Phandroid Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:04:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 In-the-wild image of Sony Xperia Z4 tablet leak along with mid-range handset Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:01:35 +0000 Xperia-Z4-Tablet1-640x480

Sony might be in the midst of spinning off its mobile business, but that doesn’t mean the company is pressing pause on bringing us new gear in 2015. After a quiet showing at CES, the company looks to have at least a couple of devices in tap for MWC, including what might be considered the official followup to the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet.

While last year brought us the Xperia Z3 Compact Tablet, the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet is the company’s first full-sized offering since the Z2. It looks to feature the same sleek Sony design we have come to expect, and this includes an ultra-thin profile. We see it in-the-wild for the first time thanks to a leak presented by XperiaBlog.

Sony-Xperia-M4-Aqua2-640x320Not a flagship smartphone but still intriguing is the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua, another device leaked ahead of Mobile World Congress and likely on tap for the show floor. Rumored specs include a 5.2-inch 720p display, 13MP camera, Snapdragon 610 SoC, and Android 5.0 Lollipop. As the Aqua name implies, Sony’s penchant for waterproofing their devices will carry over to this mid-range smartphone.

We’ll definitely be seeing a lot more of these devices come next week. Stay tuned for hands-on coverage and more.

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Sprint teases Galaxy S6, we get our clearest official look yet Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:44:14 +0000 sprint-six-appeal

We’re a mere couple of days away from Samsung’s Galaxy S6 launch event, but it seems that Android fans aren’t the only ones that can’t stand the anticipation. Sprint is getting on board with the teasers and has launched a “Six Appeal” landing page utilizing a familiar side profile image of what we assume to be the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. Here interested Sprint users (are there any Sprint users left?) can register for updates about Samsung’s highly anticipated smartphone.

But lest you think that’s all we will get before the official launch of Samsung Galaxy S6, a second image has surfaced giving us a near full-frontal view of both the standard and Edge versions of the device. The Edge is shown with a display that curves at both sides — a feature that has been rumored but not quite confirmed in recent leaks.


Interesting to note is that in all of Samsung’s early advertising, the Edge variant of the device seems to be the one getting top billing, a different strategy than what we saw with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and and Note Edge. If the S6 Edge is the true flagship, we might wonder why Samsung didn’t simply go all-in on that model while foregoing a version with a standard display.

The image also seems to confirm the notion floating around that the Galaxy S6 Edge will not use its curved display in quite the same way as the Note Edge the preceded it. While the Note Edge had a more dramatic curve that served as a secondary display, the S6 appears to utilize a more subtle taper. There are no indications of the so-called Edge display, leaving us to believe the choice is all about design and ergonomics.

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Google is testing out a new feature in Search that lets you chat directly with businesses via Hangouts Thu, 26 Feb 2015 22:36:38 +0000 Google Chat for businesses 2

If you’re anything like us, sometimes the idea of interacting with another human being over the phone is just too much work. Google knows this. It’s why they’re reportedly testing a new feature in Google Search that will allow you to contact businesses over Hangouts.

Listed under the contact information card as “Chat,” it will show when a business you’ve searched is available for chat, or not. Selecting chat will pull up a familiar Hangouts chat window where you can make a reservation or simply inquire about a restaurant’s “gluten free” menu. The feature is still being tested and is still in its experimental phase (you’ll get an error if you try it right now).

It’s almost crazy to think about how little we use our phone for actual voice calls and the few times we do, we’re calling businesses looking for a specific product or making a reservation. Google cutting this out completely and making it easier for techies to get a hold of local business could be a huge move, one where everybody wins.


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Verizon Nexus 6 coming March 12th with Android 5.1 and Advanced Calling / VoLTE support baked in Thu, 26 Feb 2015 20:39:48 +0000 Nexus_6_Back

Despite early rumors pegging today as the launch of the Nexus 6 on Verizon, the phone still hasn’t become available. But, if you read our post yesterday, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. After stores just recently began receiving promo materials (scheduled to go up on March 11th), the launch date was pushed back to March 12th.

So what about that Feb 26th launch date? Well, if you needed any further proof that it’s what Verizon originally had in mind for the release date, they seem have auto-posted a Nexus 6 demo video onto their YouTube page. We’re not sure how long it’ll be up, but hopefully this will tide you over until the phone actually launches in a few more weeks.

Nexus 6 Android 5.1 Advanced Calling VoLTE

When the Nexus 6 does finally launch on Verizon, our sources tell us it will arrive with Android 5.1 which will support “Enhanced 4G LTE Mode” (Advanced Calling / VoLTE) in the device’s “Cellular network” settings. Maybe this is why the phone was delayed so many months after GSM models.

Thanks, Anon!



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Moto 360 reportedly heading to Moto Maker in March Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:57:44 +0000 Moto 360 moto maker

You can customize your smartphone on Moto Maker, so why not your smartwatch? That’s Motorola’s line of thinking who, starting in March, will reportedly make available the Motorola Moto 360 via their online customizing tool. Okay, that probably sounds a lot cooler than what is actually going on here.

You wont be able to customize the watch with new accent colors the way you can a Moto smartphone. Instead, prospective buyers will just be given choices of already available colors — silver, black, or gold — and then can further “customize” the watch with one of Motorola’s various watch straps. Pricing will fluctuate dependent on the specific watch strap you choose (metal is more expensive), but it’s a good way to see what the watch will look like and sort of fun too.

While this probably wont affect your decision to buy the watch if you were on the fence, we can’t help but wonder what kind of options will be available in the next generation model. Internal storage? Accent colors? Display sizes?


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Samsung announces mass production of 128GB UFS 2.0 storage for high-end mobile devices Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:55:34 +0000 samsung storage ufs 2

Samsung has announced that they’ve started mass producing the industry’s first 128GB Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 2.0 units for next generation smartphones. In case you don’t know, UFS is a standard that looks to combine the read/write speeds of solid-state memory with the power consumption benefits of the eMMC technology utilized in most smartphones.

This should make for blazing fast loading speeds and more reliable performance without having to worry about it guzzling the power needed to make the rest of the phone run. Samsung also touts the chip’s ability to save up to 50% of space on the physical motherboard thanks to its ability to be stacked directly on top of a logic chip.

“With our mass production of ultra-fast UFS memory of the industry’s highest capacity, we are making a significant contribution to enable a more advanced mobile experience for consumers,” said Jee-ho Baek, Senior Vice President of Memory Marketing, Samsung Electronics. “In the future, we will increase the proportion of high-capacity memory solutions, in leading the continued growth of the premium memory market.”

Samsung says they expect the units will be use in future high-end smartphones, though the company wasn’t willing to name drop. Our obvious first guess is that they could be looking to stuff these inside an ultra premium variant of the Samsung Galaxy S6.

It’s worth noting Samsung is also mass producing these storage units in 32GB or 64GB flavors so there’s a chance those could be the standard inside of Samsung’s latest high-end handsets going forward. Let’s just hope the first beneficiary of this memory is the very device we’re headed to Barcelona to see next month (that, of course, being the Samsung Galaxy S6).

[via Samsung]


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Mobile Roar 82: Pebble Time, Moto in a box, and technical issues Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:35:48 +0000

This week we finally have some new topics to talk about! Pebble announced their next generation smartwatch with a color e-paper display, and it was funded on Kickstarter in less than 12 hours. Motorola sent us a press event in a box, and it was really cool. The HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6 teasers and leaks are red hot. It was a good week, until…

38 minutes into the podcast everything went wrong. Internet issues caused the live Hangout to end, which is usually not a big deal because we record our audio locally. At least the audio version would be fine, right? Turns out we had some random recording issues with audio too. When that happens we just strip the audio from the Hangout video. Welp. The last 22 minutes are gone forever. Sorry.

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MR show 82

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Amazon’s deal of the day takes 70% off Samsung NX smart cameras, 30% off Blu Studio 6 Thu, 26 Feb 2015 18:12:41 +0000 samsung nx300

Amazon’s latest deal of the day might be the perfect excuse for aspiring photographers to get their first decent piece of equipment. Several refurbished models of Samsung’s NX smart cameras are on sale for up to 70% off.

You can grab the NX1000 for $189.99, the NX2000 for $229.99, and the top-end NX300 for $269.99. All three cameras have the same 20.3 megapixel camera sensor, and all are bundled with a capable 20-50mm detachable lens that can be replaced with any NX-compatible lenses you may own or purchase in the near future.

Note that these aren’t the Samsung “Galaxy” NX cameras that run Android, but they can back your photos up in the cloud automatically thanks to built-in WiFi. Other “smart” features are for those with Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets, such as remote viewfinder and AutoShare (which sends photos you take directly to your smartphone).

Also on sale as a bonus item is the Blu Studio 6.0 HD. It’s a 6-inch smartphone with 720p resolution and a decent 1.2GHz quad-core processor. You’re also getting 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, and an 8 megapixel camera that can record 1080p video. The cost for all that? $130, and that even comes with free standard shipping if you don’t want to pay anything for the courtesy of having it show up on your doorstep in a week or two.

Be sure to check out the lot of Samsung NX cameras here, while you can grab the Blu Studio 6.0 right here for those in the market for a new smartphone.

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Here’s a look at Nexus 6 dbrand skins, bring on the customization Thu, 26 Feb 2015 16:57:26 +0000 Nexus_6_Dbrand

Recently, popular phone skin manufacturer dbrand ran a promotion where they were offering 25% off of all skins. Being a former Motorola Moto X user, I was already familiar with customizing the exterior of my phone, but I’ve never used a phone skin before and this seemed like the perfect opportunity for a skin newbie like myself to partake in the world of customizing the outside of your phone with third party accessories. It was time to spruce up my boring Nexus 6.

So, what exactly is a phone skin? Often called wraps or decals, they’re made from 3M vinyl and are essentially high quality stickers. All skins are 100% resistant to scratching and fading. The most important part here though is that the adhesive used never leaves any residue on the back of your phone, kind of like a 3M Post-It Note, so that you’re able to apply and reapply as many skins as you like and not damage your precious Android phone.

I chose a simple carbon fiber skin for my Nexus 6, though dbrand has plenty of colors and textures that can be mixed and matched together to create your very own style.


Being a bit of a perfectionist, I was worried that the dbrand skin for my Nexus 6 wouldn’t line up perfectly, have gaps, or just wouldn’t look good. I’ve been using this skin for a few days now and can say that I’m happy with the results. The entire skin screams precision as the cutout matches up perfectly on all sides and even around the Nexus logo too. The back of the Nexus 6 is a little slick, so I’m also enjoying the added grip and feel thanks to the carbon fiber texture as I’m not really a case type of guy.

If you’re looking to spruce up your plain looking Nexus 6, head on over the dbrand’s online store. Skins for the Nexus 6 start at $10 a pop.

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LG Watch Urbane will get an LTE variant, but it won’t run Android Wear Thu, 26 Feb 2015 16:29:49 +0000 lg watch urbane lte

Earlier this month LG revealed their latest smart watch, the LG Watch Urbane. It’s an all-metal round device that looks as good as it functions and could be a stylish accessory to any attire.

And now they’ve announced a variant that will come with LTE, GPS and other nice features. One other thing it does have that the other model does? Android Wear. LG will instead use their “Wearable Platform,” which we suspect is based on webOS and could be the same mystery smart watch they were seen toting around the show floors of CES.

The watch comes with three physical buttons despite having a nice 1.3-inch 320 x 320 OLED display. The top button gets you to quick settings toggles and information about battery, volume and connection. The middle button swaps between the watch face and a list of apps you have installed. Finally, the bottom has two functions: a quick press acts as back, while a long press is a distress function that will automatically dial any preset phone number you choose (obviously in cases of dire emergency, or for those spouses who just can’t stop talking to each other all day).

Here’s how the full spec sheet reads:

  • Chipset: 1.2GHz Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM 400
  • Operating System: LG Wearable Platform
  • Display: 1.3-inch P-OLED (320 x 320 / 245ppi)
  • Network: LTE
  • Memory: 4GB eMMC / 1GB LPDDR3
  • Battery: 700mAh
  • Sensors: 9 Axis / Barometer / PPG / GPS
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b, g, n / Bluetooth 4.0LE / NFC
  • Color: Silver
  • Other: Dust and Water Resistant (IP67) / Speaker / Microphone

Nothing crazy on that front, but definitely solid. The question now has to be “what next?” What sort of support can we see from this “Wearable Platform” by LG.

The company hasn’t mentioned an effort to court developers to make apps for the platform so we’ll have to see just how good the ecosystem can be. That could be the difference between an exciting and successful new smart watch operating system vs vaporware that gets overlooked for established marketplaces like Android Wear provides.

[via LG]

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Don’t look now, but Sponsored Apps are coming to Google Play Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:32:45 +0000 google play sponsored apps gif

Google Play’s search results have long been clean of advertisements with Google looking to ranking algorithms, editor-curated lists and other standard practices to let the best apps naturally bubble to the top. But developers will soon be able to pay for their app to be featured above all the rest.

Google has announced Sponsored Apps for Google Play. It sounds just like you’d imagine: you search for, say, “recipe app,” and a “sponsored” app will be the first result before taking you to the rest of the pack. It’s just like the ads you see across Twitter, Facebook and Google Search itself.

Google says they’re doing this to help developers get their apps to more eyes, which would in turn help them make more money. Their 2014 payout of over $7 billion to app developers who run ads is used as incentive.

This isn’t open to anyone and everyone just yet. Google is working with a limited, select group of partners to trial the program in the early going. If all goes well we imagine it will be opened up to anyone willing to dish out the coin needed for prime advertising real estate.

There’s sure to be a good deal of backlash within the community about the move, but if Google wants to make Google Play a more viable platform for developers to make income then they have to start allowing developers to get the most eyes they can on their app. It’s hard to do that with millions of other apps to compete with, so this is sure to be the most lucrative and effective route to that goal.

[via Google]

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Newly-leaked photos show the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge side-by-side Thu, 26 Feb 2015 13:55:30 +0000 Talk about the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge at!


Yesterday we were treated to a blowout of leaked photos of one of the more anticipated Android devices coming this year (that, of course, being the Samsung Galaxy S6). The leakster responsible for the photos confirmed a few details we’d been hearing through the grapevine to this point, namely the lack of a microSD card slot, no removable battery and a glass-clad back.

And now its multi-sided sibling has been leaked. The same poster dished out new shots of the Samsung Galaxy S6 sitting next to the alleged Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. If you aren’t aware, the Galaxy S6 Edge is supposed to come with a dual-edge display as opposed to a one-sided Edge display ala the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge.


It’s hard to tell in the photos provided, but there does seem to be a slight curve on both sides of the display. We’re not sure if each side will be responsible for different things or if they’ll both able to show the same apps and information, but those details are sure to be revealed at Samsung’s March 1st event in Barcelona.

Something else we can take away from these new photos is the increased size of the physical home button. Samsung is rumored to be using an improved fingerprint scanner technology that’s akin to what you’d find on the iPhone. That is, you won’t have to swipe your finger as the scanner will be able to read it the moment you press it.


It makes sense, then, that the surface area of the home button has to increase in order to accurately read a fingerprint in this manner. Some may not like the home button, but if it has to stay — and get bigger — in order to provide a more blissful fingerprint scanning experience then that’s a compromise we’ll have to put up with.

[via XDA]

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AT&T Moto X (2nd Gen) now receiving Android 5.0.2 Lollipop update Thu, 26 Feb 2015 01:34:26 +0000 Nova Launcher Moto X 2014 DSC07206

Better late than never (but almost just as embarrassing), AT&T is now officially ready to push out Android 5.0.2 to the Motorola Moto X (2nd Gen) nearly 4 months after it became available on the stock “Pure Edition.”

Considering Verizon manage to get the update out towards the end of November (yes, Verizon), we’d be inclined to believe AT&T was simply dragging their feet on the update. But given all the issues with Lollipop since 5.0, we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they found something really buggy (seems everyone else did). Here’s some of the new goodies you’ll get after updating to software version 22.21.34:

  • A new look and feel. Google brings its all-new Material Design to life with a bold, new visual style. The new user interface is designed to enable better, more natural touch screen interactions and introduces vivid new colors, typography, and edge-to-edge imagery to make using your phone more fluid.
  • Your device, your rules. Catch up with notifications on your lock screen and even dismiss them without unlocking. New “Downtime” and “Interruption” settings also allow you to decide what people and what notifications get through at times that you choose.
  • Share your device. You know that moment when your kid plays with your phone or a friend needs to borrow it? Use “Guest” mode or another account you’ve set up to share your device. You can also pin a view to limit the user to a particular application.
  • Let there be light. Shine a light by using the new flashlight in Quick Settings. Just swipe down with two fingers from the status bar to see it.
  • Battery saver. The Battery settings panel now shows an estimated projection for how much time you have left even while you’re charging. You can also enable a new battery saver mode that will save power by reducing performance and most background data operations to extend your battery life.

If you haven’t been prompted about the update, you can manually check for it by diving into Settings > About Phone > System Updates to pull the new firmware on your own. If it’s still showing as not available, sit tight. It’ll get to you soon enough.

You can check out all the new goodies that come with Android 5.0.2 by visiting Motorola’s page over here. Don’t forget to check out our “15 Tips & Tricks for Android Lollipop Users” post as well.

[Motorola | via Google+]

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Here’s where you can watch the HTC One M9 event live stream Thu, 26 Feb 2015 00:13:37 +0000 HTC One M9 event live stream times

For those of you who wont be making the 10+ hour trip (16 if you’re flying from Cali) to Barcelona for HTC’s big HTC One M9 unveiling event, good news: you can watch the entire event from the comfort of your couch.

Actually, you wont even have to get out of bed. The entire event will be streaming live on HTC’s site right here for your convenience and kicks off at 10:00AM ET / 7:00AM PT. Oh, and don’t forget to stay tuned afterward for our hands-on with whatever HTC announces at the event. Seems they could have a few tricks up their sleeve.


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Verizon Nexus 6 promo materials begin hitting retail stores, mid-March launch date tipped Wed, 25 Feb 2015 23:50:14 +0000 Nexus 6 promo poster

We know many of you are excited about what Android manufacturers are set to unveil next week during Mobile World Congress, but let’s not forget about one of the best phones already available on the market: the Nexus 6.

It’s been about 3 months since the phone launched touting Verizon availability but so far not a single peep from Verizon on a specific date. A few weeks back we showed you guys a leaked image of the Nexus 6 complete with Verizon tramp stamp branding along the bottom (duh), letting us know a launch was just around the corner.

Today we received a quick picture of one of the phone’s promo materials, a poster set to be displayed in-store on March 11th. These training materials — as well as training phones which, ironically, don’t feature Verizon’s logo on the back — are also hitting stores as we speak, with Verizon said to be planning a big push complete with large window banners and signage across the store.

As for a launch date, our tipster tells us you can expect the Verizon Nexus 6 to become available the day after the signage goes up, currently scheduled for Thursday, March 12th. The phone is said to arrive with 5.0 out of the box, with a day-1 update to 5.0.1. Mark you calendars.

Thanks, anon!

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