Phandroid Android Phone News, Rumors, Reviews, Apps, Forums & More! Fri, 25 Jul 2014 01:17:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Google Glass has been explicitly banned from Comic-Con 2014 panels Fri, 25 Jul 2014 01:04:51 +0000

Google Glass hasn’t even hit an official consumer release (although bleeding edge tech enthusiasts can beta test it… for a price) and already the headset has hit another roadblock. Google’s smart eyewear seems to have found itself banned from one of the biggest events of the year: San Deigo Comic-Con.

Well, to be fair, the wearable has been authorized for use on the showroom floor, but in an email recently sent out to Comic-Con attendees, the Comic-Con International board is letting everyone know “Google Glasses” cannot be worn or used at any time during any of the show’s panels. This is typically where movie companies show off very confidential new trailers and it seems anywhere where camera recording is prohibited — the same goes for Google Glass whether powered on or off.

Google Glasses/Video Recorders/Camera Phones

Remember recording of footage on the screens during panels is prohibited. This includes Google Glasses. You cannot wear Google Glasses during footage viewing in any program room. If your Google Glasses are prescription, please bring a different pair to use during these times.”

It makes sense. Where, in most cases, it’s easy to spot someone recording video footage with their smartphone or camera, Google Glass is far more discrete with its always forward facing camera lens. Comic-Con recommends anyone who is planning on wearing prescription Google Glass bring an spare set of specs for the panels if they hope to see everything clearly.

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Report: Google and Twitch agree to $1 billion acquisition terms, expect an announcement shortly Fri, 25 Jul 2014 00:09:07 +0000 Twitch-Logo-720

Last month, we heard rumors that Google would soon be buying the game streaming service Twitch for upwards of $1 billion. That deal — lead by Google-owned YouTube — was apparently still on the table, but now has reportedly been confirmed by sources from Venture Beat. According to VB, there’s still no word on exactly when Google/YouTube plans on disclosing details of the deal, although with everyone now in agreement, an official announcement could be right around the corner.

The general feeling of a Google buyout amongst Twitch fans is one of fear and uncertainty. It’s not exactly clear what Google or YouTube plans on doing with Twitch, although we’re sure it should help alleviate some of the problems game streamers have been facing with the constant barrage of DMCA take-down requests. We’re sure Google will tread lightly, and in the end the deal will help benefit everyone. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.


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Sony Xperia Z3 leaks again, shows off matte back and rounded side profile Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:14:52 +0000 Sony Xperia Z3 back leak

We got more than a few good looks at what could be the still unannounced Sony Xperia Z3 last week. The leaks left little to the imagination, but one area of the phone not shown was its back. Some were hoping that for the Sony Xperia Z2 sequel, Sony would finally do away with the all-glass back cover, something we’ve never been a fan of since our Nexus 4 met an early demise a few years back. While today’s leak could show a deviation from a glass back, we’re still unsure…

Sony Xperia Z3 side leak

The few of you who purchased the Sony Xperia Z2 will no doubt remember the back of the device was outfitted with a plastic matte clear film to protect for added freshness. Because of that, we’re not entirely sure if what we’re looking at in this new leaked image is simply a plastic film over glass, or if Sony could actually be opting for an all aluminum device, a la the HTC One M8.

As more leaks continue to seep out from the woodwork, we’ll take this as another sign of the device’s impending release. Let’s hope that recent FCC filing means we can expect the Z3 to launch relatively soon here in the states, although we wont be holding our breath.


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Chrome Beta 37 update brings fancy new Material design changes, simplified login Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:20:51 +0000 Chrome Beta Material design update

Earlier this week we watched as Google gave the Google Play Store a spiffy new Material-ish redesign and next on the docket is Google’s very own Chrome web browser. But before Google can update stable channels for Chrome, they’ll first need to test out in beta.

Chrome Beta 37 (37.0.2062.39 to be exact) is now rolling out on Google Play and aside from a new simplified login that allow users to sign into their Google account once for all Google sites — the newly updated version of Chrome brings new Material design elements to the browser (including a more minimal Moonshine icon).

Chrome Materila update sign in

It’s nothing too major and from the wording on the official Chrome Blog we can expect to see more Material design elements to come (like the fading transition of web pages). Really, there’s not much to a web browser’s UI, but you will notice Chrome’s incognito tabs receiving a fresh new can of paint. Don’t forget the usual bug fixes and performance improvements have also been addressed.

[Chrome Releases Blog]

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The Moto 360 will be the first Android Wear smartwatch to come with an ambient light sensor Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:02:03 +0000 Moto 360 Bezel ambient light sensor

Android Wear offerings from LG and Samsung are now readily available for anyone looking to add a little more convenience to their life. When it comes to choosing, you’ll find these tiny devices don’t really feature much variation in terms of hardware (their size and requirements from the OS aren’t as demanding as smartphones). Sure, the Samsung Gear Live has slightly higher resolution, but I think just about all us early adopters were surprised to find that both LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live didn’t come equipped with an ambient light sensor.

A strange oversight, whenever a user sets their desire brightness, they’ll need to jump through a few hoops in order to change the brightness of the display to match their environment. While, it’s true apps like Wear Mini Launcher offer a quick brightness slider to help alleviate this issue, it doesn’t totally fix it. And that sucks.

For Motorola’s upcoming smartwatch — the Motorola Moto 360 — there’s still a bit of mystery surrounding wearable in terms of what Motorola is planning to do different (other than its circular design). If there was any question Motorola was aiming at a more premium smartwatch experience with its brushed aluminum frame and nearly bezeless watch face, we now have another idea of some hardware will be using in their device that simply put, the others forgot about: an ambient light sensor.

A hands-off video from TechCrunch is making the rounds around the net this afternoon. In the video (at the 1:39 mark), Motorola spokesperson Cathay Bi shows off the smartwatch just like she did in Motorola’s official hands-on video, only this time she revealed a small detail many looked over at the time. At about the 1:50 mark, Bi mentions the watch’s small bezel along the bottom — which she calls the “display driver” — houses an ambient light sensor, already putting the 360 ahead of the current rivals in terms of raw hardware.

So there you have it. If you weren’t already lusting over the Moto 360, the fact that the watch will offering even a little more convenience than the other guys should once again pique your interests. We’ll have to wait and see what else Motorola has up their sleeves for the watch when it’s made available for sale in the coming weeks.

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Xbox One SmartGlass Beta update brings remote shopping and new social features Thu, 24 Jul 2014 18:55:42 +0000 XboxOne SmartGlass Android

Microsoft seems to have some dream of turning Xbox One into Twitter as the company has released a SmartGlass Beta update that makes your friend’s list and activity feeds a lot more social. You can now “like” game clips and items from the activity feed — not that your friends needed approval of what they’re playing or what they’re doing in those games, but there it is anyway.

It all honestly feels like the Xbox One is drumming up to making a completely social platform where folks can comment on achievements and videos, but that’s another thought for another day. Moving on, Microsoft has also added a fully native in-app store that will allow you to purchase content from your phone or tablet. Should your Xbox be turned on at the time or you have it in standby mode, it’ll automatically begin downloading your content as soon as you hit the buy button.

The rest of the changes are more housecleaning than anything, such as a cleaner way to submit feedback (without having to use email to do so) and what Microsoft calls “general stability and polish improvements.” Nothing too out of the ordinary there.

Want the beta? The link below should get you well on your way, though you should note that features aren’t always guaranteed to work right as this is only meant to test the latest and greatest features. Folks looking for a more stable experience can head right here.

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Square Enix summer sale brings Final Fantasy Android games down to much more reasonable prices Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:58:50 +0000 final-fantasy

As great as many of the early Final Fantasy titles are, the Japanese RPG games are no doubt horribly overpriced in the Google Play Store. Titles cost as much as $16, and while that gives you a pretty full game with hours of gameplay and no in-app purchases, it’s still a little much considering PC versions of these classics can be had for quite a bit cheaper.

Thankfully Square Enix has decided to lower those prices quite a bit during this summer sale they’re putting on. The sales will come in waves, with the first two offers being for Final Fantasy 3 and Final Fantasy 4. Both titles can be had for $8, down from the $16 they’re usually available for. Here’s the full breakdown of dates and prices for each game going on sale:

We won’t assume that the other titles will be getting a drop to the same $7.99 as the first two up for grabs, though we’re certainly hoping for that trend to continue. You can use the links above to get to their respective listings in the Google Play Store if you’re interested. We’ll be updating this post as the weeks go on to reflect the confirmed pricing for all remaining titles.

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Chromecast’s first birthday sparks 90 free days of Google Play Music All Access offer Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:38:56 +0000 Chromecast-featured-LARGE

It’s been a year since the launch of Chromecast, which has taken the world by storm as 2013′s top gadget and one of the hottest selling items on Amazon and Google Play. To celebrate all of that goodness Google has decided to give users a nice treat for being part of the early wave of consumers to get in on the fun.

They’re offering 90 days of Google Play Music All Access, a premium subscription that gives you unlimited access to a library of over 20 million tracks. You can easily add these tracks to your library and playlists or listen to radio stations based on them. They won’t be there for you once your subscription ends, though you obviously have the option of paying for each individual track or album you want to keep should you decide to give up your membership.

The offer is good for anyone who has bought a Chromecast, and is available from today’s date all the way through September 30th. You’ll have to fork up about $10 per month at the conclusion of the offer if you want to keep on listening, though that’s not a terribly high price to pay for unlimited access to such a big library of music. Of course, the offer doesn’t apply to you if you already have a subscription so feel free to continue enjoying it as you always have. You can head right here to get started.

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Sprint invites us to “take the edge off” on August 19th Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:56:09 +0000 Sprint_Ranger_Registration

Another Sprint event is on the horizon, with the Now Network inviting us to “take the edge off” come August 19th in New York City. In typical invite fashion we don’t get any clue as to what they’ll be announcing, though the word “EDGE” being emphasized in the invitation could give a hint.

If it’s not some sort of network announcement, we might guess that this could be a follow-up device to the Kyocera Hydro EDGE from yesteryear. That particular phone was also revealed in August of its respective year, prime timing for its ability to stand up to summertime swimming, beach walking and other elements-filled activities.

Of course, your guess is as good as ours with no rumors suggesting anything. The only other hint the image gives is in the image name: “Sprint_Ranger_Invitation.jpg” is what they’ve decided to call it. Whether that means anything remains to be seen. Whatever it may be you can be certain we’ll be stamping our calendar and waiting for that day to arrive. Circle back at that point if you’re just as curious as we are.

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HTC One M8 announced in pink and red for Europe Thu, 24 Jul 2014 15:48:10 +0000 htc one m8 red

If you’re not satisfied with the current collection of colors available for the HTC One M8 a couple of new eye-popping options are coming your way. HTC has revealed the red and pink HTC One M8. The former of those two colors is actually already available, albeit as an exclusive for Verizon Wireless customers. Today’s announcement could indicate that other carriers will finally get in on the fun, though.

And for those who find themselves attracted to the traditional pink color of bubble gum, a pink version could be really nice (and could also be the most expensive Breast Cancer Awareness Month item you’ll ever carry in a few months). So when and where can you get these, then?

The red version will be exclusive to O2 folks when it comes to the UK, while the pink version will be available tomorrow, July 25th (opting to pre-order that option will net you a free Dot View case, so there’s a bit of incentive there if pink isn’t normally your style). Let’s hope these colors make their way to every corner of the globe imaginable sometime soon.

htc one m8 pink

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Reminder: Verizon HTC One Remix (One Mini 2) available today Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:46:05 +0000 verizon-htc-1024x640

In case you’ve already forgotten, here’s another friendly reminder: Verizon’s latest smartphone — the HTC One Remix — is available today for $50 on a new two-year contract, $22.49 per month for 20 months with $0 down on Verizon Edge, or $450 outright. The HTC One Remix might sound like a souped up version of the HTC One M8, but it’s actually just a rebranded version of the HTC One Mini 2 (which doesn’t quite match the same prowess as the phone it’s based on, but does provide a decent smartphone experience for its cost.

The HTC One Remix features a 4.5-inch 720p display, 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, 13 megapixel camera with LED flash, 5 megapixel front camera, Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band WiFi N, GPS w/ GLONASS, a 2,100mAh battery and Android 4.4 KitKat with HTC Sense 6. Sounds like quite a bit for the low stack of cash you’d be forking over. You can purchase one now by stopping in at your local Verizon store or ordering one online right here.

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LG Mobile has a record quarter with 14.5 million smartphones shipped; ends 3-quarter streak of losses Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:09:28 +0000 LG G3 IMG_5365

LG had a pretty good Q2 2014 that they can be proud of. The biggest highlight for their mobile division was that they shipped a record-high 14.5 million smartphones, enough for the mobile division to turn a profit for the first time in four quarters. Those profits came on the back of $3.51 billion in sales, $83.4 million of which was pure profit.

It’s not a huge amount of money to drop into the pocketbook for a big company like LG, but a profitable business means they can continue to invest in their research and development and keep introducing the innovations that helped them to results like this. LG has made considerable strides in their phone business in the past two years.

A noticeable uptick in smartphone quality, new display features that no other company is matching (such as 4K resolution and virtually unbreakable displays) and improved software have all contributed to a product line that is now pulling as much attention as HTC’s One series. They still have some ways to go to match Samsung’s prowess, but doesn’t everybody these days?

LG made it a point to mention that it wasn’t only the LG G3 and other flagship smartphone releases that helped them to these results, though. They gave a good portion of credit to the L-Series III lineup, a collection of mid-range smartphones to fit any budget. They might not be as flashy as LG’s recent releases, but the phones seem to be good enough at their affordable price points to fill the needs of many smartphone users.

For the entirety of the company, LG pulled in 399.8 million in net profit (26% increase year-on-year) on the back of $14.93 billion in revenue (7% increase quarter-over-quarter). Let’s hope the rest of 2014 is just as good for the company because there’s nothing quite like healthy competition.

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Skype 5.0 for Android makes it easier to find your friends Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:19:45 +0000

Skype has just dropped version 5.0 of their Android app. Despite a huge version change, this update only brings us a couple of new features (though some very key ones if you have previously had trouble finding your friends and family members who may or may not be on Skype).

Specifically new to the Android version is the ability to finally find contacts by linking your address book to Skype. Skype will eventually ask you to verify your real phone number in order to use this feature, but that shouldn’t be much of an issue if you’re looking forward to pain-free methods of finding friends who have Skype accounts.

The feature is even more robust for people who use a Microsoft account to sign in. Like the phone address book functionality, Skype will look to match contacts from your Microsoft account’s address book to people on Skype.


Thankfully none of this is being forced on the user if they want no parts of it — simply head into settings and disable it. And if you want to use the functionality but don’t want to make your phone number known you’ll have the ability to hide that from public view. It sounds like a pretty solid update, though we’re more interested in hearing about the return of full group chat functionality without the excessive battery drain.

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Samsung Galaxy Alpha leak shows smaller 4.7-inch display, aluminum frame Wed, 23 Jul 2014 22:25:32 +0000 samsung-galaxy-alpha-s5-comparison-front

And here we were thinking the long rumored Samsung Galaxy Alpha would be nothing more than an ultra premium, Samsung Galaxy S5 with a 2K display and aluminum build. Turns out, we may have been wrong in our assumptions.

The folks at SamMobile published a few very clear leaked images of the device. Sure the rumored aluminum frame makes an appearance, but when compared side-by-side against the Samsung Galaxy S5, you’ll notice a much smaller all around size. Said to feature a Galaxy S3-sized 4.7-inch display, this could be more of an iPhone 6 challenger than anything.

samsung galaxy alpha s5 comparison back

According to the tipster, the Galaxy Alpha features 32GB of internal storage and the absence of the usual SD card slot. You’ll also notice Samsung’s trademark faux leather battery cover, only this time with much smaller perforated holes (possibly addressing concerns the Galaxy S5′s looked like a Band-Aid).

Because Samsung already offers a smaller Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini with sub par specs, we’re hoping they’ll go with more higher-performance hardware for the Galaxy Alpha, but nothing has been confirmed at this point.

We expect we’ll learn more about the device as we near it’s rumored August limited release, in the meantime you can check out the leaked pics below.

samsung-galaxy-alpha-2 samsung-galaxy-alpha-7 samsung galaxy alpha 3 samsung-galaxy-alpha-6 ]]> 0
Watch Conan O’brien poke fun at the iPhone 6, says what Android users have been screaming for years [VIDEO] Wed, 23 Jul 2014 21:01:59 +0000 Conan Obrien iPhone Galaxy joke

It’s never too early to share a laugh at Apple’s expense, especially when it comes to their “next big thing” looming around the corner. Addressing countless leaks of a new and improved Apple iPhone 6 said to be carrying an incredibly large 4.7-inch display is TV funnyman Conan O’brien.

During last night’s monologue, Conan O’brien jokes about rumors of the bigger iPhone 6, stating what Android fans have been saying for years now: the iPhone 6 will simply offer last year’s Android hardware.

Okay. More specifically he mentions the “Samsung Galaxy” line (arguably Android’s biggest mainstream success) which he’s also been known to throw a jab or 2 towards in monologue’s past. The fun starts at 1:32 if you’re pressed for time although we recommend watching the whole video for a good time. Cheers.

[via TeamCoco]

Thanks, Donnosuar!

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