Phandroid Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Wed, 22 Oct 2014 01:28:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Google exec confirms Chromecast V2 and Backdrop API for developers is in the works Wed, 22 Oct 2014 01:15:30 +0000 GigaOM Chromecast interview

There’s no question Google’s Chromecast has been one of the company’s more successful projects. We’re sure a lot of that has to do with its ridiculously low $35 price tag, a near-impulse buy piece of technology for infusing your television with some smarts. After hitting the 1 million in sales mark back in March, it’s not much of a stretch to assume Google was already hard at work on a followup.

In an interview with GigaOM, Google’s VP of Product Management Mario Queiroz talked numbers, mentioning over 650 million casts have been beamed since launching last July, a number that was only 400 million 3 months ago. He also went on to talk about Backdrop, the Chromecast’s newest feature which allows your TV to display feeds of information onscreen without active user input (things like weather, images from your Google+, etc.). While, again, limited at this point. Queiroz mentioned that they hope to one day launch some sort of API for developers to take advantage of and expand this useful feature. The prospect of feeds from social networks like Tumblr, Facebook, or Twitter could all one day be a reality.

When asked whether the Nexus Player and the Android TV platform — which has Google Cast functionality baked in — would soon replace the Chromecast, Queiroz was quick to announce: “There will be a 2nd version of Chromecast in the future.” Of course, he declined on providing any sort of details but he did mention Google is working with developers to further extend the 1st/2nd screen experience, things that “haven’t been possible as of yet.”

You can watch the full interview in the video down below.

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HTC One M8 receiving EYE Experience + Android 4.4.4 on T-Mobile, hits Verizon model tomorrow Tue, 21 Oct 2014 23:25:08 +0000 HTC One M8 DSC06661

After hitting unlocked and Developer edition HTC One M8 a few weeks ago, HTC is wasting no times in pushing out their EYE Experience + Android 4.4.4 update on carrier branded models. Today, the update began rolling out for the T-Mobile version of the device, with HTC’s VP of Product Management Mo Versi tweeting earlier today that the update would hit the Verizon model as early as tomorrow. He even gave a specific time for the update: 12 noon (so be on the look out).

We had a feeling since the update wasn’t a major firmware update (and had more to do with the updating the camera software), HTC would have as many hurdles to jump in order to push it out. Looks like our suspicions may have been right. For more info on what to expect from the new HTC EYE Experience camera, check out the video below where it comes pre-loaded on the upcoming HTC Desire EYE.

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Android Wear 4.4W.2 rolling out now, Moto 360 gets new battery saving features, UI tweaks, and more Tue, 21 Oct 2014 23:06:19 +0000 GoldeEye watchface Moto 360

Motorola’s Director of Product Marketing Lally Narwal took to Motorola’s official blog to talk about a new software update rolling out to the Moto 360. It’s the 2nd update since the smartwatch launched back in September and where Android Wear 4.4.W.1 mainly address battery life concerns, the latest version — Android Wear 4.4W.2 — polishes things up a bit. Here’s everything you can look forward to when it hits your device starting today.

  • Smart Battery Saving – When your battery hits 15%, your Moto 360 will turn off ambient mode, so you don’t have to remember to.
  • Timely Time Checks – Moto 360 will synchronize the time with your phone more often to make sure it is up to the minute.
  • User Interface Tweaks – We observed with consumers that there are many times where you want to use your Moto 360 as truly a classic watch—a beautiful way to see the time. A new gesture now lets you see the full watch face without permanently dismissing a notification. Just touch the top of a notification and swipe down. You’ll see the notification again when you have another high priority notification.
  • Mood Lighting – Moto 360 will adjust to the lighting of the room while charging, so that it isn’t too bright or too dark.
  • Readying the wires for Bluetooth – There are a couple of under-the-hood enhancements that will pave the way for connecting Bluetooth headsets to the watch.
  • Bug Squashing – As usual, bugs are squashed to enhance the overall user experience.

Motorola says to make sure your watch has at least an 80% charge on it and connect to your phone via Bluetooth. Because it’s rolling out in phases, don’t freak if you don’t see the update just yet — it’ll get to ya. And while Android 4.4W.2 is also hitting the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live, we’ll have to wait for an official word on anything new hitting those smartwatches as a result.


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PhotoMath uses your phone’s camera to scan and solve math problems, coming soon to Android [VIDEO] Tue, 21 Oct 2014 22:25:57 +0000 PhotoMath screenshot

The 80’s had the Casio calculator watch, while kids in the 90’s had those huge TI 86 calculators. Every decade or so it seems kids find themselves in possession of some new technology that helps them work through math’s toughest riddles but kids never had it so easy as they do now. Take a look at PhotoMath, a new app for smartphones that will not only help you solve mathematical problems, but show you exactly how it was all done.

As easy as taking a photo, the app uses your smartphone’s camera to scan math problems directly from a textbook. You don’t even have to press a button, just hover the viewfinder over the problem and watch and the app provides you with an answer right on the screen. Because an answer is only half the problem, clicking on the forward button will take you through the entire step-by-step process on exactly how to solve a problem, making it more than a quick cheating tool, but a learning one at that. PhotoMath also stores the history of solved problems so you can always go back and double check on something.

We’ve seen real time text recognition apps in the past (like the now Google-owned Word Lens), but this takes things into a whole new category. As far as its usefulness goes in the classroom, something tells me teachers wont take too kindly to a student whipping out their phone during a test, so don’t rely only on PhotoMath getting you through the semester. The app is available for both iOS and Windows Phone and coming to Android devices next year.

PhotoMath from MicroBLINK on Vimeo.


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Nova Launcher update brings Android 5.0 Lollipop icons and folder animations Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:39:30 +0000 Nova Launcher Moto X 2014 DSC07206

If you’ve been keeping up with all things Lollipop you’re probably as excited as I am to get the new update on your Android device. While even Nexus devices still have some time before the update officially rolls out to them (carrier and manufacturer devices even longer than that), you can get a taste of Lollipop right now thanks to Nova Launcher. The update — now version 3.2 — adds Lollipop elements like folder animations, scroll indicator, icon theme, and various other improvements.

According to TeslaCoil’s Kevin Barry, he’s been able to bring these features all the down to Android 4.0+ devices (instead of just Android 4.3+) which I’m sure those of you with legacy devices are sure to appreciate. Keep in mind that while the new folder animations aren’t identical to those found in the new Google Now Launcher, they’re close enough that you’ll get nearly the same effect. Barry also mentions he’s working on getting his version of the app drawer animation from Lollipop, but will take some time given Nova Launcher’s customization options.

You can find the newly updated Nova Launcher 3.2 via the Google Play Store link below.

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Everything you need to know about the Nexus 6 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:14:43 +0000 Nexus(1)

Google finally made the oft-rumored Nexus 6 official. This device will go head-to-head against successful tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6 Plus. There has been a lot of discussion about the size and price of the Nexus 6, which makes it a very interesting device. Later this month the “Nex-six” will go up for pre-order and ship out in early November. Before you grab that credit card, this is everything you need to know about the Nexus 6.

Nexus 6 Specs


Android fans love specs, and the Nexus line attracts the most passionate Android fans. That makes the specs of the Nexus 6 all the more important. Motorola has absolutely decked out the Nexus 6 with every high-end spec you could want. It has a big, beautiful high-resolution display, the newest and most powerful processor on the market, a big camera, and a juicy battery. Here’s a quick rundown of the important specs.

  • 5.9-inch 2560×1440 QHD AMOLED display (493 ppi)
  • 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805
  • Adreno 420 GPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32/64 GB of storage
  • 13MP rear, 2MP front-facing cameras
  • Dual front-facing speakers
  • 3220mAh battery

The other hardware to consider is the overall design of the device. If you liked the look of the new Moto X you will like the look of the Nexus 6, and vice versa. Around the edges of the phone is a metal band, while the back is a dark blue or white plastic. Yes, it only comes in blue or white, but the blue is very dark. It’s a fairly boring design, like most of the Nexus devices.

Lollipop, lollipop, oh lolli lolli lolli


The Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 are the first two devices to come with Android 5.0 Lollipop. The biggest feature of Lollipop is the brand new Material Design language. This is the first time since Ice Cream Sandwich that Android has received a major face-lift. All the last remnants of the Tron-esque design have been removed in favor of a flatter “material” look. Lollipop also introduces tons of gorgeous new animations.

Google Material Design multiplatform

Material Design is the most easily noticeable feature of Lollipop, but there is a lot more going on. Other big changes include a brand new way to deal with notifications, redesigned multi-tasking, battery saver mode, Android Smart Lock for connected devices, user profiles, guest mode, new quick settings, and much more. Check out the full changelog here.

The other thing to consider about Lollipop and the Nexus 6 is timely updates. Since this is a Nexus device you can expect to get the latest and greatest from Google before anyone else. Nexus devices get the latest version of Android immediately. No waiting around for carrier approval (hopefully) or OEM tinkering. If being on the latest version of Android is important to you the Nexus 6 is a must-have device.

Size Matters

Nexus 6 Hero Image Cloud White LARGE

The Nexus 6 is a large phone. I don’t need to tell you that. The size of the Nexus 6 has been a topic of much debate, and for good reason. Everything I’ve mentioned up to this point in the article doesn’t mean much if the phone is too big for you. The only way for you to know that is to hold it in your hands, but since you can’t get one right now we have to explore other options.

Here is the Nexus 6 compared to some devices that you may have at your disposal. Is it too big for you? See for yourself.

Nexus 6 vs Galaxy S5 Nexus 6 vs HTC One M8 Nexus 6 vs iPhone 5S Nexus 6 vs Note 4 Nexus 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus

Configuration Options & Pricing

Nexus 6

Now that you know everything about the Nexus 6 it’s time to decide if you should buy one. The Nexus 6 will be available to pre-order on October 29th for $650 or $700 from the Google Play Store. It will also be available from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and Verizon. Carrier pricing is unknown at this point, but we expect something around $200 with a new contract. The Nexus 6 comes in two colors: Midnight Blue and Cloud White. You’ll be able to choose 32 or 64GB storage options.

That’s the story for Google’s latest Nexus device. It has nearly everything that Nexus fans have wished for in a device: powerful specs, big display, a good camera, and carrier availability. Will that be enough to make the Nexus 6 a mainstream device? Only time will tell. Will you be buying a Nexus 6? What are your thoughts on the size? Be sure to hit up the Nexus 6 forums to chat about this new device with fellow Phandroids!

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The Snapdragon 805 equipped Galaxy S5 Plus quietly appears on Samsung Netherlands site Tue, 21 Oct 2014 19:07:14 +0000 Samsung Galaxy S5 Plus Netherlands 1

After a beefier, Snapdragon 805 equipped Samsung Galaxy S5 made its way to Korea and then Singapore, it seems Samsung is finally ready to bring the souped up Galaxy to even more markets. The phone — know as the Samsung Galaxy S5 Plus — now has its own landing page on Samsung Netherlands’ site.

Visually, not any different from the standard Galaxy S5 model we have here in the states, the S5 Plus merely packs a much more powerful 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chipset, a slightly lower clock speed than the 2.7GHz one found inside the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. No matter. We’re sure performance will be indistinguishable in either device.

The Snapdragon 805 doesn’t just make the phone run faster, but allows it to hit LTE speeds of up to 225Mbps (that’s much faster than my home internet). Aside from colors, not much else was made known without a formal press release or mention from Samsung (yet). Now that the Galaxy S5 is making its way through Europe, could the US be far behind?


[Samsung Netherlands | via Galaxy Club]

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Google brings Songza’s recommendations and Material Design to Play Music [APK Download] Tue, 21 Oct 2014 19:01:03 +0000 google play music redesign update

Google Play Music got a huge new upgrade today that you’ll definitely want to get your hands on. The first thing you’ll immediately notice is a new material design layout, giving us a taste of what’s to come in many of Google’s other apps once they’re all updated and ready to go for Lollipop’s eventual launch. The makeover includes a much cleaner look and a redone Listen Now page that makes it easier to find recently played tracks and albums and discover new music.

Also loaded up in this update to help you discover new music is Songza integration. The company — which Google bought last year — employs the expertise of dozens of music artists, DJs and experts who curate lists of music that go perfect with an activity or mood. You can be treated to a playlist that’s perfect for working out, or get a load of music that’ll help cheer you up on a bad day. Pretty neat way to find some new music and help you through any situation you might find yourself in.

Unfortunately the activity-based suggestions are only available for Canada and the United States at this moment in time, though the changes on the Listen Now page should be available for all countries where Google Play is available. Just head to the Google Play Store to get your download, and if it hasn’t shown up yet then we’ve got you covered with this handy APK download link. Let us know how you’re liking it!

[via Google]

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Android Deals: 32GB Nexus 7 for $169, Halloween movie deals, and more Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:35:59 +0000 deals

Get into the Halloween spirit with some scary good deals on Android smartphones and tablets including the Nexus 7, apps for productivity, and a great selection of spooky movies fit for the season. Act quick: these deals are active as of the time of this posting, but they could soon vanish as ghosts in the night.

Hardware & Accessories

Nexus 7 2013 wall

Get ready for Android Lollipop with a second generation Nexus 7 for $169. The price nets you the WiFi-only version of the 7-inch ASUS-made tablet with 32GB of internal storage. Also on sale are first generation Nexus 7 devices with 16 or 32GB of storage starting at $109.99. [Woot]

Or go with a Google Play Edition of the Sony Xperia Z Ultra for only $324.99 via Expansys USA. You’ll enjoy 50% off the regular price of this Google Experience smartphone with a 6.4-inch Full HD display and waterproof design. [Expansys USA]

Charge your device anytime, anywhere with the SOScharger available at over 25% off. This portable 2300mAh cell can be charged by hand using the built-in crank, providing enough extra capacity to top off your Android smartphone’s power reserve. Compatible with all USB-chargeable smartphones, tablets, and other devices. [AndroidArea]

Take $170 off the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and experience Android through a gorgeous Super AMOLED display. Priced at $379.99 with free shipping, this is your chance to own one of the best tablets on the market at an amazing price. [eBay]

Apps & Games




Music & Media





TV Shows

[Find any great deals not included here? Be sure to send them our way or share in the comments below!]

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Google introduces Security Key for better 2-step verification Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:10:56 +0000 google u2f security key

Google’s done a lot on their part to help strengthen web security. They urge users of their services to setup 2-step verification to ensure the only person accessing your account is you. Don’t know what 2-step verification is? This article should give you a nice idea, but the skinny of it is that you use your phone as a way for Google to prove that you’re the one signing into your account. Verification typically involves using a short security code sent to you via text message that you input when logging in.

But Google says even that isn’t enough — what if a malicious website is posing as an authentic Google site and you accidentally give them the verification code for your account? Well, that’s a tough luck situation in this current point and time, but Google’s introducing a new method that could solve that problem.

Security Key is the name of the feature, and it utilizes a small USB key that uses Universal 2nd Factor (a FIDO Alliance creation) to allow you to verify yourself by plugging it into your computer and giving it a little tap. This is possible thanks to U2F implementation in Chrome, so Google’s sites have been tricked out to “listen” for this tap and allow you to login without having to input a code. The USB key will only issue an encrypted signature after verifying that the site you’re logging into is a secure Google website. Here are the benefits laid out by Google:

  • Better protection against phishing. With 2-Step Verification, Google requires something you know (your password) and something you have (like your phone) to sign in. Google sends a verification code to your phone when you try to sign in to confirm it’s you. However, sophisticated attackers could set up lookalike sites that ask you to provide your verification codes to them, instead of Google. Security Key offers better protection against this kind of attack, because it uses cryptography instead of verification codes and automatically works only with the website it’s supposed to work with.
  • No mobile connection or batteries needed. Security Key works without a data connection, and you can carry it wherever you go on a keychain or in your wallet.

What’s more is that Google’s hoping this protocol will benefit more than just their own users. As Chrome has U2F compatibility built in they’ve ensured any site can use the technology to setup similar security measures. Google also hopes competitors will get on board — they want everyone on the web to be safe even if those folks don’t use their browser. Good guy, Google, good guy.

So what do you need? A U2F-capable USB key. You can find a couple of them on Amazon right now for relatively affordable prices so be sure to look into them if this is something that interests you. Beyond that, just make sure your Chrome browser is updated to version 38 and you’ll be able to use U2F for secure logins across all of Google’s services. This isn’t an excuse to completely dump the traditional 2-step verification method — many sites, browsers and devices won’t be compatible with U2F this early in the game — but this is a nice first step toward making the web a more scure place. Let’s hope others will get with the program in due time.

[via Google Security]

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Download: 750 Material Design icons provided by Google Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:53:42 +0000 Android 5.0 Lollipop DSC07199

App developers will want to get their hands on the latest collection of icons Google just open-sourced. Below is a download link to a pack of 750 different icons for use in apps, the mobile web and, well, whatever else you can think of. Many of the icons are featured throughout Android 5.0 Lollipop as part of Google’s Material Design makeover so your apps won’t look out of place when trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Here’s a quick list of what to expect from this huge pack of icons:

  • SVG versions of all icons in both 24px and 48px flavours
  • SVG and CSS sprites of all icons
  • 1x, 2x icons targeted at the Web (PNG)
  • 1x, 2x, 3x icons targeted at iOS (PNG)
  • Hi-dpi versions of all icons (hdpi, mdpi, xhdpi, xxhdpi, xxxhdpi) (PNG)

And below you’ll find a quick preview of some of the many icons available for use:

material action icons

material device icons

material image icons

Looking quite good to me. Be sure to give it a download and use them in your apps and websites as soon as you can, because it won’t be long before the first Android 5.0 devices hit the market.

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Verizon adds over 1.5 million new customers in Q3 2014 Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:56:04 +0000 verizon wireless logo brick wall featured

Verizon has reported their Q3 2014 financial results, and things seem to be as they should be. There weren’t any new records broken this go ’round like Verizon seems to do every quarter, but they did enjoy steady growth in a couple of different areas. One of those areas is the addition of 1.53 million new retail connections, 1.52 million of which were postpaid accounts.

Phones accounted for just 457,000 of that, while tablets saw huge growth at 1.1 million additions. In all, smartphones accounted for 77% of Verizon’s connections which is no small feat. That brings Verizon’s total up to 106.2 million, with the only other carrier being able to come remotely close being AT&T.

Verizon also recorded an uptick in revenue of 4.3% to $31.6 billion compared to the same quarter a year ago. Wireless was responsible for $21.8 billion of that, and it enjoyed growth of 7%.

The numbers aren’t eye-popping by Verizon’s standards, but good enough to confirm that they’re doing enough right to keep the arrow pointing upward (even if most of that “right” is in sheer network quality opposed to value and customer service).

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Nexus 9 keyboard folio and Magic Cover cases go up for pre-order on Amazon Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:44:58 +0000 nexus 9 keyboard folio 1


You’ve already pre-ordered your Nexus 9, so why not pre-order the accessories to go with it? Amazon is now listing the keyboard folio case for the tablet that we’ve seen so much of. It’s a little on the pricey side at $129.99, but considering it’s a fully mechanical keyboard, has wireless pairing and looks to be built quite well (it attaches itself to the Nexus 9 using magnets) we imagine it might be well worth it for some of you. The case promises to live for 5 months on a single charge so you won’t have to hook it up to the wall very often. The case also folds to two different angles.

The cheaper case option is the $39.99 Magic Cover, a magnetic slab that can go on the front or rear of the device. It, too, uses magnets, and features smart cover features for automatically waking the display when removed from the front, or automatically launching the camera when the flap covering the camera sensor is removed when attached to the rear. The case folds at 5 different points — one at each corner and straight through the middle — to give you two different viewing angles and to provide for a sturdy prop whenever you are watching video or typing.

nexus 9 magic cover 1

The keyboard folio case comes in your standard black, while the Magic Cover can be had in black, coral amethyst, lime stone, and mint indigo. Both are set to ship November 3rd, which is about the same time Nexus 9 units are expected to leave warehouses for those who’ve pre0rdered one. Head to the Amazon links below to order if you’re interested.

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Google posts handy guide for folks switching from iPhone to Android Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:57:14 +0000 iphone-to-android

With the upcoming releases of the Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google thought it wise to create a nice, simple guide for those compelled to switch from iPhone to Android. It’s no doubt a hard counter to Apple’s similar move when introducing their new bigger iPhones (because bigger iPhones means folks will leave Android in droves, mirite?).

The guide isn’t terribly in-depth, but it does touch on four of the most important things you might want to get situated upon first moving to your new platform. Here’s what it’ll show you:

  • How to bring your photos and music
  • How to transfer contacts
  • How to setup email and messaging
  • How to find your favorite apps

Of course, there is much more to learn in the vast world of Android and all the greatness that exists within Google Play, but if you aren’t sure where to begin then this wouldn’t be a bad resource to use. We have a feeling you won’t be needing Apple’s guide once you get a taste of what Android has to offer.

[via Google]

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Nexus 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 shown off in comparison video Tue, 21 Oct 2014 01:04:56 +0000 Nexus 6 vs Galaxy Note 4 video Carphone Warehouse 2

After giving us the world’s first underwater unboxing, the folks at UK’s Carphone Warehouse are back again, this time with an early hands-on with the phone everyone’s talking about: Motorola and Google’s Nexus 6. More of a quick comparison video, Carphone Warehouse pits the device against the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 in a quick spec roundup, another Android phablet looking to give Motorola a run for their money.

Nexus 6 vs Galaxy Note 4 video Carphone Warehouse 1

This actually marks one of the few times we’ve gotten to see the Nexus 6 outside of blurry photo leaks and press renders. What we found interesting was how much noticeably larger the Nexus 6 was in comparison to the Galaxy Note 4. If you’re a phablet lover looking to challenge the constrains of your pockets, then this will be the device for you.

Nexus 6 vs Galaxy Note 4 video Carphone Warehouse 3

While it can be argued that having a stock Android experience is more “beneficial” than a manufacturer UI like TouchWiz, keep in mind that often times stock Android trails behind OEM skins in terms of features. And anyone who’s ever experienced a Samsung device knows there’s certainly no shortage of features (overkill even). Check out the comparison video down below for an early look at the Nexus 6.


Thanks, James!

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