Phandroid Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Sat, 04 Jul 2015 15:00:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Android Wallpaper: America the Beautiful Sat, 04 Jul 2015 15:00:07 +0000 android wallpaper USA

See past editions of Android Wallpaper

Today’s date is July 4th, which may seem like any other date, but here in the U.S. it’s when we celebrate Independence Day. All across the country there will be parades, BBQs, carnival rides, and fireworks. The one thing that will be at the center of it all is the American flag. Celebrate the 4th with some patriotic wallpapers!

Below you will find 6 HD patriotic wallpapers. 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!

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

patriotic wallpaper (1)

patriotic wallpaper (2)

patriotic wallpaper (3)

patriotic wallpaper (4)

android bug droid american flag

Stars and Stripes

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Even the 2-year old LG G2 will reportedly receive an update to Android 5.1.1 Lollipop Sat, 04 Jul 2015 01:25:07 +0000 LG G2 Verizon Wireless

It was only back towards the end of March the LG G2 saw its first update to Android 5.0.2 Lollipop. Believe it or not, this was before owners of even newer flagships — like those with the LG G3 — saw the same update hit their devices. Not too shabby for an Android device nearly 2 years old (that’s, like, 60 in smartphone years). We can’t tell you how comforting it is to see OEMs supporting older devices with the current versions of Android and it seems LG still isn’t even done with the G2 quite yet.

An employee of LG software development department was reportedly able to confirm to AndroidPit that an update to Android 5.1.1 — the absolute latest version of Android available — is already in the making and will soon be headed to the LG G2. The update is said to bring more than just a bigger firmware number, with the G2 receiving many of the same software features as found on the LG G4 thanks to an updated LG UX 4.0, the company’s custom Android user interface.

These sources claim the Android 5.1 update for the LG G2 wont be ready for another 2 months, so don’t hold your breath, especially if you live in the US. Typically it takes weeks/months after an update has been pushed out in Korea/Europe before we see it here in the states. You can thank US carriers and their extensive approval process for that mess. But then again, with 5.1 rolling out relatively quickly to current flagships, it might not take as long as you’d think. We’ll keep you updated when we hear more.

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Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus size comparison show it’s not much bigger than the regular model Fri, 03 Jul 2015 23:40:52 +0000 Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus CH9H1MGXAAA7C1G

Relative newcomer @Onleaks is proving to be a valuable source of leaks in the Android world. Recently, he gave us a glimpse of a CAD render — a 3D model accessory makers use when building cases — for the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus. It was nothing mind blowing. It simply looked like the regular Galaxy S6 Edge only it was supposed to be, you know… bigger. But without a regular S6 Edge to compare it against, there was no way to tell just how much bigger it was.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus CH9H1VZWgAALUGO

For those curious to see how big the S6 Edge Plus will be when it launches later this year, additional images from @Onleaks are giving us a much better idea. He managed to secure a few comparison images with the regular S6 Edge put up against an S6 Edge Plus dummy used by Chinese case makers to ensure quality fitment of their product. Apparently dimensions of the device should be around 154.45 x 75.80 x 6.85mm which suggest a 5.5-inch display and as you can see, really isn’t too much larger than the regular S6 Edge.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus CH9H1WjWsAIjqAM

This is great news for those that have been on the fence about the S6 Edge due to its mediocre battery life, but didn’t want to commit to a larger phablet sized device like the Note 5. With the Galaxy Note 5 covering the 6-inch category, Samsung should have all their bases covered when both larger sized flagship models launch later this year.


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HTC One M9 Developer Edition now receiving Android 5.1 Lollipop Fri, 03 Jul 2015 21:13:23 +0000 HTC One M9 custom nav bar DSC08928

After the Sprint version of the HTC One M9 began receiving Android 5.1 back on July 1st, now the unlocked Developer Edition is following suit. The HTC One M9 Developer Edition is a special variant that comes with an already unlocked bootloader for flashing custom ROMs are tinkering around with. It’s odd because typically HTC’s unlocked and Developer Edition models are the first ones to see software updates ahead of carrier models, especially those in the US.

In either case the update brings a host of small changes added to the core Android OS, along with improvements to HTC’s custom Sense 7.0 UI. We covered some of those here — like the ability to change the color temperature of the M9’s display — along with a few others. According to HTC’s changelog shown during the update prompt, users can expect the following:

  • Android Lollipop 5.1
  • Data performance improvements
  • Call drop improvements
  • Battery life enhancements
  • Temperature management optimization
  • Camera enhancements

The update weighs in at about 795MB in size, so it’s pretty hefty. After you’re done updating, you will be running software build 2.8.617.4. Don’t forget to snap a few pics and compare some of the before and afters. We hear the camera received another significant bump in quality. We still don’t know when the rest of the US carrier models will start seeing the update, but with the Sprint model already receiving it earlier this week, it can’t be too much longer. Happy updating!

[XDA | via Twitter]

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LG G Stylo and LG Leon now receiving Android 5.1.1 update on T-Mobile Fri, 03 Jul 2015 19:31:26 +0000 LG G Stylo Leon Android 511 update

After they were made official back during Mobile World Congress, the LG G Stylo and LG Leon both launched on T-Mobile only a few months later. Offering a fair mix of mid-range to entry level specs, the handsets came out of the box running Android 5.0 Lollipop. It wasn’t bad, especially given the amount of devices only recently receiving Lollipop. Being that these weren’t flagship devices, we didn’t think LG would make these devices a very high priority when it came to pushing out Android updates. Looks like we were wrong.

In what can only be described as a refreshing turn of events, it seems both devices are now receiving updates to Android 5.1.1 — the absolute latest version of Android currently available. In fact, it’s a more current version of Android than even the LG G4 is running, which will reportedly stay on 5.1 until Android M rolls around (we don’t think that extra .0.1 would amount to much anyway).

Android 5.1 brings a few new additions to the core Android OS with T-Mobile saying owners should expect a boost in battery life, especially when using WiFi Calling. They also mention that the updates are available right now, but only over WiFi. So, if you want to get the jump on the update, hop into your Settings app and pull it right now.

T-Mobile: LG G Stylo | LG Leon

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Did you know Google stores a history of your voice searches? (and how to delete them) Fri, 03 Jul 2015 18:00:06 +0000 google search voice history

Google Voice Search is awesome, and you probably use it a lot more than is humanly healthy. But did you know that Google stores a history of all the queries you make on their servers? No, really, you can head right here and listen to every single search you’ve performed.

Don’t worry, we’re sure Google doesn’t use these recordings for anything malicious or ill-mannered, but in case you’re feeling a bit weird about it you’ll be glad to know that you can not only delete that history, but also opt out of saving future voice searches to your account. To delete, click this link and check the boxes next to all your audio recordings. At the top right, press delete. Done.

Opting out is just as easy. Click here, flip the switch to off. Boom. Keep these tips in mind if you ever search for something embarrassing and want to make sure you scrub every digital bit of its existence from the internet.

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Will Android 6.0 include Physical Web, Google’s answer to Apple’s iBeacon? Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:00:18 +0000 physical web hero

There is one glaring problem with the Internet of Things: it always seem to require special apps to do anything. While some devices will naturally need dedicated apps to deliver the best user experience — such as smart coffee makers or the Nest Thermostat and Nest Camera — there are others which could stand to eliminate the cumber associated with interfacing with one of these smart things.

Take, for instance, a mobile shopping experience at a retail store or restaurant, or an interactive display at a bus stop or movie theater. Typically you’d have to either download a special app to take full advantage of those features, or scan archaic QR codes and type in URLs to go to a web-based companion site.

Enter Google’s new platform – Physical Web – to rid us of those burdens. The open platform allows physical objects/places to automatically broadcast URLs to nearby devices (such as mobile phones of passersby). The goal is for any smart object to be able to have its own special web URL that can point to more information or virtual experiences. The URL can be instantly beamed to your phone or tablet simply by walking up to it through the use of modern wireless data technology like Bluetooth LE.

physical web app

This guy has the right idea. His early experiment is a queue system that users can use to “get in line” (at a restaurant, or a customer service desk at a carrier store, perhaps) by checking in at the place’s welcome desk:

He didn’t need a special app or anything to hop in line, and thanks to modern web features — like Google Chrome’s device notifications — he was able to get a real-time notification whenever it was his turn to step up to the counter and receive service. That’s exactly the kind of stuff Google imagined when they began work on the Physical Web.

Not just another 20% project

The project has been in the works for quite some time, with Google’s first formal announcement coming as far back as October 2014. The company has been careful to call Physical Web an experiment, but there’s reason to believe it will blossom into something much more down the line.

For starters, the project was recently demonstrated at a Congress conference about the Internet of Things. That’s a rather big and important audience for something that Google only considers a mere experiment. We’re also sure they wouldn’t have bothered with a trademark for the thing if they weren’t planning on something big.

physical web trademark

There’s also this neat app for developer testing in the Google Play Store, which is funny considering the whole goal of this project is to eliminate the need of an app to begin with. In fact, the developers who uploaded the app noted that bit of humorous irony in its description:

Yes, we are asking you to download an app so you ‘don’t have to use apps’. It seems a bit silly doesn’t it? At this early stage, an app is the easiest way to let developers experiment with the protocol. Of course, the app will eventually go away, becoming part of the OS.

Wait, what’s that last part? Becoming part of the OS? That’s what it says, folks. One can immediately assume that Google hopes to implement the Physical Web in a future version of Android (Android 6.0, anyone?).

Physical Web: the iBeacon slayer?

ibeacon example

The thought of it being an awesome killer Android 6.0 feature is exciting, and we wouldn’t blame you for suggesting this is Google’s “answer” to iBeacon, an Apple-made system that serves a similar purpose. The Physical Web differs in two distinct ways, though:

  1. iBeacon still mostly requires an app that implements iBeacon features, so you still have to download that Starbucks app if you want deals to pop up the moment you walk inside the shop. The Physical Web does it all via standard web through the use of URLs, so any browser will do.
  2. iBeacon is iOS-only, which alienates a pretty large group of potential customers.

The difference with the Physical Web — and a lot of things Google works on — is that it’s about more than just Android. It makes sense for Google to be prepping the Physical Web for use in their own operating system, but it’s their hope that this will become an open standard which other OS vendors use in their respective wares, as well.

You should be able to walk up to that Starbucks and get that inconsequential 5 cents off your caffeine-fueled drink no matter which device you use, and without having to download a special app, to boot.

Everyone needs to get involved

The idea of the Physical Web is one of great importance which certainly deserves attention. Platform fragmentation is inevitable, so why add to the world’s problems by introducing new puzzle pieces at every step of the way to deliver a great user experience?

Most advancements in technology are made to simplify our lives, but — for the ever-changing mobile world, anyway — we often seem to add more complications than we eliminate. Requiring me to have an iPhone and download your app just to gain “easy” access to information, content and deals is counterintuitive in every sense of the term.

And that’s why the work done on the Physical Web — and any open Internet of Things platform, really — is important for the future of this still-infant category of technology products. The goal for an internet-connected society like the ones dreamed about in The Jetsons should always be to break down the barriers of entry wherever and whenever possible, and not to punish users because they don’t have the exact combination of products and services to take advantage.

physical web beacon bkon

That said, it’ll take more than just the standard’s existence. We have to want it, promote it and make it accessible to everyone. Google’s already doing their part in the early going with their work on the project (source code here), while others have already created Physical Web beacon devices based on Google’s open Uri Beacon specification that can be used in conjunction with the current experimental smartphone app.

This particular node is especially interesting as it can broadcast URLs for both iBeacon and Physical Web at the same time. In absence of good-willed teamwork on the part of fierce competitors in the technology space, this sort of ingenuity by the third-party hardware and software partners doing work on Internet of Things will have to do.

It won’t happen overnight, naturally, but if Google can realize their end goal of getting the Physical Web into every smartphone, tablet and the real world objects that could benefit from such a system then the new digital world will be much better off for it. If not? Well, they tried, and at the very least you could chalk up another cool feature for Android that Apple might want to borrow ideas from in the future.

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Phan Favs: 5 Best Email Apps for Android [RESULTS] Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:00:02 +0000 Phan Gmail

Phan Favs is a recurring feature that turns the tables and asks you, the readers, about the best apps and games. It’s your turn to drop some knowledge on us! Read more.

Email is one piece of technology that almost everyone uses, and there are thousands of different ways to do it. Last week we asked you to share your favorite email app for Android. There were over 1,000 votes spread out across over 20 different apps, which goes to show how many great options are out there. Here are the Top 5 Android Email Apps, as voted by you.

1. Gmail


It was pretty obvious before the voting even started that Gmail was probably going to be the top pick. Google has done an excellent job with the Gmail app for Android. Whether you’re getting hundreds of emails a day, or just a couple, the Gmail app works great. One advantage Gmail has is it’s pre-installed on most Android devices. Luckily, it’s so good there isn’t much reason to install anything else.

2. Inbox by Gmail


Gmail is so popular that it managed to take the top two spots on the list. Inbox is a relatively new app from the Gmail team. However, it treats email in a much different way. The app attempts to organize your mail for you, and only notify you of emails it thinks you’ll care about. It’s a hands-off approach that a lot of people appreciate. If you feel like your email is out of control, Inbox is a great app to try.

3. K-9 Mail


The third spot in our list goes to an app I didn’t realize still existed. K-9 Mail has been around since Android 1.5 Cupcake, and it’s still thriving as a very popular email app. It’s an open-source email app with features such as search, IMAP push email, multi-folder sync, flagging, filing, signatures, bcc-self, PGP, mail on SD card, much more. Keep on kicking, K-9!

4. Microsoft Outlook


Microsoft Outlook wasn’t always a great app. Last year they acquired an email app called Acompli, and a few months later the new and improved Outlook was released. It has a great design with simple swipe gestures to manage emails and powerful algorithms that automatically bring important emails to the top. Outlook also integrates with your calendar and cloud storage accounts.

5. CloudMagic Email


Taking the fifth spot by a slim margin is CloudMagic. This is a great app for whatever email service you use, including Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, iCloud, and more. It also integrates with a ton of popular services, such as Wunderlist, Todoist, Evernote, OneNote, Trello, and more. The UI is very clean and easy to use, plus it has great Android Wear support.

Honorable Mention

email votes

As we mentioned above, there was at least one vote for over 20 different emails apps. In the chart above you can see all the apps that received more than one vote. First and second place were far ahead of the crowd, but after that the standings are pretty close. Where did your favorite app end up on the list? Do you agree with your fellow readers?

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New leak gives us a look at upcoming BlackBerry smartphone running Android [UPDATE] Fri, 03 Jul 2015 05:39:08 +0000 BlackBerry Venice

After tweeting earlier today that an Android-powered BlackBerry device was headed to AT&T later this year, @Evleaks decided to release a new product render of a BlackBerry device clearly running Android. It’s still unclear if this is the BlackBerry Venice that he had tipped earlier — which @Evleaks mentioned would be a QWERTY slider —  or something entirely different.

You’ll notice this phone is super wide, not too unlike the BlackBerry Passport which launched back in September of last year. In fact, it’s identical, save for the Lollipop-style navigation buttons and keyboard select. As odd as the aspect ratio was on that device, reviews were still fairly positive. Whether Android users will take to it, remains to be seen.

UPDATE: @Evleaks posted another update to his Twitter, calling that previous render little more than the BlackBerry Passport with Android slapped on it. He later posted another photo, this time of the actual BlackBerry Venice slider that the company showed off back during MWC, but this time running Android. Pretty, isn’t it?


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Google Glass sequel may have been spotted passing through the FCC Fri, 03 Jul 2015 01:21:17 +0000 Google Glass moody DSC06183

We know Google is still preparing a consumer version of Google Glass. Not too long ago the project graduated out of Google X labs to an official Google product headed by Nest CEO Tony Fadell. That being said, a recent FCC filing is causing some to believe that this could be the next version of Google Glass. The mysterious device — filed under FCC ID A4R-GG1 — is reportedly carrying all the wireless connectivity you’d expect from a next-gen wearable (Bluetooth LE, non-removable battery, dual-band WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac).

FCC ID A4R-GG1 e-label

While that alone doesn’t raise much suspicion that it could be the next version of Google Glass, the device’s FCC label wont be physically printed on the device and will instead use an e-label which was also included in the filing. Just looking over the e-label — black background with white lettering — it looks uncannily similar to the UI featured in Google Glass. Other than that, there doesn’t seem to be much else revealed in the filing. No surprise there.

While the public is still mulling over whether or not we even want to see another version of Google Glass, it looks like Google is ready to give it another go. The form it will take (VR headset? Augmented reality?), is still anyone’s guess.


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Fallout Shelter is looking at an August release on Android Thu, 02 Jul 2015 23:12:03 +0000 Fallout Shelter attack

When Fallout Shelter launched on iOS back during E3 (coinciding with Fallout 4’s reveal trailer) we knew an Android version was in the works. Developer Bethesda mentioned it in their initial press release but as things often go, a specific date wasn’t mentioned. The worst part is knowing how good the game is. It’s already managed to score a perfect 4-star rating in Apple’s App Store and after only 1 week, it was Apple’s most downloaded game in 48 countries.

When asked about launch timing for the Android version of Shelter, Bethesda developer Pete Hines mentioned in a tweet that they’re targeting an August release but wouldn’t commit to a hard date. He also mentioned that things were coming along nicely, so that’s always good news. Keep in mind that Bethesda did say that Fallout Shelfter would arrive on Android 2 months after the iOS version, so end of August would still fit within that time frame.


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Android-powered BlackBerry Venice with a slide-out keyboard reportedly headed to AT&T Thu, 02 Jul 2015 21:22:20 +0000 The-BlackBerry-Venice-could-be-available-this-November-with-Android-or-BB10-aboard

Early render of the BlackBerry Venice before it was running Android

Reports from earlier this month that BlackBerry would soon launch a full fledged Android-powered smartphone are looking up. Ex-tipster who still occasionally tips/confirms new devices @Evleaks tweeted earlier today that a device called the BlackBerry Venice is headed to AT&T later this year. He specifically mentioned that this device would be powered by Android and that — here’s the best part — it will feature a slide-out physical keyboard for QWERTY fans.

Yeah, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen a QWERTY slider on Android and if this device is a BlackBerry flagship, could offer some nice hardware. Of course, nothing outside of its name is confirmed at this point, so we’ll have to wait until we hear more. What say ye? Would you guys consider a BlackBerry slider providing it had full access to Google Play services? I’m getting moist just thinking about it.


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Nintendo could ship 20 million Android-fueled gaming consoles next year Thu, 02 Jul 2015 20:51:36 +0000 super mario

Anyone with an interest in gaming knows the Nintendo Wii U isn’t doing so hot, so Nintendo is looking to make the console gamers deserved to get. It’s codenamed Nintendo NX, and recent rumors suggest there’ll be some form of Android support once it arrives (though we’re to understand that “support” will be limited to a mere Android runtime, ala Blackberry).

Today, we get an idea of just how big Nintendo expects this console to be. The company is rumored to be prepping 20 million units for shipment starting next year. The console is currently scheduled to begin mass production next June, with initial shipments being ready to go a mere month later.

To put that into perspective, Nintendo has only been able to sell 2 million Wii U units. We’re not sure what sort of number crunching they’ve been doing to determine that they can sell 10 times as much this second time around, bu they better not put in too many hard orders for components before seeing how the rest of this console generation will shape up. In any case, the Nintendo NX will be a console to keep an eye on and we’ll be sure to keep you updated on all the latest.

[via Wii U Daily]

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Watch Dolphin’s GameCube/Wii emulator running beautifully on the NVIDIA SHIELD TV [VIDEO] Thu, 02 Jul 2015 20:22:24 +0000 SHIELD_Android_TV_16GB_Packaging

When Dolphin released an alpha version of their GameCube/Wii emulator for Android some time ago, it was an awesome feat for sure. What it wasn’t was very practical. This was mainly due to hardware constraints and but let’s face it, we’ve come a long way since then. While an Android smartphone or tablet probably isn’t the most convenient way to revisit beloved Nintendo titles from your past, an Android TV set top box on your 50-inch flat screen sounds like a much better fit.

Giving us a look at the progress they’ve made since initially launching on Android many moons ago, the folks at Dolphin are now showing us how smooth their emulator runs on the NVIDIA Shield Android TV and its Tegra X1 processor. Of course bugs are to be expected and a few games are looking damn near flawless to us, that’s not always the case. If the Android TV’s current lineup of Android-based video games weren’t enough to get you to pull the trigger on a NVIDIA Shield purchase, maybe having a few GameCube titles will. You can check out the video down below.

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Pushbullet listens to feedback, fixes annoying share menu after user backlash Thu, 02 Jul 2015 18:28:54 +0000 Pushbullet

On yesterday’s Mobile Roar podcast we talked briefly about the latest Pushbullet update and how it somehow broke the one feature many of us use it for in the first place: easy sharing to our Android devices.

Pushbullet is seemingly going through a weird transitional phase where the app now mimics a messaging app more than anything. But that’s not even what bothered us. When sharing links, photos, or files to your devices, the app required an extra button press (I know, GASP!) to pull up your devices. You’d pick Pushbullet from the Android share menu, then select yourself, then select one of your devices. It wasn’t so much an annoyance as it was less convenient and convenience is exactly what Pushbullet has been selling this entire time.

Pushbullet update Android

Listening to feedback from users — just like us — who weren’t pleased with the new update, Pushbullet announced on their blog that they’ve updated the Android app with a new bar that displays all your devices. They’ve also made a few changes to their Windows and browser extensions based on feedback as well. Can’t remember the last time we’ve seen an app developer address so many user concerns so quickly, but there you have it. You can find an update to Pushbullet waiting for you on the Google Play Store right now.


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