Phandroid http://phandroid.com Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Sun, 21 Dec 2014 19:11:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Gift idea: Show your Phandroid pride with the PhanBot speaker [CONTEST] http://phandroid.com/2014/12/21/phanbot-speaker-by-gogroove/ http://phandroid.com/2014/12/21/phanbot-speaker-by-gogroove/#comments Sun, 21 Dec 2014 14:30:16 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=155709 PhanBot blue 1

We’re back on the final day of Phandroid’s Gift-a-Day Giveaway with your last chance at winning some awesome prizes. Today, we’re taking a look at the GOgroove Phanbot, a simple stereo desktop speaker that just so happens to be the shape and color of our beloved Phandroid logo.

At $25, the PhanBot is a great little speaker for the money. About the size of a pineapple, the PhanBot packs some nice punch featuring two 2W speakers and a passive subwoofer located underneath (4W RMS with 8W peak power). Keep in mind the PhanBot is not Bluetooth enabled, but instead hooks up to your phone using the built-in 3.5mm headphone jack.

PhanBot back

There’s also a battery inside for easier portability and glowing LED eyes that indicate the status of the battery. GOgroove even offers a free 3-year warranty with the PhanBot, for worry free buying. If the blue doesn’t quite suit you, there’s also the original Pal Bot in classic Android green for the same price. Both are linked below.

Buy: PhanBot (blue) $25 | Pal Bot (green) $25

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And now… today is your last day to enter our massive giveaway for a chance at winning a handful of Nexus devices and smartwatches. Be sure to enter every single day (you can go back) to improve your chances of winning. Entries for this day will remain open until 11:59 PM (Eastern) tonight! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Phandroid’s news app gets a visual makeover, goes Material Design [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2014/12/20/android-news-material-design-praiseduarte-materiyolo/ http://phandroid.com/2014/12/20/android-news-material-design-praiseduarte-materiyolo/#comments Sat, 20 Dec 2014 22:27:04 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=155727 Phandroid_App_Nexus_5

When Google announced Android L, now Android 5.0 Lollipop, at Google IO nearly 6 months ago, they also announced the biggest visual change for Android to date. The new user interface and experience dubbed Material Design, aims to provide a unified system of visual, motion, and interactive design that adapts across different devices and are inspired by tactile materials, such as paper and ink. Since then, Google and other application developers have been moving towards these new design practices.

If you’re like me, you’re a fan of the latest Android design guidelines, you’re often found praising the word of Matias Duarte, and you just so happen to love when apps are updated to follow Google’s Material Design language. Today, I bring you the latest app to partake in Materiyolo, our Phandroid News app.

As you can see below, we’re rocking the Material Design goodness, applying Phandroid blue to the status bar, navigation bar, and even Phandroid green for the brand new refresh animation, category highlights on the navigation drawer, and for the new FAB (floating action button), which takes you to the article’s comment section when tapped. We’ve also added all of the required animations and transitions that just make moving around the application a thing of beauty. In addition to the visual makeover, we’ve added an easy share icon and favorite icon to the article cards on the main screen. Wallpaper enthusiasts will be happy with our last addition, as you can now easily set any image as your wallpaper directly from the app.

Screenshot_2014-12-20-14-01-09 Screenshot_2014-12-20-14-00-00 Screenshot_2014-12-20-14-00-12 Screenshot_2014-12-20-14-00-31

Check out the video below where I go hands on, covering all of the visual changes and new features in our Phandroid News app. Be sure to let our Android developer Steve Albright know that he’s a baller below in the comments below, if you are experiencing any issues, or if you have any feature requests that you’d like him to bring in a future update. And remember, you can always disable the ads via an in-app purchase of $3.79 a year.

The app is currently in beta, but will be gradating out of the beta channel come Monday when it’s uploaded to the Google Play Store for our official launch. If you can’t wait until Monday, you can always check out the official Phandroid Beta community on Google+.

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Android Wallpaper: Over the river and through the woods http://phandroid.com/2014/12/20/android-wallpaper-river-woods/ http://phandroid.com/2014/12/20/android-wallpaper-river-woods/#comments Sat, 20 Dec 2014 17:00:26 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=155693 river woods wallpaper

See past editions of Android Wallpaper

We’ve all heard the song. “Over the river and through the woods, to Grandfather’s house we go!” This poem was originally written about Thanksgiving, but it works just as well this time of year. Our wallpapers this week are all about the river and wood the author had to traverse to visit her grandparents. Many of us will be making similar trips for the holidays.

For your viewing pleasure we have 6 HD wallpapers to guide you home. To get one of these wallpapers on your phone, tablet, or even PC, simply tap or click on the image to see it at full resolution. Let us know which one is your favorite, and be sure to share a screenshot if you use one of these wallpapers! Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!

Push new Android Wallpaper to your Android device with our Pushbullet channel.

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Gift idea: Belkin WeMo home automation accessories [CONTEST] http://phandroid.com/2014/12/20/gift-idea-belkin-wemo/ http://phandroid.com/2014/12/20/gift-idea-belkin-wemo/#comments Sat, 20 Dec 2014 15:36:31 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=155700 Belkin WeMo house

It’s time for another day of Phandroid’s Gift-a-Day Giveaway, giving you guys not only another great new gift idea, but a chance at winning some pretty awesome prizes. Today we’re taking a look at Belkin’s line of home automation accessories, a product line they call WeMo.

It wasn’t much at first, just a “smart” outlet and some WiFi bulbs, but over the past year or so, they’ve managed to expand their product portfolio, making it much more enticing to those who were on the fence. Let’s take a look at some of the more major products available in Belkin’s WeMo line.

WeMo Switch / Insight Switch

Belkin WeMo Insight Switch

If you’re looking to get started in the whole home automation bit, the best place to start is with the WeMo power switches. Basically, these guys connect to your home’s WiFi and allow you to turn off/on whatever is connected to them, be it lights, televisions, washers, or even a slow cooker.

The difference in the 2 models is the Insight Switch can actually monitor how much energy is being used from connected devices should you feel the need to really keep an eye on power usage. If not, you can save $10 and get the regular model.

Oh, and the Switch also comes in a bundle with the WeMo Motion, a motion sensing attachment that powers devices on/off as movement is detected (up to 10 feet away).

Buy: WeMo Switch $38 | WeMo Insight Switch $50 | WeMo Switch & Motion Sensor $74

WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set

WeMo LED Starter Set w Link

Having full control over your home’s lighting — even when you’re not around — is another big draw when it comes to home automation. Belkin makes things easy for you with their starter kit that comes with 2 of their LED bulbs and the WeMo Link to get everything connected to your home’s WiFi. Once connected, you’ll be able to control the bulbs — up to 50 of them — using the companion app. Belkin says the bulbs will last up to 23 years, so there’s a good chance they may outlive even you. Additional bulbs will run you about $30 for each.

Buy: WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set $86  | WeMo Light Bulb $30

WeMo Light Switch

WeMo Light Switch

The WeMo light switch is a WiFi connected switch that replaces the current one in your home. With the WeMo Light Switch, you can control lighting (or anything else), using your smartphone or tablet using the companion app.

As long as you’re connected to the internet — be it WiFi or 3G/4G — you will always have control over your home’s lighting. The switch even has custom away settings and a long press option.

The WeMo Light Switch does require a bit more setup, but is fairly easy for anyone who’s familiar with switching out their home’s light switches.

Buy: WeMo Light Switch $41

Arguably the best part about all the WeMo products is that they not only work in conjunction with the Android and iOS app, but IFTTT recipes to really expand the convenience and functionality. You can learn more about Belkin’s WeMo line by visiting their website here.

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Today you have yet another opportunity to enter our massive giveaway for a chance at winning Nexus devices and smartwatches. Be sure to enter every single day to improve your chances of winning. Entries for this day will remain open until 11:59 PM (Eastern) on December 21st. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Most-used Android apps, Galaxy S5 Lollipop, dream vacations, and more [From the Forums] http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/most-used-android-apps-galaxy-s5-lollipop-dream-vacations-and-more-from-the-forums/ http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/most-used-android-apps-galaxy-s5-lollipop-dream-vacations-and-more-from-the-forums/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 20:20:17 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=155686 fromtheforums

The holidays are in full swing. Have you finished your Christmas shopping? You can put it off just a little longer to check out the latest from Android Forums this week. Let’s slide on down the chimney.

Your most-used Android apps

We all have those apps we use everyday, if not multiple times everyday (and some we use every time we unlock our phones). What are yours? Let’s here those lists of Top 10 Most-Used Android Apps. We’re as curious as the rest to know.

Lollipop on the Samsung Galaxy S5

When will your Samsung Galaxy S5 receive its Android 5.0 Lollipop update? In some regions it has already arrived. Others vary based on carrier and other details. In any event, if you are among those itching to upgrade you’ll want to check in at Android Forums.

For those leaving Sprint experiencing issues with Google Voice…

One unique feature of being a Sprint subscriber has been fully integrated support for Google Voice. While it’s great if you plan to stick with Sprint for the long haul, some jumping ship to other carriers have encountered issues reclaiming their original Google Voice number. If that’s you, here’s a read you will appreciate.

Dream vacations

“The dream vacation is not real, it’s just in dreams.” Or so says greanfz. All the more reason to take a few minutes to let your mind wander to that far off destination you have always yearned to explore. That exotic beach, the five-star hotel, the open road calling your name. With no other limitations, where would spend your idle time?

Hotly Debated

Popular Threads

Jump on in and join the discussion (you’ll need and account first: sign up for that). We’ll be back next week with more from the forums. Happy Holidays!

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Intuit’s redesigned Turbo Tax app actually makes you want to do your taxes http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/turbotax-app-2015/ http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/turbotax-app-2015/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:41:10 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=155681 turbotax app 1 2015

For some people, doing taxes sucks. Even if you’re getting a good deal of money back, it can often be a headache full of paper shuffling and number crunching that you wish you didn’t have to deal with. But if you’re a fan of beautiful apps, then you might want to give Intuit’s new TurboTax app for 2015 a go for your tax filing needs just to get a whiff of what they whipped up.

As usual, the app will ask you to tell them about your yearin finances, including what you made, whether you got married, if you have kids and all that jazz. After all that jazz, it’ll spit out an estimated refund that you’ll expect from the government. It’s then you’ll be urged to sign up for TurboTax’s cost-effective and easy filing services.

This year’s app brings a small hint of material design, mainly in the hamburger menu apparent through the app’s different views, but it’s still mostly TurboTax’s own flare.

turbotax app 2 2015

Even if you don’t anticipate going through TurboTax to handle your taxes, this app has always been a good way to get an early look at how much money you can expect the United States government to shove back into your wallet (or, in the depressing cases, snatch out). Be sure to grab it from the Google Play Store.

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Mobile Roar 75: Samsung Gear VR and the top tech stories of 2014 http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/mobile-roar-podcast-75/ http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/mobile-roar-podcast-75/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:38:50 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=155673

We’ve got the Samsung Gear VR in this house for this episode. Kevin talks about all the cool stuff it can do and why he loves it. The guys also discuss their picks for the top tech stories of 2014. Other topics include T-Mobile 8.0, Nest watching your every move,the Sony hack, and the never-ending GIF vs JIF debate. Happy Holiday and thanks for watching/listening!

Big News

Quick Hits

Wins/Fails

App Picks

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kev vr 2

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The Nexus 5 is back in stock on Google Play http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/nexus-5-back-in-stock-google-play/ http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/nexus-5-back-in-stock-google-play/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:21:01 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=155687 Nexus 5 homepage

You still can’t get a Nexus 6 directly from Google, but if you’re in the market for something a little smaller, its smaller sibling — the Nexus 5 — is now back in stock on the Google Play Store.

You may remember the phone vanishing from the Play Store last week, with some wondering if it would ever return. Google was quick to issue a response, saying that the phone will continue to be offered through early 2015 (any longer than that is still up in the air).

Still missing are the red and white models. Those seem to be gone for good. But the classic black version can be yours in 16GB for $350 or 32GB for $400 and leaves the warehouse in 1-2 days.

[Nexus 5 on Google Play]

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Win the Android smartwatch of your choosing from AndroidArea.com! http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/win-the-android-smartwatch-of-your-choosing-from-androidarea-com/ http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/win-the-android-smartwatch-of-your-choosing-from-androidarea-com/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 18:37:58 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=155675 android-watch-giveaway

You want a smartwatch, but you just can’t justify spending the dough. We get it, but that’s no excuse. Not when you can win the smart wearable of your choosing from AndroidArea.com. With just an email address you can enter to win your choice of either the Motorola Moto 360, LG G Watch R, or the Samsung Gear 2.

Let’s go over this one more time: the winner of this free-to-enter contest from AndroidArea.com will be able to choose their prize from a list of three that include the popular Android Wear-powered Moto 360 and G Watch R as well as Samsung’s Tizen-powered Gear 2.

So head over, sign up for AndroidArea.com by way of the contest page within the next four days, and await anxiously the announcement of a winner. In the meantime, do your research so you know what to choose should you win. To get you started, here is our review for the Moto 360 and praise for the G Watch R.

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Deal: Verizon is taking 50% off all Android smartphones $199.99 and up http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/verizon-android-phone-deal/ http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/verizon-android-phone-deal/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 18:18:32 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=155674 verizon 50 percent off sale

Verizon is looking to push a few more smartphones out of the door ahead of the busy Christmas week. The carrier’s latest deal takes 50% off all on-contract Android smartphones that cost $199.99 or more.

That should qualify recent devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the Motorola DROID Turbo and the Sony Xperia Z3v, though most of Verizon’s devices come in under that $200 mark (with many of them actually being free).

This is a great opportunity to snag a new smartphone if you didn’t fancy paying $200 to $300 for one of the latest and greatest to come from Android land. You’ll also get free overnight shipping if you need the smartphone under the tree or inside stockings before Christmas so be sure to order as soon as you can.

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Reminder: Only 3 days left to enter our massive Gift-a-Day Giveaway! http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/reminder-only-3-days-left-to-enter-our-massive-gift-a-day-giveaway/ http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/reminder-only-3-days-left-to-enter-our-massive-gift-a-day-giveaway/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 18:05:22 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=155627 Prizes

Oh how times flies. It seems like just yesterday we kicked off our Gift-a-Day Giveaway, but nearly 20 days later we’re almost ready to pick some winners. In case you’ve missed a few days, or you have no idea what we’re talking about, consider this your wake-up call. There are still 20 awesome prizes up for grabs!

What is this?

The Gift-a-Day Giveaway is a massive 20-day-long contest we’re doing for the Holidays. Each day since December 1st we have posted a “Gift Idea” to help you get your shopping done. At the bottom of each Gift Idea is a widget that allows you to enter the giveaway up to 6 times. Enter every day and you could earn over 100 chances to win one of 20 prizes.

Did someone say prizes?

Oh yes, we’ve got prizes. A winner will be chosen from each of the 20 gift idea posts. Those 20 winners will be randomly paired up with one of our 20 prizes. Here’s what’s up for grabs:

  • Nexus 6 (2)
  • Nexus 9 (2)
  • Nexus Player (4)
  • Moto 360 (2)
  • Sony SmartWatch 3 (1)
  • LG G Watch R (1)
  • ASUS ZenWatch (1)
  • Additional prizes will be announced on Monday (12/22).

Check the original announcement for rules & conditions.

Where can I enter?

I’m glad you asked. Like I mentioned above, you can enter every single day to improve your chances to win. You can visit our Gift-a-Day Giveaway landing page to see all the Gift Ideas, or check out the list below.

Android collectibles Chargers
Supertooth Bluetooth speaker KICK lighting studio
Smart travel router Selfie Stick
Drones NES Bluetooth controller
Bluetooth keyboards USB travel razor
CarLock BowBlade controller
Headphones LED light bulbs with speakers
Quick Charge 2.0 accessories Nest + Dropcam
Mountek car dock Bluetooth keychains
TBA TBA

Make sure you have entered the contest on every single one of these Gift Idea posts. It can only improve your odds of winning something awesome. On Monday (12/22) we will pick the winners during a live Google Hangout. Good luck and Happy Holidays!

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New Gresso Regal smartphone dons 18 karat gold and titanium, starts at heart-stopping $3,000 http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/gresso-regal-premium-smartphones/ http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/gresso-regal-premium-smartphones/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:19:36 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=155639 gresso regal limited edition box

Ready for another expensive smartphone you’ll probably never buy? Gresso’s new Regal line of smartphone wants to put a nice dent in your wallet for a premium smartphone with a decent set of specs. That dent starts at about $3,000 for the cheapest option. What justifies that price tag?

gresso regal limited edition box9

For one, they’re mare completely of titanium and gold. The Gresso Regal R1 is all titanium ($3,000 option), while theR2 and R3 (both $5,000) mix PVD-coated titanium with a bit of 18 karat gold. Each model was apparently handcrafted, and only 999 of them exist. You’ll even see a number on the back letting you know which number yours is to make you feel special, and everything.

gresso regal limited edition box2

But more than just good looks and premium materials, this smartphone actually doesn’t suck (well, if we’re going by the spec sheet, anyway). Here’s what you’ll get under the hood:

  • Display: 5″ Full HD, Gorilla Glass.
  • Processor: quad-core, 1.5 GHz.
  • Screen resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels.
  • Internal memory: 32 GB.
  • RAM: 2 GB.
  • SIM-cards: 1.
  • ОS Android.
  • Camera: 13.0 MP, autofocus, flash, front camera 5 MP.
  • Maximum talk time: 6h, maximum standby time: 300h.
  • GSM: 850/900/1800/1900
  • 3G: WCDMA 900/2100
  • LTE: no
  • Size: 143,2 x 70,2 x 8,8 mm.
  • Weight: 205 g.

These ultra premium options typically fall way short of expectations in the specs department so we’re glad to see Gresso didn’t skimp in this area. If you’re feeling a bit splurgey or simply have the budget that can handle one of these bad boys you can order one over at their website right now.

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How to watch 360 videos with the Gear VR http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/360-video-gear-vr/ http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/360-video-gear-vr/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:15:56 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=155632 360-video

Just as the Samsung Gear VR can be used to watch your own imported 2D and 3D movies, it can also be used to view content shot and compiled for 360-degree presentation. These are the videos that allow the Gear VR (and other virtual reality devices) to really shine, giving the viewer the ability to “look” around at a 360-degree environment thanks to head tracking capabilities built into in the the Oculus-powered platform.

The Gear VR’s capabilities are demonstrated with a set of included videos and others available from the Oculus Store ( a Cirque du Soleil experience, a virtual tour of Iceland, to name a few), but users can import their own 3D, 360 content and get the full experience thanks to the Oculus 360 Videos app. You’ll only need to know a simple file naming trick to get everything working properly.

As with playing 3D videos in the Oculus Cinema app, the software of the Gear VR experience will inherently convert video files for proper playback format based on where in the directory a file is placed and certain conventions of the file naming scheme. Unlike traditional 2D and 3D videos, which are placed under the “My Videos” folder found within the “Movies” directory, videos with 360-degree field-of-view should be placed directly into the “360Videos” folder.

gear-vr-360videos

For standard 2D videos with a 360-degree FOV this should work without any further modification. Simply don your Gear VR, navigate to the Oculus 360 Videos app, and choose your file. You should be able to peer around the environment of the 360 video by simply moving your head.

If your video features both 3D and 360-degree FOV, you will need to follow one more step.

For videos formatted in an over/under configuration:

  • Rename the file so that it ends with “_TB” just prior to the extension name [Example: mymovie_TB.mp4]

For videos formatted in a side-by-side (SBS) configuration:

  • Rename the file so that it ends with “_LR” just prior to the extension name [Example: mymovie_LR.mp4]

Once you have properly named the files and placed them in the “360Videos” folder, open the files as normal through the Oculus 360 Videos app. If you followed the above steps, you should now have full 3D, 360-degree playback.

While the Gear VR has no native way that we have yet discovered to play 180-degree field-of-view content, you can similarly try your luck by loading such files into the “360Videos” folder. Playback will generally work, but the 180-degree FOV will be stretched to the full 360 degrees, creating distorted video with inaccurate head tracking.

For some examples of 3D, 360 FOV video, 360Heros has a selection of demo content available and plenty of standard 360 video content. Kolor also features some standard 360 videos, and Oculus Share is also a source worth checking out. Not every video will translate perfectly to the Gear VR (some have been designed to function specifically with other VR or Oculus headsets), but all provide a glimpse of the Gear VR’s true potential.

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Best Buy is now listing the leather Nexus 9 Magic Cover case for $49 http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/nexus-9-leather-magic-cover/ http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/nexus-9-leather-magic-cover/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 15:44:28 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=155635 nexus 9 leather magic cover caseIt looks like HTC and Google were whipping up a real leather Magic Cover case for the Nexus 9 after all. The accessory has popped up on Best Buy’s online storefront before even hitting HTC’s or Google’s. Best Buy will apparently sell it for $49, which is just $10 more than what the regular version of this case is going for over at Google Play.

There is one annoying catch, though — you can’t actually order one yet, as the listing says it’s sold out online. That said, this is good indication that inventory is being prepped for those who want something a bit nicer to go over their Nexus 9 compared to what’s already available.

We’ll be keeping an eye out for its availability to change so stay tuned if you were holding out on buying cases to order this one.

[via Best Buy]

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Sony’s “Welcome to the New World” teaser reel shows hints of Lollipop, smartphones and… fetuses? http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/sony-lollipop-teaser-video/ http://phandroid.com/2014/12/19/sony-lollipop-teaser-video/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 14:31:56 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=155628

Not long after Sony confirmed on Twitter that the Sony Xperia Z3 and Sony Xperia Z2 wouldn’t be seeing Lollipop until early 2015, the company has uploaded a strange new teaser video to their YouTube channel. At first glance we thought this might simply be an Android 5.0 Lollipop hype reel, with images of a lollipop and the number “5” making brief appearances in the early going.

And then it got weird. Chameleons. Irises (with a reflection of a smartphone in it). Even pregnant women. All of that showed up in the second half of the 43-second spot, and we couldn’t be any more confused as to what Sony’s getting at here. Could that just be the work of a crazed marketing team looking to stuff as many confusing images into one video as they can? Or are they teasing something more in a way that only a Stephen Hawking-esque genius can understand?

sony pregnant woman

Tough to say for sure, but if we know Sony then this video makes us think we’re on the verge of a pretty good announcement headed our way soon. Be sure to check it out above.

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