Phandroid http://phandroid.com Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Sat, 02 Aug 2014 00:20:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 You can now legally unlock your cellphone in the US again starting today http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/cellphone-unlocking-legal-again-in-the-us-again/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/cellphone-unlocking-legal-again-in-the-us-again/#comments Sat, 02 Aug 2014 00:19:21 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=146116 unlocked-phone-featured-LARGE

After both the Senate and the House of Representatives unanimously passed the cellphone unlocking bill (Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act) last month, we only had to wait on the President to sign it into law. Today, President Obama will do just that, in a rare event the White House calls a “triple win” — one for the American consumer, one for wireless competition, and the other for bipartisan congressional action (democracy).

What all this means is starting today, we now have the right to unlock our smartphones — or pay someone else to do it for us — without fear of prosecution from the law. To be fair, cellphone unlocking has only been illegal for a little over a year now, this was after a previous exemption to 1998′s Digital Millennium Copyright Act expired back in late 2012. With a fresh new exemption now in place, we are now free to unlock our cellphones until 2015, in which case the whole process starts all over again.

Keep in mind that while it’s legal to unlock your cellphone in order to take to other service providers, you’ll first need to make sure it’s been paid off with your current provider. After that, you can either unlock your own, or a used smartphone you bought from someone off of Craigslist. Until the big 4 networks in the US are all using VoLTE, good luck finding smartphones that are actually cross compatible with other networks. The US is funny like that.

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Google reportedly breaking Photos away from Google+, could soon be its own stand-alone app http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/google-reportedly-breaking-photos-off-of-google-plus/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/google-reportedly-breaking-photos-off-of-google-plus/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 21:26:29 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=146108 Google Plus photos auto awesome IO 2013

Earlier this week we watched as Google did the world a solid and dropped the Google+ requirement when using Hangouts. It was an awesome move, one we didn’t think would become a trend. Today, a new report from Bloomberg claims the search giant is gearing up to make Photos — Google+’s photo backup, editing, and sharing utility — into a completely stand-alone service. No Google+ necessary.

It’s one of Google+’s single best features (okay, arguing with people online was also pretty fun) and the brain child of former Google+ lead Vic Gundotra. We won’t go as far as suggesting Google could be abandoning their social network (it still has valuable marketing data), but they certainly aren’t forcing it down anyone’s throats like they used to. And that’s a good thing.

Photos as a stand-alone app/service has been a long time in the making. Many Googe+ updates ago, the app appeared in app drawers as its own app icon, and when selected, would take you into the Google+’s photos section (which felt like a completely different app). As photos began adding more and more features, it seemed to only make sense Google would finally break it away from Google+.

We’re hoping that by dropping the Google+ requirement, the app will finally allow us to back up our photos to Google Drive, something we’ve been requesting for years now. Still no word on exactly when we can expect Photos to land in the Google Play Store as a stand-alone app, but we’ll be waiting.

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From the Forums: Your homescreen setup, battery paranoia, and more http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/from-the-forums-homescreens-battery-paranoia/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/from-the-forums-homescreens-battery-paranoia/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 19:36:43 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=146071 fromtheforums

Welcome to August, folks, and another edition of From the Forums. This week we put on our tinfoil hats for a paranoid Nexus 5 user and attempt to crack the case of the Android phone plagued by sudden battery drain. It’s all happening at Android Forums. Here we go…

How many homescreens do you use?

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It’s the age-old question of Android users far and wide: how many homescreens do you use? What is the number of panes upon which you spread your application shortcuts, widgets, and folders? There is no correct answer, but opinions vary. Upon learning that user Unforgiven only uses one homescreen, lunatic59 responded, “1? 1????? jeez pup, that’s crazy.”

Paranoid about Nexus 5 battery

Nexus 5 no hands

The Nexus 5, like quite a few Android smartphones, does not feature a removable — therefore replaceable — battery. This fact has Spotty1125 feeling quite paranoid, worrying about what he will do when the day arrives that the battery goes kaput. Do you treat the handset with kid gloves to minimize battery strain (some of these Galaxy S5-centric tips might apply)? The consensus: if you have the phone long enough to warrant replacing the battery, chances are you should replace the phone altogether. Your opinions are also welcome.

Is the Moto X a good buy at $300?

Motorola Moto X Boot animation DSC00738

The Moto X is an already affordable handset that has a tendency to go on sale quite frequently, making it a consistently tempting option for the Android user looking for a cost-effect upgrade. But is the money saved or spent worth it in the long run when it comes to Motorola’s customizable smartphone? Of course it is! You don’t have to tell us twice, so save the comments for the forums.

Mystery battery drain and data usage leaves user searching for answers

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When your otherwise functional smartphone starts experiencing extreme battery drain and data usage with no seeming explanation, who ya gonna call? Android Forums, duh. The mystery is unfolding as users attempt to discover what may be at the root of the issue. Is it the aging Gingerbread OS? An unknown application running in the background? Click through for the exciting conclusion.

And more…

Want to see your forum post featured on the Phandroid homepage? You have to sign up for Android Forums first, if you haven’t already. Join in the discussion or start a thread of your own and you might find a place in next week’s From the Forums!

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Rumor: Google Workshop could let users create the case they’ve always wanted http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/google-workshop-rumor/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/google-workshop-rumor/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 19:10:18 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=146076 nexus gogle workshop case

An interesting new rumor has surfaced this morning suggesting Google wants to allow you to buy the case you want for your Nexus 5, and potentially other devices. Dubbed Google Workshop, this service — which we imagine would be hosted on Google Play and accessed whenever you shop for accessories — is said to be offering up at least two options for users to customize their device:

  • MapMe: put in a location, and Google will give you a map-patterned case based on that area (with options for changing the color and adding text, natch).
  • Moments: you can upload a photo to be used as the imagery on the case.

Another element to all of this are customized live wallpapers that may also be made available to you in some way. MapMe could show you a dynamic map that displays location-based Tweets and check-ins, for example, while the Moments option would cycle through additional photos you upload through the service.

nexus google workshop 3

Unfortunately it sounds like this isn’t something Google is 100% confirmed to be launching just yet. With that, there’s no word on if this is just a Nexus 5 exclusive or if they’ll be extending functionality to other Nexus or Google Play Edition devices.

Google is said to still be in the “exploration” stages, so we imagine it’d be too soon for them to consider anything but their flagship smartphone (and perhaps tablet) right now. If the Moto X taught us anything, though, it’s that people love to customize things, and we’re sure this would sell a lot more accessories than they’re selling right now. Make it happen, Google!

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Flappy Birds Family hits Android with 2 Player Mode and more obstacles on Fire TV http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/flappy-birds-family-amazon-appstore-fire-tv-android/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/flappy-birds-family-amazon-appstore-fire-tv-android/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 19:04:13 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=146075 We can picture the movie trailer now, “Your favorite feathered derp is back, and this time…. he’s bringing backup.” (Cue explosions).

Flappy Birds Family has just landed in the Amazon Appstore, the official followup the cultural phenomenon that was the original Flappy Bird. While the original was deemed too addictive for public consumption, this new version should prove much more casual.

Flappy Birds Family

Flappy Birds Family screenshot 1

Oddly enough, there’s been no official word from the developer’s Twitter account, no listing of the new game on their official website. We should note that the developer has mentioned a sequel would launch this August (check your calendar) and that it would feature multiplayer. We can clearly see the addition of what appears to be multiplayer in the screenshot above as well as lives, making the game fun for the whole family. I mean, what better way to keep an eye on little Timmy’s Flappy Bird addiction than by sharing in on his video game crack?

It’s still unclear if Amazon managed to nab the exclusive on the game’s release — the game’s listing does show compatibility with controllers and Fire TV, so it could be exclusive to Amazon’s set top box — in either case… Flap on.

Download on Amazon: Flappy Birds Family

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Mobile Roar Podcast 56: Whale of a Phone http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/mobile-roar-podcast-56/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/mobile-roar-podcast-56/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 18:50:03 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=146047

This week we discuss Kevin’s Amazon Fire Phone review, but more importantly, is the Fire Phone a “true” Android device? What does a device need in order to feel like a real Android device? We also discuss the rumors of a 5.9-inch Motorola Nexus “Shamu” device. When the codename for a device is a whale you might want to consider making it smaller. Other topics include flammable Samsung devices, things Joe misses from Windows Phone, and much more! Thanks for watching/listening!

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MR show 56

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CONTEST: $1000 Google Play Giveaway from AndroidArea.com, your new store for Android deals http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/android-area-google-play-contest/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/android-area-google-play-contest/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 17:53:25 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=146037 androidarea-header1

As part of our continued effort to keep our readers abreast of all the best deals on Android apps, accessories, and hardware, Phandroid is happy to announce today the launch of AndroidArea, your one-stop shop for the best sales, freebies, and giveaways. You can access AndroidArea now or at any time by clicking the “Deals” tab located in the Phandroid navigation bar at the top of the page (or simply point your browser to AndroidArea.com).

We not only want to help save you money, we want to give it to you. To kick things off we will be hosting the $1000 Google Play Store Giveaway. Signing up is free and you can increase your chances of taking home the prize by sharing AndroidArea with your friends. Entries will be accepted now through September 30th, when the winners will be selected.

google-play-giveaway

Through AndroidArea, Phandroid’s readers will be privy to exclusive deals and offers on trending Android gear, gadgets, apps, and e-learning resources. These are savings any Android fan will surely not want to miss. We will be highlighting the best from time to time here on the site, including some great things lined up for the next couple of weeks. Some deals you can catch right now?

Be on the lookout for new deal announcements, or simply click the above “Deals” tab at any time to peruse AndroidArea at your leisure.

We don’t want to give too much away, but some of these deals are too good to keep to ourselves. Let’s just say Galaxy S5 users will want to keep their eyes glued right here come Monday for an announcement involving one of Phandroid’s favorite brands.

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can leave a comment below or on any of the deal pages at AndroidArea letting us know what you think, what products you would like to see featured, and the kinds of offers that appeal to you most. At the very least, be sure to head over to AndroidArea, check out the savings on tap, and enter for your chance to win one of those Google Play prizes.

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Google Now Launcher no longer Nexus/GPe exclusive, now availalbe for all Android devices 4.1+ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/google-now-launcher-now-available-to-all/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/google-now-launcher-now-available-to-all/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 17:33:08 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=146057 Google Home Experience Launcher

Heads up, everyone! Once exclusive to only Nexus and Google Play edition devices, Google has quietly opened up availability of the Google Experience Launcher to a handful of new devices in the Play Store. Although a full running list isn’t available (the Play Store listing still lists the Nexus/GPe devices as the only ones compatible), we just noticed that the launcher is supporting everything from our HTC One M8, to our Sony Xperia Z2.

We’re noticing some reporting back that’s it not available on their versions of the same device, so we’re wondering if this might not be region specific or one of Google’s staged rollouts. We’re sure there are even more devices, so if you feel so inclined, be sure and report back with any of your findings. You may remember a few weeks back when we told you guys about Google and ZTE’s new partnership to include the Google Now Launcher as the stock launcher on a handful of their new devices.

In the meantime, if you’ve been dying to give the Google Now infused launcher a shot without having to jump through any hoops, you can find the Google Now Launcher via the Google Play link below.

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This is how Instagram could look with a Material Design makeover [VIDEO] http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/this-is-how-instagram-could-look-with-a-material-design-makeover-video/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/this-is-how-instagram-could-look-with-a-material-design-makeover-video/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 17:24:13 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=146054

It’ll be a while before many of our favorite Android apps are given the Material Design treatment, but that doesn’t mean we can’t dream about what could be in the near future. One concept artist — Emmanuel Pacamalan — has decided to put together a reel of what he thinks Instagram’s app could look like with the new design language introduced at Google I/O this year.

My first thought? Absolutely stunning. Not that I thought Android was ugly (well… it was until Android 4.0), but it’s the kind of design that could make people change their opinion about the lack of well-designed Android apps. Eye-catching animations, colors that pop and efficient use of white space all make this Instagram experience seem ten times better than the one we actually have right now. Fingers crossed that the folks at Instagram (and/or Facebook) are taking notes.

instagram material design concept

As easy as it is to salivate over the future of Android design, we wonder just how fast Material Design can take off. After all, there is still an alarming amount of apps out there with designs that feel like they belong in the Gingerbread era. Doesn’t hurt to dream, though, so take a look at the concept in the video embed above.

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HP and Michael Bastion team up to introduce a smart watch http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/hp-michael-bastion-smart-watch/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/hp-michael-bastion-smart-watch/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 15:43:38 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=146032 michael bastion hp smart watch 2

Another new smart watch option is headed your way. HP decided to throw their hat into the arena by teaming up with Michael Bastion, a renowned fashion designer who has held many authoritative positions throughout the industry. The two are introducing a circular smart watch that’ll give you a wrist-bound display for incoming texts, calls, email and other notifications that might be pertinent to a smartphone user. You’ll also be able to check weather, sports, control music playback and more.

We’re not sure which platform the watch is running, but early hints reveal that it certainly won’t be Android Wear. It could still be based on Android, but with no details about its software it’s tough to say what’s being employed here. The smart watch will sync up with both Android and iOS through HP’s own solution, though, so there’s that.

MichaelBastianxHP_Watch_LandingPage_0

The watch’s design, which will feature three stylish interchangeable bands (a rubbery black, a leathery brown and a nylon olive green), was said to be inspired by industrial automotive design. We honestly don’t care what inspired them — they look good, they look interesting, and if the platform proves to be flexible enough for simple users and tech nuts alike, we’re sure it’ll catch an eye or two at retail. No word on when, exactly, they’ll go on sale just yet or how much it’ll cost, but Gilt will have the goods once it finally becomes available this fall. You can sign up to be notified of its arrival at their site if you’re interested.

[via Fashionista]

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Best Android Phones [August 2014] http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/best-android-phone-august-2014/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/best-android-phone-august-2014/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 15:33:27 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145951 best-phones-hero

Samsung, LG, and HTC continue to duke it out for the top spot in this August edition of our monthly best phones list. Not a lot has changed as manufacturers shift their attention from summer to fall, but several potentially killer handsets are rumored to be just around the corner. Could a big shakeup in our rankings be in the future? Read on for the full rundown!

Previously: JulyJune | May | April | March | February

5. Sony Xperia Z2

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The Xperia Z2 has finally been getting some US love with the official launch of the unlocked version of phone via Sony’s online store.  At the same, time it’s looking less and less likely we will see an actual carrier-backed release. That doesn’t change our opinion: the Xperia Z2 is one of the best combinations of top-notch handset design and premium smartphone features we have seen in recent months. That should be changing soon, though. The Sony Xperia Z3 is rumored for a September launch with the potential to usurp the Z2’s spot on our list.

4. Nexus 5

Nexus 5 shortcuts DSC05742

The Nexus 5 stands alone as the only option for the Android purist. It has the spec sheet to earn its place as Google’s preferred reference platform for app developers, and direct support from the Android team means the N5 will be among the first to land the highly-anticipated Android L update. It doesn’t hurt that the Nexus 5’s $350 price tag makes it an easy sell for those in the market for a new handset.

3. Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5 wood DSC05783

Samsung’s Galaxy S5 continues to dominate the field when it comes to pure market saturation. While the 2014 flagship hasn’t proven to be the most compelling update to the Galaxy S4, that hasn’t stopped folks from lining up to buy one. Top-tier specs, a gorgeous 1080p Super AMOLED display, and intriguing features like a fingerprint scanner and heart rate monitor add up to one of the best Android phones currently available.

2. HTC One M8

htc one m8 wm_1

HTC hasn’t put the flashiest marketing behind their One M8, so it’s easy to forget about the handset amongst all the talk of the Galaxy S5 and LG G3. The phone is front and center in our minds, however, and holds on to the number two spot on our list of the best Android phones available. Solid, industrial design meets HTC’s graceful Sense interface to create one of the best Android experiences around.

1. LG G3

LG-G3-Artsy

The LG G3 took the Android world by storm when it debuted with its Quad HD display. Aside from providing some of the most brilliant visuals we have ever seen on a smartphone, the G3 goes with top-of-the-line components for nearly every hardware spec. An innovative design that places the phone’s power button and volume rocker in an easily reached cluster on the rear of the device helps give the G3 a sleek, minimalist feel. A simplified user interface does away with the bloat for a seamless Android experience.

Honorable Mentions

xiaomi mi 4 1

With a list limited to five phones, some tough decisions have to be made when it comes to picking the best of the best. Below find the handsets that just barely missed out on making our main list.

  1. Xiaomi Mi4 — Xiaomi’s latest is the specced-out Mi4, a stylish handset that has the spec sheet to do battle with almost any Android out there while somehow managing to maintain a $460 price tag.
  2. OnePlus One — Initially marred by availability and hardware issues, the OnePlus One features solid combination of specs and affordable pricing for those willing to take a chance on a lesser established brand.
  3. Oppo Find 7a — The Find 7a spares no expense when it comes to premium power and features but still manages to come in at a price that won’t break the bank.
  4. Moto X — This build-your-own device lets user put their own personal touch on an Android handset for the masses.
  5. Amazon Fire Phone — Not your typical Android device, while the Fire Phone sees some room for improvement fans of Amazon’s content ecosystem might consider the retailer’s debut smartphone.

Rumor Mill

Next month’s IFA show means there is plenty to look forward to when it comes to Android smartphones. While there are few announced phones on the horizon awaiting release, the number of rumored devices seems to increase every day. Below we take a look at just a small sampling of some of the bigger names to keep an eye on.

Nexus 6

google nexus devices

While rumors of a new Google initiative dubbed Android Silver threatened to derail the Nexus program, the line of Google Experience developer devices is alive and well, according to recent reports. The latest buzz suggests Motorola could be developing a 5.9-inch phablet that could eventually launch as the Nexus 6. With the Nexus 5 closing in on the first anniversary of its release, the timing is right for its successor, supposedly codenamed Shamu, to make its debut.

Moto X+1 & Moto Maxx

moto x plus 1 leak

Motorola is keeping busy beyond plans to build Google’s next Nexus device. Rumors continue to swirl about the Moto X’s followup the Moto X+1. Most recently we glimpsed perhaps our best look at the phone to date with all signs pointing toward an official unveiling this month. Evidence is also continuing to mount for a set of updated Moto handsets for Verizon. Though Droid branding is absent, a newly uncovered Moto Maxx trademark could indicate sequels are in line for Verizon’s popular trio of Motorola-made Android smartphones.

Sony Xperia Z3

Sony Xperia Z3 back leak

The Sony Xperia Z2 is a great device, but Sony isn’t settling at that. Rumor has the Sony Xperia Z3 is already in line for an announcement next month at the yearly IFA expo in Berlin. We expect a refined, marginal upgrade over the Xperia Z2, but in this case that’s just enough to grab our attention. Even better, the Z3 is rumored to see a wider US release than other recent Sony handsets. Also expected to debut alongside the Xperia Z3 is the Xperia Z3 Compact.

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 & Galaxy Alpha

samsung-galaxy-alpha-6

Next month’s IFA show will have plenty in store for the Android fan, and one of the most highly-anticipated devices that could launch at the show is the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. While a lot is still out of focus in terms of the Note 4, we expect at the very least to see Samsung’s 2560 x 1440 AMOLED display make an appearance. Also gaining steam are rumors of Samsung’s aluminum-bodied Galaxy Alpha, which was recently pictured in detail

Amazon Best Sellers

If it hasn’t appeared on our list yet and it’s worth buying, chances are you’ll find it on Amazon’s Best Sellers list. Below find all the phones that are still raking in the sales despite the fact that we didn’t have room for them on our own list.

  1. Samsung Galaxy S4
  2. Samsung Galaxy Mega
  3. Samsung Galaxy Note 3
  4. LG G2
  5. Samsung Galaxy Note II
  6. Samsung Galaxy S III
  7. HTC One M7
  8. Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
  9. Casio G’zOne Commando
  10. LG G Flex

What say you?

That’s our take on the top Android phones out there. What’s the view from the peanut gallery? Did we leave your favorite phone off? Are our rankings all wrong? Sound off in the comments below and let us know your pick for the top Android phone available!

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Best New Android Games from July 2014 http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/best-new-android-games-july-2014/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/best-new-android-games-july-2014/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 15:21:23 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=145955 games july

See new games from previous months

Today marks the beginning of August, which means July is officially over. Shed a tear. We are now entering the “dog days of summer.” When the heat gets unbearable you will need to seek refuge in the air conditioning. You’ll also need some new games to keep you entertained. Luckily July brought us a plethora of awesome new Android titles. In case you missed some of them we have this handy list. Here are the best games from July.

99 Bricks Wizard Academy

99bricks

The idea of Tetris is to stack blocks without letting the stack get too high. What if a game took that idea in the exact opposite direction? 99 Bricks would be the result. The goal of this game is to stack the Tetris blocks as high as you can. The only problem is the blocks don’t lock together. You have to carefully stack them so the tower doesn’t fall over. If you’re wondering where the “Wizards” come in just wait until you get a power-up.

Batman Arkham Origins

batman

Prove your worth as Batman, facing off against a slew of deadly assassins and their thugs in the Arkham Origins. Fight your way through Gotham City’s most dangerous locales in this beat-em-up brawler. It’s Batman beating the crap out of villains. What more do you need? If you own the console version of Arkham Origins you can unlock exclusive content. The game is free to play, but there are many in-app purchases that will try to steal your money.

Bug Heroes 2

bug heroes

Every day while you’re away from home, an epic battle of swords, guns, and armor rages on your counters, on your floors, and in your yard. At least that’s what happens in this game. Bug Heroes 2 features MOBA-like competitive and coop multiplayer modes, tons of single player content, and 25 unique heroes to master. If you’ve always wanted to go face to face with a bug this is the perfect game. Bug Heroes 2 is available for $1.99.

Denny’s Atari Remix

atari remix

You know what arcade games are really missing? Cheap diner food. Denny’s has solved that problem by teaming up with Atari to release “Denny’s Atari Remix.” Take a nostalgic trip into the past with three classic games infused with breakfast foods. Destroy Hashteroids, fight off the Centipup, and break down walls in Take-Out. These great games are only available for a limited time, so download today and get them while they’re hot. This game is free.

FFFFF2P

fffff2p

FFFFF2P stands for “FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE TO PLAY.” This game mocks all the ridiculous “free-to-play” games that have become so prevalent in mobile gaming. Princess Pixel is being held captive by Ug, the evil ogre. It’s up to you to rescue her and restore order to the world. This is not going to be easy. To save the Princess, you’ll have to run, jump, and close the falling ads. The goal is to collect enough coins to free the princess, or you could, of course, just spend $3 and win the game.

Fish Out of Water

fish out water

Fish Out Of Water is the story of six feisty fish longing to soar above the ocean. Fish who want to fly? Sounds like fun. To help them get airborne, you simply throw the fish out of the water and watch as it flies through the clouds and skips along the waves. Battle the elements and choose your throw wisely as the weather changes every few minutes. Expect the unexpected with crazy tsunamis, icebergs and even an immense jellyfish swarm. This game is free.

Guardians of the Galaxy: TUW

gaurdians

The game for Marvel’s highly anticipated movie, Gaurdians of the Galaxy, was released this month for Android. This game has some of the coolest art design we have seen in a while. The gameplay is classic action RPG game. You control a team made up of the main chracters: Star Lord, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, Drax, and Gamora. Tap on a character to position, attack, or defend. The game costs $2, but it has no in-app purchases.

INDY 500 Arcade Racing

INDY

If you are a fan of the INDY 500 you need this game. In cooperation with Indianapolis Motor Speedway, this game includes the official INDY 500 track and 33 meticulously detailed open-wheel INDY cars. You won’t find a better INDY experience on Android. Moving at speeds well over 200mph, INDY Arcade Racing features amazing 3D graphics and an adrenaline-pumping driving experience. This game costs $2.99, but is well worth it for racing fans.

Kapsula

kapsula

All you need to know about this game can be summed up with “retro-futuristic Soviet space colonies.” Sound crazy? It is. Crazy fun. This game is a cross between a puzzle game and racing game. Players race down psychedelic tracks (that change depending on time of day) and try to avoid running into obstacles. The premise is crazy, but it’s a lot of fun. Kapsula is still ind development, but you can get it now for just $0.99.

Leo’s Fortune

Leo's Fortune thumb

Leo’s Fortune is a 2D platforming adventure game that’s been receiving high praise since launching on iOS back in April. Many people have described it as one of the most beautiful mobile games to date. You’ll be hard pressed to find another title with such vibrant and crisp visuals. The premise of the Leo’s Fortune is simple: you play as Leopold, a fluffy hairball with a wicked mustache who must track down the mysterious thief who stole his fortune. Th game costs $4.99, but it worth every penny.

Lost Toys

lost toys

Lost Toys is a mentally engaging 3D puzzle game of profound beauty, depth and challenge. Toys are lost, broken, or forgotten. Fixing them promises to right this hauntingly gorgeous chamber and restore the childhood innocence that has been lost. To fix the toys you need to spin them around and solve like a Rubik’s cube. This game will exercise you brain like no other. If you’re looking for a challenge you can download Lost Toys for $2.99 in the Play Store.

Modern Combat 5

Modern Combat 5 Gameloft screen shot1

Modern Combat 5 is the new Modern Combat game. It is a lot like the previous Modern Combat games. Create a squad, add your friends and test your individual and team skills against other squads in dynamic multiplayer warfare. Is single player your thing? Then step into a world on the brink of anarchy and shoot your way out of one dire situation after another to expose a lunatic who’s trying to tear the world to shreds. For $7 you get this game and no annoying in-app purchases.

Nuts!

nuts

Aw nuts, this game Nuts! is super cute and fun. Help Jake, your nimble squirrel hero and his squirrel friend Miranda dodge branches and climb to new heights on the majestic Infinitree. To control the squirrels you simply tilt your device to the left or right. The goal is to simply get as high up in the tree as possible. It’s simple, cute, fun, addictive, and completely free. If you’re  not afraid of heights this is a great game.

ReactionLab 2

reactionlab2

Let your inner mad scientist shine by drawing elements onto the canvas and watching them interact in real-time. Featuring well over 50 elements, hundreds of different particle types, and nearly 80 achievements to attain. There are endless creative possibilities and undiscovered combinations. Try to find every reaction, or just build something awesome, it’s up to you. ReactionLab 2 is available for $2.99 in the Play Store.

Snap Attack

snapattack

Snap Attack  is a brand-new, fast-paced word-building tournament that challenges your brain in 2 1/2-minute rounds. score points by building words with colored movable letter tiles that connect to fixed black letter tiles on the game board. Snaps are valid words that can be read from left to right or top to bottom. Players from around the world compete on the same board, using the same clock, making as many Snaps as possible. The awesome thing about this free game is it has Xbox Live integration.

Superfrog

superfrog

Superfrog HD is an update of the classic side-scrolling, platformer from the early 90′s. You must explore and traverse 24 finely crafted levels and additional boss levels across 6 differently themed worlds. The goal of each level is to collect a set number of coins, and then reach the exit. The ultimate goal, just like it was in 1993, is to save the day, beat the witch and get the girl. If you were a fan of this game back in the day, the $0.99 price tag is worth it for the updated graphics.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

TMNT

A new movie means a new game for our favorite teenage turtles. Take back the streets of NYC with the most shell-tastic team of secret superdudes ever. Play as Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello or Raphael and activate fierce Ninjutsu attacks against the Foot Clan, bosses, and mutants. The art style for this game is really great, and the combat controls work well. If you want to feed the Hollywood reboot machine you can grab this game for $3.99.

The Great Prank War

prankwar

This game from Cartoon Network is a spin on the show “Regular Show.” When Gene, the manager of rival park East Pines, gets his hands on a time machine, he goes back in time so he can win the Great Prank War and take over the park. Now it’s up to you to take it back, but it won’t be easy. The game also features awesome new Regular Show character designs and animation styles for maximum prankiness. Cartoon Network games are usually pretty good, and this one is no different.

The Wolf Among Us

wolf among us

The Wolf Among Us is a five-part (Episodes 2-5 can be purchased in-app, as they become available) from the creators of The Walking Dead. Fairytale characters are being murdered in this hard-boiled, violent and mature thriller based on the award-winning Fables comic book series by Bill Willingham. As Bigby Wolf you will discover that a brutal, bloody murder is just a taste of things to come in a game series where your every decision can have enormous consequences. Note: this app is only available from Amazon.

Thomas Was Alone

thomas

Meet Thomas, a curious rectangle, and help him unravel the mysteries of his existence in a wonderfully strange world. With over 100 levels of award-winning platform gameplay you will have plenty of time to discover everything about Thomas. The game is filled with very simple squares and rectangles with long shadows everywhere, but it still feels strangely deep. For $5.39 you can try your luck and figuring out why Thomas was alone.

Wayward Souls

wayword

Wayward Souls is an action-adventure game built for quick playthroughs and massive amounts of replay value. Procedurally generated random levels mean that every time you play the game, it’s a different experience. Control one of six characters, all with their own unique play styles, abilities, and equipment. Explore and fight for survival, in combat where your tactics, positioning, and timing matter. Wayward Souls is available for $5.99.

See new games from previous months

What a great month for new Android games. Some of our personal favorites include FFFFF2P, Leo’s Fortune, and Fish Out of Water. What was your favorite new game from July? Did we miss any other great new games? Let us know!

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NFL Mobile app gets key redesign right before this weekend’s Hall of Fame Game http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/nfl-mobile-update/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/nfl-mobile-update/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 14:12:36 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=146007 IMG_2823

We’re just a couple of short days away from our first taste of NFL action for the season. The Hall of Fame ceremony in Canton, Ohio goes down Saturday, and the commemorative game that follows it the day after is kicking off pre-season (the Giants and the Bills are clashing, in case you weren’t in the know). What better way to be able to follow all the action of the upcoming season with an upgrade to NFL’s Mobile app for Android?

The app features a clean redesign that makes it look more at home on contemporary versions of Android. Base functionality remains the same — you’ll get access to the latest news and videos, scores and schedules, management of your fantasy football team, and if you’re on Verizon with the NFL Mobile package ($5 per month) live access to select Thursday Night Football games, as well as access to the NFL Network. It’s all just a bit cleaner and a lot easier to digest. The download is available for free in the Google Play Store right now. Give it a download (and let us know which team you’re repping) below.

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Verizon Galaxy S5 maintenance upgrade brings lost of changes (and might break root, too) http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/verizon-galaxy-s5-update/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/verizon-galaxy-s5-update/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 13:20:20 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=146005 Samsung Galaxy S5 wood DSC05783

Verizon Galaxy S5 owners have a pretty big maintenance upgrade (version KOT49H.G900VVRU1ANE9) incoming, though not all of the changes will be satisfactory. Let’s get the official changelog out of the way first. For starters, a few apps have gotten updates, though none of them bring any sweeping changes. You can expect new versions of Caller Name ID, Message+ and Verizon Cloud. Here’s what’s on tap for bug fixing goodness:

  • • ‘Search’ icon has been removed within Memo when there is no memo
  • • Favorite ‘Contact’ information background is now more readable
  • • Visual Voicemail works when S-View flip cover is closed
  • • Connectivity has been improved when streaming music
  • • Stability has been improved for Samsung Gear Manager
  • • Text alert improvements for select factory installed car kits
  • • “Primary Contacts” label has been changed to “Emergency Contacts”
  • when in Emergency Mode
  • • Power On password is no longer triggered when voice call is completed or
  • after screen dims

And all of that is followed by some key changes, additions and upgrades that go to further enhance the experience:

  • User selectable video application when uploading to YouTube
  • • Message+ now supports closed captioning
  • • Emergency Mode has been updated
  • • Contact Menu stability has been enhanced
  • • Easy Mode Settings now includes images
  • • ‘Downloaded Apps’ field added to searchable file types in My Files
  • • Web Search has been added to S Finder

You can’t say Samsung and Verizon don’t know how to put together a comprehensive update. But one big change that may affect some people is the breakage of root — there are reports that it completely nukes that level of access, and that the current root methods do nothing to restore it.

We’ve only gotten a couple reports of said behavior in our inbox so we’re not sure if these folks were just unlucky casualties of circumstance. Either way, if you’re rooted and you want to keep it that way it’s a good rule of thumb to stay away from official OTA updates.

If none of that concerns you then you can just head to Settings > About Phone > Software Update to start pulling yours down (but be sure to hop onto WiFi and have a healthily charged battery to make sure everything goes smoothly).

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

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You can now sample free content on Hulu Plus for Android http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/hulu-plus-update/ http://phandroid.com/2014/08/01/hulu-plus-update/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 13:01:41 +0000 http://phandroid.com/?p=146003 Hulu

Hulu has largely kept their content library free of charge for folks looking to get some entertainment on the web, but using the various console and mobile apps requires a premium Hulu Plus subscription for $9.99 per month. If you don’t want to have to subscribe to check out the quality of these apps, though, Hulu has introduced a nice upgrade that you’ll appreciate.

You can now sample free select content within the app at absolutely no charge. Hulu doesn’t go into grave detail about what exactly you’ll be getting, but here’s a taste:

In addition to the latest and past episodes of popular current TV shows, users will be able to enjoy a selection of content from Hulu Originals, Anime, Kids, Movies and Latino. The content available on the updated app will mirror the ad-supported Hulu.com with a few exceptions.

And, of course, if you want to check out more you’ll need to opt-in for that aforementioned premium subscription. Google Play has the updated app at the link you see below so be sure to give it a download if you want to see what Hulu is all about.

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