Phandroid Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Tue, 02 Sep 2014 13:20:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Samsung introduces Swarovski-encrusted Gear S (because crystals make everything look better) Tue, 02 Sep 2014 13:20:04 +0000 samsung gear s swarovski

Swarovski crystals on a smartphone? Meh. On a smart watch? Why, now you’re talking Samsung! The company has introduced a version of the Samsung Gear S that has Swarovski crystals encrusted on the watch band. The new blingage gives the Gear S an eye-catching look, and looks perfect for anyone concerned with style.

The Gear S didn’t need much help on its own with a curved display design that makes it stand out from other smart watches. Samsung says the device is made with a completely new Swarovski product called Crystal Fine Mesh (obviously not to be confused with fine crystal meth).

In case you didn’t catch the news last week, the Gear S is Samsung’s first smart watch with dedicated 3G radios, meaning you can use data and make calls with the device without having to be paired up to a smartphone via Bluetooth. It doesn’t offer much more than that over their other Tizen-based smart watches, though that might be reason enough for someone to throw hard-earned dollars at it.

Samsung didn’t have any pricing info to share, but we at least know you’ll be able to find it on their website and in one of their few Samsung Experience retail stores starting next month. Samsung also let slip that their next flagship device will also see some Swarovski love, and we’re all but certain they’re talking about the Galaxy Note 4. We should be hearing a LOT more from the South Korean company tomorrow.

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Let’s talk about how terrible Comcast is (and how afraid Time Warner customers should be) Mon, 01 Sep 2014 17:00:31 +0000 raging baby

There’s no secret Comcast isn’t the world’s most favorite internet service provider. Heck, they probably don’t even have the` favor of a few innocent souls who don’t know the difference between dial-up and fiber. There’s no shortage of Comcast horror stories on the internet. We’re not sure why Comcast is so bad, but they are. And it’s about time we put a spotlight on some of the most troubling testimonials you’ll ever see.

This young man was put on hold by a customer service rep. By the grace of some supernatural source he actually waited. On the phone. For 3 hours. No one came back after said time, so he ended up being on hold until their customer service line was closed.

Granted, he most likely would have been able to get back through if he’d hung up and called back (could be a technical error), but it’s still remarkable. Power to those who can wait on hold for 3 full hours and not end up with your phone smashed to bit in the corner of a dark, cold room.

Here’s an hour and change of horrible customer service goodness courtesy of this guy on Reddit. The guy was passed around by customer service reps like a cheese plate at an awkward social gathering:

This fellow’s story in particular is interesting: not only is Comcast showing sings of environmental irresponsibility, but they’re overcharging for service that he didn’t even have. That they failed to rectify their own mistake months after the fact is enough for a grand ol’ face palm.

And the list goes on and on. Granted, there are likely just as many folks who are perfectly fine with the service they’re receiving from Comcast, and you can find horror stories about any fairly large company if you look hard enough, but Comcast’s name is by far the most cursed in the industry.

The saddest part is that despite all the outcries from customers, it appears Comcast hasn’t done a thing to help alleviate some of these complaints over the years. It’s even more startling when you think about the fact that some of these folks don’t even have better options — despite the issues, Comcast is still the best they can get.

It’s a problem that has plagued the American wireline industry for quite some time. Companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable have a pretty significant stranglehold on many key markets, and while regional providers and the might of AT&T have tried to test their stomping grounds they still can’t offer enough to put a significant dent into those companies’ market share.


Speaking of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, the two are about to become a couple. A thing. A conglomerate that we all should be deathly afraid of. It’s a scary thought that absolutely should have you quivering in your boots. As a long-time Time Warner Cable customer for the past 14 years, I think I can speak with authority when I say they’re no different.

Quality of service has consistently declined since the early days I’ve had them. Some days I wake up and wonder if I’ll even be able to sign onto and pump out articles. Customer service has gotten a bit better, but they still don’t give you the attention and care that a homely regional provider seems to be able to. And let’s not even get started on prices increasing year after year without any considerable improvements in service.

Sure, I could have gone with the only (and I do mean only) viable alternative in my area in AT&T Uverse, but their speeds don’t meet my professional needs, nor does DSL technology excite me quite like a traditional cable connections. Add to that fact that AT&T’s “half the cost of competition” price tag they like to advertise only lasts for the first 12 months of service (after which they become just as expensive as Time Warner) and there just hasn’t been anyone better.

But don’t let Time Warner take that quote out of context in one of their cheesy ads — there’s no one better because there’s NO ONE ELSE PERIOD. I long for the day that the Milwaukee, WI area finally gets a stout competitor that can keep these cable companies on their heels, but until then this is the reality we have to live in.

So yes, Comcast users, I do understand where you’re coming from. I understand the frustration. And as one bad company gets ready to merge with another I’m close to considering internet suicide.

It sucks, and the only thing we can do is to continue to express our distaste unless you’re fortunate enough to live in a market where you can vote with your wallet. Here’s to hoping something like Verizon FiOS or Google Fiber journeys to the rest of the country before Comcast and Time Warner are able to get a devastating death grip on the internet business here in America.

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Best new Android games from August 2014 Mon, 01 Sep 2014 15:00:35 +0000 august

Games, games, games. So many games came out this last month. Some simple, others complex. We even had a game from the now infamous developer of Flappy Bird. What more could you ask for? In case you were too busy enjoying the summer weather, we have compiled a list of the best games from August. These are the ones you should check out and download. Enjoy!



ALONE is a handcrafted, intense survival journey through space. Navigate caves, rip through rocky debris, dodge rocks and comets and test your endurance as you pursue ever higher scores in this ultra fast, procedural runner. This game has hours of action filled gameplay across three unlockable difficulty levels and two awesome bonus modes. It’s available for $1.99.

Amazing Brick

amazing brick

Do you like Flappy Bird? Let me rephrase that. Do you know about Flappy Bird? Of course you do. Amazing Brick is a similar style of game, but it doesn’t make you want to rip your hair out. All you do is tap to go up through obstacles. It’s very minimally designed, but a lot of fun. It’s available for free from the Play Store.

Back to Bed

back to bed

Back to Bed is a 3D puzzle game set in a unique and artistic dream world, wherein you guide the sleepwalker Bob to the safety of his bed. To achieve this, you must take control of Bob’s subconscious guardian named Subob. The pair travels through a surreal and painting-like dream world, filled with objects used to guide Bob towards the Bed, but also dangers that must be avoided. Grab this game for $4.00.



Bik is a retro-style adventure game that takes inspiration from classic point-and-click adventure games. The game follows a young boy who is abducted by aliens while on a camping trip. After joining forces with two friendly alien mercenaries, Bik escapes from his abductors and tries to find his way home. Tons of fun happens to Bik and his friends along the way. Download Bik for $1.99.



Innovative collectible card gaming combined with number puzzles and turn-based tactical combat.  Earth has been destroyed by the evil Hate Bit and you are the Last Star Nerd. Clever use of numbers lets you deploy starships, soldiers, tanks, aliens, and devastating tactics. You’ll have to be several kinds of brilliant to save what’s left of space. Calulords is very unique and fun. It can be yours for $2.99.

Crazy Taxi City Rush

crazu taxi rush

Drive crazy in SEGA’s all-new Crazy Taxi. Race through the city to deliver your passengers on-time; the crazier you drive the higher your rewards. That’s right, the crazier you drive the more rewards you get. It is called Crazy Taxi after all. This new Crazi Taxi games also allows you to fully customize your cab. Are you craaaazy enough to download this game for free?

Dragon Quest IV

dragon 4

Dragon Quest IV, the first installment in the Zenithian Trilogy, is now out for Android. This epic adventure, unfolding over five unique chapters, each focusing on a different cast of characters, can now be enjoyed on your phone. Enter a fantasy world of sword, magic, and monsters with over 40 hours of gameplay. Buy it for $14.99 and never be asked for money again.

Five Nights at Freddy’s

five freddy

Welcome to your new summer job at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, where kids and parents alike come for entertainment and food as far as the eye can see! The main attraction is Freddy Fazbear, of course; and his two friends. They are animatronic robots, programmed to please the crowds. As simple as this game is it’s very frightening. Download it for $2.99 if you dare.

King of Dragon Pass

dragon pass

Create your own epic saga of conflict, mythology and community! Rule your own clan, take important strategic decisions, win battles and expand the territory of your people. This game is a unique mix of RPG and strategy. Everything in King of Dragon Pass is about choice and control. Choose your counsel carefully, sign diplomatic agreements or declare war on nearby clans. All of this can be yours for $9.99.

Madden NFL Mobile

madden nfl mobile controls

Many football gamers have likely already drain hours of their time into Madden NFL 15 for consoles as it launched this past Tuesday. But what if  you’re away from home and need that football fix? EA Sports has a pretty decent gift for you: Madden NFL Mobile. We’ve had a few days to sink our teeth into it and determine whether this is the pigskin simulator that your phone or tablet deserves. Check out our review and then download it for free.



Have you ever thought about what it would be like if you were a mountain? No? Well, in MOUNTAIN that  is exactly what you do. You are a mountain. That’s pretty much all there is to it. Nothing you do really matters. Sound like fun? For $1 it’s all yours.

Skulls of the Shogun


Crush your enemies and eat their skulls! Skulls of the Shogun is a fast-paced turn-based strategy game, supercharged with fighting-game flair and double-stuffed with a serious sense of humor. Enter the Samurai Afterlife and join forces with undead warriors, magical monks, and mighty mustachioed samurai generals! This awesome game can be yours for just $1.99.

Surgeon Simulator

surgeon simulator android

Ever wanted to be a deadly surgeon that didn’t know an artery from a bone? Fancy cutting into some poor schmuck who thinks he’s about to get a quality operation only to die on the operating table? Me neither, but we can at least experience that harrowing, twisted situation in digital form. Surgeon Similar puts the buzz saw and scalpel into your hands. If you’re up to the task it will cost you $5.99.

Swing Copter

swing copters watermark

Swing Copters can be seen as a spiritual successor to Flappy Bird. Instead of trying to make your way through pipes and obstacles on a horizontal axis, you’re now trying to do much of the same going vertical in a helicopter. It’s still very difficult, though the latest update made it much easier. Swing Copters is free if you dare to get addicted.

Time Tangle

time tangle

Time Tangle is another great game based on the cartoon Adventure Time. In thi sgame you punch stuff, do infinite quests, rescue your friends, beat beastly bad guys, and enjoy awesome cutscenes with your favorite characters. Run, punch, rinse, repeat. If you’re in for an adventure you can grab this game for $2.99.

WWE SuperCard

wwe supercard

WWE SuperCard puts the power of WWE Superstars, Legends, and Divas in your hands by bringing the hard-hitting, larger-than-life action of WWE to mobile in a brand new card battle game! Collect your favorite WWE Superstars, Divas, Legends and Managers. Take your five-man team online against other players to test your skills. Play for free if you’re ready!

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Best Android Phones [September 2014] Mon, 01 Sep 2014 13:00:41 +0000 best-phones-hero

As summer winds down we are once again ranking our favorite Android phones. Some familiar names made our list, but which handset came out on top? Will the fall’s big announcements shake things up in the coming weeks? Read on to find out.

Previously: AugustJuly | June | May | April | March | February

5. Sony Xperia Z2

Sony Xperia Z2 Damaged_1

When a phone spends six weeks at the bottom of the ocean and somehow emerges with only cosmetic damage it makes it pretty hard to leave it off of our best phones list. Alright, we weren’t planning on dropping the Z2 from the rankings, ocean floor adventures or not, but it is a testament to this phone’s strong design. It looks great, it’s waterproof, and it packs the hardware (HD display, quad-core processing, etc.) to match up with any other device on this list.

4. Nexus 5

Nexus 5 shortcuts DSC05736

If you want to own a smartphone that will be among the first to see the Android L update, the Nexus 5 remains the best option currently on the market. While we anticipate some new Nexus hardware from Google and its partners, the N5 remains a solid workhorse device, and you can’t really complain about the $350 price tag, either. If you’re savvy, this one has been going on sale plenty lately and could see a price drop in the coming months during the lead up to the rumored Nexus 6.

3. Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5 hand DSC05788

While the whole Ice Bucket Challenge thing might have been in poor taste, we won’t hold it against the Galaxy S5. This handset remains perhaps the most popular Android smartphone in the court of public opinion and is a great buy for those looking for top-notch hardware in a universally supported device. It also boasts a few features other smartphones have slacked on, including a fingerprint scanner and hear rate sensor.

2. HTC One M8


The One M8 features great design and the hardware to compliment it, so much so that HTC decided to double-down and release a Windows Phone version of the device. We’ll stick with the original, Android-infused version, though, with its sleek Sense software UltraPixel camera, and more.

1. LG G3


We love the LG G3, but don’t take our word for it. The phone is on track to be LG’s first ever handset to break the 10 million units sold mark. There’s good reason for it, to. The G3’s focus on simplicity brings its sheer power to the forefront and highlights features like a Quad HD display, laser autofocus, and much more.

Honorable Mentions

HTC One Remix 8

We don’t have room for ever phone in our top five. Here are the devices that barely missed the cut.

  1. Xiaomi Mi4 — Xiaomi isn’t a household name, but they have caught our attention with their latest Mi4, a powerful handset at a reasonable price.
  2. OnePlus One — OnePlus hasn’t made the brightest marketing decisions, but there is a reason that folks are clamoring simply for the chance to receive an invite to buy this elusive smartphone.
  3. Oppo Find 7a — On par with the OnePlus One, the Find 7a is another option for folks seeking an affordable off-contract buy.
  4. Moto X — The X remains one of the world’s only “customizable” smartphones with factory options like woodgrain and more, but the rumored X+1 threatens its spot on our list.
  5. HTC One Remix — This Verizon exclusive is a mini version of the HTC One M8, but it impresses almost as much as its big brother.

Phones to Look Forward To

Perhaps the phone you are looking for hasn’t been released yet. In that case, here are a couple newly announced devices that have yet to make it to store shelves (but should soon).

Sharp Aquos Crystal


A Sprint exclusive announced a few weeks back, the Aquos Crystal makes up for mid-range specs with it’s nearly bezel-free display and sub-$250 off-contract pricing. It won’t compete head-to-head with the flagship devices from other manufacturers, but it looks pretty damn nice (just check out our hands-on) and could be a tempting option for Sprint subscribers. A release should be imminent, though an official date remains unknown.

LG G Stylus


If you didn’t guess already based on the name, the LG G Stylus indeed comes with a stylus and on the surface looks like it is positioned as a Galaxy Note 4 competitor. That’s only partially true, as the G Stylus dials back the specs quite a bit. What it lacks in power we expect it to make up for in pricing, however.

Rumor Mill

Several long-standing rumors will be satisfied in a mere matter of days, and we can’t wait. Here are the upcoming but unannounced phones everyone has been buzzing about.

Moto X+1 & DROID Turbo

Moto X active notifications

The long-rumored Moto X+1 should finally go official as part of an event Motorola has planned for September 4th, finally bringing us answers to all of our burning questions as they pertain to the handset. Will the phone feature 3D recognition and optical zoom? Will it feature even more customization options than its predecessor? We may also get answers in regards to the recently rumored Motorola DROID Turbo for Verizon, but we aren’t holding our breath.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

note 4 teaser screen grab 2

IFA 2014 will host one of its biggest launches on September 3rd, when we expect to see the Galaxy Note 4 in all of its glory. Samsung has been steadily teasing this one for the past several weeks, and aside from the typical upgrades we are also expecting new and improved fingerprint scanning capabilities. Will this one have us forgetting about the Galaxy S5?

Nexus 6


The Nexus 6 feels like the Android world’s white whale, only in this case it’s more of an orca. Yes, we’ve been talking for months about when we might catch a glimpse of this Nexus 5 followup, codenamed ‘Shamu,’ but we’re still waiting. At least the leaks keep coming, including a full rundown of specs that claim this Motorola-made handset will feature a Snapdragon 805 SoC, 3GB RAM, and a 13MP camera.

Amazon Best Sellers

As always, we’ve perused Amazon’s list of best selling smartphones for yet even more options. If the phone wasn’t already on our list but has been selling like hot cakes on Amazon, you will find it listed below (often at insane price markdowns).

  1. Amazon Fire Phone
  2. LG G2
  3. Samsung Galaxy S4
  4. Samsung Galaxy S3
  5. Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
  6. Samsung Galaxy S5 Active
  7. HTC One M7
  8. Samsung Galaxy Mega
  9. Samsung Galaxy Note 3
  10. Samsung Galaxy Note II

What Say You?

Do you have a bone to pick with our current phone rankings? While September’s big announcements are sure to shake things up, let us know how you would rank things as they sit now. Sound off in the comments below!

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Happy Labor Day! Mon, 01 Sep 2014 11:00:09 +0000 happy_labor_

It’s Labor Day for those of us in the United States. It’s the unofficial official closure to summer. Many students are already headed back to school. Barbecue pits will be HOT. To those celebrating this fine holiday with us, Happy Labor Day! We hope you enjoy your day and have as much fun as you can!

To those outside of the United States, we’ll be taking a short break to recharge our batteries ahead of all the IFA goodness going down this week. Fret not, though, because we’ll be right here tomorrow bright and early to bring you all the latest in the world of Android. Have a good one folks!

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The new Moto X shows up in Verizon Wireless computer system, could launch with Moto Maker Sun, 31 Aug 2014 20:34:41 +0000 Moto X1 evleaks

As Motorola’s September 4th event in Chicago fast approaches, we’re bound to find another leak or two surrounding the successors to the Moto X and the Moto G. We’ve already seen the Verizon variants of the new Moto X (Moto X+1) pictured above sporting an all black case and a white and bamboo combination. Today’s tip we received adds a little more credibility to the above images, at least from an outside shell standpoint.


Our source has provided us with this screenshot from Verizon’s computer system which clearly shows ‘the new Moto X’ coming in black, white/bamboo, and two Moto Maker variants coming in at 16GB and 32GB. As it stands now, the current Moto X is available in 16GB through Verizon Wireless as well as 16GB and 32GB versions purchased through Moto Maker. However, this wasn’t always the case. When the original Moto X launched last summer, the Moto Maker option was sadly a carrier exclusive for roughly the first three months. According to the above image, Moto Maker might just be available on Verizon Wireless from the beginning. Let’s hope that Verizon doesn’t have an exclusive this time around, no one likes carrier exclusives.

As for the name, our source says he keeps seeing ‘the new Moto X’ referenced on cases, rebate forms, and other internal documents instead of Moto X+1. Will the new Moto X launch under this name or will we still see Moto X+1 as the device’s moniker? It’s still too early to tell and things could change at the last minute. Either way, our own Kevin Krause will be attending Motorola’s event in just a few days and he’ll keep us all in the loop.

Who’s ready to customize their new Moto X through Motor Maker?

Thanks Mr. D!

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Best Android Tablets [September 2014] Sun, 31 Aug 2014 19:00:50 +0000 best-tablets-april-2014

In the market for an Android tablet? Don’t know whether or not you should wait? With the summer behind us and IFA 2014 kicking off this week, now is precarious time to be in the market. Here are our picks for the best slates currently available and a look at what’s on the horizon.

Previously: AugustJuly | June | May | April

5. Nexus 7

New Nexus 7 wm

The Nexus 7 was never renown for its hardware prowess, but the tablet continues to deliver in other areas like price. As a Nexus device, it will also be among the first to see the highly-anticipated update to Android L. With an HD display and modest quad-core processing, the N7 will remain relevant until Google finally releases its long-rumored successor.

4. LG G Pad


LG recently launched G Pad refresh comes in three sizes with prices starting at $150, a price that by itself makes these slates worth consideration. Add in some of the subtle refinements LG introduced with the highly-touted G3 and you end up with a set of tablets that successfully mix mid-range specs with a top-of-the-line feel.

3. Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet


The Xperia Z2 Tablet is about as “Sony Style” as it gets. With refined lines and the specs to give the competition a run for its money, if you want to turn heads while you effortlessly blow through video, games, and web content, the Z2 is the tablet for you.


nvidia shield tablet

When the SHIELD Tablet launched, we would be the first to tell you we weren’t holding out high hopes for the device. NVIDIA came through, however, with a device that takes the great gaming capabilities of their less-than-succesful SHIELD handheld and pairs them with an all-around solid Android tablet. A great device for hardcore gamers, the casual user should find it equally appealing.

1. Samsung Galaxy Tab S


The long wait for Samsung to bring their Super AMOLED technology to a tablet was worth it. The Tab S not only delivers gorgeous visuals via its hi-res display, but it sets the standard for every Android slate to come. Priced to compete with Apple’s iPad, it might be the first truly worth Android competitor the long-standing tablet king.

Honorable Mentions

galaxy-tab-4-nookWe don’t have room for every Android tablet in our top five, but here are several new and currently available slates worth your consideration.

  1. Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook — Samsung’s popular Galaxy Tab meets Barnes & Nobles line of e-readers, and it’s a match made in heaven.
  2. Lenovo Yoga HD 10+  This flexible tablet features a built-in kickstand and can “yoga” itself into several positions for maximum usability.
  3. LG G Pad 8.3 — Still relevant despite the launch of new G Pads, look for this solid Android tablet to go on sale frequently.
  4. Amazon Kindle Fire HDX With easy access to Amazon’s library of digital content, this is a true media machine.
  5. Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro — This “Pro” version of the Galaxy Tab might lag behind the Tab S in some areas, but it is worth consideration as one of the most powerful Android slates on the market.

Tablets to Look Forward To

IFA 2014 promises to bring even more tablets to look forward to, but here are the unreleased but announced Android slates that have quivering with anticipation.

LG Tab Book

lg tab book android

When the LG Tab Book hits the market, it will quite possibly be the most powerful Android slate available. It’s that simple. Unfortunately, since its announcement a few weeks back, little else has surfaced, including details on release date and regional availability.

ASUS Transformer Book V

ASUS Transformer Book V_PR02

Since it was shown off at the beginning of summer we have been anxiously awaiting ASUS’ Transformer Book V, the successor the manufacturer’s popular line of Transformer tablets. This one cannot only go from tablet to laptop and back, but it can triple as a phone and then do it all with Windows.

Rumor Mill

Will  new Nexus Tablet launch before next month’s Best Tablets list is set in stone? Unlikely, but this month we have another that almost certainly will.

HTC Nexus tablet

google nexus devices

After earning its WiFi certification, the HTC Volantis/Flounder (codenames for what is presumed to be the next Nexus tablet) is closer to reality than ever. We are expecting to see an official announcement of this slate alongside the release of Android L and possibly a new Nexus phone. There is still some debate as to whether it will be a true Nexus 7 replacement or a new, larger tablet dubbed the Nexus 9.

Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact

sony smartwatch tablet compact leaked

Sony’s Xperia Z2 Tablet has been a favorite of ours since its release, and the rumored Z3 Tablet Compact could be equally as enticing. What do we expect of this new slate that could be revealed at IFA 2014 next week? A smaller display than the Z2 Tablet’s along with specs similar to the upcoming Xperia Z3 smartphone. That sounds like a recipe for success to us.

What Say You?

Did we leave your favorite tablet off of our rankings? Did we get it wrong or right? Take us to school in the comments below and let us know your picks for the best Android tablets.

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Madden NFL Mobile review: the best of Ultimate Team right in your pocket Sun, 31 Aug 2014 14:00:22 +0000 madden mobile

Many football gamers have likely already drain hours of their time into Madden NFL 15 for consoles as it launched this past Tuesday. But what about when you’re away from and needing that football fix? EA Sports has a pretty decent gift for you lot — Madden NFL Mobile. We’ve had a few days to sink our teeth into it and determine whether this is the pigskin simulator that your phone or tablet deserves, and here’s our final review.

Graphics and Presentation

While graphics have never been the absolute most important element of video games, you don’t want a football game made in 2014 to look like Tecmo Bowl. How does Madden fare? Quite well, I must say. EA spared no expense when it comes to resources, as they draw on every ounce of power that today’s powerful mobile GPUs provide. While you certainly won’t be getting console quality graphics here, the game looks and performs smooth enough to make you believe you’re on the field.


Player models are perhaps most important, and they are given proper justice here. You might not get a clear look at all of Colin Kapernick’s tattoos or that receding hairline Drew Brees has, but their height and build are represented accurately enough, and the names and numbers on the backs of their jerseys are clear enough to make no mistake about who it is.

Animation of these models are done quite smoothly. From the throwing motion of a QB to a kicker swinging his leg to nail a field goal, the game looks and feels exactly as you’d expect it to. The environment you’re surrounded by  – a stadium that’s supposed be full of tens of thousands of people — doesn’t quite give you that gladiator feel of an actual NFL stadium, but a modestly animated crowd with the sound effects to match definitely go toward providing a “football feel.”

We played this game on an HTC One M8 running a Snapdragon 801 processor, which we imagined would be more than enough to get the job done. We imagine the game should run well on a vast range of “contemporary” hardware, though don’t be surprised if it suffers a bit on hardware more than 2 years old — this is one demanding game. Long story short, you won’t be complaining about how it looks when you sit down to knock out a couple of quick games. Can the same be said about how it plays?


Just as most folks will argue that beauty is only skin deep, a game can only be good as its gameplay. Doesn’t matter how well a game looks if you don’t enjoy playing it, right? For the case of Madden NFL Mobile, we’d say they did just fine. EA did a fine job in finding a balance between simplicity and freedom.

Movement of players is handled by an on-screen analog stick, allowing you to move the players in pretty much any direction you please. On the other side of the display is a context-sensitive Action button that will change depending on the situation.

Pre-play, you simply press that button to snap the ball. When you are controlling the ball carrier during the play it becomes your best friend — spins, jukes and hurdles are all performed by pressing the button. Your player smartly chooses the right action depending on the situation so you only have to worry about hitting the button at the right moment. On defense, you use it to try and get a big tackle and force a fumble.


So that’s the ball carrier — what about cornerbacks and quarterbacks? For the former, you can try to intercept an incoming pass by switching to the player closest to the ball (a simple double finger tap) and swipe up on the display when prompted. In order for the latter to throw a pass, you hold the icon if the receiver you want for a bullet and tap it for a lob/floater. Kickers also have their own mechanic: swipe up on a kick meter cone. The velocity of your swipe determines kick power, while the direction of your swipe will determine accuracy.

All of that comes together to create a gameplay experience that feels full, smooth and free as opposed to over-complicated or dumbed down. It makes you feel like every decision is yours and yours along to make without the annoying interference of hand-holding and autonomy. You won’t be getting the deepest of football gameplay out of a mobile title, but it sure feels a lot better than anything we’ve played to date.

Modes and Features

Madden NFL Mobile isn’t exactly heavy on a variety of modes and features this year. You’ll be doing a vast majority of your bidding in EA’s Ultimate Team, a card-based collection mode where you play with the player cards you earn. Player cards can be earned from Pro Packs which can be bought with gold (earned by playing and completing games and events) or purchased using in-game currency that you buy with real-life currency.


Unfortunately this means you won’t be able to play with the stars of your favorite team immediately — that is, of course, unless you are lucky enough to pull their card from a pack or have enough gold to buy them on the auction house. You will at least be able to play with your favorite team’s uniform, though, so there’s that. It’s a shame EA didn’t include actual NFL teams this go-round, but Ultimate Team has been a cash cow for them in the past few years so we can’t say we’re too surprised.

Thankfully there’s no shortage of what you can do with whatever team you happen to put together. You can go through a more traditional 16 game season where you play your team’s real-life schedule in hopes to reach the playoffs and, ultimately, the Super Bowl. You can go head-to-head against rivalries and friends online. You even have a few training mini games to sink your teeth into for the purpose of earning more gold and XP. Daily and weekly challenges help keep things fresh by giving you the chance to win promotional and collectible cards that can’t be had otherwise.

Unfortunately, all of this is marred by one very annoying factor — stamina. EA has succumbed to the pressures of the free to play world and implemented a system where you can’t move forward unless you wait for your stamina meter to refill or replenish it yourself. You earn one stamina point every 10 minutes, and stamina can also be refilled when you reach new levels, but should you be too impatient to wait or can’t bring yourself up to the next level in a decent amount of time they’ll ask you to pay $1 to continue.


It shouldn’t be surprising considering premium microtransactions have always been the backbone of Ultimate Team, however we wish EA would have kept the shameless cash grabs isolated to the need to buy packs instead of using every little crooked trick they can to push you to spend unnecessary money. I am fortunate enough to be a very patient individual so time constraints don’t usually send me off the deep end — I’ll simply find something else to do or switch to another game. That said, we understand if it’s a turnoff that ultimately keeps you from enjoying the game.

The Verdict

EA has put together a pretty fun game for those who absolutely can’t stand to be without football while they’re away from home. It feels like they have a good grasp on what makes mobile gaming fun. Unfortunately, they don’t have that same level of understanding when it comes to what makes a game frustrating (either that, or they do know and simply don’t care).

Whether the annoyances of microtransactions and modern-day mobile gaming annoy you, we at least appreciate that there’s a pretty good game beneath the green veil of dollar bills EA decided to decorate it with. The download is free in the Google Play Store so don’t hesitate to decide whether it’s worth the time (and potential headache and whatever money you might be inclined to spend) for yourself.

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Tholotis will let you blur, dim, and tint your Android wallpapers for pure home screen perfection Sat, 30 Aug 2014 21:25:12 +0000 Tholotis

We’ve been curating hand-picked Android wallpapers for awhile now (see past editions here). Contrary to what some might think, not every awesome piece of high-res art or pictures will make a good fit on your Android’s homescreen. While this largely depends on personal tastes, generally, having a wallpaper that’s considered “too busy” can make it difficult to easily locate icons on your homescreen. This can be especially painful when you locate that perfect wallpaper or want to use a snapshot of a loved one, only to find it conflicts with your theme’s color pallet, or is simply too bright or (again) busy.

Tholotis is a wallpaper app who’s name comes from the Greek word for “blurriness” and looks to fix this first world problem by allowing users to not only defocus or blur backgrounds (making them appear less busy), but also tint/dim background images as well. The app utilizes the same open-source design resources as Muzei and features a clean and minimal interface that’s easy to navigate.

Tholotis screenshots

Although free to download, there is an in-purchase (located by swiping left on the main screen) that unlocks the ability to color tint images as well (see right screenshot above). While this may not sound too appealing, we were surprised to find how wonderfully well this works with photos taken using your phone. Tholotis is definitely one of those must-have Android apps for anyone who enjoys customizing their homescreens to perfection. Download link provided below.

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Best new Android apps from August 2014 Sat, 30 Aug 2014 19:00:31 +0000 August

Womp womp. The last “summer month” is coming to an end. The beaches are getting less crowded. RV’s are being put back in storage. Back-to-school sales can be found in every store. It’s a sad time of year. The good news is we had a bunch of great new Android apps launch in August. Everything from image editors to homescreen replacements to Android Wear apps. If you were busy enjoying the warm weather you may have missed some of these apps. Enjoy!



There is no shortage of image editing apps for Android. If you’re into that sort of thing you will be interested in a new one called Afterlight. This app uses a simple design, paired with powerful tools, to give you the look you want in no time. It offers 15 tools, 59 filters, 77 frames, and 66 textures. Afterlight is available in Google Play for $.99.

Amazon Seller

amazon seller

Use the Amazon Seller app for Android to help grow and manage your selling business on Amazon. The app makes it easier than ever for you to quickly identify new selling opportunities on Amazon, list your items for sale, respond to customer questions, manage inventory, search for new things to sell, and estimate profitability. Amazon seller is available for free.

Blur Launcher

blur screen grab

One of the cool features about the Google Now Launcher is the ability to open Google Now by swiping to the left on the homescreen. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could launch other apps like this? Blur Launcher aims to be that app.  Any developer can create a “page” to be accessed from the homepage. Right now just a few apps work, but more are on the way. Download Blur for free.

Football Schedule ’14


We’re less than a week away from the first official regular season NFL game. You’re going to want to keep up with your favorite team, see who is playing who, and get reminder for games. Our very own Football Schedule app is a quick and easy way to check the weekly NFL schedule. Download it now from free from Google Play.



As we mentioned above, image editing apps are a dime a dozen on Android. However, Fragment is a completely new way to edit images on your phone. This app gives you the power to transform any image into totally unique, one-of-a-kind prismatic art you’ll want to share with everyone. The only limit is your imagination. Fragment is available for free.

Google News & Weather


Remember that random News & Weather app that was always included on Nexus devices? It still exists. Yeah, we were surprised too. This month it finally got an update, and now it’s a really nice looking app. We’re not sure how it fits into Google’s current line-up of news reading apps, but at least it looks modern. Protip: the weather widget is awesome.


HTC One Zoe 1

HTC released Zoe for non-HTC devices this month. Zoe is a simple way to create, share and remix professional quality highlight videos—and it’s even better when your friends pitch in. Choose the photos and videos you’d like to share, add a filter to give your highlight video a unique look, and choose the perfect soundtrack. If that sounds cool you can grab it for free.

LAS: Last App Switcher

LAS Last App Switcher screenshots

Multitasking on Android is pretty great, but it’s not perfect. Sometimes switching between apps can be bumpy. The back button behaves differently in all apps, and sometimes the multitasking button is laggy. Last App Switcher utilizes the swipe gesture on the home button to allow quick flipping between your last used app. It’s super fast and fluid. Download LAS for free from the Play Store.



The Metromile app helps make car ownership easier, less expensive, and more enjoyable. Review your driving stats, get insights into your car’s running condition, and even find your car if it’s missing. After you sign up for an account the folks at Metromile will send you their “Metronome” device which plugs into your car’s OBD-II port (if you live in California, Oregon, Washington and Illinois.)



What’s this? Another image editing app from August? Apparently the summer is a hot time for editing images. Over is an editor that focuses on adding text to images. They offer a bunch of exclusive fonts and artwork along with some simple image manipulation tools. It’s nice to see an app that just does one thing, but does it really well. Over is available for $1.99.



Launching you camera quickly is an important task for every smartphone. Many manufacturers allow the camera to be launched directly from the lockscreen, but sometimes that’s not fast enough either. Snapshot is a new app that launches the camera when you unlock your device in landscape mode. I love this app because it’s also a good reminder to use landscape mode when taking videos. Download Snapshot for free from the Play Store.

SpinMe Alarm Clock


Suck at waking up? Are you the type of person to set multiple alarms a few minutes apart from each other just to make sure you wake up on time? If so, say hello to SpinMe. This alarm clock is a super clever app designed to get you out of bed on time. The only way to turn off the alarm is by getting out of bed and physically spinning yourself around until the alarm stops! There is no escape!


TapPath for Android screenshots

TapPath allows you to customize how clicking a web link in a 3rd party app behaves. A single click on a link will load it in your favorite browser, but multiple clicks is where things get interesting. You could set up double-click to open Pocket, or a triple click could load Pushbullet. TapPath can save you a lot of time when trying to share links across commonly used apps. It’s available for $0.99.



Unclouded is a tool to help you analyze and clean your cloud storage (Dropbox and Google Drive). You can see which files or folders are using up storage, see which types of files are using the most space, search files, and more. Unclouded can also be used as a very attractive file manager and cloud file explorer. BOX and OneDrive support are coming soon. You can download it right now for free.



Sharing big files across the internet can be tough. There are many services out there to help, but most cost money, or at minimum require you to sign up. WeTransfer is different. Simply select your photos or videos (or use the share button), add your friends email address, and upload up to 10GB! Enjoy inspiring backgrounds during the transfer. Your friends will receive an email with a download link. Easy peasy, and all for free.


I’m Here


Are you one of those people who constantly “checks-in” everywhere on Facebook? It’s okay, I am too. I’m Here is a simple Android Wear app that allows you to check-in to  Facebook directly from your watch. Checking-in to places can be one of those tasks that distracts you from the moment, which makes this app handy. You can also dictate status updates. I’m Here is available for $0.99.



A common complaint among Android Wear device owners is mistaken touches while showering. Since the displays are always on they can mistake water drops as finger touches. This is annoying. If you really must wear your smartwatch into the shower you need Showear, an Android Wear pattern lockscreen. Now your shower will have a much harder time pressing buttons and messing things up.

TickTick Wear


TickTick for Android Wear lets you access to-dos on wrist without taking phone out of your pocket. This is especially handy when doing things like grocery shopping. You don’t want to be constantly pulling out your phone while walking down the isles. Just quickly check your watch and go find the milk. TickTick Wear works best with TickTick for Android.

Wear Quick SMS

quick sms

Currently you can only reply to SMS on Android Wear if you use the Hangouts app. Wear Quick SMS is a way you can send quick SMS messages to select contacts. First go into the phone app and choose contacts and create custom messages. You will be able to choose a contact and shot message to send right from your wrist. This is the type of thing we want to see for Android Wear. Download Wear Quick SMS for free.

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Become a master of the skies with the DJI Phantom drone, on sale for over 25% off Sat, 30 Aug 2014 16:00:58 +0000 dji-phantom

Looking to get lifted this Labor Day weekend? Take to the skies with the DJI Phantom FC40 drone, available over at for over 25 percent off its regular price. Normally retailing for $649, you can buy the FC40 for $499 outright (plus free shipping). If you use the code “PHANTOM35” at checkout, you can score an additional $35 off, bringing the final price to $464.


So what do you get for that price? For starters: the world’s #1 rated personal drone. Its claim to fame is a WiFi-connected HD Smart Camera, which will let you record your escapades in 720p at 30fps or beam video back to your smartphone in real time using 2.4G connectivity.

Everything you need is in the box:

  • DJI Phantom
  • Built-in 700 mAh Li-on Battery & Charger
  • DJI FC40 camera
  • Remote Control Transmitter – 5.8G Control and Receiver (will not interfere with 2.4G Wi-Fi)
  • Getting started guide

Never been behind the controls of a drone? Don’t worry. The Phantom FC40 is packed full of features that make it easy to fly even for the most novice of operators. Auto-hover prevents crash landings should the user accidentally release flight controls, and a failsafe GPS-based auto-pilot will bring your drone home should you fly it out of range. Speaking of range, the included 5.8G controller allows for operation from distances as great as 1640 feet, giving you the ability to reach some truly great heights without lifting the soles of your shoes from the earth.

Act quick because this deal will be ending in a matter of days, then take to the skies and get a totally new perspective on your world. And don’t forget to check out for even more great deals on Android gadgets, accessories, apps, and more!

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Android Wallpaper: Graffiti Sat, 30 Aug 2014 14:00:59 +0000 android graffiti

See past editions of Android Wallpaper

Happy three-day weekend (for some of you)! We’re back once again with more wallpaper for your Android device. This week we’re taking a look at graffiti art. Graffiti is defined as “writing or drawings that have been scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface, often in a public place.” But nowadays it can be found almost anywhere, even digitally.

For your viewing pleasure we have six HD graffiti wallpapers that will look great on your homescreen. 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. The long press or right click to save the image. Let us know which one is your favorite, and be sure to share a screenshot if you use one of these wallpapers! Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

Push new Android Wallpaper to your Android device with this IFTTT recipe.

graffiti 1

graffiti 2

graffiti 3

graffiti 4

graffiti 6

graffiti 5

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Motorola giving some Moto 360 fans on Twitter the chance to purchase the smartwatch before anyone else Sat, 30 Aug 2014 00:38:58 +0000 Moto 360 bezel

Motorola has been hard at work promoting their upcoming smartwatch — the Motorola Moto 360 — these past few days. Wednesday, we saw Motorola kick off their Yo contest where the manufacturer gave out 40 Moto 360s to lucky winners and it seems they were only getting started.

We’ve been receiving reports that the official Motorola account on Twitter has been busy notifying select users on Twitter of a “sweet opportunity” headed their way. Motorola’s tweets seems to follow anyone who has recently tweeted the hashtag #moto360, where they’re then asked to DM Motorola with the email associated with their Motorola account. If that sounds a little fishy to you, here’s how it played out for one Twitter user:

Motorola Twitter DM Moto 360 early access

We did some digging on Twitter and sure enough, found this was not an isolated incident. Motorola spent a large portion of their day yesterday replying to just about anyone expressing interest in the Moto 360 over the past few weeks. Once Motorola receives a DM with the user’s email address, the conversation picks up there with Motorola notifying these Moto 360 fans of a chance to buy the smartwatch before it’s officially available to the general public. Here’s the email they’re sending out to a few lucky fans:

Motorola Moto 360 early access email

Motorola was careful not to provide any kind of firm release date or timing for the Moto 360, only telling fans to continue checking their inbox over the next few days for a followup email where they’ll then only have a few hours to participate. We imagine that wont be too much longer as Motorola has a big event planned for Sept 4th in Chicago where the Moto 360 (along with a handful of other devices) will officially be unveiled unto the world.

While it doesn’t appear that Motorola notified anyone else after yesterday, there’s no saying if they wont do so in the future. While I wouldn’t go rushing to tweet out any #moto360 hashtags, it certainly couldn’t hurt. Cheers.

Images via Reddit

Thanks anon!


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How will the iPhone 6 compare in size to the HTC One M8, Galaxy S5, and Galaxy Alpha? [VIDEOS] Fri, 29 Aug 2014 22:37:15 +0000 Apple iPhone 6 vs HTC One M8 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 Alpha

In case you’ve been living under a rock (or simply haven’t been keeping up with Apple news), it’s looking like the iPhone 6 will officially be unveiled in 2 weeks. Although “iPhone 6″ was never actually mentioned, Apple did begin sending out invites for a September 9th event in Cupertino where the tag line was “Wish we could say more.” Oh, you don’t need to. We know what you’re up to.

There’s been enough leaks in recent months that we have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the event. Perform a simple search on YouTube for “iPhone 6″ and look at how many people got their hands on alleged dummy units of the bigger, softer 4.7-inch iPhone 6. But with such a big jump in screen size (and still roughly the same bezel ratio), you may be asking yourself how the upcoming phone stacks up against Android’s greatest in terms of overall size.

Luckily, with dummy units being so easy to come by these days (security is a bit more lax at Apple lately), we found a few videos that compare the upcoming i6 against Android heavyweights like the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, and Samsung’s most recent answer to the iPhone 6: the recently announced Samsung Galaxy iPhone Alpha.

After taking a look at the videos, we were a bit surprised to find that, despite having a much smaller 4.7-inch display, overall the iPhone 6 is pretty large. This was mostly in part to that extra hunk of bezel along the bottom of the phone where Apple’s Touch ID home button sits.

The iPhone 6 was only a little smaller than the HTC One M8 (which could have come out a lot differently had HTC only ditched their useless black bar bezel along the bottom) almost the same height as the Galaxy S5 (although a little more narrow), and nearly identical to the Samsung Galaxy Alpha.

We can only hope that with the iPhone 6 said to come in 2 sizes — 4.7-inch model and a 5.5-inch version — Android OEMs will finally catch on and realize 1-size doesn’t fit all and that consumers need at least 2 size choices when shopping for a high-end smartphone. But given the fact that Android has had 4.7-inch screen sizes for years now, we’re sure many OEMs see smaller devices as a “step back.” Hey, at least Sony is on the right track with the rumored Xperia Z3 Compact. Gotta speak with your wallet, folks.

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Sprint finally makes the HTC One E8 official, available today for $100 with a 2-year agreement Fri, 29 Aug 2014 19:46:09 +0000 HTC One E8 small

After prematurely publishing a video to their YouTube account nearly 2 weeks ago, Sprint is ready to stop beating around the bush and make the HTC One E8 official. The nation’s 3rd largest carrier has officially announced that the One E8 will be coming to their network later this year and provides the same One experience you’ve come to expect from devices like the One M8, only in a fresh new polycarbonate design. Yum.

The HTC One E8 features hardware specs eerily similar to the HTC One M8 only with one exceptions. HTC has dumped the 4MP UltraPixel camera in their flagship phone for a regular ‘ol 13MP shooter. While we haven’t seen any picture samples just yet, we’re sure that on paper, the higher number count will make a few of you happy, although we’ll reserve judgment until we can see a few comparisons.

Other One E8 specs include a 5-inch 1080p display, 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 processor, and a 2,600mAh battery — all running on Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Other key features include:

Motion Launch:  Allows you to access your phone with just one swipe. Simply lift your phone to answer a call – no device unlocking needed.

Wi-Fi Calling: An included service that lets you use voice and messaging services over existing home, office and public Wi-Fi networks.

HTC Sense™ 6.0

3G/4G mobile hotspot, supporting up to eight Wi-Fi enabled devices.

HD Voice enabled: Sprint HD Voice expands the normal voice call from a four-octave range to seven octaves to deliver crystal clear voice calls while helping to reduce unwanted background noise.

Sprint Spark enabled: Sprint Spark provides the capacity to greatly improve the performance of video and other bandwidth-intensive applications while opening the way for futuristic applications.

Sprint reminds us that HD Voice is now available nationwide and while Sprint Spark’s enhanced LTE service is currently available in 27 markets across the US, they plan to blanket 100 million customers by years end.

The HTC One E8 is available right now for $100 with a 2-year contract from either or through their telesales department in either “Polar White” or “Misty Gray.” Well qualified buyers can even put the phone on Easy Pay, paying off the phone over 2 years with monthly payments of  $20.84 (or $500 outright).

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