dual-core 1GHz processor
  • 512MB of RAM
  • 4GB of storage
  • WiFi N, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS w/GLONASS
  • 300mAh battery

Samsung says you can get up to 2 days of “typical” usage out of this thing, though we’re sure that will eventually vary from person to person. As for software you can expect Tizen to be running on this bad boy (which we know isn’t the most popular thing Samsung could have used).

Samsung Gear S_Blue Black_4 Samsung Gear S_Pure White_1 Samsung Gear S_Pure White_3 Samsung Gear S_Blue Black_1

The design looks pretty sleek, but you’re out of luck if you want to customize the wrist band.

Following that announcement is the Gear Circle, an accessory that’ll let you listen to tunes, make phone calls and issue voice commands on either your phone or smart watch. We thought the Gear Circle would turn out to be a smart watch with a circular display, but it looks like Samsung had something totally different in mind. Where does it get its name? The fact that it can wrap around your neck and clasp into a magnetic mechanism, effectively making a “circle.” You can also call it the geekiest necklace you’ll ever wear.

Samsung_Circle_White_3 Samsung_Circle_Blue_Black _6 Samsung_Circle_Black _5 Samsung_Circle_White_1

Samsung expects their latest products to be available this October, and we imagine they’ll push them quite heavily alongside the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 expected to be unveiled in one short week. No pricing details have been mentioned at this point, though we’re sure Samsung will be throwing us the details once they are finalized.

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Official LG G Watch R pictures emerge Thu, 28 Aug 2014 02:33:52 +0000 LG G Watch R Specs officially announced!

We’ve just learned what’s inside LG’s latest smartwatch as the LG G Watch R Specs have been officially announced. Now we learn about the outside as LG has just issued a number of stunning pictures of the LG G Watch R:

lg-g-watch-r-7 lg-g-watch-r-1 lg-g-watch-r-6 lg-g-watch-r-4 lg-g-watch-r-2

There’s a whole lot we could say… but we’ll let you be the judge in the comments!

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LG G Watch R Specs officially announced, coming in time for the holidays Thu, 28 Aug 2014 02:08:46 +0000 Ever since LG announced their circular Android Wear smartwatch we’ve been dying to know more. Now we do. LG has announced a teaser to the device’s IFA debut, making clear some of the specs we’ve so desperately desired to see, officially announcing them before Motorola does so for the famed Moto 360. Here they are…

LG G Watch R Specs:

  • 1.3-inch P-OLED Display (320 x 320)
  • 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
  • 4GB Storage (eMMC)
  • 512MB RAM
  • 410mAh Battery
  • IP67 Certification
  • Sensors: 9-Axis (Gyro/ Accelerometer/ Compass), Barometer, PPG
  • Color: Black
  • Frame: stainless steel
  • Strap: 22mm calf skin leather strap

In their press release, LG makes sure to rub in the fact that its the, “first watch-style wearable device to feature a circular Plastic OLED (P-OLED) display and utilizes 100 percent of its watch face.” That is, of course, a dig at the Moto 360 design that cuts off a small fraction of the screen.

If you’re looking to buy the LG G Watch R for the holidays – whether as a gift for someone else, gift for yourself, or sticking it on your list for Santa – you’re in luck: it’ll be available in Q4 in key markets. I’d anticipate key markets includes the US of A, other parts of North America, and most of Europe at a bare minimum.

Keep in mind that Android Wear is only compatible with Android 4.3 and above, so if your phone is outdated, you better upgrade that while you’re at it.


See our LG G Watch R Picture Gallery!

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You can now get 8 amazing Sega games (and a live wallpaper) for around $3.89 in the latest Humble Mobile Bundle Thu, 28 Aug 2014 01:04:01 +0000 Humble Sega Mobile Bundle

Last week we told you guys about the latest Humble Mobile Bundle to hit the ground running, once again offering up some of the best games on Android, but at a much deeper discount (all in an effort to help charity). The Sega themed bundle initially offered up 6 games — Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I, ChuChu Rocket!, and Virtua Tennis Challenge, Sonic & SEGA All-Star Racing, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II and Crazy Taxi — all for about $3.78 or more with the promise of 2 more titles to be added later.

As was expected, Humble Sega Mobile Bundle is back with 2 new titles to add to the mix: Sonic CD, and Super Monkey Ball 2: Sakura Edition. But that’s not all, the bundle also including a special “Happy Sonic! Live Wallpaper” as a bonus, which should fit nicely on the Android launcher of your choice.

The going rate is currently at $3.89 (the average donation amount) in order to unlock all the titles listed above. If you’d like to relive Sega’s glory days, you can find the Humble Sega Mobile Bundle deal here and don’t forget to check out their newly overhauled companion app linked below.

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The new Cricket is now offering $100 to switch from T-Mobile or MetroPCS Wed, 27 Aug 2014 23:40:01 +0000 Cricket promo

If you ever said to yourself, “Man, you’d have to pay me to use Cricket” today’s your day. The now AT&T owned prepaid carrier is offering up a $100 credit to anyone who leaves T-Mobile or MetroPCS (also owned by T-Mobile) for up to 5 lines.

Those crazy enough to switch to Cricket from T-Mobile, heaven help you. With JUMP early upgrades, free music streaming, free data roaming, and all the other recent moves T-Mobile has been making in recent months, it’s easy to see where I choose to spend my money. But because no 2 people have the same wireless needs, you may find saving a few bucks upfront with Cricket’s cheaper monthly rates and new promo to be a bit more enticing. Cricket’s deal is valid until October 19th and will only work for those porting their number to one of Cricket’s available Basic, Smart, or Pro plans.

This new move shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering AT&T officially purchased Cricket earlier this year for $1.19 billion which, to be fair, greatly expanded Cricket’s footprint from their CDMA days of yore. Cricket and MetroPCS often go head-to-head in rural markets offering up affordable off-contract devices for those on a budget.

As a one time (and still bitter) Cricket customer, I’ll admit, current customers using newer GSM devices assure me things have changed since they’re now operating on AT&T’s network. Guess you’ll just have to take their word for it.


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HTC Desire 510 carrier availability announced for the US and Canada, here’s where you’ll be able to buy one Wed, 27 Aug 2014 22:53:10 +0000 htc desire 510

Announced during the wee hours of last night, the HTC Desire 510 is a sexy little entry level Android that wont break the bank. While the official announcement did a good job at revealing the new handset (which seriously, looks awesome), it was mum on exact availability details like when — and more importantly, where — we can plan on picking one up in the future.

This afternoon, HTC USA took to their Twitter account to reveal exactly where we can pick up the HTC Desire 510 later this year, listing off Sprint, Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile and even Cricket. For this living a little more north, HTC Canada also chimed in, revealing that the handset will be available from Fido Mobile, Rogers, SaskTel, Telus, Videotron, and Virgin Mobile (Canada, of course). For those that need a little refresher on exactly what the HTC Desire 510 offers up, check out some of the basic hardware specs listed below.

HTC Desire 510 specs

  • 4.7-inch FWVGA display
  • Quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 410 processor
  • 8GB of internal storage (microSD up to 128GB)
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 5MP rear camera, VGA front camera
  • Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi N, GPS w/ GLONASS
  • 2,100mAh battery
  • 4G LTE
  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • 139.9 x 69.8 x 9.99mm, 158g

One of the coolest parts about the HTC Desire 510 is that HTC will also offer a compatible Dot View case made especially for the device. A stylish way to the protect the handset, the Dot View case allows you to see specific notifications and interact with the device even while the case is closed. HTC recently updated the Dot View app on Google Play to allows users to upload their own images, while expanding notification support. Slick.

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Motorola has 20 Moto 360s to give away, all you have to do is send them a ‘Yo’ for a chance at winning one Wed, 27 Aug 2014 21:38:26 +0000 Motorola Yo contest

It’s probably one of the most useless apps to come along in awhile, yet those who download pseudo messaging app “Yo” can be entered to win a Moto 360. Revealed on Twitter, Motorola will be giving away 20 Motorola Moto 360 smartwatches to random people who message them using Yo over the next 24 hours (before August 28th, 2:59 PM CT). If you get a Yo back, then you officially have a shot at picking up a Moto 360 free of charge.

Once a Yo has been received, Motorola will be contacting winners around 4:00PM CT on August 28th via Gmail (yes, a Google account is required to claim the prize). At that point the race is really on, and only those who are the first 20 people to successfully fill out an entry form will eligible to win the Moto 360.

What’s interesting is how Motorola is — once again — giving the Moto 360 an approximate retail value of $250 in the official contest rules, lining up with what we saw recently from a Best Buy leak. You can download the Yo app on Google Play via the link below. Good luck!


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Nova Launcher 3.1 update now available to all, introduces fancy new app drawer animations and search Wed, 27 Aug 2014 20:39:37 +0000 Nova Launcher Circle animation

(Click to view the circle animation GIF)

Last week we told you guys about a new Nova Launcher Beta update that, in addition to introducing search in the app drawer, brought along some sleek new drawer animations as well. Looks like everything checked out because today, that update is now officially out of beta and available to everyone via the Google Play Store.

As a refresher, users can expect fancy new app drawer animations like Circle, Slide Up, Zoom, and Fade. Just keep in mind that the developer has noticed some issues with the circle animation not behaving properly on a few devices, in which case you may not see the option if your device wasn’t released this year (Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S3 to name a few). In most cases, TeslaCoil says the circle animation should be working fine for 2014 flagships.

Users can also set a gesture action to open up the app drawer search, useful if you prefer finding your apps via that method. Of course, the usual bug fixes and improved memory usage have all the made the cut, so stop waiting and update/download Nova Launcher 3.1 via the Play Store link below.

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Dropbox lowers price of 1TB plan, kills off the rest, and now finally competes with Google Drive Wed, 27 Aug 2014 19:37:18 +0000 Dropbox-Pro-featured

With the advent of 4K video, we’re just now seeing flagship smartphones capable of shooting this new crystal clear video resolution. The problem? Well, if history has taught us anything it’s that file sizes are only going to get bigger form here on out. With that, Dropbox is finally announcing new pricing options for their paid Dropbox Pro users, officially pitting the cloud storage service head-to-head with Google Drive.

Starting today, you can now grab a 1TB Dropbox Pro account for only $10 a month or $99 for the year… and that’s it. Previously Dropbox Pro tried to cover their bases by offering a few different tiers for users looking for either a little extra storage ($10 a month for 100GB), a good amount ($20 a month for 200GB), or a lot ($50 a month for 500GB). With the new Dropbox Pro option, it’s a simple 1-size-fits-all kinda deal. None the less, it’s a great value.

With the new lower paid-pricing comes a few extra bonus features as well. In their blog post, Dropbox talks about new sharing tools like being able to set passwords for shared links, expiration dates for shared links, or allowing others to only view or edit shared files. In the event that you lose a connected laptop or device, Dropbox Pro can not only unsync files from that lost device, but wipe the already saved Dropbox files from it as well.

Current Dropbox Pro users can expect the boatload of extra storage to become available shortly, while those paying for the higher tiers will either see a prorated price for this month, or a lower bill the following. To sign up for a Dropbox Pro account, visit the link here.

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LG G3 on track to become LG’s first 10 million sales champion Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:37:36 +0000 LG-G3-Hero

Don’t call it a comeback, folks. OK, maybe you can. LG has come a long way since the days of the troubled Optimus line and their very early line of Android smartphones, but the LG G2 onward has proven that they are capable of refocusing and getting back to serious business. That fact is soon to be cemented by a major milestone that any company should be proud of.

The LG G3 is on track to become the South Korean company’s first smartphone to reach the 10 million sales mark. Behemoth Samsung has been able to boast those types of numbers numerous times in the past few years with their Note and Galaxy S lineup so it’s nice to see that the personal electronics industry in the country is no longer one-sided.

LG credits much of their success to a philosophy that has them going back to the bare basics in all things they do. Not only does this allow them to focus on good product design and value-added features, but it also helps their different divisions come together to perform as one well-oiled cohesive machine.

If 10 million smartphone sales is the result of that change then we say keep on keepin’ on, LG. Let us know if you’re still enjoying your G3, and read our LG G3 review if you still aren’t sure what the hype is all about.

[via Korea Times]

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ASUS officially names upcoming Android Wear product ZenWatch in latest teaser [VIDEO] Wed, 27 Aug 2014 17:52:15 +0000

In another teaser ASUS has uploaded to YouTube the company let slip the name of their first smart watch (which is rumored to be running Android Wear). The ASUS ZenWatch is what they’ve decided to bill it. That gives us high hopes of its quality being high if their ZenBook line is anything to go by.

We still don’t have a clue what to expect from ASUS with this launch, though the teasers show a device that clearly isn’t circular. That said, the squarish display looks to boast rounded corners so you’re sort of getting the best of both worlds.

asus zenwatch

There won’t be much to talk about on the software side of things if it’s running Android Wear as we already know all that has to offer, though it’ll be up to ASUS to convince us that their smart watch will stand out ahead of the rest of the herd. September 3rd is the date you’ll want to circle on your calendar if you want to make sure you don’t miss any of it. Watch the new teaser above.

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T-Mobile’s Music Freedom brings unlimited listening for 6 new services today, Google Play later this year Wed, 27 Aug 2014 16:13:41 +0000 T-Mobile Music Freedom 1

One of the most underrated perks of being a T-Mobile customer is Music Freedom. It allows customers to listen to music without having it count toward their LTE data bucket, something the other carriers effectively bill you for. If the original six services weren’t what you fancied, T-Mobile’s adding six more in today’s announcement. Here’s the full list of the latest roster additions:

  • AccuRadio
  • Black Planet
  • Grooveshark
  • Radio Paradise
  • Rdio
  • Songza

T-Mobile also acknowledged that Google Play Music All Access was  – by far — their most requested service, and that they’re on track to add it to the lineup by the end of the year. Here are the remaining six services in case you were wondering what the full list looks like:

  • iHeartRadio
  • iTunesRadio
  • Pandora
  • Rhapsody
  • Samsung Milk
  • Slacker
  • Spotify

And you can expect that list to keep on growing as T-Mobile has a dream to add every possible service they can. Go ahead and load up the tunes to start celebrating.

[via T-Mobile]

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HTC One Remix Review: when “mini” is a good thing Wed, 27 Aug 2014 15:58:24 +0000 one remix

The size of phones is getting a little out of control. Every new flagship Android phone these days has a screen around the 5-inch mark. It wasn’t long ago that we were freaking out about the “giant” 4.3-inch display on the original HTC EVO. This recent trend of extra-large Android phones has created opportunities in the “mini” phone category. HTC is one of several manufacturers to try to cash in on consumers who prefer a more pocketable device.

The HTC One Remix is Verizon’s version of the HTC One Mini 2. The funny thing about the Remix is it’s not actually all that “mini.” In fact, while it is significantly smaller than the HTC One M8, it’s almost the same exact size as the original HTC One. Do you have to sacrifice great features in order to get a device that’s slightly easier to put in your pocket? Let’s find out!

For an in-depth review of HTC software and build-quality, which the Remix shares, check out our in-depth HTC One M8 review.


HTC One Remix 2

HTC’s build quality has been traditionally exceptional, and the Remix does not disappoint in that regard. If you’ve ever held the HTC One M8 you know exactly how the Remix feels. Everything about this device screams “premium.” The aluminum casing has a far superior feel to any other mid-range device we’ve held. It’s heavy enough to feel solid without weighing down your pocket. The only gripe we have with the overall design and build quality is how slippery it is. You will drop this device a few times. Luckily it’s also very durable.


HTC One sizes

Since this is a “mini” device we obviously have to talk about the size. As we mentioned above, the Remix isn’t exactly what most people would consider “mini.” That can be blamed on the excessive bezel that HTC seems to love. The dimension that makes the Remix feel like a mini device is its width. At nearly a quarter of an inch narrower than the One M8 it’s so much easier to hold and operate with one hand.


HTC One Remix 4

Not all of the extra bezel around the display is pointless. Most of it is for the dual front-facing BOOMSOUND speakers. As someone who hasn’t used a device with these speakers I was skeptical about the praise they have received. But let me tell you, once you have a device with BOOMSOUND speakers you will never want to go back. It’s like being able to really hear for the first time. YouTube videos, music, podcasts, and everything just sound amazing. The speakers are easily one of the best features on the HTC One Remix.


HTC One Remix 3

The Remix is a scaled down version of the One M8 in more ways than just size. The display has of course been slimmed down from 5-inches to 4.5-inches, but also the resolution from 1080p to 720p. The good news is HTC still put the same great display tech in the Remix. After looking at the display on the Remix for several days other devices seem to have a yellow tint. That’s because the LCD display on the Remix is much better at color reproduction.


HTC One Remix 6

HTC put a standard 13MP camera in the Remix as opposed to the 4 “ultrapixel” camera on the M8. My experience with the camera was a mixed bag. On the plus side it takes photos very quickly, but that made it hard for me to get clear focus in photos. When I did get it to focus correctly the photos looked very nice. I’m sure it’s one of those things that takes some time to get used to.

As with most smartphone cameras, the HTC One Remix works best outdoors in sunlight. Under those perfect conditions you can get clear detailed photos, especially if you utilize the “daylight” option in the white balance settings. Speaking of settings, the camera software is easy to use and has easy settings for even the photogenically impaired.


One camera feature that stood out was the “Selfie” mode. This mode utilizes the 5MP front-facing camera (same one that comes with the One M8). Photos taken with the front-facing camera on the Remix look awesome. You can get more people in a shot than you can with other devices because of the wider angle lens. For Selife aficionados this is a must-have feature.

All in all the experience and photo quality is good for something considered mid-range. Compared to other smartphone cameras in the same price range there is no contest. Take a look at some photo samples below. Note the slightly out of focus shots.

20140825_115514_Android 20140825_115132_Android 20140825_100223_Android 20140824_143020_Android 20140824_133542_Android 20140823_203548_Android


HTC One Remix 8

I won’t go too deep into the software on the HTC One Remix. It’s running the same version of Sense that we tested on the One M8. As far as Android skins go it’s easily one of the best. HTC doesn’t only use their great design sense for hardware. Sense is a very polished and refined Android skin. Small details and added functionality can be found throughout the OS. Even something as simple as a widget that turns from white to black at night.

Blinkfeed is one Sense feature that you might love or hate. If you use the default launcher you can access Blinkfeed by swiping to the left from the main screen. You can add social networks and websites to see a single stream of content. It’s a handy feature, but I found myself forgetting it was even there. To remove Blinkfeed just use your fingers to zoom out on the homescreen. Drag the Blinkfeed screen to the trash icon.

Most of the time I try to erase all evidence of an Android skin, but with HTC Sense I don’t feel the need. That says a lot.

Performance & Battery

remix battery chart

The Remix is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor. It has nearly half the horsepower of the One M8, but yet it feels just as smooth and fast. HTC does a great job of optimizing their software for the hardware. We had no trouble downloading apps quickly, playing games, multitasking, and doing all the things you demand from a phone. As a mid-range device the Remix easily has enough power.

The one area that really impressed us about the Remix was battery life. As I’m writing this review the phone has been on battery power for nearly 24 hours. This is compared to my Nexus 5 that needs to be charged every day before I go to bed. In fact, while testing the Remix and using it as my main device it was still lasting longer than my idle Nexus 5. Verizon has inexplicably disabled the Power Saver modes on the HTC One Remix. Battery life is already great, but with those battery saving modes it could be even better. Shame on you, Big Red.

The Bottom Line

HTC One Remix 5

“Remixing” usually means to create something completely different from an original source. Most “mini” phones on the market have been “remixed.” They may share a name with the original flagship, but so many features have been scarified it’s hardly the same device. The HTC One Remix is a “mini” phone that doesn’t require the user to give up on flagship features. You get the great HTC build quality and design, amazing BOOMSOUND speakers, excellent performance and battery life, a snappy Android skin, and a capable camera. The best thing we can say about the HTC One Remix is that it’s worth of the “HTC One” name.

The Good

  • Premium build quality
  • Amazing BOOMSOUND speakers
  • Excellent battery life
  • Sense 6 is a joy to use

The Bad

  • Photos are inconsistent
  • Hard to focus with fast shutter
  • Not all that “mini”

Score: 4 out of 5

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Sony Xperia Z3 stripped down to its core ahead of official IFA announcement Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:51:37 +0000 Xperia-Z3-Leak_1-640x480

Sometimes we have trouble getting information about phones well up to their launch date. Others? Well, we tend to see a bit too much. The Sony Xperia Z3 has been leaked time and time again, but that train isn’t slowing down — now we get a look at the device’s guts. There doesn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary under the hood, though we can at least rest easy knowing Sony’s hardware expertise still shines through with a very clean, modular setup.

The photo does reveal the exact battery capacity we can expect to see — 3,100mAh, if its label is accurate. We’re not sure what an outlet like iFixIt might rate this thing in the area of repairability, but it seems modular enough that repairs won’t be a massive headache.


If rumors hold up we should be seeing this thing launch at Sony’s press conference next week at IFA Berlin. We’ll be bringing you all the details as they spill out so be sure to circle back and stay tuned!

[via XperiaBlog]

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Pushbullet update lets you respond to text messages from your PC using any SMS app Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:24:24 +0000 Pushbullet

Pushbullet is set to receive an insane update today for folks who hate having to reach for their phone every time they annoying friend sends a text message. You can now respond to text messages — from ANY SMS app — straight from your computer. Responding to messages from PC is nothing new, but it often requires a specific combination of two apps (one on desktop and one on Android) to work. Pushbullet bringing universal support for this is a rather huge deal.

There’s nothing else new in the update, but considering they send to push these things out of the door like candy on Halloween we’re sure it won’t be long before more killer features make their way into the app. The previous update was already big enough, with Pushbullet enabling universal copy/paste between multiple devices.

Today’s update is available in the Google Play Store ahead of Pushbullet’s formal announcement. Of course, you can always get in on the fun early by heading to their Google+ community here and opting into their Google Play beta program as a tester. You’ll want the Chrome extension right here if you haven’t already gotten it. Here’s to another great update that adds to one of the most useful apps we’ve ever used.

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